Large-scale change initiatives stimulating change in several organizational systems in the health and social care sector are challenging both to lead and evaluate. There is a lack of systematic research that can enrich our understanding of strategies to facilitate large system transformations in this sector. The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics of core activities and strategies to facilitate implementation and change of a national program aimed at improving life for the most ill elderly people in Sweden. The program outcomes were also addressed to assess the impact of these strategies.
A longitudinal case study design with multiple data collection methods was applied. Archival data (n = 795), interviews with key stakeholders (n = 11) and non-participant observations (n = 23) were analysed using content analysis. Outcome data was obtained from national quality registries.
This study presents an approach for implementing a large national change program that is characterized by initial flexibility and dynamism regarding content and facilitation strategies and a growing complexity over time requiring more structure and coordination. The description of activities and strategies show that the program management team engaged a variety of stakeholders and actor groups and accordingly used a palate of different strategies. The main strategies used to influence change in the target organisations were to use regional improvement coaches, regional strategic management teams, national quality registries, financial incentives and annually revised agreements. Interactive learning sessions, intense communication, monitor and measurements, and active involvement of different experts and stakeholders, including elderly people, complemented these strategies. Program outcomes showed steady progress in most of the five target areas, less so for the target of achieving coordinated care.
There is no blue-print on how to approach the challenging task of leading large scale change programs in complex contexts, but our conclusion is that more attention has to be given to the multidimensional strategies that program management need to consider. This multidimensionality comprises different strategies depending on types of actors, system levels, contextual factors, program progress over time, program content, types of learning and change processes, and the conditions for sustainability.
Telomere length has been associated with risk of many cancers, but results are inconsistent. Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously associated with mean leukocyte telomere length were either genotyped or well-imputed in 11108 case patients and 13933 control patients from Europe, Israel, the United States and Australia, four of the seven SNPs reached a P value under .05 (two-sided). A genetic score that predicts telomere length, derived from these seven SNPs, is strongly associated (P = 8.92x10-9, two-sided) with melanoma risk. This demonstrates that the previously observed association between longer telomere length and increased melanoma risk is not attributable to confounding via shared environmental effects (such as ultraviolet exposure) or reverse causality. We provide the first proof that multiple germline genetic determinants of telomere length influence cancer risk.
Uveal melanoma is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults. Despite successful control of the primary tumor, metastatic disease will ultimately develop in approximately 50% of patients, with the liver being the most common site for metastases. The median survival for patients with liver metastases is between 6 and 12 months, and no treatment has in randomized trials ever been shown to prolong survival. A previous phase II trial using isolated hepatic perfusion (IHP) has suggested a 14-month increase in overall survival compared with a historic control group consisting of the longest surviving patients in Sweden during the same time period (26 versus 12 months).
This is the protocol for a multicenter phase III trial randomizing patients with isolated liver metastases of uveal melanoma to IHP or best alternative care (BAC). Inclusion criteria include liver metastases (verified by biopsy) and no evidence of extra-hepatic tumor manifestations by positron emission tomography–computed tomography (PET-CT). The primary endpoint is overall survival at 24 months, with secondary endpoints including response rate, progression-free survival, and quality of life. The planned sample size is 78 patients throughout five years.
Patients with isolated liver metastases of uveal melanoma origin have a short expected survival and no standard treatment option exists. This is the first randomized clinical trial to evaluate IHP as a treatment option with overall survival being the primary endpoint.
ClinicalTrials.gov registration number: NCT01785316 (registered 1 February 2013). EudraCT registration number: 2013-000564-29.
Uveal melanoma; Liver metastases; Isolated hepatic perfusion; Regional treatment
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a leading cause of cancer deaths, represents a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, mostly comprising squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), adenocarcinoma (AC) and large-cell carcinoma (LCC). The objectives of this study were to utilize integrated genomic data including copy-number alteration, mRNA, microRNA expression and candidate-gene full sequencing data to characterize the molecular distinctions between AC and SCC.
Comparative genomic hybridization followed by mutational analysis, gene expression and miRNA microarray profiling were performed on 123 paired tumor and non-tumor tissue samples from patients with NSCLC.
