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1.  Predicting a novel pathogenicity island in Helicobacter pylori by genomic barcoding 
AIM: To apply a new, integrated technique for visualizing bacterial genomes to identify novel pathogenicity islands in Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
METHODS: A genomic barcode imaging method (converting frequency matrices to grey-scale levels) was designed to visually distinguish origin-specific genomic regions in H. pylori. The complete genome sequences of the six H. pylori strains published in the National Center for Biotechnological Information prokaryotic genome database were scanned, and compared to the genome barcodes of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 strain EDL933 and a random nucleotide sequence. The following criteria were applied to identify potential pathogenicity islands (PAIs): (1) barcode distance distinct from that of the general background; (2) length greater than 10000 continuous base pairs; and (3) containing genes with known virulence-related functions (as determined by PfamScan and Blast2GO).
RESULTS: Comparison of the barcode images generated for the 26695, HPAG1, J99, Shi470, G27 and P12 H. pylori genomes with those for the E. coli and random sequence controls revealed that H. pylori genomes contained fewer anomalous regions. Among the H. pylori-specific continuous anomalous regions (longer than 20 kbp in each strain’s genome), two fit the criteria for identifying candidate PAIs. The bioinformatic-based functional analyses revealed that one of the two anomalous regions was the known pathogenicity island cag-PAI, this finding also served as proof-of-principle for the utility of the genomic barcoding approach for identifying PAIs, and characterized the other as a novel PAI, which was designated as tfs3-PAI. Furthermore, the cag-PAI and tfs3-PAI harbored genes encoding type IV secretion system proteins and were predicted to have potential for functional synergy.
CONCLUSION: Genomic barcode imaging represents an effective bioinformatic-based approach for scanning bacterial genomes, such as H. pylori, to identify candidate PAIs.
PMCID: PMC3740433  PMID: 23946608
Helicobacter pylori; Genome analysis; Pathogenicity islands; Genomic bar coding
2.  Computational prediction and experimental validation of novel markers for detection of STEC O157:H7 
AIM: To identify and assess the novel makers for detection of Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 with an integrated computational and experimental approach.
METHODS: High-throughput NCBI blast (E-value cutoff e-5) was used to search homologous genes among all sequenced prokaryotic genomes of each gene encoded in each of the three strains of STEC O157:H7 with complete genomes, aiming to find unique genes in O157:H7 as its potential markers. To ensure that the identified markers from the three strains of STEC O157:H7 can serve as general markers for all the STEC O157:H7 strains, a genomic barcode approach was used to select the markers to minimize the possibility of choosing a marker gene as part of a transposable element. Effectiveness of the markers predicted was then validated by running polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on 18 strains of O157:H7 with 5 additional genomes used as negative controls.
RESULTS: The blast search identified 20, 16 and 20 genes, respectively, in the three sequenced strains of STEC O157:H7, which had no homologs in any of the other prokaryotic genomes. Three genes, wzy, Z0372 and Z0344, common to the three gene lists, were selected based on the genomic barcode approach. PCR showed an identification accuracy of 100% on the 18 tested strains and the 5 controls.
CONCLUSION: The three identified novel markers, wzy, Z0372 and Z0344, are highly promising for the detection of STEC O157:H7, in complementary to the known markers.
PMCID: PMC3080728  PMID: 21528067
Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli O157:H7; Diagnosis; Marker genes; Infectious diseases
3.  Evaluation of routine biopsies in endoscopic screening for esophagogastric junction cancer 
AIM: To explore whether routine biopsies at the high incidence spot of esophagogastric junction (EGJ) cancer are justified in endoscopic screening.
METHODS: This was a multicenter population-based study conducted in eight high-risk areas in China. A total of 37396 participants underwent endoscopic examination. Biopsies were obtained from visible mucosal abnormalities or from normal-appearing mucosa at the high incidence spot of esophagogastric junction cancer when no abnormality was detected. Specimens showing high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (HIN) or higher grade lesions were deemed as pathologically “positive”. The ratios of positive pathologic diagnosis between participants with abnormal and normal-appearing mucosa were compared using the Pearson χ2 test. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals, adjusted for potential confounders, were calculated using logistic regression.
