Esophageal adenocarcinoma currently has one of the most rapidly
increasing tumor incidences in the United States, with the vast majority of
cases occurring on the backdrop of metaplastic epithelium (Barrett esophagus).
The availability of appropriate cell line models is essential for maintaining
the pace of esophageal cancer research and for pre-clinical validation of new
therapeutic modalities. The identity of several of the widely utilized
esophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines (BIC-1, SEG-1 and TE-7) have recently been
called into question. Here we describe the establishment and characterization of
a bona fide esophageal cancer cell line, JH-EsoAd1, from a patient with
Barrett-associated adenocarcinoma. The rapid dissemination of this cancer cell
line to the esophageal cancer research community should help ameliorate the
current scarcity of preclinical models in this disease.
Barrett esophagus; adenocarcinoma; cell line; JH-EsoAd1; genotyping
Mutations in the chromatin remodeling gene ARID1A have recently been identified in the majority of ovarian clear cell carcinomas. To determine the prevalence of mutations in other tumor types, we evaluated 759 malignant neoplasms including those of the pancreas, breast, colon, stomach, lung, prostate, brain and blood (leukemias). We identified truncating mutations in 6% of the neoplasms studied; non-truncating somatic mutations were identified in an additional 0.4% of neoplasms. Mutations were most commonly found in gastrointestinal samples with 12 of 119 (10%) colorectal and 10 of 100 (10%) gastric neoplasms, respectively, harboring changes. More than half of the mutated colorectal and gastric cancers displayed microsatellite instability and the mutations in these tumors were out-of-frame insertions or deletions at mononucleotide repeats. Mutations were also identified in 2% to 8% of tumors of the pancreas, breast, brain (medulloblastomas), prostate, and lung, and none of these tumors displayed microsatellite instability. These findings suggest that the aberrant chromatin remodeling consequent to ARID1A inactivation contributes to a variety of different types of neoplasms.
ARID1A; cancer; chromatin remodeling
Polymorphic short tandem repeat (STR), or microsatellite, loci have been widely used to analyze chimerism status following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The presence of a patient’s DNA, as identified by STR analysis, may indicate residual or recurrent malignant disease or may represent normal hematopoiesis of patient origin. The ratio of patient-derived to donor-derived alleles is used to calculate the relative amount of patient cells (both benign and malignant) to donor cells. STRs on chromosomes known to be gained or lost in a patient’s tumor are generally ignored because it is difficult to perform meaningful calculations of mixed chimerism. However, in this report, we present evidence that STR loci on gained or lost chromosomes are useful in distinguishing the benign or malignant nature of chimeric DNA. In the peripheral blood or bone marrow of four HSCT patients with leukemia or lymphoma, we identified tumor DNA on the basis of STR loci showing copy number alteration. We propose that a targeted evaluation of STR loci showing altered copy number in post-transplant chimerism analysis can provide evidence of residual cancer cells.
short tandem repeat; microsatellite; allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; chimerism; leukemia relapse
Sarcina organisms were first observed and recorded in the stomach contents of a patient with vomiting by John Goodsir in 1842. Since that time, the fine structure, phylogenetic classification, and biochemical characteristics have been described. While numerous cases of fatal disease have been attributed to this organism in the veterinary literature, only a few human cases have been documented. As a result, whether this organism causes disease in humans has not been definitively established. We report the clinicopathologic findings in a series of 5 patients with Sarcina-like organisms identified in upper gastrointestinal endoscopic biopsies with molecular confirmation. Based on our findings, the organism is most commonly found in patients with a history of gastric outlet obstruction or delayed gastric emptying. While many of the patients do not demonstrate direct mucosal injury from the organism, the presence of a concurrent gastric ulcer puts the patient at increased risk for complications such as emphysematous gastritis or perforation. The finding of Sarcina organisms should prompt further investigation for functional causes of gastric outlet obstruction and delayed gastric emptying, such as occult malignancy.