At DNA, mRNA and miRNA levels we could identify molecular markers that discriminated significantly between the various histopathological entities of NSCLC. We identified 34 genomic clusters using aCGH data; several genes exhibited a different profile of aberrations between AC and SCC, including PIK3CA, SOX2, THPO, TP63, PDGFB genes. Gene expression profiling analysis identified SPP1, CTHRC1and GREM1 as potential biomarkers for early diagnosis of the cancer, and SPINK1 and BMP7 to distinguish between AC and SCC in small biopsies or in blood samples. Using integrated genomics approach we found in recurrently altered regions a list of three potential driver genes, MRPS22, NDRG1 and RNF7, which were consistently over-expressed in amplified regions, had wide-spread correlation with an average of ~800 genes throughout the genome and highly associated with histological types. Using a network enrichment analysis, the targets of these potential drivers were seen to be involved in DNA replication, cell cycle, mismatch repair, p53 signalling pathway and other lung cancer related signalling pathways, and many immunological pathways. Furthermore, we also identified one potential driver miRNA hsa-miR-944.
Integrated molecular characterization of AC and SCC helped identify clinically relevant markers and potential drivers, which are recurrent and stable changes at DNA level that have functional implications at RNA level and have strong association with histological subtypes.
NSCLC; AC; SCC; LCC; Systems biology
We report the results of an association study of melanoma based on the genome-wide imputation of the genotypes of 1,353 cases and 3,566 controls of European origin conducted by the GenoMEL consortium. This revealed a novel association between several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in intron 8 of the FTO gene, including rs16953002, which replicated using 12,313 cases and 55,667 controls of European ancestry from Europe, the USA and Australia (combined p=3.6×10−12, per-allele OR for A=1.16). As well as identifying a novel melanoma susceptibility locus, this is the first study to identify and replicate an association with SNPs in FTO not related to body mass index (BMI). These SNPs are not in intron 1 (the BMI-related region) and show no association with BMI. This suggests FTO’s function may be broader than the existing paradigm that FTO variants influence multiple traits only through their associations with BMI and obesity.
For complex diseases like cancer, pooled-analysis of individual data represents a powerful tool to investigate the joint contribution of genetic, phenotypic and environmental factors to the development of a disease. Pooled-analysis of epidemiological studies has many advantages over meta-analysis, and preliminary results may be obtained faster and with lower costs than with prospective consortia.
Design and methods
Based on our experience with the study design of the Melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene, SKin cancer and Phenotypic characteristics (M-SKIP) project, we describe the most important steps in planning and conducting a pooled-analysis of genetic epidemiological studies. We then present the statistical analysis plan that we are going to apply, giving particular attention to methods of analysis recently proposed to account for between-study heterogeneity and to explore the joint contribution of genetic, phenotypic and environmental factors in the development of a disease. Within the M-SKIP project, data on 10,959 skin cancer cases and 14,785 controls from 31 international investigators were checked for quality and recoded for standardization. We first proposed to fit the aggregated data with random-effects logistic regression models. However, for the M-SKIP project, a two-stage analysis will be preferred to overcome the problem regarding the availability of different study covariates. The joint contribution of MC1R variants and phenotypic characteristics to skin cancer development will be studied via logic regression modeling.
Methodological guidelines to correctly design and conduct pooled-analyses are needed to facilitate application of such methods, thus providing a better summary of the actual findings on specific fields.
Genetic epidemiology; Melanoma; Meta-analysis; Pooled-analysis; Skin cancer; Study design
We report a genome-wide association study of melanoma, conducted by GenoMEL, of 2,981 cases, of European ancestry, and 1,982 study-specific controls, plus a further 6,426 French and UK population controls, all genotyped for 317,000 or 610,000 SNPs. The analysis confirmed previously known melanoma susceptibility loci. The 7 novel regions with at least one SNP with p<10−5 and further local imputed or genotyped support were selected for replication using two other genome-wide studies (from Australia and Houston, Texas). Additional replication came from UK and Dutch case-control series. Three of the 7 regions replicated at p<10−3: an ATM missense polymorphism (rs1801516, overall p=3.4×10−9); a polymorphism within MX2 (rs45430, p=2.9×10−9) and a SNP adjacent to CASP8 (rs13016963, p=8.6×10−10). A fourth region near CCND1 remains of potential interest, showing suggestive but inconclusive evidence of replication. Unlike the previously known regions, the novel loci showed no association with nevus or pigmentation phenotypes in a large UK case-control series.
Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has gained acceptance among surgeons, for the treatment of open abdomen, since very high closure rates have been reported with this method, compared to other kinds of wound management for the open abdomen. However, the method has occasionally been associated with increased development of fistulae. We have previously shown that NPWT induces ischemia in the underlying small intestines close to the vacuum source, and that a protective disc placed between the intestines and the vacuum source prevents the induction of ischemia. In this study we compare pressure transduction and fluid evacuation of the open abdomen with conventional NPWT and NPWT with a protective disc.
