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1.  The effects of pulmonary vasodilating agents on right ventricular parameters in severe group 3 pulmonary hypertension: a pilot study 
Pulmonary Circulation  2016;6(4):524-531.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)–approved vasodilators improve right ventricular (RV) function in patients with PAH. However, whether PAH-approved drugs ameliorate RV morphology and function in lung disease–associated pulmonary hypertension (lung-PH) remains unclear. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the changes in RV volume and ejection fraction (RVEF) in 14 consecutive severe lung-PH patients treated with PAH-approved vasodilators. Severe lung-PH was defined as a mean pulmonary arterial pressure (MPAP) of ≥35 mmHg or an MPAP of ≥25 mmHg with a cardiac index (L/min/m2) of <2. Right heart catheterization and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging were performed at baseline and at 3 months after starting sildenafil with or without other PAH-approved drugs. Follow-up was conducted at 3 months in 11 participants; compared with baseline values, MPAP and pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) decreased by 18% and 37%, respectively. Baseline CMR imaging revealed an elevated RV end-diastolic volume index (RVEDVI; mL/m2) of 117.5 ± 35.9 and a below-average RVEF of 25.2% ± 7.2%; after 3 months, RVEDVI decreased by 23.7% (P = 0.0061) and RVEF increased by 32.9% (P = 0.0165). Among the 11 patients, 3 were thought to be a stable and homogenous subset in terms of background lung disease and medical management administered. These 3 patients exhibited similar ameliorations in PVR and RVEF, compared with the other 8 patients. PAH-approved drug treatment may improve RV dilatation and systolic function among patients with severe lung-PH. This study was approved by University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR) on September 1, 2013 (UMIN000011541).
doi:10.1086/688712
PMCID: PMC5210053  PMID: 28090294
arterial pressure; hypertension; magnetic resonance imaging; vasodilating agents; ventricular function
2.  Combined inhibition of EZH2 and histone deacetylases as a potential epigenetic therapy for non‐small‐cell lung cancer cells 
Cancer Science  2016;107(7):955-962.
Recent discoveries have revealed that human cancer involves aberrant epigenetic alterations. We and others have previously shown that the histone methyltransferase EZH2, the catalytic subunit of polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), is frequently overexpressed in non‐small‐cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and that an EZH2 inhibitor, 3‐deazaneplanocin A, inhibits the proliferation of NSCLC cells. Transcriptional silencing by EZH2 was recently shown to be required for the activity of histone deacetylases (HDACs) that interact with another PRC2 protein, EED. To develop a more effective epigenetic therapy for NSCLC, we determined the effects of co‐treatment with 3‐deazaneplanocin A and the HDAC inhibitor vorinostat (SAHA) in NSCLC cells. The co‐treatment synergistically suppressed the proliferation of all tested NSCLC cell lines, regardless of their epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) status. The synergistic effect was associated with slightly decreased histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation, modestly increased histone acetylation, and the depletion of EZH2 and other PRC2 proteins. The co‐treatment resulted in an accumulation of p27Kip1, decrease in cyclin A, and increased apoptotic fraction in an additive/synergistic manner. Interestingly, the co‐treatment strongly suppressed EGFR signaling, not only in EGFR‐wild‐type NSCLC cells, but also in EGFR‐mutant cells, mainly through dephosphorylation of EGFR. Furthermore, the co‐treatment suppressed the in vivo tumor growth of EGFR‐mutant, EGFR–tyrosine kinase‐resistant H1975 cells more effectively than did each agent alone, without visible toxicity. These results suggest that the combined pharmacological targeting of EZH2 and HDACs may provide more effective epigenetic therapeutics for NSCLC.
doi:10.1111/cas.12957
PMCID: PMC4946723  PMID: 27116120
3‐Deazaneplanocin A; EZH2; lung cancer; polycomb‐group protein; vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid)
3.  Association between Smoking Status and Obesity in a Nationwide Survey of Japanese Adults 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(3):e0148926.
Objective
A positive association between the number of cigarettes smoked per day and obesity has been reported, whereas how other smoking-related indices, such as pack-years and duration of smoking, are related with obesity has been less investigated. We analyzed the age-adjusted cross-sectional association between smoking and obesity in a general Japanese population.
Methods
We used data from a nationwide epidemiological study of Japanese adults (N = 23,106). We compared the prevalence of obesity (defined as body mass index ≥ 25kg/m2) among groups classified by smoking behavior, pack-years, number of cigarettes per day, duration of smoking, and duration and time of smoking cessation.
Results
In men, current smokers had a lower odds ratio (OR) for obesity of 0.80 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.72–0.88) compared to non-smokers, whereas past smokers had a higher OR of 1.23 (95% CI: 1.09–1.37) compared to current smokers. In women, there were no differences in obesity between the three groups classified by smoking behavior. However, in both sexes, the prevalence of obesity tended to increase with pack-years and the number of cigarettes per day, but not with duration of smoking in current and past smokers. Further, in male smokers, the risks for obesity were markedly higher in short-term heavy smokers compared with long-term light smokers, even with the same number of pack-years. Regarding the impact of smoking cessation, female past smokers who quit smoking at an age > 55-years had an elevated OR of 1.60 (95% CI:1.05–2.38) for obesity.
