Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a pediatric tumor that arises from muscle precursor cells. RMS cells express several markers of early myogenic differentiation, but they fail to complete both differentiation program and cell cycle arrest, resulting in uncontrolled proliferation and incomplete myogenesis. Previous studies showed that EZH2, which is involved in both differentiation and cancer progression, is overexpressed in RMS, but a functional binding between its expression and its functional role in tumor formation or progression has not yet been demonstrated. We hypothesized that EZH2 is a key regulator of muscular differentiation program in RMS cells.
In this study, we demonstrated that EZH2 directly binds muscle specific genes in RD cells. Silencing of EZH2 promotes the recruitment of a multiprotein complex at muscle-specific promoters, their transcriptional activation and protein expression. Moreover, we demonstrated that EZH2 is directly involved in transcriptional repression of MyoD, the main factor promoting myogenesis. EZH2 ablation induces MyoD activation the recovery of its binding on muscle-specific genes.
PRC complex; EZH2; MyoD; rhabdomyosarcoma; myogenesis
Hormone-dependent tumors are characterized by deregulated activity of specific steroid receptors, allowing aberrant expression of many genes involved in cancer initiation, progression and metastasis. In prostate cancer, the androgen receptor (AR) protein has pivotal functions, and over the years it has been the target of different drugs. AR is a nuclear receptor whose activity is regulated by a phosphorylation mechanism controlled by hormone and growth factors. Following phosphorylation, AR interacts with many cofactors that closely control its function. Among such cofactors, Pin1 is a peptidyl-prolyl isomerase that is involved in the control of protein phosphorylation and has a prognostic value in prostate cancer. In the present study, we demonstrate that ARSer81 is involved in the interaction with Pin1, and that this interaction is important for the transcriptional activity of AR. Since Pin1 expression positively correlates with tumor grade, our results suggest that Pin1 can participate in this process by modulating AR function.
ARSer81; Pin1; androgen receptor; phosphorylation; prostate cancer
In recent years, the scientific evidence linking vitamin D status or supplementation to breast cancer has grown notably. To investigate the role of vitamin D supplementation on breast cancer incidence, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing vitamin D with placebo or no treatment. We used OVID to search MEDLINE (R), EMBASE and CENTRAL until April 2012. We screened the reference lists of included studies and used the “Related Article” feature in PubMed to identify additional articles. No language restrictions were applied. Two reviewers independently extracted data on methodological quality, participants, intervention, comparison and outcomes. Risk Ratios and 95% Confident Intervals for breast cancer were pooled using a random-effects model. Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test. In sensitivity analysis, we assessed the impact of vitamin D dosage and mode of administration on treatment effects. Only two randomized controlled trials fulfilled the pre-set inclusion criteria. The pooled analysis included 5372 postmenopausal women. Overall, Risk Ratios and 95% Confident Intervals were 1.11 and 0.74–1.68. We found no evidence of heterogeneity. Neither vitamin D dosage nor mode of administration significantly affected breast cancer risk. However, treatment efficacy was somewhat greater when vitamin D was administered at the highest dosage and in combination with calcium (Risk Ratio 0.58, 95% Confident Interval 0.23–1.47 and Risk Ratio 0.93, 95% Confident Interval 0.54–1.60, respectively). In conclusions, vitamin D use seems not to be associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer development in postmenopausal women. However, the available evidence is still limited and inadequate to draw firm conclusions. Study protocol code: FARM8L2B5L.
A cross talk between the Estrogen Receptor (ESR1) and the Retinoblastoma (pRb) pathway has been demonstrated to influence the therapeutic response of breast cancer patients but the full mechanism remains poorly understood. Here we show that the N-terminal domain of pRb interacts with the CD domain of ESR1 to allow for the assembly of intermediate complex chaperone proteins HSP90 and p23. We demonstrated that a loss of pRb in human/mouse breast cells decreases the expression of the ESR1 protein through the proteasome pathway. Our work reveals a novel regulatory mechanism of ESR1 basal turnover and activity and an unanticipated relationship with the pRb tumor suppressor.
pRb; Estrogen receptor alpha; proteasome; chaperone proteins; breast cancer
Metabolic Syndrome (MS) has been correlated to breast carcinogenesis. MS is common in the general population (34%) and increases with age and body mass index. Although the link between obesity, MS and hormone related cancer incidence is now widely recognized, the molecular mechanisms at the basis of such increase are still poorly characterized. A crucial role is supposed to be played by the altered insulin signalling, occurring in obese patients, which fuels cancer cell growth, proliferation and survival. Therefore we focused specifically on insulin resistance to investigate clinically the potential role of insulin in breast carcinogenesis.
