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1.  Wnt‐β‐catenin signaling regulates ABCC3 (MRP3) transporter expression in colorectal cancer 
Cancer Science  2016;107(12):1776-1784.
We determined the gene expression profiles for 48 ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters in matched colon cancer and normal colon tissues in order to provide insight into the mechanisms underlying expression of transporters related to colon carcinogenesis. The expression of ABCB1,ABCC1,ABCC2,ABCC3, and ABCG2 was altered in association with colon carcinogenesis. Among these transporters, the expression of ABCC3 was repressed by Wnt signaling pathway in colon cancer cell lines. Knockdown of the pathway components transcription factor 7‐like 2 (TCF7L2) or β‐catenin thus increased ABCC3 expression, whereas activation of Wnt signaling with inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase–3β (GSK‐3β) reduced it. ChIP and luciferase reporter assays also showed that TCF7L2 binds to the ABCC3 locus and regulates its expression. Finally, overexpression of ABCC3 in colon cancer cells conferred resistance to anticancer drug‐induced cytotoxicity. Our data thus suggest that Wnt signaling represses ABCC3 expression during colon carcinogenesis, and that subsequent upregulation of ABCC3 expression during drug treatment might contribute to acquired drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC5198960  PMID: 27709738
ABCC3 transporter; colorectal cancer; drug resistance; MRP3 transporter; Wnt signaling pathway
2.  Epizootiological Investigation of Getah Virus Infection among Racehorses in Japan in 2014 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2015;53(7):2286-2291.
To clarify the factors causing an outbreak in 2014 of Getah virus infection among racehorses at the Miho training center, Japan, we isolated virus strains and performed an epizootiological investigation of affected horses and related horse populations. Three Getah virus isolates were recovered from clinical samples, and one of them (14-I-605) was used in a virus-neutralizing test. Of the affected horses (n = 33), 20 (60.6%) were 2-year-olds. We investigated the histories of Getah virus vaccination of the affected horses and the whole population at the Miho training center. Among the 2-year-old population, the prevalence of the disease in horses that had been vaccinated once was 14.1%. This was significantly higher than that in horses that had been vaccinated twice or more (1.3%; P < 0.01). Among horses that had entered the training center from farms in Ibaraki Prefecture surrounding the training center and from neighboring Chiba Prefecture, the rate of seropositivity for Getah virus was 13.0% in September 2014 and 42.9% in October 2014; that in the corresponding periods in 2010 and 2013 was 0%. In conclusion, we identified two possible causes of the outbreak of Getah virus infection in the training center in 2014: (i) the existence of susceptible horses that had received only one dose of vaccination before the outbreak and (ii) increased risk of exposure to the virus because of epizootic Getah virus infection among horses on surrounding farms in Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures.
PMCID: PMC4473224  PMID: 25972425
3.  PLK1 blockade enhances therapeutic effects of radiation by inducing cell cycle arrest at the mitotic phase 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:15666.
The cytotoxicity of ionizing radiation depends on the cell cycle phase; therefore, its pharmacological manipulation, especially the induction of cell cycle arrest at the radiosensitive mitotic-phase (M-phase), has been attempted for effective radiation therapy. Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that functions in mitotic progression, and is now recognized as a potential target for radiosensitization. We herein investigated whether PLK1 blockade enhanced the cytotoxic effects of radiation by modulating cell cycle phases of cancer cells using the novel small molecule inhibitor of PLK1, TAK-960. The TAK-960 treatment exhibited radiosensitizing effects in vitro, especially when it increased the proportion of M-phase cells. TAK-960 did not sensitize cancer cells to radiation when an insufficient amount of time was provided to induce mitotic arrest. The overexpression of a PLK1 mutant, PLK1-R136G&T210D, which was confirmed to cancel the TAK-960-mediated increase in the proportion of mitotic cells, abrogated the radiosensitizing effects of TAK-960. A tumor growth delay assay also demonstrated that the radiosensitizing effects of TAK-960 depended on an increase in the proportion of M-phase cells. These results provide a rational basis for targeting PLK1 for radiosensitization when considering the therapeutic time window for M-phase arrest as the best timing for radiation treatments.
PMCID: PMC4621528  PMID: 26503893
4.  A Rare Complication of Chylous Leakage After Open Partial Nephrectomy Successfully Resolved by Somatostatin Analogue 
Urology Case Reports  2015;3(6):195-197.
We report the first case of a rare complication of chylous leakage after open left partial nephrectomy. The recent literature on chylous ascites after nephrectomy is reviewed and hypothesized the etiology of this rare complication. We propose an early use of octreotide, somatostatin analogue, together with diet modification to gain rapid resolution of this confounded complication.
