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1.  Limited Impact of Imatinib in a Murine Model of Sclerodermatous Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(12):e0167997.
Sclerodermatous chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease (scl-cGVHD) is one of the most severe form of cGVHD. The Platelet-derived Grotwth Factor (PDGF) and the Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGF-β) play a significant role in the fibrosing process occurring in scl-cGVHD. This prompted us to assess the impact of the PDGF-r and c-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib on scl-cGVHD.
To assess the impact of imatinib on T cell subset proliferation in vivo, Balb/cJ recipient mice were lethally (7 Gy) irradiated and then injected with 10x106 bone marrow cells from B10.D2 mice on day 0. Fourteen days later, 70x106 carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE)-labeled splenocytes from B10.D2 mice were infused and imatinib or sterile water was administered for 5 days. To induce severe scl-cGVHD, Balb/cJ mice were injected i.v. with 10.106 bone marrow cells and 70.106 splenocytes from B10.D2 donor mice after 7 Gy irradiation. Mice were then given sterile water or imatinib from day +7 after transplantation to the end of the experiment (day +52).
Imatinib decreased the proliferation of total T cells (P = 0.02), CD8+ T cells (P = 0.01), and of regulatory T cells (Tregs) (P = 0.02) in the spleen. In the severe scl-cGVHD model, imatinib-treated mice had significantly lower levels of PDGF-r phosphorylation than control mice on day 29 after transplantation (P = 0.008). However, scl-cGVHD scores were similar between vehicle- and imatinib-treated mice during the whole experiment, while there was a suggestion for less weight loss in imatinib-treated mice that reached statistical significance at day +52 following transplantation (P = 0.02).
Imatinib had a limited impact in murine scl-cGVHD despite significant inhibition of PDGF-r.
PMCID: PMC5152855  PMID: 27942010
2.  Methylglyoxal, a glycolysis side-product, induces Hsp90 glycation and YAP-mediated tumor growth and metastasis 
eLife  null;5:e19375.
Metabolic reprogramming toward aerobic glycolysis unavoidably induces methylglyoxal (MG) formation in cancer cells. MG mediates the glycation of proteins to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs). We have recently demonstrated that MG-induced AGEs are a common feature of breast cancer. Little is known regarding the impact of MG-mediated carbonyl stress on tumor progression. Breast tumors with MG stress presented with high nuclear YAP, a key transcriptional co-activator regulating tumor growth and invasion. Elevated MG levels resulted in sustained YAP nuclear localization/activity that could be reverted using Carnosine, a scavenger for MG. MG treatment affected Hsp90 chaperone activity and decreased its binding to LATS1, a key kinase of the Hippo pathway. Cancer cells with high MG stress showed enhanced growth and metastatic potential in vivo. These findings reinforce the cumulative evidence pointing to hyperglycemia as a risk factor for cancer incidence and bring renewed interest in MG scavengers for cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC5081250  PMID: 27759563
carbonyl stress; glyoxalase 1; LATS1; breast cancer; methylglyoxal; YAP; Chicken; Human; Mouse
3.  Azacytidine mitigates experimental sclerodermic chronic graft-versus-host disease 
Previous studies have demonstrated that regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a protective role in the pathogenesis of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD). Tregs constitutively express the gene of the transcription factor Foxp3 whose CNS2 region is heavily methylated in conventional CD4+ T cells (CD4+Tconvs) but demethylated in Tregs.
Here, we assessed the impact of azacytidine (AZA) on cGVHD in a well-established murine model of sclerodermic cGVHD (B10.D2 (H-2d) → BALB/cJ (H-2d)).
The administration of AZA every 48 h from day +10 to day +30 at the dose of 0.5 mg/kg or 2 mg/kg mitigated chronic GVHD. Further, AZA-treated mice exhibited higher blood and thymic Treg frequencies on day +35, as well as higher demethylation levels of the Foxp3 enhancer and the IL-2 promoter in splenocytes at day +52. Interestingly, Tregs from AZA-treated mice expressed more frequently the activation marker CD103 on day +52. AZA-treated mice had also lower counts of CD4+Tconvs and CD8+ T cells from day +21 to day +35 after transplantation, as well as a lower proportion of CD4+Tconvs expressing the Ki67 antigen on day +21 demonstrating an anti-proliferating effect of the drug on T cells.
Our results indicate that AZA prevented sclerodermic cGVHD in a well-established murine model of cGVHD. These data might serve as the basis for a pilot study of AZA administration for cGVHD prevention in patients at high risk for cGVHD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13045-016-0281-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4932697  PMID: 27377819
AZA; Azacytidine; Decitabine; DAC; Treg; Regulatory T cells; GVHD; Graft-versus-host disease; Chronic graft-versus-host disease; Sclerodermic graft-versus-host disease
4.  Carcinogenic HPV infection in the cervical squamo-columnar junction 
The Journal of pathology  2015;236(3):265-271.
