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author:("Liu, jindong")
1.  Tumor Stroma and Differentiated Cancer Cells can be Originated directly from Polyploid Giant Cancer Cells Induced by Paclitaxel 
Paclitaxel is widely used to treat cancer patients through the blocking of mitosis and result in formation of polyploidy giant cancer cells (PGCCs), which are generally believed to be non-dividing cells or in mitotic catastrophe. Here we showed that PGCCs following the treatment of paclitaxel of MCF-7 breast cancer cell line have capability to generate regular-sized progeny cells through budding. The PGCCs not only grew into well differentiated cancer cells that formed cancer organotypic structures in vitro but also trans-differentiated into multiple tumor stromal cells including myoepithelial, endothelial, and erythroid cells. PGCCs formed glandular and vessel-like cancer organotypic structures that expressed normal stem cell markers. These progeny cells generated from PGCCs showed decreased ability of proliferation, invasion and tumor growth and became more resistant to paclitaxel than parental MCF-7 cells. These results demonstrated that paclitaxel-induced PGCCs have properties of cancer stem cells that can generate both epithelial cancer cells and multi-lineage of stromal cells. PGCCs are not only the morphogenic determinant to tumor histogenesis and but also contribute to paclitaxel resistance.
PMCID: PMC4175522  PMID: 23754740
Polyploidy giant cancer cells; Paclitaxel; Cancer organotypic structure
2.  Generation of Cancer Stem-like Cells through Formation of Polyploid Giant Cancer Cells 
Oncogene  2013;33(1):10.1038/onc.2013.96.
Polyploid giant cancer cells (PGCCs) have been observed by pathologists for over a century. PGCCs contribute to solid tumor heterogeneity, but their functions are largely undefined. Little attention has been given to these cells, largely because PGCCs have been generally thought to originate from repeated mitosis/cytokinesis failure and have no capacity for long-term survival and cell proliferation. Here we report that we successfully purified and cultured PGCCs from human ovarian cancer cell lines and primary ovarian cancer. These cells are highly resistant to oxygen deprivation and could form through endoreduplication or cell fusion, generating regular-sized cancer cells quickly through budding or burst. They are positive for normal and cancer stem cell markers, divided asymmetrically and cycled slowly. They can differentiate into adipose, cartilage, and bone. A single PGCC formed cancer spheroids in vitro and generated tumors in immunodeficient mice. PGCC-derived tumor gained a mesenchymal phenotype with increased expression of cancer stem cell markers CD44 and CD133 and become more resistant to the treatment of cisplatin. Together, our results reveal that the PGCCs present a resistant form of human cancer generated in response to hypoxia stress and can contribute to generation of cancer stem-like cells and play a fundamental role in regulating tumor heterogeneity, stemness, and chemoresistance in human cancer.
PMCID: PMC3844126  PMID: 23524583
Polyploid giant cancer cells; Cancer stem cells; Cell fusion; Asymmetric cell division; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
3.  Elafin is downregulated during breast and ovarian tumorigenesis but its residual expression predicts recurrence 
Breast Cancer Research : BCR  2014;16(6):3417.
Elafin is an endogenous serine protease inhibitor. The majority of breast cancer cell lines lack elafin expression compared to human mammary epithelial cells. In this study, we hypothesized that elafin is downregulated during breast and ovarian tumorigenesis.
We examined elafin expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in specimens of normal breast tissue (n = 24), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) (n = 54), and invasive breast cancer (n = 793). IHC analysis of elafin expression was also performed in normal fallopian tube tissue (n = 20), ovarian cystadenomas (n = 9), borderline ovarian tumors (n = 21), and invasive ovarian carcinomas (n = 216). To understand the significance of elafin in luminal breast cancer cell lines, wild-type or M25G elafin (lacking the protease inhibitory function) were exogenously expressed in MCF-7 and T47D cells.
Elafin expression was downregulated in 24% of DCIS and 83% of invasive breast tumors when compared to elafin expression in the normal mammary epithelium. However, the presence of elafin-positive cells in invasive breast tumors, even at low frequency, correlated with poor recurrence-free survival (RFS), reduced overall survival (OS), and clinicopathological markers of aggressive tumor behavior. Elafin-positive cells were an especially strong and independent prognostic marker of reduced RFS in IHC-defined luminal A-like tumors. Elafin was also downregulated in 33% of ovarian cystadenomas, 43% of borderline ovarian tumors, and 86% of invasive ovarian carcinomas when compared to elafin expression in the normal fallopian tube. In ovarian tumors, elafin-positive cells were correlated with reduced RFS, OS and disease-specific survival (DSS) only in stage I/II patients and not in stage III/IV patients. Notably, exogenous expression of elafin or elafin M25G in the luminal breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and T47D significantly decreased cell proliferation in a protease inhibitory domain-independent manner.
