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1.  ROS play a critical role in the differentiation of alternatively activated macrophages and the occurrence of tumor-associated macrophages 
Cell Research  2013;23(7):898-914.
Differentiation to different types of macrophages determines their distinct functions. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promote tumorigenesis owing to their proangiogenic and immune-suppressive functions similar to those of alternatively activated (M2) macrophages. We report that reactive oxygen species (ROS) production is critical for macrophage differentiation and that inhibition of superoxide (O2−) production specifically blocks the differentiation of M2 macrophages. We found that when monocytes are triggered to differentiate, O2− is generated and is needed for the biphasic ERK activation, which is critical for macrophage differentiation. We demonstrated that ROS elimination by butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and other ROS inhibitors blocks macrophage differentiation. However, the inhibitory effect of ROS elimination on macrophage differentiation is overcome when cells are polarized to classically activated (M1), but not M2, macrophages. More importantly, the continuous administration of the ROS inhibitor BHA efficiently blocked the occurrence of TAMs and markedly suppressed tumorigenesis in mouse cancer models. Targeting TAMs by blocking ROS can be a potentially effective method for cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3698641  PMID: 23752925
ROS; alternatively activated M2 macrophages; macrophage differentiation; inflammation; tumorigenesis
2.  Cediranib/AZD2171 Inhibits Bone and Brain Metastasis in a Preclinical Model of Advanced Prostate Cancer 
Cancer research  2010;70(21):8662-8673.
Late stage or aggressive cancers exhibit metastatic growth at multiple sites, and the characterization of treatment response in various organs to drugs with potentially wide-ranging efficacy is needed. Tumor cells that induce angiogenesis are a common characteristic of metastatic disease, and clinically, anti-angiogenic therapies have demonstrated value in the setting of advanced cancer. However, recent pre-clinical studies have suggested that exposure to anti-angiogenic drugs can increase tumor invasiveness and metastasis, making it important to determine in which contexts anti-angiogenic therapy is most appropriate. We describe here the effects of Cediranib, a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in a model of advanced prostate cancer metastatic to skeleton and brain. Treatment with Cediranib decreased metastatic tumor burden in the brain and bone, decreased cerebral vasogenic edema and improved survival, despite increasing the invasive histology of brain metastases. Short duration Cediranib treatment administered at the time of tumor cell dissemination was sufficient to inhibit the establishment and subsequent growth of bone metastases, although brain metastases were subject to rebound growth after the discontinuation of Cediranib. Distinct growth patterns at different organ sites in the same animal demonstrated that certain tumor microenvironments such as bone may be most amenable to interventions by anti-VEGF therapies. In addition, anti-VEGF treatment may be of utility in decreasing the rapid growth of solid brain metastases and vasogenic edema in patients with advanced cancer, leading to reduced morbidity and associated clinical benefit.
PMCID: PMC2989818  PMID: 20959486
anti-angiogenesis; metastasis; brain; bone; MRI; prostate cancer; vasogenic edema
3.  MicroRNA expression differentiates histology and predicts survival of lung cancer 
The molecular drivers that determine histology in lung cancer are largely unknown. We investigated whether microRNA (miR) expression profiles can differentiate histological subtypes and predict survival for non-small cell lung cancer.
Experimental design
We analyzed miR expression in 165 adenocarcinoma (AD) and 125 squamous cell carcinoma (SQ) tissue samples from the Environmental And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) study using a custom oligo array with 440 human mature antisense miRs. We compared miR expression profiles using t-tests and F-tests and accounted for multiple testing using global permutation tests. We assessed the association of miR expression with tobacco smoking using Spearman correlation coefficients and linear regression models, and with clinical outcome using log-rank tests, Cox proportional hazards and survival risk prediction models, accounting for demographic and tumor characteristics.
MiR expression profiles strongly differed between AD and SQ (global p<0.0001), particularly in the early stages, and included miRs located on chromosome loci most often altered in lung cancer (e.g., 3p21-22). Most miRs, including all members of the let-7 family, were down-regulated in SQ. Major findings were confirmed by QRT-PCR in EAGLE samples and in an independent set of lung cancer cases. In SQ, low expression of miRs down-regulated in the histology comparison was associated with 1.2 to 3.6-fold increased mortality risk. A 5-miR signature significantly predicted survival for SQ.
We identified a miR expression profile that strongly differentiated AD from SQ and had prognostic implications. These findings may lead to histology-based therapeutic approaches.
PMCID: PMC3163170  PMID: 20068076
4.  Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) study: An integrative population-based case-control study of lung cancer 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:203.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Tobacco smoking is its primary cause, and yet the precise molecular alterations induced by smoking in lung tissue that lead to lung cancer and impact survival have remained obscure. A new framework of research is needed to address the challenges offered by this complex disease.
