The vitamin D hormone, [1,25(OH)2D, calcitriol], inhibits proliferation and angiogenesis in breast cancer but its therapeutic use is limited by hypercalcemia. Synthetic analogs of 1,25(OH)2D that are less calcemic, such as paricalcitol (19-nor-1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D2), are used to treat hyperparathyroidism associated with chronic kidney disease. We sought to determine the safety and feasibility of taking oral paricalcitol with taxane-based chemotherapy in women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Oral paricalcitol was considered safe if it did not result in excessive toxicity, defined as grade 3 or higher serum calcium levels. It was considered feasible if the majority of women could take eight weeks of continuous therapy in the first three months. Serum calcium was monitored weekly and the paricalcitol dose was adjusted based on its calcemic effect. Intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) was monitored as a marker of paricalcitol activity. Twenty-four women with MBC were enrolled. Twenty women (83%) received eight weeks of continuous therapy. Paricalcitol was well-tolerated with no instances of hypercalcemia grade 2 or greater. Fourteen women (54%) were able to escalate the dose. The dose range of paricalcitol in the first 3 mo was 2–7 ug/day. Serum iPTH levels at baseline were significantly higher in women with serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels less than 30 ng/ml (96.4 ± 40.9 pg/ml) vs. 46.2 ± 20.3 pg/ml (p = 0 0.001) (iPTH reference 12–72 pg/ml). We conclude that paricalcitol is safe and feasible in women with MBC who are receiving chemotherapy.
vitamin D; metastatic breast cancer; paricalcitol; cancer treatment
Oxidative stress plays a key role in breast carcinogenesis. To investigate whether normal and malignant breast epithelial cells differ in their responses to oxidative stress, we examined the global gene expression profiles of three cell types, representing cancer progression from a normal to a malignant stage, under oxidative stress. Normal human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC), an immortalized cell line (HMLER-1), and a tumorigenic cell line (HMLER-5), were exposed to increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by treatment with glucose oxidase. Functional analysis of the metabolic pathways enriched with differentially expressed genes demonstrates that normal and malignant breast epithelial cells diverge substantially in their response to oxidative stress. While normal cells exhibit the up-regulation of antioxidant mechanisms, cancer cells are unresponsive to the ROS insult. However, the gene expression response of normal HMEC cells under oxidative stress is comparable to that of the malignant cells under normal conditions, indicating that altered redox status is persistent in breast cancer cells, which makes them resistant to increased generation of ROS. This study discusses some of the possible adaptation mechanisms of breast cancer cells under persistent oxidative stress that differentiate them from the response to acute oxidative stress in normal mammary epithelial cells.
Oxidative stress; breast cancer; human mammary epithelial cells; microarrays; glucose oxidase; GluOx
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin that enhances renal tumor formation in the outer medulla of male rat kidney. Direct DNA damage and subsequent mutagenicity may contribute to these processes. In this study we have determined whether OTA in the absence or presence of activated rat liver microsomes (RLM) or redox-active transition metals (Fe(III) or Cu(II)) causes promutagenic DNA damage in the supF gene of the mutation reporter plasmid pS189 replicating in human Ad293 cells. In addition, we have assessed the mutagenicity of the hydroquinone metabolite (OTHQ) of OTA in the absence or presence of cysteine without added cofactors. Our results show that oxidation of OTA, either by RLM or by transition metal ions, activates OTA to a directly genotoxic mutagen(s). The Fe(III)/OTA system was the most potent mutagen in our experimental system, causing a 32-fold increase in mutant fraction (MF) above the spontaneous control MF. The Cu(II)/OTA system caused a 9-fold increase in MF, while a 6–10-fold increase in MF was observed for OTA in the presence of RLM. The OTHQ metabolite is also mutagenic, especially in the presence of cysteine, in which a 6-fold increase in MF was observed. Our data provide further insight into OTA bioactivation that may account for its in vivo mutagenicity in male rat kidney.
ochratoxin A; mutagenicity; DNA adduct; genotoxicity; carcinogenesis
To test iron-containing multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) as bifunctional nanomaterials for imaging and thermal ablation of tumors.
