ARID1A (BAF250A) promotes the formation of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes containing BRG1 or BRM. ARID1A has emerged as a candidate tumor suppressor based on its frequent mutations in ovarian clear cell and endometrioid cancers and in uterine endometrioid carcinomas. Here we report that restoring wild-type ARID1A expression in ovarian cancer cells that harbor ARID1A mutations is sufficient to suppress cell proliferation and tumor growth in mice, whereas RNAi-mediated silencing of ARID1A in non-transformed epithelial cells is sufficient to enhance cellular proliferation and tumorigenicity. Gene expression analysis identified several downstream targets of ARID1A including CDKN1A and SMAD3, which are well known p53 target genes. In support of the likelihood that p53 mediates the effects of ARID1A on these genes, we demonstrated that p53 was required and sufficient for their regulation by ARID1A. Further, we showed that CDKN1A (encoding p21) acted in part to mediate growth suppression by ARID1A. Lastly, we obtained evidence that the ARID1A/BRG1 complex interacts directly with p53 and that mutations in the ARID1A and TP53 genes were mutually exclusive in tumor specimens. Our results provide functional evidence in support of the hypothesis that ARID1A is a bona fide tumor suppressor that collaborates with p53 to regulate CDKN1A and SMAD3 transcription and tumor growth in gynecological cancers.
AT-rich interactive domain 1A (ARID1A) has emerged as a new tumor suppressor in which frequent somatic mutations have been identified in several types of human cancers. Although most ARID1A somatic mutations are frame-shift or nonsense mutations that contribute to mRNA decay and loss of protein expression, 5% of ARID1A mutations are in-frame insertions or deletions (indels) that involve only a small stretch of peptides. Naturally occurring in-frame indel mutations provide unique and useful models to explore the biology and regulatory role of ARID1A. In this study, we analyzed indel mutations identified in gynecological cancers to determine how these mutations affect the tumor suppressor function of ARID1A. Our results demonstrate that all in-frame mutants analyzed lost their ability to inhibit cellular proliferation or activate transcription of CDKN1A, which encodes p21, a downstream effector of ARID1A. We also showed that ARID1A is a nucleocytoplasmic protein whose stability depends on its subcellular localization. Nuclear ARID1A is less stable than cytoplasmic ARID1A because ARID1A is rapidly degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome system in the nucleus. In-frame deletions affecting the consensus nuclear export signal reduce steady-state protein levels of ARID1A. This defect in nuclear exportation leads to nuclear retention and subsequent degradation. Our findings delineate a mechanism underlying the regulation of ARID1A subcellular distribution and protein stability and suggest that targeting the nuclear ubiquitin-proteasome system can increase the amount of the ARID1A protein in the nucleus and restore its tumor suppressor functions.
ARID1A is a recently identified tumor suppressor gene that is mutated in approximately 50% of ovarian clear cell and 30% of ovarian endometrioid carcinomas. The mutation is associated with loss of protein expression as assessed by immunohistochemistry. In this study, we evaluated ARID1A immunoreactivity in a wide variety of carcinomas in order to determine the prevalence of ARID1A inactivation in carcinomas; mutational analysis of ARID1A was performed in selected cases. Immunoreactivity was not detected (corresponding to inactivation or mutation of ARID1A) in 36 (3.6%) of 995 tumors. Uterine low-grade endometrioid carcinomas demonstrated a relatively high frequency of loss of ARID1A expression, as 15 (26%) of 58 cases were negative. The other tumor that had a relatively high frequency loss of ARID1A expression was gastric carcinoma (11%). Mutational analysis showed 10 (40%) of 25 uterine endometrioid carcinoma, none of 12 uterine serous carcinomas and none of 56 ovarian serous and mucinous carcinomas harbored somatic ARID1A mutations. All mutations in endometrioid carcinomas were nonsense or insertion/deletion mutations and tumors with ARID1A mutations demonstrated complete loss or clonal loss of ARID1A expression. In conclusion, this study is the first large-scale analysis of a wide variety of carcinomas showing that uterine low-grade endometrioid carcinoma is the predominant tumor type harboring ARID1A mutations and frequent loss of ARID1A expression. These findings suggest that the molecular pathogenesis of low-grade uterine endometrioid carcinoma is similar to that of ovarian low-grade endometrioid and clear cell carcinoma, tumors that have previously been shown to have a high frequency of loss of expression and mutation of ARID1A.
