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author:("bozzi, G.")
1.  Molecular sputum analysis for the diagnosis of lung cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;109(3):530-537.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality rate worldwide, mainly because of the presence of metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. Early detection of lung cancer improves prognosis, and towards this end, large screening trials in high-risk individuals have been conducted since the past century. Despite all efforts, the need for novel (complementary) lung cancer diagnostic and screening methods still exists. In this review, we focus on the assessment of lung cancer-related biomarkers in sputum in the past decennium. Besides cytology, mutation and microRNA analysis, special attention has been paid to DNA promoter hypermethylation, of which all available literature is summarised without time restriction. A model is proposed to aid in the distinction between diagnostic and risk markers. Research on the use of sputum for non-invasive detection of early-stage lung cancer has brought new insights and advanced molecular techniques. The sputum shows a promising potential for routine diagnostic and possibly screening purposes.
PMCID: PMC3738145  PMID: 23868001
biomarkers; DNA methylation; early detection lung cancer; lung cancer screening; molecular diagnostics; non-small-cell lung cancer
2.  Increased Sensitivity to Cisplatin in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cell Lines after FHIT Gene Transfer1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2006;8(1):9-17.
To evaluate the relevance of fragile histidine triad (FHIT) status in relation to drug treatment, we analyzed the sensitivity of the Fhit-negative non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line NCI-H460 to different drugs, after treatment with an adenoviral vector expressing the FHIT transgene. Expression of Fhit resulted in reduced sensitivity to etoposide, doxorubicin, and topotecan. This feature was associated with Fhit-induced downregulation of DNA topoisomerases I and II. In contrast, expression of Fhit did not modulate sensitivity to Taxol, but produced a slight increase in sensitivity to cisplatin, as shown by colony-forming assays. Analysis of apoptosis revealed that, after cisplatin exposure, the number of apoptotic cells was two-fold higher in Fhit-expressing H460 cells. Moreover, it appeared that wild-type p53 was required for sensitization to cisplatin because the effect was marginal in A549 and Calu-1 cells, where the p53 pathway is altered and simultaneous restoration of p53 and Fhit in Calu-1 cells increased cisplatin sensitivity. Fhit could also partially restore sensitivity to cisplatin in Bcl-2- and Bcl-xL-overexpressing H460 cells that are normally resistant to this drug. Our results support the possible relevance of FHIT in cisplatin-based chemotherapy as well as in the reversal of drug resistance in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC1584285  PMID: 16533421
Lung cancer; Fhit; cisplatin; chemosensitivity; apoptosis
3.  SYT-SSX fusion genes and prognosis in synovial sarcoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(10):1535-1539.
A case series of 64 synovial sarcomas was characterized for the SYT-SSX fusion transcripts and statistically analysed in order to correlate molecular data with prognosis and morphology. SYT-SSX1 fusion transcript appeared to be an independent, though not reaching statistical significance (P = 0.183), prognostic factor clearly associated with a reduced metastasis-free survival. Regarding the association between transcript type and histologic subtype we found, a borderline P value (P = 0.067) between the SYT-SSX1 transcript and the biphasic subtype which, subsequently expanding the analysis to 70 cases, turned out to be significant. However, we could not confirm the prediction value of the biphasic subtype for the presence of the SYT-SSX1 transcript since in our hands 6 out 33 (18%) biphasic tumours carried the SYT-SSX2 transcript.© 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363950  PMID: 11720441
synovial sarcoma; fusion transcripts; morphology; prognosis
4.  c-KIT and c-KIT ligand (SCF) in synovial sarcoma (SS): an mRNA expression analysis in 23 cases 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(3):405-411.
In a previous immunophenotypic molecular-based analysis it was shown that bcl2 over-expression characterizes the SS gene profile in addition to the non-random translocations. Here we show that the over-expression of an additional potentially antiapoptotic gene, the c-KIT gene, is associated with this tumour. Interestingly, whereas bcl2 over-expression appears to be restricted to the spindle cell tumoral component, c-kit mainly involves the epithelial component of biphasic SS. Twenty-three primary and metastatic samples from 21 patients were analysed by immunophenotyping (23/23), immunoprecipitations and Western blotting (3/23), and RT-PCR (23/23). Ten cases were biphasic and 13 monophasic in sub-type. Twelve, 10 and 1 case carried the SYT-SSX1, SYT-SSX2 and SYT-SSX4 fusion transcript, respectively. Co-presence of both c-Kit and SCF mRNA was observed in almost all cases (20/23), suggesting the occurrence of an autocrine loop. Immunophenotyping, confirmed by biochemical analyses, showed a modulation of c-Kit expression which was faint in the spindle and strong in the epithelial component, respectively. The study was complemented by c-Met/HGF receptor/ligand expression and c-Met protein analysis with results superimposable to those already reported. Since in each tumour, epithelial and spindle cell components harbour the same type of translocation t(X;18) the present findings suggest a shifting of the anti-apoptotic role from BCL2 to c-KIT gene during the transition from the uncommitted spindle to the differentiated epithelial cells. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2364059  PMID: 11487273
synovial sarcoma; RT-PCR; c-KIT/SCF; anti-apoptotic gene
5.  Identification of a novel spliced variant of the SYT gene expressed in normal tissues and in synovial sarcoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;84(8):1087-1094.
