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1.  New Aspects of an Old Drug – Diclofenac Targets MYC and Glucose Metabolism in Tumor Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e66987.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac exhibit potent anticancer effects. Up to now these effects were mainly attributed to its classical role as COX-inhibitor. Here we show novel COX-independent effects of diclofenac. Diclofenac significantly diminished MYC expression and modulated glucose metabolism resulting in impaired melanoma, leukemia, and carcinoma cell line proliferation in vitro and reduced melanoma growth in vivo. In contrast, the non-selective COX inhibitor aspirin and the COX-2 specific inhibitor NS-398 had no effect on MYC expression and glucose metabolism. Diclofenac significantly decreased glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), and monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) gene expression in line with a decrease in glucose uptake and lactate secretion. A significant intracellular accumulation of lactate by diclofenac preceded the observed effect on gene expression, suggesting a direct inhibitory effect of diclofenac on lactate efflux. While intracellular lactate accumulation impairs cellular proliferation and gene expression, it does not inhibit MYC expression as evidenced by the lack of MYC regulation by the MCT inhibitor α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid. Finally, in a cell line with a tetracycline-regulated c-MYC gene, diclofenac decreased proliferation both in the presence and absence of c-MYC. Thus, diclofenac targets tumor cell proliferation via two mechanisms, that is inhibition of MYC and lactate transport. Based on these results, diclofenac holds potential as a clinically applicable MYC and glycolysis inhibitor supporting established tumor therapies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066987
PMCID: PMC3706586  PMID: 23874405
2.  A prospective multicenter phase II study evaluating multimodality treatment of patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis arising from appendiceal and colorectal cancer: the COMBATAC trial 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:67.
Background
Peritoneal carcinomatosis is regarded as a common sign of advanced tumor stage, tumor progression or local recurrence of appendiceal and colorectal cancer and is generally associated with poor prognosis. Although survival of patients with advanced stage CRC has markedly improved over the last 20 years with systemic treatment, comprising combination chemotherapy +/− monoclonal antibodies, the oncological outcome—especially of the subgroup of patients with peritoneal metastases—is still unsatisfactory. In addition to systemic therapy, cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) are specific treatment options for a selected group of these patients and may provide an additional therapeutic benefit in the framework of an interdisciplinary treatment concept.
Methods/design
The COMBATAC trial is a prospective, multicenter, open-label, single-arm, single-stage phase II trial investigating perioperative systemic polychemotherapy including cetuximab in combination with CRS and HIPEC patients with histologically proven wild-type KRAS colorectal or appendiceal adenocarcinoma and synchronous or metachronous peritoneal carcinomatosis. The planned total number of patients to be recruited is 60. The primary endpoint is progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary endpoints include overall survival (OS), perioperative morbidity and treatment-associated toxicity, feasibility of the combined treatment regimen, quality of life (QoL) and histopathological regression after preoperative chemotherapy.
Discussion
The COMBATAC trial is designed to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of the combined multidisciplinary treatment regimen consisting of perioperative systemic combination chemotherapy plus cetuximab and CRS plus bidirectional HIPEC with intraperitoneal oxaliplatin.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01540344, EudraCT number: 2009-014040-11
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-67
PMCID: PMC3575316  PMID: 23391248
Cytoreductive surgery; HIPEC; Perioperative chemotherapy; Cetuximab; Colorectal cancer; Peritoneal carcinomatosis
3.  STAT5b as Molecular Target in Pancreatic Cancer—Inhibition of Tumor Growth, Angiogenesis, and Metastases12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2012;14(10):915-925.
The prognosis of patients suffering from pancreatic cancer is still poor and novel therapeutic options are urgently needed. Recently, the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b (STAT5b) was associated with tumor progression in human solid cancer. Hence, we assessed whether STAT5b might serve as an anticancer target in ductal pancreatic adenocarcinoma (DPAC). We found that nuclear expression of STAT5b can be detected in approximately 50% of DPAC. Blockade of STAT5b by stable shRNA-mediated knockdown showed no effects on tumor cell growth in vitro. However, inhibition of tumor cell motility was found even in response to stimulation with epidermal growth factor or interleukin-6. These findings were paralleled by a reduction of prometastatic and proangiogenic factors in vitro. Subsequent in vivo experiments revealed a strong growth inhibition on STAT5b blockade in subcutaneous and orthotopic models. These findings were paralleled by impaired tumor angiogenesis in vivo. In contrast to the subcutaneous model, the orthotopic model revealed a strong reduction of tumor cell proliferation that emphasizes the meaning of assessing targets in an appropriate microenvironment. Taken together, our results suggest that STAT5b might be a potential novel target for human DPAC.
