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1.  Nomogram to Predict the Benefit of Radiation for Older Patients With Breast Cancer Treated With Conservative Surgery 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(23):2837-2843.
The role of radiation therapy (RT) after conservative surgery (CS) remains controversial for older patients with breast cancer. Guidelines based on recent clinical trials have suggested that RT may be omitted in selected patients with favorable disease. However, it is not known whether this recommendation should extend to other older women. Accordingly, we developed a nomogram to predict the likelihood of long-term breast preservation with and without RT.
We used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare data to identify 16,092 women age 66 to 79 years treated with CS between 1992 and 2002, using claims to identify receipt of RT and subsequent mastectomy. Time to mastectomy was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox proportional hazards models determined the effect of covariates on mastectomy-free survival (MFS). A nomogram was developed to predict 5- and 10-year MFS, given associated risk factors, and bootstrap validation was performed.
With a median follow-up of 7.2 years, the overall 5- and 10-year MFS rates were 98.1% (95% CI, 97.8% to 98.3%) and 95.4% (95% CI, 94.9% to 95.8%), respectively. In multivariate analysis, age, race, tumor size, estrogen receptor status, and receipt of RT were predictive of time to mastectomy and were incorporated into the nomogram. Nodal status was also included given a significant interaction with RT. The resulting nomogram demonstrated good accuracy in predicting MFS, with a bootstrap-corrected concordance index of 0.66.
This clinically useful tool predicts 5- and 10-year MFS among older women with early breast cancer using readily available clinicopathologic factors and can aid individualized clinical decision making by estimating predicted benefit from RT.
PMCID: PMC3410401  PMID: 22734034
2.  Prediction of survival in resected non-small cell lung cancer using a protein-expression based risk model: Implications for personalized chemoprevention and therapy 
Patients with resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are at risk for recurrence of disease but we do not have tools to predict which patients are at highest risk. We set out to create a risk model incorporating both clinical data and biomarkers.
We assembled a comprehensive database with archival tissues and clinical follow-up from patients with NSCLC resected between 2002-2005. Twenty-one proteins identified from our preclinical studies as related to lung carcinogenesis were investigated, including pathways related to metabolism, DNA repair, inflammation and growth factors. Expression of proteins was quantified using immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemistry was chosen because it is widely available and can be performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens. Cox models were fitted to estimate effects of clinical factors and biomarkers on recurrence free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS).
370 patients are included in our analysis. With median follow-up of 5.3 years, median overall survival is 6.4 years. 209 cases with recurrence or death were observed. Multicovariate risk models for RFS and OS were developed including relevant biomarkers, age and stage. Increased expression of pAMPK, pmTOR, EpCAM, and CASK were significant (p<0.05) predictors for favorable RFS; insulin receptor, CXCR2, and IGF1R predicted for unfavorable RFS. Significant (p<0.05) predictors for favorable OS include pAMPK, pmTOR, and EpCAM; CXCR2 and FEN1 predicted unfavorable OS.
We have developed a comprehensive risk model predictive for recurrence in our large retrospective database, which is one of the largest reported series of resected NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4018222  PMID: 24366692
Lung cancer; biomarkers; risk modeling
3.  Receptor Tyrosine Kinase EphA5 Is a Functional Molecular Target in Human Lung Cancer* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2015;290(12):7345-7359.
Background: EphA5 is a functional target in lung cancer, the most common cause of tumor-related death in mankind.
Results: EphA5 regulates cell cycle checkpoints and DNA damage repair induced by ionizing radiation.
Conclusion: EphA5 is a novel regulator of DNA damage repair with clinical implications.
Significance: EphA5 may serve as a novel biomarker of radioresistance and a candidate target for therapeutic intervention in human lung cancer.
Lung cancer is often refractory to radiotherapy, but molecular mechanisms of tumor resistance remain poorly defined. Here we show that the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA5 is specifically overexpressed in lung cancer and is involved in regulating cellular responses to genotoxic insult. In the absence of EphA5, lung cancer cells displayed a defective G1/S cell cycle checkpoint, were unable to resolve DNA damage, and became radiosensitive. Upon irradiation, EphA5 was transported into the nucleus where it interacted with activated ATM (ataxia-telangiectasia mutated) at sites of DNA repair. Finally, we demonstrate that a new monoclonal antibody against human EphA5 sensitized lung cancer cells and human lung cancer xenografts to radiotherapy and significantly prolonged survival, thus suggesting the likelihood of translational applications.