ARID1A; BAF250; uterine carcinoma; ovarian carcinoma
Based on digital karyotyping, we have identified a new, discrete amplified region at ch19p13.2 in a high-grade ovarian serous carcinoma. To further characterize this region, we determined the frequency and biological significance of ch19p13.2 amplification by analyzing 341 high-grade serous carcinomas from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and found an increased DNA copy number at this locus in 18% of cases. We correlated the DNA and RNA copy number by analyzing the TCGA dataset for all amplified genes and detected 7 genes within ch19p13.2 that were significantly correlated (R ≥0.54) and were, in fact, listed as the top 100 potential “driver” genes at a genome-wide scale. Interestingly, one of the 7 genes, NACC1, encoding NAC1 was previously reported to be involved in the development of tumor recurrence in ovarian serous carcinoma and to play a causal role in the development of paclitaxel resistance. Therefore, we selected NACC1 for validation in an independent cohort. Based on fluorescence in situ hybridization, we found that 35 (20%) of 175 high-grade serous carcinomas had an increased DNA copy number at the NACC1 locus, and those amplified cases were associated with early disease recurrence within 6 months (p= 0.013). A significantly high level of NAC1 protein expression based on immunohistochemistry was detected in amplified tumors as compared to non-amplified tumors (p< 0.005). In summary, our data suggest that amplification at the ch19p13.2 NACC1 locus, leading to NAC1 overexpression, is one of the molecular genetic alterations associated with early tumor recurrence in ovarian cancer.
DNA damage commonly occurs in cancer cells as a result of endogenous and tumor microenvironmental stress. In this study, we applied
immunohistochemistry to study the expression of phosphorylated Chk2 (pChk2), a surrogate marker of the DNA damage response, in high grade and low grade of ovarian serous carcinoma. A
phospho-specific antibody specific for threonine 68 of Chk2 was used for immunohistochemistry on a total of 292 ovarian carcinoma tissues including 250 high-grade and 42 low-grade serous carcinomas. Immunostaining intensity was correlated with clinicopathological features. We found that there was a significant correlation between pChk2 immunostaining intensity and
percentage of pChk2 positive cells in tumors and demonstrated that high-grade serous
carcinomas expressed an elevated level of pChk2 as compared to low-grade serous carcinomas. Normal ovarian, fallopian tube, ovarian cyst, and serous borderline tumors did not show detectable pChk2 immunoreactivity. There was no significant difference in pChk2 immunoreactivity between
primary and recurrent high-grade serous carcinomas. In high-grade serous carcinomas, a significant correlation (P < 0.0001) in expression level (both in intensity and percentage) was found between pChk2 and Rsf-1 (HBXAP), a gene involved in chromatin remodeling that is amplified in high-grade serous carcinoma. Our results suggest that the DNA damage response is common in high-grade ovarian serous carcinomas, especially those with Rsf-1 overexpression, suggesting that Rsf-1 may be associated with DNA damage response in high-grade serous carcinomas.
Serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC) has been proposed as a precursor for many pelvic high-grade serous carcinomas. Our previous analysis of the ovarian cancer genome identified several genes with oncogenic potential that are amplified and/or overexpressed in the majority of high-grade serous carcinomas. Determining whether these genes are upregulated in STICs is important in further elucidating the relationship of STICs to high-grade serous carcinomas and is fundamental in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of high-grade serous carcinomas. In this study, 37 morphologically defined STICs were obtained from 23 patients with stage IIIC/IV high-grade serous carcinomas. Both STICs and the high-grade serous carcinomas were analyzed for expression of Rsf-1, cyclin E, fatty acid synthase (FASN), and mucin-4. In addition, they were examined for expression of established markers including p53, Ki-67 and p16. We found that diffuse nuclear p53 and p16 immunoreactivity was observed in 27 (75%) of 36 and 18 (55%) of 33 STICs, respectively, while an elevated Ki-67 labeling index (≥10%) was detected in 29 (78%) of 37 STICs. Cyclin E nuclear staining was seen in 24 (77%) of 35 STICs while normal tubal epithelial cells were all negative. Increased Rsf-1 and FASN immunoreactivity occurred in 63%, and 62% of STICs, respectively, compared to adjacent normal-appearing tubal epithelium. Interestingly, only one STIC demonstrated increased mucin-4 immunoreactivity. Carcinomas, as compared to STICs, overexpressed p16, Rsf-1, cyclin E and FASN in a higher proportion of cases. In conclusion, STICs express several markers including Rsf-1, cyclin E and FASN in high-grade serous carcinomas. In contrast, mucin-4 immunoreactivity either did not change or was reduced in most STICs. These results suggest that overexpression of Rsf-1, cyclin E and FASN occurs early in tumor progression.
