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1.  Downregulation of NDUFB6 due to 9p24.1-p13.3 loss is implicated in metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Cancer Medicine  2014;4(1):112-124.
This study was conducted to clarify the genomic profiles of metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCCs) and identify the genes responsible for development of metastasis. We analyzed the genomic profiles of 20 cases of primary ccRCC and their corresponding metastases using array-based comparative genomic hybridization, and identified 32 chromosomal regions in which gene copy number alterations were detected more frequently in metastases than in the primary tumors. Among these 32 regions, 9p24.1-p13.3 loss was the most statistically significant alteration. Furthermore, we found that patients with 9p24.1-p13.3 loss in primary tumors exhibited significantly lower rates of recurrence-free and cancer-specific survival, suggesting that 9p loss in the primary tumor is a potential biomarker predicting early recurrence of metastasis. Interestingly, the genomic profiles of primary tumors with 9p loss resembled those of their corresponding metastases, though 9p loss was accumulated in the metastases derived from the primary tumors without 9p loss. Comparison of the mRNA expression levels revealed that 2 of 58 genes located at 9p24.1-p13.3 were downregulated due to gene copy number loss in ccRCCs. An overexpression study of these two genes in ccRCC cell lines revealed that downregulation of NDUFB6 due to loss at 9p24.1-p13.3 may confer a growth advantage on metastatic ccRCC cells. These results were confirmed by analyzing the data of 405 cases of ccRCC obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). On the basis of our present data, we propose that NDUFB6 is a possible tumor suppressor of metastatic ccRCCs.
doi:10.1002/cam4.351
PMCID: PMC4312125  PMID: 25315157
9p; array CGH; kidney cancer; metastasis; NDUFB6
2.  SegAnnDB: interactive Web-based genomic segmentation 
Bioinformatics  2014;30(11):1539-1546.
Motivation: DNA copy number profiles characterize regions of chromosome gains, losses and breakpoints in tumor genomes. Although many models have been proposed to detect these alterations, it is not clear which model is appropriate before visual inspection the signal, noise and models for a particular profile.
Results: We propose SegAnnDB, a Web-based computer vision system for genomic segmentation: first, visually inspect the profiles and manually annotate altered regions, then SegAnnDB determines the precise alteration locations using a mathematical model of the data and annotations. SegAnnDB facilitates collaboration between biologists and bioinformaticians, and uses the University of California, Santa Cruz genome browser to visualize copy number alterations alongside known genes.
Availability and implementation: The breakpoints project on INRIA GForge hosts the source code, an Amazon Machine Image can be launched and a demonstration Web site is http://bioviz.rocq.inria.fr.
Contact: toby@sg.cs.titech.ac.jp
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btu072
PMCID: PMC4029035  PMID: 24493034
3.  Clinical Significance of sIL-2R Levels in B-Cell Lymphomas 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78730.
Elevated soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R) in sera is observed in patients with malignant lymphoma (ML). Therefore, sIL-2R is commonly used as a diagnostic and prognostic marker for ML, but the mechanisms responsible for the increase in sIL-2R levels in patients with B-cell lymphomas have not yet been elucidated. We first hypothesized that lymphoma cells expressing IL-2R and some proteinases such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the tumor microenvironment can give rise to increased sIL-2R in sera. However, flow cytometric studies revealed that few lymphoma cells expressed IL-2R α chain (CD25) in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and follicular lymphoma (FL), and most CD25-expressing cells in the tumor were T-cells. Distinct correlations between CD25 expression on B-lymphoma cells and sIL-2R levels were not observed. We then confirmed that MMP-9 plays an important role in producing sIL-2R in functional studies. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis also revealed that MMP-9 is mainly derived from tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). We therefore evaluated the number of CD68 and CD163 positive macrophages in the tumor microenvironment using IHC analysis. A positive correlation between the levels of sIL-2R in sera and the numbers of CD68 positive macrophages in the tumor microenvironment was confirmed in FL and extranodal DLBCL. These results may be useful in understanding the pathophysiology of B-cell lymphomas.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078730
PMCID: PMC3827264  PMID: 24236041
4.  Functionally Deregulated AML1/RUNX1 Cooperates with BCR-ABL to Induce a Blastic Phase-Like Phenotype of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74864.