Materials & Methods
MWCNTs entrapping iron were synthesized by chemical vapor deposition. The T2-weighted contrast enhancement properties of MWCNTs containing increasing amounts of iron were determined in vitro. Suspensions of these particles were injected into tumor-bearing mice and tracked longitudinally over 7 days by MRI. Heat-generating abilities of these nanomaterials following exposure to near infrared (NIR) laser irradiation was determined in vitro and in vivo.
The magnetic resonance contrast properties of carbon nanotubes were directly related to their iron content. Iron-containing nanotubes were functional T2-weighted contrast agents in vitro and could be imaged in vivo long-term following injection. Iron content of nanotubes did not affect their ability to generate thermoablative temperatures following exposure to NIR and significant tumor regression was observed in mice treated with MWCNTs and NIR laser irradiation.
These data demonstrate that iron-containing MWCNTs are functional T2-weighted contrast agents and efficient mediators of tumor-specific thermal ablation in vivo.
cancer; contrast agent; in vivo; laser; MRI; nanotube; T2; thermal therapy
Yin Yang 1 (YY1) is a multifunctional protein with regulatory potential in tumorigenesis. Ample studies demonstrated the activities of YY1 in regulating gene expression and mediating differential protein modifications. However, the mechanisms underlying YY1 gene expression are relatively understudied. G-quadruplexes (G4s) are four-stranded structures or motifs formed by guanine-rich DNA or RNA domains. The presence of G4 structures in a gene promoter or the 5′-UTR of its mRNA can markedly affect its expression. In this report, we provide strong evidence showing the presence of G4 structures in the promoter and the 5′-UTR of YY1. In reporter assays, mutations in these G4 structure forming sequences increased the expression of Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) downstream of either YY1 promoter or 5′-UTR. We also discovered that G4 Resolvase 1 (G4R1) enhanced the Gluc expression mediated by the YY1 promoter, but not the YY1 5′-UTR. Consistently, G4R1 binds the G4 motif of the YY1 promoter in vitro and ectopically expressed G4R1 increased endogenous YY1 levels. In addition, the analysis of a gene array data consisting of the breast cancer samples of 258 patients also indicates a significant, positive correlation between G4R1 and YY1 expression.
Guanine-quadruplexes (G4) consist of non-canonical four-stranded helical arrangements of guanine-rich nucleic acid sequences. The bulky and thermodynamically stable features of G4 structures have been shown in many respects to affect normal nucleic acid metabolism. In vivo conversion of G4 structures to single-stranded nucleic acid requires specialized proteins with G4 destabilizing/unwinding activity. RHAU is a human DEAH-box RNA helicase that exhibits G4-RNA binding and resolving activity. In this study, we employed RIP-chip analysis to identify en masse RNAs associated with RHAU in vivo. Approximately 100 RNAs were found to be associated with RHAU and bioinformatics analysis revealed that the majority contained potential G4-forming sequences. Among the most abundant RNAs selectively enriched with RHAU, we identified the human telomerase RNA template TERC as a true target of RHAU. Remarkably, binding of RHAU to TERC depended on the presence of a stable G4 structure in the 5′-region of TERC, both in vivo and in vitro. RHAU was further found to associate with the telomerase holoenzyme via the 5′-region of TERC. Collectively, these results provide the first evidence that intramolecular G4-RNAs serve as physiologically relevant targets for RHAU. Furthermore, our results suggest the existence of alternatively folded forms of TERC in the fully assembled telomerase holoenyzme.