Sarcina; gastrointestinal tract; gastroparesis; emphysematous gastritis; gastritis
Metastasis and drug resistance are the major causes of mortality in patients with pancreatic cancer. Once developed, the progression of pancreatic cancer metastasis is virtually unstoppable with current therapies. Here we report the remarkable clinical outcome of a patient with advanced, gemcitabine-resistant, pancreatic cancer who was later treated with DNA damaging agents, based on the observation of significant activity of this class of drugs against a personalized xenograft generated from the patient’s surgically resected tumor. Mitomycin C treatment, selected based on its robust preclinical activity in a personalized xenograft generated from the patient’s tumor, resulted in long lasting (36+ months) tumor response. Global geneomic sequencing revealed biallelic inactivation of the gene encoding PalB2 protein in this patient’s cancer, the mutation is predicted to disrupt BRCA1 and BRCA2 interactions critical to DNA double strand break repair. This work suggests that inactivation of the PALB2 gene is a determinant of response to DNA damage in pancreatic cancer and a new target for personalizing cancer treatment. Integrating personalized xenografts with unbiased exomic sequencing led to customize therapy, tailored to the genetic environment of patient’s tumor and identification of a new biomarker of drug response in a lethal cancer.
PALB2; pancreatic cancer; personalized xenograft; mitomycin C
Telomeres protect against chromosomal breakage, fusion, and interchromosome bridges during cell division. Shortened telomeres have been observed in the lowest grade of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic neoplasia develop acinar-to-ductal metaplasia prior to the development of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia suggesting that acinar-to-ductal metaplasias can be an early precursor lesion to pancreatic cancer. Some human pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias are associated with acinar-to-ductal metaplasias, and it has been suggested that these acinar-to-ductal metaplasias arise as a consequence of growth of adjacent pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias. Since the earliest known genetic lesions of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias is shortened telomeres we compared the telomere lengths of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia lesions, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias and adjacent normal cells of human pancreata to determine if acinar-to-ductal metaplasias could be precursors to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia. We used quantitative fluorescent in situ hybridization to measure the telomere length of cells from pancreatic lesions and adjacent normal pancreata from 22 patients, including 20 isolated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias, 13 pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias associated with acinar-to-ductal metaplasias, and 12 pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias. Normalized mean telomere fluorescence was significantly different among the cell types analyzed; 12.6±10.2 units in normal acinar cells, 10.2±6.4 in ductal cells, 8.4±5.9 in fibroblasts, 9.4±7.3 in isolated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias, 4.1±2.9 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-associated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias, and 1.6±1.9 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias, respectively (p<0.001, ANOVA with randomized block design). Telomeres were significantly shorter in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-associated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias (p<0.05, post-hoc Duncan test) and in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (p<0.05), than in normal cells, or isolated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias. Thus, shortened telomeres are found in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-associated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias, but not in isolated acinar-to-ductal metaplasia lesions. These results indicate that isolated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias are not a precursor to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and support the hypothesis that pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-associated acinar-to-ductal metaplasias arise secondary to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions.
More than 2% of the adult U.S. population harbors a pancreatic cyst. These often pose a difficult management problem because conventional criteria cannot always distinguish cysts with malignant potential from those that are innocuous. One of the most common cystic neoplasms of the pancreas, and a bona fide precursor to invasive adenocarcinoma, is called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN). To help reveal the pathogenesis of these lesions, we purified the DNA from IPMN cyst fluids from 19 patients and searched for mutations in 169 genes commonly altered in human cancers. In addition to the expected KRAS mutations, we identified recurrent mutations at codon 201 of GNAS. A larger number (113) of additional IPMNs were then analyzed to determine the prevalence of KRAS and GNAS mutations. In total, we found that GNAS mutations were present in 66% of IPMNs and that either KRAS or GNAS mutations could be identified in 96%. In eight cases, we could investigate invasive adenocarcinomas that developed in association with IPMNs containing GNAS mutations. In seven of these eight cases, the GNAS mutations present in the IPMNs were also found in the invasive lesion. GNAS mutations were not found in other types of cystic neoplasms of the pancreas or in invasive adenocarcinomas not associated with IPMNs. In addition to defining a new pathway for pancreatic neoplasia, these data suggest that GNAS mutations can inform the diagnosis and management of patients with cystic pancreatic lesions.