PMCID: PMC3479837  PMID: 23097626
4.  TRC40 can deliver short secretory proteins to the Sec61 translocon 
Journal of Cell Science  2012;125(15):3612-3620.
Summary
Whilst the co-translational translocation of nascent proteins across the mammalian endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is well defined, the capacity of this organelle for post-translational translocation is poorly delineated. Here we identify two human secretory protein precursors, apelin and statherin, as bona fide substrates for post-translational translocation across the ER membrane. Further studies, in combination with Hyalophora cecropia preprocecropin A (ppcecA), show that all three proteins bind to TRC40 and can utilise this component for their delivery to the ER membrane in a well-established in vitro system. However, ppcecA is not an obligate TRC40 substrate, and it can also be delivered to the ER by an alternative TRC40-independent pathway. Upon arrival at the ER membrane, these short secretory proteins appear to be ubiquitously transported across the ER membrane through the Sec61 translocon, apparently irrespective of their delivery route. We speculate that the post-translational translocation of secretory proteins in higher eukaryotes is more prevalent than previously acknowledged.
doi:10.1242/jcs.102608
PMCID: PMC3445324  PMID: 22505607
Asna 1; Endoplasmic reticulum; Post-translational translocation; Tail-anchored protein; WRB protein; Eeyarestatin I
5.  Live Cell Calcium Imaging Combined with siRNA Mediated Gene Silencing Identifies Ca2+ Leak Channels in the ER Membrane and their Regulatory Mechanisms 
In mammalian cells, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) plays a key role in protein biogenesis as well as in calcium signalling1. The heterotrimeric Sec61 complex in the ER membrane provides an aqueous path for newly-synthesized polypeptides into the lumen of the ER. Recent work from various laboratories suggested that this heterotrimeric complex may also form transient Ca2+ leak channels2-8. The key observation for this notion was that release of nascent polypeptides from the ribosome and Sec61 complex by puromycin leads to transient release of Ca2+ from the ER. Furthermore, it had been observed in vitro that the ER luminal protein BiP is involved in preventing ion permeability at the level of the Sec61 complex9,10. We have established an experimental system that allows us to directly address the role of the Sec61 complex as potential Ca2+ leak channel and to characterize its putative regulatory mechanisms11-13. This system combines siRNA mediated gene silencing and live cell Ca2+ imaging13. Cells are treated with siRNAs that are directed against the coding and untranslated region (UTR), respectively, of the SEC61A1 gene or a negative control siRNA. In complementation analysis, the cells are co-transfected with an IRES-GFP vector that allows the siRNA-resistant expression of the wildtype SEC61A1 gene. Then the cells are loaded with the ratiometric Ca2+-indicator FURA-2 to monitor simultaneously changes in the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration in a number of cells via a fluorescence microscope. The continuous measurement of cytosolic Ca2+ also allows the evaluation of the impact of various agents, such as puromycin, small molecule inhibitors, and thapsigargin on Ca2+ leakage. This experimental system gives us the unique opportunities to i) evaluate the contribution of different ER membrane proteins to passive Ca2+ efflux from the ER in various cell types, ii) characterize the proteins and mechanisms that limit this passive Ca2+ efflux, and iii) study the effects of disease linked mutations in the relevant components.
doi:10.3791/2730
PMCID: PMC3196168  PMID: 21775954
6.  Tumor development in murine ulcerative colitis depends on MyD88 signaling of colonic F4/80+CD11bhighGr1low macrophages  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(5):1692-1708.
Patients with prolonged ulcerative colitis (UC) frequently develop colorectal adenocarcinoma for reasons that are not fully clear. To analyze inflammation-associated colonic tumorigenesis, we developed a chronic form of oxazolone-induced colitis in mice that, similar to UC, was distinguished by the presence of IL-13–producing NKT cells. In this model, the induction of tumors using azoxymethane was accompanied by the coappearance of F4/80+CD11bhighGr1low M2 macrophages, cells that undergo polarization by IL-13 and are absent in tumors that lack high level IL-13 production. Importantly, this subset of macrophages was a source of tumor-promoting factors, including IL-6. Similar to dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis, F4/80+CD11bhighGr1intermediate macrophages were present in the mouse model of chronic oxazolone-induced colitis and may influence tumor development through production of TGF-β1, a cytokine that inhibits tumor immunosurveillance. Finally, while robust chronic oxazolone-induced colitis developed in myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88–deficient (Myd88–/–) mice, these mice did not support tumor development. The inhibition of tumor development in Myd88–/– mice correlated with cessation of IL-6 and TGF-β1 production by M2 and F4/80+CD11bhighGr1intermediate macrophages, respectively, and was reversed by exogenous IL-6. These data show that an UC-like inflammation may facilitate tumor development by providing a milieu favoring development of MyD88-dependent tumor-supporting macrophages.
doi:10.1172/JCI42540
PMCID: PMC3083803  PMID: 21519141
7.  Activating transcription factor-3 (ATF3) functions as a tumor suppressor in colon cancer and is up-regulated upon heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibition 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:668.
