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1.  Survival Prediction Models for Estimating the Benefit of Post-Operative Radiation Therapy for Gallbladder Cancer and Lung Cancer 
The role of post-operative radiotherapy (PORT) is controversial for some cancer sites. In the absence of large randomized controlled trials, survival prediction models can help estimate the predicted benefit of PORT for specific settings. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of two types of prediction models for estimating the benefit of PORT for two cancer sites. Using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, we constructed prediction models for gallbladder (GB) cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using Cox proportional hazards (CPH) and Random Survival Forests (RSF). We compared validation measures for discrimination and found that both the CPH and RSF models had comparable C-indices. For GB cancer, PORT was associated with improved survival for node positive patients, and for NSCLC, PORT was associated with a survival benefit for patients with N2 disease.
PMCID: PMC2656000  PMID: 18999217
2.  High RSF-1 expression correlates with poor prognosis in patients with gastric adenocarcinoma 
To investigate the expression and prognostic significance of RSF-1 in gastric adenocarcinoma.
RSF-1 expression was analyzed using immunohistochemical staining on tissue samples from a consecutive series of 287 gastric adenocarcinoma patients who underwent tumor resections between 2003 and 2006.The relationship between RSF-1 expression, clinicopathological factors, and patient survival was investigated.
Immunohistochemical staining indicated that RSF-1 is highly expressed in 52.6% of gastric adenocarcinomas. RSF-1 expression levels were closely associated with tumor size, histological differentiation, tumor stage, and lymph node involvement. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that high RSF-1 expression exhibited a significant correlation with poor prognosis for gastric adenocarcinoma patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that RSF-1 expression is an independent prognostic parameter for the overall survival rate of gastric adenocarcinoma patients.
Our data suggest that RSF-1 plays an important role in gastric adenocarcinoma progression and that high RSF-1 expression predicts an unfavorable prognosis in gastric adenocarcinoma patients.
PMCID: PMC3438760  PMID: 22977663
RSF-1; gastric adenocarcinoma; prognosis; survival; diagnosis
3.  Hybrid Models Identified a 12-Gene Signature for Lung Cancer Prognosis and Chemoresponse Prediction 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12222.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The recurrence rate ranges from 35–50% among early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. To date, there is no fully-validated and clinically applied prognostic gene signature for personalized treatment.
Methodology/Principal Findings
From genome-wide mRNA expression profiles generated on 256 lung adenocarcinoma patients, a 12-gene signature was identified using combinatorial gene selection methods, and a risk score algorithm was developed with Naïve Bayes. The 12-gene model generates significant patient stratification in the training cohort HLM & UM (n = 256; log-rank P = 6.96e-7) and two independent validation sets, MSK (n = 104; log-rank P = 9.88e-4) and DFCI (n = 82; log-rank P = 2.57e-4), using Kaplan-Meier analyses. This gene signature also stratifies stage I and IB lung adenocarcinoma patients into two distinct survival groups (log-rank P<0.04). The 12-gene risk score is more significant (hazard ratio = 4.19, 95% CI: [2.08, 8.46]) than other commonly used clinical factors except tumor stage (III vs. I) in multivariate Cox analyses. The 12-gene model is more accurate than previously published lung cancer gene signatures on the same datasets. Furthermore, this signature accurately predicts chemoresistance/chemosensitivity to Cisplatin, Carboplatin, Paclitaxel, Etoposide, Erlotinib, and Gefitinib in NCI-60 cancer cell lines (P<0.017). The identified 12 genes exhibit curated interactions with major lung cancer signaling hallmarks in functional pathway analysis. The expression patterns of the signature genes have been confirmed in RT-PCR analyses of independent tumor samples.
The results demonstrate the clinical utility of the identified gene signature in prognostic categorization. With this 12-gene risk score algorithm, early stage patients at high risk for tumor recurrence could be identified for adjuvant chemotherapy; whereas stage I and II patients at low risk could be spared the toxic side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs.
PMCID: PMC2923187  PMID: 20808922
4.  Early detection of lung adenocarcinoma in sputum by a panel of microRNA markers 
Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Early detection is the key to improve the survival of lung adenocarcinoma patients. We have previously shown that microRNAs were stably present in sputum and could be applied to diagnosis of lung cancer. The aim of this study was to develop a panel of microRNAs that can be used as highly sensitive and specific sputum markers for early detection of lung adenocarcinoma. This study contained three phases: (1) marker discovery using microRNA profiling on paired normal and tumor lung tissues from 20 patients with lung adenocarcinoma; (2) marker optimization by real-time RT-qPCR on sputum of a case-control cohort consisting of 36 cancer patients and 36 health individuals; and (3) validation on an independent set of 64 lung cancer patients and 58 cancer-free subjects. From the surgical tissues, seven microRNAs with significantly altered expression were identified, of which “four” were overexpressed and “three” were underexpressed in all 20 tumors. On the sputum samples of the case-control cohort, four (miR-21, miR-486, miR-375, and miR-200b) of the seven microRNAs were selected, which in combination produced the best prediction in distinguishing lung adenocarcinoma patients from normal subjects with 80.6% sensitivity and 91.7% specificity. Validation of the marker panel in the independent populations confirmed the sensitivity and specificity that provided a significant improvement over any single one alone. The sputum markers demonstrated the potential of translation to laboratory settings for improving the early detection of lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3545471  PMID: 21351266
MicroRNA; sputum; lung adenocarcinoma; real-time RT-qPCR; diagnosis
5.  Early Detection of NSCLC with scFv Selected against IgM Autoantibody 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60934.
