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1.  Genome-wide association analysis in East Asians identifies breast cancer susceptibility loci at 1q32.1, 5q14.3 and 15q26.1 
Nature genetics  2014;46(8):886-890.
In a three-stage genome-wide association study among East Asian women including 22,780 cases and 24,181 controls, we identified three novel genetic loci associated with breast cancer risk, including rs4951011 at 1q32.1 (in intron 2 of the ZC3H11A gene, P = 8.82 × 10−9), rs10474352 at 5q14.3 (near the ARRDC3 gene, P = 1.67 × 10−9), and rs2290203 at 15q26.1 (in intron 14 of the PRC1 gene, P = 4.25 × 10−8). These associations were replicated in European-ancestry populations including 16,003 cases and 41,335 controls (P = 0.030, 0.004, and 0.010, respectively). Data from the ENCODE project suggest that variants rs4951011 and rs10474352 may be located in an enhancer region and transcription factor binding sites, respectively. This study provides additional insights into the genetics and biology of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4127632  PMID: 25038754
3.  Critical role of lysine 134 methylation on histone H2AX for γ-H2AX production and DNA repair 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5691.
The presence of phosphorylated histone H2AX (γ-H2AX) is associated with the local activation of DNA-damage repair pathways. Although γ-H2AX deregulation in cancer has previously been reported, the molecular mechanism involved and its relationship with other histone modifications remain largely unknown. Here we find that the histone methyltransferase SUV39H2 methylates histone H2AX on lysine 134. When H2AX was mutated to abolish K134 methylation, the level of γ-H2AX became significantly reduced. We also found lower γ-H2AX activity following the introduction of double-strand breaks in Suv39h2 knockout cells or on SUV39H2 knockdown. Tissue microarray analyses of clinical lung and bladder tissues also revealed a positive correlation between H2AX K134 methylation and γ-H2AX levels. Furthermore, introduction of K134-substituted histone H2AX enhanced radio- and chemosensitivity of cancer cells. Overall, our results suggest that H2AX methylation plays a role in the regulation of γ-H2AX abundance in cancer.
γ-H2AX The Ser139 phosphorylated form of H2AX, γ-H2AX, is generated in response to DNA double-strand breaks and is involved in the repair process. Here, Sone et al. show that H2AX K134 methylation by SUV39H2 is crucial for the production of γ-H2AX, and that loss of methylation correlates with radio- and chemosensitivity.
PMCID: PMC4268694  PMID: 25487737
4.  Oxygen consumption rate of early pre-antral follicles from vitrified human ovarian cortical tissue 
The study of human ovarian tissue transplantation and cryopreservation has advanced significantly. Autotransplantation of human pre-antral follicles isolated from cryopreserved cortical tissue is a promising option for the preservation of fertility in young cancer patients. The purpose of the present study was to reveal the effect of vitrification after low-temperature transportation of human pre-antral follicles by using the oxygen consumption rate (OCR). Cortical tissues from 9 ovaries of female-to-male transsexuals were vitrified after transportation (6 or 18 h). The follicles were enzymatically isolated from nonvitrified tissue (group I, 18 h of transportation), vitrified-warmed tissue (group II, 6 and 18 h of transportation) and vitrified-warmed tissue that had been incubated for 24 h (group III, 6 and 18 h of transportation). OCR measurement and the LIVE/DEAD viability assay were performed. Despite the ischemic condition, the isolated pre-antral follicles in group I consumed oxygen, and the mean OCRs increased with developmental stage. Neither the transportation time nor patient age seemed to affect the OCR in this group. Meanwhile, the mean OCR was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in group II but was comparable to that of group I after 24 h of incubation. The integrity of vitrified-warmed primordial and primary follicles was clearly corroborated by the LIVE/DEAD viability assay. These results demonstrate that the OCR can be used to directly estimate the effect of vitrification on the viability of primordial and primary follicles and to select the viable primordial and primary follicles from vitrified-warmed follicles.
PMCID: PMC4284321
Human ovarian cortical tissue; Isolation; Oxygen consumption rate; Pre-antral follicle; Vitrification
5.  Preclinical efficacy of maternal embryonic leucine-zipper kinase (MELK) inhibition in acute myeloid leukemia 
Oncotarget  2014;5(23):12371-12382.