RESULTS: A total of 37520 individuals participated in this study and 37396 (99.7%) participants had full information and were suitable for analysis. During endoscopic examinations, 9.11% (3405/37396) participants were found to have visible mucosal lesions. Of the participants who had normal-appearing mucosa at the EGJ, only 0.28% (94/33991) were diagnosed with HIN or higher grade lesions, whereas 6.05% (206/3405) of participants with abnormalities at the EGJ had a positive pathologic result. After controlling for other variables, visible abnormal mucosa detected under endoscopy strongly predicted a positive pathologic result (OR = 32.51, 95%CI: 23.96-44.09). The proportion of participants with “positive” pathologic diagnoses increased as the total number of endoscopic examinations performed by the doctors increased (< 5000 cases vs 5000-10000 cases vs > 10000 cases, Z = -2.7207, P = 0.0065, Cochran Armiger trend test). The same trend was found between the proportion of participants with positive pathologic diagnoses and the total number of years the doctors performed endoscopy (< 5 years vs 5-10 years vs > 10 years, Z = -10.3222, P < 0.001, Cochran Armiger trend test).
CONCLUSION: Additional routine biopsies from the high incidence spot of EGJ cancer are of limited value and are unjustified.
PMCID: PMC4009543  PMID: 24803821
Esophagogastric junction cancer; High incidence spot; Screening; Endoscopy; Biopsy
4.  Population-based study of DNA image cytometry as screening method for esophageal cancer 
AIM: To explore the DNA image cytometry (DNA-ICM) technique as a primary screening method for esophageal squamous precancerous lesions.
METHODS: This study was designed as a population-based screening study. A total of 582 local residents aged 40 years-69 years were recruited from Linzhou in Henan and Feicheng in Shandong. However, only 452 subjects had results of liquid-based cytology, DNA-ICM and pathology. The sensitivity and specificity of DNA-ICM were calculated and compared with liquid-based cytology in moderate dysplasia or worse.
RESULTS: Sensitivities of DNA-ICM ranging from at least 1 to 4 aneuploid cells were 90.91%, 86.36%, 79.55% and 77.27%, respectively, which were better than that of liquid-based cytology (75%). Specificities of DNA-ICM were 70.83%, 84.07%, 92.65% and 96.81%, but the specificity of liquid-based cytology was 91.91%. The sensitivity and specificity of a combination of liquid-based cytology and DNA-ICM were 84.09% and 85.78%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: It is possible to use DNA-ICM technique as a primary screening method for esophageal squamous precancerous lesions.
PMCID: PMC3261533  PMID: 22294844
DNA image cytometry; Aneuploidy; Screening; Esophageal cancer; Precancerous lesions
5.  Association between upper digestive tract microbiota and cancer predisposing states in the esophagus and stomach 
The human upper digestive tract microbial community (microbiota) is not well characterized and few studies have explored how it relates to human health. We examined the relationship between upper digestive tract microbiota and two cancer predisposing states, serum pepsinogen I/pepsinogen II ratio (PGI/II) (predictor of gastric cancer risk), and esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD) (the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC)) in a cross-sectional design.
The Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarray was used to test for the presence of 272 bacterial species in 333 upper digestive tract samples from a Chinese cancer screening cohort. Serum PGI and PGII were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. ESD was determined by chromoendoscopy with biopsy.
Lower microbial richness (number of bacterial genera per sample) was significantly associated with lower PGI/II ratio (P=0.034) and the presence of ESD (P=0.018). We conducted principal component (PC) analysis on a β-diversity matrix (pairwise difference in microbiota), and observed significant correlations between PC1, PC3 and PGI/II (P=0.004, 0.009 respectively), and between PC1 and ESD (P=0.003).
lower microbial richness in upper digestive tract was independently associated with both cancer predisposing states in the esophagus and stomach (presence of ESD and lower PGI/II).