975 patients were enrolled and the association between MS, insulin resistance, and breast cancer was evaluated. Women were stratified by age and menopausal status. Insulin resistance was measured through the Homeostasis Model Assessment score (HOMA-IR). The cut off value to define insulin resistance was HOMA-IR ≥ 2.50.
Higher prevalence of MS (35%) was found among postmenopausal women with breast cancer compared to postmenopausal healthy women (19%) [OR 2.16]. A broad range of BMI spanning 19–48 Kg/m2 was calculated. Both cases and controls were characterized by BMI ≥ 25 Kg/m2 (58% of cases compared to 61% of controls). Waist circumference >88 cm was measured in 53% of cases - OR 1.58- (95% CI 0.8-2.8) and in 46% of controls. Hyperinsulinemia was detected in 7% of cases – OR 2.14 (95% CI 1.78-2.99) and only in 3% of controls. HOMA-IR score was elevated in 49% of cases compared to 34% of controls [OR 1.86], suggesting that insulin resistance can nearly double the risk of breast cancer development. Interestingly 61% of women operated for breast cancer (cases) with HOMA-IR ≥ 2.5 presented subclinical insulin resistance with fasting plasma glucose levels and fasting plasma insulin levels in the normal range. Both android fat distribution and insulin resistance correlated to MS in the subgroup of postmenopausal women affected by breast cancer.
Our results further support the hypothesis that MS, in particular insulin resistance and abdominal fat, can be considered as risk factors for developing breast cancer after menopause. We suggest that HOMA-IR, rather than fasting plasma glucose and fasting plasma insulin levels alone, could be a valuable tool to identify patients with subclinical insulin resistance, which could be relevant for primary prevention and for high risk patient screening.
Metabolic syndrome; Insulin resistance; Breast cancer; Postmenopausal; HOMA-IR
Epithelial cancer cells are likely to undergo epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) prior to entering the peripheral circulation. By undergoing EMT, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) lose epithelial markers and may escape detection by conventional methods. Therefore, we conducted a pilot study to investigate mRNA transcripts of EMT-inducing transcription factors (TFs) in tumor cells from the peripheral blood (PB) of primary breast cancer (PBC) patients.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 52 stages I–III PBC patients and 30 healthy donors (HD) and sequentially depleted of EpCAM+ cells and CD45+ leukocytes, henceforth referred to as CD45−. The expression levels of EMT-inducing TFs (TWIST1, SNAIL1, SLUG, ZEB1, and FOXC2) in the CD45− cells were determined using qRT-PCR. The highest level of expression by the CD45− cell fraction of HD was used as “cut off” to determine if samples from PBC patients overexpressed any EMT-inducing TFs. In total, 15.4% of PBC patients overexpressed at least one of the EMT-inducing TF transcripts. Overexpression of any EMT-inducing TF transcripts was more likely to be detected in PBC patients who received neoadjuvant therapies (NAT) than patients who received no NAT (P = 0.003). Concurrently, CTCs were detected in 7 out of 38 (18.4%) patients by CellSearch® and 15 out of 42 (35.7%) patients by AdnaTest™. There was no association between the presence of CTCs measured by CellSearch® or AdnaTest™.