ovarian cancer; tubal intraepithelial carcinoma; HBXAP (Rsf-1)
A two-tier grading system based on nuclear grade divides ovarian serous carcinomas into low- (nuclear grade 1) and high-grade (nuclear grade 3). In most instances the separation is straightforward but at times, the morphologic distinction between them can be difficult. We studied eleven ovarian serous carcinomas with features that were “intermediate” (nuclear grade 2) between low and high grade. All the cases were high stage and had a poor clinical outcome. None of the tumors showed mutations in KRAS, BRAF and ERBB2 genes which characterize most low-grade serous carcinomas. In contrast, 10 (90.9%) of 11 cases contained non-synonymous TP53 mutations characteristic of high-grade serous carcinomas. In summary, the molecular genetic profile and behavior of serous carcinomas with grade 2 nuclei are virtually the same as those of serous carcinomas with grade 3 nuclei, supporting the use of the two-tier grading system for classifying ovarian serous carcinomas.
Ovarian cancer; serous carcinoma; grade; TP53; two-tier grading system
Nucleus accumbens-1 (Nac1 or NAC-1) belongs to the BTB/POZ transcription factor family and is a novel protein that potentially participates in self-renewal and pluripotency in embryonic stem cells. In human cancer, NAC-1 is upregulated in several types of neoplasms, but particularly in recurrent chemoresistant ovarian carcinomas, suggesting a biological role for NAC-1 in the development of drug resistance in ovarian cancer. We have assessed this possibility and demonstrated a correlation between NAC-1 expression and ex vivo paclitaxel resistance in ovarian serous carcinoma tissues and cell lines. We found that expression of Gadd45gamma-interacting protein 1 (Gadd45gip1), a downstream target negatively regulated by NAC-1, was reduced in paclitaxel-resistant cells. Ectopic expression of NAC-1 or knockdown of Gadd45gip1 conferred paclitaxel resistance, while NAC-1 knockdown or ectopic expression of Gadd45gip1 increased paclitaxel sensitivity. Furthermore, silencing NAC-1 expression or disrupting NAC-1 homodimerization by a dominant negative NAC-1 protein that contained only the BTB/POZ domain induced expression of Gadd45gamma which interacted with Gadd45gip1. Reducing Gadd45gamma expression by shRNAs partially enhanced paclitaxel resistance. Thus, this study provides new evidence that NAC-1 upregulation and homodimerization contribute to tumor recurrence by equipping ovarian cancer cells with the paclitaxel-resistant phenotype through negative regulation of the Gadd45 pathway.
Ovarian; NAC-1; chemoresistance; paclitaxel
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic neoplastic disease in which the molecular etiology remains largely unclear. Like other cancer types, evolution of ovarian tumor cell species is accompanied by acquisition of novel gene products and these new tumor-associated antigens elicit a host immune response that creates selection pressure upon the emerging tumor clones. One of the mechanisms that ovarian cancer cells evade immune surveillance is by up-regulating human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G) expression. HLA-G is a non-classical MHC class I molecule and accumulated evidence has suggested its biological role in inactivating immune response. It has been well known that HLA-G expression is frequently detected in the most aggressive type of ovarian cancer, i.e., high-grade serous carcinoma, and measurement of HLA-G protein levels has shown promise for detection and prognosis prediction in ovarian cancer. This review summarizes those recent studies on HLA-G expression in ovarian cancer with special focus on its clinical and biological significance which is fundamental to elucidate the molecular mechanisms in ovarian cancer development and paves the foundation for future HLA-G based diagnostics and therapeutics.
Uterine cancer is the fourth most common malignancy in women, and uterine serous carcinoma is the most aggressive subtype. However, the molecular pathogenesis of uterine serous carcinoma is largely unknown. We analyzed the genomes of uterine serous carcinoma samples to better understand the molecular genetic characteristics of this cancer.