PMCID: PMC4011942  PMID: 24700175
microbiota; gastric cancer; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; esophageal squamous dysplasia; serum pepsinogen I/pepsinogen II ratio
6.  Role of the Renin-Angiotensin System, Renal Sympathetic Nerve System, and Oxidative Stress in Chronic Foot Shock-Induced Hypertension in Rats 
Objective: The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and renal sympathetic nerve system (RSNS) are involved in the development of hypertension. The present study is designed to explore the possible roles of the RAS and the RSNS in foot shock-induced hypertension.
Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into six groups: control, foot shock, RSNS denervation, denervation plus foot shock, Captopril (angiotensin I converting enzyme inhibitor, ACE inhibitor) plus foot shock, and Tempol (superoxide dismutase mimetic) plus foot shock. Rats received foot shock for 14 days. We measured the quantity of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), corticosterone, renin, and angiotensin II (Ang II) in plasma, the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and renal noradrenaline content. RAS component mRNA and protein levels were quantified in the cerebral cortex and hypothalamus.
Results: The two week foot shock treatment significantly increased systolic blood pressure, which was accompanied by an increase in angiotensinogen, renin, ACE1, and AT1a mRNA and protein expression in the cerebral cortex and hypothalamus, an increase of the plasma concentrations of renin, Ang II, corticosterone, and TBARS, as well as a decrease in plasma SOD and GSH-Px activities. Systolic blood pressure increase was suppressed by denervation of the RSNS or treatment with Captopril or Tempol. Interestingly, denervation or Tempol treatment both decreased main RAS components not only in the circulatory system, but also in the central nervous system. In addition, decreased antioxidant levels and increased TBARS and corticosterone levels were also partially restored by denervation or treatment with Tempol or Captopril.
Conclusions: RAS, RSNS and oxidative stress reciprocally potentiate to play important roles in the development of foot shock-induced hypertension.
PMCID: PMC4440255  PMID: 25999788
renal sympathetic nerve denervation; foot shock; hypertension; renin-angiotensin system (RAS); oxidative stress
7.  The association between the upper digestive tract microbiota by HOMIM and oral health in a population-based study in Linxian, China 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:1110.
Bacteria affect oral health, but few studies have systematically examined the role of bacterial communities in oral diseases. We examined this relationship in a large population-based Chinese cancer screening cohort.
Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarrays were used to test for the presence of 272 human oral bacterial species (97 genera) in upper digestive tract (UDT) samples collected from 659 participants. Oral health was assessed using US NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) protocols. We assessed both dental health (total teeth missing; tooth decay; and the decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) score) and periodontal health (bleeding on probing (BoP) extent score, loss of attachment extent score, and a periodontitis summary estimate).
Microbial richness, estimated by number of genera per sample, was positively correlated with BoP score (P = 0.015), but negatively correlated with tooth decay and DMFT score (P = 0.008 and 0.022 respectively). Regarding β-diversity, as estimated by the UniFrac distance matrix for pairwise differences among samples, at least one of the first three principal components of the UniFrac distance matrix was correlated with the number of missing teeth, tooth decay, DMFT, BoP, or periodontitis. Of the examined genera, Parvimonas was positively associated with BoP and periodontitis. Veillonellacease [G-1] was associated with a high DMFT score, and Filifactor and Peptostreptococcus were associated with a low DMFT score.
Our results suggest distinct relationships between UDT microbiota and dental and periodontal health. Poor dental health was associated with a less microbial diversity, whereas poor periodontal health was associated with more diversity and the presence of potentially pathogenic species.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1110) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4223728  PMID: 25348940
Microbiota; Oral health; Dental caries; Periodontitis; Bleeding on probe; Attachment loss
8.  Mitochondrial KATP channel involvement in angiotensin II-induced autophagy in vascular smooth muscle cells 
Basic Research in Cardiology  2014;109(4):416.