PMCID: PMC4367244  PMID: 25623065
Cell Cycle; DNA Damage; DNA Damage Response; DNA Repair; Monoclonal Antibody; Receptor Tyrosine Kinase; Ionizing Radiation
4.  A high Notch pathway activation predicts response to γ secretase inhibitors in proneural subtype of glioma tumor initiating cells 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2014;32(1):301-312.
Genomic, transcriptional, and proteomic analyses of brain tumors reveal subtypes that differ in pathway activity, progression, and response to therapy. However, a number of small molecule inhibitors under development vary in strength of subset and pathway-specificity, with molecularly targeted experimental agents tending toward stronger specificity. The Notch signaling pathway is an evolutionarily conserved pathway that plays an important role in multiple cellular and developmental processes. We investigated the effects of Notch pathway inhibition in glioma tumor initiating cell (GIC, hereafter GIC) populations using γ secretase inhibitors. Drug cytotoxicity testing of 16 GICs showed differential growth responses to the inhibitors, stratifying GICs into responders and non-responders. Responder GICs had an enriched proneural gene signature in comparison to non-responders. Also gene set enrichment analysis revealed 17 genes set representing active Notch signaling components NOTCH1, NOTCH3, HES1, MAML1, DLL-3, JAG2 etc., enriched in responder group. Analysis of TCGA expression data set identified a group (43.9%) of tumors with proneural signature showing high Notch pathway activation suggesting γ-secretase inhibitors might be of potential value to treat that particular group of proneural GBM. Inhibition of Notch pathway by γ-secretase inhibitor treatment attenuated proliferation and self-renewal of responder GICs and induces both neuronal and astrocytic differentiation. In vivo evaluation demonstrated prolongation of median survival in an intracranial mouse model. Our results suggest that proneural GBM characterized by high Notch pathway activation may exhibit greater sensitivity to γ-secretase inhibitor treatment, holding a promise to improve the efficiency of current glioma therapy.
PMCID: PMC3947402  PMID: 24038660
Notch activation; proneural genes; γ secretase inhibitors; Glioma
5.  Cyclin D1 and Cancer Development in Laryngeal Premalignancy Patients 
In a previous trial, we found that combined 13-cis retinoic acid (13-cRA), interferon-α and α-tocopherol more effectively reversed advanced premalignant lesions of the larynx than of the oral cavity and that cyclin D1 (CD1)G/A870 single nucleotide polymorphism correlated with cancer risk. We conducted the present trial primarily to confirm the clinical activity of the combination in advanced laryngeal premalignancy and to confirm and extend our findings on CD1, both genotype and protein expression, in association with cancer risk in this setting. Twenty-seven moderate-to-severe laryngeal dysplasia patients underwent induction with combined 13-cRA daily, α-interferon twice weekly, and α-tocopherol daily for one year; 14 non-progressing patients then were randomized to maintenance fenretinide or placebo for two years. During induction, 2 patients had pathological complete responses, 6 had partial responses (30% overall response rate), and 5 developed laryngeal cancer. There were no significant differences between maintenance fenretinide and placebo in response or cancer rates. Ten patients developed cancer overall. Twenty-four patients were evaluated for the CD1 G/A870 genotype, and 23 for pre- and post-treatment CD1 protein expression. Consistent with our earlier report, shorter cancer-free survival was associated with the CD1 AA/AG genotype (p = 0.05). Extending our earlier work, high CD1 expression was associated with worse cancer-free survival overall (p= 0.04) and within each CD1 genotype group. These findings support CD1 genotype and protein expression as important risk markers for laryngeal cancer and suggest future trials targeting upstream regulators of CD1 transcription.
PMCID: PMC4243520  PMID: 19139013
Premalignant lesions; larynx; biochemoprevention; cyclin D1 genotype; cyclin D1 protein expression
6.  Oral Epithelium as a Surrogate Tissue for Assessing Smoking-Induced Molecular Alterations in Lungs 
Both the lungs and oral cavity are exposed to tobacco carcinogens in smokers. We hypothesized that the oral epithelium undergoes molecular alterations similar to those in lungs and therefore may be used as a surrogate tissue to assess tobacco-induced molecular alterations.
Promoter methylation of p16 and FHIT genes was analyzed with methylation-specific PCR in 1,774 oral and bronchial brush specimens (baseline and 3 months after intervention) from 127 smokers enrolled in a prospective randomized placebo-controlled chemoprevention trial. The association between methylation patterns in oral tissues and bronchial methylation indices (methylated sites/total sites per subject) was analyzed blindly.