PMCID: PMC4714305  PMID: 26793550
Chylous ascites; Partial nephrectomy; Somatostatin analogue
5.  The Relationship Between the Status of Unnecessary Accommodations Being Made to Unconfirmed Food Allergy Students and the Presence or Absence of a Doctor’s Diagnosis 
Children  2015;2(2):228-243.
The present study investigated the current state of unnecessary children food allergy accommodation and the medical efforts to confirm the existence of food allergies in school lunch service kitchens in Okinawa, Japan, including kitchens accommodating food allergy students by requiring medical documentation at the start and during provisions being made (Double Diagnosis), requiring medical documentation at the start only (Single Diagnosis), and with no medical documentation (Non-Diagnosis). Unnecessary accommodations are being made to unconfirmed food allergy students, wherein the more medical consultation was required, the lower the food allergy incident rate was and the more food allergens were diagnosed (Non-Diagnosis > Single Diagnosis > Double Diagnosis). This study suggests the possibility that unconfirmed food allergy students may be receiving unnecessary food allergy accommodations per school lunches, and the number of unnecessary food allergy provisions being made could be reduced by requiring medical documentation at the start and during these provisions.
PMCID: PMC4928759  PMID: 27417361
children food allergies; school lunch; doctor’s diagnosis; unnecessary accommodations; school food services; nutrition and diet
6.  Getah Virus Infection among Racehorses, Japan, 2014 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(5):883-885.
An outbreak of Getah virus infection occurred among racehorses in Japan during September and October 2014. Of 49 febrile horses tested by reverse transcription PCR, 25 were positive for Getah virus. Viruses detected in 2014 were phylogenetically different from the virus isolated in Japan in 1978.
PMCID: PMC4412242  PMID: 25898181
Getah virus; horse; outbreak; vaccine; Japan; viruses; vector-borne infections; mosquitoes; Alphavirus
7.  UCHL1 provides diagnostic and antimetastatic strategies due to its deubiquitinating effect on HIF-1α 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6153.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) plays a role in tumour metastases; however, the genes that activate HIF-1 and subsequently promote metastases have yet to be identified. Here we show that Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCHL1) abrogates the von Hippel–Lindau-mediated ubiquitination of HIF-1α, the regulatory subunit of HIF-1, and consequently promotes metastasis. The aberrant overexpression of UCHL1 facilitates distant tumour metastases in a HIF-1-dependent manner in murine models of pulmonary metastasis. Meanwhile, blockade of the UCHL1–HIF-1 axis suppresses the formation of metastatic tumours. The expression levels of UCHL1 correlate with those of HIF-1α and are strongly associated with the poor prognosis of breast and lung cancer patients. These results indicate that UCHL1 promotes metastases as a deubiquitinating enzyme for HIF-1α, which justifies exploiting it as a prognostic marker and therapeutic target of cancers.
When stabilized, HIF-1 can activate adaptation to hypoxia and metastasis. Here the authors show that upregulation of Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 in human cancers promotes metastasis and correlates with poor prognosis because of its role in opposing ubiquitin-mediated degradation of HIF-1.
PMCID: PMC4317501  PMID: 25615526
8.  External validation of risk classification in patients with docetaxel-treated castration-resistant prostate cancer 
BMC Urology  2014;14:31.
Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients have poor prognoses, and docetaxel (DTX) is among the few treatment options. An accurate risk classification to identify CRPC patient groups for which DTX would be effective is urgently warranted. The Armstrong risk classification (ARC), which classifies CRPC patients into 3 groups, is superior; however, its usefulness remains unclear, and further external validation is required before clinical use. This study aimed to examine the clinical significance of the ARC through external validation in DTX-treated Japanese CRPC patients.
CRPC patients who received 2 or more DTX cycles were selected for this study. Patients were classified into good-, intermediate-, and poor-risk groups according to the ARC. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) responses and overall survival (OS) were calculated and compared between the risk groups. A multivariate analysis was performed to clarify the relationship between the ARC and major patient characteristics.
Seventy-eight CRPC patients met the inclusion criteria. Median PSA levels at DTX initiation was 20 ng/mL. Good-, intermediate-, and poor-risk groups comprised 51 (65%), 17 (22%), and 10 (13%) patients, respectively. PSA response rates ≥30% and ≥50% were 33%, 41%, and 30%, and 18%, 41%, and 20% in the good-, intermediate-, and poor-risk groups, respectivcixely, with no significant differences (p = 0.133 and 0.797, respectively). The median OS in the good-, intermediate-, and poor-risk groups were statistically significant (p < 0.001) at 30.1, 14.2, and 5.7 months, respectively. A multivariate analysis revealed that the ARC and PSA doubling time were independent prognostic factors.