Maternal embryonic leucine-zipper kinase (MELK), which was reported to be frequently up-regulated in various types of solid cancer, plays critical roles in formation and maintenance of cancer stem cells. However, little is known about the relevance of this kinase in hematologic malignancies. Here we report characterization of possible roles of MELK in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). MELK is expressed in AML cell lines and AML blasts with higher levels in less differentiated cells. MELK is frequently upregulated in AML with complex karyotypes and is associated with worse clinical outcome. MELK knockdown resulted in growth inhibition and apoptosis of leukemic cells. Hence, we investigated the potent anti-leukemia activity of OTS167, a small molecule MELK kinase inhibitor, in AML, and found that the compound induced cell differentiation and apoptosis as well as decreased migration of AML cells. MELK expression was positively correlated with the expression of FOXM1 as well as its downstream target genes. Furthermore, MELK inhibition resulted in downregulation of FOXM1 activity and the expression of its downstream targets. Taken together, and given that OTS167 is undergoing a phase I clinical trial in solid cancer, our study warrants clinical evaluation of this compound as a novel targeted therapy for AML patients.
PMCID: PMC4323011  PMID: 25365263
6.  Late Cornified Envelope Group I, a Novel Target of p53, Regulates PRMT5 Activity1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(8):656-664.
p53 is one of the most important tumor suppressor genes involved in human carcinogenesis. Although downstream targets of p53 and their biologic functions in cancer cells have been extensively investigated, it is still far from the full understanding. Here, we demonstrate that Late Cornified Envelope Group I (LCE1) genes, which are located in the LCE gene clusters encoding multiple well-conserved stratum-corneum proteins, are novel downstream targets of p53. Exogenous p53 overexpression using an adenoviral vector system significantly enhanced the expression of LCE1 cluster genes. We also observed induction of LCE1 expressions by DNA damage, which was caused by treatment with adriamycin or UV irradiation in a wild-type p53-dependent manner. Concordantly, the induction of LCE1 by DNA damage was significantly attenuated by the knockdown of p53. Among predicted p53-binding sites within the LCE1 gene cluster, we confirmed one site to be a p53-enhancer sequence by reporter assays. Furthermore, we identified LCE1 to interact with protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5). Knockdown of LCE1 by specific small interfering RNAs significantly increased the symmetric dimethylation of histone H3 arginine 8, a substrate of PRMT5, and overexpression of LCE1F remarkably decreased its methylation level. Our data suggest that LCE1 is a novel p53 downstream target that can be directly transactivated by p53 and is likely to have tumor suppressor functions through modulation of the PRMT5 activity.
PMCID: PMC4234875  PMID: 25220593
7.  Genetic variants associated with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-associated angioedema 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2013;23(9):470-478.
The objective of this study was to identify genetic variants associated with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor-associated angioedema.
Participants and methods
We carried out a genome-wide association study in 175 individuals with ACE inhibitor-associated angioedema and 489 ACE inhibitor-exposed controls from Nashville (Tennessee) and Marshfield (Wisconsin). We tested for replication in 19 cases and 57 controls who participated in Ongoing Telmisartan Alone and in Combination with Ramipril Global Endpoint Trial (ONTARGET).
There were no genome-wide significant associations of any single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) with angioedema. Sixteen SNPs in African Americans and 41 SNPs in European Americans were associated moderately with angioedema (P<10−4) and evaluated for association in ONTARGET. The T allele of rs500766 in PRKCQ was associated with a reduced risk, whereas the G allele of rs2724635 in ETV6 was associated with an increased risk of ACE inhibitor-associated angioedema in the Nashville/Marshfield sample and ONTARGET. In a candidate gene analysis, rs989692 in the gene encoding neprilysin (MME), an enzyme that degrades bradykinin and substance P, was significantly associated with angioedema in ONTARGET and Nashville/Marshfield African Americans.
Unlike other serious adverse drug effects, ACE inhibitor-associated angioedema is not associated with a variant with a large effect size. Variants in MME and genes involved in immune regulation may be associated with ACE inhibitor-associated angioedema.