Elafin predicts poor outcome in breast and ovarian cancer patients and delineates a subset of endocrine receptor-positive breast cancer patients susceptible to recurrence who could benefit from more aggressive intervention. Our in vitro results suggest that elafin arrests luminal breast cancer cells, perhaps suggesting a role in tumor dormancy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13058-014-0497-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4326485  PMID: 25551582
4.  Surface characteristics of and in vitro behavior of osteoblast-like cells on titanium with nanotopography prepared by high-energy shot peening 
Background and methods
Commercial pure titanium with nanotopography was prepared via a high-energy shot-peening (HESP) technique. The surface characteristics were evaluated, and the preliminary cell responses to the nanotopographical surface were investigated.
The nanotopographical surface layer on titanium was successfully processed by HESP. The average nanoscale grains were approximately 60 nm in diameter and they were nonhomogeneously distributed on the surface. MG-63 cells with an osteogenic phenotype were well adhered and well spread on the nanostructured surface. Compared to the original polished control, the nanotopographical surface highly improved the adhesion, viability, and differentiation of MG-63 cells.
Titanium with nanotopography achieved by HESP has good cytocompatibility and shows promise for dental implant applications.
PMCID: PMC4257054  PMID: 25489244
nanotopography; cytocompatibility; titanium; high-energy shot peening
5.  Cancer stem cells, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and drug resistance in high-grade ovarian serous carcinoma 
Human pathology  2013;44(11):2373-2384.
Although epithelial ovarian cancer cells are eliminated by debulking surgery and chemotherapy during initial treatment, it is believed that only a subset of cancer cells, that is, cancer stem cells, may be an important source of tumor recurrence and drug resistance. This review highlights our current understanding of high-grade serous carcinoma, ovarian cancer stem cells, common methods for enrichment of ovarian cancer stem cells, mechanisms involved in drug resistance, and potential strategies for overcoming drug resistance, with associated potential controversies and pitfalls. We also review the potential relationship between epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cells and how we can induce cancer cells to differentiate into benign stromal fibroblasts in response to certain chemotherapy drugs.
PMCID: PMC3797876  PMID: 23850493
High-grade ovarian serous cancer; Cancer stem cell; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
6.  miR-145 inhibits tumor growth and metastasis by targeting metadherin in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(21):10816-10829.
High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC), the most common and aggressive subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer, is characterized by TP53 mutations and genetic instability. Using miRNA profiling analysis, we found that miR-145, a p53 regulated miRNA, was frequently down-regulated in HGSOC. miR-145 down-regulation was further validated in a large cohort of HGSOCs by qPCR. Overexpression of miR-145 in ovarian cancer cells significantly suppressed proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro and inhibited tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Metadherin (MTDH) was subsequently identified as a direct target of miR-145, and was found to be significantly up-regulated in HGSOC. Furthermore, overexpression of MTDH rescued the inhibitory effects of miR-145 in ovarian cancer cells. Finally, we found that high level of MTDH expression correlated with poor prognosis of HGSOC. Therefore, lack of suppression of MTDH by miR-145 when p53 is dysfunctional leads to increased tumor growth and metastasis of HGSOC. Our study established a new link between p53, miR-145 and MTDH in the regulation of tumor growth and metastasis in HGSOC.
PMCID: PMC4279412  PMID: 25333261
miR-145; MTDH; p53; HGSOC; metastasis
7.  Role of Focal Adhesion Kinase in Regulating YB–1–Mediated Paclitaxel Resistance in Ovarian Cancer 
We previously found focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibition sensitizes ovarian cancer to taxanes; however, the mechanisms are not well understood.
We characterized the biologic response of taxane-resistant and taxane-sensitive ovarian cancer models to a novel FAK inhibitor (VS-6063). We used reverse-phase protein arrays (RPPA) to identify novel downstream targets in taxane-resistant cell lines. Furthermore, we correlated clinical and pathological data with nuclear and cytoplasmic expression of FAK and YB-1 in 105 ovarian cancer samples. Statistical tests were two-sided, and P values were calculated with Student t test or Fisher exact test.