Whole-exome sequencing was performed on 10 uterine serous carcinomas and the matched normal blood or tissue samples. Somatically acquired sequence mutations were further verified by Sanger sequencing. The most frequent molecular genetic changes were further validated by Sanger sequencing in 66 additional uterine serous carcinomas and in nine serous endometrial intraepithelial carcinomas (the preinvasive precursor of uterine serous carcinoma) that were isolated by laser capture microdissection. In addition, gene copy number was characterized by single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays in 23 uterine serous carcinomas, including 10 that were subjected to whole-exome sequencing.
We found frequent somatic mutations in TP53 (81.6%), PIK3CA (23.7%), FBXW7 (19.7%), and PPP2R1A (18.4%) among the 76 uterine serous carcinomas examined. All nine serous carcinomas that had an associated serous endometrial intraepithelial carcinoma had concordant PIK3CA, PPP2R1A, and TP53 mutation status between uterine serous carcinoma and the concurrent serous endometrial intraepithelial carcinoma component. DNA copy number analysis revealed frequent genomic amplification of the CCNE1 locus (which encodes cyclin E, a known substrate of FBXW7) and deletion of the FBXW7 locus. Among 23 uterine serous carcinomas that were subjected to SNP array analysis, seven tumors with FBXW7 mutations (four tumors with point mutations, three tumors with hemizygous deletions) did not have CCNE1 amplification, and 13 (57%) tumors had either a molecular genetic alteration in FBXW7 or CCNE1 amplification. Nearly half of these uterine serous carcinomas (48%) harbored PIK3CA mutation and/or PIK3CA amplification.
Molecular genetic aberrations involving the p53, cyclin E–FBXW7, and PI3K pathways represent major mechanisms in the development of uterine serous carcinoma.
ARID1A is a recently identified tumor suppressor participating in chromatin remodeling. Somatic inactivating mutations of ARID1A and loss of its expression occur most frequently in ovarian clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas and uterine endometrioid carcinomas. Since endometriosis is thought to be a precursor of most ovarian clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas, we undertook an analysis of ARID1A expression of these tumors arising within an endometriotic cyst (endometrioma).
Our immunohistochemical study set consisted of 47 endometriotic cysts containing clear cell carcinoma in 24 cases, well-differentiated ovarian endometrioid carcinoma in 20 and mixed clear cell and endometrioid carcinoma in 3.
ARID1A loss was observed in 31 (66%) of 47 carcinomas and therefore these cases were informative for determining the temporal sequence of loss of ARID1A expression in tumor progression. In 16 of the 47 cases, ARID1A immunoreactivity was retained in both the endometriotic cyst and the carcinoma and thus these cases were not informative. All of the 31 informative cases showed loss of ARID1A immunoreactivity in the carcinoma and in the endometriotic cyst epithelium in direct continuity with the carcinoma but not in the cyst epithelium that was not adjacent to the tumor.
The findings in this study provide cogent evidence that loss of ARID1A function as shown by loss of expression, presumably due to mutations, is an early molecular event, occurring before malignant transformation, in the development of the majority of ovarian clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas arising in endometriomas.
It has been well known that HLA-G molecules are present in a variety of human neoplastic diseases and the molecule may contribute to the escape of tumor cells from immune surveillance. Besides the studies that aim at elucidating the roles of HLA-G in immune regulation, the researches that focus on potential applications of HLA-G expression in cancer diagnosis represent another perspective in HLA-G research. This review summarizes those recent translational studies of HLA-G expression in the diagnosis of human cancer. Specifically, the promises and challenges for applying HLA-G expression to detect cancer in body fluids, to diagnose different types of human cancer and to predict clinical outcome in cancer patients will be briefly reviewed.