PMCID: PMC3904664  PMID: 23838604
adverse drug event; angioedema; angiotensin-converting enzyme; neprilysin
8.  University of Chicago Center for Personalized Therapeutics: research, education and implementation science 
Pharmacogenomics  2013;14(12):1383-1387.
Pharmacogenomics is aimed at advancing our knowledge of the genetic basis of variable drug response. The Center for Personalized Therapeutics within the University of Chicago comprises basic, translational and clinical research as well as education including undergraduate, graduate, medical students, clinical/postdoctoral fellows and faculty. The Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics is the educational arm of the Center aimed at training clinical and postdoctoral fellows in translational pharmacology and pharmacogenomics. Research runs the gamut from basic discovery and functional studies to pharmacogenomic implementation studies to evaluate physician adoption of genetic medicine. The mission of the Center is to facilitate research, education and implementation of pharmacogenomics to realize the true potential of personalized medicine and improve the lives of patients.
PMCID: PMC4022693  PMID: 24024891
9.  Genetic variants associated with warfarin dose in African-American individuals: a genome-wide association study 
Lancet  2013;382(9894):790-796.
VKORC1 and CYP2C9 are important contributors to warfarin dose variability, but explain less variability for individuals of African descent than for those of European or Asian descent. We aimed to identify additional variants contributing to warfarin dose requirements in African Americans.
We did a genome-wide association study of discovery and replication cohorts. Samples from African-American adults (aged ≥18 years) who were taking a stable maintenance dose of warfarin were obtained at International Warfarin Pharmacogenetics Consortium (IWPC) sites and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, AL, USA). Patients enrolled at IWPC sites but who were not used for discovery made up the independent replication cohort. All participants were genotyped. We did a stepwise conditional analysis, conditioning first for VKORC1 −1639G→A, followed by the composite genotype of CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3. We prespecified a genome-wide significance threshold of p<5×10−8 in the discovery cohort and p<0·0038 in the replication cohort.
The discovery cohort contained 533 participants and the replication cohort 432 participants. After the prespecified conditioning in the discovery cohort, we identified an association between a novel single nucleotide polymorphism in the CYP2C cluster on chromosome 10 (rs12777823) and warfarin dose requirement that reached genome-wide significance (p=1·51×10−8). This association was confirmed in the replication cohort (p=5·04×10−5); analysis of the two cohorts together produced a p value of 4·5×10−12. Individuals heterozygous for the rs12777823 A allele need a dose reduction of 6·92 mg/week and those homozygous 9·34 mg/week. Regression analysis showed that the inclusion of rs12777823 significantly improves warfarin dose variability explained by the IWPC dosing algorithm (21% relative improvement).
A novel CYP2C single nucleotide polymorphism exerts a clinically relevant effect on warfarin dose in African Americans, independent of CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3. Incorporation of this variant into pharmacogenetic dosing algorithms could improve warfarin dose prediction in this population.
National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Wisconsin Network for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust.
PMCID: PMC3759580  PMID: 23755828
11.  Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators and Pharmacogenomic Variation in ZNF423 Regulation of BRCA1 Expression: Individualized Breast Cancer Prevention 
Cancer discovery  2013;3(7):812-825.
The selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) tamoxifen and raloxifene can reduce the occurrence of breast cancer in high risk women by 50%, but this FDA-approved prevention therapy is not often used. We attempted to identify genetic factors that contribute to variation in SERM breast cancer prevention using DNA from the NSABP P-1 and P-2 breast cancer prevention trials. An initial discovery genome-wide association study identified common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near the ZNF423 and CTSO genes that were associated with breast cancer risk during SERM therapy. We then showed that both ZNF423 and CTSO participated in the estrogen-dependent induction of BRCA1 expression, in both cases with SNP-dependent variation in induction. ZNF423 appeared to be an estrogen-inducible BRCA1 transcription factor. The odds ratio for differences in breast cancer risk during SERM therapy for subjects homozygous for both protective or both risk alleles for ZNF423 and CTSO was 5.71.
PMCID: PMC3710533  PMID: 23764426
tamoxifen; raloxifene; breast cancer prevention; ZNF423; CTSO; BRCA1; single nucleotide polymorphisms; genome-wide association study
12.  Histidine Augments the Suppression of Hepatic Glucose Production by Central Insulin Action 
Diabetes  2013;62(7):2266-2277.