In summary, our results demonstrate that CTCs with EMT phenotype may occur in the peripheral circulation of PBC patients and NAT is unable to eliminate CTCs undergoing EMT.
circulating tumor cells; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; primary breast cancer; neoadjuvant therapy
Adipose tissue expansion involves the enlargement of existing adipocytes, the formation of new cells from committed preadipocytes, and the coordinated development of the tissue vascular network. Here we find that murine endothelial cells (EC) of classic white and brown fat depots share ultrastructural characteristics with pericytes, which are pluripotent and can potentially give rise to preadipocytes. Lineage tracing experiments using the VE-cadherin promoter reveal localization of reporter genes in EC, and also in preadipocytes and adipocytes of white and brown fat depots. Furthermore, capillary sprouts from human adipose tissue, which have predominantly EC characteristics, are found to express Zfp423, a recently identified marker of preadipocyte determination. In response to PPARγ activation, endothelial characteristics of sprouting cells are progressively lost, and cells form structurally and biochemically defined adipocytes. Together these data support an endothelial origin of murine and human adipocytes, suggesting a model for how adipogenesis and angiogenesis are coordinated during adipose tissue expansion.
adipose stem cells; preadipocytes; adipogenesis; white adipose tissue; electron microscopy; in vivo lineage tracing; adipose tissue explants
In hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, most tumors in the early stages of development depend on the activity of the estrogen receptor and its ligand, estradiol. Anti-estrogens, such as tamoxifen, have been used as the first line of therapy for over three decades due to the fact that they elicit cell cycle arrest. Unfortunately, after an initial period, most cells become resistant to hormonal therapy. Peptidylprolyl isomerase 1 (Pin1), a protein overexpressed in many tumor types including breast, has been demonstrated to modulate ERalpha activity and is involved in resistance to hormonal therapy. Here we show a new mechanism through which CDK2 drives an ERalpha-Pin1 interaction under hormone- and growth factor-free conditions. The PI3K/AKT pathway is necessary to activate CDK2, which phosphorylates ERalphaSer294, and mediates the binding between Pin1 and ERalpha. Site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated that ERalphaSer294 is essential for Pin1-ERalpha interaction and modulates ERalpha phosphorylation on Ser118 and Ser167, dimerization and activity. These results open up new drug treatment opportunities for breast cancer patients who are resistant to anti-estrogen therapy.
A rising body of evidence suggests that silencing microRNAs (miRNAs) with oncogenic potential may represent a successful therapeutic strategy for human cancer. We investigated the therapeutic activity of miR-221/222 inhibitors against human multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Enforced expression of miR-221/222 inhibitors triggered in vitro anti-proliferative effects and up-regulation of canonic miR-221/222 targets, including p27Kip1, PUMA, PTEN and p57Kip2, in MM cells highly expressing miR-221/222. Conversely, transfection of miR-221/222 mimics increased S-phase and down-regulated p27Kip1 protein expression in MM with low basal miR-221/222 levels. The effects of miR-221/222 inhibitors was also evaluated in MM xenografts in SCID/NOD mice. Significant anti-tumor activity was achieved in xenografted mice by the treatment with miR-221/222 inhibitors, together with up-regulation of canonic protein targets in tumors retrieved from animals. These findings provide proof of principle that silencing the miR-221/222 cluster exerts significant therapeutic activity in MM cells with high miR-221/222 level of expression, which mostly occurs in TC2 and TC4 MM groups. These findings suggest that MM genotyping may predict the therapeutic response. All together our results support a framework for clinical development of miR-221/222 inhibitors-based therapeutic strategy in this still incurable disease.
miR-221; miR-222; microRNA; miRNA; multiple myeloma; plasma cell leukemia
Where population coverage is limited, the exclusive use of Cancer Registries might limit ascertainment of incident cancer cases. We explored the potentials of Nationwide hospital discharge records (NHDRs) to capture incident breast cancer cases in Italy.
We analyzed NHDRs for mastectomies and quadrantectomies performed between 2001 and 2008. The average annual percentage change (AAPC) and related 95% Confidence Interval (CI) in the actual number of mastectomies and quadrantectomies performed during the study period were computed for the full sample and for subgroups defined by age, surgical procedure, macro-area and singular Region. Re-admissions of the same patients were separately presented.