Six pigs underwent midline incision and the application of conventional NPWT and NPWT with a protective disc between the intestines and the vacuum source. The pressure transduction was measured centrally beneath the dressing, and at the anterior abdominal wall, before and after the application of topical negative pressures of -50, -70 and -120 mmHg. The drainage of fluid from the abdomen was measured, with and without the protective disc.
Abdominal drainage was significantly better (p < 0. 001) using NPWT with the protective disc at -120 mmHg (439 ± 25 ml vs. 239 ± 31 ml), at -70 mmHg (341 ± 27 ml vs. 166 ± 9 ml) and at -50 mmHg (350 ± 50 ml vs. 151 ± 21 ml) than with conventional NPWT. The pressure transduction was more even at all pressure levels using NPWT with the protective disc than with conventional NPWT.
The drainage of the open abdomen was significantly more effective when using NWPT with the protective disc than with conventional NWPT. This is believed to be due to the more even and effective pressure transduction in the open abdomen using a protective disc in combination with NPWT.
Ipilimumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that blocks cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4, has demonstrated an improvement in overall survival in two phase III trials of patients with advanced melanoma. The primary objective of the current trial was to prospectively explore candidate biomarkers from the tumor microenvironment for associations with clinical response to ipilimumab.
In this randomized, double-blind, phase II biomarker study (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00261365), 82 pretreated or treatment-naïve patients with unresectable stage III/IV melanoma were induced with 3 or 10 mg/kg ipilimumab every 3 weeks for 4 doses; at Week 24, patients could receive maintenance doses every 12 weeks. Efficacy was evaluated per modified World Health Organization response criteria and safety was assessed continuously. Candidate biomarkers were evaluated in tumor biopsies collected pretreatment and 24 to 72 hours after the second ipilimumab dose. Polymorphisms in immune-related genes were also evaluated.
Objective response rate, response patterns, and safety were consistent with previous trials of ipilimumab in melanoma. No associations between genetic polymorphisms and clinical activity were observed. Immunohistochemistry and histology on tumor biopsies revealed significant associations between clinical activity and high baseline expression of FoxP3 (p = 0.014) and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (p = 0.012), and between clinical activity and increase in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) between baseline and 3 weeks after start of treatment (p = 0.005). Microarray analysis of mRNA from tumor samples taken pretreatment and post-treatment demonstrated significant increases in expression of several immune-related genes, and decreases in expression of genes implicated in cancer and melanoma.
Baseline expression of immune-related tumor biomarkers and a post-treatment increase in TILs may be positively associated with ipilimumab clinical activity. The observed pharmacodynamic changes in gene expression warrant further analysis to determine whether treatment-emergent changes in gene expression may be associated with clinical efficacy. Further studies are required to determine the predictive value of these and other potential biomarkers associated with clinical response to ipilimumab.
Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4; FoxP3; indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase; ipilimumab; melanoma; tumor biomarker; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
Higher closure rates of the open abdomen have been reported with negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) compared with other wound therapy techniques. However, the method has occasionally been associated with increased development of intestinal fistulae. The present study measures microvascular blood flow in the intestinal wall and the omentum before and during NPWT.
Six pigs underwent midline incision and application of NPWT to the open abdomen. The microvascular blood flow in the underlying intestinal loop wall and the omentum was recorded before and after the application of NPWT of −50, −70, −100, −120, −150, and −170 mmHg respectively, using laser Doppler velocimetry.
A significant decrease in microvascular blood flow was seen in the intestinal wall during application of all negative pressures levels. The blood flow was 2.7 (±0.2) Perfusion Units (PU) before and 2.0 (±0.2) PU (*p < 0.05) after application of −50 mmHg, and 3.6 (±0.6) PU before and 1.5 (±0.2) PU (**p < 0.01) after application of −170 mmHg.
In the present study, we show that negative pressures between −50 and −170 mmHg induce a significant decrease in the microvascular blood flow in the intestinal wall. The decrease in blood flow increased with the amount of negative pressure applied. One can only speculate that a longstanding decreased blood flow in the intestinal wall may induce ischemia and secondary necrosis in the intestinal wall, which, theoretically, could promote the development of intestinal fistulae. We believe that NPWT of the open abdomen is a very effective treatment but could probably be improved.