Recent studies have suggested the involvement of a unique population of cells at the cervical squamo-columnar junction (SCJ) in the pathogenesis of early (squamous intraepithelial lesion or SIL) and advanced (squamous cell and adeno-carcinomas) cervical neoplasia. However, there is little evidence to date showing that SCJ cells harbour carcinogenic HPV or are instrumental in the initial phases of neoplasia. This study was designed to 1) determine if normal-appearing SCJ cells contained evidence of carcinogenic HPV infection and 2) trace their transition to early SIL. Sections of cervix from high-risk reproductive age women were selected and SCJ cells were analyzed by using several techniques which increasingly implicated HPV infection: HPV DNA (genotyping and in situ hybridization)/RNA (PCR), immunostaining for HPV16 E2 (an early marker of HPV infection), p16ink4, Ki67 and HPV L1 protein. In 22 cases with a history of SIL and no evidence of preneoplastic lesion in the excision specimen, HPV DNA was isolated from 8 of 10 with visible SCJ cells, 6 of which were HPV16/18 DNA positive. In 5 of these latter cases, the SCJ cells were positive for p16ink4 and/or HPV E2. Transcriptionally active HPV infection (E6/E7 mRNAs) was also detected in micro-dissected SCJ cells. Early squamous atypia associated with the SCJ cells demonstrated in addition diffuse p16ink4 immunoreactivity, elevated proliferative index and rare L1 antigen positivity. We present for the first time direct evidence that normal-appearing SCJ cells can be infected by carcinogenic HPV. They initially express HPV E2 and their progression to SIL is heralded by an expanding metaplastic progeny with increased proliferation and p16ink4 expression. Whether certain SCJs are more vulnerable than others to carcinogenic HPV genotypes and what variables determine transition to high grade SIL remain unresolved, but the common event appears to be a vulnerable cell at the SCJ.
PMCID: PMC4457596  PMID: 25782708
HPV; Squamocolumnar junction; cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
5.  Cervical (pre)neoplastic microenvironment promotes the emergence of tolerogenic dendritic cells via RANKL secretion 
Oncoimmunology  2015;4(6):e1008334.
The progression of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infections into preneoplastic lesions suggests that infected/malignant cells are not adequately recognized by the immune system. In this study, we demonstrated that cervical/vulvar cancer cells secrete factor(s) that affect both the maturation and function of dendritic cells (DC) leading to a tolerogenic profile. Indeed, DC cocultured with cancer cell lines display both a partially mature phenotype after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) maturation and an altered secretory profile (IL-10high and IL-12p70low). In addition, tumor-converted DC acquire the ability to alter T-cell proliferation and to induce FoxP3+ suppressive T cells from naive CD4+ T cells. Among the immunosuppressive factors implicated in DC alterations in genital (pre)neoplastic microenvironment, we identified receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL), a TNF family member, as a potential candidate. For the first time, we showed that RANKL expression strongly increases during cervical progression. We also confirmed that RANKL is directly secreted by cancer cells and this expression is not related to HPV viral oncoprotein induction. Interestingly, the addition of osteoprotegerin (OPG) in coculture experiments reduces significantly the inhibition of DC maturation, the release of a tolerogenic cytokine profile (IL-12low IL-10high) and the induction of regulatory T (Treg) cells. Our findings suggest that the use of inhibitory molecules directed against RANKL in cervical/vulvar (pre)neoplastic lesions might prevent alterations of DC functionality and represent an attractive strategy to overcome immune tolerance in such cancers.
PMCID: PMC4485731  PMID: 26155412
cervical cancers; dendritic cells; RANKL; tolerogenicity; Treg cells; APC, antigen presenting cells; DC, dendritic cells; GILZ, glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper; HPV, human papillomavirus; HSIL, high grade intraepithelial lesions; IHC, immunohistochemistry; ILT3, Immunoglobulin-like transcript 3; KN, normal keratinocytes;  LC, Langerhans cells; LPS, lipopolysaccharide; LSIL, low grade intraepithelial lesion; MFI, mean fluorescence intensity; OPG, osteoprotegerin; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cells; pDC, plasmacytoid dendritic cells; RANKL, Receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand; SCC, squamous cell carcinoma; SIL, squamous intraepithelial neoplasia; Treg cells, regulatory T cells; VIN, vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia
6.  Valproic acid improves second-line regimen of small cell lung carcinoma in preclinical models 
ERJ Open Research  2015;1(2):00028-2015.
With 5-year survival rates below 5%, small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) has very poor prognosis and requires improved therapies. Despite an excellent overall response to first-line therapy, relapses are frequent and further treatments are disappointing. The goal of the study was to improve second-line therapy of SCLC.
The effect of chemotherapeutic agents was evaluated in cell lines (apoptosis, reactive oxygen species, and RNA and protein expression) and in mouse models (tumour development).
