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1.  Loss of CDX2 expression is associated with poor prognosis in colorectal cancer patients 
AIM: To investigate the clinicopathologic characteristics and prognostic implications associated with loss of CDX2 expression in colorectal cancers (CRCs).
METHODS: We immunohistochemically evaluated CDX2 expression in 713 CRCs and paired our findings to clinicopathologic and molecular characteristics of each individual. Endpoints included cytokeratin 7 and CK20 expression, microsatellite instability, CpG island methylator phenotype, and KRAS and BRAF mutation statuses. Univariate and multivariate survival analysis was performed to reveal the prognostic value of CDX2 downregulation.
RESULTS: CDX2 expression was lost in 42 (5.9%) patients. Moreover, loss of CDX2 expression was associated with proximal location, infiltrative growth, advanced T, N, M and overall stage. On microscopic examination, loss of CDX2 expression was associated with poor differentiation, increased number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, luminal serration and mucin production. Loss of CDX2 expression was also associated with increased CK7 expression, decreased CK20 expression, CpG island methylator phenotype, microsatellite instability and BRAF mutation. In a univariate survival analysis, patients with loss of CDX2 expression showed worse overall survival (P < 0.001) and progression-free survival (P < 0.001). In a multivariate survival analysis, loss of CDX2 expression was an independent poor prognostic factor of overall survival [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.72, 95%CI: 1.04-2.85, P = 0.034] and progression-free survival (HR = 1.94, 95%CI: 1.22-3.07, P = 0.005).
CONCLUSION: Loss of CDX2 expression is associated with aggressive clinical behavior and can be used as a prognostic marker in CRCs.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i5.1457
PMCID: PMC4316088  PMID: 25663765
CDX2; CpG island methylator phenotype; Microsatellite instability; Colorectal cancer; Survival
2.  Molecular and prognostic heterogeneity of microsatellite-unstable colorectal cancer 
Colorectal cancers (CRCs) with a high level of microsatellite instability (MSI-H) are clinicopathologically distinct tumors characterized by predominance in females, proximal colonic localization, poor differentiation, mucinous histology, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, a Crohn’s-like lymphoid reaction and a favorable prognosis. In terms of their molecular features, MSI-H CRCs are heterogeneous tumors associated with various genetic and epigenetic alterations, including DNA mismatch repair deficiency, target microsatellite mutations, BRAF mutations, a CpG island methylator phenotype-high (CIMP-H) status, and a low level of genomic hypomethylation. The molecular heterogeneity of MSI-H CRCs also depends on ethnic differences; for example, in Eastern Asian countries, relatively low frequencies of CIMP-H and BRAF mutations have been observed in MSI-H CRCs compared to Western countries. Although the prognostic features of MSI-H CRCs include a favorable survival of patients and low benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy, there may be prognostic differences based on the molecular heterogeneity of MSI-H CRCs. Here, we have reviewed and discussed the molecular and prognostic features of MSI-H CRCs, as well as several putative prognostic or predictive molecular markers, including HSP110 expression, beta2-microglobulin mutations, myosin 1a expression, CDX2/CK20 expression, SMAD4 expression, CIMP status and LINE-1 methylation levels.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i15.4230
PMCID: PMC3989959  PMID: 24764661
Colorectal cancer; Microsatellite instability; DNA mismatch repair; DNA methylation; CpG islands; Prognosis; Adjuvant chemotherapy
3.  Differential Features of Microsatellite-Unstable Colorectal Carcinomas Depending on EPCAM Expression Status 
Korean Journal of Pathology  2014;48(4):276-282.
Background
Recent studies have revealed that a small subset of Lynch syndrome-associated colorectal carcinomas (CRCs) is caused by a germline EPCAM deletion-induced MSH2 epimutation. Based on the finding of this genetic alteration, we investigated the implications of EPCAM expression changes in microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) CRCs.
Methods
Expression of EPCAM and DNA mismatch repair proteins was assessed by immunohistochemistry in 168 MSI-H CRCs. Using DNA samples of these tumors, MLH1 promoter methylation status was also determined by methylation-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction method (MethyLight).
Results
Among 168 MSI-H CRCs, complete loss (CL) and focal loss (FL) of EPCAM expression was observed in two (1.2%) and 22 (13.1%) cases, respectively. Both of the EPCAM-CL cases were found in MSH2-negative tumors without MLH1 promoter methylation. However, only nine of the 22 EPCAM-FL tumors had MSH2 deficiency. Of the 22 EPCAM-FL tumors, 13 showed MLH1 loss, and among them, nine cases were determined to have MLH1 methylation. EPCAM-FL was significantly associated with advanced stage (p=.043), distant metastasis (p=.003), poor differentiation (p=.001), and signet ring cell component (p=.004).
