Germline LKB1 mutations cause Peutz–Jeghers syndrome, a hereditary disorder that predisposes to gastrointestinal hamartomatous polyposis and several types of malignant tumors. Somatic LKB1 alterations are rare in sporadic cancers, however, a few reports showed the presence of somatic alterations in a considerable fraction of lung cancers. To determine the prevalence and the specificity of LKB1 alterations in lung cancers, we examined a large number of lung cancer cell lines and lung adenocarcinoma (AdC) specimens for the alterations. LKB1 genetic alterations were frequently detected in the cell lines (21/70, 30%), especially in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) (20/51, 39%), and were significantly more frequent in cell lines with KRAS mutations. Point mutations were detected only in AdCs and large cell carcinomas, whereas homozygous deletions were detected in all histological types of lung cancer. Among lung AdC specimens, LKB1 mutations were found in seven (8%) of 91 male smokers but in none of 64 females and/or nonsmokers, and were significantly more frequent in poorly differentiated tumors. The difference in the frequency of LKB1 alterations between cell lines and tumor specimens was likely to be owing to masking of deletions by the contamination of noncancerous cells in the tumor specimens. These results indicate that somatic LKB1 genetic alterations preferentially occur in a subset of poorly differentiated lung AdCs that appear to correlate with smoking males.
LKB1; lung cancer mutation; deletion; smoking; poor differentiation
Adoptive transfer of ex vivo expanded autologous Vγ9Vδ2 T cells may be of therapeutic benefit for cancer because of their potent direct cytotoxicity towards tumour cells, synergistic cytotoxicity when combined with aminobisphosphonates and enhancement of antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity.
To determine the feasibility and clinical safety of therapy with ex vivo expanded, activated Vγ9Vδ2 T cells in combination with zoledronate, we enrolled 18 subjects with advanced solid tumours into a phase I clinical study. Administered indium111-oxine-labelled Vγ9Vδ2 T cells were tracked in a cohort of patients.
Administered Vγ9Vδ2 T cells had an activated effector memory phenotype, expressed chemokine receptors predictive of homing to peripheral tissues and were cytotoxic in vitro against tumour targets. Adoptively transferred Vγ9Vδ2 T cells trafficked predominantly to the lungs, liver and spleen and, in some patients, to metastatic tumour sites outside these organs. No dose-limiting toxicity was observed, but most patients progressed on study therapy. However, three patients administered Vγ9Vδ2 T cells while continuing previously ineffective therapy had disease responses, suggesting an additive effect.
Therapy with aminobisphosphonate-activated Vγ9Vδ2 T cells is feasible and well tolerated, but therapeutic benefits appear only likely when used in combination with other therapies.
gamma delta T cells; Vγ9Vδ2 T cells; immunotherapy; clinical trial
The Early Cretaceous Greater Ontong Java Event in the Pacific Ocean may have covered ca. 1% of the Earth's surface with volcanism. It has puzzled scientists trying to explain its origin by several mechanisms possible on Earth, leading others to propose an extraterrestrial trigger to explain this event. A large oceanic extraterrestrial impact causing such voluminous volcanism may have traces of its distal ejecta in sedimentary rocks around the basin, including the paleo-Tethys Ocean which was then contiguous with the Pacific Ocean. The contemporaneous marine sequence at central Italy, containing the sedimentary expression of a global oceanic anoxic event (OAE1a), may have recorded such ocurrence as indicated by two stratigraphic intervals with 187Os/188Os indicative of meteoritic influence. Here we show, for the first time, that platinum group element abundances and inter-element ratios in this paleo-Tethyan marine sequence provide no evidence for an extraterrestrial trigger for the Early Cretaceous massive volcanism.