Patients in the chronic phase (CP) of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) have been treated successfully following the advent of ABL kinase inhibitors, but once they progress to the blast crisis (BC) phase the prognosis becomes dismal. Although mechanisms underlying the progression are largely unknown, recent studies revealed the presence of alterations of key molecules for hematopoiesis, such as AML1/RUNX1. Our analysis of 13 BC cases revealed that three cases had AML1 mutations and the transcript levels of wild-type (wt.) AML1 were elevated in BC compared with CP. Functional analysis of representative AML1 mutants using mouse hematopoietic cells revealed the possible contribution of some, but not all, mutants for the BC-phenotype. Specifically, K83Q and R139G, but neither R80C nor D171N mutants, conferred upon BCR-ABL-expressing cells a growth advantage over BCR-ABL-alone control cells in cytokine-free culture, and the cells thus grown killed mice upon intravenous transfer. Unexpectedly, wt.AML1 behaved similarly to K83Q and R139G mutants. In a bone marrow transplantation assay, K83Q and wt.AML1s induced the emergence of blast-like cells. The overall findings suggest the roles of altered functions of AML1 imposed by some, but not all, mutants, and the elevated expression of wt.AML1 for the disease progression of CML.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074864
PMCID: PMC3787010  PMID: 24098673
5.  Genomic Profiling of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma by Array-Based Comparative Genomic Hybridization 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56165.
We designed a study to investigate genetic relationships between primary tumors of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and their lymph node metastases, and to identify genomic copy number aberrations (CNAs) related to lymph node metastasis. For this purpose, we collected a total of 42 tumor samples from 25 patients and analyzed their genomic profiles by array-based comparative genomic hybridization. We then compared the genetic profiles of metastatic primary tumors (MPTs) with their paired lymph node metastases (LNMs), and also those of LNMs with non-metastatic primary tumors (NMPTs). Firstly, we found that although there were some distinctive differences in the patterns of genomic profiles between MPTs and their paired LNMs, the paired samples shared similar genomic aberration patterns in each case. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis grouped together 12 of the 15 MPT-LNM pairs. Furthermore, similarity scores between paired samples were significantly higher than those between non-paired samples. These results suggested that MPTs and their paired LNMs are composed predominantly of genetically clonal tumor cells, while minor populations with different CNAs may also exist in metastatic OSCCs. Secondly, to identify CNAs related to lymph node metastasis, we compared CNAs between grouped samples of MPTs and LNMs, but were unable to find any CNAs that were more common in LNMs. Finally, we hypothesized that subpopulations carrying metastasis-related CNAs might be present in both the MPT and LNM. Accordingly, we compared CNAs between NMPTs and LNMs, and found that gains of 7p, 8q and 17q were more common in the latter than in the former, suggesting that these CNAs may be involved in lymph node metastasis of OSCC. In conclusion, our data suggest that in OSCCs showing metastasis, the primary and metastatic tumors share similar genomic profiles, and that cells in the primary tumor may tend to metastasize after acquiring metastasis-associated CNAs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056165
PMCID: PMC3573022  PMID: 23457519
6.  Identification of multiple subclones in peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified with genomic aberrations 
Cancer Medicine  2012;1(3):289-294.
