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1.  Clinical initiatives linking Japanese and Swedish healthcare resources on cancer studies utilizing Biobank Repositories 
The Tokyo Medical University Hospital in Japan and the Lund University hospital in Sweden have recently initiated a research program with the objective to impact on patient treatment by clinical disease stage characterization (phenotyping), utilizing proteomics sequencing platforms. By sharing clinical experiences, patient treatment principles, and biobank strategies, our respective clinical teams in Japan and Sweden will aid in the development of predictive and drug related protein biomarkers.
Data from joint lung cancer studies are presented where protein expression from Neuro- Endocrine lung cancer (LCNEC) phenotype patients can be separated from Small cell- (SCLC) and Large Cell lung cancer (LCC) patients by deep sequencing and spectral counting analysis. LCNEC, a subtype of large cell carcinoma (LCC), is characterized by neuroendocrine differentiation that small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) shares. Pre-therapeutic histological distinction between LCNEC and SCLC has so far been problematic, leading to adverse clinical outcome. An establishment of protein targets characteristic of LCNEC is quite helpful for decision of optimal therapeutic strategy by diagnosing individual patients. Proteoform annotation and clinical biobanking is part of the HUPO initiative ( within chromosome 10 and chromosome 19 consortia.
PMCID: PMC4303744  PMID: 25635206
Cancer diseases; Protein quantification; Proteomics; Mass spectrometry; MRM; Biobanking; HUPO
2.  Cancer stem cell-related marker expression in lung adenocarcinoma and relevance of histologic subtypes based on IASLC/ATS/ERS classification 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:1597-1604.
The cancer stem cell (CSC) theory has been proposed to explain tumor heterogeneity and the carcinogenesis of solid tumors. The aim of this study was to clarify the clinical role of CSC-related markers in patients with lung adenocarcinoma and to determine whether each CSC-related marker expression correlates with the histologic subtyping proposed by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), the American Thoracic Society (ATS), and the European Respiratory Society (ERS) classifications.
We reviewed data for all 103 patients in whom complete resection of adenocarcinoma had been performed. Expression of CSC-related markers, ie, aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1), aldo-keto reductase 1C family member 1 (AK1C1), and 1C family member 3 (AK1C3), was examined using immunostaining on whole-mount tissue slides, and the tumors were reclassified according to the IASLC/ATS/ERS classification.
ALDH1A1 expression was observed in 66.0% of tumors, AK1C1 in 62.7%, and AK1C3 in 86.1%. Immunoreactivities with the frequency of mean expression of ALDH1A1 in papillary predominant adenocarcinoma were significantly higher than those of solid predominant adenocarcinoma (P<0.05). Papillary predominant adenocarcinoma had significantly lower expression of AK1C1 when compared with noninvasive or solid predominant adenocarcinomas (P<0.05). On multivariate analysis, larger tumor size (hazards ratio 1.899, P=0.044), lymph node metastasis (hazards ratio 2.702, P=0.005), and low expression of ALDH1A1 (hazards ratio 3.218, P<0.001) were shown to be independently associated with an unfavorable prognosis.
Immunohistochemistry of ALDH1A1 expression is strongly associated with prognosis. Expression of each CSC-related marker varies according to subtype, suggesting that a comprehensive histologic subtyping approach in the IASLC/ATS/ERS classification provides new molecular biology insights into the genesis of lung adenocarcinoma according to CSC theory.
PMCID: PMC3825709  PMID: 24235845
cancer stem cell marker; adenocarcinoma; ALDH1A1; AK1C1; AK1C3; prognosis
3.  Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Defines Critical Prognostic Genes of Stage I Lung Adenocarcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e43923.
To identify stage I lung adenocarcinoma patients with a poor prognosis who will benefit from adjuvant therapy.
Patients and Methods
Whole gene expression profiles were obtained at 19 time points over a 48-hour time course from human primary lung epithelial cells that were stimulated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) in the presence or absence of a clinically used EGF receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)-specific inhibitor, gefitinib. The data were subjected to a mathematical simulation using the State Space Model (SSM). “Gefitinib-sensitive” genes, the expressional dynamics of which were altered by addition of gefitinib, were identified. A risk scoring model was constructed to classify high- or low-risk patients based on expression signatures of 139 gefitinib-sensitive genes in lung cancer using a training data set of 253 lung adenocarcinomas of North American cohort. The predictive ability of the risk scoring model was examined in independent cohorts of surgical specimens of lung cancer.