It has been previously shown that the DHX36 gene product, G4R1/RHAU, tightly binds tetramolecular G4-DNA with high affinity and resolves these structures into single strands. Here, we test the ability of G4R1/RHAU to bind and unwind unimolecular G4-DNA. Gel mobility shift assays were used to measure the binding affinity of G4R1/RHAU for unimolecular G4-DNA-formed sequences from the Zic1 gene and the c-Myc promoter. Extremely tight binding produced apparent Kd’s of 6, 3 and 4 pM for two Zic1 G4-DNAs and a c-Myc G4-DNA, respectively. The low enzyme concentrations required for measuring these Kd’s limit the precision of their determination to upper boundary estimates. Similar tight binding was not observed in control non-G4 forming DNA sequences or in single-stranded DNA having guanine-rich runs capable of forming tetramolecular G4-DNA. Using a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) trap assay, we show that G4R1/RHAU catalyzes unwinding of unimolecular Zic1 G4-DNA into an unstructured state capable of hybridizing to a complementary PNA. Binding was independent of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), but the PNA trap assay showed that unwinding of G4-DNA was ATP dependent. Competition studies indicated that unimolecular Zic1 and c-Myc G4-DNA structures inhibit G4R1/RHAU-catalyzed resolution of tetramolecular G4-DNA. This report provides evidence that G4R1/RHAU tightly binds and unwinds unimolecular G4-DNA structures.
It is well known that significant metabolic change take place as cells are transformed from normal to malignant. This review focuses on the use of different bioinformatics tools in cancer metabolomics studies. The article begins by describing different metabolomics technologies and data generation techniques. Overview of the data pre-processing techniques is provided and multivariate data analysis techniques are discussed and illustrated with case studies, including principal component analysis, clustering techniques, self-organizing maps, partial least squares, and discriminant function analysis. Also included is a discussion of available software packages.
Metabolomics; Cancer; Metabolite profiling; NMR; Mass spectrometry; Bioinformatics
In order to understand how a cancer cell is functionally different from a normal cell it is necessary to assess the complex network of pathways involving gene regulation, signaling, and cell metabolism, and the alterations in its dynamics caused by the several different types of mutations leading to malignancy. Since the network is typically complex, with multiple connections between pathways and important feedback loops, it is crucial to represent it in the form of a computational model that can be used for a rigorous analysis. This is the approach of systems biology, made possible by new –omics data generation technologies. The goal of this review is to illustrate this approach and its utility for our understanding of cancer. After a discussion of recent progress using a network-centric approach, three case studies related to diagnostics, therapy, and drug development are presented in detail. They focus on breast cancer, B cell lymphomas, and colorectal cancer. The discussion is centered on key mathematical and computational tools common to a systems biology approach.
systems biology; cancer; mathematical modeling
Under physiological conditions, guanine-rich sequences of DNA and RNA can adopt stable and atypical four-stranded helical structures called G-quadruplexes (G4). Such G4 structures have been shown to occur in vivo and to play a role in various processes such as transcription, translation and telomere maintenance. Owing to their high-thermodynamic stability, resolution of G4 structures in vivo requires specialized enzymes. RHAU is a human RNA helicase of the DEAH-box family that exhibits a unique ATP-dependent G4-resolvase activity with a high affinity and specificity for its substrate in vitro. How RHAU recognizes G4-RNAs has not yet been established. Here, we show that the amino-terminal region of RHAU is essential for RHAU to bind G4 structures and further identify within this region the evolutionary conserved RSM (RHAU-specific motif) domain as a major affinity and specificity determinant. G4-resolvase activity and strict RSM dependency are also observed with CG9323, the Drosophila orthologue of RHAU, in the amino terminal region of which the RSM is the only conserved motif. Thus, these results reveal a novel motif in RHAU protein that plays an important role in recognizing and resolving G4-RNA structures, properties unique to RHAU among many known RNA helicases.
Iron is required for survival of mammalian cells. Recently, understanding of iron metabolism and trafficking has increased dramatically, revealing a complex, interacting network largely unknown just a few years ago. This provides an excellent model for systems biology development and analysis. The first step in such an analysis is the construction of a structural network of iron metabolism, which we present here. This network was created using CellDesigner version 3.5.2 and includes reactions occurring in mammalian cells of numerous tissue types. The iron metabolic network contains 151 chemical species and 107 reactions and transport steps. Starting from this general model, we construct iron networks for specific tissues and cells that are fundamental to maintaining body iron homeostasis. We include subnetworks for cells of the intestine and liver, tissues important in iron uptake and storage, respectively; as well as the reticulocyte and macrophage, key cells in iron utilization and recycling. The addition of kinetic information to our structural network will permit the simulation of iron metabolism in different tissues as well as in health and disease.