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (PTCL, NOS) with genomic aberrations has been shown to resemble lymphoma-type adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) in terms of its genomic aberration patterns, histopathology, and prognosis. We have shown recently that a majority of patients with acute-type ATLL have multiple subclones that were likely produced in lymph nodes. In this study, we analyzed whether PTCL, NOS with genomic aberrations also has multiple subclones as found in ATLL by means of high-resolution oligo-array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). Thirteen cases of PTCL, NOS were available for 44K high-resolution array CGH analysis. The results showed that 11 (84.6%) of the 13 cases had a log2 ratio imbalance, suggesting that multiple subclones exist in PTCL, NOS with genomic aberrations. In order to analyze the association between multiple subclones and prognosis, we used previous bacterial-artificial chromosome (BAC) array analyses for 29 cases and found that the existence of multiple subclones was associated with a poor prognosis (P = 0.0279).
doi:10.1002/cam4.34
PMCID: PMC3544466  PMID: 23342278
Multiple subclones, not otherwise specified; oligo-array comparative genomic hybridization; peripheral T-cell lymphoma
7.  Mutation analysis of NF-κB signal pathway-related genes in ocular MALT lymphoma 
Constitutive nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation has been reported in ocular adnexal lymphoma (OAL). TNFAIP3/A20 is a “global” inhibitor of NF-κB pathway. We have shown that OAL has preferential loss of the 6q23.3 region where TNFAIP3/A20 exist, which is suggested to involve in lymphomagenesis of OAL. The mechanisms causing NF-κB activity in OAL remain elusive. Recently, NF-κB canonical pathway genes including CARD11, CD79B and MYD88 were shown to be frequently mutated in diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. In this study, we analyzed the mutation status of these genes by direct sequencing in 24 OAL cases including 9 cases with loss of 6q23.3 previously identified by array comparative genomic hybridization. We showed that genetic alterations of these genes were not found in OAL, a finding differing from that of most B-cell lymphomas. Genetic or epigenetic alterations in other genes are likely to be relevant in pathogenesis of OAL case without A20 loss.
PMCID: PMC3396059  PMID: 22808296
Ocular adnexal lymphoma; TNFAIP3 (A20) deletion; NF-κB related gene mutation
8.  Downregulation of SAV1 plays a role in pathogenesis of high-grade clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:523.
Background
Clinical outcome of patients with high-grade ccRCC (clear cell renal cell carcinoma) remains still poor despite recent advances in treatment strategies. Molecular mechanism of pathogenesis in developing high-grade ccRCC must be clarified. In the present study, we found that SAV1 was significantly downregulated with copy number loss in high-grade ccRCCs. Therefore, we investigated the SAV1 function on cell proliferation and apoptosis in vitro. Furthermore, we attempted to clarify the downstream signaling which is regulated by SAV1.
Methods
We performed array CGH and gene expression analysis of 8 RCC cell lines (786-O, 769-P, KMRC-1, KMRC-2, KMRC-3, KMRC-20, TUHR4TKB, and Caki-2), and expression level of mRNA was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis. We next re-expressed SAV1 in 786-O cells, and analyzed its colony-forming activity. Then, we transfected siRNAs of SAV1 into the kidney epithelial cell line HK2 and renal proximal tubule epithelial cells (RPTECs), and analyzed their proliferation and apoptosis. Furthermore, the activity of YAP1, which is a downstream molecule of SAV1, was evaluated by western blot analysis, reporter assay and immunohistochemical analysis.
Results
We found that SAV1, a component of the Hippo pathway, is frequently downregulated in high-grade ccRCC. SAV1 is located on chromosome 14q22.1, where copy number loss had been observed in 7 of 12 high-grade ccRCCs in our previous study, suggesting that gene copy number loss is responsible for the downregulation of SAV1. Colony-forming activity by 786-O cells, which show homozygous loss of SAV1, was significantly reduced when SAV1 was re-introduced exogenously. Knockdown of SAV1 promoted proliferation of HK2 and RPTEC. Although the phosphorylation level of YAP1 was low in 786-O cells, it was elevated in SAV1-transduced 786-O cells. Furthermore, the transcriptional activity of the YAP1 and TEAD3 complex was inhibited in SAV1-transduced 786-O cells. Immunohistochemistry frequently demonstrated nuclear localization of YAP1 in ccRCC cases with SAV1 downregulation, and it was preferentially detected in high-grade ccRCC.