Metastasis, the dissemination and growth of neoplastic cells in an organ distinct from that in which they originated 12, is the most common cause of death in cancer patients. This is particularly true for pancreatic cancers, where most patients are diagnosed with metastatic disease and few show a sustained response to chemo- or radiation therapy 3. Whether the dismal prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer compared to patients with other types of cancer is a result of late diagnosis or early dissemination of disease to distant organs is not known. Here we rely on data generated by sequencing the genomes of seven pancreatic cancer metastases to evaluate the clonal relationships among primary and metastatic cancers. We find that clonal populations that give rise to distant metastases are represented within the primary carcinoma, but these clones are genetically evolved from the original parental, non-metastatic clone. Thus, genetic heterogeneity of metastases reflects that within the primary carcinoma. A quantitative analysis of the timing of the genetic evolution of pancreatic cancer was performed, indicating at least a decade between the occurrence of the initiating mutation and the birth of the parental, non-metastatic founder cell. At least five more years are required for the acquisition of metastatic ability and patients die an average of two years thereafter. These data provide novel insights into the genetic features underlying pancreatic cancer progression and define a broad time window of opportunity for early detection to prevent deaths from metastatic disease.
It has recently been suggested that overexpression of palladin in sporadic pancreatic cancer may contribute to pancreatic cancer’s invasive and migratory abilities. This hypothesis was based on reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analyses of bulk pancreatic tissue, yet pancreatic cancer is a complex admixture of neoplastic epithelial cells and desmoplastic stroma.
Immunohistochemical labeling of tissue microarrays was used to define the patterns of palladin protein expression in 177 ductal adenocarcinomas of the pancreas. Western blot analysis was used to determine the epitope(s) of palladin recognized by the antibody as well as the relative levels of palladin expression in short-term cultures of stromal fibroblasts, non-neoplastic ductal cells and pancreatic cancer cell lines.
Immunolabeling revealed that the palladin protein was strongly overexpressed in non-neoplastic stromal cells in 171 (96.6%) of the 177 evaluable pancreatic cancers. By contrast, the overexpression of palladin protein by the neoplastic epithelial cells relative to normal pancreatic epithelium was observed in only 22 (12.4%) of the 177 cancers. Western blot analysis confirmed that the antibody recognizes the ~90 kDa isoform of palladin, and demonstrated that fibroblast cell lines had higher expression of palladin than pancreatic cancer cell lines.
The overexpression of palladin relative to normal pancreas in the majority of pancreatic cancers is limited to non-neoplastic stromal cells. This observation highlights the limitations of relying on bulk tissues when analyzing gene expression. Since palladin is not overexpressed in most pancreatic cancer cells, the overexpression of palladin is not likely to be responsible for pancreatic cancer cells invasive and migratory abilities.
pancreas; pancreatic cancer; palladin; immunohistochemistry
For decades, hundreds of different human tumor type–specific cell lines have been used in experimental cancer research as models for their respective tumors. The veracity of experimental results for a specific tumor type relies on the correct derivation of the cell line. In a worldwide effort, we verified the authenticity of all available esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) cell lines. We proved that the frequently used cell lines SEG-1 and BIC-1 and the SK-GT-5 cell line are in fact cell lines from other tumor types. Experimental results based on these contaminated cell lines have led to ongoing clinical trials recruiting EAC patients, to more than 100 scientific publications, and to at least three National Institutes of Health cancer research grants and 11 US patents, which emphasizes the importance of our findings. Widespread use of contaminated cell lines threatens the development of treatment strategies for EAC.
Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) are one of the 3 known curable precursor lesions of invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, an almost uniformly fatal disease. Cell lines from IPMNs and their invasive counterparts should be valuable to identify gene mutations critical to IPMN carcinogenesis, and permit high-throughput screening to identify drugs that cause regression of these lesions.
To advance the study of the biological features of IPMNs, we attempted in vivo and in vitro growth of selected IPMNs based on the hypothesis that IPMNs could be grown in the most severely immunodeficient mice. We examined fourteen cases by implanting them into nude, severe combined immunodeficient (SCID), and NOD/SCID/IL2Rγnull (NOG) mice, in addition to direct culture, to generate tumor xenografts and cell lines. One sample was directly cultured only.
Thirteen tumors were implanted into the 3 types of mice, including 10 tumors implanted into the triple immunodeficient NOG mice, where the majority (8 of 10) grew. This included 5 IPMNs lacking an invasive component. One of the explanted IPMNs, with an associated invasive carcinoma, was successfully established as a cell line. Tumorigenicity was confirmed by growth in soft agar, growth in immunodeficient mice, and the homozygous deletion of p16/cdkn2a. Epithelial differentiation of the cell line was documented by cytokeratin expression. Patient origin was confirmed using DNA fingerprinting.
Most non-invasive IPMNs grow in NOG mice. We successfully established one IPMN cell line, and plan to use it to clarify the molecular pathogenesis of IPMNs.
