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1.  Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the Role of MicroRNAs in the Chemoresistance of Pancreatic Cancer 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:678401.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an extremely severe disease where the mortality and incidence rates are almost identical. This is mainly due to late diagnosis and limited response to current treatments. The tumor macroenvironment/microenvironment have been frequently reported as the major contributors to chemoresistance in PDAC, preventing the drugs from reaching their intended site of action (i.e., the malignant duct cells). However, the recent discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) has provided new directions for research on mechanisms underlying response to chemotherapy. Due to their tissue-/disease-specific expression and high stability in tissues and biofluids, miRNAs represent new promising diagnostic and prognostic/predictive biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Furthermore, several studies have documented that selected miRNAs, such as miR-21 and miR-34a, may influence response to chemotherapy in several tumor types, including PDAC. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the role of miRNAs in PDAC and recent advances in understanding their role in chemoresistance through multiple molecular mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4163377  PMID: 25250326
2.  Loss of 18q22.3 involving the carboxypeptidase of glutamate-like gene is associated with poor prognosis in resected pancreatic cancer 
Clinical Cancer Research  2011;18(2):524-533.
Pancreatic cancer is the 4th-leading cause of cancer-related death, and studies on the clinical relevance of its genomic imbalances are warranted.
Experimental Design
Recurrent copy number alterations of cytobands and genes were analyzed by array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) in 44 resected pancreatic cancer specimens. Prognostic markers identified by aCGH were validated by PCR gene copy number assay in an independent validation cohort of 61 resected pancreatic cancers. The functions of gene identified were evaluated by proliferation, cell cycle and migration assays in pancreatic cancer cells.
We demonstrated recurrent copy number gains and losses in the first cohort. Loss of 18q22.3 was significantly associated with short-term overall survival in the first cohort (p=0.019). This cytoband includes the Carboxypeptidase of glutamate-like (CPGL) gene. CPGL gene deletion was associated with shorter overall survival in the validation cohort (p=0.003). CPGL deletion and mutations of TP53 or Kras appear to be independent events. A Cox model analysis of the two cohorts combined showed that loss of 18q22.3/deletion of the CPGL gene was an independent poor prognostic factor for overall survival (hazard ratio=2.72, p=0.0007). Reconstitution of CPGL or its splicing-variant CPGL-B into CPGL-negative pancreatic cancer cells attenuated cell growth, migration, and induced G1-accumulation.
Loss of 18q22.3/deletion of the CPGL gene is a poor prognostic marker in resected pancreatic cancer, and functional studies suggest the CPGL gene as growth suppressor gene in pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC3261299  PMID: 22128300
Pancreatic cancer; Comparative genomics; CPGL protein; human; Prognosis; Growth suppressor
3.  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
4.  MicroRNA Expression and Clinical Outcome of Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21300.
The role of microRNAs in small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is largely unknown. miR-34a is known as a p53 regulated tumor suppressor microRNA in many cancer types. However, its therapeutic implication has never been studied in SCLC, a cancer type with frequent dysfunction of p53. We investigated the expression of a panel of 7 microRNAs (miR-21, miR-29b, miR-34a/b/c, miR-155, and let-7a) in 31 SCLC tumors, 14 SCLC cell lines, and 26 NSCLC cell lines. We observed significantly lower miR-21, miR-29b, and miR-34a expression in SCLC cell lines than in NSCLC cell lines. The expression of the 7 microRNAs was unrelated to SCLC patients' clinical characteristics and was neither prognostic in term of overall survival or progression-free survival nor predictive of treatment response. Overexpression or downregulation of miR-34a did not influence SCLC cell viability. The expression of these 7 microRNAs also did not predict in vitro sensitivity to cisplatin or etoposide in SCLC cell lines. Overexpression or downregulation of miR-34a did not influence sensitivity to cisplatin or etoposide in SCLC cell lines. In contrast to downregulation of the miR-34a target genes cMET and Axl by overexpression of miR-34a in NSCLC cell lines, the intrinsic expression of cMET and Axl was low in SCLC cell lines and was not influenced by overexpression of miR-34a. Our results suggest that the expression of the 7 selected microRNAs are not prognostic in SCLC patients, and miR-34a is unrelated to the malignant behavior of SCLC cells and is unlikely to be a therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3120860  PMID: 21731696
5.  Identification of MicroRNA-21 as a Biomarker for Chemoresistance and Clinical Outcome Following Adjuvant Therapy in Resectable Pancreatic Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10630.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a dismal prognosis. The high risk of recurrence following surgical resection provides the rationale for adjuvant therapy. However, only a subset of patients benefit from adjuvant therapy. Identification of molecular markers to predict treatment outcome is therefore warranted. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether expression of novel candidate biomarkers, including microRNAs, can predict clinical outcome in PDAC patients treated with adjuvant therapy.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded specimens from a cohort of 82 resected Korean PDAC cases were analyzed for protein expression by immunohistochemistry and for microRNA expression using quantitative Real-Time PCR. Cox proportional hazards model analysis in the subgroup of patients treated with adjuvant therapy (N = 52) showed that lower than median miR-21 expression was associated with a significantly lower hazard ratio (HR) for death (HR = 0.316; 95%CI = 0.166–0.600; P = 0.0004) and recurrence (HR = 0.521; 95%CI = 0.280–0.967; P = 0.04). MiR-21 expression status emerged as the single most predictive biomarker for treatment outcome among all 27 biological and 9 clinicopathological factors evaluated. No significant association was detected in patients not treated with adjuvant therapy. In an independent validation cohort of 45 frozen PDAC tissues from Italian cases, all treated with adjuvant therapy, lower than median miR-21 expression was confirmed to be correlated with longer overall as well as disease-free survival. Furthermore, transfection with anti-miR-21 enhanced the chemosensitivity of PDAC cells.
Conclusions Significance
Low miR-21 expression was associated with benefit from adjuvant treatment in two independent cohorts of PDAC cases, and anti-miR-21 increased anticancer drug activity in vitro. These data provide evidence that miR-21 may allow stratification for adjuvant therapy, and represents a new potential target for therapy in PDAC.
PMCID: PMC2871055  PMID: 20498843
6.  Prediction of outcome of non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with chemotherapy and bortezomib by time-course MALDI-TOF-MS serum peptide profiling 
Proteome Science  2009;7:34.
Only a minority of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) benefit from chemotherapy. Serum peptide profiling of NSCLC patients was performed to investigate patterns associated with treatment outcome.
Using magnetic bead-assisted serum peptide capture coupled to matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), serum peptide mass profiles of 27 NSCLC patients treated with cisplatin-gemcitabine chemotherapy and bortezomib were obtained. Support vector machine-based algorithms to predict clinical outcome were established based on differential pre-treatment peptide profiles and dynamic changes in peptide abundance during treatment.
A 6-peptide ion signature distinguished with 82% accuracy, sensitivity and specificity patients with a relatively short vs. long progression-free survival (PFS) upon treatment. Prediction of long PFS was associated with longer overall survival. Inclusion of 7 peptide ions showing differential changes in abundance during treatment led to a 13-peptide ion signature with 86% accuracy at 100% sensitivity and 73% specificity. A 5-peptide ion signature could separate patients with a partial response vs. non-responders with 89% accuracy at 100% sensitivity and 83% specificity. Differential peptide profiles were also found when comparing the NSCLC serum profiles to those from cancer-free control subjects.
This study shows that serum peptidome profiling using MALDI-TOF-MS coupled to pattern diagnostics may aid in prediction of treatment outcome of advanced NSCLC patients treated with chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2746186  PMID: 19728888

Results 1-6 (6)