At baseline, promoter methylation was observed in 23%, 17%, and 35% of the bronchial tissues for p16, FHIT, and either of the two genes, respectively, which were comparable to the 19%, 15%, and 31% observed in the oral tissues. Among the 125 individuals with available data from both oral and bronchial tissues, strong correlations were observed between tissues from the two sites (P<0.0001 for both p16 and FHIT). Among the 39 individuals with oral tissue methylation in either of the two genes, the mean bronchial methylation index was 0.53 (± 0.29) compared with only 0.27 (± 0.26) for the 86 subjects without oral tissue methylation (P<0.0001). Similar correlations were also observed in samples obtained at 3 months after chemopreventive intervention.
The oral epithelium may be used as a surrogate tissue to assess tobacco-induced molecular damage in lungs, which has an important implication in conducting biomarker-based lung cancer prevention trials.
PMCID: PMC4183362  PMID: 19138934
7.  ETS2 mediated tumor suppressive function and MET oncogene inhibition in human non-small cell lung cancer 
The ETS2 transcription factor is an evolutionarily conserved gene that is deregulated in cancer. We analyzed the transcriptome of lung adenocarcinomas and normal lung tissue by expression profiling and found that ETS2 was significantly down-regulated in adenocarcinomas. In this study, we probed the yet unknown functional role of ETS2 in lung cancer pathogenesis.
Lung adenocarcinomas (n=80) and normal lung tissues (n=30) were profiled using the Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST platform. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis was performed to determine ETS2 protein expression in NSCLC histological tissue specimens (n=201). Patient clinical outcome, based on ETS2 IHC expression, was statistically assessed using the log-rank and Kaplan-Meier tests. RNA interference and over-expression strategies were employed to assess effects of ETS2 expression on the transcriptome and on various malignant phenotypes.
ETS2 expression was significantly reduced in lung adenocarcinomas compared to normal lung (p<0.001). Low ETS2 IHC expression was a significant predictor of shorter time to recurrence in NSCLC (p=0.009, HR=1.89) and adenocarcinoma (p=0.03, HR=1.86). Moreover, ETS2 was found to significantly inhibit lung cancer cell growth, migration and invasion (p<0.05), and microarray and pathways analysis revealed significant (p<0.001) activation of the HGF pathway following ETS2 knockdown. In addition, ETS2 was found to suppress MET phosphorylation and knockdown of MET expression significantly attenuated (p<0.05) cell invasion mediated by ETS2-specific siRNA. Furthermore, knockdown of ETS2 augmented HGF-induced MET phosphorylation, cell migration and invasion.
Our findings point to a tumor suppressor role for ETS2 in human NSCLC pathogenesis through inhibition of the MET proto-oncogene.
PMCID: PMC3846434  PMID: 23659968
NSCLC; ETS2; tumor suppressor; MET; HGF
8.  Gene Expression Profiling of Transporters in the Solute Carrier and ATP-Binding Cassette Superfamilies in Human Eye Substructures 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2013;10(2):650-663.
The barrier epithelia of the cornea and retina control drug and nutrient access to various compartments of the human eye. While ocular transporters are likely to play a critical role in homeostasis and drug delivery, little is known about their expression, localization and function. In this study, the mRNA expression levels of 445 transporters, metabolic enzymes, transcription factors and nuclear receptors were profiled in five regions of the human eye: cornea, iris, ciliary body, choroid and retina. Through RNA expression profiling and immunohistochemistry, several transporters were identified as putative targets for drug transport in ocular tissues. Our analysis identified SLC22A7 (OAT2), a carrier for the anti-viral drug, acyclovir, in the corneal epithelium, in addition to ABCG2 (BCRP), an important xenobiotic efflux pump, in retinal nerve fibers and the retinal pigment epithelium. Collectively, our results provide an understanding of the transporters that serve to maintain ocular homeostasis and which may be potential targets for drug delivery to deep compartments of the eye.
PMCID: PMC4032224  PMID: 23268600
expression profiling; open array; gene expression; eye; cornea; retina; protein expression; transporters; acyclovir; OAT2; BCRP; OCT3
9.  Biological Activity of Celecoxib in the Bronchial Epithelium of Current and Former Smokers 
Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the primary cause of cancer-related death in Western countries. One important approach taken to address this problem is the development of effective chemoprevention strategies. In this study, we examined whether the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor celecoxib, as evidenced by decreased cell proliferation, is biologically active in the bronchial epithelium of current and former smokers.
