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1.  CHK1 levels correlate with sensitization to pemetrexed by CHK1 inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer cells 
Objective
Overexpression of checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1) is associated with poorer patient outcome and therapeutic resistance in multiple tumor models. Inhibition of CHK1 has been proposed as a strategy to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents, especially in p53-deficient tumors. In this study, we evaluated the effects of a novel CHK1 inhibitor, MK-8776, in combination with pemetrexed (PMX) on cell proliferation and survival in a panel of p53 mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines.
Methods
We examined CHK1 expression in 442 resected lung adenocarcinoma specimens using Affymetrix U133A gene expression arrays. We correlated CHK1 mRNA expression with patient survival, tumor differentiation and genomic complexity. We evaluated CHK1 levels in NSCLC cell lines and identified four p53 mutant cell lines with variable CHK1 expression (H1993, H23, H1437 and H1299) based on publicly available gene expression data. We confirmed differential CHK1 mRNA and CHK1 protein levels by qRT-PCR, ELISA, Western Blot analysis (WB) and immunohistochemistry. We examined cell line sensitization to PMX in response to CHK1 inhibition with MK-8776 using WST-1 and clonogenic survival assays.
Results
We found that elevated CHK1 expression in primary lung adenocarcinomas correlates with poor tumor differentiation and significantly worse patient survival. Tumors with elevated CHK1 mRNA levels have a higher number of gene mutations and DNA copy number gain or amplifications. CHK1 inhibition by MK-8776 enhances sensitivity of NSCLC cell lines to PMX. CHK1 mRNA and protein expression are variable among NSCLC cell lines, and cells expressing higher levels of CHK1 protein are more sensitive to the CHK1 inhibition by MK-8776 as compared to low CHK1 expressing cells.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that CHK1 levels may not only serve as a biomarker of poor prognosis in surgically-resected lung adenocarcinomas, but could also be a predictive marker for CHK1 inhibitor sensitivity, pending in vivo and clinical confirmation.
doi:10.1016/j.lungcan.2013.09.010
PMCID: PMC4073640  PMID: 24113549
CHK1; Lung; Chemosensitivity; NSCLC; Patient survival; Genomic complexity
2.  Sensitive capture of circulating tumour cells by functionalised graphene oxide nanosheets 
Nature nanotechnology  2013;8(10):735-741.
The spread of cancer throughout the body is driven by circulating tumour cells (CTCs)1. These cells detach from the primary tumour and move from the blood stream to a new site of subsequent tumour growth. They also carry information about the primary tumour and have the potential to be valuable biomarkers for disease diagnosis and progression, and for the molecular characterization of certain biological properties of the tumour. However, the limited sensitivity and specificity of current methods to measure and study these cells in patient blood samples prevent the realization of their full clinical potential. The use of microfluidic devices is a promising method for isolating CTCs2, 3; however, the devices are reliant on three-dimensional structures, which limit further characterization and expansion of cells on the chip. Here we demonstrate an effective approach to isolate CTCs from blood samples of pancreatic, breast and lung cancer patients, by using functionalised graphene oxide nanosheets on a patterned gold surface. CTCs were captured with high sensitivity at low concentration of target cells (73% ± 32.4 at 3–5 cells/mL blood).
doi:10.1038/nnano.2013.194
PMCID: PMC4017624  PMID: 24077027
3.  Exome and whole genome sequencing of esophageal adenocarcinoma identifies recurrent driver events and mutational complexity 
Nature genetics  2013;45(5):10.1038/ng.2591.
The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has risen 600% over the last 30 years. With a five-year survival rate of 15%, identification of new therapeutic targets for EAC is greatly important. We analyze the mutation spectra from whole exome sequencing of 149 EAC tumors/normal pairs, 15 of which have also been subjected to whole genome sequencing. We identify a mutational signature defined by a high prevalence of A to C transversions at AA dinucleotides. Statistical analysis of exome data identified significantly mutated 26 genes. Of these genes, four (TP53, CDKN2A, SMAD4, and PIK3CA) have been previously implicated in EAC. The novel significantly mutated genes include chromatin modifying factors and candidate contributors: SPG20, TLR4, ELMO1, and DOCK2. Functional analyses of EAC-derived mutations in ELMO1 reveal increased cellular invasion. Therefore, we suggest a new hypothesis about the potential activation of the RAC1 pathway to be a contributor to EAC tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1038/ng.2591
PMCID: PMC3678719  PMID: 23525077
4.  Development and Validation of a qRT-PCR Classifier for Lung Cancer Prognosis 
Purpose
This prospective study aimed to develop a robust and clinically-applicable method to identify high-risk early stage lung cancer patients and then to validate this method for use in future translational studies.
Patients and Methods
Three published Affymetrix microarray data sets representing 680 primary tumors were used in the survival-related gene selection procedure using clustering, Cox model and random survival forest (RSF) analysis. A final set of 91 genes was selected and tested as a predictor of survival using a qRT-PCR-based assay utilizing an independent cohort of 101 lung adenocarcinomas.
Results
The RSF model built from 91 genes in the training set predicted patient survival in an independent cohort of 101 lung adenocarcinomas, with a prediction error rate of 26.6%. The mortality risk index (MRI) was significantly related to survival (Cox model p < 0.00001) and separated all patients into low, medium, and high-risk groups (HR = 1.00, 2.82, 4.42). The MRI was also related to survival in stage 1 patients (Cox model p = 0.001), separating patients into low, medium, and high-risk groups (HR = 1.00, 3.29, 3.77).