Survival of patients with lung cancer could be significantly prolonged should the disease be diagnosed early. Growing evidence indicates that the immune response in the form of autoantibodies to developing cancer is present before clinical presentation. We used a phage-displayed antibody library to select for recombinant scFvs that specifically bind to lung cancer-associated IgM autoantibodies. We selected for scFv recombinant antibodies reactive with circulating IgM autoantibodies found in the serum of patients with early stage lung adenocarcinoma but not matched controls. Discriminatory performance of 6 selected scFvs was validated in an independent set of serum from stage 1 adenocarcinoma and matching control groups using two independent novel methods developed for this application. The panel of 6 selected scFvs predicted cancer based on seroreactivity value with sensitivity of 0.8 and specificity of 0.87. Receiver Operative Characteristic curve (ROC) for combined 6 scFv has an AUC of 0.88 (95%CI, 0.76–1.0) as determined by fluorometric microvolume assay technology (FMAT) The ROC curve generated using a homogeneous bridging Mesa Scale Discovery (MSD) assay had an AUC of 0.72 (95% CI, 0.59–0.85). The panel of all 6 antibodies demonstrated better discriminative power than any single scFv alone. The scFv panel also demonstrated the association between a high score - based on seroreactivity - with poor survival. Selected scFvs were able to recognize lung cancer associated IgM autoantibodies in patient serum as early as 21 months before the clinical presentation of disease. The panel of antibodies discovered represents a potential unique non-invasive molecular tool to detect an immune response specific to lung adenocarcinoma at an early stage of disease.
PMCID: PMC3621672  PMID: 23585862
6.  Development and Validation of a Prognostic Gene-Expression Signature for Lung Adenocarcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44225.
Although several prognostic signatures have been developed in lung cancer, their application in clinical practice has been limited because they have not been validated in multiple independent data sets. Moreover, the lack of common genes between the signatures makes it difficult to know what biological process may be reflected or measured by the signature. By using classical data exploration approach with gene expression data from patients with lung adenocarcinoma (n = 186), we uncovered two distinct subgroups of lung adenocarcinoma and identified prognostic 193-gene gene expression signature associated with two subgroups. The signature was validated in 4 independent lung adenocarcinoma cohorts, including 556 patients. In multivariate analysis, the signature was an independent predictor of overall survival (hazard ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 4.8; p = 0.01). An integrated analysis of the signature revealed that E2F1 plays key roles in regulating genes in the signature. Subset analysis demonstrated that the gene signature could identify high-risk patients in early stage (stage I disease), and patients who would have benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy. Thus, our study provided evidence for molecular basis of clinically relevant two distinct two subtypes of lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3436895  PMID: 22970185
7.  Gene Expression Signature of Cigarette Smoking and Its Role in Lung Adenocarcinoma Development and Survival 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(2):e1651.
Tobacco smoking is responsible for over 90% of lung cancer cases, and yet the precise molecular alterations induced by smoking in lung that develop into cancer and impact survival have remained obscure.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We performed gene expression analysis using HG-U133A Affymetrix chips on 135 fresh frozen tissue samples of adenocarcinoma and paired noninvolved lung tissue from current, former and never smokers, with biochemically validated smoking information. ANOVA analysis adjusted for potential confounders, multiple testing procedure, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, and GO-functional classification were conducted for gene selection. Results were confirmed in independent adenocarcinoma and non-tumor tissues from two studies. We identified a gene expression signature characteristic of smoking that includes cell cycle genes, particularly those involved in the mitotic spindle formation (e.g., NEK2, TTK, PRC1). Expression of these genes strongly differentiated both smokers from non-smokers in lung tumors and early stage tumor tissue from non-tumor tissue (p<0.001 and fold-change >1.5, for each comparison), consistent with an important role for this pathway in lung carcinogenesis induced by smoking. These changes persisted many years after smoking cessation. NEK2 (p<0.001) and TTK (p = 0.002) expression in the noninvolved lung tissue was also associated with a 3-fold increased risk of mortality from lung adenocarcinoma in smokers.
Our work provides insight into the smoking-related mechanisms of lung neoplasia, and shows that the very mitotic genes known to be involved in cancer development are induced by smoking and affect survival. These genes are candidate targets for chemoprevention and treatment of lung cancer in smokers.
PMCID: PMC2249927  PMID: 18297132
8.  Identification and Validation of a Multigene Predictor of Recurrence in Primary Laryngeal Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70429.