Conclusions
Taken together, downregulation of SAV1 and the consequent YAP1 activation are involved in the pathogenesis of high-grade ccRCC. It is an attractive hypothesis that Hippo signaling could be candidates for new therapeutic target.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-523
PMCID: PMC3292516  PMID: 22185343
Clear cell renal cell carcinoma; SAV1; Hippo pathway
9.  Genomic Profiling of Submucosal-Invasive Gastric Cancer by Array-Based Comparative Genomic Hybridization 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22313.
Genomic copy number aberrations (CNAs) in gastric cancer have already been extensively characterized by array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) analysis. However, involvement of genomic CNAs in the process of submucosal invasion and lymph node metastasis in early gastric cancer is still poorly understood. In this study, to address this issue, we collected a total of 59 tumor samples from 27 patients with submucosal-invasive gastric cancers (SMGC), analyzed their genomic profiles by array CGH, and compared them between paired samples of mucosal (MU) and submucosal (SM) invasion (23 pairs), and SM invasion and lymph node (LN) metastasis (9 pairs). Initially, we hypothesized that acquisition of specific CNA(s) is important for these processes. However, we observed no significant difference in the number of genomic CNAs between paired MU and SM, and between paired SM and LN. Furthermore, we were unable to find any CNAs specifically associated with SM invasion or LN metastasis. Among the 23 cases analyzed, 15 had some similar pattern of genomic profiling between SM and MU. Interestingly, 13 of the 15 cases also showed some differences in genomic profiles. These results suggest that the majority of SMGCs are composed of heterogeneous subpopulations derived from the same clonal origin. Comparison of genomic CNAs between SMGCs with and without LN metastasis revealed that gain of 11q13, 11q14, 11q22, 14q32 and amplification of 17q21 were more frequent in metastatic SMGCs, suggesting that these CNAs are related to LN metastasis of early gastric cancer. In conclusion, our data suggest that generation of genetically distinct subclones, rather than acquisition of specific CNA at MU, is integral to the process of submucosal invasion, and that subclones that acquire gain of 11q13, 11q14, 11q22, 14q32 or amplification of 17q21 are likely to become metastatic.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022313
PMCID: PMC3141024  PMID: 21811585
10.  Isoform-Specific Potentiation of Stem and Progenitor Cell Engraftment by AML1/RUNX1  
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(5):e172.
Background
AML1/RUNX1 is the most frequently mutated gene in leukaemia and is central to the normal biology of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. However, the role of different AML1 isoforms within these primitive compartments is unclear. Here we investigate whether altering relative expression of AML1 isoforms impacts the balance between cell self-renewal and differentiation in vitro and in vivo.
Methods and Findings
The human AML1a isoform encodes a truncated molecule with DNA-binding but no transactivation capacity. We used a retrovirus-based approach to transduce AML1a into primitive haematopoietic cells isolated from the mouse. We observed that enforced AML1a expression increased the competitive engraftment potential of murine long-term reconstituting stem cells with the proportion of AML1a-expressing cells increasing over time in both primary and secondary recipients. Furthermore, AML1a expression dramatically increased primitive and committed progenitor activity in engrafted animals as assessed by long-term culture, cobblestone formation, and colony assays. In contrast, expression of the full-length isoform AML1b abrogated engraftment potential. In vitro, AML1b promoted differentiation while AML1a promoted proliferation of progenitors capable of short-term lymphomyeloid engraftment. Consistent with these findings, the relative abundance of AML1a was highest in the primitive stem/progenitor compartment of human cord blood, and forced expression of AML1a in these cells enhanced maintenance of primitive potential both in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusions
These data demonstrate that the “a” isoform of AML1 has the capacity to potentiate stem and progenitor cell engraftment, both of which are required for successful clinical transplantation. This activity is consistent with its expression pattern in both normal and leukaemic cells. Manipulating the balance of AML1 isoform expression may offer novel therapeutic strategies, exploitable in the contexts of leukaemia and also in cord blood transplantation in adults, in whom stem and progenitor cell numbers are often limiting.
