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1.  Pentoxifylline sensitizes human cervical tumor cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis by suppressing NF-kappa B and decreased cell senescence 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:483.
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second most common causes of cancer in women and represents an important mortality rate. Cisplatin (CIS) is a very important antitumoral agent and can lead tumor cells toward two important cellular states: apoptosis and senescence. In some types of cancers pentoxifylline (PTX) sensitizes these cells to the toxic action of chemotherapeutics drugs such as adriamycin, inducing apoptosis. In the present work, we studied in vitro whether PTX alone or in combination with CIS induces apoptosis and/or senescence in cervix cancer HeLa and SiHa cell lines infected with HPV types 16 and 18, respectively, as well as in immortalized keratinocytyes HaCaT cells.
HeLa (HPV 18+), SiHa (HPV 16+) cervix cancer cells and non-tumorigenic immortalized HaCaT cells (control) were treated with PTX, CIS or both. The cellular toxicity and survival fraction of PTX and CIS were determinate by WST-1 and clonogenic assays respectively. Apoptosis, caspase activation and phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38, p65 (NF-κB), Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL anti-apoptotic proteins were determinated by flow cytometry. Senescence by microscopy. Phosphorylation of IκBα and IκB total were measured by ELISA. Pro-apoptotic, anti-apoptotic and senescence genes, as well as HPV-E6/7 mRNA expression, were detected by RT-PCR.
Our results show that after 24 hours of incubation PTX per se is toxic for cancer cells affecting cell viability and inducing apoptosis. The toxicity in HaCaT cells was minimal. CIS induces apoptosis in HeLa and SiHa cells and its effect was significantly increases when the cells were treated with PTX + CIS. In all studies there was a direct correlation with levels of caspases (-3, -6, -7, -9 and -8) activity and apoptosis. CIS induces important levels of senescence and phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38, p65/RELA, and IκBα, and decreased the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-XL. Surprisingly these levels were significantly reduced by PTX in tumor cells, and at the same time, increases the expression of pro-apoptotic genes.
PTX sensitizes cervical cancer cells to CIS-induced apoptosis and decreases the CIS-induced senescence in these cells via inhibition of NF-κB signaling pathway; diminishes expression of antiapoptotic proteins and the activation of caspases.
PMCID: PMC3229613  PMID: 22074157
2.  Potential implications of GRP58 expression and susceptibility of cervical cancer to cisplatin and thymoquinone-based therapy 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1375-1387.
A new therapeutic approach of looking at the expression of glucose-regulated protein (GRP) 58 as an indication of cisplatin sensitivity may eradicate fruitless treatment and side effects in patients with cervical cancer. Thymoquinone, the bioactive compound in Nigella sativa, has been reported to have an antiproliferative effect on cervical cancer cells. This study compared the cytotoxic effects of cisplatin, a drug commonly used in the treatment of cervical cancer, and thymoquinone in cervical cancer (HeLa and SiHa) cell lines by 3-(4,5-Dimethyl thiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, and measured GRP58 expression in the cells by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. Cisplatin had higher antiproliferative activity towards the cervical cancer cell lines than thymoquinone in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. However, cisplatin was more toxic to normal 3T3 and Vero cell lines than thymoquinone. The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of cisplatin in HeLa and SiHa cells at 72 hours was 13.3±2.52 μM and 19.5±2.12 μM, respectively. Meanwhile, the IC50 of thymoquinone in HeLa and SiHa cells was 29.57±5.81 μM and 23.41±1.51 μM, respectively (P<0.05). A significant correlation was found between the cytotoxicity of cisplatin and expression of GRP58, but this relationship was not significant for thymoquinone. Therefore, the response of cervical cancer cells to cisplatin can be predicted on the basis of GRP58 expression.
PMCID: PMC4132255  PMID: 25143744
glucose-regulated protein 58; cervical cancer; cisplatin; thymoquinone
3.  P16INK4A is required for cisplatin resistance in cervical carcinoma SiHa cells 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(3):1104-1108.
Cervical cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality in females worldwide, accounting for 10–15% of cancer-related mortalities. Cytological screening and DNA testing for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types have markedly decreased the rates of cervical cancer in developed countries, however, for vulnerable populations without access to health care, cervical cancer remains a considerable problem. Chemotherapeutic agents such as cisplatin (DDP) are considered as first-line treatment for cervical carcinoma. Although initially patients often exhibit high responsiveness, the majority eventually develop DDP resistance. However, the mechanisms underlying this process remain unclear. Furthermore, patients with metastatic cancer and those exhibiting persistent or recurrent disease after platinum-based chemoradiotherapy have limited options and thus, non-platinum combination chemotherapy has been proposed as a strategy to circumvent platinum resistance, however, novel therapeutic strategies are required. In the present study, P16 expression was analyzed by quantitative-polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis in SiHa and SiHa-DDP cells and the interaction between P16 and CDK4 was detected via co-immunoprecipitation. In addition, the proliferation and apoptosis rates of P16 knockdown SiHa-DDP cells were measured by MTT assay and Annexin V flow cytometry and the subsequent changes in cyclin D1 and pRb expression were analyzed by western blot analysis. In this study, a high level of P16INK4A expression and its enhanced interaction with cyclin-dependent kinase-4 in cervical carcinoma DDP-resistance cells (SiHa-DDP) was identified, which was associated with the inactivation of phosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (pRb). Knockdown of P16INK4A significantly induced cellular growth, when compared with the control cells, via the upregulation of pRb, and also promoted apoptosis following treatment with DDP. The results of this study indicated, for the first time, that P16INK4A is required for DDP resistance in cervical carcinoma SiHa cells and, thus, these results may lead to the development of novel strategies for the treatment of chemoresistant cervical carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4315085  PMID: 25663864
P16INK4A; cervical carcinoma; cisplatin resistance; SiHa-cisplatin; cell cycle
4.  Down-regulation of argininosuccinate synthetase is associated with cisplatin resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines: implications for PEGylated arginine deiminase combination therapy 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):621.
Many advanced human tumors, including hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) are auxotrophic for arginine due to down-regulation of argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS1), the rate-limiting enzyme in arginine synthesis. The arginine-lowering agent PEGylated arginine deiminase (ADI-PEG 20) has shown efficacy as a monotherapy in clinical trials for treating arginine-auxotrophic tumors and is currently being evaluated in combination with cisplatin in other cancer types. Epigenetic silencing via methylation of the ASS1 promoter has been previously demonstrated in other cancer types, and a reciprocal relationship between ASS1 expression and cisplatin resistance has also been observed in ovarian cancer. However, the mechanism of ASS1 down-regulation, as well as the correlation with cisplatin resistance has not been explored in HCC. The present study investigates ADI-PEG 20 and cisplatin sensitivities in relation to ASS1 expression in HCC. In addition, we show how this biomarker is regulated by cisplatin alone and in combination with ADI-PEG 20.