We demonstrate here that valproic acid, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, improves the efficacy of a second-line regimen (vindesine, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide) in SCLC cells and in mouse models.
Transcriptomic profiling integrating microRNA and mRNA data identifies key signalling pathways in the response of SCLC cells to valproic acid, opening new prospects for improved therapies.
Valproic acid improves second-line regimen of SCLC response in preclinical models
PMCID: PMC5005116  PMID: 27730151
7.  Asporin Is a Fibroblast-Derived TGF-β1 Inhibitor and a Tumor Suppressor Associated with Good Prognosis in Breast Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(9):e1001871.
Breast cancer is a leading malignancy affecting the female population worldwide. Most morbidity is caused by metastases that remain incurable to date. TGF-β1 has been identified as a key driving force behind metastatic breast cancer, with promising therapeutic implications.
Methods and Findings
Employing immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis, we report, to our knowledge for the first time, that asporin is overexpressed in the stroma of most human breast cancers and is not expressed in normal breast tissue. In vitro, asporin is secreted by breast fibroblasts upon exposure to conditioned medium from some but not all human breast cancer cells. While hormone receptor (HR) positive cells cause strong asporin expression, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells suppress it. Further, our findings show that soluble IL-1β, secreted by TNBC cells, is responsible for inhibiting asporin in normal and cancer-associated fibroblasts. Using recombinant protein, as well as a synthetic peptide fragment, we demonstrate the ability of asporin to inhibit TGF-β1-mediated SMAD2 phosphorylation, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, and stemness in breast cancer cells. In two in vivo murine models of TNBC, we observed that tumors expressing asporin exhibit significantly reduced growth (2-fold; p = 0.01) and metastatic properties (3-fold; p = 0.045). A retrospective IHC study performed on human breast carcinoma (n = 180) demonstrates that asporin expression is lowest in TNBC and HER2+ tumors, while HR+ tumors have significantly higher asporin expression (4-fold; p = 0.001). Assessment of asporin expression and patient outcome (n = 60; 10-y follow-up) shows that low protein levels in the primary breast lesion significantly delineate patients with bad outcome regardless of the tumor HR status (area under the curve = 0.87; 95% CI 0.78–0.96; p = 0.0001). Survival analysis, based on gene expression (n = 375; 25-y follow-up), confirmed that low asporin levels are associated with a reduced likelihood of survival (hazard ratio = 0.58; 95% CI 0.37–0.91; p = 0.017). Although these data highlight the potential of asporin to serve as a prognostic marker, confirmation of the clinical value would require a prospective study on a much larger patient cohort.
Our data show that asporin is a stroma-derived inhibitor of TGF-β1 and a tumor suppressor in breast cancer. High asporin expression is significantly associated with less aggressive tumors, stratifying patients according to the clinical outcome. Future pre-clinical studies should consider options for increasing asporin expression in TNBC as a promising strategy for targeted therapy.
Andrei Turtoi and colleagues describe a mechanistic role for stroma-derived asporin in breast cancer development.
Editors' Summary
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Nearly 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed in 2012, and half a million women died from the disease. Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast that normally make milk (epithelial cells) acquire genetic changes that allow them to divide uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). Uncontrolled cell division leads to the formation of a lump that can be detected by mammography (a breast X-ray) or by manual breast examination. Breast cancer is treated by surgical removal of the lump or, if the cancer has started to spread, by removal of the whole breast (mastectomy). After surgery, women often receive chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells, and women whose tumors express receptors for the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone or for HER2, a growth factor receptor, are treated with drugs that block these receptors; estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 all control breast cell growth. Nowadays, the prognosis (outlook) for women living in high-income countries who develop breast cancer is generally good—nearly 90% of such women are still alive five years after diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
The cells surrounding cancer cells—cancer-associated fibroblasts and other components of the stroma—support cancer growth and metastasis and are good targets for new cancer therapies. But, although there is mounting evidence that cancer cells actively adapt the stroma so that it produces various factors the tumor needs to grow and spread, very few molecules produced by the stroma that might serve as targets for drug development have been identified. Here, the researchers investigate whether a molecule called asporin might represent one such target. Asporin, which is highly expressed in the stroma of breast tumors, inhibits a growth factor called TGF-β1. TGF-β1 is involved in maintaining healthy joints, but is also a key molecule in the development of metastatic breast cancer. Most particularly, it modulates an important step in metastasis called the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and it regulates “stemness” in cancer cells. Stem cells are a special type of cell that can multiply indefinitely; tumor cells often look and behave very much like stem cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Using a technique called immunohistochemistry, the researchers first showed that asporin is highly expressed in the stroma of most human breast cancers but not in normal breast tissue. Next, they showed that breast fibroblasts secrete asporin when exposed to conditioned medium from some human breast cancer cell lines (breast cancer cells adapted to grow continuously in the laboratory; conditioned