Local recurrence is the major manifestation of treatment failure in patients with operable laryngeal carcinoma. Established clinicopathological factors cannot sufficiently predict patients that are likely to recur after treatment. Additional tools are therefore required to accurately identify patients at high risk for recurrence. This study attempts to identify and independently validate gene expression models, prognostic of disease-free survival (DFS) in operable laryngeal cancer.
Materials and Methods
Using Affymetrix U133A Genechips, we profiled fresh-frozen tumor tissues from 66 patients with laryngeal cancer treated locally with surgery. We applied Cox regression proportional hazards modeling to identify multigene predictors of recurrence. Gene models were then validated in two independent cohorts of 54 and 187 patients (fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed tissue validation sets, respectively).
We focused on genes univariately associated with DFS (p<0.01) in the training set. Among several models comprising different numbers of genes, a 30-probe set model demonstrated optimal performance in both the training (log-rank, p<0.001) and 1st validation (p = 0.010) sets. Specifically, in the 1st validation set, median DFS as predicted by the 30-probe set model, was 34 and 80 months for high- and low-risk patients, respectively. Hazard ratio (HR) for recurrence in the high-risk group was 3.87 (95% CI 1.28–11.73, Wald's p = 0.017). Testing the expression of selected genes from the above model in the 2nd validation set, with qPCR, revealed significant associations of single markers, such as ACE2, FLOT1 and PRKD1, with patient DFS. High PRKD1 remained an unfavorable prognostic marker upon multivariate analysis (HR = 2.00, 95% CI 1.28–3.14, p = 0.002) along with positive nodal status.
We have established and validated gene models that can successfully stratify patients with laryngeal cancer, based on their risk for recurrence. It seems worthy to prospectively validate PRKD1 expression as a laryngeal cancer prognostic marker, for routine clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3739775  PMID: 23950933
9.  A smoking-associated 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis 
International Journal of Oncology  2012;41(4):1387-1396.
Smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases. There is currently no clinically available gene test for early detection of lung cancer in smokers, or an effective patient selection strategy for adjuvant chemotherapy in lung cancer treatment. In this study, concurrent coexpression with multiple signaling pathways was modeled among a set of genes associated with smoking and lung cancer survival. This approach identified and validated a 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis in smokers using patient transcriptional profiles (n=847). The smoking-associated gene coexpression networks in lung adenocarcinoma tumors (n=442) were highly significant in terms of biological relevance (network precision = 0.91, FDR<0.01) when evaluated with numerous databases containing multi-level molecular associations. The gene coexpression network in smoking lung adenocarcinoma patients was confirmed in qRT-PCR assays of the identified biomarkers and involved signaling pathway genes in human lung adenocarcinoma cells (H23) treated with 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). Furthermore, the western blotting results of p53, phospho-p53, Rb and EGFR in NNK-treated H23 and transformed normal human lung epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) support their functional involvement in smoking-induced lung cancer carcinogenesis and progression.
PMCID: PMC3481011  PMID: 22825454
smoking; lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis; gene signature; signaling pathway; coexpression networks
10.  A smoking-associated 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis 
International journal of oncology  2012;41(4):1387-1396.
Smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases. There is currently no clinically available gene test for early detection of lung cancer in smokers, or an effective patient selection strategy for adjuvant chemotherapy in lung cancer treatment. In this study, concurrent coexpression with multiple signaling pathways was modeled among a set of genes associated with smoking and lung cancer survival. This approach identified and validated a 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis in smokers using patient transcriptional profiles (n=847). The smoking-associated gene coexpression networks in lung adenocarcinoma tumors (n=442) were highly significant in terms of biological relevance (network precision=0.91, FDR<0.01) when evaluated with numerous databases containing multi-level molecular associations. The gene coexpression network in smoking lung adenocarcinoma patients was confirmed in qRT-PCR assays of the identified biomarkers and involved signaling pathway genes in human lung adenocarcinoma cells (H23) treated with 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). Furthermore, the Western blotting results of p53, phospho-p53, Rb, and EGFR in NNK-treated H23 and transformed normal human lung epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) support their functional involvement in smoking induced lung cancer carcinogenesis and progression.
PMCID: PMC3481011  PMID: 22825454
smoking; lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis; gene signature; signaling pathway; coexpression networks
11.  A Gene Signature to Determine Metastatic Behavior in Thymomas 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e66047.
Thymoma represents one of the rarest of all malignancies. Stage and completeness of resection have been used to ascertain postoperative therapeutic strategies albeit with limited prognostic accuracy. A molecular classifier would be useful to improve the assessment of metastatic behaviour and optimize patient management.
qRT-PCR assay for 23 genes (19 test and four reference genes) was performed on multi-institutional archival primary thymomas (n = 36). Gene expression levels were used to compute a signature, classifying tumors into classes 1 and 2, corresponding to low or high likelihood for metastases. The signature was validated in an independent multi-institutional cohort of patients (n = 75).