Recent studies have demonstrated that one-third of known microRNAs (miRNAs) are stably detectable in plasma. Therefore, we assessed plasma miRNAs to investigate the dynamics of oncomir 17-92a, which is highly expressed in multiple myeloma (MM) patients. The plasma miR-92a level in symptomatic MM patients was significantly downregulated compared with normal subjects (P<0.0001), regardless of immunoglobulin subtypes or disease stage at diagnosis. In contrast, miR-92a levels in peripheral blood CD8+ or CD4+ cells from MM patients were lower than those of normal subjects, and the miR-92a levels of the cells tended to correlate with plasma miR-92a levels. The plasma miR-92a level in the complete remission group became normalized, whereas the partial response (PR) and very good PR groups did not reach the normal range. In smoldering MM, the plasma miR-92a level did not show a significant difference compared with normal subjects. Our findings suggest that measurement of the plasma miR-92a level in MM patients could be useful for initiation of chemotherapy and monitoring disease status, and the level may represent, in part, the T-cell immunity status of these patients.
multiple myeloma; plasma miR-92a; T lymphocytes
Recently developed heavy ion irradiation therapy using a carbon beam (CB) against systemic malignancy has numerous advantages. However, the clinical results of CB therapy against glioblastoma still have room for improvement. Therefore, we tried to clarify the molecular mechanism of CB-induced glioma cell death. T98G and U251 human glioblastoma cell lines were irradiated by CB, and caspase-dependent apoptosis was induced in both cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Knockdown of Bax (BCL-2-associated X protein) and Bak (BCL-2-associated killer) and overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xl (B-cell lymphoma-extra large) showed the involvement of Bcl-2 family proteins upstream of caspase activation, including caspase-8, in CB-induced glioma cell death. We also detected the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and the knockdown of ERK regulator mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)1/2 or overexpression of a dominant-negative (DN) ERK inhibited CB-induced glioma cell death upstream of the mitochondria. In addition, application of MEK-specific inhibitors for defined periods showed that the recovery of activation of ERK between 2 and 36 h after irradiation is essential for CB-induced glioma cell death. Furthermore, MEK inhibitors or overexpression of a DN ERK failed to significantly inhibit X-ray-induced T98G and U251 cell death. These results suggested that the MEK–ERK cascade has a crucial role in CB-induced glioma cell death, which is known to have a limited contribution to X-ray-induced glioma cell death.
apoptosis; heavy ion radiation; carbon beam; glioma; MAPK
To study the ability of patients with semantic dementia to understand actions, in order to examine the contribution of semantic memory to action comprehension.
The ability to comprehend symbolic and instrumental actions was assessed in 6 patients with semantic dementia and 10 healthy controls. The patients were also given the imitation test of meaningful and meaningless actions.
In all patients with semantic dementia, comprehension of both symbolic and instrumental actions was defective. The comprehension of symbolic actions was more impaired than that of instrumental actions. Their ability to imitate other's actions was well preserved.
This study showed that comprehension of action was impaired in semantic dementia, suggesting that semantic memory has an important role in comprehension of human action.
The tobamovirus resistance gene L3 of Capsicum chinense was mapped using an intra-specific F2 population (2,016 individuals) of Capsicum annuum cultivars, into one of which had been introduced the C. chinenseL3 gene, and an inter-specific F2 population (3,391 individuals) between C. chinense and Capsicum frutescence. Analysis of a BAC library with an AFLP marker closely linked to L3-resistance revealed the presence of homologs of the tomato disease resistance gene I2. Partial or full-length coding sequences were cloned by degenerate PCR from 35 different pepper I2 homologs and 17 genetic markers were generated in the inter-specific combination. The L3 gene was mapped between I2 homolog marker IH1-04 and BAC-end marker 189D23M, and located within a region encompassing two different BAC contigs consisting of four and one clones, respectively. DNA fiber FISH analysis revealed that these two contigs are separated from each other by about 30 kb. DNA fiber FISH results and Southern blotting of the BAC clones suggested that the L3 locus-containing region is rich in highly repetitive sequences. Southern blot analysis indicated that the two BAC contigs contain more than ten copies of the I2 homologs. In contrast to the inter-specific F2 population, no recombinant progeny were identified to have a crossover point within two BAC contigs consisting of seven and two clones in the intra-specific F2 population. Moreover, distribution of the crossover points differed between the two populations, suggesting linkage disequilibrium in the region containing the L locus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-008-0848-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
As part of efforts to develop a smoking control strategy for Japanese adolescents, the results of two nationwide surveys on adolescent smoking behaviour were compared.
Descriptive study on smoking behaviour among high school students was conducted. Self‐reporting anonymous questionnaires were administered to 115 814 students in 1996 and 106 297 in 2000 through randomly sampled junior and senior high schools throughout Japan.
Main outcome measures
Smoking prevalence, proportion of smokers by usual sources of cigarettes, national estimated cigarettes consumed by minors, share of cigarette brands smoked by high school students.
