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1.  Macrophages, Nitric Oxide and microRNAs Are Associated with DNA Damage Response Pathway and Senescence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44156.
Cellular senescence can be a functional barrier to carcinogenesis. We hypothesized that inflammation modulates carcinogenesis through senescence and DNA damage response (DDR). We examined the association between senescence and DDR with macrophage levels in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In vitro experiments tested the ability of macrophages to induce senescence in primary cells. Inflammation modulating microRNAs were identified in senescence colon tissue for further investigation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Quantitative immunohistochemistry identified protein expression by colon cell type. Increased cellular senescence (HP1γ; P = 0.01) or DDR (γH2A.X; P = 0.031, phospho-Chk2, P = 0.014) was associated with high macrophage infiltration in UC. Co-culture with macrophages (ANA-1) induced senescence in >80% of primary cells (fibroblasts MRC5, WI38), illustrating that macrophages induce senescence. Interestingly, macrophage-induced senescence was partly dependent on nitric oxide synthase, and clinically relevant NO• levels alone induced senescence. NO• induced DDR in vitro, as detected by immunofluorescence. In contrast to UC, we noted in Crohn’s disease (CD) that senescence (HP1γ; P<0.001) and DDR (γH2A.X; P<0.05, phospho-Chk2; P<0.001) were higher, and macrophages were not associated with senescence. We hypothesize that nitric oxide may modulate senescence in CD; epithelial cells of CD had higher levels of NOS2 expression than in UC (P = 0.001). Microarrays and quantitative-PCR identified miR-21 expression associated with macrophage infiltration and NOS2 expression.
Senescence was observed in IBD with senescence-associated β-galactosidase and HP1γ. Macrophages were associated with senescence and DDR in UC, and in vitro experiments with primary human cells showed that macrophages induce senescence, partly through NO•, and that NO• can induce DDR associated with senescence. Future experiments will investigate the role of NO• and miR-21 in senescence. This is the first study to implicate macrophages and nitrosative stress in a direct effect on senescence and DDR, which is relevant to many diseases of inflammation, cancer, and aging.
PMCID: PMC3435404  PMID: 22970173
2.  MicroRNA expression and clinical outcomes in patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy after complete resection of non-small cell lung carcinoma 
Cancer research  2010;70(21):8288-8298.
This study determined whether expression levels of a panel of biologically relevant microRNAs can be used as prognostic or predictive biomarkers in patients who participated in the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial (IALT), the largest randomized study conducted to date of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with radically resected non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Expression of miR-21, miR-29b, miR-34a/b/c, miR-155 and let-7a was determined by quantitative real-time PCR in paraffin embedded formalin fixed tumor specimens from 639 IALT patients. Prognostic and predictive value of microRNA expression for survival were studied using a Cox model, which included every factor used in the stratified randomization, clinicopathological prognostic factors and other factors statistically related to microRNA expression. Investigation of the expression pattern of microRNAs in situ was performed. We also analyzed association of TP53 mutation status and miR-34a/b/c expression, EGFR and KRAS mutation status and miR-21 and Let-7a expression, respectively. Finally, association of p16 and miR-29b expression was assessed. Overall, no significant association was found between any of the tested microRNAs and survival, with the exception of miR-21 where a deleterious prognostic effect of lowered expression was suggested. Otherwise, no single or combinatorial microRNA expression profile predicted response to adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Together, our results indicate that the miRNA expression patterns examined were neither predictive nor prognostic in a large patient cohort of radically resected NSCLC randomized to receive adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy versus follow-up only.
PMCID: PMC2970724  PMID: 20978195
non–small cell lung cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; randomized trial; biomarker; drug resistance; microRNA
3.  p53 isoforms, Δ133p53 and p53β, are endogenous regulators of replicative cellular senescence 
Nature cell biology  2009;11(9):1135-1142.