Conclusions
In a general Japanese population, obesity is progressively associated with pack-years and number of cigarettes per day, but not with the duration of smoking. When investigating the association between obesity and cigarette smoking, the daily smoking burden and the duration of smoking require to be independently considered.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148926
PMCID: PMC4805304  PMID: 27007232
4.  Associations among the plasma amino acid profile, obesity, and glucose metabolism in Japanese adults with normal glucose tolerance 
Background
Amino acids (AAs) are emerging as a new class of effective molecules in the etiology of obesity and diabetes mellitus. However, most investigations have focused on subjects with obesity and/or impaired glucose regulation; the possible involvement of AAs in the initial phase of glucose dysregulation remains poorly understood. Furthermore, little attention has been given to possible associations between the pattern/degree of fat deposition and the plasma AA profile. Our objective was therefore to determine the relationships between plasma AA concentrations and the type/degree of obesity and glucose regulation in Japanese adults with normal glucose tolerance.
Methods
Eighty-three subjects with normal glucose tolerance were classified as obese or nonobese and as visceral obesity or nonvisceral obesity. Correlations between the plasma levels of 23 AAs and somatometric measurements, visceral fat area (VFA), subcutaneous fat area (SFA), and 75-g oral glucose tolerance test results were analyzed.
Results
Obesity or visceral obesity was associated with higher levels of branched-chain AAs (isoleucine, leucine, and valine), lysine, tryptophan, cystine, and glutamate but lower levels of asparagine, citrulline, glutamine, glycine, and serine (p < 0.04). Age- and gender-adjusted analyses indicated that VFA was positively correlated with tryptophan and glutamate levels, whereas VFA and SFA were negatively correlated with citrulline, glutamine, and glycine levels (p < 0.05). The fasting and 2-h plasma glucose levels or the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance were positively correlated with valine, glutamate, and tyrosine levels but negatively correlated with citrulline, glutamine, and glycine levels. The homeostasis model assessment for the β-cell function index was positively correlated with leucine, tryptophan, valine, and glutamate levels but negatively correlated with citrulline, glutamine, glycine, and serine levels (p < 0.05).
Conclusions
The present study identified specific associations between 10 AAs and the type/degree of obesity, and indices of glucose/insulin regulation, in Japanese adults with preserved glucose metabolism. With the growing concern about the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes, the possible roles of these AAs as early markers and/or precursors warrant further investigation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12986-015-0059-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12986-015-0059-5
PMCID: PMC4717594  PMID: 26788116
Visceral obesity; Oral glucose tolerance test; Insulin secretion; Insulin resistance; Branched-chain amino acid; Glycine; Glutamate; Glutamine
5.  Role of Lung Function Genes in the Development of Asthma 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(1):e0145832.
Although our previous GWAS failed to identify SNPs associated with pulmonary function at the level of genomewide significance, it did show that the heritability for FEV1/FVC was 41.6% in a Japanese population, suggesting that the heritability of pulmonary function traits can be explained by the additive effects of multiple common SNPs. In addition, our previous study indicated that pulmonary function genes identified in previous GWASs in non-Japanese populations accounted for 4.3% to 12.0% of the entire estimated heritability of FEV1/FVC in a Japanese population. Therefore, given that many loci with individual weak effects may contribute to asthma risk, in this study, we created a quantitative score of genetic load based on 16 SNPs implicated in lower lung function in both Japanese and non-Japanese populations. This genetic risk score (GRS) for lower FEV1/FVC was consistently associated with the onset of asthma (P = 9.6 × 10−4) in 2 independent Japanese populations as well as with the onset of COPD (P = 0.042). Clustering of asthma patients based on GRS levels indicated that an increased GRS may be responsible for the development of a particular phenotype of asthma characterized by early onset, atopy, and severer airflow obstruction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145832
PMCID: PMC4709100  PMID: 26752288
6.  The effects of 18-h fasting with low-carbohydrate diet preparation on suppressed physiological myocardial 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake and possible minimal effects of unfractionated heparin use in patients with suspected cardiac involvement sarcoidosis 
Journal of Nuclear Cardiology  2015;23:244-252.
Background
18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET plays an important role in the detection of cardiac involvement sarcoidosis (CS). However, diffuse left ventricle (LV) wall uptake sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish between positive uptake and physiological uptake. The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of 18-h fasting with low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) vs a minimum of 6-h fasting preparations on diffuse LV FDG uptake and free fatty acid (FFA) levels in patients with suspected CS.
Methods
Eighty-two patients with suspected CS were divided into 2 preparation protocols: one with a minimum 6-h fast without LCD preparation (group A, n = 58) and the other with a minimum 18-h fast with LCD preparation (group B, n = 24). All patients also received intravenous unfractionated heparin (UFH; 50 IU/kg) before the injection of FDG.