ASS1 protein expression in both untreated and drug treated human HCC cell lines was assessed by western blot. The correlation between ASS1 protein levels, ADI-PEG 20 sensitivity and cisplatin resistance in these cell lines was established using a luminescence-based cell viability assay. Epigenetic regulation of ASS1 was analyzed by bisulfite conversion and methylation-specific PCR.
A good correlation between absence of ASS1 protein expression, ASS1 promoter methylation, sensitivity to ADI-PEG 20 and resistance to cisplatin in HCC cell lines was observed. In addition, cisplatin treatment down-regulated ASS1 protein expression in select HCC cell lines. While, at clinically relevant concentrations, the combination of ADI-PEG 20 and cisplatin restored ASS1 protein levels in most of the cell lines studied.
ASS1 silencing in HCC cell lines is associated with simultaneous cisplatin resistance and ADI-PEG 20 sensitivity which suggests a promising combination therapeutic strategy for the management of HCC.
PMCID: PMC4153943  PMID: 25164070
Arginine; Argininosuccinate synthetase; Arginine deiminase; Cisplatin; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Combination therapy
5.  Reactive oxygen species-mediated apoptosis contributes to chemosensitization effect of saikosaponins on cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity in cancer cells 
Saikosaponin-a and -d, two naturally occurring compounds derived from Bupleurum radix, have been shown to exert anti-cancer activity in several cancer cell lines. However, the effect of combination of saikosaponins with chemotherapeutic drugs has never been addressed. Thus, we investigated whether these two saikosaponins have chemosensitization effect on cisplatin-induced cancer cell cytotoxicity.
Two cervical cancer cell lines, HeLa and Siha, an ovarian cancer cell line, SKOV3, and a non-small cell lung cancer cell line, A549, were treated with saikosaponins or cisplatin individually or in combination. Cell death was quantitatively detected by the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) using a cytotoxicity detection kit. Cellular ROS was analyzed by flow cytometry. Apoptosis was evaluated by AO/EB staining, flow cytometry after Anexin V and PI staining, and Western blot for caspase activation. ROS scavengers and caspase inhibitor were used to determine the roles of ROS and apoptosis in the effects of saikosaponins on cisplatin-induced cell death.
Both saikosaponin-a and -d sensitized cancer cells to cisplatin-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner, which was accompanied with induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation. The dead cells showed typical apoptotic morphologies. Both early apoptotic and late apoptotic cells detected by flow cytometry were increased in saikosaponins and cisplatin cotreated cells, accompanied by activation of the caspase pathway. The pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD and ROS scanvengers butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) dramatically suppressed the potentiated cytotoxicity achieved by combination of saikosaponin-a or -d and cisplatin.
These results suggest that saikosaponins sensitize cancer cells to cisplatin through ROS-mediated apoptosis, and the combination of saikosaponins with cisplatin could be an effective therapeutic strategy.
PMCID: PMC3006358  PMID: 21143894
6.  Methylation-mediated silencing and tumour suppressive function of hsa-miR-124 in cervical cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:167.
A substantial number of microRNAs (miRNAs) is subject to epigenetic silencing in cancer. Although epigenetic silencing of tumour suppressor genes is an important feature of cervical cancer, little is known about epigenetic silencing of miRNAs. Since DNA methylation-based silencing of hsa-miR-124 occurs in various human cancers, we studied the frequency and functional effects of hsa-miR-124 methylation in cervical carcinogenesis.
Quantitative MSP analysis of all 3 loci encoding the mature hsa-miR-124 (hsa-miR-124-1/-2/-3) showed methylation in cervical cancer cell lines SiHa, CaSki and HeLa as well as in late passages of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 or 18 immortalised keratinocytes. Treatment of SiHa cells with a demethylating agent reduced hsa-miR-124 methylation levels and induced hsa-miR-124 expression. In HPV-immortalised keratinocytes increased methylation levels were related to reduced hsa-miR-124 expression and higher mRNA expression of IGFBP7, a potential hsa-miR-124 target gene. Ectopic hsa-miR-124 expression in SiHa and CaSki cells decreased proliferation rates and migratory capacity. Combined hsa-miR-124-1 and/or hsa-miR-124-2 methylation analysis of 139 cervical tissue specimens showed an increasing methylation frequency from 0% in normal tissues up to 93% in cervical carcinomas. Increased methylation levels of hsa-miR-124-1 and hsa-miR-124-2 were significantly correlated with reduced hsa-miR-124 expression in cervical tissue specimens. Combined hsa-miR-124-1 and/or hsa-miR-124-2 methylation analysis of 43 cervical scrapes of high-risk HPV positive women was predictive of underlying high-grade lesions.
DNA methylation-based silencing of hsa-miR-124 is functionally involved in cervical carcinogenesis and may provide a valuable marker for improved detection of cervical cancer and its high-grade precursor lesions.
PMCID: PMC2917428  PMID: 20579385
7.  Berberine modulates AP-1 activity to suppress HPV transcription and downstream signaling to induce growth arrest and apoptosis in cervical cancer cells 
Molecular Cancer  2011;10:39.
Specific types of high risk Human papillomaviruses (HR-HPVs) particularly, HPV types 16 and 18 cause cervical cancer and while the two recently developed vaccines against these HPV types are prophylactic in nature, therapeutic options for treatment and management of already existing HPV infection are not available as yet. Because transcription factor, Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) plays a central role in HPV-mediated cervical carcinogenesis, we explored the possibility of its therapeutic targeting by berberine, a natural alkaloid derived from a medicinal plant species, Berberis which has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties with no known toxicity; however, the effect of berberine against HPV has not been elucidated.
We studied the effect of berberine on HPV16-positive cervical cancer cell line, SiHa and HPV18-positive cervical cancer cell line, HeLa using electrophoretic mobility gel shift assays, western and northern blotting which showed that berberine could selectively inhibit constitutively activated AP-1 in a dose- and time-dependent manner and downregulates HPV oncogenes expression. Inhibition of AP-1 was also accompanied by changes in the composition of their DNA-binding complex. Berberine specifically downregulated expression of oncogenic c-Fos which was also absent in the AP-1 binding complex. Treatment with berberine resulted in repression of E6 and E7 levels and concomitant increase in p53 and Rb expression in both cell types. Berberine also suppressed expression of telomerase protein, hTERT, which translated into growth inhibition of cervical cancer cells. Interestingly, a higher concentration of berberine was found to reduce the cell viability through mitochondria-mediated pathway and induce apoptosis by activating caspase-3.
These results indicate that berberine can effectively target both the host and viral factors responsible for development of cervical cancer through inhibition of AP-1 and blocking viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 expression. Inhibition of AP-1 activity by berberine may be one of the mechanisms responsible for the anti-HPV effect of berberine. We propose that berberine is a potentially promising compound for the treatment of cervical cancer infected with HPV.
PMCID: PMC3098825  PMID: 21496227
8.  Oncogenic Human Papillomaviruses Activate the Tumor-Associated Lens Epithelial-Derived Growth Factor (LEDGF) Gene 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(3):e1003957.