Patients and Methods
Current or former smokers with at least a 20 pack-year (pack-year = number of packs of cigarettes per day times number of years smoked) smoking history were randomized into one of four treatment arms (3-month intervals of celecoxib then placebo, celecoxib then celecoxib, placebo then celecoxib, or placebo then placebo) and underwent bronchoscopies with biopsies at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. The 204 patients were primarily (79.4%) current smokers; 81 received either low-dose celecoxib or placebo and 123 received either high-dose celecoxib or placebo. Celecoxib was originally administered orally at 200 mg twice daily and the protocol subsequently increased the dose to 400 mg twice daily. The primary endpoint was change in Ki-67 labeling (from baseline to 3 months) in bronchial epithelium.
No cardiac toxicities were observed in the participants. Although the effect of low-dose treatment was not significant, high-dose celecoxib decreased Ki-67 labeling by 3.85% in former smokers and by 1.10% in current smokers—a significantly greater reduction (P = 0.02) than that seen with placebo after adjusting for metaplasia and smoking status.
A 3–6-month celecoxib regimen proved safe to administer. Celecoxib 400 mg bid was biologically active in the bronchial epithelium of current and former smokers; additional studies on the efficacy of celecoxib in NSCLC chemoprevention may be warranted.
PMCID: PMC4028718  PMID: 20103722
10.  Fibulin-2 Is a Driver of Malignant Progression in Lung Adenocarcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67054.
The extracellular matrix of epithelial tumors undergoes structural remodeling during periods of uncontrolled growth, creating regional heterogeneity and torsional stress. How matrix integrity is maintained in the face of dynamic biophysical forces is largely undefined. Here we investigated the role of fibulin-2, a matrix glycoprotein that functions biomechanically as an inter-molecular clasp and thereby facilitates supra-molecular assembly. Fibulin-2 was abundant in the extracellular matrix of human lung adenocarcinomas and was highly expressed in tumor cell lines derived from mice that develop metastatic lung adenocarcinoma from co-expression of mutant K-ras and p53. Loss-of-function experiments in tumor cells revealed that fibulin-2 was required for tumor cells to grow and metastasize in syngeneic mice, a surprising finding given that other intra-tumoral cell types are known to secrete fibulin-2. However, tumor cells grew and metastasized equally well in Fbln2-null and -wild-type littermates, implying that malignant progression was dependent specifically upon tumor cell-derived fibulin-2, which could not be offset by other cellular sources of fibulin-2. Fibulin-2 deficiency impaired the ability of tumor cells to migrate and invade in Boyden chambers, to create a stiff extracellular matrix in mice, to cross-link secreted collagen, and to adhere to collagen. We conclude that fibulin-2 is a driver of malignant progression in lung adenocarcinoma and plays an unexpected role in collagen cross-linking and tumor cell adherence to collagen.
PMCID: PMC3677922  PMID: 23785517
11.  G-Protein Coupled Receptor Family C, Group 5, Member A (GPRC5A) Expression Is Decreased in the Adjacent Field and Normal Bronchial Epithelia of Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
Understanding oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes expression patterns is essential for characterizing lung cancer pathogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that mGprc5a/hGPRC5A is a lung-specific tumor suppressor evidenced by inflammation-mediated tumorigenesis in Gprc5a-knockout mice. The implication of GPRC5A in human lung cancer pathogenesis, including that associated with inflammatory chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a risk factor for the malignancy, remains elusive.
We sought to examine GPRC5A immunohistochemical expression in histologically normal bronchial epithelia (NBE) from lung disease-free never- and ever-smokers (n = 13 and n = 18, respectively), from COPD patients with (n = 26) and without cancer (n = 24) and in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) (n = 474). Quantitative assessment of GPRC5A transcript expression in airways (n = 6), adjacent NBEs (n = 29) and corresponding tumors (n = 6) from 6 NSCLC patients was also performed.
GPRC5A immunohistochemical expression was significantly lower in tumors compared to uninvolved NBE (p < 0.0001) and was positively associated with adenocarcinoma histology (p < 0.001). GPRC5A airway expression was highest in lung disease-free NBE, decreased and intermediate in NBE of cancer-free COPD patients (p = 0.004) and further attenuated and lowest in epithelia of COPD patients with adenocarcinoma and SCC (p < 0.0001). Furthermore, GPRC5A mRNA was significantly decreased in NSCLCs and corresponding NBE compared to uninvolved normal lung (p = 0.03).