Results
Group A showed a higher percentage of diffuse LV uptake than did group B (27.6 vs 0.0%, P = .0041). Group B showed higher FFA levels (1159.1  ±  393.0, 650.5  ±  310.9 μEq/L, P < .0001) than did group A. Patients with diffuse LV uptake (n = 16) showed lower FFA levels than did other patients (n = 66) (432.1  ±  296.1, 888.4  ±  381.4 μEq/L, P < .0001). UFH administration significantly increased FFAs in both groups, even in the patients with diffuse LV FDG uptake.
Conclusions
The 18-h fast with LCD preparation significantly reduced diffuse LV uptake and increased FFA levels. In particular, the FFA level was significantly lower in patients with LV diffuse uptake than in patients without LV diffuse uptake. Acutely increasing plasma FFA through the use of UFH may not have a significant role in reducing physiological LV FDG uptake.
doi:10.1007/s12350-015-0226-0
PMCID: PMC4785205  PMID: 26243179
Cardiac sarcoidosis; 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose; positron emission tomography; long fasting; free fatty acid
7.  Two cases of hard metal lung disease showing gradual improvement in pulmonary function after avoiding dust exposure 
We present herein two cases of hard metal lung disease (HMLD) with distinct pathological findings. Both cases showed gradual improvements in pulmonary function over a period of a few years (Case 1: 30 months; Case 2: 12 months) after the avoidance of dust exposure, while improvements on high-resolution computed tomography were modest. The increased lymphocytes and decreased CD4/CD8 ratio in BALF observed at initial diagnosis normalized after the avoidance of dust exposure in one case. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating continual follow-up of pulmonary function and radiographic findings, and a comparison of BALF findings before and after avoidance of hard metal dust exposure.
doi:10.1186/s12995-015-0070-9
PMCID: PMC4524026  PMID: 26244050
Hard metal lung disease; Pulmonary function; Dust exposure; Avoidance; BALF
8.  Temporal Changes in Glutaredoxin 1 and Protein S-Glutathionylation in Allergic Airway Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0122986.
Introduction
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, involving oxidative stress. Upon oxidative stress, glutathione covalently binds to protein thiols to protect them against irreversible oxidation. This posttranslational modification, known as protein S-glutathionylation, can be reversed by glutaredoxin 1 (Glrx1) under physiological condition. Glrx1 is known to increase in the lung tissues of a murine model of allergic airway inflammation. However, the temporal relationship between levels of Glrx1, protein S-glutathionylation, and glutathione in the lungs with allergic airway inflammation is not clearly understood.
Methods
BALB/c mice received 3 aerosol challenges with ovalbumin (OVA) following sensitization to OVA. They were sacrificed at 6, 24, 48, or 72 h, or 8 days (5 mice per group), and the levels of Glrx1, protein S-glutathionylation, glutathione, and 25 cytokines/chemokines were evaluated in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and/or lung tissue.
Results
Levels of Glrx1 in BALF were significantly elevated in the OVA 6 h (final challenge) group compared to those in the control, with concurrent increases in protein S-glutathionylation levels in the lungs, as well as total glutathione (reduced and oxidized) and oxidized glutathione in BALF. Protein S-glutathionylation levels were attenuated at 24 h, with significant increases in Glrx1 levels in lung tissues at 48 and 72 h. Glrx1 in alveolar macrophages was induced after 6 h. Glrx1 levels concomitantly increased with Th2/NF-κB-related cytokines and chemokines in BALF.
Conclusions
The temporal relationships of Glrx1 with protein S-glutathionylation, glutathione, and cytokines/chemokines were observed as dynamic changes in lungs with allergic airway inflammation, suggesting that Glrx1 and protein–SSG redox status may play important roles in the development of allergic airway inflammation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122986
PMCID: PMC4395207  PMID: 25874776
9.  Differential changes in quality of life components over 5 years in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients 
Background
The aim of the study was to examine the longitudinal change in quality of life components of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods
In the Hokkaido COPD Cohort Study, 261 subjects were appropriately treated and followed over 5 years with a 74% follow-up rate at the end. The longitudinal changes in St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) scores were annually evaluated with forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1). The subjects were classified into the rapid decliners, slow decliners, and sustainers based on ΔFEV1/year.
Results
The activity component of SGRQ generally deteriorated over time, and its annual decline was the greatest in the rapid decliners (<25th percentile). In contrast, the symptom component improved significantly year by year in the sustainers (>75 percentile), and it did not deteriorate even in the rapid decliners. Of the baseline data, predictors for worsening of the activity component were older age and lower body mass index. Larger reversibility was related to symptom component improvement. Of the follow-up data, ΔFEV1/year was the best predictor for worsening of the components of SGRQ. Continuous smoking was another factor for worsening of the activity component. For the symptom component, a history of exacerbation by admission definition was the determinant of its deterioration, whereas use of beta agonists was related to improvement.