Cell lines; Immunodeficient mice; Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN); pancreatic cancer; precursor lesions
Recently, the majority of protein coding genes were sequenced in a collection of pancreatic cancers, providing an unprecedented opportunity to identify genetic markers of prognosis for patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.
We previously sequenced over 750 million base pairs of DNA from 23,219 transcripts in a series of 24 adenocarcinomas of the pancreas. In addition, 39 genes that were mutated in more than one of these 24 cancers were sequenced in a separate panel of 90 well-characterized adenocarcinomas of the pancreas. Of these 114 patients, 89 underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy, and the somatic mutations in these cancers were correlated with patient outcome.
When adjusted for age, lymph node status, margin status, and tumor size, SMAD4 gene inactivation was significantly associated with shorter overall survival (Hazard ratio [95% C.I.] = 1.92 [1.20 – 3.05], p=0.006). Patients with SMAD4 gene inactivation survived a median of 11.5 months, compared to 14.2 months for patients without SMAD4 inactivation. By contrast, mutations in CDKN2A, TP53, or the presence of multiple (≥4) mutations or homozygous deletions among the 39 most frequently mutated genes were not associated with survival.
SMAD4 gene inactivation is associated with poorer prognosis in patients with surgically-resected adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.
Cigarette smoking doubles the risk of pancreatic cancer and smoking accounts for 20 to 25% of pancreatic cancers. The recent sequencing of the pancreatic cancer genome provides an unprecedented opportunity to identify mutational patterns associated with smoking.
We previously sequenced over 750 million base pairs of DNA from 23,219 transcripts in 24 adenocarcinomas of the pancreas (“Discovery Screen”). In this previous study the 39 genes that were mutated more than once in the Discovery Screen were sequenced in an additional 90 adenocarcinomas of the pancreas (“Validation Screen”). Here we compared the somatic mutations in the cancers obtained from individuals who ever smoked cigarettes (n=64) to the somatic mutations in the cancers obtained from individuals who never smoked cigarettes (n=50).
When adjusted for age and gender, analyses of the Discovery Screen revealed significantly more non-synonymous mutations in the carcinomas obtained from ever smokers (mean 53.1 mutations per tumor, SD 27.9) than in the carcinomas obtained from never smokers (mean 38.5, SD 11.1, p=0.04). The difference between smokers and non-smokers was not driven by mutations in known driver genes in pancreatic cancer (KRAS, TP53, p16/CDKN2A and SMAD4), but instead was predominantly observed in genes mutated at lower frequency. No differences were observed in mutations in carcinomas from the head vs. tail of the gland.
Pancreatic carcinomas from cigarette smokers harbor more mutations than do carcinomas from never smokers. The types and patterns of these mutations provide insight into the mechanisms by which cigarette smoking causes pancreatic cancer.
Contrary to the extensive data accumulated regarding pancreatic carcinogenesis, the clinical and molecular features characteristic of advanced stage (stage III and IV) disease are unknown. A comprehensive study of pancreatic cancers from patients who have succumbed to their disease has the potential to greatly expand our understanding of the most lethal stage of this disease and identify novel areas for intervention.
Materials and Methods
Rapid autopsies were performed on 76 patients with documented pancreatic cancer. The histologic features of end stage disease were determined and correlated to the stage at initial diagnosis, patterns of failure (locally destructive v metastatic disease) and the status of the KRAS2, TP53, and DPC4 genes.
At autopsy, 30% of patients died with locally destructive pancreatic cancer, and 70% died with widespread metastatic disease. These divergent patterns of failure found at autopsy (locally destructive v metastatic) were unrelated to clinical stage at initial presentation, treatment history, or histopathologic features. However, Dpc4 immunolabeling status of carcinoma tissues harvested at autopsy, a sensitive marker of DPC4 genetic status, was highly correlated with the presence of widespread metastasis but not with locally destructive tumors (P = .007).
Pancreatic cancers are represented by distinct genetic subtypes with significantly different patterns of failure. Determinations of DPC4 status at initial diagnosis may be of value in stratifying patients into treatment regimens related to local control versus systemic therapy.
Pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) is a precursor to invasive ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Observations made in genetically engineered mouse models suggest that the acinar/centroacinar compartment can give rise to ductal neoplasia. In order to integrate findings in mice and men, we examined human acinar cells, acinar-ductal metaplasia (ADM) lesions and PanINs for KRAS2 gene mutations.
