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1.  Prenylation Inhibition-Induced Cell Death in Melanoma: Reduced Sensitivity in BRAF Mutant/PTEN Wild-Type Melanoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117021.
While targeted therapy brought a new era in the treatment of BRAF mutant melanoma, therapeutic options for non-BRAF mutant cases are still limited. In order to explore the antitumor activity of prenylation inhibition we investigated the response to zoledronic acid treatment in thirteen human melanoma cell lines with known BRAF, NRAS and PTEN mutational status. Effect of zoledronic acid on proliferation, clonogenic potential, apoptosis and migration of melanoma cells as well as the activation of downstream elements of the RAS/RAF pathway were investigated in vitro with SRB, TUNEL and PARP cleavage assays and videomicroscopy and immunoblot measurements, respectively. Subcutaneous and spleen-to-liver colonization xenograft mouse models were used to evaluate the influence of zoledronic acid treatment on primary and disseminated tumor growth of melanoma cells in vivo. Zoledronic acid more efficiently decreased short-term in vitro viability in NRAS mutant cells when compared to BRAF mutant and BRAF/NRAS wild-type cells. In line with this finding, following treatment decreased activation of ribosomal protein S6 was found in NRAS mutant cells. Zoledronic acid demonstrated no significant synergism in cell viability inhibition or apoptosis induction with cisplatin or DTIC treatment in vitro. Importantly, zoledronic acid could inhibit clonogenic growth in the majority of melanoma cell lines except in the three BRAF mutant but PTEN wild-type melanoma lines. A similar pattern was observed in apoptosis induction experiments. In vivo zoledronic acid did not inhibit the subcutaneous growth or spleen-to-liver colonization of melanoma cells. Altogether our data demonstrates that prenylation inhibition may be a novel therapeutic approach in NRAS mutant melanoma. Nevertheless, we also demonstrated that therapeutic sensitivity might be influenced by the PTEN status of BRAF mutant melanoma cells. However, further investigations are needed to identify drugs that have appropriate pharmacological properties to efficiently target prenylation in melanoma cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117021
PMCID: PMC4315579  PMID: 25646931
2.  Erythropoietin Receptor Expression Is a Potential Prognostic Factor in Human Lung Adenocarcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77459.
Recombinant human erythropoietins (rHuEPOs) are used to treat cancer-related anemia. Recent preclinical studies and clinical trials, however, have raised concerns about the potential tumor-promoting effects of these drugs. Because the clinical significance of erythropoietin receptor (EPOR) signaling in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) also remains controversial, our aim was to study whether EPO treatment modifies tumor growth and if EPOR expression has an impact on the clinical behavior of this malignancy. A total of 43 patients with stage III–IV adenocarcinoma (ADC) and complete clinicopathological data were included. EPOR expression in human ADC samples and cell lines was measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Effects of exogenous rHuEPOα were studied on human lung ADC cell lines in vitro. In vivo growth of human ADC xenografts treated with rHuEPOα with or without chemotherapy was also assessed. In vivo tumor and endothelial cell (EC) proliferation was determined by 5-bromo-2’-deoxy-uridine (BrdU) incorporation and immunofluorescent labeling. Although EPOR mRNA was expressed in all of the three investigated ADC cell lines, rHuEPOα treatment (either alone or in combination with gemcitabine) did not alter ADC cell proliferation in vitro. However, rHuEPOα significantly decreased tumor cell proliferation and growth of human H1975 lung ADC xenografts. At the same time, rHuEPOα treatment of H1975 tumors resulted in accelerated tumor endothelial cell proliferation. Moreover, in patients with advanced stage lung ADC, high intratumoral EPOR mRNA levels were associated with significantly increased overall survival. This study reveals high EPOR level as a potential novel positive prognostic marker in human lung ADC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077459
PMCID: PMC3796497  PMID: 24155958
3.  A Chemocentric Approach to the Identification of Cancer Targets 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35582.
A novel chemocentric approach to identifying cancer-relevant targets is introduced. Starting with a large chemical collection, the strategy uses the list of small molecule hits arising from a differential cytotoxicity screening on tumor HCT116 and normal MRC-5 cell lines to identify proteins associated with cancer emerging from a differential virtual target profiling of the most selective compounds detected in both cell lines. It is shown that this smart combination of differential in vitro and in silico screenings (DIVISS) is capable of detecting a list of proteins that are already well accepted cancer drug targets, while complementing it with additional proteins that, targeted selectively or in combination with others, could lead to synergistic benefits for cancer therapeutics. The complete list of 115 proteins identified as being hit uniquely by compounds showing selective antiproliferative effects for tumor cell lines is provided.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035582
PMCID: PMC3338416  PMID: 22558171

Results 1-3 (3)