Conclusion
The longitudinal changes of quality of life and their determinants are markedly different and independent between its components. The activity component of SGRQ generally deteriorated over years, while the symptom component rather improved in some patients with COPD under appropriate treatment.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S77586
PMCID: PMC4401330  PMID: 25914531
annual change; forced expiratory volume in 1 second; SGRQ; smoking; exacerbation
10.  Mentoring the next generation of physician-scientists in Japan: a cross-sectional survey of mentees in six academic medical centers 
BMC Medical Education  2015;15:54.
Background
Physician-scientists play key roles in biomedical research across the globe, yet prior studies have found that it is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain physician-scientists in research careers. Access to quality research mentorship may help to ameliorate this problem in the U.S., but there is virtually no information on mentoring in academic medicine in Japan. We conducted a survey to determine the availability and quality of mentoring relationships for trainee physician-scientists in Japan.
Methods
We surveyed 1700 physician-scientists in post-graduate research training programs in 6 academic medical centers in Japan about mentorship characteristics, mentee perceptions of the mentoring relationship, and attitudes about career development.
Results
A total of 683 potential physician-scientist mentees completed the survey. Most reported that they had a departmental mentor (91%) with whom they met at least once a month; 48% reported that they were very satisfied with the mentoring available to them. Mentoring pairs were usually initiated by the mentor (85% of the time); respondents identified translational research skills (55%) and grant writing (50%) as unmet needs. Mentoring concerning long-term career planning was significantly associated with the intention to pursue research careers, however this was also identified by some mentees as an unmet need (35% desired assistance; 15% reported receiving it).
Conclusions
More emphasis and formal training in career mentorship may help to support Japanese physician-scientist mentees to develop a sense of self-efficacy to pursue and stay in research careers.
doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0333-2
PMCID: PMC4373037  PMID: 25890341
Mentoring/mentorship; Medical education-career choice; Medical education-postgraduate; Physician-scientist
11.  Anaplastic transformation of papillary thyroid carcinoma in multiple lung metastases presenting with a malignant pleural effusion: a case report 
Introduction
Anaplastic transformation of well-differentiated papillary thyroid carcinoma at distant metastasis sites is rare. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of an autopsy case of anaplastic transformation of papillary thyroid carcinoma in multiple lung metastases presenting with a malignant pleural effusion.
Case presentation
We report an autopsy case of a 61-year-old Japanese man with anaplastic transformation of papillary thyroid carcinoma with multiple lung metastases presenting with a malignant pleural effusion, which was difficult to diagnose by cytological examination before the autopsy. He presented with a 1-month history of progressive dyspnea, and examination of the left pleural effusion revealed a bloody exudate with an increase in thyroglobulin; however, malignant cells in the pleural fluid were negative for thyroglobulin.
Conclusion
It is important to be aware that anaplastic transformation of differentiated thyroid carcinoma could develop in lung metastases and could be a cause of a malignant pleural effusion.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-8-460
PMCID: PMC4307622  PMID: 25532447
Anaplastic transformation; Lung metastasis; Malignant pleural effusion; Papillary thyroid carcinoma
12.  Hemodynamic effects of ambrisentan-tadalafil combination therapy on progressive portopulmonary hypertension 
World Journal of Hepatology  2014;6(11):825-829.
Intravenous epoprostenol is recommended for World Health Organization functional class (WHO-FC) IV patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in the latest guidelines. However, in portopulmonary hypertension (PoPH) patients, advanced liver dysfunction and/or thrombocytopenia often makes the use of intravenous epoprostenol challenging. Here we report the cases of two WHO-FC IV PoPH patients who were successfully treated with a combination of two oral vasodilators used to treat PAH: ambrisentan and tadalafil. Oral vasodilator therapy using a combination of ambrisentan and tadalafil may be a safe and effective therapeutic option for WHO-FC IV PoPH patients and should be considered for selected patients with severe and rapidly progressing PoPH.
doi:10.4254/wjh.v6.i11.825
PMCID: PMC4243157  PMID: 25429321
Portopulmonary hypertension; Ambrisentan; Tadalafil; Thrombocytopenia
13.  Prevotella intermedia Induces Severe Bacteremic Pneumococcal Pneumonia in Mice with Upregulated Platelet-Activating Factor Receptor Expression 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(2):587-593.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of respiratory infection worldwide. Although oral hygiene has been considered a risk factor for developing pneumonia, the relationship between oral bacteria and pneumococcal infection is unknown. In this study, we examined the synergic effects of Prevotella intermedia, a major periodontopathic bacterium, on pneumococcal pneumonia. The synergic effects of the supernatant of P. intermedia (PiSup) on pneumococcal pneumonia were investigated in mice, and the stimulation of pneumococcal adhesion to human alveolar (A549) cells by PiSup was assessed. The effects of PiSup on platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR) transcript levels in vitro and in vivo were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR, and the differences between the effects of pneumococcal infection induced by various periodontopathic bacterial species were verified in mice. Mice inoculated with S. pneumoniae plus PiSup exhibited a significantly lower survival rate, higher bacterial loads in the lungs, spleen, and blood, and higher inflammatory cytokine levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (macrophage inflammatory protein 2 and tumor necrosis factor alpha) than those infected without PiSup. In A549 cells, PiSup increased pneumococcal adhesion and PAFR transcript levels. PiSup also increased lung PAFR transcript levels in mice. Similar effects were not observed in the supernatants of Porphyromonas gingivalis or Fusobacterium nucleatum. Thus, P. intermedia has the potential to induce severe bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia with enhanced pneumococcal adhesion to lower airway cells.
doi:10.1128/IAI.00943-13
PMCID: PMC3911379  PMID: 24478074
14.  Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors for non-small-cell lung cancer: A phase II trial and literature review 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(5):744-750.