Glucose intolerance in type 2 diabetes is related to enhanced hepatic glucose production (HGP) due to the increased expression of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes. Previously, we revealed that hepatic STAT3 decreases the expression of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes and suppresses HGP. Here, we show that increased plasma histidine results in hepatic STAT3 activation. Intravenous and intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of histidine-activated hepatic STAT3 reduced G6Pase protein and mRNA levels and augmented HGP suppression by insulin. This suppression of hepatic gluconeogenesis by histidine was abolished by hepatic STAT3 deficiency or hepatic Kupffer cell depletion. Inhibition of HGP by histidine was also blocked by ICV administration of a histamine H1 receptor antagonist. Therefore, histidine activates hepatic STAT3 and suppresses HGP via central histamine action. Hepatic STAT3 phosphorylation after histidine ICV administration was attenuated in histamine H1 receptor knockout (Hrh1KO) mice but not in neuron-specific insulin receptor knockout (NIRKO) mice. Conversely, hepatic STAT3 phosphorylation after insulin ICV administration was attenuated in NIRKO but not in Hrh1KO mice. These findings suggest that central histidine action is independent of central insulin action, while both have additive effects on HGP suppression. Our results indicate that central histidine/histamine-mediated suppression of HGP is a potential target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3712067  PMID: 23474485
13.  Germline Variants and Advanced Colorectal Adenomas: Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib Trial Genomewide Association Study 
Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with development of advanced colorectal adenomas.
Experimental Design
Discovery Phase: 1,406 Caucasian patients (139 advanced adenoma cases and 1,267 controls) from the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) trial were included in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify variants associated with post-polypectomy disease recurrence. Genome-wide significance was defined as false discovery rate < 0.05, unadjusted p=7.4×10−7. Validation Phase: Results were further evaluated using 4,175 familial colorectal adenoma or CRC cases and 5,036 controls from patients of European ancestry (COloRectal Gene Identification consortium, Scotland, Australia and VQ58).
Our study identified eight SNPs associated with advanced adenoma risk in the APC trial (rs2837156, rs7278863, rs2837237, rs2837241, rs2837254, rs741864 at 21q22.2, and rs1381392 and rs17651822 at 3p24.1, at p<10–7 level with odds ratio – OR>2). Five variants in strong pairwise linkage disequilbrium (rs7278863, rs2837237, rs741864, rs741864 and rs2837241, r2=0.8–1) are in or near the coding region for the tight junction adhesion protein, IGSF5. An additional variant associated with advanced adenomas, rs1535989 (minor allele frequency 0.11; OR 2.09; 95% confidence interval 1.50–2.91), also predicted CRC development in a validation analysis (p=0.019) using a series of adenoma cases or CRC (CORGI study) and 3 sets of CRC cases and controls (Scotland, VQ58 and Australia, N=9,211).
Our results suggest that common polymorphisms contribute to the risk of developing advanced adenomas and might also contribute to the risk of developing CRC. The variant at rs1535989 may identify patients whose risk for neoplasia warrants increased colonoscopic surveillance.
PMCID: PMC4037290  PMID: 24084763
Colorectal adenomas; colorectal cancer screening; genetic predisposition
14.  VAV3 mediates resistance to breast cancer endocrine therapy 
Endocrine therapies targeting cell proliferation and survival mediated by estrogen receptor α (ERα) are among the most effective systemic treatments for ERα-positive breast cancer. However, most tumors initially responsive to these therapies acquire resistance through mechanisms that involve ERα transcriptional regulatory plasticity. Herein we identify VAV3 as a critical component in this process.
A cell-based chemical compound screen was carried out to identify therapeutic strategies against resistance to endocrine therapy. Binding to ERα was evaluated by molecular docking analyses, an agonist fluoligand assay and short hairpin (sh)RNA–mediated protein depletion. Microarray analyses were performed to identify altered gene expression. Western blot analysis of signaling and proliferation markers, and shRNA-mediated protein depletion in viability and clonogenic assays, were performed to delineate the role of VAV3. Genetic variation in VAV3 was assessed for association with the response to tamoxifen. Immunohistochemical analyses of VAV3 were carried out to determine its association with therapeutic response and different tumor markers. An analysis of gene expression association with drug sensitivity was carried out to identify a potential therapeutic approach based on differential VAV3 expression.