We found that VS-6063 inhibited FAK phosphorylation at the Tyr397 site in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The combination of VS-6063 and paclitaxel markedly decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis, which resulted in 92.7% to 97.9% reductions in tumor weight. RPPA data showed that VS-6063 reduced levels of AKT and YB-1 in taxane-resistant cell lines. FAK inhibition enhanced chemosensitivity in taxane-resistant cells by decreasing YB-1 phosphorylation and subsequently CD44 in an AKT-dependent manner. In human ovarian cancer samples, nuclear FAK expression was associated with increased nuclear YB-1 expression (χ 2 = 37.7; P < .001). Coexpression of nuclear FAK and YB-1 was associated with statistically significantly worse median overall survival (24.9 vs 67.3 months; hazard ratio = 2.64; 95% confidence interval = 1.38 to 5.05; P = .006).
We have identified a novel pathway whereby FAK inhibition with VS-6063 overcomes YB-1–mediated paclitaxel resistance by an AKT-dependent pathway. These findings have implications for clinical trials aimed at targeting FAK.
PMCID: PMC3787907  PMID: 24062525
8.  2’f-OMe-phosphorodithioate modified siRNAs show increased loading into the RISC complex and enhanced anti-tumour activity 
Nature communications  2014;5:3459.
Improving small interfering RNA (siRNA) efficacy in target cell populations remains a challenge to its clinical implementation. Here, we report a chemical modification, consisting of phosphorodithioate (PS2) and 2’-O-Methyl (2’-OMe) MePS2 on one nucleotide that significantly enhances potency and resistance to degradation for various siRNAs. We find enhanced potency stems from an unforeseen increase in siRNA loading to the RNA-induced silencing complex, likely due to the unique interaction mediated by 2’-OMe and PS2. We demonstrate the therapeutic utility of MePS2 siRNAs in chemoresistant ovarian cancer mouse models via targeting GRAM Domain Containing 1B (GRAMD1B), a protein involved in chemoresistance. GRAMD1B silencing is achieved in tumors following MePS2-modified siRNA treatment, leading to a synergistic anti-tumor effect in combination with paclitaxel. Given the previously limited success in enhancing siRNA potency with chemically modified siRNAs, our findings represent an important advance in siRNA design with the potential for application in numerous cancer types.
PMCID: PMC4112501  PMID: 24619206
9.  CD44 standard form expression is correlated with high-grade and advanced stage ovarian carcinoma but not prognosis 
Human pathology  2013;44(9):1882-1889.
Single-chain glycoprotein CD44 is a major cell surface receptor for hyaluronan and mediates epithelial cell adhesion by its involvement in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. Recently, CD44 has been identified as a biomarker of cancer stem cells in many malignancies, including ovarian carcinoma. However, its clinical significance in human ovarian carcinoma has been controversial until recently. The aim of our current study was to clarify the clinical role of CD44 expression in human ovarian carcinoma. Immunohistochemical staining of 483 primary ovarian carcinoma, and 27 paired primary and recurrent ovarian carcinoma samples for CD44 standard form (CD44s) was performed using tissue microarray. The associations between CD44s expression and clinical factors (histological types, tumor grade, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage, and response to chemotherapy), and overall or disease-free survivals were analyzed. We observed CD44s expression in 38% of the ovarian carcinoma samples. Results of Fisher’s exact test suggested that CD44s expression was associated with high-grade carcinoma (P = .013); advanced International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage (III–IV, P < .001); age at diagnosis less than 60 years old (P = .011); and transitional cell carcinoma (P = .039). However, CD44s expression was not associated with overall survival (P = .529) or disease-free survival (P = .218) by the log-rank test. Moreover, there was no statistical difference in CD44s expression between the primary and recurrent ovarian carcinomas. Our results showed that CD44s expression is not a prognostic predictor in ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC3752324  PMID: 23664487
CD44; immunohistochemistry; ovarian carcinoma; prognosis
10.  TGF-β modulates ovarian cancer invasion by upregulating CAF-derived versican in the tumor microenvironment 
Cancer research  2013;73(16):5016-5028.