Conclusions
Loss of EPCAM expression is differentially associated with clinicopathological and molecular features, depending on the completeness of the loss, in MSI-H CRCs.
doi:10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2014.48.4.276
PMCID: PMC4160590  PMID: 25214859
EPCAM; DNA mismatch repair; Microsatellite instability; Colorectal neoplasms
4.  Pharmacological Unmasking Microarray Approach-Based Discovery of Novel DNA Methylation Markers for Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2012;27(6):594-604.
DNA methylation is one of the main epigenetic mechanisms and hypermethylation of CpG islands at tumor suppressor genes switches off these genes. To find novel DNA methylation markers in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we performed pharmacological unmasking (treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine or trichostatin A) followed by microarray analysis in HCC cell lines. Of the 239 promoter CpG island loci hypermethylated in HCC cell lines (as revealed by methylation-specific PCR), 221 loci were found to be hypermethylated in HCC or nonneoplastic liver tissues. Thirty-three loci showed a 20% higher methylation frequency in tumors than in adjacent nonneoplastic tissues. Correlation of individual cancer-related methylation markers with clinicopathological features of HCC patients (n = 95) revealed that the number of hypermethylated genes in HCC tumors was higher in older than in younger patients. Univariate and multivariate survival analysis revealed that the HIST1H2AE methylation status is closely correlated with the patient's overall survival (P = 0.022 and P = 0.010, respectively). In conclusion, we identified 221 novel DNA methylation markers for HCC. One promising prognostic marker, HIST1H2AE, should be further validated in the prognostication of HCC patients.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2012.27.6.594
PMCID: PMC3369444  PMID: 22690089
CpG Islands; DNA Methylation; Carcinoma, Hepatocellular; Microarray; Prognosis
5.  CpG Island Hypermethylation in Gastric Carcinoma and Its Premalignant Lesions 
Korean Journal of Pathology  2012;46(1):1-9.
Gastric cancers arise through a multistep process characterized by the progressive accumulation of molecular alterations in which genetic and epigenetic mechanisms have been implicated. Gastric cancer is one of the human malignancies in which aberrant promoter CpG island hypermethylation is frequently found. Helicobacter pylori and Epstein-Barr virus, which are known carcinogens for gastric cancer, are closely associated with enhanced hypermethylation of CpG island loci in gastric non-neoplastic epithelial cells and cancer cells, respectively. Aberrant CpG island hypermethylation occurs early in the multistep cascade of gastric carcinogenesis and tends to increase with the step-wise progression of the lesion. Approximately 400 genes that are actively expressed in normal gastric epithelial cells are estimated to be inactivated in gastric cancers as a result of promoter CpG island hypermethylation. In this review, a variety of information is summarized regarding CpG island hypermethylation in gastric cancer.
doi:10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2012.46.1.1
PMCID: PMC3479707  PMID: 23109971
CpG island; DNA methylation; Gastric cancer; Intestinal metaplasia
6.  Identification of Novel Methylation Markers in Hepatocellular Carcinoma using a Methylation Array 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2010;25(8):1152-1159.
Promoter CpG island hypermethylation has become recognized as an important mechanism for inactivating tumor suppressor genes or tumor-related genes in human cancers of various tissues. Gene inactivation in association with promoter CpG island hypermethylation has been reported to be four times more frequent than genetic changes in human colorectal cancers. Hepatocellular carcinoma is also one of the human cancer types in which aberrant promoter CpG island hypermethylation is frequently found. However, the number of genes identified to date as hypermethylated for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is fewer than that for colorectal cancer or gastric cancer, which can be attributed to fewer attempts to perform genome-wide methylation profiling for HCC. In the present study, we used bead-array technology and coupled methylation-specific PCR to identify new genes showing cancer-specific methylation in HCC. Twenty-four new genes have been identified as hypermethylated at their promoter CpG island loci in a cancer-specific manner. Of these, TNFRSF10C, HOXA9, NPY, and IRF5 were frequently hypermethylated in hepatocellular carcinoma tissue samples and their methylation was found to be closely associated with inactivation of gene expression. Further study will be required to elucidate the clinicopathological implications of these newly found DNA methylation markers in hepatocellular carcinoma.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2010.25.8.1152
PMCID: PMC2908783  PMID: 20676325
Bead Array; CpG Islands; DNA Methylation; Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
7.  Methylation Profiles of CpG Island Loci in Major Types of Human Cancers 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2007;22(2):311-317.