The compound YC-1 was found to comparatively reduce the viability of cell models of acquired resistance. This effect was probably not due to activation of its canonical target (soluble guanylyl cyclase), but instead was likely a result of binding to ERα. VAV3 was selectively reduced upon exposure to YC-1 or ERα depletion, and, accordingly, VAV3 depletion comparatively reduced the viability of cell models of acquired resistance. In the clinical scenario, germline variation in VAV3 was associated with the response to tamoxifen in Japanese breast cancer patients (rs10494071 combined P value = 8.4 × 10−4). The allele association combined with gene expression analyses indicated that low VAV3 expression predicts better clinical outcome. Conversely, high nuclear VAV3 expression in tumor cells was associated with poorer endocrine therapy response. Based on VAV3 expression levels and the response to erlotinib in cancer cell lines, targeting EGFR signaling may be a promising therapeutic strategy.
This study proposes VAV3 as a biomarker and a rationale for its use as a signaling target to prevent and/or overcome resistance to endocrine therapy in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4076632  PMID: 24886537
15.  A phase ΙI study of five peptides combination with oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy as a first-line therapy for advanced colorectal cancer (FXV study) 
We previously conducted a phase I trial for advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) using five HLA-A*2402-restricted peptides, three derived from oncoantigens and two from vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors, and confirmed safety and immunological responses. To evaluate clinical benefits of cancer vaccination treatment, we conducted a phase II trial using the same peptides in combination with oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy as a first-line therapy.
The primary objective of the study was the response rates (RR). Progression free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and immunological parameters were evaluated as secondary objective. The planned sample size was more than 40 patients for both HLA2402-matched and -unmatched groups. All patients received a cocktail of five peptides (3 mg each) mixed with 1.5 ml of IFA which was subcutaneously administered weekly for the first 12 weeks followed by biweekly administration. Presence or absence of the HLA-A*2402 genotype were used for classification of patients into two groups.
Between February 2009 and November 2012, ninety-six chemotherapy naïve CRC patients were enrolled under the masking of their HLA-A status. Ninety-three patients received mFOLFOX6 and three received XELOX. Bevacizumab was added in five patients. RR was 62.0% and 60.9% in the HLA-A*2402-matched and -unmatched groups, respectively (p = 0.910). The median OS was 20.7 months in the HLA-A*2402-matched group and 24.0 months in the unmatched group (log-rank, p = 0.489). In subgroup with a neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR) of < 3.0, patients in the HLA-matched group did not survive significantly longer than those in the unmatched group (log-rank, p = 0.289) but showed a delayed response.
Although no significance was observed for planned statistical efficacy endpoints, a delayed response was observed in subgroup with a NLR of < 3.0. Biomarkers such as NLR might be useful for selecting patients with a better treatment outcome by the vaccination.
Trial registration
Trial registration: UMIN000001791.
PMCID: PMC4021539  PMID: 24884643
Peptide vaccine; Peptide cocktail; Colorectal cancer; Phase II study; FOLFOX; Chemotherapy
16.  Lung metastasis of transitional cell cancer of the urothelium, with fungus ball-like shadows closely resembling aspergilloma: A case report and review of the literature 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):95-98.
The present study reports the case of a 67-year-old female patient who was initially diagnosed with pulmonary aspergilloma. This diagnosis was based on a chest computed tomography (CT) scan showing a cavitary lesion of 3.5 cm in diameter, with fungus ball-like shadows inside, and an air crescent sign in the right upper lung. At 63 years old, the patient was treated for transitional cell cancer of the urothelium (non-invasive, pT1N0M0) by total cystectomy, ileal conduit diversion and urostomy. For 4 years post-operatively, the patient was healthy and had no clinical symptoms, and the air crescent sign was not identified by chest CT until the patient had reached 67 years of age. However, a final diagnosis of lung metastasis of transitional cell cancer of the urothelium was histopathologically identified subsequent to video-assisted thoracic surgery. Although it is rare that transitional cell cancer moves to the lung and makes a cavitary lesion, a differential diagnosis of cancer is necessary, even when examining infected patients with air crescent signs that are characteristic of aspergilloma. The physician must be mindful of metastatic pulmonary tumors that closely resemble aspergillomas, not only in infectious diseases, but also in oncological practice. Primary surgical removal should be considered.