Autophagy has emerged as a powerful process in the response to cellular injury. The present study was designed to investigate signal transduction pathways in angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced autophagy. Rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) were stimulated with different doses of Ang II (10−9–10−5 mol/L) for different time periods (6–72 h). Incubation with Ang II increased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), increased the LC3-II to LC3-I ratio, increased beclin-1 expression, and decreased SQSTM1/p62 expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In addition, Ang II increased autophagosome formation. Increased ROS production induced by Ang II was inhibited by Ang II type 1 receptor (AT1) blockers (Olmesartan and Candesartan, ARB), a NADPH Oxidase inhibitor (apocynin), and mitochondrial KATP channels inhibitor (5-hydroxydecanoate, 5HD). Ang II (10−7 mol/L, 48 h)-induced increase in the LC3-II to LC3-I ratio, the formation of autophagosomes, expression of beclin-1 and decrease in the expression of SQSTM1/p62 were also inhibited by pretreatment with 3-methyladenine or bafilomycin A1 (inhibitors of autophagy), olmesartan and candesartan (in dose-dependent manners), apocynin, 5HD, and siRNA Atg5. Our results indicate that Ang II increases autophagy levels via activation of AT1 receptor and NADPH oxidase. Mitochondrial KATP channels also play an important role in Ang II-induced autophagy. Our results may provide a new strategy for treatment of cardiovascular diseases with Ang II.
PMCID: PMC4090747  PMID: 24847907
Angiotensin II (Ang II); NADPH oxidase; Mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channels; Autophagy; LC3-II
9.  Measuring telomere length for the early detection of precursor lesions of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:578.
Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide; current early detection screening tests are inadequate. Esophageal balloon cytology successfully retrieves exfoliated and scraped superficial esophageal epithelial cells, but cytologic reading of these cells has poor sensitivity and specificity for detecting esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Measuring telomere length, a marker for chromosomal instability, may improve the utility of balloon cytology for detecting ESD and early ESCC.
We examined balloon cytology specimens from 89 asymptomatic cases of ESD (37 low-grade and 52 high-grade) and 92 age- and sex-matched normal controls from an esophageal cancer early detection screening study. All subjects also underwent endoscopy and biopsy, and ESD was diagnosed histopathologically. DNA was extracted from the balloon cytology cells, and telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia.
Telomere lengths were comparable among the low- and high-grade dysplasia cases and controls, with means of 0.96, 0.96, and 0.92, respectively. The area under the ROC curve was 0.55 for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia. Further adjustment for subject characteristics, including sex, age, smoking, drinking, hypertension, and body mass index did not improve the use of telomere length as a marker for ESD.
Telomere length of esophageal balloon cytology cells was not associated with ESCC precursor lesions. Therefore, telomere length shows little promise as an early detection marker for ESCC in esophageal balloon samples.
PMCID: PMC3882883  PMID: 24308314
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Esophageal squamous dysplasia; Early detection; Screening; Balloon cytology; Telomeres
10.  Anticancer effects of 4-vinyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol (canolol) against SGC-7901 human gastric carcinoma cells 
Oncology Letters  2013;5(5):1562-1566.
Gastric cancer remains the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of canolol on the proliferation and apoptosis of SGC-7901 human gastric cancer cells and its relevant molecular mechanisms. The 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was used to observe the effect of canolol on the proliferation of SGC-7901 human gastric adenocarcinoma cells. The results showed that SGC-7901 cells exhibited a marked dose-dependent reduction in the proliferation rate. The survival rate of the cells was 88.86±1.58% at 50 μmol/l, decreasing to 53.73±1.51% at 800 μmol/l (P<0.05). By contrast, canolol had no significant toxicity on the human gastric mucosal epithelial cell line GES-1. The vivid images of cell morphology using an inverted microscope provided confirmation of the MTT assay. Treatment of SGC-7901 cells with canolol resulted in apoptosis demonstrated by flow cytometry. Furthermore, canolol downregulated the mRNA levels of COX-2, but had no significant effect on the mRNA expession of the Bax and Bcl-2 genes. These findings suggest that canolol has potential to be developed as a new natural anti-gastric carcinoma agent.