Negative pressure wound therapy; Open abdomen; Microvascular blood flow; Intestinal wall; Omentum
Higher closure rates of the open abdomen have been reported with negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) than with other wound management techniques. However, the method has occasionally been associated with increased development of fistulae. We have previously shown that NPWT induces ischemia in the underlying small intestines close to the vacuum source, and that a protective disc placed between the intestines and the vacuum source prevents the induction of ischemia. In the present study we compare macroscopic changes after 12, 24, and 48 hours, using conventional NPWT and NPWT with a protective disc between the intestines and the vacuum source.
Twelve pigs underwent midline incision. Six animals underwent conventional NPWT, while the other six pigs underwent NPWT with a protective disc inserted between the intestines and the vacuum source. Macroscopic changes were photographed and quantified after 12, 24, and 48 hours of NPWT.
The surface of the small intestines was red and mottled as a result of petechial bleeding in the intestinal wall in all cases. After 12, 24 and 48 hours of NPWT, the area of petechial bleeding was significantly larger when using conventional NPWT than when using NPWT with the protective disc (9.7 ± 1.0 cm2 vs. 1.8 ± 0.2 cm2, p < 0.001, 12 hours), (14.5 ± 0.9 cm2 vs. 2.0 ± 0.2 cm2, 24 hours) (17.0 ± 0.7 cm2 vs. 2.5 ± 0.2 cm2 with the disc, p < 0.001, 48 hours)
The areas of petechial bleeding in the small intestinal wall were significantly larger following conventional NPWT after 12, 24 and 48 hours, than using NPWT with a protective disc between the intestines and the vacuum source. The protective disc protects the intestines, reducing the amount of petechial bleeding.
negative pressure wound therapy; open abdomen; macroscopic changes; intestinal wall
In a follow-up to our previously reported genome-wide association study of cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC)1, we describe here several new susceptibility variants. SNP rs11170164, encoding a G138E substitution in the keratin 5 (KRT5) gene, affects risk of BCC (OR = 1.35, P = 2.1 × 10−9). A variant at 9p21 near CDKN2A and CDKN2B also confers susceptibility to BCC (rs2151280[C]; OR = 1.19, P = 6.9 × 10−9), as does rs157935[T] at 7q32 near the imprinted gene KLF14 (OR = 1.23, P = 5.7 × 10−10). The effect of rs157935[T] is dependent on the parental origin of the risk allele. None of these variants were found to be associated with melanoma or fair-pigmentation traits. A melanoma- and pigmentation-associated variant in the SLC45A2 gene, L374F, is associated with risk of both BCC and squamous cell carcinoma. Finally, we report conclusive evidence that rs401681[C] in the TERT-CLPTM1L locus confers susceptibility to BCC but protects against melanoma.
Well-organised clinical cooperation between health and social services has been difficult to achieve in Sweden as in other countries. This paper presents an empirical study of a mental health coordination network in one area in Stockholm. The aim was to describe the development and nature of coordination within a mental health and social care consortium and to assess the impact on care processes and client outcomes.
Data was gathered through interviews with ‘joint coordinators’ (n=6) from three rehabilitation units. The interviews focused on coordination activities aimed at supporting the clients’ needs and investigated how the joint coordinators acted according to the consortium's holistic approach. Data on The Camberwell Assessment of Need (CAN-S) showing clients’ satisfaction was used to assess on set of outcomes (n=1262).
The findings revealed different coordination activities and factors both helping and hindering the network coordination activities. One helpful factor was the history of local and personal informal cooperation and shared responsibilities evident. Unclear roles and routines hindered cooperation.
This contribution is an empirical example and a model for organisations establishing structures for network coordination. One lesson for current policy about integrated health care is to adapt and implement joint coordinators where full structural integration is not possible. Another lesson, based on the idea of patient quality by coordinated care, is specifically to adapt the work of the local addiction treatment and preventive team (ATPT)—an independent special team in the psychiatric outpatient care that provides consultation and support to the units and serves psychotic clients with addictive problems.
coordination; integrated care planning; mental health care
The major factors individually reported to be associated with an increased frequency of CDKN2A mutations are increased number of patients with melanoma in a family, early age at melanoma diagnosis, and family members with multiple primary melanomas (MPM) or pancreatic cancer.
These four features were examined in 385 families with ⩾3 patients with melanoma pooled by 17 GenoMEL groups, and these attributes were compared across continents.