TGF-β has limited effects on ovarian cancer cells but its contributions to ovarian tumor growth might be mediated through elements of the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that TGF- modulates ovarian cancer progression by modulating the contribution of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that are present in the microenvironment. Transcriptome profiling of microdissected stromal and epithelial components of high-grade serous ovarian tumors and TGF-β-treated normal ovarian fibroblasts identified versican (VCAN) as a key upregulated target gene in CAFs. Functional evaluations in co-culture experiments demonstrated that TGF-β enhanced the aggressiveness of ovarian cancer cells by upregulating VCAN in CAFs. VCAN expression was regulated in CAFs through TGF-β receptor type II and SMAD signaling. Upregulated VCAN promoted the motility and invasion of ovarian cancer cells by activating the NF-κB signaling pathway and by upregulating expression of CD44, MMP9, and the hyaluronan-mediated motility receptor (HMMR). Our work identified a TGF-β-inducible gene signature specific to CAFs in advanced high-grade serous ovarian tumors, and showed how TGF-β stimulates ovarian cancer cell motility and invasion by upregulating the CAF-specific gene VCAN. These findings suggest insights to develop or refine strategies for TGF-β-targeted therapy of ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC3745588  PMID: 23824740
TGF-β; versican; ovarian cancer; cancer-associated fibroblast; tumor microenvironment
11.  RAS Promotes Tumorigenesis through Genomic Instability Induced by imbalanced expression of Aurora-A and BRCA2 urian 
The oncogene RAS is known to induce genomic instability, leading to cancer development; the underlying mechanism, however, remains poorly understood. To better understand how RAS functions, we measured the activity of the functionally related genes Aurora-A and BRCA2 in ovarian cancer cell lines and tumor samples containing RAS mutations. We found that Aurora-A and BRCA2 inversely controlled RAS-associated genomic instability and ovarian tumorigenesis through regulation of cytokinesis and polyploidization. Over-expression of mutated RAS ablated BRCA2 expresson but induced Aurora-A accumulation at the midbody, leading to abnormal cytokinesis and ultimately chromosomal instability via polyploidy in cancer cells. RAS regulates the expression of Aurora-A and BRCA2 through dysregulated protein expression of farnesyl protein transferase β (FTβ and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3). Our results suggest that the imbalance in expression of Aurora-A and BRCA2 regulates RAS-induced genomic instability and tumorigensis.
PMCID: PMC3883442  PMID: 23319376
RAS; Aurora-A; BRCA2; Polyploid Cancer Cells; Cytokinesis; Genomic instability
12.  Generation of erythroid cells from fibroblasts and cancer cells in vitro and in vivo✩,✩✩ 
Cancer letters  2013;333(2):205-212.
Bone marrow is generally considered the main source of erythroid cells. Here we report that a single hypoxia-mimic chemical, CoCl2, can the size of fibroblasts and cancer cells and lead to formation of polyploidy giant cells (PGCs) or polyploidy giant cancer cells (PGCCs), activation of stem cell marker expression, increased growth of normal and cancer spheroid, and lead to differentiation of the fibroblasts and epithelial cells toward erythroid lineage expressing hemoglobins both in vitro and in vivo. Immunohistochemical examination demonstrated that these cells are predominantly made of embryonic hemoglobins, with various levels of fetal and adult hemoglobins. Ectopic expression of c-Myc induced the generation of nucleated erythoid cells expressing variable levels of embryonic and fetal hemoglobins. Generation of these erythroid cells can be also observed via histological examination of other cancer cell lines and human tumor samples. These data suggest that normal and solid cancer cells can directly generate erythroid cells to obtain oxygen in response to hypoxia and may explain the ineffectiveness of conventional anti-angiogenic therapies for cancer, which are directed at endothelium-dependent vessels, and offer new targets for intervention.
PMCID: PMC3760787  PMID: 23376638
Solid tumor cells; Erythroid cells; Hypoxia; Cobalt chloride; c-Myc
13.  CA-125 Level as a Prognostic Indicator in Type I and Type II Epithelial Ovarian Cancer 
The majority of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer achieved a complete clinical remission with normal CA-125 will still relapse and die from their disease. The present study was to determine whether CA-125 levels before, during and after primary treatment provided prognostic information for both Type I and Type II ovarian cancer.
In this retrospective study, we identified 410 epithelial ovarian cancer patients who had achieved a CCR between 1984 and 2011. A Cox proportional hazards model and log-rank test were used to assess associations between the nadir CA-125, histotype, and prognosis.