The expression of the human papillomavirus (HPV) E6/E7 oncogenes is crucial for HPV-induced malignant cell transformation. The identification of cellular targets attacked by the HPV oncogenes is critical for our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of HPV-associated carcinogenesis and may open novel therapeutic opportunities. Here, we identify the Lens Epithelial-Derived Growth Factor (LEDGF) gene as a novel cellular target gene for the HPV oncogenes. Elevated LEDGF expression has been recently linked to human carcinogenesis and can protect tumor cells towards different forms of cellular stress. We show that intracellular LEDGF mRNA and protein levels in HPV-positive cancer cells are critically dependent on the maintenance of viral oncogene expression. Ectopic E6/E7 expression stimulates LEDGF transcription in primary keratinocytes, at least in part via activation of the LEDGF promoter. Repression of endogenous LEDGF expression by RNA interference results in an increased sensitivity of HPV-positive cancer cells towards genotoxic agents. Immunohistochemical analyses of cervical tissue specimens reveal a highly significant increase of LEDGF protein levels in HPV-positive lesions compared to histologically normal cervical epithelium. Taken together, these results indicate that the E6/E7-dependent maintenance of intracellular LEDGF expression is critical for protecting HPV-positive cancer cells against various forms of cellular stress, including DNA damage. This could support tumor cell survival and contribute to the therapeutic resistance of cervical cancers towards genotoxic treatment strategies in the clinic.
Author Summary
Specific types of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are closely linked to the development of malignant tumors, such as cervical cancer. Virtually all cervical cancers contain HPV DNA and the tumorigenic growth behavior of cervical cancer cells is dependent on the activity of two viral oncogenes, called E6 and E7. It is important to study the activities by which the HPV oncogenes can support the growth of tumor cells. This should allow new insights into the molecular mechanisms of virus-induced carcinogenesis and could also be useful for developing novel approaches for cancer therapy. We here show that the HPV oncogenes stimulate and maintain expression of the cellular LEDGF gene in HPV-positive cancer cells. Consistently, pre-malignant and malignant lesions of the cervix exhibit significantly increased LEDGF protein levels. LEDGF is crucial for the protection of tumor cells against various forms of cellular stress, including DNA damage. LEDGF stimulation by the viral oncogenes could be a critical survival mechanism by which HPVs support the growth of cervical cancer cells and provide resistance towards chemo- and radiotherapy in the clinic.
PMCID: PMC3946365  PMID: 24604027
9.  Non-specific chemical inhibition of the Fanconi anemia pathway sensitizes cancer cells to cisplatin 
Molecular Cancer  2012;11:26.
Platinum compounds such as cisplatin and carboplatin are DNA crosslinking agents widely used for cancer chemotherapy. However, the effectiveness of platinum compounds is often tempered by the acquisition of cellular drug resistance. Until now, no pharmacological approach has successfully overcome cisplatin resistance in cancer treatment. Since the Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway is a DNA damage response pathway required for cellular resistance to DNA interstrand crosslinking agents, identification of small molecules that inhibit the FA pathway may reveal classes of chemicals that sensitize cancer cells to cisplatin.
Through a cell-based screening assay of over 16,000 chemicals, we identified 26 small molecules that inhibit ionizing radiation and cisplatin-induced FANCD2 foci formation, a marker of FA pathway activity, in multiple human cell lines. Most of these small molecules also compromised ionizing radiation-induced RAD51 foci formation and homologous recombination repair, indicating that they are not selective toward the regulation of FANCD2. These compounds include known inhibitors of the proteasome, cathepsin B, lysosome, CHK1, HSP90, CDK and PKC, and several uncharacterized chemicals including a novel proteasome inhibitor (Chembridge compound 5929407).
Isobologram analyses demonstrated that half of the identified molecules sensitized ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin. Among them, 9 demonstrated increased efficiency toward FA pathway-proficient, cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells. Six small molecules, including bortezomib (proteasome inhibitor), CA-074-Me (cathepsin B inhibitor) and 17-AAG (HSP90 inhibitor), synergized with cisplatin specifically in FA-proficient ovarian cancer cells (2008 + FANCF), but not in FA-deficient isogenic cells (2008). In addition, geldanamycin (HSP90 inhibitor) and two CHK1 inhibitors (UCN-01 and SB218078) exhibited a significantly stronger synergism with cisplatin in FA-proficient cells when compared to FA-deficient cells, suggesting a contribution of their FA pathway inhibitory activity to cisplatin sensitization.
Our findings suggest that, despite their lack of specificity, pharmaceutical inhibition of the FA pathway by bortezomib, CA-074-Me, CHK1 inhibitors or HSP90 inhibitors may be a promising strategy to sensitize cisplatin-resistant, FA pathway-proficient tumor cells to cisplatin. In addition, we identified four new small molecules which synergize with cisplatin. Further development of their analogs and evaluation of their combination with cisplatin may lead to the development of efficient cancer treatments.
PMCID: PMC3478989  PMID: 22537224
Fanconi anemia; Drug resistance; Cisplatin; Small molecule; Homologous recombination
10.  Role of EGFR degradation in cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity in head and neck cancer 
Cancer research  2010;70(7):2862-2869.
Cisplatin and its analogues are the most commonly used agents in the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). In this study, we investigated a possible role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), phosphorylation and degradation in cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity. Cisplatin treatment led to an increase in initial EGFR phosphorylation at the Y1045, the binding site of ubiquitin ligase, Casitas B-lineage lymphoma (c-Cbl), followed by ubiquitination in the relatively cisplatin-sensitive cell lines. However, cisplatin-resistant cell lines underwent minimal EGFR phosphorylation at the Y1045 site and minimal ubiquitination. We found that EGFR degradation in response to cisplatin was highly correlated with cytotoxicity in seven head and neck cancer cell lines. Pretreatment with epidermal growth factor (EGF), enhanced cisplatin-induced EGFR degradation and cytotoxicity, whereas erlotinib pretreatment blocked EGFR phosphorylation, degradation, and cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity. Expression of a mutant Y1045F EGFR, which is relatively resistant to c-Cbl mediated degradation, in Chinese hamster ovary cells and the UMSCC11B human head and neck cancer cell line protected EGFR from cisplatin-induced degradation and enhanced cell survival compared to WT-EGFR. Transfection of WT-c-Cbl enhanced EGFR degradation and cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity compared to control vector. These results demonstrate that cisplatin-induced EGFR phosphorylation and subsequent ubiquitination and degradation is an important determinant of cisplatin sensitivity. Our findings suggest that treatment with an EGFR inhibitor before cisplatin would be antagonistic, as EGFR inhibition would protect EGFR from cisplatin-mediated phosphorylation and subsequent ubiquitination and degradation, which may explain the negative results of several recent clinical trials. Furthermore, they suggest that EGFR degradation is worth exploring as an early biomarker of response and as a target to improve outcome.