medium is the solution in which cells have been grown). Specifically, conditioned medium from hormone receptor positive cells induced strong asporin expression by breast fibroblasts, whereas medium from breast cancer cells not expressing estrogen or progesterone receptors or HER2 receptors (triple-negative breast cancer cells) suppressed asporin expression. Other experiments showed that TGF-β1 secreted by breast cancer cells induces asporin expression in breast fibroblasts, and that asporin, in turn, inhibits TGF-β1-mediated induction of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and stemness in breast cancer cells. Triple negative breast cancers appear to inhibit stromal expression of asporin at least in part via expression of the soluble signaling protein interleukin-1β. Notably, in mouse models of triple-negative breast cancer, tumors engineered to express asporin grew slower and metastasized less than tumors not expressing asporin. Finally, among women with breast cancer, asporin expression was low in triple-negative and HER2-positive tumors but significantly higher in hormone receptor positive tumors, and low asporin levels in primary breast lesions were associated with a reduced likelihood of survival independent of hormone receptor and HER2 expression.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that asporin is a stroma-derived inhibitor of TGF-β1 and a tumor suppressor in breast cancer. Importantly, they also provide preliminary evidence that high asporin expression is associated with less aggressive tumors (hormone receptor positive tumors), whereas low asporin expression is associated with more aggressive tumors (triple negative tumors and HER2-positive tumors). Thus, asporin expression might provide a new prognostic marker for breast cancer. However, before asporin can be used as a biomarker to predict outcomes in women with breast cancer and to identify those women in need of more aggressive treatment, these findings need to be confirmed in large prospective clinical studies. If these findings are confirmed, methods for increasing asporin expression in the stromal tissues of triple negative breast cancer could be a promising strategy for targeted therapy for this group of breast cancers, which currently have a poor prognosis.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at
The US National Cancer Institute provides comprehensive information about cancer (in English and Spanish), including detailed information for patients and professionals about breast cancer and an online booklet for patients
Cancer Research UK, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about cancer; its detailed information about breast cancer includes sections on tests for hormone receptors and HER2, on treatments that target hormone receptors and treatments that target HER2, and on triple negative breast cancer is a not-for-profit organization that provides up-to-date information about breast cancer (in English and Spanish), including information on hormone receptor status, HER2 status, and triple negative breast cancer
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information and personal stories about breast cancer; the not-for-profit organization also provides personal stories about dealing with breast cancer
PMCID: PMC4556693  PMID: 26327350
8.  Simulants of Malignant Melanoma 
Oncology Reviews  2015;9(1):278.
During the recent period, dermoscopy has yielded improvement in the early disclosure of various atypical melanocytic neoplasms (AMN) of the skin. Beyond this clinical procedure, AMN histopathology remains mandatory for establishing their precise diagnosis. Of note, panels of experts in AMN merely report moderate agreement in various puzzling cases. Divergences in opinion and misdiagnosis are likely increased when histopathological criteria are not fine-tuned and when facing a diversity of AMN types. Furthermore, some AMN have been differently named in the literature including atypical Spitz tumor, metastasizing Spitz tumor, borderline and intermediate melanocytic tumor, malignant Spitz nevus, pigmented epithelioid melanocytoma or animal-type melanoma. Some acronyms have been further suggested such as MELTUMP (after melanocytic tumor of uncertain malignant potential) and STUMP (after Spitzoid melanocytic tumor of uncertain malignant potential). In this review, such AMN at the exclusion of cutaneous malignant melanoma (MM) variants, are grouped under the tentative broad heading skin melanocytoma. Such set of AMN frequently follows an indolent course, although they exhibit atypical and sometimes worrisome patterns or cytological atypia. Rare cases of skin melanocytomas progress to loco regional clusters of lesions (agminate melanocytomas), and even to regional lymph nodes. At times, the distinction between a skin melanocytoma and MM remains puzzling. However, multipronged immunohistochemistry and emerging molecular biology help profiling any malignancy risk if present.
PMCID: PMC4698593  PMID: 26779311
Melanoma; melanocytoma; prognostic factor; risk stratification; Spitzoid tumor; immunohistochemistry; cell proliferation
9.  NF-κB-induced KIAA1199 promotes survival through EGFR signalling 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5232.
Constitutive activation of EGFR- and NF-κB-dependent pathways is a hallmark of cancer, yet signalling proteins that connect both oncogenic cascades are poorly characterized. Here we define KIAA1199 as a BCL-3- and p65-dependent gene in transformed keratinocytes. KIAA1199 expression is enhanced on human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and is aberrantly expressed in clinical cases of cervical (pre)neoplastic lesions. Mechanistically, KIAA1199 binds Plexin A2 and protects from Semaphorin 3A-mediated cell death by promoting EGFR stability and signalling. Moreover, KIAA1199 is an EGFR-binding protein and KIAA1199 deficiency impairs EGF-dependent Src, MEK1 and ERK1/2 phosphorylations. Therefore, EGFR stability and signalling to downstream kinases requires KIAA1199. As such, KIAA1199 promotes EGF-mediated epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). Taken together, our data define KIAA1199 as an oncogenic protein induced by HPV infection and constitutive NF-κB activity that transmits pro-survival and invasive signals through EGFR signalling.