The baseline serum CA-125 concentration was higher in patients with type II ovarian cancer than in those with type I (p < 0.001). The nadir CA-125 was an independent predictor of PFS (p < 0.001) and OS (p = 0.035) duration. The PFS and OS durations were 21.7 and 79.4 months in patients with CA-125 ≤ 10 U/ml and 13.6 and 64.6 months in those with 11-35 U/ml (p = 0.01 and 0.002, respectively). Histotype was an independent predictor of PFS (p = 0.041): the PFS and OS durations of type I patients were longer than those in type II (p < 0.001 and < 0.001, respectively).
The nadir CA-125 and the histotype are predictive of PFS and OS duration in ovarian cancers experienced a CCR. PFS and OS durations were shorter in patients with CA-125 levels of 11-35 U/ml and type II disease than in those with ≤ 10 U/ml and type I.
PMCID: PMC3760786  PMID: 23669443
ovarian cancer; CA-125; prognosis factors; tumor marker; pathological type
14.  Metabolic shifts toward glutamine regulate tumor growth, invasion and bioenergetics in ovarian cancer 
Molecular Systems Biology  2014;10(5):728.
Glutamine can play a critical role in cellular growth in multiple cancers. Glutamine‐addicted cancer cells are dependent on glutamine for viability, and their metabolism is reprogrammed for glutamine utilization through the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Here, we have uncovered a missing link between cancer invasiveness and glutamine dependence. Using isotope tracer and bioenergetic analysis, we found that low‐invasive ovarian cancer (OVCA) cells are glutamine independent, whereas high‐invasive OVCA cells are markedly glutamine dependent. Consistent with our findings, OVCA patients’ microarray data suggest that glutaminolysis correlates with poor survival. Notably, the ratio of gene expression associated with glutamine anabolism versus catabolism has emerged as a novel biomarker for patient prognosis. Significantly, we found that glutamine regulates the activation of STAT3, a mediator of signaling pathways which regulates cancer hallmarks in invasive OVCA cells. Our findings suggest that a combined approach of targeting high‐invasive OVCA cells by blocking glutamine's entry into the TCA cycle, along with targeting low‐invasive OVCA cells by inhibiting glutamine synthesis and STAT3 may lead to potential therapeutic approaches for treating OVCAs.
PMCID: PMC4188042  PMID: 24799285
cancer metabolism; glutamine dependence; glutaminolysis; invasion; ovarian cancer
15.  Loss of p53 in Stromal Fibroblasts Promotes Epithelial Cell Invasion through Redox-Mediated ICAM1 Signal 
Tumor microenvironment plays a major role in cancer development. Understanding how the stroma affects epithelial transformation will provide a basis for new preventive strategies. Recent evidences suggest that oxidative stress in stroma may play a role in cancer progression and loss of p53 function in the stromal cells were associated with poor prognosis and high tumor recurrence. However, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of p53 loss in fibroblasts on epithelial transformation and the mechanistic involvement of reactive species. Using 3D-organotypic culture and other assays, we report that the stroma containing p53-deficient fibroblasts could transform the non-tumorigenic epithelial cells of oral and ovarian tissues origins to become invasive through reactive nitrogen species (RNS)-mediated release of cytokine ICAM1. The p53-deficient fibroblasts have increased RNS production and accumulation of oxidative DNA damage products associated with specific up-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Suppression of RNS production by siRNA of eNOS or antioxidant NAC reduced ICAM1 expression and prevented the stroma-mediated epithelial invasion. Our study uncovers the novel mechanism by which redox alteration associated with loss of p53 in stromal fibroblasts function as a key inducer of epithelial transformation and invasion via RNS-mediated-ICAM1 signaling. Thus, modulation of the redox signaling in microenvironment may serve as a new approach to prevent epithelial transformation and suppress cancer invasion.
PMCID: PMC3622735  PMID: 23376231
fibroblast; ICAM1; Invasion; RNS; p53; eNOS
16.  Structural Basis for the Immunomodulatory Function of Cysteine Protease Inhibitor from Human Roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e96069.