PMCID: PMC2848889  PMID: 20215522
11.  The Human Papillomavirus E6 Oncogene Represses a Cell Adhesion Pathway and Disrupts Focal Adhesion through Degradation of TAp63β upon Transformation 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(9):e1002256.
Cervical carcinomas result from cellular transformation by the human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 and E7 oncogenes which are constitutively expressed in cancer cells. The E6 oncogene degrades p53 thereby modulating a large set of p53 target genes as shown previously in the cervical carcinoma cell line HeLa. Here we show that the TAp63β isoform of the p63 transcription factor is also a target of E6. The p63 gene plays an essential role in skin homeostasis and is expressed as at least six isoforms. One of these isoforms, ΔNp63α, has been found overexpressed in squamous cell carcinomas and is shown here to be constitutively expressed in Caski cells associated with HPV16. We therefore explored the role of p63 in these cells by performing microarray analyses after repression of endogenous E6/E7 expression. Upon repression of the oncogenes, a large set of p53 target genes was found activated together with many p63 target genes related to cell adhesion. However, through siRNA silencing and ectopic expression of various p63 isoforms we demonstrated that TAp63β is involved in activation of this cell adhesion pathway instead of the constitutively expressed ΔNp63α and β. Furthermore, we showed in cotransfection experiments, combined with E6AP siRNA silencing, that E6 induces an accelerated degradation of TAp63β although not through the E6AP ubiquitin ligase used for degradation of p53. Repression of E6 transcription also induces stabilization of endogenous TAp63β in cervical carcinoma cells that lead to an increased concentration of focal adhesions at the cell surface. Consequently, TAp63β is the only p63 isoform suppressed by E6 in cervical carcinoma as demonstrated previously for p53. Down-modulation of focal adhesions through disruption of TAp63β therefore appears as a novel E6-dependent pathway in transformation. These findings identify a major physiological role for TAp63β in anchorage independent growth that might represent a new critical pathway in human carcinogenesis.
Author Summary
High-risk human papillomavirus infection can cause cancer of the uterine cervix. The viral proteins leading to transformation of the infected keratinocytes are the E6 and E7 oncogenes which interact with and induce degradation of the cell cycle regulators p53 and pRB. In cervical carcinoma cells, repression of E6/E7 stabilizes the p53 transcription factor leading to activation of a large group of cellular p53 target genes. Here we show that repression of E6/E7 also induces transcriptional activation of an additional large set of genes involved in cell adhesion including previously described p63 target genes. Indeed, we further demonstrated that these p63 target genes are activated by TAp63β and not by p53 or by the ΔNp63α or β isoforms, even though these transcription factors are also expressed in these cells. In cervical carcinoma cells, E6 expression therefore leads to TAp63β degradation thereby allowing anchorage independent growth. Our work describes a new E6-dependent transformation pathway in HPV-associated carcinogenesis. TAp63β inhibition may also represent a common pathway to activate anchorage independent growth in cancers.
PMCID: PMC3182928  PMID: 21980285
12.  PIK3CA-mediated PI3-kinase signalling is essential for HPV-induced transformation in vitro 
Molecular Cancer  2011;10:71.
High-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) infections are causally related to cervical cancer development. The additional (epi)genetic alterations driving malignant transformation of hrHPV-infected cells however, are not yet fully elucidated. In this study we experimentally assessed the role of the PI3-kinase pathway and its regulator PIK3CA, which is frequently altered in cervical cancer, in HPV-induced transformation.
Cervical carcinomas and ectocervical controls were assessed for PIK3CA mRNA and protein expression by quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemical staining, respectively. A longitudinal in vitro model system of hrHPV-transfected keratinocytes, representing the immortal and anchorage independent phenotype, was assayed for PI3-kinase activation and function using chemical pathway inhibition i.e. LY294002 treatment, and PIK3CA RNA interference. Phenotypes examined included cellular viability, migration, anchorage independent growth and differentiation. mRNA expression of hTERT and HPV16 E6E7 were studied using quantitative RT-PCR and Northern blotting.
Cervical carcinomas showed significant overexpression of PIK3CA compared to controls. During HPV-induced transformation in vitro, expression of the catalytic subunit PIK3CA as well as activation of downstream effector PKB/AKT progressively increased in parallel. Inhibition of PI3-kinase signalling in HPV16-transfected keratinocytes by chemical interference or siRNA-mediated silencing of PIK3CA resulted in a decreased phosphorylation of PKB/AKT. Moreover, blockage of PI3-kinase resulted in reduced cellular viability, migration, and anchorage independent growth. These properties were accompanied with a downregulation of HPV16E7 and hTERT mRNA expression. In organotypic raft cultures of HPV16- and HPV18-immortalized cells, phosphorylated PKB/AKT was primarily seen in differentiated cells staining positive for cytokeratin 10 (CK10). Upon PI3-kinase signalling inhibition, there was a severe impairment in epithelial tissue development as well as a dramatic reduction in p-PKB/AKT and CK10.
The present data indicate that activation of the PI3-kinase/PKB/AKT pathway through PIK3CA regulates various transformed phenotypes as well as growth and differentiation of HPV-immortalized cells and may therefore play a pivotal role in HPV-induced carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3130697  PMID: 21663621
13.  Decitabine Rescues Cisplatin Resistance in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112880.
Cisplatin resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) reduces survival. In this study we hypothesized that methylation of key genes mediates cisplatin resistance. We determined whether a demethylating drug, decitabine, could augment the anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of cisplatin on SCC-25/CP, a cisplatin-resistant tongue SCC cell line. We showed that decitabine treatment restored cisplatin sensitivity in SCC-25/CP and significantly reduced the cisplatin dose required to induce apoptosis. We then created a xenograft model with SCC-25/CP and determined that decitabine and cisplatin combination treatment resulted in significantly reduced tumor growth and mechanical allodynia compared to control. To establish a gene classifier we quantified methylation in cancer tissue of cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant HNSCC patients. Cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant patient tumors had distinct methylation profiles. When we quantified methylation and expression of genes in the classifier in HNSCC cells in vitro, we showed that decitabine treatment of cisplatin-resistant HNSCC cells reversed methylation and gene expression toward a cisplatin-sensitive profile. The study provides direct evidence that decitabine restores cisplatin sensitivity in in vitro and in vivo models of HNSCC. Combination treatment of cisplatin and decitabine significantly reduces HNSCC growth and HNSCC pain. Furthermore, gene methylation could be used as a biomarker of cisplatin-resistance.
PMCID: PMC4229295  PMID: 25391133
14.  Prediction of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+ (CIN2+) using HPV DNA testing after a diagnosis of atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance (ASC-US) in Catalonia, Spain 
A protocol for cervical cancer screening among sexually active women 25 to 65 years of age was introduced in 2006 in Catalonia, Spain to increase coverage and to recommend a 3-year-interval between screening cytology. In addition, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) was offered as a triage test for women with a diagnosis of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US). HPV testing was recommended within 3 months of ASC-US diagnosis. According to protocol, HPV negative women were referred to regular screening including a cytological exam every 3 years while HPV positive women were referred to colposcopy and closer follow-up. We evaluated the implementation of the protocol and the prediction of HPV testing as a triage tool for cervical intraepithelial lesions grade two or worse (CIN2+) in women with a cytological diagnosis of ASC-US.