Synovial sarcoma (SS) is cytogenetically characterized by the translocation t(X;18)(p11.2-q11.2) generating a fusion between the SYT gene on chromosome 18 and one member of the SSX family gene (SSX1; SSX2; SSX4) on chromosome X. Here, we report for the first time that 2 forms of SYT mRNA are present in both normal tissues and SSs. By amplifying the full-length SYT cDNA of two SSs, we detected 2 bands, here designated N-SYT and I-SYT. The latter, previously undescribed, contains an in-frame insertion of 93 bp. Its sequencing revealed a 100% homology with the mouse SYT gene. These two SYT forms were present, although in different amounts, in all human normal tissues examined, including kidney, stomach, lung, colon, liver and synovia. Coexistence of N-SYT and I-SYT (both fused with SSX) was detected in a series of 59 SSs (35 monophasic and 24 biphasic) and in a SS cell line. A preliminary analysis of the differential expression levels of N-SYT and I-SYT in SSs revealed that the latter was consistently overexpressed, suggesting a role in SS pathogenesis. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363857  PMID: 11308259
synovial sarcoma; fusion transcript; RT-PCR analysis; alternative splicing event
6.  The expression of MDM2/CDK4 gene product in the differential diagnosis of well differentiated liposarcoma and large deep-seated lipoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2000;82(7):1271-1275.
Ordinary lipomas are cytogenetically characterized by a variety of balanced rearrangements involving chromosome segment 12q13–15, whereas well differentiated liposarcomas (WDL) show supernumerary ring and giant marker chromosomes, known to contain amplified 12q sequences. The tight correlation between the presence of ring chromosomes and both amplification and overexpression of MDM2 and CDK4 genes suggests the exploration of the possibility that immunocytochemistry (ICC) might assist in the differential diagnosis of lipoma-like well differentiated liposarcomas (LL-WDL) and large deep-seated lipomas (LDSL). For this purpose, 21 cases of the former and 19 cases of the latter tumours were analysed by ICC and, according to the availability of material, by molecular and cytogenetic approaches. All lipomas displayed a null MDM2/CDK4 phenotype, whereas all LL-WDL showed MDM2/CDK4 or CDK4 phenotypes. Southern blot analysis performed on 16 suitable cases, complemented by fluorescence in situ hybridization and classical cytogenetic analysis in 11 cases, was consistent with, and further supported the immunophenotyping data. In conclusion, MDM2/CDK4 product-based immunophenotyping appears to represent a valuable method for the categorization of arguable LDSL. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2374492  PMID: 10755400
MDM2; CDK4; lipoma; liposarcoma lipoma-like; differential diagnosis
7.  Esthesioneuroblastoma is not a member of the primitive peripheral neuroectodermal tumour-Ewing’s group 
British Journal of Cancer  1999;81(4):586-591.
Esthesioneuroblastoma (ENB) is a rare, site-specific, locally aggressive neuronal malignancy so far thought to belong to primitive peripheral neuroectodermal tumour-Ewing's tumour (pPNETs-ETs). Its anatomical location, in addition to morphologic, immunophenotypic and ultrastructural features, suggests its origin in the neuronal or neuroendocrine cells of the olfactory epithelium. However, the cytogenetic and molecular data currently available appear controversial on the presence of the typical translocation t(11;22)(q24;q12) and of trisomy 8, chromosomal changes that characterize the tumours belonging to the pPNETs-ETs. Herein we have analysed five ENB tumour specimens for trisomy 8 by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), for the presence of EWS gene rearrangements by FISH, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot analyses, as well as for the expression of the Ewing sarcoma-associated MIC2 antigen by immunohistochemistry. Neither EWS/FLI-I, EWS/ERG and EWS/FEV fusion genes nor MIC2 expression were found in any tumour, whereas trisomy 8 was found in one case only. Moreover, DNA from three cases analysed by Southern blot did not show EWS gene rearrangements. Our results support the evidence that ENB is not a member of the pPNETs-ETs. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2362903  PMID: 10574242
esthesioneuroblastoma; pPNETs-ETs; molecular analysis; distinct entity
8.  Genetic analysis of lung tumours of non-smoking subjects: p53 gene mutations are constantly associated with loss of heterozygosity at the FHIT locus. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;78(1):73-78.