Several reports have described aberrant methylation in various types of human cancers. However, the interpretation of methylation frequency in various human cancers has some limitations because of the different materials and methods used for methylation analysis. To gain an insight into the role of DNA hypermethylation in human cancers and allow direct comparison of tissue specific methylation, we generated methylation profiles in 328 human cancers, including 24 breast, 48 colon, 61 stomach, 48 liver, 37 larynx, 24 lung, 40 prostate, and 46 uterine cervical cancer samples by analyzing CpG island hypermethylation of 13 genes using methylation-specific PCR. The mean numbers of methylated genes were 6.5, 4.4, 3.6, 3.4, 3.1, 3.1, 3.1, and 2.1 in gastric, liver, prostate, larynx, colon, lung, uterine cervix, and in breast cancer samples, respectively. The number of genes that were methylated at a frequency of more than 40% in each tumor type ranged from nine (stomach) to one (breast). Generally genes frequently methylated in a specific cancer type differed from those methylated in other cancer types. The findings indicate that aberrant CpG island hypermethylation is a frequent finding in human cancers of various tissue types, and each tissue type has its own distinct methylation pattern.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2007.22.2.311
PMCID: PMC2693600  PMID: 17449942
Carcinomas; CpG Island; DNA Methylations; Tumor Suppressor Gene
8.  RNA editing in RHOQ promotes invasion potential in colorectal cancer 
Novel A-to-I RNA editing in the coding sequence of RHOQ leads to an amino acid substitution that promotes invasion in colorectal cancer.
RNA editing can increase RNA sequence variation without altering the DNA sequence. By comparing whole-genome and transcriptome sequence data of a rectal cancer, we found novel tumor-associated increase of RNA editing in ras homologue family member Q (RHOQ) transcripts. The adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) editing results in substitution of asparagine with serine at residue 136. We observed a higher level of the RHOQ RNA editing in tumor compared with normal tissue in colorectal cancer (CRC). The degree of RNA editing was associated with RhoQ protein activity in CRC cancer cell lines. RhoQ N136S amino acid substitution increased RhoQ activity, actin cytoskeletal reorganization, and invasion potential. KRAS mutation further increased the invasion potential of RhoQ N136S in vitro. Among CRC patients, recurrence was more frequently observed in patients with tumors having edited RHOQ transcripts and mutations in the KRAS gene. In summary, we show that RNA editing is another mechanism of sequence alteration that contributes to CRC progression.
doi:10.1084/jem.20132209
PMCID: PMC3978269  PMID: 24663214
9.  Alu and LINE-1 Hypomethylation Is Associated with HER2 Enriched Subtype of Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100429.
The changes in DNA methylation status in cancer cells are characterized by hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands and diffuse genomic hypomethylation. Alu and long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (LINE-1) are non-coding genomic repetitive sequences and methylation of these elements can be used as a surrogate marker for genome-wide methylation status. This study was designed to evaluate the changes of Alu and LINE-1 hypomethylation during breast cancer progression from normal to pre-invasive lesions and invasive breast cancer (IBC), and their relationship with characteristics of IBC. We analyzed the methylation status of Alu and LINE-1 in 145 cases of breast samples including normal breast tissue, atypical ductal hyperplasia/flat epithelial atypia (ADH/FEA), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and IBC, and another set of 129 cases of IBC by pyrosequencing. Alu methylation showed no significant changes during multistep progression of breast cancer, although it tended to decrease during the transition from DCIS to IBC. In contrast, LINE-1 methylation significantly decreased from normal to ADH/FEA, while it was similar in ADH/FEA, DCIS and IBC. In IBC, Alu hypomethylation correlated with negative estrogen receptor (ER) status, and LINE-1 hypomethylation was associated with negative ER status, ERBB2 (HER2) amplification and p53 overexpression. Alu and LINE-1 methylation status was significantly different between breast cancer subtypes, and the HER2 enriched subtype had lowest methylation levels. In survival analyses, low Alu methylation status tended to be associated with poor disease-free survival of the patients. Our findings suggest that LINE-1 hypomethylation is an early event and Alu hypomethylation is probably a late event during breast cancer progression, and prominent hypomethylation of Alu and LINE-1 in HER2 enriched subtype may be related to chromosomal instability of this specific subtype.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100429
PMCID: PMC4074093  PMID: 24971511
10.  The influence of the treatment response on the impact of resection margin status after preoperative chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:576.
Background
Circumferential resection margin (CRM) and distal resection margin (DRM) have different impact on clinical outcomes after preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) followed by surgery. Effect and adequate length of resection margin as well as impact of treatment response after preoperative CRT was evaluated.
Methods
Total of 403 patients with rectal cancer underwent preoperative CRT followed by total mesorectal excision between January 2004 and December 2010. After applying the criterion of margin less than 0.5 cm for CRM or less than 1 cm for DRM, 151 cases with locally advanced rectal cancer were included as a study cohort. All patients underwent conventionally fractionated radiation with radiation dose over 50 Gy and concurrent chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil or capecitabine. Postoperative chemotherapy was administered to 142 patients (94.0%). Median follow-up duration was 43.1 months.