Immunosuppression associated with infections of nematode parasites has been documented. Cysteine protease inhibitor (CPI) released by the nematode parasites is identified as one of the major modulators of host immune response. In this report, we demonstrated that the recombinant CPI protein of Ascaris lumbricoides (Al-CPI) strongly inhibited the activities of cathepsin L, C, S, and showed weaker effect to cathepsin B. Crystal structure of Al-CPI was determined to 2.1 Å resolution. Two segments of Al-CPI, loop 1 and loop 2, were proposed as the key structure motifs responsible for Al-CPI binding with proteases and its inhibitory activity. Mutations at loop 1 and loop 2 abrogated the protease inhibition activity to various extents. These results provide the molecular insight into the interaction between the nematode parasite and its host and will facilitate the development of anthelmintic agents or design of anti-autoimmune disease drugs.
PMCID: PMC4004552  PMID: 24781326
17.  Advances in serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma: correlation with high grade serous carcinoma and ovarian carcinogenesis 
Early serous carcinoma in fallopian tube or serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC), an early lesion limited to the epithelium of the fallopian tube and firstly identified from specimen obtained by prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy, has provided insight into pelvic high grade serous carcinoma (HGSC). Increasing evidence indicates that STIC is a likely precursor for HGSC and several studies have focused on this lesion and its clinical significance. This review addresses recent advances in recognizing STIC and its correlation with HGSC and ovarian carcinogenesis. It also describes evidence regarding the fallopian tube as a source of some HGSCs, the protocol for optimizing histological evaluation of the tubes, the spectrum of tubal lesions from benign to noninvasive carcinoma, changes in diagnostic criteria from purely morphologic characteristics to a combination of morphologic features and molecular biomarkers, and new studies about potential biomarkers. However, the direct evidence regarding STIC as the precursor of HGSC is still tantalizing due to other possibilities that may also explain the origin of pelvic HGSC. Further molecular genetic studies are required to address this important question.
PMCID: PMC3971287  PMID: 24696706
Serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma; fallopian tube; high grade serous carcinoma; ovarian cancer; carcinogenesis
18.  Integrated analyses identify a master microRNA regulatory network for the mesenchymal subtype in serous ovarian cancer 
Cancer cell  2013;23(2):186-199.
Integrated genomic analyses revealed a miRNA-regulatory network, which further defined a robust integrated mesenchymal subtype associated with poor overall survival in 459 cases of serous ovarian cancer (OvCa) from The Cancer Genome Atlas and 560 cases from independent cohorts. Eight key miRNAs, including miR-506, miR-141 and miR-200a, were predicted to regulate 89% of the targets in this network. Follow-up functional experiments illustrate that miR-506 augmented E-cadherin expression, inhibited cell migration and invasion, and prevented TGFβ-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by targeting SNAI2, a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin. In human OvCa, miR-506 expression was correlated with decreased SNAI2 and VIM, elevated E-cadherin, and beneficial prognosis. Nanoparticle delivery of miR-506 in orthotopic OvCa mouse models led to E-cadherin induction and reduced tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC3603369  PMID: 23410973
19.  miR-106a Represses the Rb Tumor Suppressor p130 to Regulate Cellular Proliferation and Differentiation in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2013;11(11):1314-1325.
The degree of differentiation in human cancers generally reflects the degree of malignancy, with the most undifferentiated cancer being also the highest grade and the most aggressive. High-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (HGSOC) are poorly differentiated and fast-growing malignancies. The molecular mechanisms underlying the poor differentiation of HGSOC has not been completely characterized. Evidence suggests that miRNA, miR are dysregulated in HGSOC. Therefore, we focused on those miRNAs that are relevant to tumor differentiation. Expression profiling of miRNAs in HGSOC, indicated miR-106a and its family members were significantly upregulated. Upregulation of miR-106a was further validated by real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) and miRNA in situ hybridization in a large cohort of HGSOC specimens. Overexpression of miR-106a in benign and malignant ovarian cells significantly increased the cellular proliferation rate and expanded the side-population fraction. In particular, SKOV3 cells with miR-106a overexpression had significantly higher tumor initial/stem cell population (CD24- and CD133-positive cells) than control SKOV3 cells. Among many miR-106a predicated target genes, p130 (RBL2), an retinoblastoma (Rb) tumor suppressor family member, was not only confirmed as a specific target of miR-106a but also related to tumor growth and differentiation. The importance of mir-106a and RBL2 was further demonstrated in vivo, in which, SKOV3 cells overexpressing miR-106a formed poorly differentiated carcinomas and had reduced RBL2 levels. To our knowledge, this is the first study of miR-106a mediating proliferation and tumor differentiation in HGSOC.