PMCID: PMC3678703  PMID: 23761819
canolol; gastric cancer; COX-2; anti-proliferation; apoptosis
11.  Long-term Survival After Esophagectomy for Early Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Linxian, China 
Journal of surgical oncology  2011;104(2):176-180.
Background and Objectives
Linxian in Henan Province, China, has among the highest rates of esophageal cancer worldwide. Little is known about long-term survival after esophagectomy for early neoplastic lesions found during early detection screening. A long-term survival analysis was performed for 315 patients from Linxian who received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Cases that received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma were age- and gender-matched with two healthy controls, and Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were performed for both groups.
10-year survival was 77% for cases and 64% for controls, and this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.33). There were no significant differences in survival based on age or gender (p>0.05). Cases with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma-in-situ had significantly better survival than cases with invasive esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (p=0.035).
Survival of cases who received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma was not significantly different from survival of age- and gender-matched controls. Early intervention probably improved survival rates for these patients who otherwise would most likely have developed advanced esophageal carcinoma. Early screening and intervention are highly relevant in areas with a high risk of esophageal cancer such as Linxian, China.
PMCID: PMC3129477  PMID: 21538356
Esophageal Cancer; Esophageal Surgery; Statistics; survival analysis
12.  Serum cytokine analysis in a positive chemoprevention trial: Selenium, Interleukin-2 and an association with squamous preneoplastic disease 
This study represents a multiplex cytokine analysis of serum from a 10-month randomized, controlled trial of 238 subjects that investigated the effects of selenomethionine and/or celecoxib in subjects with mild or moderate esophageal squamous dysplasia. The original chemoprevention study found that among those with mild dysplasia, selenomethionine treatment favorably altered dysplasia grade. The current analysis found that selenomethionine down-regulated IL-2 by 9% (p=0.04), while celecoxib down-regulated IL-7 by 11% (p=0.006) and up-regulated IL-13 by 17% (p=0.008). In addition, an increase in IL-7 tertile from baseline to t10 was significantly associated with an increase in dysplasia grade, both overall (OR=1.47, p=0.03) and among those with mild dysplasia at t0 (OR=2.53 p=0.001). An increase in IL-2 tertile from baseline to t10 was also non-significantly associated with worsening dysplasia for all participants (OR=1.32 p=0.098), and significantly associated with worsening dysplasia among those with mild dysplasia at baseline (OR=2.0 p=0.01). The association of increased IL-2 with worsening dysplasia remained significant in those on selenomethionine treatment who began the trial with mild dysplasia (OR=2.52 p=0.03). The current study shows that selenomethionine supplementation decreased serum IL-2 levels, while celecoxib treatment decreased IL-7 levels and increased IL-13 levels during a 10 month randomized chemoprevention trial. An increase in IL-2 or IL-7 was associated with increased severity of dysplasia over the course of the trial, especially in those who began the trial with mild dysplasia. The favorable effect of selenomethionine on esophageal dysplasia in the original trial may have been mediated in part by its effect on reducing levels of IL-2.
PMCID: PMC2900463  PMID: 20587703
chemoprevention; interleukin-2; preneoplasia; gastrointestinal tract; selenium
13.  No role for human papillomavirus in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in China 
Certain regions of China have high rates of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Previous studies of human papillomavirus (HPV), a proposed causal factor, have produced highly variable results. We attempted to evaluate HPV and ESCC more definitively using extreme care to prevent DNA contamination. We collected tissue and serum in China from 272 histopathologically-confirmed ESCC cases with rigorous attention to good molecular biology technique. We tested for HPV DNA in fresh-frozen tumor tissue using PCR with PGMY L1 consensus primers and HPV16 and 18 type-specific E6 and E7 primers, and in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor tissue using SPF10 L1 primers. In HPV-positive cases, we evaluated p16INK4a overexpression and HPV E6/E7 seropositivity as evidence of carcinogenic HPV activity. β-globin, and thus DNA, was adequate in 98.2% of the frozen tumor tissues (267/272). Of these, 99.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 97.9–100.0%) were negative for HPV DNA by PGMY, and 100% (95% CI = 98.6–100%) were negative by HPV16/18 E6/E7 PCR. In the corresponding formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor specimens, 99.3% (95% CI = 97.3–99.9%) were HPV negative by SPF10. By PGMY, 1 case tested weakly positive for HPV89, a noncancer causing HPV type. By SPF10, 2 cases tested weakly positive: 1 for HPV16 and 1 for HPV31. No HPV DNA-positive case had evidence of HPV oncogene activity as measured by p16INK4a overexpression or E6/E7 seropositivity. This study provides the most definitive evidence to date that HPV is not involved in ESCC carcinogenesis in China. HPV DNA contamination cannot be ruled out as an explanation for high HPV prevalence in ESCC tissue studies with less stringent tissue procurement and processing protocols.