The risk scoring model enabled the identification of high-risk stage IA and IB cases in another North American cohort for overall survival (OS) with a hazard ratio (HR) of 7.16 (P = 0.029) and 3.26 (P = 0.0072), respectively. It also enabled the identification of high-risk stage I cases without bronchioalveolar carcinoma (BAC) histology in a Japanese cohort for OS and recurrence-free survival (RFS) with HRs of 8.79 (P = 0.001) and 3.72 (P = 0.0049), respectively.
The set of 139 gefitinib-sensitive genes includes many genes known to be involved in biological aspects of cancer phenotypes, but not known to be involved in EGF signaling. The present result strongly re-emphasizes that EGF signaling status in cancer cells underlies an aggressive phenotype of cancer cells, which is useful for the selection of early-stage lung adenocarcinoma patients with a poor prognosis.
Trial Registration
The Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) GSE31210
PMCID: PMC3446964  PMID: 23028479
4.  Cancer Phenotype Diagnosis and Drug Efficacy within Japanese Health Care 
An overview on targeted personalized medicine is given describing the developments in Japan of lung cancer patients. These new targeted therapies with novel personalized medicine drugs require new implementations, in order to follow and monitor drug efficacy and outcome. Examples from IRESSA (Gefitinib) and TARCEVA (Erlotinib) treatments used in medication of lung cancer patients are presented. Lung cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer mortality in the world. The importance of both the quantification of disease progression, where diagnostic-related biomarkers are being implemented, in addition to the actual measurement of disease-specific mechanisms relating to pathway signalling activation of disease-progressive protein targets is summarised. An outline is also presented, describing changes and adaptations in Japan, meeting the rising costs and challenges. Today, urgent implementation of programs to address these needs has led to a rebuilding of the entire approach of medical evaluation and clinical care.
PMCID: PMC3364583  PMID: 22685658
5.  Local structural studies of the cubic Cd1–xCaxO system through Cd K-edge extended X-ray absorption spectroscopic studies 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2012;19(Pt 4):541-546.
Local structure studies about Cd in the Cd1–xCaxO solid solution through Cd K-edge EXAFS studies are described, indicating a bimodal distribution of the first nearest neighbour distance for Cd and that the optical properties should belong to a persistence type.
Cd K-edge extended X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopic studies were carried out on Cd1–xCaxO (0 ≤ x ≤0.9) solid solutions and the first and second nearest neighbour (NN) distances and their mean square relative displacement σ2 were estimated. The first NN distance, d Cd–O(x), was found to be smaller than its expected value, a(x)/2, obtained from the X-ray diffraction measurements. It increases monotonically and non-linearly with a negative curvature, comparable with that of the a(x) value variation. The variation σ2 of the 1NN with x is consistent with a disordered solid solution model. The 2NN distances d Cd–Cd(x) and d Cd–Ca(x) are found to follow the average values obtained by X-ray diffraction with d Cd–Ca(x) > d Cd–Cd(x). From detailed analysis it is argued that the solid solution exhibits a bimodal distribution of the 1NN distances, d Cd–O(x) and d Ca–O(x), and that the system belongs to a persistent type.
PMCID: PMC3583624  PMID: 22713887
EXAFS; CdO; CaO; ternary solid solution; oxide semiconductors
6.  Preferential expression of potential markers for cancer stem cells in large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung. An FFPE proteomic study 
Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) of the lung, a subtype of large cell carcinoma (LCC), is characterized by neuroendocrine differentiation that small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) shares. Pre-therapeutic histological distinction between LCNEC and SCLC has so far been problematic, leading to adverse clinical outcome. We started a project establishing protein targets characteristic of LCNEC with a proteomic method using formalin fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues, which will help make diagnosis convincing.
Cancer cells were collected by laser microdissection from cancer foci in FFPE tissues of LCNEC (n = 4), SCLC (n = 5), and LCC (n = 5) with definite histological diagnosis. Proteins were extracted from the harvested sections, trypsin-digested, and subjected to HPLC/mass spectrometry. Proteins identified by database search were semi-quantified by spectral counting and statistically sorted by pair-wise G-statistics. The results were immunohistochemically verified using a total of 10 cases for each group to confirm proteomic results.
A total of 1981 proteins identified from the three cancer groups were subjected to pair-wise G-test under p < 0.05 and specificity of a protein's expression to LCNEC was checked using a 3D plot with the coordinates comprising G-statistic values for every two group comparisons. We identified four protein candidates preferentially expressed in LCNEC compared with SCLC with convincingly low p-values: aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family member A1 (AL1A1) (p = 6.1 × 10-4), aldo-keto reductase family 1 members C1 (AK1C1) (p = 9.6x10-10) and C3 (AK1C3) (p = 3.9x10-10) and CD44 antigen (p = 0.021). These p-values were confirmed by non-parametric exact inference tests. Interestingly, all these candidates would belong to cancer stem cell markers. Immunohistochmistry supported proteomic results.