A nine-gene signature that can predict metastatic behavior of thymomas was developed and validated. Using radial basis machine modeling in the training set, 5-year and 10-year metastasis-free survival rates were 77% and 26% for predicted low (class 1) and high (class 2) risk of metastasis (P = 0.0047, log-rank), respectively. For the validation set, 5-year metastasis-free survival rates were 97% and 30% for predicted low- and high-risk patients (P = 0.0004, log-rank), respectively. The 5-year metastasis-free survival rates for the validation set were 49% and 41% for Masaoka stages I/II and III/IV (P = 0.0537, log-rank), respectively. In univariate and multivariate Cox models evaluating common prognostic factors for thymoma metastasis, the nine-gene signature was the only independent indicator of metastases (P = 0.036).
A nine-gene signature was established and validated which predicts the likelihood of metastasis more accurately than traditional staging. This further underscores the biologic determinants of the clinical course of thymoma and may improve patient management.
PMCID: PMC3722217  PMID: 23894276
12.  Network-based approach identified cell cycle genes as predictor of overall survival in lung adenocarcinoma patients 
Lung adenocarcinoma is the most common type of primary lung cancer. The purpose of this study was to delineate gene expression patterns for survival prediction in lung adenocarcinoma. Gene expression profiles of 82 (discovery set) and 442 (validation set 1) lung adenocarcinoma tumor tissues were analyzed using a systems biology-based network approach. We also examined the expression profiles of 78 adjacent normal lung tissues from 82 patients. We found a significant correlation of an expression module with overall survival (adjusted hazard ratio or HR=1.71; 95% CI=1.06-2.74 in discovery set; adjusted HR=1.26; 95% CI=1.08-1.49 in validation set 1). This expression module contained genes enriched in the biological process of the cell cycle. Interestingly, the cell cycle gene module and overall survival association were also significant in normal lung tissues (adjusted HR=1.91; 95% CI, 1.32-2.75). From these survival-related modules, we further defined three hub genes (UBE2C, TPX2 and MELK) whose expression-based risk indices were more strongly associated with poor 5-year survival (HR=3.85, 95% CI=1.34-11.05 in discovery set; HR=1.72, 95% CI=1.21-2.46 in validation set 1; and HR=3.35, 95% CI=1.08-10.04 in normal lung set). The 3-gene prognostic result was further validated using 92 adenocarcinoma tumor samples (validation set 2); patients with a high-risk gene signature have a 1.52 fold increased risk (95% CI, 1.02–2.24) of death than patients with a low-risk gene signature. These results suggest that network-based approach may facilitate discovery of key genes that are closely linked to survival in patients with lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3595338  PMID: 23357462
Lung cancer; survival; gene expression profiling; cell cycle; systems biology
13.  RSF1 and Not Cyclin D1 Gene Amplification May Predict Lack of Benefit from Adjuvant Tamoxifen in High-Risk Pre-Menopausal Women in the MA.12 Randomized Clinical Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81740.
Most women with estrogen receptor expressing breast cancers receiving anti-estrogens such as tamoxifen may not need or benefit from them. Besides the estrogen receptor, there are no predictive biomarkers to help select breast cancer patients for tamoxifen treatment. CCND1 (cyclin D1) gene amplification is a putative candidate tamoxifen predictive biomarker. The RSF1 (remodeling and spacing factor 1) gene is frequently co-amplified with CCND1 on chromosome 11q. We validated the predictive value of these biomarkers in the MA.12 randomized study of adjuvant tamoxifen vs. placebo in high-risk premenopausal early breast cancer. Premenopausal women with node-positive/high-risk node-negative early breast cancer received standard adjuvant chemotherapy and then were randomized to tamoxifen (20 mg/day) or placebo for 5 yrs. Overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS) were evaluated. Fluorescent in-situ hybridization was performed on a tissue microarray of 495 breast tumors (74% of patients) to measure CCND1 and RSF1 copy number. A multivariate Cox model to obtain hazard ratios (HR) adjusting for clinico-pathologic factors was used to assess the effect of these biomarkers on Os and RFS. 672 women were followed for a median of 8.4 years. We were able to measure the DNA copy number of CCND1 in 442 patients and RSF1 in 413 patients. CCND1 gene amplification was observed in 8.7% and RSF1 in 6.8% of these patients, preferentially in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. No statistically significant interaction with treatment was observed for either CCND1 or RSF1 amplification, although patients with high RSF1 copy number did not show benefit from adjuvant tamoxifen (HR = 1.11, interaction p = 0.09). Unlike CCND1 amplification, RSF1 amplification may predict for outcome in high-risk premenopausal breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
PMCID: PMC3868649  PMID: 24367492
14.  A 12-Gene Set Predicts Survival Benefits from Adjuvant Chemotherapy in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Patients 
Prospectively identifying who will benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT) would improve clinical decisions for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. In this study, we aim to develop and validate a functional gene set that predicts the clinical benefits of ACT in NSCLC.
Experimental Design
An 18-hub-gene prognosis signature was developed through a systems biology approach, and its prognostic value was evaluated in six independent cohorts. The 18-hub-gene set was then integrated with genome-wide functional (RNAi) data and genetic aberration data to derive a 12-gene predictive signature for ACT benefits in NSCLC.