Our findings highlight decreased GPRC5A expression in the field cancerization of NSCLC, including that associated with lung inflammation. Assessment of the use of GPRC5A expression as a risk factor for NSCLC development in COPD patients is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3622592  PMID: 23154545
Field cancerization; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Non–small-cell lung cancer; g-protein coupled receptor family C; group 5; member A; gene expression
12.  Young Onset HER2 Positive Breast Cancer is Associated with Germline TP53 Mutations 
Cancer  2011;118(4):908-913.
Germline TP53 mutations predispose to early onset breast cancer (BC) in women and are associated with the Li Fraumeni syndrome. Published data on the pathological characteristics of breast cancer among women with TP53 mutations is limited.
We retrospectively reviewed clinical records of women who had genetic testing for suspected germline TP53 mutations and who were diagnosed with BC between 2000 to 2011. The pathological characteristics of the breast tumors from women testing positive (cases) for a mutation were compared to those testing negative (controls).
Patients who tested positive for germline TP53 mutations (N=30) were compared to (N=79) controls. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplification and/or overexpression was found in 67% of the tumors from the cases, compared to 25% for the controls (p=0.0001). Among patients with a mutation, 70% had estrogen receptor and/or progesterone receptor positive tumors, compared to 68% in the control group (p= 0.87). After adjusting for age at BC diagnosis, having a HER2 positive tumor increased the odds of testing positive for a germline TP53 mutation (OR, 6.9, 95% CI, 2.6 to 18.2). For each yearly increments in age at BC diagnosis, there was decreased likelihood of having a TP53 mutation by 5% (OR=0.95, CI 0.91 to 0.99).
This study suggests an association between germline TP53 mutations and early onset HER2 positive breast cancer. If confirmed in a larger cohort, these results could guide genetic testing strategies, lead to chemoprevention trials incorporating HER2 targeted therapies, and elucidate some of the molecular pathways involved in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3527897  PMID: 21761402
13.  Proliferative Changes in the Bronchial Epithelium of Former Smokers Treated With Retinoids 
Retinoids have shown antiproliferative and chemopreventive activity. We analyzed data from a randomized, placebo-controlled chemoprevention trial to determine whether a 3-month treatment with either 9-cis-retinoic acid (RA) or 13-cis-RA and α-tocopherol reduced Ki-67, a proliferation biomarker, in the bronchial epithelium.
Former smokers (n = 225) were randomly assigned to receive 3 months of daily oral 9-cis-RA (100 mg), 13-cis-RA (1 mg/kg) and α-tocopherol (1200 IU), or placebo. Bronchoscopic biopsy specimens obtained before and after treatment were immunohistochemically assessed for changes in the Ki-67 proliferative index (i.e., percentage of cells with Ki-67–positive nuclear staining) in the basal and parabasal layers of the bronchial epithelium. Per-subject and per–biopsy site analyses were conducted. Multicovariable analyses, including a mixed-effects model and a generalized estimating equations model, were used to investigate the treatment effect (Ki-67 labeling index and percentage of bronchial epithelial biopsy sites with a Ki-67 index ≥ 5%) with adjustment for multiple covariates, such as smoking history and metaplasia. Coefficient estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were obtained from the models. All statistical tests were two-sided.
In per-subject analyses, Ki-67 labeling in the basal layer was not changed by any treatment; the percentage of subjects with a high Ki-67 labeling in the parabasal layer dropped statistically significantly after treatment with 13-cis-RA and α-tocopherol treatment (P = .04) compared with placebo, but the drop was not statistically significant after 9-cis-RA treatment (P = .17). A similar effect was observed in the parabasal layer in a per-site analysis; the percentage of sites with high Ki-67 labeling dropped statistically significantly after 9-cis-RA treatment (coefficient estimate = −0.72, 95% CI = −1.24 to −0.20; P = .007) compared with placebo, and after 13-cis-RA and α-tocopherol treatment (coefficient estimate = −0.66, 95% CI = −1.15 to −0.17; P = .008).
In per-subject analyses, treatment with 13-cis-RA and α-tocopherol, compared with placebo, was statistically significantly associated with reduced bronchial epithelial cell proliferation; treatment with 9-cis-RA was not. In per-site analyses, statistically significant associations were obtained with both treatments.