These results suggest that candidate biomarkers of LCNEC were related to cancer stem cells and this proteomic approach via FFPE samples was effective to detect them.
PMCID: PMC3178477  PMID: 21888658
large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma; formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissues; mass spectrometry; cancer stem cell markers
7.  PIK3CA Mutations and Copy Number Gains in Human Lung Cancers 
Cancer research  2008;68(17):6913-6921.
We investigated the frequency and function of mutations and increased copy number of the PIK3CA gene in lung cancers. PIK3CA mutations are one of the most common gene changes present in human cancers. We analyzed the mutational status of exons 9 and 20 and gene copy number of PIK3CA using 86 non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, 43 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines, 3 extrapulmonary small cell cancer (ExPuSC) cell lines, and 691 resected NSCLC tumors and studied the relationship between PIK3CA alterations and mutational status of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway genes (EGFR, KRAS, HER2, and BRAF). We also determined PIK3CA expression and activity and correlated the findings with effects on cell growth. We identified mutations in 4.7% of NSCLC cell lines and 1.6% of tumors of all major histologic types. Mutations in cell lines of small cell origin were limited to two ExPuSC cell lines. PIK3CA copy number gains were more frequent in squamous cell carcinoma (33.1%) than in adenocarcinoma (6.2%) or SCLC lines (4.7%). Mutational status of PIK3CA was not mutually exclusive to EGFR or KRAS. PIK3CA alterations were associated with increased phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity and phosphorylated Akt expression. RNA interference–mediated knockdown of PIK3CA inhibited colony formation of cell lines with PIK3CA mutations or gains but was not effective in PIK3CA wild-type cells. PIK3CA mutations or gains are present in a subset of lung cancers and are of functional importance.
PMCID: PMC2874836  PMID: 18757405
8.  Polymorphisms, Mutations, and Amplification of the EGFR Gene in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(4):e125.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is the prototype member of the type I receptor tyrosine kinase (TK) family and plays a pivotal role in cell proliferation and differentiation. There are three well described polymorphisms that are associated with increased protein production in experimental systems: a polymorphic dinucleotide repeat (CA simple sequence repeat 1 [CA-SSR1]) in intron one (lower number of repeats) and two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region, −216 (G/T or T/T) and −191 (C/A or A/A). The objective of this study was to examine distributions of these three polymorphisms and their relationships to each other and to EGFR gene mutations and allelic imbalance (AI) in non-small cell lung cancers.
Methods and Findings
We examined the frequencies of the three polymorphisms of EGFR in 556 resected lung cancers and corresponding non-malignant lung tissues from 336 East Asians, 213 individuals of Northern European descent, and seven of other ethnicities. We also studied the EGFR gene in 93 corresponding non-malignant lung tissue samples from European-descent patients from Italy and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 250 normal healthy US individuals enrolled in epidemiological studies including individuals of European descent, African–Americans, and Mexican–Americans. We sequenced the four exons (18–21) of the TK domain known to harbor activating mutations in tumors and examined the status of the CA-SSR1 alleles (presence of heterozygosity, repeat number of the alleles, and relative amplification of one allele) and allele-specific amplification of mutant tumors as determined by a standardized semiautomated method of microsatellite analysis. Variant forms of SNP −216 (G/T or T/T) and SNP −191 (C/A or A/A) (associated with higher protein production in experimental systems) were less frequent in East Asians than in individuals of other ethnicities (p < 0.001). Both alleles of CA-SSR1 were significantly longer in East Asians than in individuals of other ethnicities (p < 0.001). Expression studies using bronchial epithelial cultures demonstrated a trend towards increased mRNA expression in cultures having the variant SNP −216 G/T or T/T genotypes. Monoallelic amplification of the CA-SSR1 locus was present in 30.6% of the informative cases and occurred more often in individuals of East Asian ethnicity. AI was present in 44.4% (95% confidence interval: 34.1%–54.7%) of mutant tumors compared with 25.9% (20.6%–31.2%) of wild-type tumors (p = 0.002). The shorter allele in tumors with AI in East Asian individuals was selectively amplified (shorter allele dominant) more often in mutant tumors (75.0%, 61.6%–88.4%) than in wild-type tumors (43.5%, 31.8%–55.2%, p = 0.003). In addition, there was a strong positive association between AI ratios of CA-SSR1 alleles and AI of mutant alleles.