Surgically resected pancreata were screened for foci of ADM with or without an associated PanIN lesion. Stromal cells, acinar cells, ADMs, and PanINs, were separately isolated using laser capture microdissection. KRAS2 status was analyzed using genomic DNA isolated from the microdissected tissue.
Twelve of these 31 foci of ADM occurred in isolation, while 19 were in the same lobules as a PanIN lesion. All 31 microdissected foci of acinar cells were KRAS2 gene wild-type, as were all 12 isolated ADM lesions lacking an associated PanIN. KRAS2 gene mutations were present in 14 of 19 (74%) PanIN lesions, and in 12 of the 19 (63%) foci of ADM associated with these PanINs. All ADM lesions with a KRAS2 gene mutation harbored the identical KRAS2 gene mutation found in their associated PanIN lesions.
Ductal neoplasms of the human pancreas, as defined by KRAS2 gene mutations, do not appear to arise from acinar cells. Isolated AMD lesions are genetically distinct from those associated with PanINs, and the latter may represent retrograde extension of the neoplastic PanIN cells, or less likely are PanIN precursor lesions.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma arises in the backdrop of Barrett metaplasia-dysplasia sequence, with the vast majority of patients presenting with late stage malignancy. Mesothelin, a GPI-anchored protein, is aberrantly overexpressed on the surface of many solid cancers. Mesothelin expression was assessed in esophageal tissue microarrays (TMAs) encompassing the entire histologic spectrum of Barrett-associated dysplasia and adenocarcinoma. Mesothelin expression was observed in 24/84 (29%) of invasive adenocarcinomas, and in 5/34 (15%) lymph node metastases. In contrast, normal squamous and cardia mucosa, as well as non-invasive Barrett lesions, failed to label with mesothelin. Mesothelin was expressed in the esophageal adenocarcinoma cell line JHU-EsoAd1, but not in primary human esophageal epithelial cells. Anti-mesothelin antibody conjugated CdSe/CDS/ZnS quantum rods (QRs) were synthesized as described (Young et al, NanoLetters, 2007), and confocal bio-imaging confirmed robust binding to JHU-EsoAd1 cells. Anti-mesothelin antibody conjugated nanoparticles can be useful for the diagnosis and therapy of mesothelin-overexpressing esophageal adenocarcinomas.
Barrett esophagus; mesothelin; immunohistochemistry; quantum rods; antibody conjugated nanoparticles; molecular imaging; esophageal adenocarcinoma
We analyzed genetic linkage of nevirapine (NVP) resistance mutations and the genetic complexity of HIV-1 variants in Ugandan infants who were HIV-infected despite single dose (SD) prophylaxis. Plasma samples were obtained from six HIV-infected infants who had two or more NVP resistance mutations detected by population sequencing (ViroSeq). ViroSeq PCR products were cloned and transformed, and a single step amplification-sequencing reaction (AmpliSeq) was used to analyze NVP resistance mutations in cloned HIV-1 variants directly from bacterial colonies. Fifty clones were analyzed for each infant sample. This analysis revealed numerous NVP resistance mutations not detected by population sequencing, genetically-linked NVP resistance mutations, and a high degree of genetic complexity at codons that influence NVP susceptibility.
We analyzed the genetic linkage of nevirapine (NVP) resistance mutations and the genetic complexity of HIV-1 variants in Ugandan infants who were HIV infected despite single dose (SD) prophylaxis. Plasma samples were obtained from six HIV-infected infants who had two or more NVP resistance mutations detected by population sequencing (ViroSeq). ViroSeq PCR products were cloned and transformed, and a single-step amplification-sequencing reaction (AmpliSeq) was used to analyze NVP resistance mutations in cloned HIV-1 variants directly from bacterial colonies. Fifty clones were analyzed for each infant sample. This analysis revealed numerous NVP resistance mutations not detected by population sequencing, genetically linked NVP resistance mutations, and a high degree of genetic complexity at codons that influence NVP susceptibility.
To examine the clinicopathologic features and clonal relationship of multifocal intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) of the pancreas.
Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms are increasingly diagnosed cystic precursor lesions of pancreatic cancer. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms can be multifocal and a potential cause of recurrence after partial pancreatectomy.