PMCID: PMC3069961  PMID: 19918949
human papillomavirus; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
14.  The Gastric Cardia is not a Target for Human Papillomavirus-induced Carcinogenesis 
Thousands of people in central Asia die every year from gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA). GCA arises in the transformation zone between the esophagus and the stomach, similar to cervical and oropharyngeal carcinoma, which arise in areas with transformation zone characteristics. The analogous biology of the gastric cardia to the cervix and oropharynx, where human papillomavirus (HPV) is known to cause cancer, raises the possibility that GCA could be an HPV-associated cancer. Given the availability of an effective HPV vaccine and its potential to prevent HPV-associated cancer, we decided to evaluate the prevalence of HPV DNA in GCA.
We collected tumor tissue from 144 histopathologically-confirmed GCA patients at Yaocun Commune Hospital, Linxian, China, with rigorous attention to prevent DNA contamination. We tested for the presence of HPV DNA in fresh-frozen tumor specimens using PCR with sensitive L1, E6, and E7-based primers.
DNA was adequate, as indicated by β-globin positivity, in 108 cases. Of these, all (100%, 95% confidence interval: 97%–100%) were negative for HPV DNA
These results suggest that HPV does not contribute to gastric cardia carcinogenesis in north central China.
Since GCA does not appear to be an HPV-associated cancer, prophylactic HPV vaccination is unlikely to affect rates of GCA in China.
PMCID: PMC2852466  PMID: 20332262
15.  Bis[2-((4,6-dimethyl­pyrimidin-2-yl){2-[(4,6-dimethyl­pyrimidin-2-yl)sulfan­yl]eth­yl}amino)­eth­yl] disulfide 
Bis[2-(4,6-dimethyl­pyrimidin-2-ylsulfan­yl)eth­yl]amine under hydro­thermal conditions has unexpectedly been transformed into the title compound, C32H44N10S4. In the title mol­ecule, the zigzag 3,10-diaza-6,7-disulfanyldodecyl skeleton has two dimethyl­pyrimidinylsulfanyl groups at both ends, and the aza atoms each carry a dimethyl­pyrimidinyl unit. The N atoms in the skeleton show a planar coordination.
PMCID: PMC2983405  PMID: 21587511
16.  Aryl hydrocarbon receptor expression is associated with a family history of upper gastrointestinal cancer in a high risk population exposed to aromatic hydrocarbons 
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure is a risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and PAHs are ligands of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). This study measured the expression of AhR and related genes in frozen esophageal cell samples from patients exposed to different levels of indoor air pollution, who did or did not have high-grade squamous dysplasia (HGD), and who did or did not have a family history (FH) of upper gastrointestinal cancer (UGI Ca).
147 samples were evaluated, including 23 (16%) from patients with HGD and 48 (33%) from patients without DYS who heated their homes with coal, without a chimney (a “high” indoor air pollution group), and 27 (18%) from patients with HGD and 49 (33%) from patients without DYS who did not heat their homes at all (a “low” indoor air pollution group). Nearly half (64 (44%)) had a FH of UGI Ca. RNA was extracted and Quantitative-PCR analysis was performed.