Results
The 5-year overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) rates, and locoregional control rates (LRC) were 84.5%, 72.8%, 74.2%, and 86.3%, respectively. CRM of 1.5 mm and DRM of 7 mm were cutting points showing maximal difference in a maximally selected rank method. In univariate analysis, CRM of 1.5 mm was significantly related with worse clinical outcomes, whereas DRM of 7 mm was not. In multivariate analysis, CRM of 1.5 mm, and ypN were prognosticators for all studied endpoints. However, CRM was not a significant prognostic factor for good responders, defined as patients with near total regression or T down-staging, which was found in 16.5% and 40.5% among studied patients, respectively. In contrast, poor responders demonstrated a significant difference according to the CRM status for all studied end-points.
Conclusions
Close CRM, defined as 1.5 mm, was a significant prognosticator, but the impact was only prominent for poor responders in subgroup analysis. Postoperative treatment strategy may be individualized based on this finding. However, findings from this study need to be validated with larger cohort.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-576
PMCID: PMC3938897  PMID: 24304825
Rectal cancer; Preoperative chemoradiotherapy; Resection margin; Treatment response
11.  Methylome of Fetal and Maternal Monocytes and Macrophages at the Feto-Maternal Interface 
Problem
Decidual macrophages (dMϕ) of the mother and placental macrophages (Hofbauer cells, HC) of the fetus are deployed at a critical location: the feto-maternal interface. This study was conducted to compare DNA methylome of maternal and fetal monocytes, dMϕ, and HC, and thereby to determine the immunobiological importance of DNA methylation in pregnancy.
Methods of Study
Paired samples were obtained from normal pregnant women at term not in labor and their own neonates. Maternal monocytes (MM) and fetal monocytes (FM) were isolated from peripheral blood of mothers and from fetal cord blood, respectively. dMϕ and HC were obtained from the decidua of fetal membranes and placenta, respectively. DNA methylation profiling was done using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation27 BeadChip. Quantitative real-time PCR and western blot were performed for validation experiments.
Results
1) Significant differences in DNA methylation were found in each comparison (MM vs. FM, 65 loci; dMϕ vs. HC, 266 loci; MM vs. dMϕ, 199 loci; FM vs. HC, 1,030 loci). 2) Many of the immune response-related genes were hypermethylated in fetal cells (FM and HC) compared to maternal cells (MM and dMϕ). 3) Genes encoding markers of classical macrophage activation were hypermethylated and genes encoding alternative macrophage activation were hypomethylated in dMϕ and HC compared to MM and FM, respectively. 4) mRNA expressions of DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B were significantly lower in dMϕ than in HC. 5) 5-azacytidine treatment increased expression of INCA1 in dMϕ.
Conclusions
The findings herein indicate that DNA methylation patterns change during monocyte-macrophage differentiation at the feto-maternal interface. It is also suggested that DNA methylation is an important component of biological machinery conferring an anti-inflammatory phenotype to macrophages at the feto-maternal interface.
doi:10.1111/j.1600-0897.2012.01108.x
PMCID: PMC3479407  PMID: 22385097
Decidua; DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferase; Epigenetics; Epigenome; Hofbauer cell; Placenta; Pregnancy
12.  Effect of the combination of metformin and fenofibrate on glucose homeostasis in diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rats 
Metformin has been reported to increase the expression of the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor in pancreatic beta cells in a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α-dependent manner. We investigated whether a PPARα agonist, fenofibrate, exhibits an additive or synergistic effect on glucose metabolism, independent of its lipid-lowering effect, when added to metformin. Non-obese diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats were divided into four groups and treated for 28 days with metformin, fenofibrate, metformin plus fenofibrate or vehicle. The random blood glucose levels, body weights, food intake and serum lipid profiles were not significantly different among the groups. After 4 weeks, metformin, but not fenofibrate, markedly reduced the blood glucose levels during oral glucose tolerance tests, and this effect was attenuated by adding fenofibrate. Metformin increased the expression of the GLP-1 receptor in pancreatic islets, whereas fenofibrate did not. During the intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests with the injection of a GLP-1 analog, metformin and/or fenofibrate did not alter the insulin secretory responses. In conclusion, fenofibrate did not confer any beneficial effect on glucose homeostasis but reduced metformin's glucose-lowering activity in GK rats, thus discouraging the addition of fenofibrate to metformin to improve glycemic control.
doi:10.1038/emm.2013.58
PMCID: PMC3731660  PMID: 23827952
fenofibrate; glucagon-like peptide-1; Goto-Kakizaki rats; metformin; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha
13.  Early Colorectal Epithelial Neoplasm in Korea: A Multicenter Survey of Pathologic Diagnosis 
Korean Journal of Pathology  2013;47(3):245-251.