PMCID: PMC4063589  PMID: 24959226
air crescent sign; fungus ball; aspergilloma; metastatic lung cancer; transitional cell cancer
17.  The Histone Methyltransferase SMYD2 Methylates PARP1 and Promotes Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation Activity in Cancer Cells12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(3):257-264.e2.
Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP1) catalyzes the poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of protein acceptors using NAD+ as the substrate is now considered as an important target for development of anticancer therapy. PARP1 is known to be post-translationally modified in various ways including phosphorylation and ubiquitination, but the physiological role of PARP1 methylation is not well understood. Herein we demonstrated that the histone methyltransferase SMYD2, which plays critical roles in human carcinogenesis, mono-methylated PARP1. We confirmed lysine 528 to be a target of SMYD2-dependent PARP1 methylation by LC-MS/MS and Edman Degradation analyses. Importantly, methylated PARP1 revealed enhanced poly(ADP-ribose) formation after oxidative stress, and positively regulated the poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation activity of PARP1. Hence, our study unveils a novel mechanism of PARP1 in human cancer through its methylation by SMYD2.
PMCID: PMC4094795  PMID: 24726141
18.  Phase I clinical study of multiple epitope peptide vaccine combined with chemoradiation therapy in esophageal cancer patients 
Chemoradiation therapy (CRT) has been widely used for unresectable esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) patients. However, many patients develop local recurrence after CRT. In this study, we hypothesized that the immunotherapy by peptide vaccine may be effective for the eradication of minimal residual cancer cells after CRT. This study was conducted as a phase I clinical trial of multiple-peptide vaccine therapy combined with CRT on patients with unresectable ESCC.
Patients and methods
HLA-A*2402 positive 11 unresectable chemo-naïve ESCC patients were treated by HLA-A*2402-restricted multi-peptide vaccine combined with CRT. The peptide vaccine included the 5 peptides as follows; TTK protein kinase (TTK), up-regulated lung cancer 10 (URLC10), insulin-like growth factor–II mRNA binding protein 3 (KOC1), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and 2 (VEGFR2). CRT consisted of radiotherapy (60 Gy) with concurrent cisplatin (40 mg/m2) and 5-fluorouracil (400 mg/m2). Peptide vaccines mixed with incomplete Freund’s adjuvant were injected subcutaneously once a week on at least 8 occasions combined with CRT.
Vaccination with CRT therapy was well-tolerated, and no severe adverse effects were observed. In the case of grade 3 toxicities, leucopenia, neutropenia, anemia and thrombocutopenia occurred in 54.5%, 27.3%, 27.3% and 9.1% of patients, respectively. Grade 1 local skin reactions in the injection sites of vaccination were observed in 81.8% of patients. The expressions of HLA class I, URLC10, TTK, KOC1, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 antigens were observed in the tumor tissues of all patients. All patients showed peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes responses in at least one of the 5 kinds of peptide antigens during the vaccination. Six cases of complete response (CR) and 5 cases of progressive disease (PD) were observed after the 8th vaccination. The 4 CR patients who continued the peptide vaccination experienced long consistent CR for 2.0, 2.9 4.5 and 4.6 years.
A combination therapy of multi-peptide vaccine with CRT can successfully be performed with satisfactory levels of safety, and application of this combination therapy may be an effective treatment for patients with unresectable ESCC.
Trial registration, number NCT00632333.
PMCID: PMC4234129  PMID: 24708624
Cancer vaccine; Chemoradiation therapy; Esophageal cancer; CTL; Phase I clinical trial
19.  Pharmacogenomics of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment for major depressive disorder: genome-wide associations and functional genomics 
The pharmacogenomics journal  2012;13(5):456-463.