Using a cohort of 442 Stage I–III NSCLC patients who underwent surgical resection, we identified an 18-hub-gene set which robustly predicted the prognosis of patients with adenocarcinoma in all validation datasets across four microarray platforms. The hub genes, identified through a purely data-driven approach, have significant biological implications in tumor pathogenesis, including NKX2-1, Aurora Kinase A, PRC1, CDKN3, MBIP, RRM2. The 12-gene predictive signature was successfully validated in two independent datasets (N=90 and N=176). The predicted benefit group showed significant improvement in survival after ACT (UT Lung SPORE data: hazard ratio=0.34, p=0.017; JBR.10 clinical trial data: hazard ratio=0.36, p=0.038), while the predicted non-benefit group showed no survival benefit for two datasets (hazard ratio=0.80, p=0.70; hazard ratio= 0.91, p=0.82).
This is the first study to integrate genetic aberration, genome-wide RNAi data, and mRNA expression data to identify a functional gene set that predicts which resectable patients with non-small-cell lung cancer will have a survival benefit with ACT.
PMCID: PMC3619002  PMID: 23357979
non-small-cell lung cancer; predictive gene signature; adjuvant chemotherapy; integrative analysis; hub genes
15.  A Unique Metastasis Gene Signature Enables Prediction of Tumor Relapse in Early Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients 
Cancer research  2010;70(24):10202-10212.
Metastasis-related recurrence often occurs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients who receive curative therapies. At present, it is challenging to identify patients with high risk of recurrence, which would warrant additional therapies. In this study, we sought to analyze a recently developed metastasis-related gene signature for its utility in predicting HCC survival using two independent cohorts consisting of a total of 386 patients who received radical resection. Cohort-1 contained 247 predominantly HBV-positive cases analyzed with an Affymetrix platform, while cohort-2 contained 139 cases with mixed etiology analyzed with the NCI Oligo Set microarray platform. We employed a survival risk prediction algorithm with training, test, and independent cross-validation strategies and found that the gene signature is predictive of overall and disease-free survival. Importantly, risk was significantly predicted independently of clinical characteristics and microarray platform. In addition, survival prediction was successful in patients with early disease, such as small (<5 cm in diameter) and solitary tumors, and the signature predicted particularly well for early recurrence risk (<2 years), especially when combined with serum alpha fetoprotein or tumor staging. In conclusion, we have demonstrated in two independent cohorts with mixed etiologies and ethnicity that the metastasis gene signature is a useful tool to predict HCC outcome, suggesting the general utility of this classifier. We recommend the use of this classifier as a molecular diagnostic test to assess the risk that an HCC patient will develop tumor relaps within 2 years after surgical resection, particularly for those with early stage tumors and solitary presentation.
PMCID: PMC3064515  PMID: 21159642
Early Recurrence; Prognosis; Gene Signature; HCC
16.  A whole blood gene expression-based signature for smoking status 
BMC Medical Genomics  2012;5:58.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and has been shown to increase the risk of multiple diseases including coronary artery disease (CAD). We sought to identify genes whose levels of expression in whole blood correlate with self-reported smoking status.
Microarrays were used to identify gene expression changes in whole blood which correlated with self-reported smoking status; a set of significant genes from the microarray analysis were validated by qRT-PCR in an independent set of subjects. Stepwise forward logistic regression was performed using the qRT-PCR data to create a predictive model whose performance was validated in an independent set of subjects and compared to cotinine, a nicotine metabolite.
Microarray analysis of whole blood RNA from 209 PREDICT subjects (41 current smokers, 4 quit ≤ 2 months, 64 quit > 2 months, 100 never smoked; NCT00500617) identified 4214 genes significantly correlated with self-reported smoking status. qRT-PCR was performed on 1,071 PREDICT subjects across 256 microarray genes significantly correlated with smoking or CAD. A five gene (CLDND1, LRRN3, MUC1, GOPC, LEF1) predictive model, derived from the qRT-PCR data using stepwise forward logistic regression, had a cross-validated mean AUC of 0.93 (sensitivity=0.78; specificity=0.95), and was validated using 180 independent PREDICT subjects (AUC=0.82, CI 0.69-0.94; sensitivity=0.63; specificity=0.94). Plasma from the 180 validation subjects was used to assess levels of cotinine; a model using a threshold of 10 ng/ml cotinine resulted in an AUC of 0.89 (CI 0.81-0.97; sensitivity=0.81; specificity=0.97; kappa with expression model = 0.53).
We have constructed and validated a whole blood gene expression score for the evaluation of smoking status, demonstrating that clinical and environmental factors contributing to cardiovascular disease risk can be assessed by gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3538056  PMID: 23210427
Smoking; Gene expression; Coronary artery disease; Whole blood
17.  Survival prediction of stage I lung adenocarcinomas by expression of 10 genes 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(11):3436-3444.
