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1.  Particulate Matter Pollution and Population Exposure Assessment over Mainland China in 2010 with Remote Sensing 
The public is increasingly concerned about particulate matter pollution caused by respirable suspended particles (PM10) and fine particles (PM2.5). In this paper, PM10 and PM2.5 concentration are estimated with remote sensing and individual air quality indexes of PM10 and PM2.5 (IPM10 and IPM2.5) over mainland China in 2010 are calculated. We find that China suffered more serious PM2.5 than PM10 pollution in 2010, and they presented a spatial differentiation. Consequently, a particulate-based air quality index (PAQI) based on a weighting method is proposed to provide a more objective assessment of the particulate pollution. The study demonstrates that, in 2010, most of mainland China faced a lightly polluted situation in PAQI case; there were three areas obviously under moderate pollution (Hubei, Sichuan-Chongqing border region and Ningxia-Inner Mongolia border region). Simultaneously, two indicators are calculated with the combination of population density gridded data to reveal Chinese population exposure to PM2.5. Comparing per capita PM2.5 concentration with population-weighted PM2.5 concentration, the former shows that the high-level regions are distributed in Guangdong, Shanghai, and Tianjin, while the latter are in Hebei, Chongqing, and Shandong. By comparison, the results demonstrate that population-weighted PM2.5 concentration is more in line with the actual situation.
PMCID: PMC4053876  PMID: 24830453
particulate matter pollution; population exposure; air quality assessment; remote sensing
2.  A MicroRNA Signature Predicts Survival in Early Stage Small-Cell Lung Cancer Treated with Surgery and Adjuvant Chemotherapy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91388.
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is one of the most aggressive cancers, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying its devastating clinical outcome remain elusive. In this study, we investigated whether microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles can predict the clinical outcomes of SCLC patients. A total of 82 patients with limited SCLC, who were treated with surgical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy, were enrolled in this study. First, we surveyed the expression of 924 miRNAs from 42 SCLC patients to discover survival-relevant miRNAs and develop prognostic models, which were then validated in an independent cohort of 40 cases using quantitative real-time PCR. We found that the miR-150/miR-886-3p signature was significantly correlated with the overall survival (OS) of SCLC patients (p = 0.02) in the training set, and both miRNA expression levels were much lower in the SCLC samples than normal lung samples. The miRNA signature also proved to be a significant predictor of survival in the validation set. Patients with high-risk miRNA signatures had poor overall survival (p = 0.005) and progression-free survival (p = 0.017) compared with those with low-risk scores. These findings retained statistical significance after adjusting for age, gender and smoking status (HR: 0.26, 95%: CI 0.10–0.69, p = 0.007), which suggested it may be an independent predictor of survival. In summary, we developed a prognostic miR-150/miR-886-3p signature and validated expression in an independent dataset of resectable SCLC. These preliminary results indicated that miRNAs may serve as promising molecular prognostic markers and new therapeutic targets for SCLC.
PMCID: PMC3956664  PMID: 24637927
3.  Overexpression of OLC1 Promotes Tumorigenesis of Human Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90958.
OLC1 was recently identified to be a potential oncogene. However, the role of OLC1 in human esophageal cell carcinoma (ESCC) is unknown. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the expression of OLC1 in human ESCC from normal, premalignant, and malignant lesions, and to clarify the mechanisms by which OLC1 contributes to the progression of ESCC.
Experimental Design
Two hundred and fourteen paired ESCC specimens, and an independent set from 28 ESCC patients, were used to analyze the correlation between OLC1 expression and the pathological characteristics of tumors using immunohistochemistry. Stable OLC1-overexpressing and OLC1-interfering esophageal cancer cells were established and a series of experimental methods were used to investigate the biological functions and mechanisms of action of OLC1.
We showed that OLC1 was overexpressed in 145 of 214 (67.8%) of human ESCC specimens, compared with in only 59 of 214 (27.57%) paired adjacent normal tissues (P<0.001). OLC1 overexpression occurred at a rate of 35% (10/28) at the stage of mild/moderate dysplasia, but was significantly upregulated to 66% (22/33) at the stages of severe dysplasia and in situ carcinoma, while 71% positive staining (22/28) was observed in invasive carcinoma tissues compared with normal tissues (P<0.05). We also provided evidence that OLC1 abnormalities significantly altered the cell proliferation and apoptosis induced by cytotoxic agents. OLC1 overexpression suppressed apoptosis, and was associated with attenuated caspase-3 activation and increased Bcl-2 stability.
Our study provides strong evidence suggesting OLC1 abnormalities may contribute to the development of human ESCC and have some important clinical significance.