Overall, 39% of families had CDKN2A mutations ranging from 20% (32/162) in Australia to 45% (29/65) in North America to 57% (89/157) in Europe. All four features in each group, except pancreatic cancer in Australia (p = 0.38), individually showed significant associations with CDKN2A mutations, but the effects varied widely across continents. Multivariate examination also showed different predictors of mutation risk across continents. In Australian families, ⩾2 patients with MPM, median age at melanoma diagnosis ⩽40 years and ⩾6 patients with melanoma in a family jointly predicted the mutation risk. In European families, all four factors concurrently predicted the risk, but with less stringent criteria than in Australia. In North American families, only ⩾1 patient with MPM and age at diagnosis ⩽40 years simultaneously predicted the mutation risk.
The variation in CDKN2A mutations for the four features across continents is consistent with the lower melanoma incidence rates in Europe and higher rates of sporadic melanoma in Australia. The lack of a pancreatic cancer–CDKN2A mutation relationship in Australia probably reflects the divergent spectrum of mutations in families from Australia versus those from North America and Europe. GenoMEL is exploring candidate host, genetic and/or environmental risk factors to better understand the variation observed.
; multiple primary melanomas; pancreatic cancer
We report a genome-wide association study of melanoma conducted by the GenoMEL consortium based on 317k tagging SNPs for 1650 genetically-enriched cases (from Europe and Australia) and 4336 controls and subsequent replication in 1149 genetically-enriched cases and 964 controls and a population-based case-control study of 1163 cases and 903 controls. The genome-wide screen identified five regions with genotyped or imputed SNPs reaching p < 5×10−7; three regions were replicated: 16q24 encompassing MC1R (overall p=2.54×10−27 for rs258322), 11q14-q21 encompassing TYR (p=2.41×10−14 for rs1393350) and 9p21 adjacent to MTAP and flanking CDKN2A (p=4.03×10−7 for rs7023329). MC1R and TYR are associated with pigmentation, freckling and cutaneous sun sensitivity, well-recognised melanoma risk factors, while the 9p21 locus is novel for common variants associated with melanoma. Despite wide variation in allele frequency, these genetic variants show notable homogeneity of effect across populations of European ancestry living at different latitudes and contribute independently to melanoma risk.
Translating scientific evidence into daily practice is complex. Clinical guidelines can improve health care delivery, but there are a number of challenges in guideline adoption and implementation. Factors influencing the effective implementation of guidelines remain poorly understood. Understanding of barriers and facilitators is important for development of effective implementation strategies. The aim of this study was to determine perceived facilitators and barriers to guideline implementation and clinical compliance to guidelines for depression in psychiatric care.
This qualitative study was conducted at two psychiatric clinics in Stockholm, Sweden. The implementation activities at one of the clinics included local implementation teams, seminars, regular feedback and academic detailing. The other clinic served as a control and only received guidelines by post. Data were collected from three focus groups and 28 individual, semi-structured interviews. Content analysis was used to identify themes emerging from the interview data.
The identified barriers to, and facilitators of, the implementation of guidelines could be classified into three major categories: (1) organizational resources, (2) health care professionals' individual characteristics and (3) perception of guidelines and implementation strategies. The practitioners in the implementation team and at control clinics differed in three main areas: (1) concerns about control over professional practice, (2) beliefs about evidence-based practice and (3) suspicions about financial motives for guideline introduction.
Identifying the barriers to, and facilitators of, the adoption of recommendations is an important way of achieving efficient implementation strategies. The findings of this study suggest that the adoption of guidelines may be improved if local health professionals actively participate in an ongoing implementation process and identify efficient strategies to overcome barriers on an organizational and individual level. Getting evidence into practice and implementing clinical guidelines are dependent upon more than practitioners' motivation. There are factors in the local context, e.g. culture and leadership, evaluation, feedback on performance and facilitation, -that are likely to be equally influential.
We conducted a genome-wide association pooling study for cutaneous melanoma and performed validation in samples totalling 2019 cases and 2105 controls. Using pooling we identified a novel melanoma risk locus on chromosome 20 (rs910873, rs1885120), with replication in two further samples (combined P <1 × 10-15). The odds ratio is 1.75 (1.53, 2.01), with evidence for stronger association in early onset cases.