The finite proliferative potential of normal human cells leads to replicative cellular senescence, which is a critical barrier to tumour progression in vivo1–3. We show that human p53 isoforms (Δ133p53 and p53β)4 constitute an endogenous regulatory mechanism for p53-mediated replicative senescence. Induced p53β and diminished Δ133p53 were associated with replicative senescence, but not oncogene-induced senescence, in normal human fibroblasts. The replicatively senescent fibroblasts also expressed increased levels of miR-34a, a p53-induced microRNA5–9, the antisense inhibition of which delayed the onset of replicative senescence. The siRNA-mediated knockdown of endogenous Δ133p53 induced cellular senescence, which was attributed to the regulation of p21WAF1 and other p53 transcriptional target genes. In overexpression experiments, while p53β cooperated with full-length p53 to accelerate cellular senescence, Δ133p53 repressed miR-34a expression and extended cellular replicative lifespan, providing a functional connection of this microRNA to the p53 isoform-mediated regulation of senescence. The senescence-associated signature of p53 isoform expression (i.e., elevated p53β and reduced Δ133p53) was observed in vivo in colon adenomas with senescent phenotypes10, 11. The increased Δ133p53 and decreased p53β isoform expression found in colon carcinoma may signal an escape from the senescence barrier during the progression from adenoma to carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2802853  PMID: 19701195
4.  MicroRNA Expression Profiles Associated With Prognosis and Therapeutic Outcome in Colon Adenocarcinoma 
MicroRNAs have potential as diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in cancer. No study has evaluated the association between microRNA expression patterns and colon cancer prognosis or therapeutic outcome.
To identify microRNA expression patterns associated with colon adenocarcinomas, prognosis, or therapeutic outcome.
Design, Setting, and Patients
MicroRNA microarray expression profiling of tumors and paired nontumorous tissues was performed on a US test cohort of 84 patients with incident colon adenocarcinoma, recruited between 1993 and 2002. We evaluated associations with tumor status, TNM staging, survival prognosis, and response to adjuvant chemotherapy. Associations were validated in a second, independent Chinese cohort of 113 patients recruited between 1991 and 2000, using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays. The final date of follow-up was December 31, 2005, for the Maryland cohort and August 16, 2004, for the Hong Kong cohort.
Main Outcome Measures
MicroRNAs that were differentially expressed in tumors and microRNA expression patterns associated with survival using cancer-specific death as the end point.
Thirty-seven microRNAs were differentially expressed in tumors from the test cohort. Selected for validation were miR-20a, miR-21, miR-106a, miR-181b, and miR-203, and all 5 were enriched in tumors from the validation cohort (P<.001). Higher miR-21 expression was present in adenomas (P = .006) and in tumors with more advanced TNM staging (P<.001). In situ hybridization demonstrated miR-21 to be expressed at high levels in colonic carcinoma cells. The 5-year cancer-specific survival rate was 57.5% for the Maryland cohort and was 49.5% for the Hong Kong cohort. High miR-21 expression was associated with poor survival in both the training (hazard ratio, 2.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-5.2) and validation cohorts (hazard ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-3.9), independent of clinical covariates, including TNM staging, and was associated with a poor therapeutic outcome.
Expression patterns of microRNAs are systematically altered in colon adenocarcinomas. High miR-21 expression is associated with poor survival and poor therapeutic outcome.
PMCID: PMC2614237  PMID: 18230780
5.  Helicobacter hepaticus Infection Promotes Colon Tumorigenesis in the BALB/c-Rag2−/− ApcMin/+ Mouse ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(6):2758-2766.
Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutations are linked to human and mouse colorectal cancers. The Apc multiple intestinal neoplasia (Min) mouse mutation causes adenomas to develop throughout the small and large intestines. The BALB-Min (C.B6-ApcMin/+) congenic strain was generated by backcrossing into BALB/c the ApcMin allele from C57BL/6J-ApcMin/+ mice. BALB-Min mice have a low tumor multiplicity (27.4 small intestine tumors/mouse) and a relatively long life span (>1 year) that makes them amenable to long-term studies. To investigate the interplay of the adaptive immune system and intestinal tumorigenesis, the immunodeficient compound mutant strain BALB-RagMin (C.Cg-Rag2−/− ApcMin/+) was generated. BALB-RagMin mice had a significant increase in tumors in the small, but not large, intestine relative to their BALB-Min counterparts (43.0 versus 24.0 tumors/mouse, respectively). The results suggest that the adaptive immune system plays a role in either the elimination or the equilibrium phase of cancer immunoediting in the small intestine in this model. We investigated the effect of the enterohepatic bacterial pathogen Helicobacter hepaticus on liver and intestine tumorigenesis in BALB-RagMin mice. H. hepaticus-infected BALB-RagMin mice developed moderate hepatitis, moderate typhlitis, and mild colitis. There were no differences in small intestine and cecal tumor multiplicity, regionality, or size relative to that in uninfected mice. However, H. hepaticus-infected BALB-RagMin mice had a significant increase in colon tumor incidence relative to uninfected BALB-RagMin mice (23.5% versus 1.7%, respectively). The data suggest that H. hepaticus, which is present in many research colonies, promotes colon tumorigenesis in the BALB-RagMin mouse and that it has the potential to confound colon tumorigenesis studies.
PMCID: PMC2423080  PMID: 18411292

Results 1-5 (5)