Several preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors are efficient for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, two recent phase III clinical trials using COX-2 inhibitors in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy failed to demonstrate a survival benefit. Thus, validation and discussion regarding the usefulness of COX-2 inhibitors for patients with NSCLC are required. We conducted a prospective trial using COX-2 inhibitors for the treatment of 50 NSCLC patients accrued between April, 2005 and July, 2006. Patients with untreated advanced NSCLC received oral meloxicam (150 mg daily), carboplatin (area under the curve = 5 mg/ml × min on day 1) and docetaxel (60 mg/m2 on day 1) every 3 weeks. The primary endpoint was response rate. The response and disease control rates were 36.0 and 76.0%, respectively. The time-to-progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS) were 5.7 months [95% confidence interval (CI): 4.6–6.7] and 13.7 months (95% CI: 11.4–15.9), respectively. The 1-year survival ratio was 56.0%. Grade 3 neuropathy was observed in only 1 patient. We performed tumor immunohistochemistry for COX-2 and p27 and investigated the correlation between their expression and clinical outcome. COX-2 expression in the tumor tended to correlate with a higher response rate (50.0% in the high- and 18.2% in the low-COX-2 group; P=0.092). Based on our results and previous reports, various trial designs, such as the prospective use of COX-2 inhibitors only for patients with COX-2-positive NSCLC, including the exploratory analysis of biomarkers associated with the COX-2 pathway, may be worth further consideration.
doi:10.3892/mco.2014.319
PMCID: PMC4106666  PMID: 25054040
non-small-cell lung cancer; cyclooxygenase-2; p27; carboplatin; docetaxel
15.  A Phase II Study of Amrubicin as a Third-Line or Fourth-Line Chemotherapy for Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Hokkaido Lung Cancer Clinical Study Group Trial (HOT) 0901 
The Oncologist  2013;18(4):439-445.
The efficacy and safety of amrubicin for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer as a third- or fourth-line therapy were evaluated. Amrubicin showed significant clinical activity with manageable toxicities.
Amrubicin, a third-generation synthetic anthracycline agent, has favorable clinical activity and acceptable toxicity for the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer. We conducted this study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of amrubicin for advanced NSCLC patients as a third- or fourth-line therapy. Eligible patients had recurrent or refractory advanced NSCLC after second- or third-line therapy. Patients received amrubicin, 35 mg/m2 i.v. on days 1–3 every 3 weeks. The primary endpoint was the disease control rate (DCR). Secondary endpoints were the overall survival (OS) time, progression-free survival (PFS) time, response rate, and toxicity profile. Of the 41 patients enrolled, 26 received amrubicin as a third-line and 15 received it as a fourth-line therapy. The median number of treatment cycles was two (range, 1–9). Objective responses were complete response (n = 0), partial response (n = 4), stable disease (n = 21), progressive disease (n = 15), and not evaluable (n = 1), resulting in a DCR of 61.0% (95% confidence interval, 46.0%–75.9%). The overall response rate was 9.8% (95% confidence interval, 0.6%–18.8%). The median PFS interval was 3.0 months, median OS time was 12.6 months, and 1-year survival rate was 53.7%. Grade 3 or 4 hematological toxicities were neutropenia (68%), anemia (12%), thrombocytopenia (12%), and febrile neutropenia (17%). Nonhematological toxicities were mild and reversible. No treatment-related deaths were observed. Amrubicin showed significant clinical activity with manageable toxicities as a third- or fourth-line therapy for patients with advanced NSCLC. This study provides relevant data for routine practice and future prospective trials evaluating third- or fourth-line treatment strategies for patients with advanced NSCLC.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2012-0308
PMCID: PMC3639531  PMID: 23442308
Amrubicin; Chemotherapy; Fourth line; Non-small cell lung cancer; Third line
16.  Effect of Lung Volume on Airway Luminal Area Assessed by Computed Tomography in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90040.
Background
Although airway luminal area (Ai) is affected by lung volume (LV), how is not precisely understood. We hypothesized that the effect of LV on Ai would differ by airway generation, lung lobe, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) severity.
Methods
Sixty-seven subjects (15 at risk, 18, 20, and 14 for COPD stages 1, 2, and 3) underwent pulmonary function tests and computed tomography scans at full inspiration and expiration (at functional residual capacity). LV and eight selected identical airways were measured in the right lung. Ai was measured at the mid-portion of the 3rd, the segmental bronchus, to 6th generation of the airways, leading to 32 measurements per subject.