We designed a large population-based case-control study that combines a traditional molecular epidemiology design with a more integrative approach to investigate the dynamic process that begins with smoking initiation, proceeds through dependency/smoking persistence, continues with lung cancer development and ends with progression to disseminated disease or response to therapy and survival. The study allows the integration of data from multiple sources in the same subjects (risk factors, germline variation, genomic alterations in tumors, and clinical endpoints) to tackle the disease etiology from different angles. Before beginning the study, we conducted a phone survey and pilot investigations to identify the best approach to ensure an acceptable participation in the study from cases and controls. Between 2002 and 2005, we enrolled 2101 incident primary lung cancer cases and 2120 population controls, with 86.6% and 72.4% participation rate, respectively, from a catchment area including 216 municipalities in the Lombardy region of Italy. Lung cancer cases were enrolled in 13 hospitals and population controls were randomly sampled from the area to match the cases by age, gender and residence. Detailed epidemiological information and biospecimens were collected from each participant, and clinical data and tissue specimens from the cases. Collection of follow-up data on treatment and survival is ongoing.
EAGLE is a new population-based case-control study that explores the full spectrum of lung cancer etiology, from smoking addiction to lung cancer outcome, through examination of epidemiological, molecular, and clinical data. We have provided a detailed description of the study design, field activities, management, and opportunities for research following this integrative approach, which allows a sharper and more comprehensive vision of the complex nature of this disease. The study is poised to accelerate the emergence of new preventive and therapeutic strategies with potentially enormous impact on public health.
PMCID: PMC2464602  PMID: 18538025
5.  Rapid Akt activation by nicotine and a tobacco carcinogen modulates the phenotype of normal human airway epithelial cells 
Tobacco-related diseases such as lung cancer cause over 4.2 million deaths annually, with approximately 400,000 deaths per year occurring in the US. Genotoxic effects of tobacco components have been described, but effects on signaling pathways in normal cells have not been described. Here, we show activation of the serine/threonine kinase Akt in nonimmortalized human airway epithelial cells in vitro by two components of cigarette smoke, nicotine and the tobacco-specific carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). Activation of Akt by nicotine or NNK occurred within minutes at concentrations achievable by smokers and depended upon α3-/α4-containing or α7-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, respectively. Activated Akt increased phosphorylation of downstream substrates such as GSK-3, p70S6K, 4EBP-1, and FKHR. Treatment with nicotine or NNK attenuated apoptosis caused by etoposide, ultraviolet irradiation, or hydrogen peroxide and partially induced a transformed phenotype manifest as loss of contact inhibition and loss of dependence on exogenous growth factors or adherence to ECM. In vivo, active Akt was detected in airway epithelial cells and lung tumors from NNK-treated A/J mice, and in human lung cancers derived from smokers. Redundant Akt activation by nicotine and NNK could contribute to tobacco-related carcinogenesis by regulating two processes critical for tumorigenesis, cell growth and apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC151834  PMID: 12511591
6.  Signal Pathways Which Promote Invasion and Metastasis: Critical and Distinct Contributions of Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase and Ral-Specific Guanine Exchange Factor Pathways 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(17):5958-5969.
Approximately 50% of metastatic tumors contain Ras mutations. Ras proteins can activate at least three downstream signaling cascades mediated by the Raf–MEK–extracellular signal-regulated kinase family, phosphatidylinositol-3 (PI3) kinase, and Ral-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEFs). Here we investigated the contribution of RalGEF and ERK activation to the development of experimental metastasis in vivo and associated invasive properties in vitro. Each pathway contributes distinct properties to the metastatic phenotype. Following lateral tail vein injection, 3T3 cells transformed by constitutively active Raf or MEK produced lung metastasis that displayed circumscribed, noninfiltrating borders. In contrast, 3T3 cells transformed by Ras(12V,37G), a Ras effector mutant that activates RalGEF but not Raf or P13 kinase, formed aggressive, infiltrative metastasis. Dominant negative RalB inhibited Ras(12V,37G)-activated invasion and metastasis, demonstrating the necessity of the RalGEF pathway for a fully transformed phenotype. Moreover, 3T3 cells constitutively expressing a membrane-associated form of RalGEF (RalGDS-CAAX) formed invasive tumors as well, demonstrating that activation of a RalGEF pathway is sufficient to initiate the invasive phenotype. Despite the fact that Ras(12V,37G) expression does not elevate ERK activity, inhibition of this kinase by a conditionally expressed ERK phosphatase demonstrated that ERK activity was necessary for Ras(12V,37G)-transformed cells to express matrix-degrading activity in vitro and tissue invasiveness in vivo. Therefore, these experiments have revealed a hitherto-unknown but essential interaction of the RalGEF and ERK pathways to produce a malignant phenotype. The generality of the role of the RalGEF pathway in metastasis is supported by the finding that Ras(12V,37G) increased the invasiveness of epithelial cells as well as fibroblasts.
PMCID: PMC87314  PMID: 11486034

Results 1-6 (6)