PMCID: PMC3946619  PMID: 24608342
4.  Severe sepsis: Low expression of the renin-angiotensin system is associated with poor prognosis 
Severe sepsis has a high fatality rate, but no clinical indices for prognosis have been established. In recent years, the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) has received considerable attention. However, clinical data on RAS are inconsistent. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to assess the significance of RAS in the prognosis of sepsis. Blood samples were collected from patients, who met the diagnostic criteria of severe sepsis, on day 1 (D1) and 3 (D3). For each sample, the levels of angiotensin II (AngII), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and additional indices were measured. Patients were monitored for 28 days. On the D1 of inclusion, the average Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score was 22.2 and the Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score was 6.1. Logistic regression analysis revealed that mortality-associated variables included the APACHE II score on D1, the SOFA score on D1, high lactic acid levels on D3 and low AngII and ACE levels on D1 and D3. AngII levels (<86.1 ng/ml) on D1 had a sensitivity of 88.2% and specificity of 77.3% for predicting mortality. ACE levels (<39.2 ng/ml) on D1 had a sensitivity of 88.2% and specificity of 72.7% for predicting mortality. These two indices were better than the APACHE II and SOFA scores. Therefore, low expression levels of AngII and ACE are valuable in predicting the mortality of patients with severe sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3991516  PMID: 24940436
severe sepsis; angiotensin II; angiotensin-converting enzyme; mortality; prognosis
5.  The E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM21 negatively regulates the innate immune response to intracellular double-stranded DNA 
Nature immunology  2012;14(2):172-178.
DDX41 is a sensor of intracellular double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) in myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) that triggers a type I interferon response via the signaling adaptor STING. We identified the E3 ligase TRIM21 as a DDX41-interacting protein and found that knockdown of or deficiency in TRIM21 resulted in enhanced type I interferon responses to intracellular dsDNA and DNA viruses. Overexpression of TRIM21 resulted in more degradation of DDX41 and less production of interferon-β (IFN-β) in response to intracellular dsDNA. The SPRY-PRY domain of TRIM21 interacted with the DEADc domain of DDX41. Lys9 and Lys115 of DDX41 were the targets of TRIM21-mediated ubiquitination. TRIM21 is therefore an interferon-inducible E3 ligase that induces the Lys48 (K48)-linked ubiquitination and degradation of DDX41 and negatively regulates the innate immune response to intracellular dsDNA.
PMCID: PMC3645272  PMID: 23222971
6.  Measuring telomere length for the early detection of precursor lesions of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:578.
Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide; current early detection screening tests are inadequate. Esophageal balloon cytology successfully retrieves exfoliated and scraped superficial esophageal epithelial cells, but cytologic reading of these cells has poor sensitivity and specificity for detecting esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Measuring telomere length, a marker for chromosomal instability, may improve the utility of balloon cytology for detecting ESD and early ESCC.
We examined balloon cytology specimens from 89 asymptomatic cases of ESD (37 low-grade and 52 high-grade) and 92 age- and sex-matched normal controls from an esophageal cancer early detection screening study. All subjects also underwent endoscopy and biopsy, and ESD was diagnosed histopathologically. DNA was extracted from the balloon cytology cells, and telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia.
Telomere lengths were comparable among the low- and high-grade dysplasia cases and controls, with means of 0.96, 0.96, and 0.92, respectively. The area under the ROC curve was 0.55 for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia. Further adjustment for subject characteristics, including sex, age, smoking, drinking, hypertension, and body mass index did not improve the use of telomere length as a marker for ESD.
Telomere length of esophageal balloon cytology cells was not associated with ESCC precursor lesions. Therefore, telomere length shows little promise as an early detection marker for ESCC in esophageal balloon samples.
PMCID: PMC3882883  PMID: 24308314
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Esophageal squamous dysplasia; Early detection; Screening; Balloon cytology; Telomeres
7.  Long segmental hyperplasia of interstitial cells of Cajal with giant diverticulum formation 
Sporadic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) usually form a well-circumscribed mass. In contrast, diffuse interstitial cell of Cajal (ICC) hyperplasia along the Auerbach plexus without a discrete mass may occur in patients with germline mutations in the NF1, c-KIT or PDGFRA genes. However, sporadic, diffuse ICC hyperplasia without c-KIT or PDGFRA mutations has not been reported. We describe herein one such case, forming a giant diverticulum. A 63-year-old woman with no features of Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) presented with increasing abdominal pain for more than 30 years. A large, diverticulum-like mass in the ileum was resected. Microscopically, a diffuse proliferation of bland spindle cells was seen extending for 12 cm, replacing the muscularis propria and lined by intact mucosa. The spindle cells were CD117+/CD34+/DOG1+/SMA+/Desmin-/S100-. Mutation analyses did not reveal any mutations in c-KIT or PDGFRA. The lesion had two silent mutations in the NF1 gene. It is rare of the diffuse form of sporadic ICC hyperplasia showing diffuse longitudinal microscopic growth completely replacing the muscularis propria, mimicking diffuse ICC hyperplasia in hereditary GIST syndromes, but without solid components and no c-KIT or PDGFRA gene mutations. This peculiar form of sporadic ICC hyperplasia may be related to intestinal dysmotility in this ileal segment and giant diverticulum formation.