Adenocarcinoma is the predominant histological subtype of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. At stage I, the tumor is cured by surgery alone in about 60% of cases. Markers are needed to stratify patients by prognostic outcomes and may help in devising more effective therapies for poor prognosis patients. To achieve this goal, we used an integrated strategy combining meta-analysis of published lung cancer microarray data with expression profiling from an experimental model. The resulting 80-gene model was tested on an independent cohort of patients using RT-PCR, resulting in a 10-gene predictive model that exhibited a prognostic accuracy of approximately 75% in stage I lung adenocarcinoma when tested on 2 additional independent cohorts. Thus, we have identified a predictive signature of limited size that can be analyzed by RT-PCR, a technology that is easy to implement in clinical laboratories.
PMCID: PMC2030461  PMID: 17948124
18.  Expression profiling identifies genes involved in emphysema severity 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):81.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major public health problem. The aim of this study was to identify genes involved in emphysema severity in COPD patients.
Gene expression profiling was performed on total RNA extracted from non-tumor lung tissue from 30 smokers with emphysema. Class comparison analysis based on gas transfer measurement was performed to identify differentially expressed genes. Genes were then selected for technical validation by quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR (qRT-PCR) if also represented on microarray platforms used in previously published emphysema studies. Genes technically validated advanced to tests of biological replication by qRT-PCR using an independent test set of 62 lung samples.
Class comparison identified 98 differentially expressed genes (p < 0.01). Fifty-one of those genes had been previously evaluated in differentiation between normal and severe emphysema lung. qRT-PCR confirmed the direction of change in expression in 29 of the 51 genes and 11 of those validated, remaining significant at p < 0.05. Biological replication in an independent cohort confirmed the altered expression of eight genes, with seven genes differentially expressed by greater than 1.3 fold, identifying these as candidate determinants of emphysema severity.
Gene expression profiling of lung from emphysema patients identified seven candidate genes associated with emphysema severity including COL6A3, SERPINF1, ZNHIT6, NEDD4, CDKN2A, NRN1 and GSTM3.
PMCID: PMC2746189  PMID: 19723343
19.  Predictive Accuracy of the Liverpool Lung Project Risk Model for Stratifying Patients for Computed Tomography Screening for Lung Cancer 
Annals of internal medicine  2012;157(4):242-250.
External validation of existing lung cancer risk prediction models is limited. Using such models in clinical practice to guide the referral of patients for computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer depends on external validation and evidence of predicted clinical benefit.
To evaluate the discrimination of the Liverpool Lung Project (LLP) risk model and demonstrate its predicted benefit for stratifying patients for CT screening by using data from 3 independent studies from Europe and North America.
Case–control and prospective cohort study.
Europe and North America.
Participants in the European Early Lung Cancer (EUELC) and Harvard case–control studies and the LLP population-based prospective cohort (LLPC) study.
5-year absolute risks for lung cancer predicted by the LLP model.
The LLP risk model had good discrimination in both the Harvard (area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve [AUC], 0.76 [95% CI, 0.75 to 0.78]) and the LLPC (AUC, 0.82 [CI, 0.80 to 0.85]) studies and modest discrimination in the EUELC (AUC, 0.67 [CI, 0.64 to 0.69]) study. The decision utility analysis, which incorporates the harms and benefit of using a risk model to make clinical decisions, indicates that the LLP risk model performed better than smoking duration or family history alone in stratifying high-risk patients for lung cancer CT screening.
The model cannot assess whether including other risk factors, such as lung function or genetic markers, would improve accuracy. Lack of information on asbestos exposure in the LLPC limited the ability to validate the complete LLP risk model.
Validation of the LLP risk model in 3 independent external data sets demonstrated good discrimination and evidence of predicted benefits for stratifying patients for lung cancer CT screening. Further studies are needed to prospectively evaluate model performance and evaluate the optimal population risk thresholds for initiating lung cancer screening.
Primary Funding Source
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
PMCID: PMC3723683  PMID: 22910935
20.  Outcome Prediction of Children with Neuroblastoma using a Multigene Expression Signature, a Retrospective SIOPEN/COG/GPOH Study 
The lancet oncology  2009;10(7):663-671.
More accurate prognostic assessment of patients with neuroblastoma is required to improve the choice of risk-related therapy. The aim of this study is to develop and validate a gene expression signature for improved outcome prediction.
Fifty-nine genes were carefully selected based on an innovative data-mining strategy and profiled in the largest neuroblastoma patient series (n=579) to date using RT-qPCR starting from only 20 ng of RNA. A multigene expression signature was built using 30 training samples, tested on 313 test samples and subsequently validated in a blind study on an independent set of 236 additional tumours.
The signature accurately classifies patients with respect to overall and progression-free survival (p<0·0001). The signature has a performance, sensitivity, and specificity of 85·4% (95%CI: 77·7–93·2), 84·4% (95%CI: 66·5–94·1), and 86·5% (95%CI: 81·1–90·6), respectively to predict patient outcome. Multivariate analysis indicates that the signature is a significant independent predictor after controlling for currently used riskfactors. Patients with high molecular risk have a higher risk to die from disease and for relapse/progression than patients with low molecular risk (odds ratio of 19·32 (95%CI: 6·50–57·43) and 3·96 (95%CI: 1·97–7·97) for OS and PFS, respectively). Patients with increased risk for adverse outcome can also be identified within the current treatment groups demonstrating the potential of this signature for improved clinical management. These results were confirmed in the validation study in which the signature was also independently statistically significant in a model adjusted for MYCN status, age, INSS stage, ploidy, INPC grade of differentiation, and MKI. The high patient/gene ratio (579/59) underlies the observed statistical power and robustness.
