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1.  Common Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Do Not Contribute to Early Prostate Cancer in Jewish Men 
The Prostate  1999;40(3):172-177.
Families with a high incidence of hereditary breast cancer, and subsequently shown to have terminating mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 appear to have a higher incidence of prostate cancer among the male relatives. We aimed to determine whether the common germline mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2 in Ashkenazi Jewish men predisposed them to prostate cancer.
We examined genomic DNA from 83 (for BRCA1 185delAG) or 82 (for BRCA2 6174delT) Ashkenazi Jewish prostate cancer patients, most of whom were treated at a relatively young age, for the most common germline mutation in each gene seen in the Ashkenazi population.
Our study should be able to detect a four to five fold increase in the risk of prostate cancer due to mutation of BRCA1 or BRCA2. However, only one (1.15%, 95% CI 0-3.6%) of the patients was heterozygous for the BRCA1 mutant allele, and only two were heterozygous for the BRCA2 mutation (2.4%, 95% CI 0-6.2%).
The incidence of each of the germline mutations in these prostate cancer patients closely matched their incidence (about 1%) in the general Ashkenazi Jewish population. This suggests that unlike the cases of breast and ovarian cancers, mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 do not significantly predispose men to prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4196372  PMID: 10398279
risk; gene; breast; neoplastic; heterozygote
2.  Molecular testing guidelines for lung adenocarcinoma: Utility of cell blocks and concordance between fine-needle aspiration cytology and histology samples 
CytoJournal  2014;11:12.
Lung cancer is a leading cause of mortality, and patients often present at a late stage. More recently, advances in screening, diagnosing, and treating lung cancer have been made. For instance, greater numbers of minimally invasive procedures are being performed, and identification of lung adenocarcinoma driver mutations has led to the implementation of targeted therapies. Advances in molecular techniques enable use of scant tissue, including cytology specimens. In addition, per recently published consensus guidelines, cytology-derived cell blocks (CBs) are preferred over direct smears. Yet, limited comparison of molecular testing of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) CBs and corresponding histology specimens has been performed. This study aimed to establish concordance of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Kirsten rat sarcoma (KRAS) virus homolog testing between FNA CBs and histology samples from the same patients.
Materials and Methods:
Patients for whom molecular testing for EGFR or KRAS was performed on both FNA CBs and histology samples containing lung adenocarcinoma were identified retrospectively. Following microdissection, when necessary, concordance of EGFR and KRAS molecular testing results between FNA CBs and histology samples was evaluated.
EGFR and/or KRAS testing was performed on samples obtained from 26 patients. Concordant results were obtained for all EGFR (22/22) and KRAS (17/17) mutation analyses performed.
Identification of mutations in lung adenocarcinomas affects clinical decision-making, and it is important that results from small samples be accurate. This study demonstrates that molecular testing on cytology CBs is as sensitive and specific as that on histology.
PMCID: PMC4058904  PMID: 24987443
Cell blocks; cytopathology; endobronchial ultrasound-guided; epidermal growth factor receptor; fine needle aspiration; Kirsten rat sarcoma; lung adenocarcinoma; molecular testing
3.  Mutation in an mtDNA Protein-Coding Gene: Prenatal Diagnosis Aided by Fetal Muscle Biopsy 
Journal of child neurology  2012;28(2):264-268.
Prenatal diagnosis of disorders due to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tRNA gene mutations is problematic. Experience in families harboring the protein-coding ATPase 6 m.8993T>G mutation suggests that the mutant load is homogeneous in different tissues, thus allowing prenatal diagnosis. We have encountered a novel protein-coding gene mutation, m.10198C>T in MT-ND3. A baby girl homoplasmic for this mutation died at 3 months after severe psychomotor regression and respiratory arrest. The mother had no detectable mutation in accessible tissues. The product of a second pregnancy showed only wild-type mt genomes in amniocytes, chorionic villi, and biopsied fetal muscle. This second girl is now 18 months old and healthy. Our observations support the concept that the pathogenic mutation in this patient appeared de novo and that fetal muscle biopsy is a useful aide in prenatal diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3959766  PMID: 22532554
mtDNA; complex I deficiency; prenatal diagnosis; mitochondria
4.  Validity and Reliability of Using a Self-Lavaging Device for Cytology and HPV Testing for Cervical Cancer Screening: Findings from a Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82115.