The cross-talk between constitutively active EGFR- and NF-κB-dependent pathways in cancer is poorly understood. Here, the authors identify KIAA1199 as a BCL3 and NF-κB-regulated protein that is expressed in cervical lesions and promotes tumorigenesis through Plexin A2 binding and regulation of EGFR stability.
PMCID: PMC4241993  PMID: 25366117
10.  In vivo skin fluorescence imaging in young Caucasian adults with early malignant melanomas 
Human cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is an aggressive cancer showing a dramatic worldwide increase in incidence over the past few decades. The most prominent relative epidemiological increase has been disclosed in young women. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of chronic sun exposures in order to rate the extend of melanocytic stimulations in the vicinity of CMM.
The study was designed to evaluate the melanin distribution and density using ultraviolet light illumination. The present study was performed on surgical excision specimens of thin CMM lesion removed from the upper limbs of 55 Caucasian adults (37 women and 18 men). Two control groups comprised 23 men and 21 women of similar ages who had medium-size congenital melanocytic nevi, also present on the upper limbs. The peritumoral skin was scrutinized using a Visioscan® VC98 device, revealing the faint mosaic melanoderma (FMM) pattern that grossly indicates early signs of chronic photodamage in epidermal melanin units.
The median extent of relative FMM was significantly higher in the CMM male group. By contrast, the CMM female group showed a reverse bimodal distribution in FMM size. Only 12/37 (32.5%) of the CMM female group had an increased FMM size, whereas 25/37 (67.5%) of females with CMM had a global FMM extent in the normal range, relative to the controls.
Thin CMM supervening in young women appear unrelated to repeat photoexposure. Other mechanisms are possibly involved.
PMCID: PMC4149332  PMID: 25187731
gender; HOX gene; ULEV method; genotoxicity; faint mosaic melanoderma
11.  Cyanoacrylate Skin Surface Stripping and the 3S-Biokit Advent in Tropical Dermatology: A Look from Liège 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:462634.
In the dermatopathology field, some simple available laboratory tests require minimum equipment for establishing a diagnosis. Among them, the cyanoacrylate skin surface stripping (CSSS), formerly named skin surface biopsy or follicular biopsy, represents a convenient low cost procedure. It is a minimally invasive method collecting a continuous sheet of stratum corneum and horny follicular casts. In the vast majority of cases, it is painless and is unassociated with adverse events. CSSS can be performed in subjects of any age. The method has a number of applications in diagnostic dermatopathology and cosmetology, as well as in experimental dermatology settings. A series of derived analytic procedures include xerosis grading, comedometry, corneofungimetry, corneodynamics of stratum corneum renewal, corneomelametry, corneosurfametry, and corneoxenometry.
PMCID: PMC4142174  PMID: 25177726
12.  Triple negative tumors accumulate significantly less methylglyoxal specific adducts than other human breast cancer subtypes 
Oncotarget  2014;5(14):5472-5482.
Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are associated with increased risk of breast cancer development and progression. Methylglyoxal (MG), a glycolysis by-product, is generated through a non-enzymatic reaction from triose-phosphate intermediates. This dicarbonyl compound is highly reactive and contributes to the accumulation of advanced glycation end products. In this study, we analyzed the accumulation of Arg-pyrimidine, a MG-arginine adduct, in human breast adenocarcinoma and we observed a consistent increase of Arg-pyrimidine in cancer cells when compared with the non-tumoral counterpart. Further immunohistochemical comparative analysis of breast cancer subtypes revealed that triple negative lesions exhibited low accumulation of Arg-pyrimidine compared with other subtypes. Interestingly, the activity of glyoxalase 1 (Glo-1), an enzyme that detoxifies MG, was significantly higher in triple negative than in other subtype lesions, suggesting that these aggressive tumors are able to develop an efficient response against dicarbonyl stress. Using breast cancer cell lines, we substantiated these clinical observations by showing that, in contrast to triple positive, triple negative cells induced Glo-1 expression and activity in response to MG treatment. This is the first report that Arg-pyrimidine adduct accumulation is a consistent event in human breast cancer with a differential detection between triple negative and other breast cancer subtypes.
PMCID: PMC4170620  PMID: 24978626
methylglyoxal; breast cancer; advanced glycation end-products; Arg-pyrimidine adducts; glyoxalase 1
14.  ΔNp63 isoform-mediated β-defensin family up-regulation is associated with (lymph)angiogenesis and poor prognosis in patients with squamous cell carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(7):1856-1868.