The overall number of mastectomies decreased, with an AAPC of −2.1% (−2.3 -1.8). This result was largely driven by the values observed for women in the 45 to 64 and 65 to 74 age subgroups (−3.0%, -3.4 -3.6 and −3.3%, -3.8 -2.8, respectively). We observed no significant reduction in mastectomies for women in the remaining age groups. Quadrantectomies showed an overall +4.7 AAPC (95%CI:4.5–4.9), with no substantial differences by age. Analyses by geographical area showed a remarkable decrease in mastectomies, with inter-regional discrepancies possibly depending upon variability in mammography screening coverage and adherence. Quadrantectomies significantly increased, with Southern Regions presenting the highest average rates. Data on repeat admissions within a year revealed a total number of 46,610 major breast surgeries between 2001 and 2008, with an overall +3.2% AAPC (95%CI:2.8-3.6).
In Italy, NHDRs might represent a valuable supplemental data source to integrate Cancer Registries in cancer surveillance.
Hospital discharge records; Breast cancer; Mastectomies; Quadrantectomies; Cancer surveillance
Several human diseases including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer are associated with abnormal accumulation and aggregation of misfolded proteins. Proteins with high tendency to aggregate include the p53 gene product, TAU and alpha synuclein. The potential toxicity of aberrantly folded proteins is limited via their transport into intracellular sub-compartments, the aggresomes, where misfolded proteins are stored or cleared via autophagy. We have identified a region of the acetyltransferase p300 that is highly disordered and displays similarities with prion-like domains. We show that this region is encoded as an alternative spliced variant independently of the acetyltransferase domain, and provides an interaction interface for various misfolded proteins, promoting their aggregation. p300 enhances aggregation of TAU and of p53 and is a component of cellular aggregates in both tissue culture cells and in alpha-synuclein positive Lewy bodies of patients affected by Parkinson disease. Down-regulation of p300 impairs aggresome formation and enhances cytotoxicity induced by misfolded protein stress. These data unravel a novel activity of p300, offer new insights into the function of disordered domains and implicate p300 in pathological aggregation that occurs in neurodegeneration and cancer.
Aberrant DNA methylation plays a relevant role in multiple myeloma (MM) pathogenesis. MicroRNAs
(miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that recently emerged as master regulator of gene
expression by targeting protein-coding mRNAs. However, miRNAs involvement in the regulation of the
epigenetic machinery and their potential use as therapeutics in MM remain to be investigated. Here,
we provide evidence that the expression of de novo DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) is deregulated in
MM cells. Moreover, we show that miR-29b targets DNMT3A and DNMT3B mRNAs and reduces global DNA
methylation in MM cells. In vitro transfection of MM cells with synthetic miR-29b mimics
significantly impairs cell cycle progression and also potentiates the growth-inhibitory effects
induced by the demethylating agent 5-azacitidine. Most importantly, in vivo intratumor or systemic
delivery of synthetic miR-29b mimics, in two clinically relevant murine models of human MM,
including the SCID-synth-hu system, induces significant anti-tumor effects. All together, our
findings demonstrate that aberrant DNMTs expression is efficiently modulated by tumor suppressive
synthetic miR-29b mimics, indicating that methyloma modulation is a novel matter of investigation in
miRNA-based therapy of MM.
miR-29b; microRNA; multiple myeloma; DNA methyltransferases; DNMT
Gastric cancer is a multifactorial neoplastic pathology numbering among its causes both environmental and genetic predisposing factors. It is mainly diffused in South America and South-East Asia, where it shows the highest morbility percentages and it is relatively scarcely diffused in Western countries and North America. Although molecular mechanisms leading to gastric cancer development are only partially known, three main causes are well characterized: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, diet rich in salted and/or smoked food and red meat, and epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) mutations. Unhealthy diet and H. pylori infection are able to induce in stomach cancer cells genotypic and phenotypic transformation, but their effects may be crossed by a diet rich in vegetables and fresh fruits. Various authors have recently focused their attention on the importance of a well balanced diet, suggesting a necessary dietary education starting from childhood. A constant surveillance will be necessary in people carrying E-cadherin mutations, since they are highly prone in developing gastric cancer, also within the inner stomach layers. Above all in the United States, several carriers decided to undergo a gastrectomy, preferring changing their lifestyle than living with the awareness of the development of a possible gastric cancer. This kind of choice is strictly personal, hence a decision cannot be suggested within the clinical management. Here we summarize the key points of gastric cancer prevention analyzing possible strategies referred to the different predisposing factors. We will discuss about the effects of diet, H. pylori infection and E-cadherin mutations and how each of them can be handled.