During 2007-08 a total of 611 women from five reference laboratories in Catalonia with a novel diagnosis of ASC-US were referred for high risk HPV (hrHPV) triage using high risk Hybrid Capture version 2. Using routine record linkage data, women were followed for 3 years to evaluate hrHPV testing efficacy for predicting CIN2+ cases. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the odds ratio for CIN2 +.
Among the 611 women diagnosed with ASC-US, 493 (80.7%) had at least one follow-up visit during the study period. hrHPV was detected in 48.3% of the women at study entry (mean age 35.2 years). hrHPV positivity decreased with increasing age from 72.6% among women younger than 25 years to 31.6% in women older than 54 years (p < 0.01).
At the end of the 3 years follow-up period, 37 women with a diagnosis of CIN2+ (18 CIN2, 16 CIN3, 2 cancers, and 1 with high squamous intraepithelial lesions -HSIL) were identified and all but one had a hrHPV positive test at study entry. Sensitivity to detect CIN2+ of hrHPV was 97.2% (95%confidence interval (CI) = 85.5-99.9) and specificity was 68.3% (95%CI = 63.1-73.2). The odds ratio for CIN2+ was 45.3 (95% CI: 6.2-333.0), when among ASC-US hrHPV positive women were compared to ASC-US hrHPV negative women.
Triage of ASC-US with hrHPV testing showed a high sensitivity for the detection of CIN2+ and a high negative predictive value after 3 years of follow-up. The results of this study are in line with the current guidelines for triage of women with ASC-US in the target age range of 25-65. Non adherence to guidelines will lead to unnecessary medical interventions. Further investigation is needed to improve specificity of ASC-US triage.
PMCID: PMC3332282  PMID: 22280073
Human papillomavirus (HPV); Diagnosis of atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance (ASC-US); Triage; cervical cancer screening; hrHC2 testing
15.  Growth Suppression Induced by Downregulation of E6-AP Expression in Human Papillomavirus-Positive Cancer Cell Lines Depends on p53 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(14):9296-9300.
The ubiquitin-protein ligase E6-AP is utilized by the E6 oncoprotein of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) associated with cervical cancer to target the tumor suppressor p53 for degradation. Here, we report that downregulation of E6-AP expression by RNA interference results in both the accumulation of p53 and growth suppression of the HPV-positive cervical cancer cell lines HeLa and SiHa. In addition, HeLa cells, in which p53 expression was suppressed by RNA interference, are significantly less sensitive to the downregulation of E6-AP expression with respect to growth suppression than parental HeLa cells. These data indicate that the anti-growth-suppressive properties of E6-AP in HPV-positive cells depend on its ability to induce p53 degradation.
PMCID: PMC1168765  PMID: 15994823
16.  In vitro cross-resistance and collateral sensitivity in seven resistant small-cell lung cancer cell lines: preclinical identification of suitable drug partners to taxotere, taxol, topotecan and gemcitabin. 
British Journal of Cancer  1997;75(6):869-877.
The acquisition of drug-resistant tumour cells is the main problem in the medical treatment of a range of malignant diseases. In recent years, three new classes of anti-cancer agents, each with a novel mechanism of action, have been brought forward to clinical trials. These are the topoisomerase I (topo I) poisons topotecan and irinotecan, which are both camptothecin derivatives, the taxane tubulin stabilizers taxol and taxotere and, finally, the antimetabolite gemcitabin, which is active in solid tumours. The process of optimizing their use in a combination with established agents is very complex, with numerous possible drug and schedule regimens. We describe here how a broad panel of drug-resistant small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines can be used as a model of tumour heterogeneity to aid in the selection of non-cross-resistant regimens. We have selected low-fold (3-10x) drug-resistant sublines from a classic (NCI-H69) and a variant (OC-NYH) SCLC cell line. The resistant cell lines include two sublines with different phenotypes towards alkylating agents (H69/BCNU and NYH/CIS), two sublines with different phenotypes against topo I poisons (NYH/CAM and NYH/TPT) and three multidrug resistant (MDR) sublines (H69/DAU, NYH/VM, and H69/VP) with combinations of mdr1 and MRP overexpression as well as topoisomerase II (topo II) down-regulation or mutation. Sensitivity to 20 established and new agents was measured in a standardized clonogenic assay. Resistance was highly drug specific. Thus, none of the cell lines was resistant to all drugs. In fact, all resistant cell lines exhibited patterns of collateral sensitivity to various different classes of drugs. The most intriguing pattern was collateral sensitivity to gemcitabin in two cell lines and to ara-C in five drug-resistant cell lines, i.e. in all lines except the lines resistant to topo I poisons. Next, all sensitivity patterns in the nine cell lines were compared by correlation analysis. A high correlation coefficient (CC) for a given pair of compounds indicates a similar pattern in response in the set of cell lines. Such data corroborate the view that there is cross-resistance among the drugs. A numerically low coefficient indicates that the two drugs are acting in different ways, suggesting a lack of cross-resistance between the drugs, and a negative correlation coefficient implies that two drugs exhibit collateral sensitivity. The most negative CCs (%) to the new drug leads were: taxotere-carmustine (BCNU) (-75), taxol-cisplatin (-58), ara-C-taxol (-25), gemcitabin-doxorubicin (-32), camptotecin-VM26 (-41) and topotecan-VP16 (-17). The most negative correlations to the clinically important agent VP-16 were: cisplatin (-70); BCNU (-68); camptothecin (-38); bleomycin (-33), gemcitabin (-32); ara-C (-21); topotecan (-17); melphalan (-3); and to the other main drug in SCLC treatment cisplatin were: doxorubicin (-70); VP-16 (-70); VM-26 (-69); mAMSA (-64); taxotere (-58); taxol (-58). Taxol and taxotere were highly correlated (cross-resistant) to VP-16 (0.76 and 0.81 respectively) and inversely correlated to cisplatin (both -0.58). Similarly, camptothecin and topotecan were correlated to cisplatin but inversely correlated to VP-16 and other topo II poisons. From the sensitivity data, we conclude that collateral sensitivity and lack of cross-resistance favours a cisplatin-taxane or topo I-topo II poison combination, whereas patterns of cross-resistance suggest that epipodophyllotoxin-taxane or topo I poison-cisplatin combinations may be disadvantageous.
PMCID: PMC2063407  PMID: 9062409
17.  Activation of the Retinoblastoma Tumor Suppressor Mediates Cell Cycle Inhibition and Cell Death in Specific Cervical Cancer Cell Lines 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2009;48(1):45-55.
