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1.  Prognostic significance of minichromosome maintenance proteins in breast cancer 
A role for the minichromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins in cancer initiation and progression is slowly emerging. Functioning as a complex to ensure a single chromosomal replication per cell cycle, the six family members have been implicated in several neoplastic disease states, including breast cancer. Our study aim to investigate the prognostic significance of these proteins in breast cancer. We studied the expression of MCMs in various datasets and the associations of the expression with clinicopathological parameters. When considered alone, high level MCM4 overexpression was only weakly associated with shorter survival in the combined breast cancer patient cohort (n = 1441, Hazard Ratio = 1.31; 95% Confidence Interval = 1.11-1.55; p = 0.001). On the other hand, when we studied all six components of the MCM complex, we found that overexpression of all MCMs was strongly associated with shorter survival in the same cohort (n = 1441, Hazard Ratio = 1.75; 95% Confidence Interval = 1.31-2.34; p < 0.001), suggesting these MCM proteins may cooperate to promote breast cancer progression. Indeed, their expressions were significantly correlated with each other in these cohorts. In addition, we found that increasing number of overexpressed MCMs was associated with negative ER status as well as treatment response. Together, our findings are reproducible in seven independent breast cancer cohorts, with 1441 patients, and suggest that MCM profiling could potentially be used to predict response to treatment and prognosis in breast cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4300722  PMID: 25628920
Minichromosome maintenance complex; breast cancer; survival; prognosis
2.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Southern Chinese Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28798.
One of the most relevant risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development is chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, but only a fraction of chronic HBV carriers develop HCC, indicating that complex interactions among viral, environmental and genetic factors lead to HCC in HBV-infected patients. So far, host genetic factors have incompletely been characterized. Therefore, we performed a genome-wide association (GWA) study in a Southern Chinese cohort consisting of 95 HBV-infected HCC patients (cases) and 97 HBV-infected patients without HCC (controls) using the Illumina Human610-Quad BeadChips. The top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were then validated in an independent cohort of 500 cases and 728 controls. 4 SNPs (rs12682266, rs7821974, rs2275959, rs1573266) at chromosome 8p12 showed consistent association in both the GWA and replication phases (ORcombined = 1.31–1.39; pcombined = 2.71×10−5–5.19×10−4; PARcombined = 26–31%). We found a 2.3-kb expressed sequence tag (EST) in the region using in-silico data mining and verified the existence of the full-length EST experimentally. The expression level of the EST was significantly reduced in human HCC tumors in comparison to the corresponding non-tumorous liver tissues (P<0.001). Results from sequence analysis and in-vitro protein translation study suggest that the transcript might function as a long non-coding RNA. In summary, our study suggests that variations at chromosome 8p12 may promote HCC in patients with HBV. Further functional studies of this region may help understand HBV-associated hepatocarcinogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028798
PMCID: PMC3234276  PMID: 22174901
3.  Prevalence and Risk Factors of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection in Southern Chinese Women – A Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19244.
Background
Persistent high-risk type Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is recognized as a necessary cause of cervical cancer. This study aimed to compare the HPV prevalence and risk factors between women residing in Hong Kong (HK) and Guangzhou (GZ) region of China.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 1,570 and 1,369 women were recruited from HK and GZ, respectively. The cytology samples were collected and tested for HPV infection. The overall and type-specific HPV prevalence and the potential risk factors for acquisition of HPV infection were studied. Women with normal cytology in the GZ cohort had significantly higher HPV prevalence (10%) than those in the HK cohort (6.2%, p<0.001). The patterns of the age-specific HPV prevalence were also different between the two cohorts. In the HK cohort, women at the age of 20–29 years old had the highest prevalence and a second peak was observed in the age of ≥60 years old. In the GZ cohort, the highest HPV prevalence was also observed in 20–29 years old but declined as the age increased and a second peak was not seen. HPV16 and HPV52 were the most common high-risk types found in the HK and GZ cohorts, respectively. Age was the most consistently observed independent risk factor for HPV infection in the HK, while the number of sexual partners had association in the GZ cohort.
Conclusions/Significance
Our study provides the current status and the epidemiological characteristics of HPV prevalence in Southern Chinese women. The results strongly suggested that population education and the effective cervical cancer screening would be vital in the prevention of cervical cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019244
PMCID: PMC3086888  PMID: 21559276
4.  Functional polymorphisms in the promoter of BRCA1 influences transcription and are associated with decreased risk for breast cancer in Chinese women 
Journal of medical genetics  2008;46(1):32-39.
Background
The BRCA1 gene is an important breast cancer susceptibility gene. Promoter polymorphisms can alter the binding affinity of transcription factors, changing transcriptional activity and may affect susceptibility to disease.
Methods and Results
By direct sequencing of the BRCA1 promoter region, we identified four polymorphisms c.-2804T>C (rs799908:T>C), c.-2265C>T (rs11655505:C>T), c.-2004A>G (rs799906:A>G) and c.-1896(ACA)1/(ACA)2 (rs8176071:(ACA)1/(ACA)2) present in Hong Kong Chinese. Each was studied independently and in combination by functional assays. While all four variants significantly altered promoter activity, the c.-2265T allele most clearly provided stronger binding than the C allele and the most common mutant haplotype which contains the c.-2265T allele increased promoter activity by 70%. Risk association first tested in breast cancer cases and age-matched controls of Hong Kong Chinese women and replicated in a large population-based study of Shanghai Chinese, altogether totaling over 3,000 subjects, demonstrated the c.-2265T allele carriers had a reduced risk for breast cancer (combined ORs=0.80, 95%CI=0.69–0.93; p=0.003) which was more evident among women aged ≥45 years at first diagnosis of breast cancer and without family history of breast cancer (combined ORs=0.75, 95%CI=0.61–0.91; p=0.004). The most common haplotype containing the c.-2265T allele also showed significant risk association for women aged ≥45 years without family history of breast cancer (ORs=0.64, 95%CI=0.46–0.89; p=0.008).
Conclusion
Our comprehensive study of BRCA1 promoter polymorphisms demonstrated four variants which altered promoter activity, and with the most significant contribution from c.-2265C>T, which could affect susceptibility to breast cancer in the Chinese population. Its significance in other populations remains to be investigated.
doi:10.1136/jmg.2007.057174
PMCID: PMC2782922  PMID: 18782836
BRCA1 promoter; polymorphism; transcription activity; breast cancer; Chinese women
5.  A novel subset of putative stem/progenitor CD34+Oct-4+ cells is the major target for SARS coronavirus in human lung 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2007;204(11):2529-2536.
Identification of the nature of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-infected cells is crucial toward understanding the pathogenesis. Using multicolor colocalization techniques, we previously reported that SARS+ cells in the lung of fatally infected patients expressed the only known functional receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and also a binding receptor, liver/lymph node–specific ICAM-3–grabbing non-integrin (CD209L). In this study, we show that SARS-infected cells also express the stem/progenitor cell markers CD34 and Oct-4, and do not express cytokeratin or surfactant. These putative lung stem/progenitor cells can also be identified in some non-SARS individuals and can be infected by SARS-coronavirus ex vivo. Infection of these cells may contribute to the loss of lung repair capacity that leads to respiratory failure as clinically observed.
doi:10.1084/jem.20070462
PMCID: PMC2118498  PMID: 17923501

Results 1-5 (5)