Background
The incidence of early colorectal epithelial neoplasm (ECEN) is increasing, and its pathologic diagnosis is important for patient care. We investigated the incidence of ECEN and the current status of its pathologic diagnosis.
Methods
We collected datasheets from 25 institutes in Korea for the incidence of colorectal adenoma with high grade dysplasia (HGD) and low grade dysplasia in years 2005, 2007, and 2009; and early colorectal carcinoma in the year 2009. We also surveyed the diagnostic terminology of ECEN currently used by the participating pathologists.
Results
The average percentage of diagnoses of adenoma HGD was 7.0%, 5.0%, and 3.4% in years 2005, 2007, and 2009, respectively. The range of incidence rates of adenoma HGD across the participating institutes has gradually narrowed over the years 2005 to 2009. The incidence rate of early colorectal carcinoma in the year 2009 was 21.2%. The participants did not share a single criterion or terminology for the diagnosis of adenoma HGD. The majority accepted the diagnostic terms that distinguished noninvasive, mucosal confined, and submucosal invasive carcinoma.
Conclusions
Further research requirements suggested are a diagnostic consensus for the histopathologic diagnosis of ECEN; and standardization of diagnostic terminology critical for determining the disease code.
doi:10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2013.47.3.245
PMCID: PMC3701820  PMID: 23837017
Colorectal neoplasms; Pathology, surgical; Multicenter study; Incidence; Diagnosis
14.  Targeted Sequencing of Cancer-Related Genes in Colorectal Cancer Using Next-Generation Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64271.
Recent advance in sequencing technology has enabled comprehensive profiling of genetic alterations in cancer. We have established a targeted sequencing platform using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology for clinical use, which can provide mutation and copy number variation data. NGS was performed with paired-end library enriched with exons of 183 cancer-related genes. Normal and tumor tissue pairs of 60 colorectal adenocarcinomas were used to test feasibility. Somatic mutation and copy number alteration were analyzed. A total of 526 somatic non-synonymous sequence variations were found in 113 genes. Among these, 278 single nucleotide variations were 232 different somatic point mutations. 216 SNV were 79 known single nucleotide polymorphisms in the dbSNP. 32 indels were 28 different indel mutations. Median number of mutated gene per tumor was 4 (range 0–23). Copy number gain (>X2 fold) was found in 65 genes in 40 patients, whereas copy number loss (
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064271
PMCID: PMC3660257  PMID: 23700467
Purpose
We analyzed the clinical data of T3 colorectal cancer patients to assess whether T3 subdivision correlates with node (N) or metastasis (M) staging and stage-independent factors.
Methods
Five hundred fifty-five patients who underwent surgery for primary colorectal cancer from January 2003 to December 2009 were analyzed for T3 subdivision. T3 subdivision was determined by the depth of invasion beyond the outer border of the proper muscle (T3a, <1 mm; T3b, 1 to 5 mm; T3c, >5 to 15 mm; T3d, >15 mm). We investigated the correlation between T3 subdivision and N, M staging and stage-independent prognostic factors including angiolymphatic invasion (ALI), venous invasion (VI) and perineural invasion (PNI).
Results
The tumors of the 555 patients were subclassified as T3a in 86 patients (15.5%), T3b in 209 patients (37.7%), T3c in 210 patients (37.8%) and T3d in 50 patients (9.0%). The nodal metastasis rates were 39.5% for T3a, 56.5% for T3b, 75.7% for T3c and 74.0% for T3d. The distant metastasis rates were 7.0% for T3a 9.1% for T3b, 27.1% for T3c and 40.0% for T3d. Both N and M staging correlated with T3 subdivision (Spearman's rho = 0.288, 0.276, respectively; P < 0.001). Other stage-independent prognostic factors correlated well with T3 subdivision (Spearman's rho = 0.250, P < 0.001 for ALI; rho = 0.146, P < 0.001 for VI; rho = 0.271, P < 0.001 for PNI).
Conclusion
Subdivision of T3 colorectal cancer correlates with nodal and metastasis staging. Moreover, it correlates with other prognostic factors for colorectal cancer.
doi:10.3393/jksc.2012.28.3.160
PMCID: PMC3398112  PMID: 22816060
T3 subdivision; Colorectal neoplasms; Neoplasm staging
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33322.