High-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) encodes two oncoproteins, E6 and E7, which are vital to viral replication and contribute to the development of cervical cancer. HPV16 E7 can target over 20 cellular proteins, but is best known for inactivating the retinoblastoma (RB) tumor suppressor. RB functions by restraining cells from entering S-phase of the cell cycle, thus preventing aberrant proliferation. While it is well established that HPV16 E7 facilitates the degradation of the RB protein, the ability of the RB pathway to overcome E7 action is less well understood. In this study the RB-pathway was activated via the overexpression of the p16ink4a tumor suppressor or ectopic expression of an active allele of RB (PSM-RB). While p16ink4a had no influence on cell cycle progression, PSM-RB expression was sufficient to induce a cell cycle arrest in both SiHa and HeLa cells, HPV positive cervical cancer cell lines. Strikingly, this arrest led to the down-regulation of E2F target gene expression, which was antagonized via enhanced HPV-E7 expression. Since down-modulation of E7 function is associated with chronic growth arrest and senescence, the effect of PSM-RB on proliferation and survival was evaluated. Surprisingly, sustained PSM-RB expression impeded the proliferation of SiHa cells, resulting in both cell cycle inhibition and cell death. From these studies we conclude that active RB expression can sensitize specific cervical cancer cells to cell cycle inhibition and cell death. Thus, targeted therapies involving activation of RB function may be effective in inducing cell death in cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC2978426  PMID: 18506774
HPV; RB; E7; apoptosis; cervical cancer
18.  TXNL1-XRCC1 pathway regulates cisplatin-induced cell death and contributes to resistance in human gastric cancer 
Xu, W | Wang, S | Chen, Q | Zhang, Y | Ni, P | Wu, X | Zhang, J | Qiang, F | Li, A | Røe, O D | Xu, S | Wang, M | Zhang, R | Zhou, J
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(2):e1055-.
Cisplatin is a cytotoxic platinum compound that triggers DNA crosslinking induced cell death, and is one of the reference drugs used in the treatment of several types of human cancers including gastric cancer. However, intrinsic or acquired drug resistance to cisplatin is very common, and leading to treatment failure. We have recently shown that reduced expression of base excision repair protein XRCC1 (X-ray repair cross complementing group1) in gastric cancerous tissues correlates with a significant survival benefit from adjuvant first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. In this study, we demonstrated the role of XRCC1 in repair of cisplatin-induced DNA lesions and acquired cisplatin resistance in gastric cancer by using cisplatin-sensitive gastric cancer cell lines BGC823 and the cisplatin-resistant gastric cancer cell lines BGC823/cis-diamminedichloridoplatinum(II) (DDP). Our results indicated that the protein expression of XRCC1 was significantly increased in cisplatin-resistant cells and independently contributed to cisplatin resistance. Irinotecan, another chemotherapeutic agent to induce DNA damaging used to treat patients with advanced gastric cancer that progressed on cisplatin, was found to inhibit the expression of XRCC1 effectively, and leading to an increase in the sensitivity of resistant cells to cisplatin. Our proteomic studies further identified a cofactor of 26S proteasome, the thioredoxin-like protein 1 (TXNL1) that downregulated XRCC1 in BGC823/DDP cells via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. In conclusion, the TXNL1-XRCC1 is a novel regulatory pathway that has an independent role in cisplatin resistance, indicating a putative drug target for reversing cisplatin resistance in gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3944244  PMID: 24525731
cisplatin; gastric cancer; drug resistance; XRCC1; TXNL1
19.  Concordant and opposite roles of DNA-PK and the "facilitator of chromatin transcription" (FACT) in DNA repair, apoptosis and necrosis after cisplatin 
Molecular Cancer  2011;10:74.
Platinum-containing chemotherapy produces specific DNA damage and is used to treat several human solid tumors. Tumors initially sensitive to platinum-based drugs frequently become resistant. Inhibition of DNA repair is a potential strategy to enhance cisplatin effectiveness. After cisplatin treatment, a balance between repair and apoptosis determines whether cancer cells proliferate or die. DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) binds to DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) through its Ku subunits and initiates non-homologous end joining. Inhibition of DNA-PK sensitizes cancer cells to cisplatin killing. The goal of this study is to elucidate the mechanism underlying the effects of DNA-PK on cisplatin sensitivity.
Silencing the expression of the catalytic subunit of DNA-PK (DNA-PKcs) increased sensitivity to cisplatin and decreased the appearance of γH2AX after cisplatin treatment. We purified DNA-PK by its Ku86 subunit and identified interactors by tandem mass spectrometry before and after cisplatin treatment. The structure specific recognition protein 1 (SSRP1), Spt16 and γH2AX appeared in the Ku86 complex 5 hours after cisplatin treatment. SSRP1 and Spt16 form the facilitator of chromatin transcription (FACT). The cisplatin-induced association of FACT with Ku86 and γH2AX was abrogated by DNase treatment. In living cells, SSRP1 and Ku86 were recruited at sites of DSBs induced by laser beams. Silencing SSRP1 expression increased sensitivity to cisplatin and decreased γH2AX appearance. However, while silencing SSRP1 in cisplatin-treated cells increased both apoptosis and necrosis, DNA-PKcs silencing, in contrast, favored necrosis over apoptosis.
DNA-PK and FACT both play roles in DNA repair. Therefore both are putative targets for therapeutic inhibition. Since DNA-PK regulates apoptosis, silencing DNA-PKcs redirects cells treated with cisplatin toward necrosis. Silencing FACT however, allows both apoptosis and necrosis. Targeting DNA repair in cancer patients may have different therapeutic effects depending upon the roles played by factors targeted.
PMCID: PMC3135565  PMID: 21679440
20.  E6AP-Dependent Degradation of DLG4/PSD95 by High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Type 18 E6 Protein▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;81(3):1379-1389.
In most cervical cancers, DNAs of high-risk mucosotropic human papillomaviruses (HPVs), such as types 16 and 18, are maintained so as to express two viral proteins, E6 and E7, suggesting that they play important roles in carcinogenesis. The carboxy-terminal PDZ domain-binding motif of the E6 proteins is in fact essential for transformation of rodent cells and induction of hyperplasia in E6-transgenic mouse skin. To date, seven PDZ domain-containing proteins, including DLG1/hDLG, which is a human homologue of the Drosophila discs large tumor suppressor (Dlg), have been identified as targets of high-risk HPV E6 proteins. Here, we describe DLG4/PSD95, another human homologue of Dlg, as a novel E6 target. DLG4 was found to be expressed in normal human cells, including cervical keratinocytes, but only to a limited extent in both HPV-positive and HPV-negative cervical cancer cell lines. Expression of HPV18 E6 in HCK1T decreased DLG4 levels more strongly than did HPV16 E6, the carboxy-terminal motif of the proteins being critical for binding and degradation of DLG4 in vitro. DLG4 levels were restored by expression of either E6AP-specific short hairpin RNA or bovine papillomavirus type 1 E2 in HeLa but not CaSki or SiHa cells, reflecting downregulation of DLG4 mRNA as opposed to protein by an HPV-independent mechanism in HPV16-positive cancer lines. The tumorigenicity of CaSki cells was strongly inhibited by forced expression of DLG4, while growth in culture was not inhibited at all. These results suggest that DLG4 may function as a tumor suppressor in the development of HPV-associated cancers.