A genome-wide association (GWA) study of treatment outcomes (response and remission) of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) was conducted using 529 subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD). While no SNP associations reached the genome-wide level of significance, 14 SNPs of interest were identified for functional analysis. The rs11144870 SNP in riboflavin kinase (RFK) gene on chromosome 9 was associated with eight week treatment response (OR = 0.42, p = 1.04×10−6). The rs915120 SNP in the G protein-coupled receptor kinase 5 (GRK5) gene on chromosome 10 was associated with eight week remission (OR = 0.50, p = 1.15×10−5). Both SNPs were shown to influence transcription by a reporter gene assay and to alter nuclear protein binding using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay. This report represents an example of joining functional genomics with traditional GWA study results derived from a GWA analysis of SSRI treatment outcomes. The goal of this analytic strategy is to provide insights into the potential relevance of biologically plausible observed associations.
PMCID: PMC3941038  PMID: 22907730
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; SSRI; genome-wide association study; GWA; functional genomics; major depressive disorder
21.  The Construction of Risk Prediction Models Using GWAS Data and Its Application to a Type 2 Diabetes Prospective Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92549.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Various models using clinical and/or genetic risk factors have been developed for T2D risk prediction. However, analysis considering algorithms for genetic risk factor detection and regression methods for model construction in combination with interactions of risk factors has not been investigated. Here, using genotype data of 7,360 Japanese individuals, we investigated risk prediction models, considering the algorithms, regression methods and interactions. The best model identified was based on a Bayes factor approach and the lasso method. Using nine SNPs and clinical factors, this method achieved an area under a receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.8057 on an independent test set. With the addition of a pair of interaction factors, the model was further improved (p-value 0.0011, AUC 0.8085). Application of our model to prospective cohort data showed significantly better outcome in disease-free survival, according to the log-rank trend test comparing Kaplan-Meier survival curves (). While the major contribution was from clinical factors rather than the genetic factors, consideration of genetic risk factors contributed to an observable, though small, increase in predictive ability. This is the first report to apply risk prediction models constructed from GWAS data to a T2D prospective cohort. Our study shows our model to be effective in prospective prediction and has the potential to contribute to practical clinical use in T2D.
PMCID: PMC3961382  PMID: 24651836
22.  A phase I study of combination vaccine treatment of five therapeutic epitope-peptides for metastatic colorectal cancer; safety, immunological response, and clinical outcome 
To evaluate the safety of combination vaccine treatment of multiple peptides, phase I clinical trial was conducted for patients with advanced colorectal cancer using five novel HLA-A*2402-restricted peptides, three peptides derived from oncoantigens, ring finger protein 43 (RNF43), 34 kDa-translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOMM34), and insulin-like growth factor–II mRNA binding protein 3 (KOC1), and the remaining two from angiogenesis factors, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and VEGFR2.
Eighteen HLA- A*2402-positive colorectal cancer patients who had failed to standard therapy were enrolled in this study. 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg or 3.0 mg each of the peptides was mixed with incomplete Freund’s adjuvant and then subcutaneously injected at five separated sites once a week. We also examined possible effect of a single site injection of “the cocktail of 5 peptides” on the immunological responses. ELISPOT assay was performed before and after vaccinations in the schedule of every 4 weeks.
The vaccine treatment using multiple peptides was well tolerated without any severe treatment-associated systemic adverse events. Dose-dependent induction of peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes was observed. The single injection of “peptides cocktail” did not diminish the immunological responses. Regarding the clinical outcome, one patient achieved complete response and 6 patients revealed stable disease for 4 to 7 months. The median overall survival time (MST) was 13.5 months. Patients, in which we detected induction of cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific to 3 or more peptides, revealed significantly better prognosis (MST; 27.8 months) than those with poorer immune responses (MST; 3.7 months) (p = 0.032).
Our cancer vaccine treatment using multiple peptides is a promising approach for advanced colorectal cancer with the minimum risk of systemic adverse reactions.
Clinical trial registration
UMIN-CTR number UMIN000004948.
PMCID: PMC4007571  PMID: 24612787
Peptide vaccine; Peptide cocktail; Colorectal cancer; Phase I study
23.  Downregulation of the tumor suppressor HSPB7, involved in the p53 pathway, in renal cell carcinoma by hypermethylation 
International Journal of Oncology  2014;44(5):1490-1498.