Self-sampling could increase cervical cancer screening uptake. While methods have been identified for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, to date, self-sampling has not provided adequate specimens for cytology. We piloted the validity and reliability of using a self-lavaging device for cervical cytology and HPV testing. We enrolled 198 women in New York City in 2008–2009 from three ambulatory clinics where they received cervical cancer screening. All were asked to use the Delphi Screener™ to self-lavage 1–3 months after clinician-collected index cytological smear (100 normal; 98 abnormal). Women with abnormal cytology results from either specimen underwent colposcopy; 10 women with normal results from both specimens also underwent colposcopy. We calculated sensitivity of self-collected cytology to detect histologically confirmed high grade lesions (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, CIN, 2+); specificity for histology-negative (CIN 1 or lower), paired cytology negative, or a third cytology negative; and kappa for paired results. One hundred and ninety-seven (99.5%) women self-collected a lavage. Seventy-five percent had moderate to excellent cellularity, two specimens were unsatisfactory for cytology. Seven of 167 (4%) women with definitive results had CIN2+; one had normal and six abnormal cytology results with the self-lavage (sensitivity = 86%, 95% Confidence Interval, CI: 42, 100). The kappa for paired cytology was low (0.36; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.47) primarily due to clinician specimens with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US) and low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) coded as normal using Screener specimens. However, three cases of HSIL were coded as ASC-US and one as normal using Screener specimens. Seventy-three women had paired high-risk HPV tests with a kappa of 0.66 (95% CI: 0.49, 0.84). Based on these preliminary findings, a larger study to estimate the performance of the Screener for co-testing cytology and HPV or for HPV testing with cytology triage is warranted.
Trial Registration NCT00702208
PMCID: PMC3869665  PMID: 24376516
5.  Protocadherin PCDH10, Involved in Tumor Progression, is a Frequent and Early Target of Promoter Hypermethylation in Cervical Cancer 
Genes, chromosomes & cancer  2009;48(11):983-992.
Cervical cancer (CC) is the second most common cancer in women. Currently no tractable molecular based therapeutic targets exist for patients with invasive CC and no predictive markers of risk assessment for progression of precancerous lesions are identified. New molecular insights into CC pathogenesis are urgently needed. Towards this goal, we first determined the copy number alterations of chromosome 4 and then examined the role of PCDH10 mapped to 4q28 as a candidate tumor suppressor gene. We identified monosomy 4 in 47% of 81 invasive CC studied by SNP array and found that 91% of 130 invasive CC harboring methylation in the promoter region of the PCDH10 gene. We then showed that aberrant promoter hypermethylation of PCDH10 is associated with down-regulation of gene expression and cell lines exposed to demethylating agent resulted in profound reactivated gene expression. We also showed that the promoter methylation in the PCDH10 gene occurs at an earliest identifiable stage of low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL). Our studies demonstrate that inactivation of PCDH10 may be a critical event in CC progression and form a potentially useful therapeutic target for CC.
PMCID: PMC3430375  PMID: 19681120
6.  Mutations in p53, p53 protein overexpression and breast cancer survival 
p53 is an important tumor-suppressor gene that encodes p53 protein, a molecule involved in cell cycle regulation, and has been inconsistently linked to breast cancer survival. Using archived tumor tissue from a population-based sample of 859 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1996–1997, we determined p53 mutations in exons 5–8 and p53 protein overexpression. We examined the association of p53 mutations with overexpression and selected tumor clinical parameters. We assessed whether either p53 marker was associated with survival through 2002, adjusting for other tumor markers and prognostic factors. The prevalence of protein overexpression in the tumor was 36% (307/859) and any p53 mutation was 15% (128/859). p53 overexpression was positively associated with the presence of any p53 mutation (odds ratio (OR)=2.2, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.5–3.2), particularly missense mutations (OR=7.0, 95%CI=3.6–13.7). Negative estrogen and progesterone receptor status (ER/PR) was positively associated with both p53 protein overexpression (OR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.7–4.0), and p53 mutation (OR = 3.9, 95% CI = 2.4–6.5). Any p53 mutation and missense mutations, but not p53 protein overexpression, were associated with breast cancer-specific mortality (Hazard ratio HR=1.7, 95%CI=1.0–2.8; HR=2.0, 95%CI=1.1–3.6, respectively) and all-cause mortality (HR=1.5, 95%CI=1.0–2.4; HR=2.0, 95%CI=1.2–3.4, respectively); nonsense mutations were associated only with breast cancer-specific mortality (HR=3.0, 95%CI=1.1–8.1). These associations however did not remain after adjusting for ER/PR status. Thus, in this population-based cohort of women with breast cancer, although p53 protein overexpression and p53 mutations were associated with each other, neither independently impacted breast-cancer specific or all-causing mortality after considering ER/PR status.