PMCID: PMC1797514  PMID: 17121805
21.  Functions of Paracrine PDGF Signaling in the Proangiogenic Tumor Stroma Revealed by Pharmacological Targeting  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(1):e19.
Important support functions, including promotion of tumor growth, angiogenesis, and invasion, have been attributed to the different cell types populating the tumor stroma, i.e., endothelial cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts, pericytes, and infiltrating inflammatory cells. Fibroblasts have long been recognized inside carcinomas and are increasingly implicated as functional participants. The stroma is prominent in cervical carcinoma, and distinguishable from nonmalignant tissue, suggestive of altered (tumor-promoting) functions. We postulated that pharmacological targeting of putative stromal support functions, in particular those of cancer-associated fibroblasts, could have therapeutic utility, and sought to assess the possibility in a pre-clinical setting.
Methods and Findings
We used a genetically engineered mouse model of cervical carcinogenesis to investigate platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor signaling in cancer-associated fibroblasts and pericytes. Pharmacological blockade of PDGF receptor signaling with the clinically approved kinase inhibitor imatinib slowed progression of premalignant cervical lesions in this model, and impaired the growth of preexisting invasive carcinomas. Inhibition of stromal PDGF receptors reduced proliferation and angiogenesis in cervical lesions through a mechanism involving suppression of expression of the angiogenic factor fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) and the epithelial cell growth factor FGF-7 by cancer-associated fibroblasts. Treatment with neutralizing antibodies to the PDGF receptors recapitulated these effects. A ligand trap for the FGFs impaired the angiogenic phenotype similarly to imatinib. Thus PDGF ligands expressed by cancerous epithelia evidently stimulate PDGFR-expressing stroma to up-regulate FGFs, promoting angiogenesis and epithelial proliferation, elements of a multicellular signaling network that elicits functional capabilities in the tumor microenvironment.
This study illustrates the therapeutic benefits in a mouse model of human cervical cancer of mechanism-based targeting of the stroma, in particular cancer-associated fibroblasts. Drugs aimed at stromal fibroblast signals and effector functions may prove complementary to conventional treatments targeting the overt cancer cells for a range of solid tumors, possibly including cervical carcinoma, the second most common lethal malignancy in women worldwide, for which management remains poor.
Douglas Hanahan and colleagues investigate a paracrine regulatory circuit centered upon PDGF receptor signaling in cancer-associated fibroblasts and pericytes of a mouse model of cervical carcinogenesis.
Editors' Summary
Cancers—disorganized, life-threatening masses of cells—develop when cells acquire genetic changes that allow them to divide uncontrollably and to move into (invade) other tissues. Interactions with ostensibly normal cells in the tissue surrounding the tumor (the stroma) support the growth of these abnormal cells. The stroma contains endothelial cells and pericytes (which line the inside and coat the outside, respectively, of blood vessels), cancer-associated fibroblasts, and some immune system cells. Together, these cells support angiogenesis (the formation of a blood supply, which feeds the tumor), produce factors that stimulate tumor cell growth, and facilitate tumor cell invasion into surrounding tissues. One type of tumor with a prominent stromal compartment is cervical cancer. Precancerous changes in the epithelial cells lining the cervix (the structure that connects the womb to the vagina) are usually triggered by infection with human papillomavirus. Some of these early lesions, which are known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasias (CINs), develop into invasive cervical cancer, which is treated by surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Why Was This Study Done?
The outlook for women whose cervical cancer is detected early is good but only 15%–30% of women whose cancer has spread out of the cervix survive for five years. If, as researchers believe, the stromal compartment is important in the development and growth (neoplastic progression) of cervical cancer, it might be possible to help these women by specifically targeting the cells in the stroma. However, relatively little is known about the role that the stroma plays in the neoplastic progression of cervical cancer or how it is regulated other than that a protein called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), which is made by the tumor cells, might be involved in its formation. In this study, the researchers have used a mouse model of cervical cancer (HPV/E2 mice) to investigate PDGF signaling in the tumor stroma. HPV/E2 mice develop CINs before they are three months old; by five months of age, 90% of them have invasive cervical cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers report that PDGF was expressed in the cervixes of normal and HPV/E2 mice, mainly by epithelial cells, and that PDGF receptors (cell-surface proteins that bind PDGF and send a message into the cell that alters the expression of other proteins) were expressed on cells within normal stroma and in fibroblasts and pericytes in the stroma surrounding CINs and tumors (but not on the cancer cells). The expression of PDGF and its receptors increased slightly during tumor progression. Treatment of the HPV/E2 mice with imatinib, an inhibitor of PDGF signaling, slowed the progression of precancerous lesions, impaired the growth of invasive cancers, and reduced the number of blood vessels formed in the tumors and the coverage of these vessels with pericytes. Other experiments indicate that imatinib had these effects because its inhibition of stromal PDGF receptors suppressed the expression of FGF-7 (a factor that encourages epithelial cell division) and FGF-2 (a proangiogenic factor) by cancer-associated fibroblasts. Finally, as in HPV/E2 mice, FGF-2 and PDGF receptors were expressed in the stroma of human cervical cancers whereas PDGF was expressed in the cancer cells.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that PDGF receptor signaling in the stromal cells associated with cervical tumors in mice has a functional role during tumor progression. More specifically, they suggest that PDGF released by the tumor cells triggers PDGF signaling in the stromal cells, which increases the expression of factors that both directly and indirectly stimulate the growth of the tumor cells. Confirmation of this scheme will require additional experiments in mouse models of cervical cancer and the careful examination of more human material. Importantly, although approaches that work in mice do not always work in people, the current findings suggest that targeted therapeutics that prevent the stromal support of tumor growth (such as inhibitors of PDGF receptor signaling) might provide a complementary approach to conventional treatments that target the cancer cells themselves.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information on all aspects of cancer, including information about cervical cancer (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Cancerbackup also provides information on all aspects of cancer, including information on cervical cancer and on imatinib
Wikipedia has pages on platelet-derived growth factor, on PDGF receptors, and on imatinib (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC2214790  PMID: 18232728
22.  Enhancement of Cisplatin-Mediated Apoptosis in Ovarian Cancer Cells through Potentiating G2/M Arrest and p21 Upregulation by Combinatorial Epigallocatechin Gallate and Sulforaphane 
Journal of Oncology  2013;2013:872957.