The experiment rate among junior high school boys decreased in 2000 compared with that in 1996, whereas current and daily smoking rates did not. Although prevalence among Japanese girls was much lower than that among boys, prevalence among girls increased in 2000. The main source of cigarettes among high school smokers was vending machines. The proportion of smokers who usually purchased cigarettes from vending machines increased in 2000, in spite of the 1998 introduction of restrictions on night‐time operations. Japanese adolescents were more likely than adults to smoke American cigarette brands, and the adolescent market share of American brands has increased rapidly, especially for menthol brands.
This survey revealed the seriousness of the problem of smoking behaviour among Japanese high school students, and suggested that this behaviour may be influenced by social environmental factors, including the marketing strategies of the tobacco industry. Action should be taken to reduce the prevalence and impact of pro‐tobacco marketing messages and to abolish cigarette vending machines.
Japan; adolescent behaviour; brand preference; cigarette smoking; smoking behaviour
Background and aim
Major histocompatibility complex class II deficient (Aα0/0) mice have decreased CD4+ T cells, making them immunologically similar to patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Both patients with AIDS and Aα0/0 mice have hypertrophic gastric folds. To clarify the mechanism of gastric mucosal hyperplasia, we investigated the pathophysiology and the role of the innate immunity in the stomach of Aα0/0 mice.
Stomachs from 1–6 month old Aα0/0 mice, kept under specific pathogen free conditions, were examined at 1 month intervals histologically and immunohistochemically. Gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines, Toll‐like receptors (TLRs), cyclooxygenase (COX)‐2, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity in the gastric mucosa was investigated. Serum gastrin levels and gastric acidity were measured. Bacterial culture of the stomach was performed. To clarify the roles of hypergastrinaemia in the gastric mucosa, a gastrin receptor antagonist (AG041R) was administered.
Aα0/0 mice had a diffusely thick corpus mucosa with infiltration of CD11b+ granulocytes and macrophages. Anti‐Ki67 staining demonstrated expansion of the proliferating neck zone. Gene expression of interleukin 1β, interferon γ, TLR‐2, TLR‐4, and COX‐2 were upregulated, and MPO activity was increased. Only a small amount of non‐pathogenic bacteria was detected in the stomach. Serum gastrin levels and Reg‐Iα positive cells in the gastric mucosa increased, despite normal gastric acidity. After treatment with AG041R, gastric mucosal thickness was significantly reduced.
Persistent activation of innate immunity in the stomach induced gastric mucosal hyperplasia through upregulation of gastrin synthesis in Aα0/0 mice, suggesting a pathophysiology similar to the gastric changes in patients with AIDS.
gastric mucosal hyperplasia; gastrin; innate immunity; major histocompatibility complex; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
Aberrant expression of maspin protein related to DNA hypomethylation in the promoter region is frequently observed in gallbladder carcinomas, whereas the non‐tumorous gallbladder epithelium is maspin negative. We investigated maspin expression in non‐tumorous gallbladder epithelium in patients with cholelithiasis.
An immunohistochemical study of maspin expression was performed in 69 patients with cholelithiasis and 30 patients with gastric cancer without cholelithiasis.
Immunoreactivity for maspin was observed in focal and patchy regions of the gallbladder epithelium. Positive immunoreactivity for maspin was significantly associated with the presence of intestinal metaplasia in patients with cholelithiasis (p<0.05).
The high incidence of aberrant maspin expression in both intestinal metaplasia and carcinoma of the gallbladder supports the assumption that intestinal metaplasia of the gallbladder may predispose to gallbladder carcinoma.
gallbladder carcinoma; intestinal metaplasia; cholelithiasis; maspin; epigenetics
To report the definitive diagnosis of anti-NMDA receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis in four Japanese women previously diagnosed with “juvenile acute nonherpetic encephalitis” of unclear etiology, and to describe their long-term follow-up in the absence of tumor resection.
We extensively reviewed the case histories with current clinical and laboratory evaluations that include testing for antibodies to NR1/NR2 heteromers of the NMDAR in serum/CSF available from the time of symptom onset (4 to 7 years ago) and the present.