Beside a role in normal development/differentiation, high p63 immunoreactivity is also frequently observed in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Due to the complexity of the gene, the role of each p63 isotype in tumorigenesis is still confusing. Constitutively produced or induced in inflammatory conditions, human beta-defensins (HβDs) are cationic peptides involved in host defenses against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Here, we investigated both the role of p63 proteins in the regulation of HβDs and the implication of these antimicrobial peptides in tumor (lymph)angiogenesis. Thus, in contrast to TAp63 isotypes, we observed that ΔNp63 proteins (α, β, γ) induce HβD1, 2 and 4 expression. Similar results were observed in cancer tissues and cell lines. We next demonstrated that ΔNp63-overexpressing SCC are associated with both a poor prognosis and a high tumor vascularisation and lymphangiogenesis. Moreover, we showed that HβDs exert a chemotactic activity for (lymphatic) endothelial cells in a CCR6-dependent manner. The ability of HβDs to enhance (lymph)angiogenesis in vivo was also evaluated. We observed that HβDs increase the vessel number and induce a significant increase in relative vascular area compared to negative control. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that ΔNp63-regulated HβD could promote tumor (lymph)angiogenesis in SCC microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC4039122  PMID: 24732135
p63; defensins; (lymph)angiogenesis; prognosis; squamous cell carcinoma
15.  A Clinical and Pathological Overview of Vulvar Condyloma Acuminatum, Intraepithelial Neoplasia, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:480573.
Condyloma acuminatum, intraepithelial neoplasia, and squamous cell carcinoma are three relatively frequent vulvar lesions. Condyloma acuminatum is induced by low risk genotypes of human papillomavirus (HPV). Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) and squamous cell carcinoma have different etiopathogenic pathways and are related or not with high risk HPV types. The goal of this paper is to review the main pathological and clinical features of these lesions. A special attention has been paid also to epidemiological data, pathological classification, and clinical implications of these diseases.
PMCID: PMC3956289  PMID: 24719870
16.  Vulvar Skin Disorders throughout Lifetime: About Some Representative Dermatoses 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:595286.
The objective of this paper is to present general considerations which should be kept in mind by clinicians in charge of women with vulvar diseases. Four representative vulvar dermatoses are described. Lichen simplex chronicus is a pathological condition related to chemical and mechanical irritant agents. Detrimental effects of these irritants, in the presence of other dermatoses, have to be considered when therapeutic responses are unsatisfactory. Lichen sclerosus is the most common vulvar dermatosis in elderly. However, it should be kept in mind that it may be diagnosed at any age. Lichen planus, in spite of sharing a similar range of etiological factors with lichen sclerosus, is a very distinct entity. Finally, Paget's disease, although rare, is also described especially because of the challenge it represents both clinically and therapeutically.
PMCID: PMC3910662  PMID: 24511539
17.  The Anti-Tumor Effect of HDAC Inhibition in a Human Pancreas Cancer Model Is Significantly Improved by the Simultaneous Inhibition of Cyclooxygenase 2 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75102.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with no satisfactory treatment to date. In this study, we tested whether the combined inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and class I histone deacetylase (HDAC) may results in a better control of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The impact of the concomitant HDAC and COX-2 inhibition on cell growth, apoptosis and cell cycle was assessed first in vitro on human pancreas BxPC-3, PANC-1 or CFPAC-1 cells treated with chemical inhibitors (SAHA, MS-275 and celecoxib) or HDAC1/2/3/7 siRNA. To test the potential antitumoral activity of this combination in vivo, we have developed and characterized, a refined chick chorioallantoic membrane tumor model that histologically and proteomically mimics human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The combination of HDAC1/3 and COX-2 inhibition significantly impaired proliferation of BxPC-3 cells in vitro and stalled entirely the BxPC-3 cells tumor growth onto the chorioallantoic membrane in vivo. The combination was more effective than either drug used alone. Consistently, we showed that both HDAC1 and HDAC3 inhibition induced the expression of COX-2 via the NF-kB pathway. Our data demonstrate, for the first time in a Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) model, a significant action of HDAC and COX-2 inhibitors on cancer cell growth, which sets the basis for the development of potentially effective new combinatory therapies for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients.
PMCID: PMC3770617  PMID: 24040391
18.  In Vivo Evaluation of the Skin Tensile Strength by the Suction Method: Pilot Study Coping with Hysteresis and Creep Extension 
ISRN Dermatology  2013;2013:841217.