Advanced-stage ovarian cancer is characterized by high mortality due to development of resistance to conventional chemotherapy. Novel compounds that can enhance the efficacy of conventional chemotherapy in ovarian cancer may overcome this drug resistance. Consumption of green tea (epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG) and cruciferous vegetables (sulforaphane, SFN) is inversely associated with occurrence of ovarian cancer and has anticancer effects through targeting multiple molecules in cancer cells. However, the effects of EGCG and SFN combinational treatment on ovarian cancer cells and on efficacy of cisplatin to these cells are unknown. In this study, EGCG or SFN was used to treat both cisplatin-sensitive (A2780) and cisplatin-resistant (A2780/CP20) ovarian cancer cells alone or in combination with cisplatin. We found that EGCG and SFN combinational treatment can reduce cell viability of both ovarian cancer cell lines time- and dose-dependently. Furthermore, EGCG and SFN combinational treatment can enhance cisplatin-induced apoptosis and G2/M phase arrest, thereby enhancing the efficacy of cisplatin on both cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells. EGCG and SFN combinational treatment upregulated p21 expression induced by cisplatin in cisplatin-sensitive ovarian cancer cells, while p27 expression was not regulated by these treatments. Collectively, these studies provide novel approaches to overcoming cisplatin chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC3588178  PMID: 23476648
23.  Sodium butyrate enhances the cytotoxic effect of cisplatin by abrogating the cisplatin imposed cell cycle arrest 
BMC Molecular Biology  2010;11:49.
Histone deacetylase inhibitors have been proposed as potential enhancers of the cytotoxic effect of cisplatin and other anticancer drugs. Their application would permit the use of lower therapeutic doses and reduction of the adverse side effects of the drugs. However, the molecular mechanisms by which they sensitize the cells towards anticancer drugs are not known in details, which is an obstacle in developing effective therapeutic protocols.
In the present work, we studied the molecular mechanisms by which sodium butyrate sensitizes cancer cells towards cisplatin. HeLa cells were treated with 5 mM butyrate, with 8 μM cis-diaminedichloroplatinum II (cisplatin), or with both. Cells treated with both agents showed approximately two-fold increase of the mortality rate in comparison with cells treated with cisplatin only. Accordingly, the life span of albino mice transfected with Ehrlich ascites tumor was prolonged almost two-fold by treatment with cisplatin and butyrate in comparison with cisplatin alone. This showed that the observed synergism of cisplatin and butyrate was not limited to specific cell lines or in vitro protocols, but was also expressed in vivo during the process of tumor development. DNA labeling and fluorescence activated cell sorting experiments showed that cisplatin treatment inhibited DNA synthesis and arrested HeLa cells at the G1/S transition and early S phase of the cell cycle. Western blotting and chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that this effect was accompanied with a decrease of histone H4 acetylation levels. Butyrate treatment initially reversed the effect of cisplatin by increasing the levels of histone H4 acetylation in euchromatin regions responsible for the G1/S phase transition and initiation of DNA synthesis. This abrogated the cisplatin imposed cell cycle arrest and the cells traversed S phase with damaged DNA. However, this effect was transient and continued only a few hours. The long-term effect of butyrate was a massive histone acetylation in both eu- and heterochromatin, inhibition of DNA replication and apoptosis.
The study presents evidence that cell sensitization towards cisplatin by sodium butyrate is due to hyperacetylation of histone H4 in specific chromatin regions, which temporarily abrogates the cisplatin imposed cell cycle arrest.
PMCID: PMC2906439  PMID: 20576112
24.  Alterations of MicroRNA Expression Patterns in Human Cervical Carcinoma Cells (Ca Ski) toward 1′S-1′-Acetoxychavicol Acetate and Cisplatin 
Reproductive Sciences  2013;20(5):567-578.
The aims of this study were to investigate the combined effects of a natural compound 1′S-1′-acetoxychavicol acetate (ACA) with cisplatin (CDDP) on HPV-positive human cervical carcinoma cell lines (Ca Ski—low cisplatin sensitivity and HeLa—high cisplatin sensitivity), and to identify microRNAs (miRNAs) modulated in response toward ACA and/or CDDP. It was revealed that both ACA and CDDP induced dose- and time-dependent cytotoxicity when used as a stand-alone agent, while synergistic effects were observed when used in combination with a combination index (CI) value of 0.74 ± 0.01 and 0.85 ± 0.01 in Ca Ski and HeLa cells, respectively. A total of 25 miRNAs were found to be significantly differentially expressed in response to ACA and/or CDDP. These include hsa-miR-138, hsa-miR-210, and hsa-miR-744 with predicted gene targets involved in signaling pathways regulating apoptosis and cell cycle progression. In conclusion, ACA acts as a chemosensitizer which synergistically potentiates the cytotoxic effect of CDDP in cervical cancer cells. The altered miRNA expression upon administration of ACA and/or CDDP suggests that miRNAs play an important role in anticancer drug responses, which can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes.
PMCID: PMC3713538  PMID: 23012319
1′-acetoxychavicol acetate; microRNA; cisplatin; cervical cancer; combination chemotherapy
25.  Optimization of biotinyl-tyramide-based in situ hybridization for sensitive background-free applications on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens 
Over the past five years in situ hybridization techniques employing tyramide amplification reagents have been developed and promise the potential detection of low/single-copy nucleic acid sequences. However the increased sensitivity that tyramide amplification brings about may also lead to problems of background staining that confound data interpretation.
In this study those factors enabling background-free biotinyl-tyramide based in situ hybridization assay of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues have been examined. SiHa, HeLa and CaSki cell lines known to contain HPV integrated into the cell genome, and archival cervical pre-invasive lesions and carcinomas have been successfully assessed using biotinylated HPV and centromeric probes.
The single most important factor both for sensitivity and clean background was a tissue unmasking regimen that included treatment with 10 mM sodium citrate pH 6.0 at 95°C followed by digestion with pepsin/0.2 M HCl. Concentrations both of probe and primary streptavidin-peroxidase conjugate and pH of hybridization mix and stringency washes were also critical for sensitivity. Certain probes were more associated with background staining than others. This problem was not related to probe purity or size. In these instances composition of hybridization mix solution was especially critical to avoid background. 3-amino-9-ethylcarbazole was preferred over 3,3'-diaminobenzidene as a chromogen because background was cleaner and the 1–2 copies of HPV16 integrated in SiHa cells were readily demonstrable. HPV detection on metaphase spreads prepared from SiHa cells was only successful when a fluorescent detection method was combined with tyramide reagent. 'Punctate' and 'diffuse' signal patterns were identified amongst tissues consistent with the former representing integration and 'diffuse' representing episomal HPV. Only punctate signals were detected amongst the cell lines and were common amongst high-grade pre-invasive lesions and carcinomas. However it remains to be determined why single/low-copy episomal HPV in basal/parabasal cells of low-grade lesions is not also detectable using tyramide-based techniques and whether every punctate signal represents integration.
A tyramide-based in situ hybridization methodology has been established that enables sensitive, background-free assay of clinical specimens. As punctate signals characterize HPV in high-grade cervical lesions the method may have potential for clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC194893  PMID: 12801424

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