Lung cancer is strictly associated with tobacco smoking. Tumours developed in non-smoking subjects account for less than 10% of all lung cancers and show peculiar histopathological features, being prevalently adenocarcinomas. A number of genetic data suggest that their biological behaviour may be different from that of lung tumours caused by smoking, however the number of cases investigated to date is too low to draw definitive conclusions. We have examined the status of p53 and K-ras genes and the presence of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the FHIT locus in a series of 35 lung adenocarcinomas that developed in subjects who had never smoked. Results were compared with those obtained in a series of 35 lung adenocarcinomas from heavy-smoking subjects. In the group of non-smoking subjects p53 mutations and LOH at the FHIT locus were present in seven (20%) cases, and the two alterations were constantly associated (P < 0.0001), whereas they were not related in the series of carcinomas caused by smoking. In tumours developed in heavy-smoking subjects, the frequency of LOH at the FHIT locus was significantly higher (P = 0.006) than in tumours from non-smoking subjects. The frequency of p53 mutations in adenocarcinomas caused by smoking was not different from that seen in non-smoking subjects. However, in the group of smoking subjects we observed mostly G:C --> T:A transversions, whereas frameshift mutations and G:C --> A:T transitions were more frequently found in tumours from non-smoking subjects. No point mutations of the K-ras gene at codon 12 were seen in subjects who had never smoked, whereas they were present (mostly G:C --> T:A transversions) in 34% of tumours caused by smoking (P = 0.002). Our data suggest that lung adenocarcinomas developed in subjects who had never smoked represent a distinct biological entity involving a co-alteration of the p53 gene and the FHIT locus in 20% of cases.
PMCID: PMC2062949  PMID: 9662254
9.  Rapid differential diagnosis of myxoid liposarcoma by fluorescence in situ hybridisation on cytological preparations 
Clinical Molecular Pathology  1996;49(5):M308-M309.
In two cases of suspected myxoid liposarcoma, where chromosomal metaphase preparations were not available, fluorescence in situ hybridisation was performed on interphase nuclei of cytological preparations for the detection of the specific translocation, t(12;16), characteristic of this tumour and of trisomy 8, which is the most frequent secondary chromosome aberration. Probes directed against chromosomes 12 and 16 and against the centromeres of chromosomes 12 and 8 were hybridised on cell brushings and cytocentrifuge preparations. The finding of three painting domains of both chromosomes 12 and 16 and of only two signals with the centromeric probe directed against chromosome 12, suggested the presence of t(12;16) in both cases. In one case trisomy 8 was inferred from the occurrence of three centromere 8 signals. This approach can be used to detect specific chromosomal abnormalities when an urgent differential diagnosis is requested or when chromosome preparations are not available, or both.
PMCID: PMC408078  PMID: 16696094
fluorescence in situ hybridisation; chromosomal metaphase preparations; myxoid liposarcoma
10.  Cytogenetic study in therapy-related myelodysplastic syndromes (t-MDS) and acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia (t-ANLL). 
British Journal of Cancer  1990;61(3):425-428.
A cytogenetic study was performed in 27 patients suspected of t-MDS or t-ANLL. In 12 patients the diagnosis of t-MDS or t-ANLL was confirmed by morphological, cytochemical and immunophenotypical analysis. The cases were classified as RA (one), RAEB (four), CMML (two), ANLL (five). They had received chemotherapy and/or RT for Hodgkin's disease (eight cases), solid tumours (three cases) and multiple myeloma (one case). Clonal chromosome abnormalities were found in bone marrow or peripheral blood cells in all the 12 cases. Five patients had a clonal abnormality of chromosome no. 5 (monosomy, deletions, translocation and inversion of 5q). The critical region on chromosome no. 5 comprised bands q12-q34. Monosomy and deletion of chromosome 7q was observed in the other two patients. In the six remaining patients various karyotypic patterns were observed including a t(4;11) (q21;q23) in one case, monosomies (four cases) and trisomies (one case) of different chromosomes. In the other 15 cases, the presence of a normal karyotype together with the morphological and immunophenotypical characterisation was consistent with a diagnosis of non-neoplastic specimens.
PMCID: PMC1971308  PMID: 2328210

Results 1-12 (12)