Background
Activating transcription factor-3 (ATF3) is involved in the complex process of cellular stress response. However, its exact role in cancer is discussed controversially because both tumor suppressive and oncogenic effects have been described. Here we followed-up on our previous observation that inhibition of Hsp90 may increase ATF3 expression and sought to determine the role of ATF3 in colon cancer.
Methods
Regulation of ATF3 was determined in cancer cells using signaling inhibitors and a heat-shock protein-90 (Hsp90) antagonist. Human HCT116 cancer cells were stably transfected with an ATF3-shRNA or a luciferase-shRNA expression plasmid and alterations in cell motility were assessed in migration assays. The impact of ATF3 down-regulation on cancer growth and metastasis were investigated in a subcutaneous tumor model, a model of hepatic tumor growth and in a model of peritoneal carcinomatosis. Human colon cancer tissues were analyzed for ATF3 expression.
Results
The results show that therapeutic Hsp90 inhibition substantially up-regulates the expression of ATF3 in various cancer cells, including colon, gastric and pancreatic cancer. This effect was evident both in vitro and in vivo. RNAi mediated knock-down of ATF3 in HCT116 colon cancer cells significantly increased cancer cell migration in vitro. Moreover, in xenogenic mouse models, ATF3 knock-down promoted subcutaneous tumor growth and hepatic metastasis, as well as peritoneal carcinomatosis. Importantly, ATF3 expression was lower in human colon cancer specimens, as compared to corresponding normal surrounding tissues, suggesting that ATF3 may represent a down-regulated tumor suppressor in colon cancer.
Conclusion
In conclusion, ATF3 down-regulation in colon cancer promotes tumor growth and metastasis. Considering that blocking Hsp90 induces ATF3 expression, Hsp90 inhibition may represent a valid strategy to treat metastatic colon cancer by up-regulating this anti-metastatic transcription factor.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-668
PMCID: PMC3003660  PMID: 21129190
8.  ENMD-1198, a novel tubulin-binding agent reduces HIF-1alpha and STAT3 activity in human hepatocellular carcinoma(HCC) cells, and inhibits growth and vascularization in vivo 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:206.
Background
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a highly vascularized tumor entity and the process of angiogenesis is essential for the growth of HCC. Importantly, the pro-angiogenic transcription factors HIF-1α and STAT3 have been implicated in HCC progression, thus representing interesting targets for molecular targeted therapy. We hypothesized that therapeutic inhibition of HIF-1α could be achieved by using a novel tubulin-binding agent (ENMD-1198). ENMD-1198 is an analog of 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) with antiproliferative and antiangiogenic activity.
Methods
The human HCC cell lines HUH-7 and HepG2 were used for experiments. Effects of ENMD-1198 on constitutive and inducible (hypoxia, growth factors) activation of signaling cascades, including HIF-1α and STAT3, were investigated by Western blotting. Changes in VEGF expression were determined by real-time PCR. Effects of ENMD-1198 on cancer cell migration and invasion were evaluated in in vitro-assays. The growth-inhibitory effects of ENMD-1198 (200 mg/kg/day) were determined in a subcutaneous tumor model (HUH-7).
Results
ENMD-1198 inhibited the phosphorylation of MAPK/Erk, PI-3K/Akt and FAK. Moreover, activation of HIF-1α and STAT3 was dramatically reduced by ENMD-1198, which resulted in lower VEGF mRNA expression (P < 0.05). In addition, tumor cell migratory and invasive properties were significantly inhibited (P < 0.05, for both). In vivo, treatment with ENMD-1198 led to a significant reduction in tumor growth, tumor vascularization, and numbers of proliferating tumor cells (P < 0.05 for all).
Conclusion
The novel microtubule destabilizing agent ENMD-1198 is suitable for inhibiting HIF-1α and STAT3 in human HCC cells and leads to reduced tumor growth and vascularization in vivo. Hence, inhibition of HIF-1α and STAT3 could prove valuable for therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-206
PMCID: PMC2496914  PMID: 18651980

Results 1-8 (8)