Thirty four patients with histologically documented multifocal IPMNs were collected and their clinicopathologic features catalogued. In addition, thirty multifocal IPMNs arising in 13 patients from 3 hospitals were subjected to laser microdissection followed by KRAS pyrosequencing and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis on chromosomes 6q and 17p. Finally, we sought to assess the clonal relationships among multifocal IPMNs.
We identified 34 patients with histologically documented multifocal IPMNs. Synchronous IPMNs were present in 29 patients (85%), whereas 5 (15%) developed clinically significant metachronous IPMNs. Six patients (18%) had a history of familial pancreatic cancer. A majority of multifocal IPMNs (86% synchronous, 100% metachronous) were composed of branch duct lesions, and typically demonstrated a gastric-foveolar subtype epithelium with low or intermediate grades of dysplasia. Three synchronous IPMNs (10%) had an associated invasive cancer. Molecular analysis of multiple IPMNs from 13 patients demonstrated nonoverlapping KRAS gene mutations in 8 patients (62%) and discordant LOH profiles in 7 patients (54%); independent genetic alterations were established in 9 of the 13 patients (69%).
The majority of multifocal IPMNs arise independently and exhibit a gastric-foveolar subtype, with low to intermediate dysplasia. These findings underscore the importance of life-long follow-up after resection for an IPMN.
Somatic mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are common in many human cancers. We have described an oligonucleotide microarray ("MitoChip") for rapid sequencing of the entire mitochondrial genome (Zhou et al, J Mol Diagn 2006), facilitating the analysis of mtDNA mutations in preneoplastic lesions. We examined 14 precancerous lesions, including seven Barrett esophagus biopsies, with or without associated dysplasia; four colorectal adenomas; and three inflammatory colitis-associated dysplasia specimens. In all cases, matched normal tissues from the corresponding site were obtained as germline control. MitoChip analysis was performed on DNA obtained from cryostat-embedded specimens.
A total of 513,639 bases of mtDNA were sequenced in the 14 samples, with 490,224 bases (95.4%) bases assigned by the automated genotyping software. All preneoplastic lesions examined demonstrated at least one somatic mtDNA sequence alteration. Of the 100 somatic mtDNA alterations observed in the 14 cases, 27 were non-synonymous coding region mutations (i.e., resulting in an amino acid change), 36 were synonymous, and 37 involved non-coding mtDNA. Overall, somatic alterations most commonly involved the COI, ND4 and ND5 genes. Notably, somatic mtDNA alterations were observed in preneoplastic lesions of the gastrointestinal tract even in the absence of histopathologic evidence of dysplasia, suggesting that the mitochondrial genome is susceptible at the earliest stages of multistep cancer progression.
Our findings further substantiate the rationale for exploring the mitochondrial genome as a biomarker for the early diagnosis of cancer, and confirm the utility of a high-throughput array-based platform for this purpose from a clinical applicability standpoint.
Mutations in the chromatin remodeling gene ARID1A have recently been identified in the majority of ovarian clear cell carcinomas (OCCCs). To determine the prevalence of mutations in other tumor types, we evaluated 759 malignant neoplasms including those of the pancreas, breast, colon, stomach, lung, prostate, brain, and blood (leukemias). We identified truncating mutations in 6% of the neoplasms studied; nontruncating somatic mutations were identified in an additional 0.4% of neoplasms. Mutations were most commonly found in gastrointestinal samples with 12 of 119 (10%) colorectal and 10 of 100 (10%) gastric neoplasms, respectively, harboring changes. More than half of the mutated colorectal and gastric cancers displayed microsatellite instability (MSI) and the mutations in these tumors were out-of-frame insertions or deletions at mononucleotide repeats. Mutations were also identified in 2–8% of tumors of the pancreas, breast, brain (medulloblastomas), prostate, and lung, and none of these tumors displayed MSI. These findings suggest that the aberrant chromatin remodeling consequent to ARID1A inactivation contributes to a variety of different types of neoplasms.