Background
Identification of predictive biomarkers is essential for the successful development of targeted therapy. Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) has been examined as a potential therapeutic target for various cancers. However, recent clinical trials showed that anti-IGF1R antibody and chemotherapy are not effective for treating lung cancer.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In order to define biomarkers for predicting successful IGF1R targeted therapy, we evaluated the anti-proliferation effect of figitumumab (CP-751,871), a humanized anti-IGF1R antibody, against nine gastric and eight hepatocellular cancer cell lines. Out of 17 cancer cell lines, figitumumab effectively inhibited the growth of three cell lines (SNU719, HepG2, and SNU368), decreased p-AKT and p-STAT3 levels, and induced G 1 arrest in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, these cells showed co-overexpression and altered mobility of the IGF1R and insulin receptor (IR). Immunoprecipitaion (IP) assays and ELISA confirmed the presence of IGF1R/IR heterodimeric receptors in figitumumab-sensitive cells. Treatment with figitumumab led to the dissociation of IGF1-dependent heterodimeric receptors and inhibited tumor growth with decreased levels of heterodimeric receptors in a mouse xenograft model. We next found that both IGF1R and IR were N-linked glyosylated in figitumumab-sensitive cells. In particular, mass spectrometry showed that IGF1R had N-linked glycans at N913 in three figitumumab-sensitive cell lines. We observed that an absence of N-linked glycosylation at N913 led to a lack of membranous localization of IGF1R and figitumumab insensitivity.
Conclusion and Significance
The data suggest that the level of N-linked glycosylated IGF1R/IR heterodimeric receptor is highly associated with sensitivity to anti-IGF1R antibody in cancer cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033322
PMCID: PMC3306383  PMID: 22438913
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32778.
It has been reported that human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can transfer mitochondria to the cells with severely compromised mitochondrial function. We tested whether the reported intercellular mitochondrial transfer could be replicated in different types of cells or under different experimental conditions, and tried to elucidate possible mechanism. Using biochemical selection methods, we found exponentially growing cells in restrictive media (uridine− and bromodeoxyuridine [BrdU]+) during the coculture of MSCs (uridine-independent and BrdU-sensitive) and 143B-derived cells with severe mitochondrial dysfunction induced by either long-term ethidium bromide treatment or short-term rhodamine 6G (R6G) treatment (uridine-dependent but BrdU-resistant). The exponentially growing cells had nuclear DNA fingerprint patterns identical to 143B, and a sequence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) identical to the MSCs. Since R6G causes rapid and irreversible damage to mitochondria without the removal of mtDNA, the mitochondrial function appears to be restored through a direct transfer of mitochondria rather than mtDNA alone. Conditioned media, which were prepared by treating mtDNA-less 143B ρ0 cells under uridine-free condition, induced increased chemotaxis in MSC, which was also supported by transcriptome analysis. Cytochalasin B, an inhibitor of chemotaxis and cytoskeletal assembly, blocked mitochondrial transfer phenomenon in the above condition. However, we could not find any evidence of mitochondrial transfer to the cells harboring human pathogenic mtDNA mutations (A3243G mutation or 4,977 bp deletion). Thus, the mitochondrial transfer is limited to the condition of a near total absence of mitochondrial function. Elucidation of the mechanism of mitochondrial transfer will help us create a potential cell therapy-based mitochondrial restoration or mitochondrial gene therapy for human diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032778
PMCID: PMC3295770  PMID: 22412925
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25985.
Background
Adenocarcinomas located near the gastroesophageal junction have unclear etiology and are difficult to classify. We used DNA methylation analysis to identify subtype-specific markers and new subgroups of gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas, and studied their association with epidemiological risk factors and clinical outcomes.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We used logistic regression models and unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis of 74 DNA methylation markers on 45 tumor samples (44 patients) of esophageal and gastric adenocarcinomas obtained from a population-based case-control study to uncover epigenetic markers and cluster groups of gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas. No distinct epigenetic differences were evident between subtypes of gastric and esophageal cancers. However, we identified two gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma subclusters based on DNA methylation profiles. Group membership was best predicted by GATA5 DNA methylation status. We analyzed the associations between these two epigenetic groups and exposure using logistic regression, and the associations with survival time using Cox regression in a larger set of 317 tumor samples (278 patients). There were more males with esophageal and gastric cardia cancers in Cluster Group 1 characterized by higher GATA5 DNA methylation values (all p<0.05). This group also showed associations of borderline statistical significance with having ever smoked (p-value = 0.07), high body mass index (p-value = 0.06), and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (p-value = 0.07). Subjects in cluster Group 1 showed better survival than those in Group 2 after adjusting for tumor differentiation grade, but this was not found to be independent of tumor stage.
Conclusions/Significance
DNA methylation profiling can be used in population-based studies to identify epigenetic subclasses of gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas and class-specific DNA methylation markers that can be linked to epidemiological data and clinical outcome. Two new epigenetic subgroups of gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas were identified that differ to some extent in their survival rates, risk factors of exposure, and GATA5 DNA methylation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025985
PMCID: PMC3197593  PMID: 22028801
BMC Cancer  2011;11:344.
