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1.  Tumor slice culture system to assess drug response of primary breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2016;16:78.
The high incidence of breast cancer has sparked the development of novel targeted and personalized therapies. Personalization of cancer treatment requires reliable prediction of chemotherapy responses in individual patients. Effective selection can prevent unnecessary treatment that would mainly result in the unwanted side effects of the therapy. This selection can be facilitated by characterization of individual tumors using robust and specific functional assays, which requires development of powerful ex vivo culture systems and procedures to analyze the response to treatment.
We optimized culture methods for primary breast tumor samples that allowed propagation of tissue ex vivo. We combined several tissue culture strategies, including defined tissue slicing technology, growth medium optimization and use of a rotating platform to increase nutrient exchange.
We could maintain tissue cultures for at least 7 days without losing tissue morphology, viability or cell proliferation. We also developed methods to determine the cytotoxic response of individual tumors to the chemotherapeutic treatment FAC (5-FU, Adriamycin [Doxorubicin] and Cyclophosphamide). Using this tool we designated tumors as sensitive or resistant and distinguished a clinically proven resistant tumor from other tumors.
This method defines conditions that allow ex vivo testing of individual tumor responses to anti-cancer drugs and therefore might improve personalization of breast cancer treatment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2119-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4748539  PMID: 26860465
Breast cancer; Organotypic tumor tissue slices; Tissue culture method; FAC chemotherapy; Ex vivo sensitivity
2.  Mesenchymal tumours of the mediastinum—part I 
Virchows Archiv  2015;467:487-500.
The mediastinum is an anatomically defined space in which organs and major blood vessels reside with surrounding soft tissue elements. The thymus is an important organ in the mediastinum, and many of the masses encountered in the mediastinum are related to this organ. Most neoplasms diagnosed in the mediastinum are epithelial tumours (thymomas and thymic carcinomas), lymphomas or germ cell tumours. In contrast, soft tissue tumours of the mediastinum are rare. In 1963, Pachter and Lattes systematically reviewed soft tissue pathology of the mediastinum, covering the hitherto described [2, 226, 227] In this review, based on the 2013 WHO classification of soft tissue tumours and the 2015 WHO classification of tumours of the lung, pleura, thymus and heart, we provide an updated overview of mesenchymal tumours that may be encountered in the mediastinum.
PMCID: PMC4656709  PMID: 26358059
Mediastinum; Mesenchymal tumours; Soft tissue tumours
3.  Mesenchymal tumours of the mediastinum—part II 
Virchows Archiv  2015;467:501-517.
This is the second part of a two-part review on soft tissue tumours which may be encountered in the mediastinum. This review is based on the 2013 WHO classification of soft tissue tumours and the 2015 WHO classification of tumours of the lung, pleura, thymus and heart and provides an updated overview of mesenchymal tumours that have been reported in the mediastinum.
PMCID: PMC4656710  PMID: 26358060
Mediastinum; Mesenchymal tumours; Soft tissue tumours
4.  Time Trends in the Incidence and Treatment of Extra-Abdominal and Abdominal Aggressive Fibromatosis: A Population-Based Study 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2015;22(9):2817-2823.
Aggressive fibromatosis (AF) is a locally infiltrating soft-tissue tumor. In a population-based study in the Netherlands, we evaluated time trends for the incidence and treatment of AF.
In PALGA: Dutch Pathology Registry, all patients diagnosed between 1993 and 2013 as having extra-abdominal or abdominal wall aggressive fibromatosis were identified and available pathology data of the patients were evaluated. Epidemiological and treatment-related factors were analyzed with χ2and regression analysis.
During the study period, 1134 patients were identified. The incidence increased from 2.10 to 5.36 per million people per year. Median age at the time of diagnosis increased annually by B 0.285 (P = 0.001). Female gender prevailed and increased over time [annual odds ratio (OR) 1.022; P = 0.058]. All anatomic localizations, but in particular truncal tumors, became more frequent. During the study period diagnostic histological biopsies were performed more often (annual OR 1.096; P < 0.001). The proportion of patients who underwent surgical treatment decreased (annual OR 0.928; P < 0.001). When resection was preceded by biopsy, 49.8 % of the patients had R0-resection versus 30.7 % in patients without biopsy (P < 0.001).
In this population-based study, an increasing incidence of extra-abdominal and abdominal-wall aggressive fibromatosis was observed. The workup of patients improved and a trend towards a nonsurgical treatment policy was observed.