Results
The ratio of expiratory to inspiratory LV (LV E/I ratio) and Ai (Ai E/I ratio) was defined for evaluation of changes. The LV E/I ratio increased as COPD severity progressed. As the LV E/I ratio was smaller, the Ai E/I ratio was smaller at any generation among the subjects. Overall, the Ai E/I ratios were significantly smaller at the 5th (61.5%) and 6th generations (63.4%) and than at the 3rd generation (73.6%, p<0.001 for each), and also significantly lower in the lower lobe than in the upper or middle lobe (p<0.001 for each). And, the Ai E/I ratio decreased as COPD severity progressed only when the ratio was corrected by the LV E/I ratio (at risk v.s.stage3 p<0.001, stage1 v.s.stage3 p<0.05).
Conclusions
From full inspiration to expiration, the airway luminal area shrinks more at the distal airways compared with the proximal airways and in the lower lobe compared with the other lobes. Generally, the airways shrink more as COPD severity progresses, but this phenomenon becomes apparent only when lung volume change from inspiration to expiration is taken into account.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090040
PMCID: PMC3938549  PMID: 24587205
17.  Genome-Wide Association Study for Levels of Total Serum IgE Identifies HLA-C in a Japanese Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80941.
Most of the previously reported loci for total immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels are related to Th2 cell-dependent pathways. We undertook a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic loci responsible for IgE regulation. A total of 479,940 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested for association with total serum IgE levels in 1180 Japanese adults. Fine-mapping with SNP imputation demonstrated 6 candidate regions: the PYHIN1/IFI16, MHC classes I and II, LEMD2, GRAMD1B, and chr13∶60576338 regions. Replication of these candidate loci in each region was assessed in 2 independent Japanese cohorts (n = 1110 and 1364, respectively). SNP rs3130941 in the HLA-C region was consistently associated with total IgE levels in 3 independent populations, and the meta-analysis yielded genome-wide significance (P = 1.07×10−10). Using our GWAS results, we also assessed the reproducibility of previously reported gene associations with total IgE levels. Nine of 32 candidate genes identified by a literature search were associated with total IgE levels after correction for multiple testing. Our findings demonstrate that SNPs in the HLA-C region are strongly associated with total serum IgE levels in the Japanese population and that some of the previously reported genetic associations are replicated across ethnic groups.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080941
PMCID: PMC3851760  PMID: 24324648
18.  Epigenetic therapy with 3-deazaneplanocin A, an inhibitor of the histone methyltransferase EZH2, inhibits growth of non-small cell lung cancer cells 
EZH2 (enhancer of zeste homolog 2) is the catalytic subunit of PRC2 (polycomb repressive complex 2), which mediates histone methyltransferase activity and functions as transcriptional repressor involved in gene silencing. EZH2 is involved in malignant transformation and biological aggressiveness of several human malignancies. We previously demonstrated that non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) also overexpress EZH2 and that high expression of EZH2 correlates with poor prognosis. Growing evidence indicates that EZH2 may be an appropriate therapeutic target in malignancies, including NSCLCs. Recently, an S-adenosyl-L homocysteine hydrolase inhibitor, 3-Deazaneplanocin A (DZNep), has been shown to deplete and inhibit EZH2. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of DZNep in NSCLC cells. Knockdown of EZH2 by small-interfering RNA (siRNA) resulted in decreased growth of four NSCLC cell lines. MTT assays demonstrated that DZNep treatment resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of proliferation in the NSCLC cell lines with a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) ranging from 0.08 to 0.24 μM. Immortalized but non-cancerous bronchial epithelial and fibroblast cell lines were less sensitive to DZNep than the NSCLC cell lines. Soft agarose assays demonstrated that anchorage-independent growth was also reduced in all three NSCLC cell lines that were evaluated using this assay. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that DZNep induced apoptosis and G1 cell cycle arrest in NSCLC cells, which was partially associated with cyclin A decrease and p27Kip1 accumulation. DZNep depleted cellular levels of EZH2 and inhibited the associated histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation. These results indicated that an epigenetic therapy that pharmacologically targets EZH2 via DZNep may constitute a novel approach to treatment of NSCLCs.