PMCID: PMC3843283  PMID: 24294389
ICC hyperplasia; giant diverticulum; c-KIT; PDGFRA; NF1
8.  HER2 Status in Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer Assessed by Local and Central Laboratories: Chinese Results of the HER-EAGLE Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80290.
Trastuzumab has been approved for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive advanced gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers (GC and GJC) in combination with chemotherapy. The aim of this HER2 early/advanced gastric epidemiology (HER-EAGLE) study was to evaluate the frequency of HER2 over-expression and to evaluate agreement on HER2 status assessment in GC and GJC patients in local laboratories versus a central laboratory in China. Tumor samples from 734 GC or GJC patients who were enrolled at 11 different hospitals in China were examined. HER2 status was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), and followed by dual-color silver-enhanced in Situ hybridization (DSISH) in IHC 2+ cases. Clinicopathologic characteristics were collected from all of the patients. HER2-positive tumors were identified in 12.0% (88/734) of the GC and GJC cases. There were significantly higher rates of HER2 positivity in patients with GJC (GJC: 18.1%, GC: 9.7%, P=0.002), and intestinal-type cancers using the Lauren classification (intestinal: 23.6%, diffuse/mixed: 4.3%, P<0.0001). No significant difference in HER2 positivity was identified between resection and biopsy samples, or between early and advanced disease stages. The agreement between local laboratories and the central laboratory on HER2 status scoring was good (kappa=0.86). The main reason of HER2 status discordance between local and the central laboratories was IHC result mis-interpretation in local laboratories. These results suggest that IHC followed by DSISH testing is an accurate and cost-effective procedure in China.
PMCID: PMC3828190  PMID: 24244671
9.  Nimotuzumab combined with radiotherapy for esophageal cancer: preliminary study of a Phase II clinical trial 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:1589-1596.
To determine the safety and therapeutic effects of nimotuzumab (h-R3) combined with radiotherapy in esophageal cancer.
This Phase II clinical trial involved 42 patients with stage II (inoperable or refused surgery) to stage IV (supraclavicular lymph node metastasis only) esophageal cancers treated between November 2008 and July 2010. All patients had squamous cell carcinomas, and all received three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy and 200 mg nimotuzumab per week during radiotherapy.
There were 9, 25, and 8 patients with stage II, III and IV disease, respectively. All except two patients received 50–70 Gy radiation; 37 patients (88.1%) received more than five nimotuzumab doses. Grade III toxicities (21.4% of all adverse events) included esophagitis and gastrointestinal, dermatological and hematological toxicities. Complete response, partial response, stable disease, and progressive disease were observed in 0, 22 (52.4%), 17 (40.5%) and 3 (7.1%) patients at 1 month after the treatment. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression rate was 95.2%. After a median follow-up of 37 months, the median survival time (MST) was 14 months. The 2 year and 3 year overall survival (OS) rates were 33.3% and 26.2%, respectively. The median progression-free survival (PFS) time was 10 months. The 2 year and 3 year PFS rates were 24.5% and 22.1%, respectively. The MST in the 13 patients with (+++) EGFR expression (group A) and 7 patients with (++) EGFR expression (group B) was 15 and 11 months, respectively. The 2 year and 3 year OS rates were 46.2% and 38.5% in group A and 28.6% and 28.6% in group B, respectively (P = 0.405).
Although concurrent chemoradiotherapy was the standard care for locally advanced esophageal cancer, radiotherapy was the choice for those who were refused or could not tolerate chemoradiotherapy. Our study shows that nimotuzumab combined with radiotherapy was well tolerated in patients with esophageal cancer. EGFR overexpression was more common than previously reported. OS was higher after combined therapy than after historical control radiotherapy alone. Further studies are required to confirm the therapeutic efficacy of nimotuzumab in esophageal cancer.
PMCID: PMC3825695  PMID: 24235844
esophageal neoplasms; nimotuzumab; radiotherapy; targeted therapy; treatment outcomes
10.  IL-10 Gene Polymorphisms and Susceptibility to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69547.
A number of observational studies have been conducted to investigate the association of the IL-10 gene polymorphisms with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) susceptibility. However, their results are conflicting.
We searched published case-control studies on the IL-10 polymorphisms and SLE in PubMed, EMBASE and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database. A meta-analysis was conducted using a fixed-effect or random-effect model based on between-study heterogeneity.