Cancer; Prevention; Diet; Vegetables; Cell cycle; Lifestyle; Helicobacter pylori
FoxO3A; PPARα; anticancer properties; fenobribate; glioblastoma
Comment on: Tran KV, et al. Cell Metab 2012; 15:222-9.
adipogenesis; adipose tissue explants; brown adipose tissue; electron microscopy; endothelial cells; in vivo lineage-tracing; preadipocytes; white adipose tissue
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are purported to be epithelial tumor cells expressing CD44+CD24lo that exhibit aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (Aldefluor+). We hypothesized that if CSCs are responsible for tumor dissemination, disseminated cells in the bone marrow (BM) would be positive for putative breast CSC markers. Therefore, we assessed the presence of Aldefluor+ epithelial (CD326+CD45dim) cells for the presence of the CD44+CD24lo phenotype in BM of patients with primary breast cancer (PBC).
BM aspirates were collected at the time of surgery from 66 patients with PBC. Thirty patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) prior to aspiration. BM was analyzed for Aldefluor+ epithelial cells with or without CD44+CD24lo expression by flow cytometry. BM aspirates from 3 healthy donors (HD) were subjected to identical processing and analyses and served as controls.
Patients with triple-receptor-negative (TN) tumors had a significantly higher median percentage of CD44+CD24lo CSC within Aldefluor+ epithelial cell population than patients with other immunohistochemical subtypes (P=0.018). Patients with TN tumors or with pN2 or higher pathologic nodal status were more likely to have a proportion of CD44+CD24lo CSC within Aldefluor+ epithelial cell population above the highest level of HD. Furthermore, patients who received NACT were more likely to have percentages of Aldefluor+ epithelial cells greater than the highest level of HD (P=0.004).
The percentage of CD44+CD24lo CSC in the BM is higher in PBC patients with high risk tumor features. The selection or enrichment of Aldefluor+ epithelial cells by NACT may represent an opportunity to target these cells with novel therapies.
The neural differentiation process is studied in mesenchymal stem cells obtained from Rett patients and in neuroblastoma cells carrying a partially silenced MECP2 gene. The data suggest that neural cell fate and neuronal maintenance might be perturbed by senescence triggered by impaired MECP2 protein activity either before or after neural differentiation.
MECP2 protein binds preferentially to methylated CpGs and regulates gene expression by causing changes in chromatin structure. The mechanism by which impaired MECP2 activity can induce pathological abnormalities in the nervous system of patients with Rett syndrome (RTT) is not clearly understood. To gain further insight into the role of MECP2 in human neurogenesis, we compared the neural differentiation process in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) obtained from a RTT patient and from healthy donors. We further analyzed neural differentiation in a human neuroblastoma cell line carrying a partially silenced MECP2 gene. Senescence and reduced expression of neural markers were observed in proliferating and differentiating MSCs from the RTT patient, which suggests that impaired activity of MECP2 protein may impair neural differentiation, as observed in RTT patients. Next, we used an inducible expression system to silence MECP2 in neuroblastoma cells before and after the induction of neural differentiation via retinoic acid treatment. This approach was used to test whether MECP2 inactivation affected the cell fate of neural progenitors and/or neuronal differentiation and maintenance. Overall, our data suggest that neural cell fate and neuronal maintenance may be perturbed by senescence triggered by impaired MECP2 activity either before or after neural differentiation.
This study emphasizes the dynamical properties of mechanical loading via simulated microgravity, its effect on acute myeloid leukemia proliferation and hematopoietic stem cell (HSPC) growth and its implications in the area of tissue regeneration. Data presented illustrates that mechanical transduction changes the expression of humoral factors by facilitating paracrine/autocrine signalling, therefore modulating intracellular trafficking of tyrosine kinase receptors. Understanding mechano-transduction in the context of cell and tissue morphogenesis is the major focus of this study. The effects of external physiological stresses, such as blood flow, on several cellular subtypes seem to produce very intricate cellular responses. It is well accepted that mechanical loading plays an intrinsic and extrinsic influence on cell survival. This study shows how microgravity effects hematopoietic stem cells, and human leukemic cell proliferation and expression of its receptors that control cell survival, such as the tyrosine kinase vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1, receptor-2 and receptor-3.