A 59-gene expression signature predicts outcome of neuroblastoma patients with high accuracy. The signature is an independent risk predictor, identifying patients with increased risk in the current clinical risk groups. The applied method and signature is suitable for routine lab testing and ready for evaluation in prospective studies.
The Belgian Foundation Against Cancer, found of public interest (project SCIE2006-25), the Children Cancer Fund Ghent, the Belgian Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, the Belgian Kid’s Fund and the Fondation Nuovo-Soldati (JV), the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (KDP, JH), the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (grant number: G•0198•08), the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders, Strategisch basisonderzoek (IWT-SBO 60848), the Fondation Fournier Majoie pour l’Innovation, the Instituto Carlos III,RD 06/0020/0102 Spain, the Italian Neuroblastoma Foundation, the European Community under the FP6 (project: STREP: EET-pipeline, number: 037260), and the Belgian program of Interuniversity Poles of Attraction, initiated by the Belgian State, Prime Minister's Office, Science Policy Programming.
PMCID: PMC3045079  PMID: 19515614
21.  Identifying patients with suspected lung cancer in primary care: derivation and validation of an algorithm 
The British Journal of General Practice  2011;61(592):e715-e723.
Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival outcomes of any cancer because more then two-thirds of patients are diagnosed when curative treatment is not possible. The challenge is to help earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and hence improve prognosis.
To derive and validate an algorithm incorporating information on symptoms, to estimate the absolute risk of having lung cancer
Design and setting
Cohort study of 375 UK QResearch® general practices for development, and 189 forvalidation.
Selected patients were aged 30-84 years and free of lung cancer at baseline and haemoptysis, loss of appetite, orweight loss in previous 12 months. Primary outcome was incident diagnosis of lung cancer recorded in the next 2 years. Risk factors examined were: haemoptysis, appetite loss, weight loss, cough, dyspnoea, tiredness, hoarseness, smoking, body mass index, deprivation score, family history of lung cancer, other cancers, asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease, pneumonia, asbestos exposure, and anaemia. Cox proportional hazards models with age as the underlying time variable were used to develop separate risk equations in males and females. Measures of calibration and discrimination assessed performance in the validation cohort.
There were 3785 incident cases of lung cancer arising from 4 289 282 person-years in the derivation cohort. Independent predictors were haemoptysis, appetite loss, weight loss, cough, body mass index, deprivation score, smoking status, chronic obstructive airways disease, anaemia, and prior cancer (females only). On validation, the algorithms explained 72% of the variation. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) statistics were 0.92 for both females and males. The D statistic was 3.25 for females and 3.29 for males. The 10% of patients with the highest predicted risks included 77% of all lung cancers diagnosed over the subsequent 2 years.
The algorithm has good discrimination and calibration and could potentially be used to identify those at highest risk of lung cancer, to facilitate early referral and investigation.
PMCID: PMC3207089  PMID: 22054335
diagnosis; lung cancer; primary care; qresearch; risk prediction; symptoms
22.  Gene expression subtraction of non-cancerous lung from smokers and non-smokers with adenocarcinoma, as a predictor for smokers developing lung cancer 
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer death in developed countries. Adenocarcinoma is becoming the most common form of lung cancer. Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for lung cancer. Long-term cigarettes smoking may be characterized by genetic alteration and diffuse injury of the airways surface, named field cancerization, while cancer in non-smokers is usually clonally derived. Detecting specific genes expression changes in non-cancerous lung in smokers with adenocarcinoma may give us instrument for predicting smokers who are going to develop this malignancy.
We described the gene expression in non-cancerous lungs from 21 smoker patients with lung adenocarcinoma and compare it to gene expression in non-cancerous lung tissue from 10 non-smokers with primary lung adenocarcinoma.
Total RNA was isolated from peripheral non-cancerous lung tissue. The cDNA was hybridized to the U133A GeneChip array. Hierarchical clustering analysis on genes obtained from smokers and non-smokers, after subtracting were exported to the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software for further analysis.
The genes subtraction resulted in disclosure of 36 genes with high score. They were subsequently mapped and sorted based on location, cellular components, and biochemical activity. The gene functional analysis disclosed 20 genes, which are involved in cancer process (P = 7.05E-5 to 2.92E-2).
Detected genes may serve as a predictor for smokers who may be at high risk of developing lung cancer. In addition, since these genes originating from non-cancerous lung, which is the major area of the lungs, a sample from an induced sputum may represent it.
PMCID: PMC2570656  PMID: 18811983
23.  Lung cancer diagnosis from proteomic analysis of preinvasive lesions 
Cancer research  2011;71(8):3009-3017.