doi:10.1016/j.lungcan.2012.08.003
PMCID: PMC3472089  PMID: 22925699
3-deazaneplanocin A (DZNep); polycomb-group protein; EZH2; non-small cell lung cancer; epigenetics; proliferation; apoptosis
19.  Macrolides Inhibit Fusobacterium nucleatum-Induced MUC5AC Production in Human Airway Epithelial Cells 
Fusobacterium nucleatum is one of the most common anaerobic bacteria in periodontitis and is responsible for several extraoral infections, including respiratory tract diseases. In this study, we examined whether F. nucleatum induces mucin secretion in airway epithelial cells. We also examined the effects of macrolides on F. nucleatum-induced mucus production compared with the effects of other antibiotics that exert anti-anaerobic activities. The production of MUC5AC, the major core protein of mucin secreted from the airway surface epithelium, in bronchial epithelial cells after stimulation with culture supernatants (Sup) of F. nucleatum was analyzed by performing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative RT-PCR. The cell-signaling pathway of F. nucleatum Sup stimulation was also analyzed by Western blotting. For inhibition studies, cells were treated with azithromycin, clarithromycin, clindamycin (CLDM), and metronidazole (MTZ). The F. nucleatum Sup induced NCI-H292 cells to express MUC5AC at both the protein level and the mRNA level in both a time- and dose-dependent manner. Macrolides inhibited F. nucleatum Sup-induced MUC5AC production, while CLDM and MTZ were less effective. F. nucleatum Sup induced the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), and this induction was suppressed by macrolides. F. nucleatum Sup-induced MUC5AC production was blocked by the ERK pathway inhibitor U0126. F. nucleatum is likely to contribute to excessive mucin production, which suggests that periodontitis may correlate with the pathogenesis of chronic respiratory tract infection. Macrolides seem to reduce this mucin production and might represent an additional means of therapeutic intervention for F. nucleatum respiratory tract infections other than CLDM and MTZ.
doi:10.1128/AAC.02466-12
PMCID: PMC3623308  PMID: 23380724
20.  Broad and heterogeneous vasculopathy in pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema with pulmonary hypertension 
Respirology Case Reports  2013;1(1):10-13.
A 69-year-old man with progressive dyspnea was referred to our hospital in Oct 2010. The patient was clinically diagnosed with combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE) and pulmonary hypertension (PH). Sildenafil and bosentan were used for the treatment of progressive PH, and dyspnea and pulmonary hemodynamics improved at 3 months follow-up. However, the patient died of respiratory failure 1 year later. Autopsy identified marked intimal and medial thickening of the pulmonary arteries/arterioles, and modest but broad fibrous obstruction of the veins/venules and capillary multiplication. Also, immunohistochemical study showed positive staining for the target proteins of the PH-specific vasodilators, sildenafil and bosentan, on the diseased vessels. The present autopsy report is the first to pathologically document the diseased pulmonary vasculature and how PH-vasodilators can ameliorate pulmonary hemodynamics in a patient with CPFE and PH.
doi:10.1002/rcr2.7
PMCID: PMC4184639  PMID: 25473528
phosphodiesterase 5; endothelin; prostaglandin I2
21.  Paradoxical Interventricular Septal Motion as a Major Determinant of Late Gadolinium Enhancement in Ventricular Insertion Points in Pulmonary Hypertension 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66724.
Background
This study investigated the major clinical determinants of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) at ventricular insertion points (VIPs) commonly seen in patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH).
Methods
Forty-six consecutive PH patients (mean pulmonary artery pressure ≥25 mmHg at rest) and 21 matched controls were examined. Right ventricular (RV) morphology, function and LGE mass volume at VIPs were assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR). Radial motion of the left ventricular (LV) wall and interventricular septum (IVS) was assessed by speckle-tracking echocardiography. Paradoxical IVS motion index was then calculated. Univariate and multivariate regression analysis were conducted to characterize the relationship between LGE volume at VIPs and PH-related clinical indices, including the paradoxical IVS motion index.
Results
Mean pulmonary arterial pressure (MPAP) of PH patients was 38±9 mmHg. LGE at VIPs was observed in 42 of 46 PH patients, and the LGE volume was 2.02 mL (0.47–2.99 mL). Significant correlations with LGE volume at VIPs were observed for MPAP (r = 0.50) and CMR-derived parameters [RV mass index (r = 0.53), RV end-diastolic volume index (r = 0.53), RV ejection fraction (r = −0.56), and paradoxical IVS motion index (r = 0.77)]. In multiple regression analysis, paradoxical IVS motion index alone significantly predicted LGE volume at VIPs (p<0.001).
Conclusions
LGE at VIPs seen in patients with PH appears to reflect altered IVS motion rather than elevated RV pressure or remodeling. Long-term studies would be of benefit to characterize the clinical relevance of LGE at VIPs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066724
PMCID: PMC3691198  PMID: 23826118
22.  Four cases with group 3 out-of-proportion pulmonary hypertension with a favorable response to vasodilators 
Some patients with group 3 pulmonary hypertension (PH) (PH due to lung disease and/or hypoxia) exhibit disproportionately advanced or “out-of-proportion” PH. In the present case series, we document four consecutive patients with progressive out-of-proportion group 3 PH. All patients exhibited progressive dyspnea or peripheral edema and were treated by pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH)-specific vasodilator(s). At the follow-up assessment 3–4 months later, symptoms/signs and pulmonary hemodynamic measurements improved in all four patients (45 ± 8% decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance). Pulmonary oxygenation deteriorated in one patient but improved or did not significantly change in the remaining three cases. Importantly, the background lung parenchymal disease (early-onset chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial pneumonia, and combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema) was stable upon progression of the right heart failure symptoms/signs, and also during the 3–4-month follow-up period in all cases. We herein describe the clinical features of the four cases and discuss the potential benefits and risks of PAH-specific treatment in this emerging population.