Thrombopoietin; VEGFR's; CD34+; CD45
Glutamate is emerging as a major factor stimulating energy production in CNS. Brain mitochondria can utilize this neurotransmitter as respiratory substrate and specific transporters are required to mediate the glutamate entry into the mitochondrial matrix. Glutamate transporters of the Excitatory Amino Acid Transporters (EAATs) family have been previously well characterized on the cell surface of neuronal and glial cells, representing the primary players for glutamate uptake in mammalian brain. Here, by using western blot, confocal microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy, we report for the first time that the Excitatory Amino Acid Carrier 1 (EAAC1), an EAATs member, is expressed in neuronal and glial mitochondria where it participates in glutamate-stimulated ATP production, evaluated by a luciferase-luciferin system. Mitochondrial metabolic response is counteracted when different EAATs pharmacological blockers or selective EAAC1 antisense oligonucleotides were used. Since EAATs are Na+-dependent proteins, this raised the possibility that other transporters regulating ion gradients across mitochondrial membrane were required for glutamate response. We describe colocalization, mutual activity dependency, physical interaction between EAAC1 and the sodium/calcium exchanger 1 (NCX1) both in neuronal and glial mitochondria, and that NCX1 is an essential modulator of this glutamate transporter. Only NCX1 activity is crucial for such glutamate-stimulated ATP synthesis, as demonstrated by pharmacological blockade and selective knock-down with antisense oligonucleotides. The EAAC1/NCX1-dependent mitochondrial response to glutamate may be a general and alternative mechanism whereby this neurotransmitter sustains ATP production, since we have documented such metabolic response also in mitochondria isolated from heart. The data reported here disclose a new physiological role for mitochondrial NCX1 as the key player in glutamate-induced energy production.
Background: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are an independent prognostic factor in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients treated by conventional dose chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the role of CTCs and CTCs undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in metastatic breast cancer. We used the platform of high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) to study the CTCs and CTCs with EMT.
Patients and methods: CTCs were enumerated in 21 MBC patients before apheresis and 1 month after AHSCT. CD34-depleted apheresis products were analyzed for CD326+ epithelial and Aldefluor+ cancer stem cells (CSC) by flow cytometry and were depleted of CD45+ cells and assessed for EMT-inducing transcription factors (EMT-TF) by quantitative RT-PCR.
Results: Patients with ≥ 5 CTCs/7.5 mL of peripheral blood 1 month after AHSCT had shorter progression-free survival (PFS) (P=0.02) and overall survival (OS) (P=0.02). Patients with apheresis products containing high percentages of CD326+ epithelial cells or overexpressing EMT-TF had shorter PFS. In multivariate analysis, low percentage of CD326+ epithelial cells and response to HDCT with AHSCT were associated with longer PFS, whereas lower CTCs after AHSCT was associated with longer OS. High CTCs, 1 month after AHSCT correlated with shorter PFS and OS in MBC patients undergoing HDCT and AHSCT, while CTCs with EMT and CSCs phenotype in apheresis products are associated with relapse.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that CTC and CTCs with EMT are prognostic in MBC patients undergoing HDCT followed by AHSCT.
metastatic breast cancer; circulating tumor cells; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; high-dose chemotherapy; autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
NSP 5a3a is a novel structural protein found to be over-expressed in certain cancer cell lines in-vitro such as Hela, Saos-2, and MCF-7 while barely detectable levels in normal body tissues except for Testis. This particular isoform has been known to interact with cyto- nuclear proteins B23, known to be involved in multi-faceted cellular processes such as cell division, apoptosis, ribosome biogenesis, and rRNA processing, as well as with hnRNP-L, known to be involved with RNA metabolism and rRNA processing. A previous preliminary investigation of NSP 5a3a as a potential target in Head and Neck Carcinoma revealed a novel p73 dependent mechanism through which NSP 5a3a induced apoptosis in Head and Neck cell lines when over-expressed in-vitro. Our present investigation further elucidated a novel dual axis signaling point by which NSP 5a3a induces apoptosis in Head and Neck cell line HN30 through p73-DAXX and TRAF2-TRADD. Interestingly, this novel mechanism appears independent of canonical caspases involved in the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway as well as those in the death receptor pathway thru TRAF2 and TRADD.