The truncated "a" isoform of AML1 is shown to have the capacity to potentiate stem and progenitor cell engraftment, both of which are required for successful clinical transplantation.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Blood contains red blood cells (which carry oxygen round the body), platelets (which help the blood to clot), and white blood cells (which fight off infections). All these cells, which are regularly replaced, are derived from hematopoietic stem cells, blood-forming cells present in the bone marrow. Like all stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells self-renew (reproduce themselves) and produce committed progenitor cells, which develop into mature blood cells in a process called hematopoiesis. Many proteins control hematopoiesis, some of which are called transcription factors; these factors bind to DNA through their DNA-binding domain and then control the expression of genes (that is, how DNA is turned into proteins) through particular parts of the protein (their transcription regulatory domains). An important hematopoietic transcription factor is AML1—a protein first identified because of its involvement in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML, a form of blood cancer). Mutations (changes) in the AML1 gene are now known to be present in other types of leukemia, which are often characterized by overproliferation of immature blood cells.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because of AML1′s crucial role in hematopoiesis, knowing more about which genes it regulates and how its activity is regulated could provide clues to treating leukemia and to improving hematopoietic cell transplantation. Many cancer treatments destroy hematopoietic stem cells, leaving patients vulnerable to infection. Transplants of bone marrow or cord blood (the cord that links mother and baby during pregnancy contains peripheral blood stem cells) can replace the missing cells, but cord blood in particular often contains insufficient stem cells for successful transplantation. It would be useful, therefore, to expand the stem cell content of these tissues before transplantation. In this study, the researchers investigated the effect of AML1 on self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in the laboratory (in vitro) and in animals (in vivo). In particular, they have asked how two isoforms (closely related versions) of AML1 affect the ability of these cells to grow and differentiate (engraft) in mice after transplantation.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers artificially expressed AML1a and AML1b (both isoforms contain a DNA binding domain, but only AML1b has transcription regulatory domains) in mouse hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and then tested the cells' ability to engraft in mice. AML1a-expressing cells engrafted better than unaltered cells and outgrew unaltered cells when transplanted as a mixture. AML1b-expressing cells, however, did not engraft. In vitro, AML1a-expressing cells grew more than AML1b-expressing cells, whereas differentiation was promoted in AML1b-expressing cells. To investigate whether the isoforms have the same effects in human cells, the researchers measured the amount of AML1a and AML1b mRNA (the template for protein production) made by progenitor cells in human cord blood. Although AML1b (together with AML1c, an isoform with similar characteristics) mRNA predominated in all the progenitor cell types, the relative abundance of AML1a was greatest in the stem and progenitor cells. Furthermore, forced expression of AML1a in these cells improved their ability to divide in vitro and to engraft in mice.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that AML1a expression increases the self-renewal capacity of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and consequently improves their ability to engraft in mice, whereas AML1b expression encourages the differentiation of these cell types. These activities are consistent with the expression patterns of the two isoforms in normal hematopoietic cells and in leukemic cells—the mutated AML made by many leukemic cells resembles AML1a. Because the AML1 isoforms were expressed at higher than normal levels in these experiments, the physiological relevance of these findings needs to be confirmed by showing that normal levels of AML1a and AML1b produce similar results. Nevertheless, these results suggest that manipulating the balance of AML1 isoforms made by hematopoietic cells might be useful clinically. In leukemia, a shift toward AML1b expression might slow the proliferation of leukemic cells and encourage their differentiation. Conversely, in cord blood transplantation, a shift toward AML1a expression might improve patient outcomes by expanding the stem and progenitor cell populations.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040172.
Wikipedia has pages on hematopoiesis and hematopoietic stem cells (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The US National Cancer Institute has a fact sheet on bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (in English and Spanish) and information for patients and professionals on leukemia (in English)
The American Society of Hematology provides patient information about blood diseases, including information on bone marrow and stem cell transplantation
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040172
PMCID: PMC1868041  PMID: 17503961

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