ARID1A; cancer; chromatin remodeling
5-fluorouracil (5FU), a widely used chemotherapeutic drug, inhibits the DNA replicative enzyme, thymidylate synthase (Tyms). Prior studies implicated a VNTR (variable numbers of tandem repeats) polymorphism in the 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR) of the TYMS gene as a determinant of Tyms expression in tumors and normal tissues and proposed that these VNTR genotypes could help decide fluoropyrimidine dosing. Clinical associations between 5FU-related toxicity and the TYMS VNTR were reported, however, results were inconsistent, suggesting that additional genetic variation in the TYMS gene might influence Tyms expression. We thus conducted a detailed genetic analysis of this region, defining new polymorphisms in this gene including mononucleotide (poly A:T) repeats and novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) flanking the VNTR in the TYMS genetic region. Our haplotype analysis of this region used data from both established and novel genetic variants and found nine SNP haplotypes accounting for more than 90% of the studied population. We observed non-exclusive relationships between the VNTR and adjacent SNP haplotypes, such that each type of VNTR commonly occurred on several haplotype backgrounds. Our results confirmed the expectation that the VNTR alleles exhibit homoplasy and lack the common ancestry required for a reliable marker of a linked adjacent locus that might govern toxicity. We propose that it may be necessary in a clinical trial to assay multiple types of genetic polymorphisms in the TYMS region to meaningfully model linkage of genetic markers to 5FU-related toxicity. The presence of multiple long (up to 26 nt), polymorphic monothymidine repeats in the promoter region of the sole human thymidylate synthetic enzyme is intriguing.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) arises in the backdrop of reflux-induced metaplastic phenomenon known as Barrett esophagus. The prognosis of advanced EAC is dismal, and there is an urgent need for identifying molecular targets for therapy. Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) was performed on metachronous mucosal biopsies from a patient who underwent progression to EAC during endoscopic surveillance. SAGE confirmed significant upregulation of Axl “tags” during the multistep progression of Barrett esophagus to EAC. In a cohort of 92 surgically resected EACs, Axl overexpression was associated with shortened median survival on both univariate (p < 0.004) and multivariate (p < 0.036) analysis. Genetic knockdown of Axl receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) function was enabled in two EAC lines (OE33 and JH-EsoAd1) using lentiviral short hairpin RNA (shRNA). Genetic knockdown of Axl in EAC cell lines inhibited invasion, migration and in vivo engraftment, which was accompanied by downregulation in the activity of the Ral GTPase proteins (RalA and RalB). Restoration of Ral activation rescued the transformed phenotype of EAC cell lines, suggesting a novel effector mechanism for Axl in cancer cells. Pharmacological inhibition of Axl was enabled using a small molecule antagonist, R428 (Rigel Pharmaceuticals). Pharmacological inhibition of Axl with R428 in EAC cell lines significantly reduced anchorage-independent growth, invasion and migration. Blockade of Axl function abrogated phosphorylation of ERBB2 (Her-2/neu) at the Tyr877 residue, indicative of receptor crosstalk. Axl RTK is an adverse prognostic factor in EAC. The availability of small molecule inhibitors of Axl function provides a tractable strategy for molecular therapy of established EAC.
Barrett esophagus; Axl; Ral GTP; SAGE
Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) arises in the backdrop of reflux-induced metaplastic phenomenon known as Barrett esophagus. The prognosis of advanced EAC is dismal, and there is an urgent need for identifying molecular targets for therapy. Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) was performed on metachronous mucosal biopsies from a patient who underwent progression to EAC during endoscopic surveillance. SAGE confirmed significant upregulation of Axl “tags” during the multistep progression of Barrett esophagus to EAC. In a cohort of 92 surgically resected EACs, Axl overexpression was associated with shortened median survival on both univariate (p < 0.004) and multivariate (p < 0.036) analysis. Genetic knockdown of Axl receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) function was enabled in two EAC lines (OE33 and JH-EsoAd1) using lentiviral short hairpin RNA (shRNA). Genetic knockdown of Axl in EAC cell lines inhibited invasion, migration and in vivo engraftment, which was accompanied by downregulation in the activity of the Ral GTPase proteins (RalA and RalB). Restoration of Ral activation rescued the transformed phenotype of EAC cell lines, suggesting a novel effector mechanism for Axl in cancer cells. Pharmacological inhibition of Axl was enabled using a small molecule antagonist, R428 (Rigel Pharmaceuticals). Pharmacological inhibition of Axl with R428 in EAC cell lines significantly reduced anchorageindependent growth, invasion and migration. Blockade of Axl function abrogated phosphorylation of ERBB2 (Her-2/neu) at the Tyr877 residue, indicative of receptor crosstalk. Axl RTK is an adverse prognostic factor in EAC. The availability of small molecule inhibitors of Axl function provides a tractable strategy for molecular therapy of established EAC.
Barrett esophagus; Axl; Ral GTP; SAGE