All patients sequentially developed prodromal symptoms, psychosis, hypoventilation, severe orofacial dyskinesias, and bizarre immunotherapy-resistant involuntary movements that lasted 1 to 12 months. Two patients required mechanical ventilation for 6 and 9 months. Initial tests were normal or unrevealing, including the presence of nonspecific CSF pleocytosis, and normal or mild changes in brain MRI. Eventually, all patients had dramatic recovery of cognitive functions, although one had bilateral leg amputation due to systemic complications. Antibodies to NR1/NR2 heteromers were found in archived serum or CSF but not in long-term follow-up samples. An ovarian teratoma was subsequently demonstrated in three patients (all confirmed pathologically).
1) These findings indicate that “juvenile acute nonherpetic encephalitis” or a subset of this disorder is mediated by an antibody-associated immune response against NR1/NR2 heteromers of the NMDA receptor (NMDAR). 2) Our patients’ clinical features emphasize that anti-NMDAR encephalitis is severe but potentially reversible and may precede by years the detection of an ovarian teratoma. 3) Although recovery may occur without tumor removal, the severity and extended duration of symptoms support tumor removal.
The trimodality approach represented by concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by surgical resection is a highly effective, but potentially toxic therapy for locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this review, we discuss the current status of this therapy in patients with mediastinal node-positive (N2) stage III NSCLC or superior sulcus tumor, and present an overview of the principles for optimisation of the risk/benefit. Numerous clinical questions remain, and enrolment of patients into well-designed clinical trials should be encouraged.
trimodality; preoperative chemoradiotherapy; stage III NSCLC; superior sulcus tumour
Background and aim: Significant telomere shortening of hepatocytes is associated with replicative senescence and a non-dividing state in chronic liver disease, resulting in end stage liver failure and/or development of hepatocellular carcinoma. To prevent critical telomere shortening in hepatocytes, we have focused on oestrogen dependent transactivation of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene as a form of telomerase therapy in chronic liver disease.
Methods: We examined expression of hTERT mRNA and its protein, and telomerase activity (TA) in three human normal hepatic cell lines (Hc-cells, h-Nheps, and WRL-68) before and after treatment with 17β-oestradiol. The effects of exogenous oestradiol administration were examined in a carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced model of liver fibrosis in rats.
Results: Expression of hTERT mRNA and its protein was upregulated by oestradiol treatment. Telomere length decreased in Hc-cells and h-Nheps with accumulated passages whereas with long term oestradiol exposure it was greater than without oestradiol. The incidence of β-galactosidase positive cells, indicating a state of senescence, decreased significantly in oestradiol treated cells in comparison with non-treated cells (p<0.05). TA in both male and female rats with CCl4 induced liver fibrosis was significantly higher with oestradiol administration than without (p<0.05). Long term oestradiol administration markedly rescued the hepatic telomere from extensive shortening in both male and female rats.
Conclusion: These results suggest that oestradiol acts as a positive modulator of the hTERT gene in the liver. Oestrogen dependent transactivation of the hTERT gene is a new strategy for slowing the progression of chronic liver disease.
telomerase; telomerase reverse transcriptase; chronic liver disease; oestrogen receptor; telomeric repeat elongation assay
To evaluate the c-kit expression in breast cancer, 217 invasive ductal carcinomas of the breast were immunohistochemically stained for c-kit protein. The c-kit expression was positive in 59 (27%) of 217 tumours, while the c-kit expression was negative in 158 (73%) of 217 tumours. There was a significant correlation between a negative expression of the c-kit protein and lymph node metastasis (P<0.0001), and the incidence of a negative expression of the c-kit protein increased as the number of the metastatic lymph nodes increased (P=0.0003). The c-kit expression did not significantly correlate with the tumour size, nuclear grade, oestrogen receptor status, MIB-1 counts and p53 protein expression. A univariate analysis indicated the patients with the negative c-kit expression to have a worse disease-free survival (DFS) than those with the positive c-kit expression (P=0.0041), while a multivariate analysis determined lymph node metastases and the MIB-1 counts to be independently significant factors for DFS. In conclusion, a loss of the c-kit expression was found in about three-fourth of invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast and was associated with lymph node metastases. The prognostic implications of the c-kit expression seem to be due to fact that a loss of the c-kit expression is associated with an advanced stage of breast cancer.
breast cancer; c-kit; prognosis
Background and aims: To clarify the interaction between gastric epithelial and mucosal T cells, we examined the role of cytokines released from epithelial cells in response to Helicobacter pylori water extract protein (HPWEP) in regulating T cell cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) expression and activation.