A total of 42 studies with 7948 cases and 11866 controls were included in this meta-analysis. Among Caucasians, the CA27 allele of the IL10.G microsatellites (OR 2.38, 95% CI 1.01–5.62), the G allele of the IL-10 -1082G/A polymorphism (G vs. A: OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.02–1.44; GG vs. AA: OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.16–1.82; GG+GA vs. AA: OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03–1.29) and its associated haplotype -1082G/−819C/−592C (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.10–1.42) were associated with increased SLE susceptibility without or with unimportant between-study heterogeneity. Removing studies deviating from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) hardly changed these results. Among Asians, the CA21 allele of the IL-10.G microsatellites (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.02–1.60) and the -1082G/−819C/−592C haplotype (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.00–1.53) were associated with increased SLE susceptibility, but with substantial between-study heterogeneity or sensitive to HWE status. Removing studies deviating from HWE also produced statistically significant associations of the IL-10 -1082G/A (GG vs. AA: OR 3.21, 95% CI 1.24–8.28; GG vs. AA+GA: OR 2.85, 95% CI 1.19–6.79) and -592C/A polymorphisms (CC+CA vs. AA: OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.51–0.94) with SLE among Asians.
This meta-analysis showed that the IL10.G microsatellites, the IL-10 -1082G/A and -592C/A polymorphisms and the haplotype -1082G/−819C/−592C are associated with SLE susceptibility. Besides, this is the first time to report an association between the CA27 allele of the IL-10.G microsatellites and SLE among Caucasians. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3720721  PMID: 23936042
11.  New intrinsic mechanism on gum-like superelasticity of multifunctional alloys 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2156.
Ti-Nb-based Gum Metals exhibit extraordinary superelasticity with ultralow elastic modulus, superior strength and ductility, and a peculiar dislocation-free deformation behavior, most of which challenge existing theories of crystal strength. Additionally, this kind of alloys actually displays even more anomalous mechanical properties, such as the non-linear superelastic behavior, accompanied by a pronounced tension-to-compression asymmetry, and large ductility with a low Poisson's ratio. Two main contradictory arguments exist concerning the deformation mechanisms of those alloys, i.e., formation of reversible nanodisturbance and reversible martensitic transformation. Herein we used the in-situ synchrotron high-energy X-ray scattering technique to reveal the novel intrinsic physical origin of all anomalous mechanical properties of the Ti-24Nb-4Zr-8Sn-0.10O alloy, a typical gum-like metal. Our experiments provide direct evidence on two different kinds of interesting, stress-induced, reversible nanoscale martensitic transitions, i.e., the austenitic regions with B2 structure transform to α″ martensite and those with BCC structure transform to δ martensite.
PMCID: PMC3703606  PMID: 23831664
12.  The helicase DDX41 senses intracellular DNA mediated by the adaptor STING in dendritic cells 
Nature immunology  2011;12(10):959-965.
The recognition of pathogenic DNA is important to the initiation of antiviral responses. Here we report the identification of DDX41, a member of the DEXDc family of helicases, as an intracellular DNA sensor in myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs). Knockdown of DDX41 expression by short hairpin RNA blocked the ability of mDCs to mount type I interferon and cytokine responses to DNA and DNA viruses. Overexpression of both DDX41 and the membrane-associated adaptor STING together had a synergistic effect in promoting Ifnb promoter activity. DDX41 bound both DNA and STING and localized together with STING in the cytosol. Knockdown of DDX41 expression blocked activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase TBK1 and the transcription factors NF-κB and IRF3 by B-form DNA. Our results suggest that DDX41 is an additional DNA sensor that depends on STING to sense pathogenic DNA.
PMCID: PMC3671854  PMID: 21892174
13.  DHX9 Pairs with IPS-1 To Sense Double-Stranded RNA in Myeloid Dendritic Cells 
The innate immune system is equipped with many molecular sensors for microbial DNA/RNA to quickly mount antimicrobial host immune responses. In this paper, we identified DHX9, a DExDc helicase family member, as an important viral dsRNA sensor in myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs). Knockdown of DHX9 expression by small heteroduplex RNA dramatically blocked the ability of mDCs to produce IFN-α/β and proinflammatory cytokines in response to polyinosine-polycytidylic acid, influenza A, and reovirus. DHX9 could specifically bind polyinosine-polycytidylic acid via its double-strand RNA binding motifs. DHX9 interacted with IPS-1 via the HelicC-HA2-DUF and CARD domains of DHX9 and IPS-1, respectively. Knockdown of DHX9 expression in mDCs blocked the activation of NF-κB and IFN regulatory factor 3 by dsRNA. Collectively, these results suggest that DHX9 is an important RNA sensor that is dependent on IPS-1 to sense pathogenic RNA.
PMCID: PMC3656476  PMID: 21957149
14.  Genome Sequencing of Ralstonia solanacearum FQY_4, Isolated from a Bacterial Wilt Nursery Used for Breeding Crop Resistance 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(3):e00125-13.
Ralstonia solanacearum strain FQY_4 was isolated from a bacterial wilt nursery, which is used for breeding crops for Ralstonia resistance in China. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of FQY_4 and its comparison with other published R. solanacearum genomes, especially with the strains GMI1000 and Y45 in the same group.