doi:10.1016/j.rmcr.2013.03.002
PMCID: PMC3949553  PMID: 26029619
Pulmonary hypertension; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Interstitial pneumonia; Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema; Vasodilator; Sildenafil
23.  A case of sarcoidosis with eosinophilia in peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid 
A 70-year-old woman, who has had a diagnosis of sarcoidosis since she was 38 years old, showed newly appearing diffuse ground-glass opacities in the bilateral lung field, and bilateral enlargement of the hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes. Based on findings from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and pathology analysis, eosinophilic pneumonia accompanied by sarcoidosis was suspected. Both disease conditions (sarcoidosis and BALF eosinophilia) worsened and improved simultaneously, and she showed two similar episodes during the follow-up. This case prompted us to conduct a retrospective investigation of eosinophil percentage in peripheral blood and BALF in 178 patients (excluding our patient) who had received a diagnosis of sarcoidosis between 2000 and 2009 in our department. Among the 178 patients, the highest eosinophil percentage in BALF was 2.6%; in contrast, peripheral blood eosinophilia was very common. Thus we concluded that, for subjects with sarcoidosis, marked eosinophilia in BALF, as observed in the case of this 70-year-old woman, was exceptional.
doi:10.1016/j.rmcr.2013.01.004
PMCID: PMC3920428  PMID: 26029615
Sarcoidosis; Eosinophilia
24.  Characteristics of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients in the pulmonology clinics of seven Asian cities 
Background and objectives
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. We evaluated the characteristics of stable COPD patients in the pulmonology clinics of seven Asian cities and also evaluated whether the exposure to biomass fuels and dusty jobs were related to respiratory symptoms, airflow limitation, and quality of life in the COPD patients.
Methods
This cross-sectional observational study recruited 922 COPD patients from seven cities of Asia. The patients underwent spirometry and were administered questionnaires about their exposure to cigarette smoking, biomass fuels, and dusty jobs in addition to respiratory symptoms and health related quality of life.
Results
Of the patients, there appeared to be variations from city to city in the history of exposure to biomass fuels and dusty jobs and also in respiratory symptoms of cough, phlegm, wheeze, and dyspnea. These symptoms were more frequent in those COPD patients with a history of exposure to biomass fuels than without and those with a history of exposure to dusty jobs than without (P < 0.01 for all comparisons). Airflow limitation was more severe in those COPD patients with a history of exposure to biomass fuels than without (52.2% predicted versus 55.9% of post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1], P = 0.009); quality of life was poorer in those with exposure to biomass fuels than without (40.4 versus 36.2 of the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire [SGRQ] total score, P = 0.001). Airflow limitation was more severe in those COPD patients with a history of exposure to dusty jobs than without (51.2% predicted versus 57.3% of post-bronchodilator FEV1, P < 0.001); quality of life was poorer in those with dusty jobs than without (41.0 versus 34.6 of SGRQ score, P = 0.006).
Conclusion
In Asian cities, the characteristics of COPD patients vary and the history of exposure to biomass fuels or dusty jobs was related to frequency of symptoms, severe airflow limitation, and poor quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3553655  PMID: 23378753
COPD; Asia; biomass; dust
25.  Expression of Bim, Noxa, and Puma in non-small cell lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:286.
Background
The BH3-only members of the Bcl-2 protein family have been proposed to play a key role in the control of apoptosis and in the initiation of the apoptotic pathways. In this study, we evaluated the expression of Bim, Noxa, and Puma in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods
A total of 135 surgically resected NSCLCs were immunohistochemically assessed for Bim, Noxa, and Puma expression. The immunoscores were determined, and then its correlation with either the clinicopathological variables or the survival outcomes were analyzed.
Results
Immunohistochemical reactivity for Bim, Noxa, and Puma was detected in the cytoplasm of the tumor cells. Bim expression was associated with several clinicopathological factors, including sex (p < 0.001), smoking habit (p = 0.03), pathological histology (p = 0.001), pathological T stage (p = 0.03), pathological disease stage (p = 0.02), and differentiation of tumor (p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed a significant correlation between low Bim expression and squamous cell carcinoma (p = 0.04), in addition to a correlation between high Bim expression and well differentiated tumors (p = 0.02). Analysis of cellular biological expression demonstrated a link between low Bim expression and high Ki67. While Noxa expression was also shown to be correlated with both smoking habit (p = 0.02) and the pathological histology (p = 0.03), there was no strong association observed between the expression and the clinical features when they were examined by a multivariate logistic regression analysis. No correlations were noted between Puma expression and any of the variables. Our analyses also indicated that the expression levels of the BH3-only proteins were not pertinent to the survival outcome.
Conclusions
The current analyses demonstrated that Bim expression in the NSCLCs was associated with both squamous cell carcinoma histology and tumor proliferation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-286
PMCID: PMC3438016  PMID: 22788963

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