PMCID: PMC3441140  PMID: 17971525
14.  Defining and Ranking Effects of Individual Agents Based On Survival Times of Cancer Patients Treated with Combination Chemotherapies 
Statistics in medicine  2011;30(15):1777-1794.
An important problem in oncology is comparing chemotherapy (chemo) agents in terms of their effects on survival or progression free survival time. When the goal is to evaluate individual agents, a difficulty commonly encountered with observational data is that many patients receive a chemo combination including two or more agents. Because agents given in combination may interact, quantifying the contribution of each individual agent to the combination’s overall effect is problematic. Still, if on average combinations including a particular agent confer longer survival, then that agent may be considered superior to agents whose combinations confer shorter survival. Motivated by this idea, we propose a definition of individual agent effects based on observational survival data from patients treated with many different chemo combinations. We define an individual agent effect as the average of the effects of the chemo combinations that include the agent. Similarly, we define the effect of each pair of agents as the average of the effects of the combinations including the pair. Under a Bayesian regression model for survival time in which the chemo combination effects follow a hierarchical structure, these definitions are used as a basis for estimating the posterior effects and ranks of the individual agents, and of all pairs of agents. The methods are illustrated by a data set arising from 224 pediatric brain tumor patients treated with over 27 different chemo combinations involving seven chemo agents.
PMCID: PMC3115413  PMID: 21590700
Bayesian analysis; Brain tumors; Hierarchical model; Ranking; Survival analysis
15.  Abnormalities of the TITF-1 lineage-specific oncogene in NSCLC: Implications in lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis 
Emerging evidence suggests that aberrant expression of oncogenes contributes to development of lung malignancy. The thyroid transcription factor 1 (TITF-1) gene functions as a lineage survival gene abnormally expressed in a significant fraction of NSCLCs, in particular lung adenocarcinomas.
To better characterize TITF-1 abnormality: patterns in NSCLC, we studied TITF-1’s gene copy number using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and quantitative PCR, as well as its protein expression by immunohistochemistry analysis in a tissue microarray comprised of surgically resected NSCLC (N=321) including 204 adenocarcinomas and 117 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). TITF-1 copy number and protein expression were correlated with patients’ clinicopathologic characteristics, and in a subset of adenocarcinomas with EGFR and KRAS mutation status.
We found that increased TITF-1 protein expression was prevalent in lung adenocarcinomas only and was significantly associated with female gender (p<0.001), never smokers (p=0.004), presence of EGFR mutations (p=0.05) and better overall survival (all stages, p=0.0478. stages I and II, p=0.002). TITF-1 copy number gain (CBG) was detected by FISH analysis in both adenocarcinomas (18.9%; high CNG, 8.3%) and SCCs (20.1%; high CNG, 3.0%), and correlated significantly with the protein product (p=0.004) and presence of KRAS mutations (p=0.008) in lung adenocarcinomas. Moreover, multivariate analysis revealed that TITF-1 copy number gain was an independent predictor of poor survival of NSCLC (p=0.039).
Our integrative study demonstrates that the protein versus genomic expression patterns of TITF-1 have opposing roles in lung cancer prognosis and may occur preferentially in different subsets of NSCLC patients with distinct oncogene mutations.
PMCID: PMC3078948  PMID: 21257719
NSCLC; TITF-1; gene copy gain; lineage-specific oncogenes
16.  miR-200 Inhibits Lung Adenocarcinoma Cell Invasion and Metastasis by Targeting Flt1/VEGFR1 
The microRNA-200 (miR-200) family is part of a gene expression signature that predicts poor prognosis in lung cancer patients. In a mouse model of K-ras/p53-mutant lung adenocarcinoma, miR-200 levels are suppressed in metastasis-prone tumor cells, and forced miR-200 expression inhibits tumor growth and metastasis, but the miR-200 target genes that drive lung tumorigenesis have not been fully elucidated. Here, we scanned the genome for putative miR-200 binding sites and found them in the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of 35 genes that are amplified in human cancer. Mining of a database of resected human lung adenocarcinomas revealed that the levels of one of these genes, Flt1/VEGFR1, correlate inversely with duration of survival. Forced miR-200 expression suppressed Flt1 levels in metastasis-prone lung adenocarcinoma cells derived from K-ras/p53-mutant mice, and negatively regulated the Flt1 3′-UTR in reporter assays. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) isolated from murine lung adenocarcinomas secreted abundant VEGF and enhanced tumor cell invasion in coculture studies. CAF-induced tumor cell invasion was abrogated by VEGF neutralization or Flt1 knockdown in tumor cells. Flt1 knockdown decreased the growth and metastasis of tumor cells in syngeneic mice. We conclude that miR-200 suppresses lung tumorigenesis by targeting Flt1.