PMCID: PMC3650430  PMID: 23661471
15.  HER2 expression and relevant clinicopathological features in gastric and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma in a Chinese population 
Diagnostic Pathology  2013;8:76.
With varied immunohistochemistry scoring criteria and patient cohorts, HER2-positivity rates in gastric cancer (GC) and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma have been reported with a wide range. Recently standardized scoring criteria for GC and GEJ cancer has been established and recommended. In this study, the frequency of HER2 expression and the relationship between HER2 expression and clinicopathological features were examined in a large cohort of Chinese GC and GEJ cancer patients.
A total of 1463 patients, including 929 primary GCs and 534 primary GEJ adenocarcinomas, was retrospectively analyzed for HER2 overexpression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis was used in 308 GCs and GEJ adenocarcinoma cases to assess HER2 gene amplification.
HER2 overexpression (3+) was detected in 9.8% of carcinomas and more frequently observed in GEJ cancer cases, in the intestinal type, and in the well or moderately differentiated type (P=0.003, 0.000, and 0.000, respectively). HER2 equivocal (2+) was detected in 14.4% of cases. As for the 308 cases analyzed by FISH, 39 (of 40, 97.5%) IHC 3+ cases, 11 (of 38, 28.9%) IHC 2+ cases, and 3 (of 230, 1.3%) IHC 1+/0 cases showed HER2 gene amplification. A high concordance rate (98.5%) between IHC and FISH was demonstrated.
Approximately 10% of Chinese patients with primary GC and GEJ adenocarcinoma were HER2-positive on IHC. HER2 overexpression was associated with GEJ site, intestinal cancer subtype, and well or moderately differentiated carcinomas.
Virtual slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3655831  PMID: 23656792
HER2; Gastric cancer; Gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma; Chineses; Clinicopathological features
16.  Pulmonary metastasis of a papillary thyroid carcinoma and primary lung adenocarcinoma: two coincident carcinomas at the same location 
Diagnostic Pathology  2013;8:26.
Tumor-to-tumor metastasis is a fairly rare phenomenon. The lung cancers are the most common donors, but are exceedingly rare as recipients. Here we report a case of a lung adenocarcinoma acting as the recipient of papillary thyroid carcinoma, with multiple spreading foci of the two cancers in the lung simultaneously. The morphology and immunohistochemisty (Napsin-A, Thyroglobulin) are very important in differential diagnosis of lung primary adenocarcinoma and metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma.
Virtual Slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3599127  PMID: 23414265
Tumor-to-tumor metastasis; Papillary thyroid carcinoma; Lung adenocarcinoma; Napsin-A; Thyroglobulin
17.  Berberine Inhibits Proliferation and Down-Regulates Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor through Activation of Cbl in Colon Tumor Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56666.
Berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid, is an active component of Ranunculaceae and Papaveraceae plant families. Berberine has been found to suppress growth of several tumor cell lines in vitro through the cell-type-dependent mechanism. Expression and activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is increased in colonic precancerous lesions and tumours, thus EGFR is considered a tumour promoter. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects and mechanisms of berberine on regulation of EGFR activity and proliferation in colonic tumor cell lines and in vivo. We reported that berberine significantly inhibited basal level and EGF-stimulated EGFR activation and proliferation in the immorto Min mouse colonic epithelial (IMCE) cells carrying the APCmin mutation and human colonic carcinoma cell line, HT-29 cells. Berberine acted to inhibit proliferation through inducing G1/S and G2/M cell cycle arrest, which correlated with regulation of the checkpoint protein expression. In this study, we also showed that berberine stimulated ubiquitin ligase Cbl activation and Cbl's interaction with EGFR, and EGFR ubiquitinylation and down-regulation in these two cell lines in the presence or absence of EGF treatment. Knock-down Cbl expression blocked the effects of berberine on down-regulation of EGFR and inhibition of proliferation. Furthermore, berberine suppressed tumor growth in the HT-29 cell xenograft model. Cell proliferation and EGFR expression level was decreased by berberine treatment in this xenograft model and in colon epithelial cells of APCmin/+ mice. Taken together, these data indicate that berberine enhances Cbl activity, resulting in down-regulation of EGFR expression and inhibition of proliferation in colon tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3573001  PMID: 23457600
18.  Parameters predicting lymph node metastasis in patients with superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Endoscopic resection is a less invasive treatment than esophagectomy for superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, but patients with lymph node metastasis need additional treatment after endoscopic resection. The purpose of this study was to establish a set of indicators to identify superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients at a high risk of metastasis. 271 superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinoma esophagectomy cases were reviewed retrospectively. The relationships between clinicopathological parameters and immunohistochemical findings (p53, Cyclin D1, EGFR and VEGF) on tissue microarrays, on the one hand, and lymph node metastasis were assessed by univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. Patients with intraluminal masses and ulcerated masses had a high risk of lymph node metastasis. Patients with superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 1) thinner than 1200µm; 2) confined to the mucosa; 3) with submucosal invasion <250µm; 4) with submucosal invasion ≥250µm but with negative VEGF expression and well/moderately differentiated or basaloid histology; or 5) with submucosal invasion ≥250µm but with weak VEGF expression and well differentiated histology had almost no risk of lymph node metastasis. We recommend endoscopic resection for all erosive, papillary and plaque-like superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinomas where endoscopic resection is clinically feasible, and esophagectomy for all other erosive, papillary and plaque-like cases and all intraluminal masses and ulcerated tumors. No additional treatment is needed for endoscopic resection cases with superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 1) thinner than 1200µm; 2) confined to the mucosa; 3) with submucosal invasion <250µm; 4) with submucosal invasion ≥250µm but with negative VEGF expression and well/moderately differentiated or basaloid histology; or 5) with submucosal invasion ≥250µm but with weak VEGF expression and well differentiated histology. These clinical and pathological criteria should enable more accurate selection of patients for these procedures.