Background
Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) with CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) is recognized as a distinct subgroup of CRC, and CIMP status affects prognosis and response to chemotherapy. Identification of CIMP status in CRC is important for proper patient management. In Eastern countries, however, the clinicopathologic and molecular characteristics and prognosis of CRCs with CIMP are still unclear.
Methods
A total of 245 patients who underwent their first surgical resection for sporadic CRC were enrolled and CIMP status of the CRCs was determined using the quantitative MethyLight assay. The clinicopathologic and molecular characteristics were reviewed and compared according to CIMP status. In addition, the three-year recurrence-free survival (RFS) of 124 patients with stage II or stage III CRC was analyzed in order to assess the effectiveness of fluoropyrimidine-based adjuvant chemotherapy with respect to CIMP status.
Results
CIMP-high CRCs were identified in 34 cases (13.9%), and were significantly associated with proximal tumor location, poorly differentiated carcinoma, mucinous histology, and high frequencies of BRAF mutation, MGMT methylation, and MSI-high compared to CIMP-low/negative carcinomas. For patients with stage II or III CIMP-low/negative CRCs, no significant difference was found in RFS between those undergoing surgery alone and those receiving surgery with fluoropyrimidine-based adjuvant chemotherapy. However, for patients with CIMP-high CRCs, patients undergoing surgery with fluoropyrimidine-based adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 17; three-year RFS: 100%) showed significantly better RFS than patients treated with surgery alone (n = 7; three-year RFS: 71.4%) (P = 0.022).
Conclusions
Our results suggest that selected patients with CIMP-high CRC may benefit from fluoropyrimidine-based adjuvant chemotherapy with longer RFS. Further large scale-studies are required to confirm our results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-344
PMCID: PMC3162585  PMID: 21827707
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e13858.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is highly prevalent and associated with considerable morbidities. Unfortunately, there is no currently available drug established to treat NAFLD. It was recently reported that intraperitoneal administration of taurine-conjugated ursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) improved hepatic steatosis in ob/ob mice. We hereby examined the effect of oral TUDCA treatment on hepatic steatosis and associated changes in hepatic gene expression in ob/ob mice. We administered TUDCA to ob/ob mice at a dose of 500 mg/kg twice a day by gastric gavage for 3 weeks. Body weight, glucose homeostasis, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and hepatic gene expression were examined in comparison with control ob/ob mice and normal littermate C57BL/6J mice. Compared to the control ob/ob mice, TUDCA treated ob/ob mice revealed markedly reduced liver fat stained by oil red O (44.2±5.8% vs. 21.1±10.4%, P<0.05), whereas there was no difference in body weight, oral glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and ER stress. Microarray analysis of hepatic gene expression demonstrated that oral TUDCA treatment mainly decreased the expression of genes involved in de novo lipogenesis among the components of lipid homeostasis. At pathway levels, oral TUDCA altered the genes regulating amino acid, carbohydrate, and drug metabolism in addition to lipid metabolism. In summary, oral TUDCA treatment decreased hepatic steatosis in ob/ob mice by cooperative regulation of multiple metabolic pathways, particularly by reducing the expression of genes known to regulate de novo lipogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013858
PMCID: PMC2974643  PMID: 21079772
Gut and Liver  2010;4(3):407-410.
Tufting enteropathy is a rare autosomal recessive disorder presenting with early-onset severe intractable diarrhea. The epithelial cell adhesion molecule gene (EpCAM) has recently been identified as the gene responsible for tufting enteropathy. Based on histology, a diagnosis of tufting enteropathy was made in two Korean siblings. They developed chronic diarrhea and failure to thrive. They had a broad nasal bridge and micrognathia. Duodenal and colonic biopsies showed villous atrophy, disorganization of surface enterocytes, and focal crowding resembling tufts. Protracted diarrhea continued and so cyclic parenteral nutrition was supplied. The sister had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Mutation analysis of EpCAM identified two compound heterozygous mutations in these siblings: 1) a donor splicing site mutation in intron 5 (c.491+1G>A) and 2) a novel nonsense mutation in exon 3 (c.316A>T, Lys106X). Analysis of EpCAM will be useful for genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis of tufting enteropathy.
doi:10.5009/gnl.2010.4.3.407
PMCID: PMC2956358  PMID: 20981223
Tufting enteropathy; Diarrhea; Epithelial cell adhesion molecule; Mutation
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10630.