PMCID: PMC3232024  PMID: 21115742
18.  CREB Overexpression: A Feature Associated with Negative Prognosis in Never-Smokers with NSCLC 
Cancer research  2008;68(15):6065-6073.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Recent advances in targeted therapies hold promise for the development of new treatments for certain subsets of cancer patients by targeting specific signaling molecule. Based on the identification of the transcription factor cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein (CREB) as an important regulator of growth of several types of cancers and our recent findings of its importance in normal differentiation of bronchial epithelial cells, we hypothesized that CREB plays an important pathobiologic role in lung carcinogenesis. We conducted this initial study to determine whether the expression and activation status of CREB are altered in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and of any prognostic importance in NSCLC patients. We found that the expression levels of mRNA and protein of CREB and phosphorylated CREB (p-CREB) were significantly higher in most of the NSCLC cell lines and tumor specimens than in the normal human tracheobronchial epithelial (NHTBE) cells and adjacent normal lung tissue, respectively. Analysis of CREB mRNA expression and the CREB gene copy number showed that CREB overexpression occurred mainly at the transcriptional level. Immunohistochemical analysis of tissue microarray (TMA) slides containing sections of NSCLC specimens obtained from 310 patients showed that a decreased survival duration was significantly associated with overexpression of CREB or p-CREB in never-smokers but not in current or former smokers with NSCLC. These are the first reported results illustrating the potential of CREB as a molecular target for the prevention and treatment of NSCLC, especially in never-smokers.
PMCID: PMC3058903  PMID: 18676828
CREB overexpression; prognosis; NSCLC; adenocarcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma
19.  Frequent expression of MAGE1 tumor antigens in bronchial epithelium of smokers without lung cancer 
Melanoma antigens (MAGE) are frequently expressed in lung cancer and are promising targets of anticancer immunotherapy. Our preliminary data suggested that MAGE may be expressed during early lung carcinogenesis, raising the possibility of targeting MAGE as a lung cancer prevention strategy. The purpose of this study was to investigate MAGE activation patterns in the airways of chronic smokers without lung cancer. MAGE-A1, -A3 and -B2 gene expression was determined in bronchial brush cells from chronic former smokers without lung cancer by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The results were correlated with clinical parameters. The 123 subjects had a median age of 57 years, a median of 40 pack-years smoking history, and had quit smoking for at least one year prior to enrollment. Among the subjects, 31 (25%), 38 (31%), and 46 (37%) had detectable MAGE-A1, -A3 and -B2 expression, respectively, in their bronchial brush samples. Expression of MAGE-A1 and -B2 positively correlated with pack-years smoking history (P=0.03 and 0.03, respectively). The frequency of expression did not decrease despite a prolonged smoking cessation period. In conclusion, MAGE-A1, -A3 and -B2 genes are frequently expressed in the bronchial epithelial cells of chronic smokers without lung cancer, suggesting that chronic exposure to cigarette smoke activates these genes even before the malignant transformation of bronchial cells in susceptible individuals. Once activated, the expression persists despite long-term smoking cessation. These data support the targeting of MAGE as a novel lung cancer prevention strategy.
PMCID: PMC3440643  PMID: 22977481
melanoma antigens; airway; smokers; lung cancer; prevention
20.  Emax model and interaction index for assessing drug interaction in combination studies 
Applying the Emax model in a Lowe additivity model context, we analyze data from a combination study of trimetrexate (TMQ) and AG2034 (AG) in media of low and high concentrations of folic acid (FA). The Emax model provides a sufficient fit to the data. TMQ is more potent than AG in both low and high FA media. At low TMQ:AG ratios, when a smaller amount of the more potent drug (TMQ) is added to a larger amount of the less potent drug (AG), synergy results. When the TMQ:AG ratio reaches 0.4 or larger in low FA medium, or when the TMQ:AG ratio reaches 1 or larger in high FA medium, synergy is weakened and drug interaction becomes additive. In general, synergistic effect in a dilution series is stronger at higher doses that produce stronger effects (closer to 1−Emax) than at lower dose levels that produce weaker effects (closer to 1). The two drugs are more potent in the low compared to the high FA medium. Drug synergy, however, is stronger in the high FA medium.