PMCID: PMC3505024  PMID: 22627741
superficial cancer; esophageal cancer; squamous cell carcinoma; endoscopic resection; lymph node metastasis
19.  Outcomes from a prospective trial of endoscopic radiofrequency ablation of early squamous cell neoplasia of the esophagus 
Gastrointestinal endoscopy  2011;74(6):1181-1190.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is safe and effective for eradicating neoplasia in Barrett’s esophagus.
Evaluate RFA for eradicating early esophageal squamous cell neoplasia (ESCN) defined as moderate- and high-grade squamous intraepithelial neoplasia (MGIN, HGIN) and early flat-type esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Prospective cohort study.
Tertiary referral center.
Esophageal unstained lesions (USLs) were identified using Lugol’s chromoendoscopy. Inclusion: at least 1 flat (type 0-IIb) USL ≥3cm, USL-bearing esophagus ≤12 cm, and a consensus diagnosis of MGIN, HGIN, or ESCC by two expert GI pathologists. Exclusion: prior endoscopic resection or ablation, stricture, or any non-flat mucosa.
Circumferential RFA creating a continuous treatment area (TA) including all USLs. At 3-month intervals thereafter, chromoendoscopy with biopsies, followed by focal RFA of USLs, if present.
Main outcome measures
Complete response (CR) at 12 months, defined as absence of MGIN, HGIN or ESCC in TA; CR after one RFA session; neoplastic progression from baseline; and adverse events.
29 patients (14 male, mean age 60.3 years) with MGIN (18), HGIN (10), or ESCC (1) participated. Mean USL length was 6.2 cm (TA 8.2 cm). At 3-months, after one RFA session, 86% of patients (25/29) were CR. At 12-months, 97% (28/29) of patients were CR. There was no neoplastic progression. There were 4 strictures, all dilated to resolution.
Single center study with limited number of patients.
In patients with early ESCN (MGIN, HGIN, flat-type ESCC), RFA was associated with a high rate of histological complete response (97% of patients), no neoplastic progression, and an acceptable adverse event profile.
PMCID: PMC3505032  PMID: 21839994
20.  Fibroblast EXT1-Levels Influence Tumor Cell Proliferation and Migration in Composite Spheroids 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41334.
Stromal fibroblasts are important determinants of tumor cell behavior. They act to condition the tumor microenvironment, influence tumor growth, support tumor angiogenesis and affect tumor metastasis. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans, present both on tumor and stromal cells, interact with a large number of ligands including growth factors, their receptors, and structural components of the extracellular matrix. Being ubiquitously expressed in the tumor microenvironment heparan sulfate proteoglycans are candidates for playing central roles in tumor-stroma interactions. The objective of this work was to investigate the role of heparan sulfate expressed by stromal fibroblasts in modulating the growth of tumor cells and in controlling the interstitial fluid pressure in a 3-D model.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We generated spheroids composed of fibroblasts alone, or composite spheroids, composed of fibroblasts and tumor cells. Here we show that stromal fibroblasts with a mutation in the heparan sulfate elongating enzyme Ext1 and thus a low heparan sulfate content, formed composite fibroblast/tumor cell spheroids with a significant lower interstitial fluid pressure than corresponding wild-type fibroblast/tumor cell composite spheroids. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry of composite spheroids revealed that the cells segregated, so that after 6 days in culture, the wild-type fibroblasts formed an inner core and the tumor cells an outer layer of cells. For composite spheroids containing Ext1-mutated fibroblasts this segregation was less obvious, indicating impaired cell migration. Analysis of tumor cells expressing the firefly luciferase gene revealed that the changes in tumor cell migration in mutant fibroblast/tumor cell composite spheroids coincided with a lower proliferation rate.