Papanicolaou (Pap) smears have revolutionized the management of patients with cervical cancers by permitting the detection of early, surgically curable tumors and their precursors. In recent years, the traditional Pap smear has been replaced by a liquid-based method, which allows not only cytologic evaluation but also collection of DNA for detection of human papillomavirus, the causative agent of cervical cancer. We reasoned that this routinely collected DNA could be exploited to detect somatic mutations present in rare tumor cells that accumulate in the cervix once shed from endometrial or ovarian cancers. A panel of genes that are commonly mutated in endometrial and ovarian cancers was assembled with new whole-exome sequencing data from 22 endometrial cancers and previously published data on other tumor types. We used this panel to search for mutations in 24 endometrial and 22 ovarian cancers and identified mutations in all 46 samples. With a sensitive massively parallel sequencing method, we were able to identify the same mutations in the DNA from liquid Pap smear specimens in 100% of endometrial cancers (24 of 24) and in 41% of ovarian cancers (9 of 22). Prompted by these findings, we developed a sequence-based method to query mutations in 12 genes in a single liquid Pap smear specimen without previous knowledge of the tumor’s genotype. When applied to 14 samples selected from the positive cases described above, the expected tumor-specific mutations were identified. These results demonstrate that DNA from most endometrial and a fraction of ovarian cancers can be detected in a standard liquid-based Pap smear specimen obtained during routine pelvic examination. Although improvements need to be made before applying this test in a routine clinical manner, it represents a promising step toward a broadly applicable screening methodology for the early detection of gynecologic malignancies.
NAC1 is a transcriptional co-repressor protein that is essential to sustain cancer cell proliferation and migration. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of NAC1 function in cancer cells remain unknown. In this study, we show that NAC1 functions as an actin monomer binding protein. The conserved BTB protein interaction domain in NAC1 is the minimal region for actin binding. Disrupting NAC1 complex function by dominant negative or siRNA strategies reduced cell retraction and abscission during late stage cytokinesis, causing multinucleation in cancer cells. In Nac1-deficient murine fibroblasts, restoring NAC1 expression was sufficient to partially avert multinucleation. We found that siRNA-mediated silencing of the actin binding protein profilin-1 in cancer cells caused a similar multinucleation phenotype and that NAC1 modulated the binding of actin to profillin-1. Taken together, our results indicate that the NAC1/actin/profilin-1 complex is crucial for cancer cell cytokinesis, with a variety of important biological and clinical implications.
actin; cytokinesis; NAC1; profilin-1
Nucleus accumbens-1 (NAC1), a nuclear factor belonging to the BTB/POZ gene family, has emerging roles in cancer. We report here that NAC1 acts as a negative regulator of cellular senescence in transformed and non-transformed cells, and dysfunction of NAC1 induces senescence and inhibits its oncogenic potential. We show that NAC1 deficiency markedly activates senescence and inhibits proliferation in tumor cells treated with sub-lethal doses of γ-irradiation. In mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from NAC1 knockout mice, following infection with a Ras virus, NAC1−/− cells undergo significantly more senescence and are either non- or less transformed in vitro and less tumorigenic in vivo when compared with NAC1+/+ cells. Furthermore, we show that the NAC1-caused senescence blunting is mediated by ΔNp63, which exerts its effect on senescence through p21, and that NAC1 activates transcription of ΔNp63 under stressful conditions. Our results not only reveal a previously unrecognized function of NAC1, the molecular pathway involved and its impact on pathogenesis of tumor initiation and development, but also identify a novel senescence regulator that may be exploited as a potential target for cancer prevention and treatment.
NAC1; senescence; ΔNp63; oncogene; tumorigenesis
With the advent of high-throughput biotechnology capable of monitoring genomic signals, it becomes increasingly promising to understand molecular cellular mechanisms through systems biology approaches. One of the active research topics in systems biology is to infer gene transcriptional regulatory networks using various genomic data; this inference problem can be formulated as a linear model with latent signals associated with some regulatory proteins called transcription factors (TFs). As common statistical assumptions may not hold for genomic signals, typical latent variable algorithms such as independent component analysis (ICA) are incapable to reveal underlying true regulatory signals. Liao et al.  proposed to perform inference using an approach named network component analysis (NCA), the optimization of which is achieved by a least-squares fitting approach with biological knowledge constraints. However, the incompleteness of biological knowledge and its inconsistency with gene expression data are not considered in the original NCA solution, which could greatly affect the inference accuracy. To overcome these limitations, we propose a linear extraction scheme, namely regulatory component analysis (RCA), to infer underlying regulatory signals even with partial biological knowledge. Numerical simulations show a significant improvement of our proposed RCA over NCA, not only when signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) is low, but also when the given biological knowledge is incomplete and inconsistent to gene expression data. Furthermore, real biological experiments on E. coli are performed for regulatory network inference in comparison with several typical linear latent variable methods, which again demonstrates the effectiveness and improved performance of the proposed algorithm.