PMCID: PMC4531142  PMID: 26045393
5.  Consequences of Noncompliance for Therapy Efficacy and Emergence of Resistance in Murine Tuberculosis Caused by the Beijing Genotype of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Despite great effort by health organizations worldwide in fighting tuberculosis (TB), morbidity and mortality are not declining as expected. One of the reasons is related to the evolutionary development of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, in particular the Beijing genotype strains. In a previous study, we showed the association between the Beijing genotype and an increased mutation frequency for rifampin resistance. In this study, we use a Beijing genotype strain and an East-African/Indian genotype strain to investigate with our mouse TB model whether the higher mutation frequency observed in a Beijing genotype strain is associated with treatment failure particularly during noncompliance therapy. Both genotype strains showed high virulence in comparison to that of M. tuberculosis strain H37Rv, resulting in a highly progressive infection with a rapid lethal outcome in untreated mice. Compliance treatment was effective without relapse of TB irrespective of the infecting strain, showing similar decreases in the mycobacterial load in infected organs and similar histopathological changes. Noncompliance treatment, simulated by a reduced duration and dosing frequency, resulted in a relapse of infection. Relapse rates were correlated with the level of noncompliance and were identical for Beijing infection and East African/Indian infection. However, only in Beijing-infected mice, isoniazid-resistant mutants were selected at the highest level of noncompliance. This is in line with the substantial selection of isoniazid-resistant mutants in vitro in a wide isoniazid concentration window observed for the Beijing strain and not for the EAI strain. These results suggest that genotype diversity of M. tuberculosis may be involved in emergence of resistance and indicates that genotype-tailor-made treatment should be investigated.
PMCID: PMC3421871  PMID: 22802244
6.  SDHB immunohistochemistry: a useful tool in the diagnosis of Carney–Stratakis and Carney triad gastrointestinal stromal tumors 
Mutations in the tumor suppressor genes SDHB, SDHC, and SDHD (or collectively SDHx) cause the inherited paraganglioma syndromes, characterized by pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. However, other tumors have been associated with SDHx mutations, such as gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) specifically in the context of Carney–Stratakis syndrome. Previously, we have shown that SDHB immunohistochemistry is a reliable technique for the identification of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas caused by SDHx mutations. We hypothesized that GISTs in patients with SDHx mutations would be negative immunohistochemically for SDHB as well. Four GISTs from patients with Carney–Stratakis syndrome and six from patients with Carney triad were investigated by SDHB immunohistochemistry. Five GISTs with KIT or PDGFRA gene mutations were used as controls. In addition, SDHB immunohistochemistry was performed on 42 apparently sporadic GISTs. In cases in which the SDHB immunohistochemistry was negative, mutational analysis of SDHB, SDHC, and SDHD was performed. All GISTs from patients with Carney–Stratakis syndrome and Carney triad were negative for SDHB immunohistochemically. In one patient with Carney–Stratakis syndrome, a germline SDHB mutation was found (p.Ser92Thr). The five GISTs with a KIT or PDGFRA gene mutation were all immunohistochemically positive for SDHB. Of the 42 sporadic tumors, one GIST was SDHB-negative. Mutational analysis of this tumor did not reveal an SDHx mutation. All SDHB-negative GISTs were located in the stomach, had an epithelioid morphology, and had no KIT or PDGFRA mutations. We show that Carney–Stratakis syndrome- and Carney-triad-associated GISTs are negative by immunohistochemistry for SDHB in contrast to KIT- or PDGFRA-mutated GISTs and a majority of sporadic GISTs. We suggest that GISTs of epithelioid cell morphology are tested for SDHB immunohistochemically. In case of negative SDHB staining in GISTs, Carney–Stratakis syndrome or Carney triad should be considered and appropriate clinical surveillance should be instituted.
PMCID: PMC3415983  PMID: 20890271
Carney–Stratakis syndrome; Carney triad; gastrointestinal stromal tumor; immunohistochemistry; SDHB
7.  Semi-automatic identification of punching areas for tissue microarray building: the tubular breast cancer pilot study 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:566.
Tissue MicroArray technology aims to perform immunohistochemical staining on hundreds of different tissue samples simultaneously. It allows faster analysis, considerably reducing costs incurred in staining. A time consuming phase of the methodology is the selection of tissue areas within paraffin blocks: no utilities have been developed for the identification of areas to be punched from the donor block and assembled in the recipient block.
The presented work supports, in the specific case of a primary subtype of breast cancer (tubular breast cancer), the semi-automatic discrimination and localization between normal and pathological regions within the tissues. The diagnosis is performed by analysing specific morphological features of the sample such as the absence of a double layer of cells around the lumen and the decay of a regular glands-and-lobules structure. These features are analysed using an algorithm which performs the extraction of morphological parameters from images and compares them to experimentally validated threshold values. Results are satisfactory since in most of the cases the automatic diagnosis matches the response of the pathologists. In particular, on a total of 1296 sub-images showing normal and pathological areas of breast specimens, algorithm accuracy, sensitivity and specificity are respectively 89%, 84% and 94%.