PMCID: PMC2974574  PMID: 20036904
additivity; antagonism; confidence interval estimation; Emax model; Loewe additivity model; nonlinear regression; synergy; trellis plot
21.  Bayesian Clinical Trials at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center 
The Bayesian approach is being used increasingly in medical research. In particular, it has become a standard in designing clinical trials at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
To address the extent and nature of Bayesian trials conducted at M. D. Anderson, we reviewed the protocols registered in the Protocol Document Online System between 2000 and early 2005. We summarize our findings and give details for three innovative trials that typify those in which a Bayesian approach has played a major role at the center.
Of 964 protocols reviewed, 59% were conducted solely at M. D. Anderson and the rest were multicenter trials. Bayesian designs and analyses were used in about 20% (195/964) of the protocols that we reviewed. Of the 520 protocols identified as phase I or II drug trials, about 34% were Bayesian. Most of the 195 Bayesian trials were designed by M. D. Anderson statisticians. The Bayesian design features most commonly used were the continuous reassessment method in phase I (toxicity) trials, adaptive randomization in phase II trials, and designs to monitor efficacy and toxicity simultaneously. We also provide an insider's view regarding some practical considerations that have made the design and implementation of so many Bayesian trials possible.
We reviewed only a subset of all M. D. Anderson protocols, but did not exclude any available in electronic form.
The large number of Bayesian trials conducted at M. D. Anderson testifies to the receptivity to the Bayesian approach within the center, including principal investigators, regulatory review committees, and patients. Statisticians who take a Bayesian perspective can successfully work to establish a culture of innovation in clinical trial design.
PMCID: PMC2913209  PMID: 19528130
Adaptive randomization; continuous reassessment method; dose finding; hierarchical modeling; predictive probability; toxicity and efficacy monitoring
22.  Loss and Reduction of Fus1 Protein Expression is a Frequent Phenomenon in the Pathogenesis of Lung Cancer 
FUS1, a novel tumor-suppressor gene located in the chromosome 3p21.3 region, may play an important role in lung cancer development. Currently, FUS1-expressing nanoparticles have been developed for treating patients with lung cancer. However, the expression of Fus1 protein has not been examined in a large series of lung cancers and their sequential preneoplastic lesions.
Experimental Design
Using tissue microarrays, we examined Fus1 immunohistochemical expression in 281 non – small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and 22 small cell lung carcinoma tissue specimens and correlated the findings with patients’ clinicopathologic features. To investigate the expression of Fus1 in the early sequential pathogenesis of NSCLC, we studied Fus1 expression in 211 histologically normal and mildly abnormal bronchial epithelia, and 118 bronchial and alveolar preneoplastic lesions obtained from patients with lung cancer.
Loss and reduction of expression was detected in 82% of NSCLCs and 100% of small cell lung carcinomas. In NSCLCs, loss of Fus1 immunohistochemical expression was associated with significantly worse overall survival. Bronchial squamous metaplastic and dysplastic lesions expressed significantly lower levels of Fus1 compared with normal (P = 0.014 and 0.047, respectively) and hyperplastic (P = 0.013 and 0.028, respectively) epithelia.
Our findings show a high frequency of Fus1 protein loss and reduction of expression in lung cancer, and suggests that this reduction may play an important role in the early pathogenesis of lung squamous cell carcinoma. These findings support the concept that FUS1 gene and Fus1 protein abnormalities could be used to develop new strategies for molecular cancer therapy for a significant subset of lung tumors.
PMCID: PMC2833352  PMID: 18172250
23.  Expression Signatures of Metastatic Capacity in a Genetic Mouse Model of Lung Adenocarcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(4):e5401.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the foremost cause of cancer-related death in Western countries, which is due partly to the propensity of NSCLC cells to metastasize. The biologic basis for NSCLC metastasis is not well understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we addressed this deficiency by transcriptionally profiling tumors from a genetic mouse model of human lung adenocarcinoma that develops metastatic disease owing to the expression of K-rasG12D and p53R172H. We identified 2,209 genes that were differentially expressed in distant metastases relative to matched lung tumors. Mining of publicly available data bases revealed this expression signature in a subset of NSCLC patients who had a poorer prognosis than those without the signature.
These findings provide evidence that K-rasG12D; p53R172H mice recapitulate features of human NSCLC metastasis and will provide a useful platform on which to study the biologic basis for lung adenocarcinoma metastasis and its prevention by novel agents.
PMCID: PMC2671160  PMID: 19404390

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