From an engineering standpoint, both the skin and subcutaneous tissue act as interconnected load-transmitting structures. They are subject to a variety of intrinsic and environmental influences. Changes in the cutaneous viscoelasticity represent an important aspect in a series of skin conditions. The aim of this work was to explore the methodology of biomechanical measurements in order to better appreciate the evolution and severity of some connective tissue diseases. The Cutometer MPA 580 (C+K electronic) was used in the steep and progressive suction procedures. Adapting measurement modalities was explored in order to mitigate any variability in data collection. The repeat steep suction procedure conveniently reveals the creep phenomenon. By contrast, the progressive suction procedure highlights the hysteresis phenomenon. These viscoelastic characteristics are presently described using the 2 and 4 mm probes on normal skin and in scleroderma, acromegaly, corticosteroid-induced dermatoporosis, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The apposition of an additional outer contention on the skin altered differently the manifestations of the creep extension and hysteresis among the tested skin conditions. Any change in the mechanical test procedure affects the data. In clinical and experimental settings, it is mandatory to adhere to a strict and controlled protocol.
PMCID: PMC3748421  PMID: 23986871
19.  Dissection of Iliac Artery in a Patient With Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease: A Case Report 
AORTA  2013;1(2):123-125.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is a risk factor for several cardiovascular disorders such as intracranial aneurysm or aortic dissection, preferentially occurring at the thoracic or abdominal level. A 47-year-old man suffering from ADPKD had renal transplantation. Sixteen hours after surgery, he presented with left leg pain. Clinical and ultrasound examination revealed thrombosis of the external left iliac artery. Therefore, we decided to perform intra-arterial angiography to evaluate the possibility of an endovascular treatment. Aorto-femorography showed an obstruction of the external left iliac artery that was found during emergency surgery, consecutive to a dissection, which occurred following the surgery for kidney transplantation. The resected segment of the dissected vessel was analyzed by histology. Collagen fibers organization and density in the adventitia and smooth muscle cells density in the media were similar in the dissected and a normal artery from a healthy donor. By contrast, an almost complete disappearance and fragmentation of elastic lamellae were observed in the media of the dissected artery, most likely responsible for the weakening of the arterial wall and its dissection. Association between ADPKD and single dissection of the iliac artery has been rarely reported. Relationship between inactivation of polycystin/PKD genes and elastic fibers degradation through elevated TGFβ signaling and matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) elastolytic activity, as recently reported in ADPKD, would be worth investigating.
PMCID: PMC4682711  PMID: 26798684
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; Arterial dissection; Elastic lamellae
20.  The skin landscape in diabetes mellitus. Focus on dermocosmetic management 
Some relationships are established between diabetes mellitus (DM) and a series of cutaneous disorders. Specific dermatoses are markers for undiagnosed DM. Other disorders represent supervening complications in an already treated DM patient.
To review the information about dermocosmetic care products and their appropriate use in the management and prevention of dermatoses related to DM.
The peer-reviewed literature and empiric findings are covered. Owing to the limited clinical evidence available for the use of dermocosmetics, a review of the routine practices and common therapies in DM-related dermatoses was conducted.
Some DM-related dermatoses (acanthosis nigricans, pigmented purpuric dermatosis) are markers of macrovascular complications. The same disorders and some others (xerosis, Dupuytren’s disease) have been found to be more frequently associated with microangiopathy. Other skin diseases (alopecia areata, vitiligo) were found to be markers of autoimmunity, particularly in type 1 DM. Unsurprisingly, using dermocosmetics and appropriate skin care has shown objective improvements of some DM-related dermatoses, such effects improve the quality of life. The most common skin manifestations of DM fall along continuum between “dry skin,” xerosis, and acquired ichthyosis, occurring predominately on the shins and feet. Dermocosmetic products improve the feeling of well-being for DM patients.
PMCID: PMC3658433  PMID: 23696712
diabetes mellitus; skin; dermocosmetics; diabetic xerosis
21.  Echocardiographic integrated backscatter for detecting progression and regression of aortic valve calcifications in rats 
Calcification is an independent predictor of mortality in calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD). The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of non-invasive, non-ionizing echocardiographic calibrated integrated backscatter (cIB) for monitoring progression and subsequent regression of aortic valvular calcifications in a rat model of reversible renal failure with CAVD, compared to histology.
28 male Wistar rats were prospectively followed during 21 weeks. Group 1 (N=14) was fed with a 0.5% adenine diet for 9 weeks to induce renal failure and CAVD. Group 2 (N=14) received a standard diet. At week 9, six animals of each group were killed. The remaining animals of group 1 (N=8) and group 2 (N=8) were kept on a standard diet for an additional 12 weeks. cIB of the aortic valve was calculated at baseline, 9 and 21 weeks, followed by measurement of the calcified area (Ca Area) on histology.