PMCID: PMC2832100  PMID: 19602056
breast cancer; p53 mutations; p53 overexpression; survival
7.  Associations between Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon–Related Exposures and p53 Mutations in Breast Tumors 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;118(4):511-518.
Previous studies have suggested that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may be associated with breast cancer. However, the carcinogenicity of PAHs on the human breast remains unclear. Certain carcinogens may be associated with specific mutation patterns in the p53 tumor suppressor gene, thereby contributing information about disease etiology.
We hypothesized that associations of PAH-related exposures with breast cancer would differ according to tumor p53 mutation status, effect, type, and number.
We examined this possibility in a population-based case–control study using polytomous logistic regression. As previously reported, 151 p53 mutations among 859 tumors were identified using Surveyor nuclease and confirmed by sequencing.
We found that participants with p53 mutations were less likely to be exposed to PAHs (assessed by smoking status in 859 cases and 1,556 controls, grilled/smoked meat intake in 822 cases and 1,475 controls, and PAH–DNA adducts in peripheral mononuclear cells in 487 cases and 941 controls) than participants without p53 mutations. For example, active and passive smoking was associated with p53 mutation–negative [odds ratio (OR) = 1.55; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–2.15] but not p53 mutation–positive (OR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.43–1.38) cancer (ratio of the ORs = 0.50, p < 0.05). However, frameshift mutations, mutation number, G:C→A:T transitions at CpG sites, and insertions/deletions were consistently elevated among exposed subjects.
These findings suggest that PAHs may be associated with specific breast tumor p53 mutation subgroups rather than with overall p53 mutations and may also be related to breast cancer through mechanisms other than p53 mutation.
PMCID: PMC2854728  PMID: 20064791
breast cancer; p53 mutation; p53 overexpression; PAH; polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons
8.  Integrative genomics analysis of chromosome 5p gain in cervical cancer reveals target over-expressed genes, including Drosha 
Molecular Cancer  2008;7:58.
Copy number gains and amplifications are characteristic feature of cervical cancer (CC) genomes for which the underlying mechanisms are unclear. These changes may possess oncogenic properties by deregulating tumor-related genes. Gain of short arm of chromosome 5 (5p) is the most frequent karyotypic change in CC.
To examine the role of 5p gain, we performed a combination of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and gene expression analyses on invasive cancer and in various stages of CC progression.
The SNP and FISH analyses revealed copy number increase (CNI) of 5p in 63% of invasive CC, which arises at later stages of precancerous lesions in CC development. We integrated chromosome 5 genomic copy number and gene expression data to identify key target over expressed genes as a consequence of 5p gain. One of the candidates identified was Drosha (RNASEN), a gene that is required in the first step of microRNA (miRNA) processing in the nucleus. Other 5p genes identified as targets of CNI play a role in DNA repair and cell cycle regulation (BASP1, TARS, PAIP1, BRD9, RAD1, SKP2, and POLS), signal transduction (OSMR), and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (NNT, SDHA, and NDUFS6), suggesting that disruption of pathways involving these genes may contribute to CC progression.
Taken together, we demonstrate the power of integrating genomics data with expression data in deciphering tumor-related targets of CNI. Identification of 5p gene targets in CC denotes an important step towards biomarker development and forms a framework for testing as molecular therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC2440550  PMID: 18559093
9.  Promoter hypermethylation-mediated inactivation of multiple Slit-Robo pathway genes in cervical cancer progression 
Molecular Cancer  2006;5:16.
Cervical Cancer (CC) exhibits highly complex genomic alterations. These include hemizygous deletions at 4p15.3, 10q24, 5q35, 3p12.3, and 11q24, the chromosomal sites of Slit-Robo pathway genes. However, no candidate tumor suppressor genes at these regions have been identified so far. Slit family of secreted proteins modulates chemokine-induced cell migration of distinct somatic cell types. Slit genes mediate their effect by binding to its receptor Roundabout (Robo). These genes have shown to be inactivated by promoter hypermethylation in a number of human cancers.