iron; liver; macrophage; reactive oxygen species; red blood cells
Genetic variations in DNA repair may impact repair functions, DNA damage and breast cancer risk. Using data/samples collected from the first 752 Caucasians and 141 African-Americans in an ongoing case–control study, we examined the association between breast cancer risk and 18 non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) in four DNA repair pathways—(i) base excision repair: ADPRT V762A, APE1 D148E, XRCC1 R194W/R280H/R399Q and POLD1 R119H; (ii) nucleotide excision repair: ERCC2 D312N/K751Q, ERCC4 R415Q, ERCC5 D1104H and XPC A499V/K939Q; (iii) mismatch repair: MLH1 I219V, MSH3 R940Q/T1036A and MSH6 G39E and (iv) double-strand break repair: NBS1 E185Q and XRCC3 T241M. In Caucasians, breast cancer risk was significantly associated with ADPRT 762VV [odds ratio (OR) = 1.45; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03, 2.03], APE1 148DD (OR = 1.44; 95% CI = 1.03, 2.00), MLH1 219II/IV (OR = 1.87; 95% CI = 1.11, 3.16) and ERCC4 415QQ (OR = 8.64; 95% CI = 1.04, 72.02) genotypes. With a limited sample size, we did not observe any significant association in African-Americans. However, there were significant trends in breast cancer risk with increasing numbers of risk genotypes for ADPRT 762VV, APE1 148DD, ERCC4 415RQ/QQ and MLH1 219II/IV (Ptrend < 0.001) in Caucasians and ADPRT 762VA, ERCC2 751KQ/QQ and NBS1 185EQ/QQ in African-Americans (Ptrend = 0.006), respectively. Our results suggest that combined nsSNPs in multiple DNA repair pathways may contribute to breast cancer risk and larger studies are warranted to further evaluate polygenic models of DNA repair in breast cancer risk.
The cellular metabolism of doxorubicin generates reactive oxygen species with significant potential to damage DNA. Such DNA damage can result in mutations if not adequately repaired by cellular DNA repair pathways. Secondary malignancies have been reported in patients who have received doxorubicin-containing chemotherapeutic regimens; however, the underlying molecular mechanism(s) to explain the development of these tumors remains under active investigation. We have previously demonstrated the presence of DNA bases modified by oxidation in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with breast cancer following treatment with doxorubicin. In those studies, doxorubicin was administered by continuous infusion over 96 hours to minimize the risk of cardiac toxicity. To evaluate potential mechanisms underlying doxorubicin-induced DNA base oxidation in non-malignant tissues, MCF-10A breast epithelial cells were cultured for 96 hours with the same doxorubicin concentration achieved in vivo (0.1 μM). During doxorubicin exposure, MCF-10A cells underwent growth arrest and apoptosis, developed elevated levels of reactive oxygen species, and demonstrated a time-dependent and significant increase in the levels of 11 oxidized DNA bases, as determined by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. Diminished expression of DNA repair enzymes was also observed over the same time course. Thus, clinically achievable concentrations of doxorubicin induce a level of oxidative stress in MCF-10A cells that is capable of oxidizing DNA bases and significantly altering cellular proliferation.
doxorubicin; DNA damage; reactive oxygen species; apoptosis; chemotherapy; secondary malignancy
We demonstrate that nitrogen doped, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNx-MWNT) result in photo-ablative destruction of kidney cancer cells when excited by near infrared (NIR) irradiation. Further, we show that effective heat transduction and cellular cytotoxicity depends on nanotube length: effective NIR coupling occurs at nanotube lengths that exceed half the wavelength of the stimulating radiation, as predicted in classical antenna theory. We also demonstrate that this radiation heats the nanotubes through induction processes, resulting in significant heat transfer to surrounding media and cell killing at extraordinarily small radiation doses. This cell death was attributed directly to photothermal effect generated within the culture, since neither the infrared irradiation itself nor the CNx-MWNT were toxic to the cells.
nitrogen doped; multi-walled carbon nanotubes; photothermal effect; photoablation