Conclusions
The development and validation of this robust qRT-PCR platform allows prediction of patient survival with early stage lung cancer. Utilization will now allow investigators to evaluate it prospectively by incorporation into new clinical trials with the goal of personalized treatment of lung cancer patients and improving patient survival.
doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e31822918bd
PMCID: PMC3167380  PMID: 21792073
Lung cancer; qRT-PCR; Prognosis
5.  Decreased selenium binding protein-1 (SELENBP1) in esophageal adenocarcinoma results from post-transcriptional and epigenetic regulation and affects chemosensitivity 
Purpose
The chemopreventive effects of selenium have been extensively examined but its role in cancer development or as a chemotherapeutic agent have only recently been explored. Because Selenium Binding Protein 1 (SELENBP1, SBP1, hSP56) has been shown to bind selenium covalently and selenium deficiency has been associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), we examined its role in EAC development and its potential effect on chemosensitivity in the presence of selenium.
Experimental Design
SELENBP1 expression level and copy number variation were determined by oligonucleotide microarrays, real-time RT-PCR, tissue microarrays, immunoblotting and SNP arrays. Bisulfite sequencing and sequence analysis of RT-PCR-amplified products explored epigenetic and post-transcriptional regulation of SELENBP1 expression, respectively. WST-1 cell proliferation assays, senescence-associated β-galactosidase staining, immunoblotting, and flow cytometry were performed to evaluate the biological significance of SELENBP1 overexpression in selenium-supplemented EAC cells.
Results
SELENBP1 expression decreased significantly in Barrett's esophagus to adenocarcinoma progression. Both epigenetic and post-transcriptional mechanisms appeared to modulate SELENBP1 expression. Stable overexpression of SELENBP1 in methylseleninic acid-supplemented Flo-1 cells resulted in enhanced apoptosis, increased cellular senescence, and enhanced cisplatin cytotoxicity. Although inorganic sodium selenite similarly enhanced cisplatin cytotoxicity, these 2 forms of selenium elicited different cellular responses.
Conclusions
SELENBP1 expression may be an important predictor of response to chemoprevention or chemosensitization with certain forms of selenium in esophageal tissues.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2801
PMCID: PMC2953959  PMID: 20332323
6.  Expression and Effect of Inhibition of the Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzyme E2C on Esophageal Adenocarcinoma1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2006;8(12):1062-1071.
Abstract
Ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of cyclins plays a critical role in cell cycle progression and tumorigenesis. We examined the expression of ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2C (UBE2C) during progression from Barrett's metaplasia to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) and the effects of targeting this enzyme on EA-derived cell lines. Using oligonucleotide microarrays UBE2C expression was elevated in 73% (11 of 15) of EAs relative to Barrett's metaplasia. Tissue microarray showed elevated UBE2C in 70% (7 of 10) of dysplastic samples and in 87% (58 of 67) of tumors relative to metaplastic samples. Transfection of dominant-negative UBE2C into Seg-1 cells decreased proliferation (P = .04) and increased mitotic arrest compared to vector controls (63.5% vs 6.8%; P < .001). Transfection of UBE2C small interfering RNA also caused inhibiton of cell proliferation and distortion of the cell cycle, with maximal increase of G2 cells (155% of mock cells) at 72 hours and of S-phase cells (308% of mock cells) at 24 hours. Treatment of Seg-1 cells with the proteasome inhibitor MG-262 (1 nM-1 µM) showed decreased proliferation (P = .02). EA-derived cells expressing UBE2C are sensitive to treatment with MG-262 and to silencing of UBE2C, suggesting that patients with EAs overexpressing UBE2C may benefit from agents targeting this ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme.
PMCID: PMC1783715  PMID: 17217624
Esophageal adenocarcinoma; ubiquitin; UBE2C; proteasome inhibitor; siRNA
7.  l-Type Amino Acid Transporter-1 Overexpression and Melphalan Sensitivity in Barrett's Adenocarcinoma1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2004;6(1):74-84.
Abstract
The L-type amino acid transporter-1 (LAT-1) has been associated with tumor growth. Using cDNA microarrays, overexpression of LAT-1 was found in 87.5% (7/8) of esophageal adenocarcinomas relative to 12 Barrett's samples (33% metaplasia and 66% dysplasia) and was confirmed in 100% (28/28) of Barrett's adenocarcinomas by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Immunohistochemistry revealed LAT-1 staining in 37.5% (24/64) of esophageal adenocarcinomas on tissue microarray. LAT-1 also transports the amino acid-related chemotherapeutic agent, melphalan. Two esophageal adenocarcinoma and one esophageal squamous cell line, expressing LAT-1 on Western blot analysis, were sensitive to therapeutic doses of melphalan (P < .001). Simultaneous treatment with the competitive inhibitor, BCH [2-aminobicyclo-(2,1,1)-heptane-2-carboxylic acid], decreased sensitivity to melphalan (P < .05). In addition, confluent esophageal squamous cultures were less sensitive to melphalan (P < .001) and had a decrease in LAT-1 protein expression. Tumors from two esophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines grown in nude mice retained LAT-1 mRNA expression. These results demonstrate that LAT-1 is highly expressed in a subset of esophageal adenocarcinomas and that Barrett's adenocarcinoma cell lines expressing LAT-1 are sensitive to melphalan. LAT-1 expression is also retained in cell lines grown in nude mice providing a model to evaluate melphalan as a chemotherapeutic agent against esophageal adenocarcinomas expressing LAT-1.
PMCID: PMC1508631  PMID: 15068672
Esophageal adenocarcinoma; L-type amino acid transporter-1; amino acid transporters; melphalan; chemotherapy

Results 1-7 (7)