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1.  Prevention of tobacco carcinogen-induced lung cancer in female mice using antiestrogens 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(11):2181-2189.
Increasing evidence shows that estrogens are involved in lung cancer proliferation and progression, and most human lung tumors express estrogen receptor β (ERβ) as well as aromatase. To determine if the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole prevents development of lung tumors induced by a tobacco carcinogen, alone or in combination with the ER antagonist fulvestrant, ovariectomized female mice received treatments with the tobacco carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) along with daily supplements of androstenedione, the substrate for aromatase. Placebo, anastrozole and/or fulvestrant were administered in both an initiation and a promotion protocol of lung tumorigenesis. The combination of fulvestrant and anastrozole given during NNK exposure resulted in significantly fewer NNK-induced lung tumors (mean = 0.5) compared with placebo (mean = 4.6, P < 0.001), fulvestrant alone (mean = 3.4, P < 0.001) or anastrozole alone (mean = 2.8, P = 0.002). A significantly lower Ki67 cell proliferation index was also observed compared with single agent and control treatment groups. Beginning antiestrogen treatment after NNK exposure, when preneoplastic lesions had already formed, also yielded maximum antitumor effects with the combination. Aromatase expression was found mainly in macrophages infiltrating preneoplastic and tumorous areas of the lungs, whereas ERβ was found in both macrophages and tumor cells. Antiestrogens, especially in combination, effectively inhibited tobacco carcinogen-induced murine lung tumorigenesis and may have application for lung cancer prevention. An important source of estrogen synthesis may be inflammatory cells that infiltrate the lungs in response to carcinogens, beginning early in the carcinogenesis process. ERβ expressed by inflammatory and neoplastic epithelial cells in the lung may signal in response to local estrogen production.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgs260
PMCID: PMC3584962  PMID: 22859269
2.  Targeting of Both the c-Met and EGFR Pathways Results in Additive Inhibition of Lung Tumorigenesis in Transgenic Mice 
Cancers  2010;2(4):2153-2170.
EGFR and c-Met are both overexpressed in lung cancer and initiate similar downstream signaling, which may be redundant. To determine how frequently ligands that initiate signaling of both pathways are found in lung cancer, we analyzed serum for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), transforming growth factor-alpha, and amphiregulin (AREG) in lung cancer cases and tobacco-exposed controls. HGF and AREG were both significantly elevated in cases compared to controls, suggesting that both HGF/c-Met and AREG/EGFR pathways are frequently active. When both HGF and AREG are present in vitro, downstream signaling to MAPK and Akt in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells can only be completely inhibited by targeting both pathways. To test if dual blockade of the pathways could better suppress lung tumorigenesis in an animal model than single blockade, mice transgenic for airway expression of human HGF were treated with inhibitors of both pathways alone and in combination after exposure to a tobacco carcinogen. Mean tumor number in the group using both the HGF neutralizing antibody L2G7 and the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib was significantly lower than with single agents. A higher tumor K-ras mutation rate was observed with L2G7 alone compared to controls, suggesting that agents targeting HGF may be less effective against mutated K-ras lung tumors. This was not observed with combination treatment. A small molecule c-Met inhibitor decreased formation of both K-ras wild-type and mutant tumors and showed additive anti-tumor effects when combined with gefitinib. Dual targeting of c-Met/EGFR may have clinical benefit for lung cancer.
doi:10.3390/cancers2042153
PMCID: PMC3049550  PMID: 21390244
lung cancer; EGFR; HGF; c-Met
3.  Targeting of Both the c-Met and EGFR Pathways Results in Additive Inhibition of Lung Tumorigenesis in Transgenic Mice 
Cancers  2010;2(4):2153-2170.