To test whether Slit-Robo pathway genes are targets of inactivation at these sites of deletion, we examined promoter hypermethylation of SLIT1, SLIT2, SLIT3, ROBO1, and ROBO3 genes in invasive CC and its precursor lesions. We identified a high frequency of promoter hypermethylation in all the Slit-Robo genes resulting in down regulated gene expression in invasive CC, but the inhibitors of DNA methylation and histone deacetylases (HDACs) in CC cell lines failed to effectively reactivate the down-regulated expression. These results suggest a complex mechanism of inactivation in the Slit-Robo pathway in CC. By analysis of cervical precancerous lesions, we further show that promoter hypermethylation of Slit-Robo pathway occurs early in tumor progression.
Taken together, these findings suggest that epigenetic alterations of Slit-Robo pathway genes (i) play a role in CC development, (ii) further delineation of molecular basis of promoter methylation-mediated gene regulation provides a potential basis for epigenetic-based therapy in advanced stage CC, and (iii) form epigenetic signatures to identify precancerous lesions at risk to progression.
PMCID: PMC1482714  PMID: 16700909
10.  Role of promoter hypermethylation in Cisplatin treatment response of male germ cell tumors 
Molecular Cancer  2004;3:16.
Male germ cell tumor (GCT) is a highly curable malignancy, which exhibits exquisite sensitivity to cisplatin treatment. The genetic pathway(s) that determine the chemotherapy sensitivity in GCT remain largely unknown.
We studied epigenetic changes in relation to cisplatin response by examining promoter hypermethylation in a cohort of resistant and sensitive GCTs. Here, we show that promoter hypermethylation of RASSF1A and HIC1 genes is associated with resistance. The promoter hypermethylation and/or the down-regulated expression of MGMT is seen in the majority of tumors. We hypothesize that these epigenetic alterations affecting MGMT play a major role in the exquisite sensitivity to cisplatin, characteristic of GCTs. We also demonstrate that cisplatin treatment induce de novo promoter hypermethylation in vivo. In addition, we show that the acquired cisplatin resistance in vitro alters the expression of specific genes and the highly resistant cells fail to reactivate gene expression after treatment to demethylating and histone deacetylase inhibiting agents.
Our findings suggest that promoter hypermethylation of RASSF1A and HIC1 genes play a role in resistance of GCT, while the transcriptional inactivation of MGMT by epigenetic alterations confer exquisite sensitivity to cisplatin. These results also implicate defects in epigenetic pathways that regulate gene transcription in cisplatin resistant GCT.
PMCID: PMC420487  PMID: 15149548
11.  Tobacco, alcohol, and p53 overexpression in early colorectal neoplasia 
BMC Cancer  2003;3:29.
The p53 tumor suppressor gene is commonly mutated in colorectal cancer. While the effect of p53 mutations on colorectal cancer prognosis has been heavily studied, less is known about how epidemiologic risk factors relate to p53 status, particularly in early colorectal neoplasia prior to clinically invasive colorectal cancer (including adenomas, carcinoma in situ (CIS), and intramucosal carcinoma).
We examined p53 status, as measured by protein overexpression, in 157 cases with early colorectal neoplasia selected from three New York City colonoscopy clinics. After collecting paraffin-embedded tissue blocks, immunohistochemistry was performed using an anti-p53 monoclonal mouse IgG2a [BP53-12-1] antibody. We analyzed whether p53 status was different for risk factors for colorectal neoplasia relative to a polyp-free control group (n = 508).
p53 overexpression was found in 10.3%, 21.7%, and 34.9%, of adenomatous polyps, CIS, and intramucosal cases, respectively. Over 90% of the tumors with p53 overexpression were located in the distal colon and rectum. Heavy cigarette smoking (30+ years) was associated with cases not overexpressing p53 (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.1–2.9) but not with those cases overexpressing p53 (OR = 1.0, 95% CI = 0.4–2.6). Heavy beer consumption (8+ bottles per week) was associated with cases overexpressing p53 (OR = 4.0, 95% CI = 1.3–12.0) but not with cases without p53 overexpression (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 0.7–3.7).
Our findings that p53 overexpression in early colorectal neoplasia may be positively associated with alcohol intake and inversely associated with cigarette smoking are consistent with those of several studies of p53 expression and invasive cancer, and suggest that there may be relationships of smoking and alcohol with p53 early in the adenoma to carcinoma sequence.