The proposed work is a first attempt to demonstrate that automation in the Tissue MicroArray field is feasible and it can represent an important tool for scientists to cope with this high-throughput technique.
PMCID: PMC2996409  PMID: 21087464
8.  Radiotherapy for Soft Tissue Sarcomas after Isolated Limb Perfusion and Surgical Resection: Essential for Local Control in All Patients? 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2010;18(2):321-327.
Standard treatment for localized soft tissue sarcoma (STS) is resection plus adjuvant radiotherapy (RTx). In approximately 10% of cases, resection would cause severe loss of function or even require amputation because of the extent of disease. Isolated limb perfusion (ILP) with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and melphalan can achieve regression of the tumor, facilitating limb-saving resection. RTx improves local control but may lead to increased morbidity.
In our database of over 500 ILPs, 122 patients with unifocal STS were treated by ILP followed by limb-sparing surgery. All included patients were candidates for amputation.
Surgery resulted in 69 R0 resections (57%), and in 53 specimens (43%) resection margins contained microscopic evidence of tumor (R1). Histopathological examination revealed >50% ILP-induced tumor necrosis in 59 cases (48%). RTx was administered in 73 patients (60%). Local recurrence rate was 21% after median follow-up of 31 months (2–182 months). Recurrence was significantly less in patients with >50% ILP-induced necrosis versus ≤50% necrosis (7% vs. 33%, P = 0.001). A similar significant correlation was observed for R0 versus R1 resections (15% vs. 28%, P = 0.04). In 36 patients with R0 resection and >50% necrosis, of whom 21 were spared RTx, no recurrences were observed during follow-up.
In patients with locally advanced primary STS, treated with ILP followed by R0 resection, and with >50% ILP-induced necrosis in the resected specimen, RTx is of no further benefit.
PMCID: PMC3032224  PMID: 21049306
9.  Gene Expression-Based Classification of Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinomas and Survival Prediction 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10312.
Current clinical therapy of non-small cell lung cancer depends on histo-pathological classification. This approach poorly predicts clinical outcome for individual patients. Gene expression profiling holds promise to improve clinical stratification, thus paving the way for individualized therapy.
Methodology and Principal Findings
A genome-wide gene expression analysis was performed on a cohort of 91 patients. We used 91 tumor- and 65 adjacent normal lung tissue samples. We defined sets of predictor genes (probe sets) with the expression profiles. The power of predictor genes was evaluated using an independent cohort of 96 non-small cell lung cancer- and 6 normal lung samples. We identified a tumor signature of 5 genes that aggregates the 156 tumor and normal samples into the expected groups. We also identified a histology signature of 75 genes, which classifies the samples in the major histological subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer. Correlation analysis identified 17 genes which showed the best association with post-surgery survival time. This signature was used for stratification of all patients in two risk groups. Kaplan-Meier survival curves show that the two groups display a significant difference in post-surgery survival time (p = 5.6E-6). The performance of the signatures was validated using a patient cohort of similar size (Duke University, n = 96). Compared to previously published prognostic signatures for NSCLC, the 17 gene signature performed well on these two cohorts.
The gene signatures identified are promising tools for histo-pathological classification of non-small cell lung cancer, and may improve the prediction of clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC2858668  PMID: 20421987
10.  Bilateral angiosarcoma of the breast in a fourteen-year-old child 
Rare Tumors  2009;1(2):e38.
Malignant vascular tumors are rare and angiosarcomas of the breast in patients under 21 years of age are exceedingly uncommon. In this report an angiosarcoma in the breast of a 14-year-old girl is described. She died nine months after mastectomy with recurrent disease in the bones and the contralateral breast. The etiology of most primary angiosarcomas is unknown. Secondary angiosarcomas can develop after radiotherapy and chronic lymphedema. The histology of this angiosarcoma is illustrated.
PMCID: PMC2994455  PMID: 21139917
angiosarcoma; infancy; breast.