Background
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a dismal prognosis. The high risk of recurrence following surgical resection provides the rationale for adjuvant therapy. However, only a subset of patients benefit from adjuvant therapy. Identification of molecular markers to predict treatment outcome is therefore warranted. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether expression of novel candidate biomarkers, including microRNAs, can predict clinical outcome in PDAC patients treated with adjuvant therapy.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded specimens from a cohort of 82 resected Korean PDAC cases were analyzed for protein expression by immunohistochemistry and for microRNA expression using quantitative Real-Time PCR. Cox proportional hazards model analysis in the subgroup of patients treated with adjuvant therapy (N = 52) showed that lower than median miR-21 expression was associated with a significantly lower hazard ratio (HR) for death (HR = 0.316; 95%CI = 0.166–0.600; P = 0.0004) and recurrence (HR = 0.521; 95%CI = 0.280–0.967; P = 0.04). MiR-21 expression status emerged as the single most predictive biomarker for treatment outcome among all 27 biological and 9 clinicopathological factors evaluated. No significant association was detected in patients not treated with adjuvant therapy. In an independent validation cohort of 45 frozen PDAC tissues from Italian cases, all treated with adjuvant therapy, lower than median miR-21 expression was confirmed to be correlated with longer overall as well as disease-free survival. Furthermore, transfection with anti-miR-21 enhanced the chemosensitivity of PDAC cells.
Conclusions Significance
Low miR-21 expression was associated with benefit from adjuvant treatment in two independent cohorts of PDAC cases, and anti-miR-21 increased anticancer drug activity in vitro. These data provide evidence that miR-21 may allow stratification for adjuvant therapy, and represents a new potential target for therapy in PDAC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010630
PMCID: PMC2871055  PMID: 20498843
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2009;25(1):159-162.
Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) is an autosomal recessive malformation syndrome caused by a defect in cholesterol biosynthesis. The incidence is very low in Asians and only one case has been reported in Korea thus far. Recently, we found an infant with neonatal cholestasis. He had microcephaly, ambiguous genitalia, cleft palate, syndactyly of toes, patent ductus arteriosus and hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. The serum cholesterol was decreased and serum 7-dehydrocholesterol was markedly elevated. Genetic analysis of the DHCR7 gene identified a novel missense mutation (Pro227Ser) as well as a known mutation (Gly303Arg) previously identified in a Japanese patient with SLOS. Although rare in Korea, SLOS should be considered in the differential diagnosis of neonatal cholestasis, especially in patients with multiple congenital anomalies and low serum cholesterol levels.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2010.25.1.159
PMCID: PMC2799999  PMID: 20052364
Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome; Cholestasis; 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase; Mutation
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3949.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Activation of MAP kinase signaling pathway has been implicated in advanced and androgen-independent prostate cancers, although formal genetic proof has been lacking. In the course of modeling malignant melanoma in a tyrosinase promoter transgenic system, we developed a genetically-engineered mouse (GEM) model of invasive prostate cancers, whereby an activating mutation of BRAFV600E–a mutation found in ∼10% of human prostate tumors–was targeted to the epithelial compartment of the prostate gland on the background of Ink4a/Arf deficiency. These GEM mice developed prostate gland hyperplasia with progression to rapidly growing invasive adenocarcinoma without evidence of AKT activation, providing genetic proof that activation of MAP kinase signaling is sufficient to drive prostate tumorigenesis. Importantly, genetic extinction of BRAFV600E in established prostate tumors did not lead to tumor regression, indicating that while sufficient to initiate development of invasive prostate adenocarcinoma, BRAFV600E is not required for its maintenance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003949
PMCID: PMC2597248  PMID: 19079609
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2008;40(5):479-485.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) is rapidly degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway under normoxic conditions. Ubiquitination of HIF-1α is mediated by interaction with von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL). In our previous report, we found that hypoxia-induced active signal transducer and activator of transcription3 (STAT3) accelerated the accumulation of HIF-1α protein and prolonged its half-life in solid tumor cells. However, its specific mechanisms are not fully understood. Thus, we examined the role of STAT3 in the mechanism of pVHL-mediated HIF-1α stability. We found that STAT3 interacts with C-terminal domain of HIF-1α and stabilizes HIF-1α by inhibition of pVHL binding to HIF-1α. The binding between HIF-1α and pVHL, negative regulator of HIF-1α stability, was interfered dose-dependently by overexpressed constitutive active STAT3. Moreover, we found that the enhanced HIF-1α protein levels by active STAT3 are due to decrease of poly-ubiquitination of HIF-1α protein via inhibition of interaction between pVHL and HIF-1α. Taken together, our results suggest that STAT3 decreases the pVHL-mediated ubiquitination of HIF-1α through competition with pVHL for binding to HIF-1α, and then stabilizes HIF-1α protein levels.
doi:10.3858/emm.2008.40.5.479
PMCID: PMC2679355  PMID: 18985005
anoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor1, α subunit; neoplasms; STAT3 transcription factor; ubiquitination; von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein

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