Most of CRPC patients were classified into good-risk group according to the ARC and the ARC could predict prognosis in DTX-treated CRPC patients.
Trial registration
University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR) number, UMIN000011969.
PMCID: PMC3997751  PMID: 24742323
Castration-resistant prostate cancer; Docetaxel; Risk classification; Validation study
9.  Acute hepatitis B of genotype H resulting in persistent infection 
A 47-year-old man presented with general fatigue and dark urine. The laboratory data showed increased levels of hepatic transaminases. The patient was positive for hepatitis B virus (HBV) markers and negative for anti-human immunodeficiency virus. The HBV-DNA titer was set to 7.7 log copies/mL. The patient was diagnosed with acute hepatitis B. The HBV infection route was obscure. The serum levels of hepatic transaminases decreased to normal ranges without any treatment, but the HBV-DNA status was maintained for at least 26 mo, indicating the presence of persistent infection. We isolated HBV from the acute-phase serum and determined the genome sequence. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the isolated HBV was genotype H. In this patient, the elevated peak level of HBV-DNA and the risk alleles at human genome single nucleotide polymorphisms s3077 and rs9277535 in the human leukocyte antigen-DP locus were considered to be risk factors for chronic infection. This case suggests that there is a risk of persistent infection by HBV genotype H following acute hepatitis; further cases of HBV genotype H infection must be identified and characterized. Thus, the complete determination of the HBV genotype may be essential during routine clinical care of acute hepatitis B outpatients.
PMCID: PMC3961985  PMID: 24659896
Acute hepatitis; Chronic hepatitis; Genotyping; Hepatitis B virus; Single nucleotide polymorphisms
10.  HIF-1-mediated metabolic reprogramming reduces ROS levels and facilitates the metastatic colonization of cancers in lungs 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3793.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) has been associated with distant tumor metastasis; however, its function in multiple metastatic processes has not yet been fully elucidated. In the present study, we demonstrated that cancer cells transiently upregulated HIF-1 activity during their metastatic colonization after extravasation in the lungs in hypoxia-independent and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent manners. Transient activation induced the expression of lactate dehydrogenase A and phosphorylation of the E1α subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase, which indicated the reprogramming of glucose metabolic pathways from mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to anaerobic glycolysis and lactic acid fermentation. The administration of the HIF-1 inhibitor, YC-1, inhibited this reprogramming, increased intratumoral ROS levels, and eventually suppressed the formation of metastatic lung tumors. These results indicate that HIF-1-mediated metabolic reprogramming is responsible for the survival of metastatic cancers during their colonization in lungs by reducing cytotoxic ROS levels; therefore, its blockade by HIF-1-inhibitors is a rational strategy to prevent tumor metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3899644  PMID: 24452734
11.  Evaluation of Hepatic Tissue Blood Flow Using Xenon Computed Tomography with Fibrosis Progression in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Comparison with Chronic Hepatitis C 
The present study evaluated the utility of xenon computed tomography (Xe-CT) as a noninvasive diagnostic procedure for the measurement of hepatic tissue blood flow (TBF) in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or chronic hepatitis C (CH-C).
Xe-CT was performed in 93 patients with NAFLD and in 109 patients with CH-C. Subjects were classified into one of three groups, based on fibrosis stage: group 1, no bridging fibrosis; group 2, bridging fibrosis; and group 3, liver cirrhosis. Correlations between hepatic TBFs in each fibrosis stage were examined.
In group 1, portal venous TBF (PVTBF), hepatic arterial (HATBF), and total hepatic TBF (THTBF) were significantly lower in patients with in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) than in those with CH-C (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, p < 0.001, respectively). In group 2, PVTBF and THTBF were significantly lower in patients with in NASH than in those with CH-C (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, respectively). In group 3, hepatic TBFs were not significantly different when comparing patients with NASH and those with CH-C.
PVTBF decreased due to fat infiltration. Therefore, hemodynamic changes occur relatively earlier in NAFLD than in CH-C. Patients with NASH should be monitored carefully for portal hypertensive complications in the early fibrosis stage.
PMCID: PMC3907854  PMID: 24424317
nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; chronic hepatitis C; hepatic tissue blood flow; Xe computed tomography
12.  Involvement of magnitude of ambient temperature change in nonspecific effect in perceived placebo effect on lower urinary tract symptoms: study on switching of naftopidil in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia 
To determine if switching from one brand of the α1-adrenoceptor antagonist naftopidil (Avishot™) to another brand (Flivas™) under the same conditions causes the same changes in lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and quality of life (QOL) as the perceived placebo effect, and if ambient temperature as a nonspecific factor is related to those changes in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) patients.