Methods: Media from MKN-28 cells incubated with HPWEP for 48 hours were added to Jurkat T cells and human peripheral T cells. C–C and CXC chemokine concentrations in MKN-28 cell media, and COX-2 expression, interferon γ (IFN-γ), and interleukin (IL)-4 secretions in T cells were determined by western blot analysis and ELISA methods. Distributions of COX-2 positive T cells and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) in tissue specimens with H pylori associated gastritis were determined as single or double labelling by immunohistochemistry.
Results: MCP-1, IL-7, IL-8, and RANTES were detected in media from MKN-28 cells incubated with HPWEP. Media as a whole, and MCP-1 alone, stimulated COX-2 expression and peripheral T cell proliferation. Anti-MCP-1 antibody inhibited media stimulated COX-2 mRNA expression in Jurkat T cells. Media stimulated IFN-γ but not IL-4 secretion from peripheral T cells, while MCP-1 stimulated IL-4 but not IFN-γ secretion. Both stimulated cytokine release, and peripheral T cell proliferation was partially inhibited by NS-398, a specific COX-2 inhibitor. In mucosa with gastritis, COX-2 was expressed in T cells and MCP-1 was localised mainly in epithelial and mononuclear cells. MCP-1 levels and the intensity of COX-2 expression in tissue samples were closely related.
Conclusions: Cytokines such as MCP-1, released from gastric epithelial cells in response to HPWEP, seem to modulate T cell immune responses, at least in part via COX-2 expression.
Helicobacter pylori; T cell; cyclooxygenase; COX-2 inhibitor; mucosal immunity
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic oestrogen, and its anticancer effects are exerted in androgen-dependent prostate cancer. The administration of DES decreases serum testosterone to castration levels. However, in androgen-independent prostate cancer patients, who are already orchiectomised, the administration of DES improves symptoms and decreases prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The mechanisms responsible for these direct inhibitory effects have been explained as biological actions not mediated by oestrogen receptors. We assessed the gene expression profiles of prostate cancer cells treated with DES, and investigated direct inhibitory effects of DES. DES inhibited the proliferation of LNCaP and PC-3 cells. cDNA microarray analysis showed that expression of many genes was downregulated by DES. However, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 6 (IGFBP-6) gene expression levels were upregulated in PC-3 cells. IGFBP-6 gene expression and protein levels significantly increased after DES treatment. Recombinant IGFBP-6 inhibited cell proliferation, and the inhibitory effect of DES was neutralised by anti-IGFBP-6 antibody. From the immunohistochemical analysis of IGFBP-6 using biopsy samples from androgen-independent prostate cancer, we found IGFBP-6 expression in androgen independent prostate cancer, and that DES treatment increased the IGFBP-6 staining intensity of the cancer cells in one sample. These findings suggested that DES induces IGFBP-6, which inhibits cell proliferation in an androgen-independent prostate cancer cell line, PC-3. IGFBP-6 therefore might be involved in the direct effects of DES in androgen-independent prostate cancer.
diethylstilbestrol; IGFBP-6; prostate cancer
Methods: Capsaicin cough sensitivity was measured in seven patients with recurrent pneumonia but no underlying condition. Recurrent pneumonia was defined as at least two episodes of pneumonia in 1 year, or three or more episodes at any time. After remission of pneumonia, 10 doubling concentrations of capsaicin (1.22–625 µM) were inhaled until five or more coughs were induced (cough threshold). Mucociliary clearance was assessed on the basis of nasal ciliary beat frequency and nasal clearance time. Twenty one age and sex matched healthy subjects were studied as controls.
Results: Each patient had 2–6 episodes of pneumonia. Most episodes developed in dependent lung segments, suggesting the involvement of silent aspiration. Log transformed cough threshold was significantly higher in patients than in controls (mean 2.37 M (95% CI 1.84 to 2.90) v 1.29 µM (95% CI 1.11 to 1.47); p<0.0001). The effect of pneumonia per se on cough reflex seemed unlikely since the cough threshold showed little change when re-examined after 3 months. The patients and controls did not differ with respect to the indices of mucociliary clearance.
Conclusions: Impaired cough reflex may be involved in the pathogenesis of recurrent pneumonia.