11.  Identification of a Putative Protein Profile Associated with Tamoxifen Therapy Resistance in Breast Cancer*S⃞ 
Tamoxifen resistance is a major cause of death in patients with recurrent breast cancer. Current clinical factors can correctly predict therapy response in only half of the treated patients. Identification of proteins that are associated with tamoxifen resistance is a first step toward better response prediction and tailored treatment of patients. In the present study we intended to identify putative protein biomarkers indicative of tamoxifen therapy resistance in breast cancer using nano-LC coupled with FTICR MS. Comparative proteome analysis was performed on ∼5,500 pooled tumor cells (corresponding to ∼550 ng of protein lysate/analysis) obtained through laser capture microdissection (LCM) from two independently processed data sets (n = 24 and n = 27) containing both tamoxifen therapy-sensitive and therapy-resistant tumors. Peptides and proteins were identified by matching mass and elution time of newly acquired LC-MS features to information in previously generated accurate mass and time tag reference databases. A total of 17,263 unique peptides were identified that corresponded to 2,556 non-redundant proteins identified with ≥2 peptides. 1,713 overlapping proteins between the two data sets were used for further analysis. Comparative proteome analysis revealed 100 putatively differentially abundant proteins between tamoxifen-sensitive and tamoxifen-resistant tumors. The presence and relative abundance for 47 differentially abundant proteins were verified by targeted nano-LC-MS/MS in a selection of unpooled, non-microdissected discovery set tumor tissue extracts. ENPP1, EIF3E, and GNB4 were significantly associated with progression-free survival upon tamoxifen treatment for recurrent disease. Differential abundance of our top discriminating protein, extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer, was validated by tissue microarray in an independent patient cohort (n = 156). Extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer levels were higher in therapy-resistant tumors and significantly associated with an earlier tumor progression following first line tamoxifen treatment (hazard ratio, 1.87; 95% confidence interval, 1.25–2.80; p = 0.002). In summary, comparative proteomics performed on laser capture microdissection-derived breast tumor cells using nano-LC-FTICR MS technology revealed a set of putative biomarkers associated with tamoxifen therapy resistance in recurrent breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2690491  PMID: 19329653
12.  Nitrofurantoin-induced pulmonary fibrosis: a case report 
Nitrofurantoin is a commonly used drug in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections. Many adverse effects of nitrofurantoin have been documented, including aplastic anemia, polyneuritis, and liver and pulmonary toxicity.
Case presentation
We describe the clinical history and the autopsy findings in a 51-year-old woman with lung fibrosis of unknown etiology. She had a history of recurrent urinary tract infections, treated with nitrofurantoin for many years. She was referred to our hospital for screening for lung transplantation because of severe pulmonary restriction and dyspnea. Unfortunately, she died as a result of progressive respiratory insufficiency. At autopsy bilateral patchy, sharply circumscribed fibrotic areas in the upper and lower lobes of the lungs were seen with honeycombing. Microscopically, end-stage interstitial fibrosis with diffuse alveolar damage was observed. Due to the atypical distribution of the fibrosis involving both the lower and upper lobes of the lung, the microscopic pattern of the fibrosis and the history of long-term nitrofurantoin use, we concluded that this drug induced the lung fibrosis. The recurrent urinary tract infections were probably caused by a diverticulum of the urinary bladder, which was discovered at autopsy.
This case shows that the use of nitrofurantoin may cause severe pulmonary disease. Patients with long-term use of nitrofurantoin should be monitored regularly for adverse pulmonary effects.
PMCID: PMC2408600  PMID: 18495029
13.  Ischemia of the lung causes extensive long-term pulmonary injury: an experimental study 
Respiratory Research  2008;9(1):28.
Lung ischemia-reperfusion injury (LIRI) is suggested to be a major risk factor for development of primary acute graft failure (PAGF) following lung transplantation, although other factors have been found to interplay with LIRI. The question whether LIRI exclusively results in PAGF seems difficult to answer, which is partly due to the lack of a long-term experimental LIRI model, in which PAGF changes can be studied. In addition, the long-term effects of LIRI are unclear and a detailed description of the immunological changes over time after LIRI is missing. Therefore our purpose was to establish a long-term experimental model of LIRI, and to study the impact of LIRI on the development of PAGF, using a broad spectrum of LIRI parameters including leukocyte kinetics.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 135) were subjected to 120 minutes of left lung warm ischemia or were sham-operated. A third group served as healthy controls. Animals were sacrificed 1, 3, 7, 30 or 90 days after surgery. Blood gas values, lung compliance, surfactant conversion, capillary permeability, and the presence of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in broncho-alveolar-lavage fluid (BALf) were determined. Infiltration of granulocytes, macrophages and lymphocyte subsets (CD45RA+, CD5+CD4+, CD5+CD8+) was measured by flowcytometry in BALf, lung parenchyma, thoracic lymph nodes and spleen. Histological analysis was performed on HE sections.
LIRI resulted in hypoxemia, impaired left lung compliance, increased capillary permeability, surfactant conversion, and an increase in MMP-2 and MMP-9. In the BALf, most granulocytes were found on day 1 and CD5+CD4+ and CD5+CD8+-cells were elevated on day 3. Increased numbers of macrophages were found on days 1, 3, 7 and 90. Histology on day 1 showed diffuse alveolar damage, resulting in fibroproliferative changes up to 90 days after LIRI.
The short-, and long-term changes after LIRI in this model are similar to the changes found in both PAGF and ARDS after clinical lung transplantation. LIRI seems an independent risk factor for the development of PAGF and resulted in progressive deterioration of lung function and architecture, leading to extensive immunopathological and functional abnormalities up to 3 months after reperfusion.
PMCID: PMC2335107  PMID: 18366783

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