The current study suggests that the RB tumor suppressor pathway is a critical regulator of growth and differentiation in HGSOC.
PMCID: PMC3911890  PMID: 24045973
20.  Tumor stroma as targets for cancer therapy 
Pharmacology & therapeutics  2012;137(2):200-215.
Cancer is not only composed malignant epithelial component but also stromal components such as fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and inflammatory cells, by which an appropriate tumor microenvironment (TME) is formed to promote tumorigenesis, progression, and metastasis. As the most abundant component in the TME, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are involved in multifaceted mechanistic details including remodeling the extracellular matrix, suppressing immune responses, and secreting growth factors and cytokines that mediate signaling pathways to extensively affect tumor cell growth and invasiveness, differentiation, angiogenesis, and chronic inflammatory milieu. Today, more and more therapeutic strategies are purposefully designed to target the TME as well as tumor cells. This review will focus on the role of CAFs in tumor development and the novel strategies to target this component to inhibit the tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC3556178  PMID: 23064233
Tumor microenvironment; Cancer-associated fibroblasts; Extracellular matrix; Cancer signaling; Cancer therapy
21.  Lanthanum-containing hydroxyapatite coating on ultrafine-grained titanium by micro-arc oxidation: A promising strategy to enhance overall performance of titanium 
Titanium is widely used in biomedical materials, particularly in dental implants, because of its excellent biocompatibility and mechanical characteristics. However, titanium implant failures still remain in some cases, varying with implantation sites and patients. Improving its overall performance is a major focus of dental implant research. Equal-channel angular pressing (ECAP) can result in ultrafine-grained titanium with superior mechanical properties and better biocompatibility, which significantly benefits dental implants, and without any harmful alloying elements. Lanthanum (La) can inhibit the acidogenicity of dental plaque and La-containing hydroxyapatite (La-HA) possesses a series of attractive properties, in contrast to La-free HA. Micro-arc oxidation (MAO) is a promising technology that can produce porous and firmly adherent hydroxyapatite (HA) coatings on titanium substrates. Therefore, we hypothesize that porous La-containing hydroxyapatite coatings with different La content (0.89%, 1.3% and 1.79%) can be prepared on ultrafine-grained (~200–400 nm) titanium by ECAP and MAO in electrolytic solution containing 0.2 mol/L calcium acetate, 0.02 mol/L β-glycerol phosphate disodium salt pentahydrate (β-GP), and lanthanum nitrate with different concentrations to further improve the overall performance of titanium, which are expected to have great potential in medical applications as a dental implant.
PMCID: PMC3915024  PMID: 24487779
Dental Implants; Dentistry; Hydroxyapatites; Titanium
22.  Biological Evaluation of New Largazole Analogues: Alteration of Macrocyclic Scaffold with Click Chemistry 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2012;4(1):132-136.
We report the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of a new series of largazole analogues in which a 4-methylthiazoline moiety was replaced with a triazole and tetrazole ring, respectively. Compound 7 bearing a tetrazole ring was identified to show much better selectivity for HDAC1 over HDAC9 than largazole (10-fold). This work could serve as a foundation for further exploration of selective HDAC inhibitors using a largazole molecular scaffold.
PMCID: PMC4027506  PMID: 24900575
HDAC inhibitor; peptides; macrocycles; largazole; click chemistry
23.  Paclitaxel Inhibits Ovarian Tumor Growth by Inducing Epithelial Cancer Cells to Benign Fibroblast-like cells 
Cancer letters  2012;326(2):176-182.