This is the first demonstration that stromal Ext1-levels modulate tumor cell proliferation and affect the interstitial fluid pressure in a 3-D spheroid model. Learning how structural changes in stromal heparan sulfate influence tumor cells is essential for our understanding how non-malignant cells of the tumor microenvironment influence tumor cell progression.
PMCID: PMC3405129  PMID: 22848466
21.  One-stage and posterior approach for correction of moderate to severe scoliosis in adolescents associated with Chiari I malformation: is a prior suboccipital decompression always necessary? 
European Spine Journal  2011;20(7):1106-1113.
Priority of neurological decompression was regarded as necessary for scoliosis patients associated with Chiari I malformation in order to decrease the risk of spinal cord injury from scoliosis surgery. We report a retrospective series of scoliosis associated with Chiari I malformation in 13 adolescent patients and explore the effectiveness and safety of posterior scoliosis correction without suboccipital decompression. One-stage posterior approach total vertebral column resection was performed in seven patients with scoliosis or kyphosis curve >90° (average 100.1° scoliotic and 97.1° kyphotic curves) or presented with apparent neurological deficits, whereas the other six patients underwent posterior pedicle screw instrumentation for correction of spinal deformity alone (average 77.3° scoliotic and 44.0° kyphotic curves). The apex of the scoliosis curve was located at T7–T12. Mean operating time and intraoperative hemorrhage was 463 min and 5,190 ml in patients undergoing total vertebral column resection, with average correction rate of scoliosis and kyphosis being 63.3 and 71.1%, respectively. Mean operating time and intraoperative hemorrhage in patients undergoing instrumentation alone was 246 min and 1,450 ml, with the average correction rate of scoliosis and kyphosis being 60.8 and 53.4%, respectively. The mean follow-up duration was 32.2 months. No iatrogenic neurological deterioration had been encountered during the operation procedure and follow-up. After vertebral column resection, neurological dysfunctions such as relaxation of anal sphincter or hypermyotonia that occurred in three patients preoperatively improved gradually. In summary, suboccipital decompression prior to correction of spine deformity may not always be necessary for adolescent patients with scoliosis associated with Chiari I malformation. Particularly in patients with a severe and rigid curve or with significant neurological deficits, posterior approach total vertebral column resection is likely a good option, which could not only result in satisfactory correction of deformity, but also decrease the risk of neurological injury secondary to surgical intervention by shortening spine and reducing the tension of spinal cord.
PMCID: PMC3176690  PMID: 21399931
Scoliosis; Kyphosis; Chiari malformation; Adolescent; Corrective surgery
22.  Association between genetic variations in tumor necrosis factor receptor genes and survival of patients with T-cell lymphoma 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2012;31(7):335-341.
The prognosis of T-cell lymphoma (TCL) has been shown to be associated with the clinical characteristics of patients. However, there is little knowledge of whether genetic variations also affect the prognosis of TCL. This study investigated the associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily (TNFRSF) genes and the survival of patients with TCL. A total of 38 tag SNPs in 18 TNFRSF genes were genotyped using Sequenom platform in 150 patients with TCL. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were plotted and significance was assessed using log-rank tests. Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyze each of these 38 SNPs with adjustment for covariates that might influence patient survival, including sex and international prognostic Index score. Hazard ratios (HRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Among the 38 SNPs tested, 3 were significantly associated with the survival of patients with TCL. These SNPs were located at LTβR (rs3759333C>T) and TNFRSF17 (rs2017662C>T and rs2071336C>T). The 5-year survival rates were significantly different among patients carrying different genotypes and the HRs for death between the different genotypes ranged from 0.45 to 2.46. These findings suggest that the SNPs in TNFRSF genes might be important determinants for the survival of TCL patients.
PMCID: PMC3777498  PMID: 22640629
Tumor necrosis factor receptor; SNP; T-cell lymphoma; survival
23.  Genome-Wide Screening for Genetic Alterations in Esophageal Cancer by aCGH Identifies 11q13 Amplification Oncogenes Associated with Nodal Metastasis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39797.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is highly prevalent in China and other Asian countries, as a major cause of cancer-related mortality. ESCC displays complex chromosomal abnormalities, including multiple structural and numerical aberrations. Chromosomal abnormalities, such as recurrent amplifications and homozygous deletions, directly contribute to tumorigenesis through altering the expression of key oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes.