In order to identify genes involved in renal carcinogenesis, we analyzed the expression profile of renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) using microarrays consisting of 27,648 cDNA or ESTs, and found a small heat shock protein, HSPB7, to be significantly and commonly downregulated in RCC. Subsequent quantitative PCR (qPCR) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses confirmed the downregulation of HSPB7 in RCC tissues and cancer cell lines in both transcriptional and protein levels. Bisulfite sequencing of a genomic region of HSPB7 detected DNA hypermethylation of some segments of HSPB7 in RCC cells and concordantly 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-dC) treatment of cancer cells restored HSPB7 expression significantly. Ectopic introduction of HSPB7 in five RCC cell lines remarkably suppressed cancer cell growth. Interestingly, we found that HSPB7 expression could be induced by p53 in a dose-dependent manner, indicating that this gene functions in the p53 pathway. Our results imply that HSBP7 is likely to be a tumor suppressor gene regulated by p53 and its downregulation by hypermethylation may play a critical role in renal carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4027944  PMID: 24585183
HSPB7; renal cell carcinoma; hypermethylation; p53
24.  Overexpression of Cohesion Establishment Factor DSCC1 through E2F in Colorectal Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85750.
Ctf18-replication factor C complex including Dscc1 (DNA replication and sister chromatid cohesion 1) is implicated in sister chromatid cohesion, DNA replication, and genome stability in S. cerevisiae and C. elegans. We previously performed gene expression profiling in primary colorectal cancer cells in order to identify novel molecular targets for the treatment of colorectal cancer. A feature of the cancer-associated transcriptional signature revealed from this effort is the elevated expression of the proto-oncogene DSCC1. Here, we have interrogated the molecular basis for deviant expression of human DSCC1 in colorectal cancer and its ability to promote survival of cancer cells. Quantitative PCR and immunohistochemical analyses corroborated that the expression level of DSCC1 is elevated in 60–70% of colorectal tumors compared to their matched noncancerous colonic mucosa. An in silico evaluation of the presumptive DSCC1 promoter region for consensus DNA transcriptional regulatory elements revealed a potential role for the E2F family of DNA-binding proteins in controlling DSCC1 expression. RNAi-mediated reduction of E2F1 reduced expression of DSCC1 in colorectal cancer cells. Gain- and loss-of-function experiments demonstrated that DSCC1 is involved in the viability of cancer cells in response to genotoxic stimuli. We reveal that E2F-dependent expression of DSCC1 confers anti-apoptotic properties in colorectal cancer cells, and that its suppression may be a useful option for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC3894995  PMID: 24465681
25.  Integration of cell line and clinical trial genome-wide analyses supports a polygenic architecture of paclitaxel-induced sensory peripheral neuropathy 
We sought to demonstrate the relevance of a lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL) model in the discovery of clinically relevant genetic variants affecting chemotherapeutic response by comparing LCL genome-wide association study (GWAS) results to clinical GWAS results.
Experimental Design
A GWAS of paclitaxel-induced cytotoxicity was performed in 247 LCLs from the HapMap Project and compared to a GWAS of sensory peripheral neuropathy in breast cancer patients (n=855) treated with paclitaxel in the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 40101 trial. Significant enrichment was assessed by permutation resampling analysis.
We observed an enrichment of LCL cytotoxicity-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the sensory peripheral neuropathy-associated SNPs from the clinical trial with concordant allelic directions of effect (empirical P = 0.007). Of the 24 SNPs that overlap between the clinical trial (P < 0.05) and the preclinical cytotoxicity study (P < 0.001), 19 of them are expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), which is a significant enrichment of this functional class (empirical P = 0.0447). One of these eQTLs is located in RFX2, which encodes a member of the DNA-binding regulatory factor X family. Decreased expression of this gene by siRNA resulted in increased sensitivity of NS-1 (rat pheochromocytoma) cells to paclitaxel as measured by reduced neurite outgrowth and increased cytotoxicity, functionally validating the involvement of RFX2 in nerve cell response to paclitaxel.
The enrichment results and functional example imply that cellular models of chemotherapeutic toxicity may capture components of the underlying polygenic architecture of related traits in patients.
PMCID: PMC3549006  PMID: 23204130
pharmacogenomics; clinical trial; cell lines; paclitaxel; genome-wide association

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