NSP 5a3a; Head and Neck Carcinoma; TNFR-1 signaling pathway
The formation and progression of mudulloblastoma (MB) is poorly understood. However, somatic inactivation of pRb/p105, in combination with a somatic or a germ-line TP53 inactivation, leads to MB in a mouse model. Presently, there is no specific evidence of pathway/s alterations for the other two members of the retinoblastoma family, pRb2/p130 and/or p107 in MB. JC virus (JCV) is a human polyomavirus. Although there is no firm evidence that this virus plays a causal role in human neoplasia, it has been clearly proven that JCV is highly oncogenic when injected into the brain of experimental animals. The mechanism of JCV-induced tumorigenesis is not entirely clear. However, several studies relate the oncogenic properties of JCV mainly to its early protein large T-antigen (T-Ag), which is able to bind and inactivate both TP53 and Rb family proteins. Here, we compared the protein expression profiles of p53, p73, pRb family proteins, and PCNA, as main regulators of cell proliferation and death, in different cell lines of mouse primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), either T-Ag-positive or -negative, and in human MB cell lines. Our goal was to determine if changes in the relative expression of these regulators could trigger molecular perturbations underlying MB pathogenesis in mouse and human cells. Our results support that the presence of JCV T-Ag may interfere with the expression of pRb family proteins, specific p73 isoforms, and p53. In turn, this “perturbation” may trigger a network of signals strictly connected with survival and apoptosis.
MEDULLOBLASTOMA; LARGE T-ANTIGEN; JC VIRUS; SV40; pRb FAMILY; p53/p73
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant tumor of central nervous system in children. Patients affected by medulloblastoma may be categorized as high-risk and standard-risk patients, based on the clinical criteria and histologic features of the disease. Currently, multimodality treatment, including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy is considered as the most effective strategy against these malignant cerebellar tumors of the childhood. Despite the potential poor outcomes of these lesions, the 5-year survival stands, at present, at 70% to 80% for standard-risk patients, whereas high-risk patients have a 5-year survival of 55% to 76%. Attempts to further reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with medulloblastoma have been restricted by the toxicity of conventional treatments and the infiltrative nature of the disease. Over the past decade, new discoveries in molecular biology have revealed new insights in signaling pathways regulating medulloblastoma tumor formation. Recent advances in the molecular biology of medulloblastoma indicate that the classification of these embryonal tumors, solely based on histology and clinical criteria, may not be adequate enough. Better understanding of the growth control mechanisms involved in the development and progression of medulloblastoma will allow a better classification, leading to the improvement of the existing therapies, as well as to the development of new therapeutic approaches.
There is growing evidence that interconnections among molecular pathways governing tissue differentiation are nodal points for malignant transformation. In this scenario, microRNAs appear as crucial players. This class of non-coding small regulatory RNA molecules controls developmental programs by modulating gene expression through post-transcriptional silencing of target mRNAs. During myogenesis, muscle-specific and ubiquitously-expressed microRNAs tightly control muscle tissue differentiation. In recent years, microRNAs have emerged as prominent players in cancer as well. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a pediatric skeletal muscle-derived soft-tissue sarcoma that originates from myogenic precursors arrested at different stages of differentiation and that continue to proliferate indefinitely. MicroRNAs involved in muscle cell fate determination appear down-regulated in rhabdomyosarcoma primary tumors and cell lines compared to their normal counterparts. More importantly, they behave as tumor suppressors in this malignancy, as their re-expression is sufficient to restore the differentiation capability of tumor cells and to prevent tumor growth in vivo. In addition, up-regulation of pro-oncogenic microRNAs has also been recently detected in rhabdomyosarcoma.
In this review, we provide an overview of current knowledge on microRNAs de-regulation in rhabdomyosarcoma. Additionally, we examine the potential of microRNAs as prognostic and diagnostic markers in this soft-tissue sarcoma, and discuss possible therapeutic applications and challenges of a "microRNA therapy".