Methodology/Principle Findings
To understand the role of genetic alterations in ESCC pathogenesis and identify critical amplification/deletion targets, we performed genome-wide 1-Mb array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) analysis for 10 commonly used ESCC cell lines. Recurrent chromosomal gains were frequently detected on 3q26-27, 5p15-14, 8p12, 8p22-24, 11q13, 13q21-31, 18p11 and 20q11-13, with frequent losses also found on 8p23-22, 11q22, 14q32 and 18q11-23. Gain of 11q13.3-13.4 was the most frequent alteration in ESCC. Within this region, CCND1 oncogene was identified with high level of amplification and overexpression in ESCC, while FGF19 and SHANK2 was also remarkably over-expressed. Moreover, a high concordance (91.5%) of gene amplification and protein overexpression of CCND1 was observed in primary ESCC tumors. CCND1 amplification/overexpression was also significantly correlated with the lymph node metastasis of ESCC.
These findings suggest that genomic gain of 11q13 is the major mechanism contributing to the amplification. Novel oncogenes identified within the 11q13 amplicon including FGF19 and SHANK2 may play important roles in ESCC tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3382571  PMID: 22761904
24.  R-CHOP regimen can significantly decrease the risk of disease relapse and progression in patients with non-germinal center B-cell subtype diffuse large B-cell lymphoma 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2012;31(6):306-314.
To further explore the role of rituximab when added to the CHOP-like regimen in the treatment of immunohistochemically defined non-germinal center B-cell subtype (non-GCB) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), 159 newly diagnosed DLBCL patients were studied retrospectively based on the immunohistochemical evaluation of CD10, Bcl-6, MUM-1, and Bcl-2. Altogether, 110 patients underwent the CHOP-like regimen, and rituximab was added for the other 49 patients. Cox regression analysis showed that compared with the CHOP-like regimen, the rituximab-based regimen (R-CHOP regimen) significantly decreased the risk of disease relapse and progression in CD10-negative patients (P = 0.001), Bcl-6-negative patients (P = 0.01), and MUM-1-positive patients (P = 0.003). The risk of disease relapse in patients with non-GCB subtype (P = 0.002) also decreased. In contrast, patients with the opposite immunohistochemical marker expression profile and GCB subtype did not benefit from treatment with the R-CHOP regimen. In addition, non-GCB subtype patients had a significantly higher expression rate of Bcl-2 than GCB subtype patients (P = 0.042). Although univariate analysis found that both Bcl-2-positive and -negative patients had significantly higher event-free survival rates with the R-CHOP regimen, only Bcl-2 positivity (P = 0.004) maintained significance in the Cox regression analysis. We conclude that the addition of rituximab can significantly improve the prognosis of patients with non-GCB subtype DLBCL, which is closely related to the expression of CD10, Bcl-6, MUM-1, and Bcl-2.
PMCID: PMC3777489  PMID: 22640627
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; rituximab; chemotherapy; NF-κB; immunohistochemistry
25.  Expressions of the γ2 chain of laminin-5 and secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and their relation to prognosis 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2011;30(1):69-78.
Previous studies have shown that the expressions of the γ2 chain of laminin-5 and secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) play important roles in oncogenesis and the development of carcinoma. To assess the expressions of laminin-5 γ2 chain and SPARC in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and to clarify the prognostic significance of the expressions of laminin-5 γ2 chain and SPARC in esophageal SCC, we detected the expressions of laminin-5 γ2 chain and SPARC in cancer tissue and corresponding normal mucosa from 116 patients with advanced (stages II–IV) esophageal SCC using the tissue microarray-based immunohistochemistry and analyzed the correlation of the expressions with clinicopathologic characteristics and survival. We found that in normal esophageal tissues, laminin-5 γ2 chain was expressed in the basement membrane, whereas in esophageal SCC tissues, laminin-5 γ2 chain was expressed in the cytoplasm of carcinoma cells, with a positive rate of 72.4%. SPARC was not detected in normal esophageal mucosa, but was expressed in stromal fibroblasts in 84.6% of esophageal SCC cases and in cancer cells in 7.8% of esophageal SCC cases. There was a significant correlation between laminin-5 γ2 chain and stromal SPARC expression in esophageal SCC (Spearman' s rho = 0.423, P < 0.001). The expressions of both laminin-5 γ2 chain and stromal SPARC were correlated with survival (P = 0.032 and P = 0.034, respectively). In stage-II esophageal SCC, the expression of laminin-5 γ2 chain was significantly correlated with survival (P = 0.023), while the expression of SPARC was not significantly correlated with survival (P = 0.154). Patients with elevated levels of laminin-5 γ2 chain and SPARC expressions had a poorer prognosis than did those lacking elevated levels of laminin-5 γ2 chain expression and/or elevated levels of SPARC expression (P = 0.001). In stage-II esophageal SCC, patients with elevated levels of laminin-5 γ2 chain and SPARC expressions had a poorer prognosis (P < 0.001). These results suggest that laminin-5 γ2 chain and SPARC may play roles in the progression of esophageal SCC and their simultaneous expression is correlated with poorer prognosis, especially in patients with stage-II SCC.
PMCID: PMC4012265  PMID: 21192846
Laminin-5 γ2; SPARC; esophageal cancer; squamous cell carcinoma; pathology

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