Recent studies have shown that there is a considerable heterogeneity in the response of melanoma cell lines to MEK and BRAF inhibitors. In the current study, we address whether dysregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and/or cyclin D1 contribute to the BRAF inhibitor resistance of melanoma cells. Mutational screening identified a panel of melanoma cell lines that harbored both a BRAF V600E mutation and a CDK4 mutation: K22Q (1205Lu), R24C (WM39, WM46, and SK-Mel-28), and R24L (WM902B). Pharmacologic studies showed that the presence of a CDK4 mutation did not alter the sensitivity of these cell lines to the BRAF inhibitor. The only cell line with significant BRAF inhibitor resistance was found to harbor both a CDK4 mutation and a CCND1 amplification. Array comparative genomic hybridization analysis showed that CCND1 was amplified in 17% of BRAF V600E–mutated human metastatic melanoma samples, indicating the clinical relevance of this finding. As the levels of CCND1 amplification in cell lines are lower than those seen in clinical specimens, we overexpressed cyclin D1 alone and in the presence of CDK4 in a drug-sensitive melanoma line. Cyclin D1 overexpression alone increased resistance and this was enhanced when cyclin D1 and CDK4 were concurrently overexpressed. In conclusion, increased levels of cyclin D1, resulting from genomic amplification, may contribute to the BRAF inhibitor resistance of BRAF V600–mutated melanomas, particularly when found in the context of a CDK4 mutation/overexpression.
Calpain is a ubiquitous protease with potential involvement in apoptosis. We report that in human melanoma cells, cisplatin-induced calpain activation occurs early in apoptosis. Calpain activation and subsequent apoptosis were inhibited by calpeptin and PD150606, two calpain inhibitors with different modes of action. Furthermore, cisplatin induced cleavage of the BH3-only protein Bid, yielding a 14-kDa fragment similar to proapoptotic, caspase-cleaved Bid. However, Bid cleavage was inhibited by inhibitors of calpain, but not by inhibitors of caspases or of cathepsin L. Recombinant Bid was cleaved in vitro by both recombinant calpain and by lysates of cisplatin-treated cells. Cleavage was calpeptin sensitive, and the cleavage site was mapped between Gly70 and Arg71. Calpain-cleaved Bid induced cytochrome c release from isolated mitochondria. While calpeptin did not affect cisplatin-induced modulation of Bak to its proapoptotic conformation, a dominant-negative mutant of MEKK1 (dnMEKK) inhibited Bak modulation. dnMEKK did not, however, block Bid cleavage. The combination of dnMEKK and calpeptin had an additive inhibitory effect on apoptosis. In summary, calpain-mediated Bid cleavage is important in drug-induced apoptosis, and cisplatin induces at least two separate apoptotic signaling pathways resulting in Bid cleavage and Bak modulation, respectively.
In a panel of four human melanoma cell lines, equitoxic doses of cisplatin induced the proapoptotic conformation of the Bcl-2 family protein Bak prior to the execution phase of apoptosis. Because cisplatin-induced modulation of the related Bax protein was seen in only one cell line, a degree of specificity in the signal to Bak is indicated. Little is known about upstream regulation of Bak activity. In this study, we examined whether the apoptosis-specific pathway mediated by a kinase fragment of MEKK1 (ΔMEKK1) is involved in the observed Bak modulation. We report that expression of a kinase-inactive fragment of MEKK1 (dominant negative MEKK [dnMEKK]) efficiently blocked cisplatin-induced modulation of Bak and cytochrome c release and consequently also reduced DEVDase activation and nuclear fragmentation. Accordingly, expression of a kinase-active MEKK1 fragment (dominant positive MEKK) was sufficient to induce modulation of Bak in three cell lines and to induce apoptosis in two of these. dnMEKK did not block cisplatin-induced c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation, in agreement with a specifically proapoptotic role for the ΔMEKK1 pathway. Finally, we show that reduction of Bak expression by antisense Bak reduced cisplatin-induced loss of mitochondrial integrity and caspase cleavage activity in breast cancer cell lines. In summary, we have identified Bak as a cisplatin-regulated component downstream in a proapoptotic, JNK-independent ΔMEKK1 pathway.
Inherited MC1R variants modulate MITF transcription factor signaling, which in turn affects tumor cell proliferation, apoptosis, and DNA repair. The aim of this BioGenoMEL collaborative study in 10 melanoma cohorts was to test the hypothesis that inherited variants thereby moderate survival expectation. A survival analysis in the largest cohort (Leeds) was carried out adjusting for factors known to impact on survival. The results were then compared with data from nine smaller cohorts. The absence of any consensus MC1R alleles was associated with a significantly lower risk of death in the Leeds set (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.46–0.89) and overall in the 10 data sets (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.65–0.94) with some support from the nine smaller data sets considered together (HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.67–1.04). The data are suggestive of a survival benefit for inherited MC1R variants in melanoma patients.
MC1R; survival analysis; MITF; melanoma; forest plot