At week 9, cIB values and Ca Area of the aortic valve were significantly increased in the adenine-fed rats compared to baseline and controls. After 12 weeks of adenine diet cessation, cIB values and Ca Area of group 1 decreased compared to week 9, while there was no longer a significant difference compared to age-matched controls of group 2.
cIB is a non-invasive tool allowing quantitative monitoring of CAVD progression and regression in a rat model of reversible renal failure, as validated by comparison with histology. This technique might become useful for assessing CAVD during targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC3598438  PMID: 23351880
Aortic valve calcifications; Calcific aortic valve disease; Echocardiography; Integrated backscatter; Renal failure; Small animal
22.  Dermal Ultrastructure in Low Beighton Score Members of 17 Families with Hypermobile-Type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome 
The distinction between the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome hypermobile type (EDSH) and the benign joint hypermobility syndrome (BJHS) is unclear. The aim of the present study was to compare skin ultrastructural abnormalities of EDSH and BJHS among different families. Skin of 23 EDSH, 27 BJHS, and 41 asymptomatic subjects from 17 families was examined using transmission electron microscopy. Similar ultrastructural abnormalities were found irrespective of the Beighton score. Flower-like collagen fibrils represented the key change and elastic fibers were altered as well. Beighton score is a clinical parameter rating joint mobility that appeared unrelated to quantitative and qualitative collagen ultrastructural alterations in the skin. Some EDSH family members fit with BJHS diagnosis. BJHS possibly represents a mild variant of EDSH.
PMCID: PMC3471064  PMID: 23091361
23.  Aberrant Promoter Methylation and Expression of UTF1 during Cervical Carcinogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42704.
Promoter methylation profiles are proposed as potential prognosis and/or diagnosis biomarkers in cervical cancer. Up to now, little is known about the promoter methylation profile and expression pattern of stem cell (SC) markers during tumor development. In this study, we were interested to identify SC genes methylation profiles during cervical carcinogenesis. A genome-wide promoter methylation screening revealed a strong hypermethylation of Undifferentiated cell Transcription Factor 1 (UTF1) promoter in cervical cancer in comparison with normal ectocervix. By direct bisulfite pyrosequencing of DNA isolated from liquid-based cytological samples, we showed that UTF1 promoter methylation increases with lesion severity, the highest level of methylation being found in carcinoma. This hypermethylation was associated with increased UTF1 mRNA and protein expression. By using quantitative RT-PCR and Western Blot, we showed that both UTF1 mRNA and protein are present in epithelial cancer cell lines, even in the absence of its two main described regulators Oct4A and Sox2. Moreover, by immunofluorescence, we confirmed the nuclear localisation of UTF1 in cell lines. Surprisingly, direct bisulfite pyrosequencing revealed that the inhibition of DNA methyltransferase by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine was associated with decreased UTF1 gene methylation and expression in two cervical cancer cell lines of the four tested. These findings strongly suggest that UTF1 promoter methylation profile might be a useful biomarker for cervical cancer diagnosis and raise the questions of its role during epithelial carcinogenesis and of the mechanisms regulating its expression.
PMCID: PMC3411846  PMID: 22880087
24.  Malignant Melanoma and Its Stromal Nonimmune Microecosystem 
Journal of Oncology  2012;2012:584219.
In recent years, rapid advances were reached in the understanding of a series of biologic signals influencing cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) cells. CMM is in close contact with a peculiar dermal extracellular matrix (ECM). Stromal cells store and release various structural ECM components. The impact on CMM growth and progression is mediated through strong and long-lasting effects of ECM products. This paper summarizes some peculiar aspects of the peri-CMM stroma showing intracytoplasmic loads in Factor XIIIa, CD34, versican, and α (IV) collagen chains. The restricted peri-CMM skin territory exhibiting such changes corresponds to the area showing neoangiogenesis and extravascular unicellular metastatic spread. The latter inconspicuous migratory CMM cells possibly correspond to CMM stem cells or to CMM cells with aberrant HOX gene expression. Their presence is associated with an increased risk for metastases in the regional sentinel lymph nodes. In conclusion, the CMM-stroma connection appears crucial to the growth regulation, invasiveness and initial metastatic spread of CMM cells. Although much remains to be learned in this field, the active intervention of the peri-CMM stroma is likely involved in the inconspicuous early metastatic migration of CMM cells.
PMCID: PMC3395267  PMID: 22811710
25.  Ustekinumab in Psoriasis Immunopathology with Emphasis on the Th17-IL23 Axis: A Primer 
Psoriasis is a chronic relapsing immunoinflammatory dermatosis that is commonly associated with systemic comorbidities. The pathogenic importance of interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-23 is beyond doubt, as well as the involvement of T helper cells (Th)1 and Th17 cells. There is upregulation of the p40 subunit shared by IL-12 and IL-23 and of the IL-23 p19 subunit, but not an increased expression of the IL-12 p35 subunit. This indicates that IL-23 appears more involved than IL-12 in the pathogenesis of psoriatic plaques. Ustekinumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody of the immunoglobulin (Ig) G1 class targeting the p40 subunit common to both IL-12 and IL-23, thus inhibiting both IL-12 and IL-23 receptor-mediated signalling. Ustekinumab is part of the recent biologic therapies active in psoriasis, autoimmune arthritides, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
PMCID: PMC3384985  PMID: 22754278

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