EGFR and c-Met are both overexpressed in lung cancer and initiate similar downstream signaling, which may be redundant. To determine how frequently ligands that initiate signaling of both pathways are found in lung cancer, we analyzed serum for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), transforming growth factor-alpha, and amphiregulin (AREG) in lung cancer cases and tobacco-exposed controls. HGF and AREG were both significantly elevated in cases compared to controls, suggesting that both HGF/c-Met and AREG/EGFR pathways are frequently active. When both HGF and AREG are present in vitro, downstream signaling to MAPK and Akt in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells can only be completely inhibited by targeting both pathways. To test if dual blockade of the pathways could better suppress lung tumorigenesis in an animal model than single blockade, mice transgenic for airway expression of human HGF were treated with inhibitors of both pathways alone and in combination after exposure to a tobacco carcinogen. Mean tumor number in the group using both the HGF neutralizing antibody L2G7 and the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib was significantly lower than with single agents. A higher tumor K-ras mutation rate was observed with L2G7 alone compared to controls, suggesting that agents targeting HGF may be less effective against mutated K-ras lung tumors. This was not observed with combination treatment. A small molecule c-Met inhibitor decreased formation of both K-ras wild-type and mutant tumors and showed additive anti-tumor effects when combined with gefitinib. Dual targeting of c-Met/EGFR may have clinical benefit for lung cancer.
doi:10.3390/cancers2042153
PMCID: PMC3049550  PMID: 21390244
lung cancer; EGFR; HGF; c-Met
4.  Aberrant promoter methylation of multiple genes in sputum from individuals exposed to smoky coal emissions 
Anticancer research  2008;28(4B):2061-2066.
Summary
Aberrant methylation in the promoter region of cancer-related genes leads to gene transcriptional inactivation and plays an integral role in lung tumorigenesis. Recent studies demonstrated that promoter methylation was detected not only in lung tumors from patients with lung cancer but also in sputum of smokers without the disease, suggesting the potential for aberrant gene promoter methylation in sputum as a predictive marker for lung cancer. In the present study, we investigated promoter methylation of 4 genes frequently detected in lung tumors, including p16, MGMT, RASSF1A and DAPK genes, in sputum samples obtained from 107 individuals, including 34 never-smoking females and 73 mostly smoking males, who had no evidence of lung cancer but who were exposed to smoky coal emission in Xuan Wei County, China, where lung cancer rate is more than 6 times the Chinese national average rate. Forty nine of the individuals showed evidence of chronic bronchitis while the remaining 58 individuals showed no such a symptom. Promoter methylation of p16, MGMT, RASSF1A and DAPK was detected in 51.4% (55/107), 17.8% (19/107), 29.9% (32/107), and 15.9% (17/107) of the sputum samples from these individuals, respectively. There were no differences in promoter methylation frequencies of any of these genes according to smoking status or gender of the subjects or between individuals with chronic bronchitis and those without evidence of such a symptom. Therefore, individuals exposed to smoky coal emissions in this region harbored in their sputum frequent promoter methylation of these genes that have been previously found in lung tumors and implicated in lung cancer development.
PMCID: PMC2974317  PMID: 18751376
Smoky coal emissions; Gene promoter methylation; Lung cancer
5.  Therapeutic targeting of human hepatocyte growth factor with a single neutralizing monoclonal antibody reduces lung tumorigenesis 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2008;7(7):1913-1922.
The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-Met signaling pathway is involved in lung tumor growth and progression, and agents that target this pathway have clinical potential for lung cancer treatment. L2G7, a single potent anti-human HGF neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb), demonstrated profound inhibition of human HGF-induced P-MAPK induction, wound healing and invasion in lung tumor cells in vitro. Transgenic mice that overexpress human HGF in the airways were utilized to study the therapeutic efficacy of L2G7 for lung cancer prevention. Mice were treated with the tobacco carcinogen, nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), over 4 weeks. Beginning at week 3, intraperitoneal (i.p.) treatment with 100μg L2G7 or isotyped matched antibody control, 5G8, was initiated and continued through week 15. The mean number of tumors per mouse in the L2G7 treated group was significantly lower than in the control group (1.58 versus 3.19, P=0.0005). Proliferative index was decreased by 48% (P=0.013) in tumors from L2G7 treated mice versus 5G8 treated mice while extent of apoptosis was increased in these same tumors by 5–fold (P=0.0013). P-MAPK expression was also significantly decreased by 84% in tumors from L2G7 treated mice versus 5G8 treated mice (P=0.0003). Tumors that arose in HGF transgenic animals despite L2G7 treatment were more likely to contain mutant K-ras, suggesting that targeting the HGF/c-Met pathway may not be as effective if downstream signaling is activated by a K-ras mutation. These preclinical results demonstrate that blocking the HGF/c-Met interaction with a single mAb delivered systemically can have profound inhibitory effects on development of lung tumors.
doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-2169
PMCID: PMC2556508  PMID: 18645002
Hepatocyte growth factor; non-small cell lung cancer
6.  Promoter methylation of RASSF1A and DAPK and mutations of K-ras, p53, and EGFR in lung tumors from smokers and never-smokers 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:74.
Background
Epidemiological studies indicate that some characteristics of lung cancer among never-smokers significantly differ from those of smokers. Aberrant promoter methylation and mutations in some oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are frequent in lung tumors from smokers but rare in those from never-smokers. In this study, we analyzed promoter methylation in the ras-association domain isoform A (RASSF1A) and the death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) genes in lung tumors from patients with primarily non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from the Western Pennsylvania region. We compare the results with the smoking status of the patients and the mutation status of the K-ras, p53, and EGFR genes determined previously on these same lung tumors.
Methods
Promoter methylation of the RASSF1A and DAPK genes was analyzed by using a modified two-stage methylation-specific PCR. Data on mutations of K-ras, p53, and EGFR were obtained from our previous studies.
Results
The RASSF1A gene promoter methylation was found in tumors from 46.7% (57/122) of the patients and was not significantly different between smokers and never-smokers, but was associated significantly in multiple variable analysis with tumor histology (p = 0.031) and marginally with tumor stage (p = 0.063). The DAPK gene promoter methylation frequency in these tumors was 32.8% (40/122) and did not differ according to the patients' smoking status, tumor histology, or tumor stage. Multivariate analysis adjusted for age, gender, smoking status, tumor histology and stage showed that the frequency of promoter methylation of the RASSF1A or DAPK genes did not correlate with the frequency of mutations of the K-ras, p53, and EGFR gene.
Conclusion
Our results showed that RASSF1A and DAPK genes' promoter methylation occurred frequently in lung tumors, although the prevalence of this alteration in these genes was not associated with the smoking status of the patients or the occurrence of mutations in the K-ras, p53 and EGFR genes, suggesting each of these events may represent independent event in non-small lung tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-74
PMCID: PMC1877812  PMID: 17477876
7.  Aberrant Promoter Methylation of p16 and MGMT Genes in Lung Tumors from Smoking and Never-Smoking Lung Cancer Patients1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2006;8(1):46-51.
Abstract
Aberrant methylation in gene promoter regions leads to transcriptional inactivation of cancer-related genes and plays an integral role in tumorigenesis. This alteration has been investigated in lung tumors primarily from smokers, whereas only a few studies involved never-smokers. Here, we applied methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction to compare the frequencies of the methylated promoter of p16 and O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) genes in lung tumors from 122 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, including 81 smokers and 41 never-smokers. Overall, promoter methylation was detected in 52.5% (64 of 122) and 30.3% (37 of 122) of the p16 and MGMT genes, respectively. Furthermore, the frequency of promoter methylation was significantly higher among smokers, compared with never-smokers, for both the p16 [odds ratio (OR) = 3.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.28-8.39; P = .013] and MGMT (OR = 3.93; 95% CI = 1.27-12.21; P = .018) genes. The trend for a higher promoter methylation frequency of these genes was also observed among female smokers compared with female never-smokers. Our results suggest an association between tobacco smoking and an increased incidence of aberrant promoter methylation of the p16 and MGMT genes in non-small cell lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC1584289  PMID: 16533425
Lung tumors; p16; MGMT; promoter methylation; never-smokers

Results 1-7 (7)