Early detection may help improve survival from lung cancer. In this study our goal was to derive and validate a signature from the proteomic analysis of bronchial lesions that could predict the diagnosis of lung cancer. Using previously published studies of bronchial tissues we selected a signature of 9 matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI MS) mass to charge ratio features to build a prediction model diagnostic of lung cancer. The model was based on MALDI MS signal intensity (MALDI score) from bronchial tissue specimens from our 2005 published cohort of 51 patients. The performance of the prediction model in identifying lung cancer was tested in an independent cohort of bronchial specimens from 60 patients. The probability of having lung cancer based on the proteomic analysis of the bronchial specimens was characterized by an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.77 (95% CI 0.66 to 0.88) in this validation cohort. Eight of the 9 features were identified and validated by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. These results demonstrate that proteomic analysis of endobronchial lesions may facilitate the diagnosis of lung cancer and the monitoring of high risk individuals for lung cancer in surveillance and chemoprevention trials.
PMCID: PMC3110721  PMID: 21487035
Lung cancer; Proteomic signature; Early detection; Biomarkers; Tumorigenesis
24.  A multicentre phase II gene expression profiling study of putative relationships between tumour biomarkers and clinical response with erlotinib in non-small-cell lung cancer 
Annals of Oncology  2010;21(2):217-222.
Background: Identification of appropriate markers for predicting clinical benefit with erlotinib in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) may be able to guide patient selection for treatment. This open-label, multicentre, phase II trial aimed to identify genes with potential use as biomarkers for clinical benefit from erlotinib therapy.
Methods: Adults with stage IIIb/IV NSCLC in whom one or more chemotherapy regimen had failed were treated with erlotinib (150 mg/day). Tumour biopsies were analysed using gene expression profiling with Affymetrix GeneChip® microarrays. Differentially expressed genes were verified using quantitative RT–PCR (qRT–PCR).
Results: A total of 264 patients were enrolled in the study. Gene expression profiles found no statistically significant differentially expressed genes between patients with and without clinical benefit. In an exploratory analysis in responding versus nonresponding patients, three genes on chromosome 7 were expressed at higher levels in the responding group [epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), phosphoserine phosphatase (PSPH) and Rap guanine nucleotide exchange factor 5 (RAPGEF5)]. Independent quantification using qRT–PCR validated the association between EGFR and PSPH overexpression, but not RAPGEF5 overexpression, and clinical outcome.
Conclusions: This study supports the use of erlotinib as an alternative to chemotherapy for patients with relapsed advanced NSCLC. Genetic amplification of the EGFR region of chromosome 7 may be associated with response to erlotinib therapy.
PMCID: PMC2813308  PMID: 20110292
biomarkers; epidermal growth factor receptor; erlotinib; gene expression; non-small-cell lung cancer; PCR
25.  Interrogating differences in expression of targeted gene sets to predict breast cancer outcome 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:326.
Genomics provides opportunities to develop precise tests for diagnostics, therapy selection and monitoring. From analyses of our studies and those of published results, 32 candidate genes were identified, whose expression appears related to clinical outcome of breast cancer. Expression of these genes was validated by qPCR and correlated with clinical follow-up to identify a gene subset for development of a prognostic test.
RNA was isolated from 225 frozen invasive ductal carcinomas,and qRT-PCR was performed. Univariate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for breast cancer mortality and recurrence were calculated for each of the 32 candidate genes. A multivariable gene expression model for predicting each outcome was determined using the LASSO, with 1000 splits of the data into training and testing sets to determine predictive accuracy based on the C-index. Models with gene expression data were compared to models with standard clinical covariates and models with both gene expression and clinical covariates.
Univariate analyses revealed over-expression of RABEP1, PGR, NAT1, PTP4A2, SLC39A6, ESR1, EVL, TBC1D9, FUT8, and SCUBE2 were all associated with reduced time to disease-related mortality (HR between 0.8 and 0.91, adjusted p < 0.05), while RABEP1, PGR, SLC39A6, and FUT8 were also associated with reduced recurrence times. Multivariable analyses using the LASSO revealed PGR, ESR1, NAT1, GABRP, TBC1D9, SLC39A6, and LRBA to be the most important predictors for both disease mortality and recurrence. Median C-indexes on test data sets for the gene expression, clinical, and combined models were 0.65, 0.63, and 0.65 for disease mortality and 0.64, 0.63, and 0.66 for disease recurrence, respectively.
Molecular signatures consisting of five genes (PGR, GABRP, TBC1D9, SLC39A6 and LRBA) for disease mortality and of six genes (PGR, ESR1, GABRP, TBC1D9, SLC39A6 and LRBA) for disease recurrence were identified. These signatures were as effective as standard clinical parameters in predicting recurrence/mortality, and when combined, offered some improvement relative to clinical information alone for disease recurrence (median difference in C-values of 0.03, 95% CI of -0.08 to 0.13). Collectively, results suggest that these genes form the basis for a clinical laboratory test to predict clinical outcome of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3707751  PMID: 23819905
Breast cancer; Invasive ductal carcinoma; Risk of recurrence; Prognostic test

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