PMCID: PMC280655  PMID: 14604438
colorectal adenoma; colorectal cancer; p53; risk factors
12.  Frequent Promoter Methylation of CDH1, DAPK, RARB, and HIC1 Genes in Carcinoma of Cervix Uteri: Its Relationship to Clinical Outcome 
Molecular Cancer  2003;2:24.
Cervical cancer (CC), a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide, has been causally linked to genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Although a host of genetic alterations have been identified, molecular basis of CC development is still poorly understood.
We examined the role of promoter hypermethylation, an epigenetic alteration that is associated with the silencing tumor suppressor genes in human cancer, by studying 16 gene promoters in 90 CC cases. We found a high frequency of promoter methylation in CDH1, DAPK, RARB, and HIC1 genes. Correlation of promoter methylation with clinical characteristics and other genetic changes revealed the following: a) overall promoter methylation was higher in more advanced stage of the disease, b) promoter methylation of RARB and BRCA1 predicted worse prognosis, and c) the HIC1 promoter methylation was frequently seen in association with microsatellite instability. Promoter methylation was associated with gene silencing in CC cell lines. Treatment with methylation or histone deacetylation-inhibiting agents resulted in profound reactivation of gene expression.
These results may have implications in understanding the underlying epigenetic mechanisms in CC development, provide prognostic indicators, and identify important gene targets for treatment.
PMCID: PMC156646  PMID: 12773202
cervical carcinoma; promoter hypermethylation; CDH1; DAPK; RARB; tumor suppressor gene; gene expression
13.  Characteristic promoter hypermethylation signatures in male germ cell tumors 
Molecular Cancer  2002;1:8.
Human male germ cell tumors (GCTs) arise from undifferentiated primordial germ cells (PGCs), a stage in which extensive methylation reprogramming occurs. GCTs exhibit pluripotentality and are highly sensitive to cisplatin therapy. The molecular basis of germ cell (GC) transformation, differentiation, and exquisite treatment response is poorly understood.
To assess the role and mechanism of promoter hypermethylation, we analyzed CpG islands of 21 gene promoters by methylation-specific PCR in seminomatous (SGCT) and nonseminomatous (NSGCT) GCTs. We found 60% of the NSGCTs demonstrating methylation in one or more gene promoters whereas SGCTs showed a near-absence of methylation, therefore identifying distinct methylation patterns in the two major histologies of GCT. DNA repair genes MGMT, RASSF1A, and BRCA1, and a transcriptional repressor gene HIC1, were frequently methylated in the NSGCTs. The promoter hypermethylation was associated with gene silencing in most methylated genes, and reactivation of gene expression occured upon treatment with 5-Aza-2' deoxycytidine in GCT cell lines.
Our results, therefore, suggest a potential role for epigenetic modification of critical tumor suppressor genes in pathways relevant to GC transformation, differentiation, and treatment response.
PMCID: PMC149411  PMID: 12495446
Germ cell tumor; promoter hypermethylation; MGMT; RASSF1A; BRCA1; gene expression
14.  Mapping common deleted regions on 5p15 in cervical carcinoma and their occurrence in precancerous lesions 
Molecular Cancer  2002;1:3.
Previous studies have shown that the short arm of chromosome 5 (5p) exhibit frequent genetic changes in invasive cervical carcinoma (CC), and that these changes arise early during the carcinogenesis, in precancerous lesions. These data therefore suggest that loss of candidate tumor suppressor genes located on 5p is associated with the development of CC. However, the precise location of 5p deletions is not known.
We performed a detailed deletion mapping of 5p in 60 cases of invasive CC. We found that 60% of the tumors exhibit a 5p loss of heterozygosity (LOH). The patterns of LOH allowed us to identify two minimal regions of deletions, one at 5p15.3 spanning a 5.5 cM genetic distance and a second site of 7 cM at 5p15.2-15.3. In addition, we also identified 5p deletions in 16% lesions of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). 5p LOH was found in 63% of HPV 16 positive tumors, while only 33% tumors with other HPV-types had 5p LOH. The differences in frequency of 5p LOH between tumors harboring HPV16 in combination with other HPV types and tumors harboring HPV16 DNA alone were significantly higher, suggesting a synergistic effect of high-risk types in causing genomic instability.
These findings implicate the presence of tumor suppressor gene(s) on 5p relevant to CC tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC140145  PMID: 12392596
Cervical carcinoma; cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; chromosome 5p; loss of heterozygosity; deletion mapping; human papilloma virus

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