Paclitaxel is commonly used to treat multiple human malignancies, but its mechanism of action is still poorly defined. Human ovarian cancer SKOV3 cells (parental SKOV3) were treated with paclitaxel (1 μM) for 2 days, and the morphologic changes in the cells were monitored for more than 4 months. Parental SKOV3 underwent a markedly morphologic transition from the epithelial to fibroblast-like phenotype following treatment with paclitaxel; the resulting cells were designated as SKOV3-P. The SKOV3-P cells’ proliferative ability was assessed via a 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The molecular characteristics of these cells were assessed via immunocytochemical staining and Western blot analysis. Their invasiveness and tumor formation ability was evaluated via wound-scratch and colony formation assays. The tumorigenicity of SKOV3-P cells was assessed in vivo after subcutaneous injection of tumor cells between injections of parental and paclitaxel-treated cells in nude mice. SKOV3-P cells have decreased the proliferation and invasion ability, decreased colony-forming ability when cultured in Matrigel and lost their tumor formation as compared with parental SKOV3 cells when injected in nude mice. SKOV3-P cells have decreased expression of E-cadherin, cytokeratin, Snail, PI3K, and P-Akt-Ser473, and increased expression of fibronectin, vimentin, Slug, P27, and PTEN. These results demonstrated that paclitaxel can inhibit tumor growth by inducing ovarian cancer epithelial cells toward a benign fibroblast-like phenotype through dysregulation of previously known pathways involved in the regulation of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), which may represent a novel mechanism for paclitaxel-induced tumor suppression.
PMCID: PMC3495569  PMID: 22902993
Ovarian Cancer; Paclitaxel; Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition; Fibronectin
24.  CD133 expression associated with poor prognosis in ovarian cancer 
As a putative marker for cancer stem cells in human malignant tumors, including ovarian cancer, CD133 expression may define a tumor-initiating subpopulation of cells and is associated with the clinical outcome of patients. However, at this time its clinical significance in ovarian cancer remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to clarify the clinical role of CD133 expression in human ovarian cancer. Immunohistochemical staining of CD133 expression was performed in 400 ovarian carcinoma samples using tissue microarray. The associations among CD133 expression and clinical factors (diagnosis, tumor grade, cancer stage, and clinical response to chemotherapy), overall survival and disease-free survival time were analyzed. CD133 expression was found in 31% of ovarian carcinoma samples. Fisher’s exact test and one-way analysis of variance suggested that CD133 expression was associated with high-grade serous carcinoma (P = 0.035), late-stage disease (P < 0.001), ascites level (P = 0.010), and non-response to chemotherapy (P = 0.023). CD133 expression was also associated with shorter overall survival time (P = 0.007) and shorter disease-free survival time (P < 0.001) by log-rank test. Moreover, CD133 expression was an independent predictor of shorter disease-free survival time in an unconditional logistic regression analysis with multiple covariates (P = 0.024). Our results thus show that CD133 expression is a predictor of poor clinical outcome for patients with ovarian cancer, supporting the proposed link between CD133 and cancer stem cells.
PMCID: PMC3855345  PMID: 22080056
CD133; immunohistochemistry; ovarian cancer; prognosis
25.  iTRAQ-Based Proteomic Analysis of Polyploid Giant Cancer Cells and Budding Progeny Cells Reveals Several Distinct Pathways for Ovarian Cancer Development 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80120.
Polyploid giant cancer cells (PGCCs) are a morphologically distinct subgroup of human tumor cells with increased nuclear size or multiple nuclei, but they are generally considered unimportant because they are presumed to be nondividing and thus nonviable. We have recently shown that these large cancer cells are not only viable but also can divide asymmetrically and yield progeny cancer cells with cancer stem-like properties via budding division. To further understand the molecular events involved in the regulation of PGCCs and the generation of their progeny cancer cells, we comparatively analyzed the proteomic profiles of PGCCs, PGCCs with budding daughter cells, and regular control cancer cells from the HEY and SKOv3 human ovarian cancer cell lines with and without CoCl2. We used a high-throughput iTRAQ-based proteomic methodology coupled with liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectroscopy to determine the differentiated regulated proteins. We performed Western blotting and immunohistochemical analyses to validate the differences in the expression patterns of a variety of proteins between PGCCs or budding PGCCs and regular cancer cells identified by iTRAQ approach and also a selected group of proteins from the literature. The differentially regulated proteins included proteins involved in response to hypoxia, stem cell generation, chromatin remodeling, cell-cycle regulation, and invasion and metastasis. In particular, we found that HIF-1alpha and its known target STC1 are upregulated in PGCCs. In addition, we found that a panel of stem cell-regulating factors and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition regulatory transcription factors were upregulated in budding PGCCs, whereas expression of the histone 1 family of nucleosomal linker proteins was consistently lower in PGCCs than in control cells. Thus, proteomic expression patterns provide valuable insight into the underlying mechanisms of PGCC formation and the relationship between PGCCs and cancer stem cells in patients with ovarian cancers.
PMCID: PMC3858113  PMID: 24348907

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