Patients and methods
A retrospective study was carried out on 217 BPH patients who had received Avishot™ for more than 6 months and then were switched to Flivas™ at the same dose and timing. The two drugs contain the same principal ingredient and display the same pharmacokinetic properties. The International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), QOL score, and average monthly ambient temperature at the patients’ residence area from the Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System in Japan were used for the evaluation.
A significant change in urinary storage symptoms (P = 0.006), and especially in nighttime frequency (P< 0.001), was observed by switching drugs, suggesting the perceived placebo effect. There was significant improvement of daytime frequency (P< 0.05), nighttime frequency (P< 0.001), storage symptoms (P< 0.001), and total IPSS (P< 0.05) when the magnitude of ambient temperature change from before and 3 months after switching drugs was higher than 10°C, while no significant improvement was noted in any of the parameters examined when the same was lower than 10°C.
The present study showed the nonspecific effect of magnitude of ambient temperature change was involved in the perceived placebo effect on LUTS, especially on storage symptoms, by switching drugs. The nonspecific effect on LUTS with BPH needs to be considered when evaluating subjective treatment efficacy of drugs for LUTS with BPH in routine clinical practice. The present study supports the lifestyle advice “avoid exposing the lower body to cold temperature” or “keep warm when it is cold” for LUTS with BPH.
PMCID: PMC3826939  PMID: 24400239
ambient temperature; benign prostatic hyperplasia; lower urinary tract symptoms; naftopidil; nonspecific effect; placebo effect
13.  Docetaxel with or without estramustine for estramustine refractory castration-resistant prostate cancer: a single institution experience 
BMC Urology  2012;12:3.
The significance of combination of docetaxel (DTX) with estramustine phosphate (EMP) in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to retrospectively evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of DTX with or without EMP and to elucidate the significance of DTX and EMP combination therapy in Japanese EMP-refractory CRPC patients.
To compare the efficacy and toxicity of DTX and EMP, we divided CRPC patients, who were confirmed to be resistant to EMP, into the following two groups: group D (n = 28), which included patients treated with DTX (60 mg/m2, once in every four weeks) alone, and group DE (n = 33), which included patients treated with a combination of DTX (60 mg/m2, once in every four weeks) and EMP (twice daily oral administration at 280 mg).
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) response (> 50% decline in PSA) was observed in six patients (21%) in group D and eight patients (24%) in group DE. The median time to progression (TTP) was 12.0 months and 6.2 months and the median overall survival (OS) was 26.4 months and 24.3 months in group D and DE, respectively. There was no statistical difference between the two groups in terms of PSA response, TTP, and OS. The incidence of adverse events of grade 3/4 was low in both the groups, and there was no statistical difference between the two groups.
Although treatment with DTX at 60 mg/m2 was effective and highly tolerated in EMP-refractory Japanese CRPC patients, the DTX and EMP combination therapy might not exhibit any survival benefit for CRPC patients.
PMCID: PMC3305626  PMID: 22353627
14.  Insufficient radiofrequency ablation therapy may induce further malignant transformation of hepatocellular carcinoma 
Hepatology International  2008;2(1):116-123.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a thermoablative technique to kill tumor tissue by generating areas of coagulative necrosis. Recent reports have raised concern that RFA may lead to a local recurrence of HCC with an aggressive phenotype and unfavorable prognosis, suggesting that RFA may induce further malignant transformation of HCC. However, the biological effects of RFA on HCC cells have not been directly analyzed. The aim of this study was to determine whether heat stress of the type associated with RFA induces malignant transformation of HCC.
We assessed the sensitivity of three HCC cell lines (HepG2, Alexander, and Huh7) to heat treatment for 10 min. We then determined the temperature at which a heat-resistant subline can be generated. We established and expanded sublines that survived heat treatment. And their proliferation rates, heat sensitivities, and invasive capacities were further examined.
All HepG2 died after 48°C treatment, whereas 49°C treatment was required to kill all Alexander and HuH7. We generated 20 sublines for each parental cell line. A HepG2 subline, HepG2#18, proliferated 100% faster than parental HepG2. Moreover, HepG2#18 survived after 50°C treatment, whereas all parental HepG2 died after heat treatments at 48°C or higher.
Our results showed that even a single heat treatment could induce further transformation of an HCC cell line. Our results suggest that an insufficient treatment of HCC by RFA that enables survival of some cells might induce further malignant transformation in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2716878  PMID: 19669287
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC); Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA); Malignant transformation

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