AhR gene expression was detectable in 85 (58%) of the samples, and was more than 9-fold higher in those with a FH of UGI Ca (median expression (IQR) -1964 (-18000, -610) versus -18000 (-18000, -1036) Wilcoxon P = 0.02). Heating status, dysplasia category, age, gender, and smoking were not associated with AhR expression (linear regression, all P-values ≥0.1).
AhR expression was higher in patients with a FH of UGI Ca. Such individuals may be more susceptible to the deleterious effects of PAH exposure, including PAH-induced cancer.
PMCID: PMC2796959  PMID: 19690180
Gastrointestinal tract cancer; Esophagus; Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; family history of cancer; gene expression; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
17.  Bis[2-(2-pyridyl­sulfan­yl)eth­yl]ammonium perchlorate 
The cation and anion of the title salt, C14H18N3S2 +·ClO4 −, lie on a twofold rotation axis. The cation is a W-shaped entity with the aromatic rings at the ends; the ammonium NH2 + group is a hydrogen-bond donor to the pyridyl N atoms. The perchlorate ion has one O atom disordered over two sites in a 0.50:0.50 ratio.
PMCID: PMC3008095  PMID: 21588680
18.  Serum pepsinogens and risk of esophageal squamous dysplasia 
Pepsinogens are a class of endopeptidases that are secreted by the gastric epithelium and released into the circulation. Low serum pepsinogen I (PGI) and low serum pepsinogen I / pepsinogen II ratio (PGI/II ratio) are markers of gastric fundic atrophy, and have recently been shown to be associated with increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We conducted the current study to test whether these markers are also associated with esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of ESCC.
We measured serum PGI and PGII, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assays, in 125 case subjects (patients with moderate or severe ESD) and 250 sex-matched control subjects (no ESD) selected from an endoscopic screening study in Linxian, China. We used conditional logistic regression models adjusted for age, smoking, and place of residence to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).
Serum PGI showed no statistically significant association with ESD, whether analyzed as a dichotomous, ordinal (quartiles), or continuous variable. Lower serum PGI/II ratio, however, showed a dose-response association with increased risk of ESD, with an adjusted OR (95% CI) of 2.12 (1.08 − 4.18), comparing the lowest versus the highest quartile. The association between lower serum PGI/II ratio and log OR of ESD was nearly linear, and the p-value for the continuous association was 0.03.
Lower serum PGI/II ratio was linearly associated with higher risk of ESD. This result is consistent with recent findings that gastric atrophy may increase the risk of ESCC.
PMCID: PMC2605159  PMID: 18844222
Esophageal cancer; Squamous dysplasia; Pepsinogen; China
The incidence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is very high in northern China. This cancer has a very poor prognosis, mostly because it is usually diagnosed at a late stage. Detection an earlier stage can dramatically improve prognosis. Microscopic evaluation of esophageal balloon cytology (EBC) specimens has been the most common method for early detection of ESCC, but this technique is limited by low sensitivity and specificity. The use of molecular markers may improve these screening characteristics. This study evaluates whether measurement of gene methylation in EBC specimens may have utility for the detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC. We evaluated the presence of methylation in eight genes shown to be methylated in ESCC in previous studies in EBC specimens from 147 patients with endoscopic biopsy diagnoses ranging from normal mucosa through severe squamous dysplasia. Methylation status was determined using quantitative methylation-specific PCR techniques. The sensitivity and specificity of methylation of each individual gene and combinations of these genes to detect biopsy-proven high-grade (moderate or severe) squamous dysplasia was determined. For individual genes, the sensitivities ranged from 9–34% and the specificities ranged from 77–99%. Using a panel of four genes (AHRR, p16INK4a, MT1G, and CLDN3) resulted in sensitivity and specificity of 50% and 68%, respectively. This study suggests that evaluation of gene methylation in EBC samples may have utility for early detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC, however, identification of more sensitive methylation markers will be required for development of a clinically useful screening test.
PMCID: PMC2615136  PMID: 19137073
gene methylation; early detection; cytology; esophageal squamous cell cancer

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