The three polymorphisms associated with increased EGFR protein production (shorter CA-SSR1 length and variant forms of SNPs −216 and −191) were found to be rare in East Asians as compared to other ethnicities, suggesting that the cells of East Asians may make relatively less intrinsic EGFR protein. Interestingly, especially in tumors from patients of East Asian ethnicity, EGFR mutations were found to favor the shorter allele of CA-SSR1, and selective amplification of the shorter allele of CA-SSR1 occurred frequently in tumors harboring a mutation. These distinct molecular events targeting the same allele would both be predicted to result in greater EGFR protein production and/or activity. Our findings may help explain to some of the ethnic differences observed in mutational frequencies and responses to TK inhibitors.
Masaharu Nomura and colleagues examine the distribution ofEGFR polymorphisms in different populations and find differences that might explain different responses to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancer patients.
Editors' Summary
Most cases of lung cancer—the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide—are “non-small cell lung cancer” (NSCLC), which has a very low cure rate. Recently, however, “targeted” therapies have brought new hope to patients with NSCLC. Like all cancers, NSCLC occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes (mutations) in their genetic material. Chemotherapy drugs treat cancer by killing these rapidly dividing cells, but, because some normal tissues are sensitive to these agents, it is hard to kill the cancer completely without causing serious side effects. Targeted therapies specifically attack the changes in cancer cells that allow them to divide uncontrollably, so it might be possible to kill the cancer cells selectively without damaging normal tissues. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGRF) was one of the first molecules for which a targeted therapy was developed. In normal cells, messenger proteins bind to EGFR and activate its “tyrosine kinase,” an enzyme that sticks phosphate groups on tyrosine (an amino acid) in other proteins. These proteins then tell the cell to divide. Alterations to this signaling system drive the uncontrolled growth of some cancers, including NSCLC.
Why Was This Study Done?
Molecules that inhibit the tyrosine kinase activity of EGFR (for example, gefitinib) dramatically shrink some NSCLCs, particularly those in East Asian patients. Tumors shrunk by tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) often (but not always) have mutations in EGFR's tyrosine kinase. However, not all tumors with these mutations respond to TKIs, and other genetic changes—for example, amplification (multiple copies) of the EGFR gene—also affect tumor responses to TKIs. It would be useful to know which genetic changes predict these responses when planning treatments for NSCLC and to understand why the frequency of these changes varies between ethnic groups. In this study, the researchers have examined three polymorphisms—differences in DNA sequences that occur between individuals—in the EGFR gene in people with and without NSCLC. In addition, they have looked for associations between these polymorphisms, which are present in every cell of the body, and the EGFR gene mutations and allelic imbalances (genes occur in pairs but amplification or loss of one copy, or allele, often causes allelic imbalance in tumors) that occur in NSCLCs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured how often three EGFR polymorphisms (the length of a repeat sequence called CA-SSR1, and two single nucleotide variations [SNPs])—all of which probably affect how much protein is made from the EGFR gene—occurred in normal tissue and NSCLC tissue from East Asians and individuals of European descent. They also looked for mutations in the EGFR tyrosine kinase and allelic imbalance in the tumors, and then determined which genetic variations and alterations tended to occur together in people with the same ethnicity. Among many associations, the researchers found that shorter alleles of CA-SSR1 and the minor forms of the two SNPs occurred less often in East Asians than in individuals of European descent. They also confirmed that EGFR kinase mutations were more common in NSCLCs in East Asians than in European-descent individuals. Furthermore, mutations occurred more often in tumors with allelic imbalance, and in tumors where there was allelic imbalance and an EGFR mutation, the mutant allele was amplified more often than the wild-type allele.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The researchers use these associations between gene variants and tumor-associated alterations to propose a model to explain the ethnic differences in mutational frequencies and responses to TKIs seen in NSCLC. They suggest that because of the polymorphisms in the EGFR gene commonly seen in East Asians, people from this ethnic group make less EGFR protein than people from other ethnic groups. This would explain why, if a threshold level of EGFR is needed to drive cells towards malignancy, East Asians have a high frequency of amplified EGFR tyrosine kinase mutations in their tumors—mutation followed by amplification would be needed to activate EGFR signaling. This model, though speculative, helps to explain some clinical findings, such as the frequency of EGFR mutations and of TKI sensitivity in NSCLCs in East Asians. Further studies of this type in different ethnic groups and in different tumors, as well as with other genes for which targeted therapies are available, should help oncologists provide personalized cancer therapies for their patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Cancer Institute information on lung cancer and on cancer treatment for patients and professionals
MedlinePlus encyclopedia entries on NSCLC
Cancer Research UK information for patients about all aspects of lung cancer, including treatment with TKIs
Wikipedia pages on lung cancer, EGFR, and gefitinib (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
PMCID: PMC1876407  PMID: 17455987

Results 1-8 (8)