Transcriptional regulatory network inference; Source extraction; Gene expression; Genomic signal processing
NAC1 encoded by NACC1 is a member of the BTB/POZ family of proteins and participates in several pathobiological processes. However, its function during tissue development has not been elucidated. In this study, we compared homozygous null mutant Nacc1-/- and wild type Nacc1+/+ mice to determine the consequences of diminished NAC1 expression. The most remarkable change in Nacc1-/- mice was a vertebral patterning defect in which most knockout animals exhibited a morphological transformation of the sixth lumbar vertebra (L6) into a sacral identity; thus, the total number of pre-sacral vertebrae was decreased by one (to 25) in Nacc1-/- mice. Heterozygous Nacc1+/- mice had an increased tendency to adopt an intermediate phenotype in which L6 underwent partial sacralization. Nacc1-/- mice also exhibited non-closure of the dorsal aspects of thoracic vertebrae T10-T12. Chondrocytes from Nacc1+/+ mice expressed abundant NAC1 while Nacc1-/- chondrocytes had undetectable levels. Loss of NAC1 in Nacc1-/- mice was associated with significantly reduced chondrocyte migratory potential as well as decreased expression of matrilin-3 and matrilin-4, two cartilage-associated extracellular matrix proteins with roles in the development and homeostasis of cartilage and bone. These data suggest that NAC1 participates in the motility and differentiation of developing chondrocytes and cartilaginous tissues, and its expression is necessary to maintain normal axial patterning of murine skeleton.
Rapid and precise screening of small genetic variations, such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), among an individual’s genome is still an unmet challenge at point-of-care settings. One crucial step towards this goal is the development of discrimination probes that require no enzymatic reaction and are easy to use. Here we report a new type of fluorescent molecular probe, termed a chameleon NanoCluster Beacon (cNCB), that lights up into different colors upon binding SNP targets. NanoCluster Beacons (NCBs) are collections of a small number of Ag atoms templated on single-stranded DNA that fluoresce strongly when placed in proximity to particular DNA sequences, termed enhancers. Here we show the fluorescence emission color of a NCB can change substantially (a shift of 60–70 nm in the emission maximum) depending upon the alignment between the silver nanocluster and the DNA enhancer sequence. Chameleon NCBs exploit this color shift to directly detect SNPs, based on the fact that different SNPs produce a different alignment between the Ag nanocluster and the enhancer. This SNP detection method has been validated on all single-nucleotide substitution scenarios in three synthetic DNA targets, in six disease-related SNP targets, and in two clinical samples taken from patients with ovarian serous borderline tumors. Samples with single-nucleotide variations can be easily identified by the naked eye under UV excitation, making this method a reliable and low-cost assay with a simple readout format.
There is mounting evidence that serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC) may be the immediate precursor of ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) but the criteria for its diagnosis are not well established as highlighted in a recent study showing that interobserver reproducibility, even among expert gynecologic pathologists, was moderate at best. Given the clinical significance of a diagnosis of STIC in a patient who has no other evidence of ovarian carcinoma, this is a serious issue that we felt needed to be addressed. Although it is not clear, at this time, whether such a patient should or should not be treated, the importance of an accurate and reproducible diagnosis of precursors of ovarian carcinoma cannot be underestimated. We hypothesized that an elevated Ki-67 labeling index may aid the diagnosis of STIC. Accordingly, we compared the Ki-67 index of STIC and HGSC to normal fallopian tube epithelium (FTE) in the same patients and to a control group of patients without carcinoma, matched for age. A total of 41 STICs were analyzed, of which 35 were associated with a concurrent HGSC. In FTE, immunoreactivity for Ki-67 was restricted to a few scattered cells (mean 2.0%). No statistically significant difference was found between patients with and without HGSC (P>0.05). However, both STICs and HGSC had significantly higher Ki-67 indices than normal FTE (P<0.0001). STICs uniformly had an elevated Ki-67 labeling index that ranged from 11.7% to 71.1% (average 35.6%). There was no correlation of the Ki-67 labeling index in the STICs and the associated HGSC, as the labeling index was lower in STIC in 18/35 (51.4%) whereas it was higher in 17/35 (48.6%) (P=0.86). In conclusion, the findings in this study indicate that compared with FTE, STICs have a significantly higher Ki-67 index similar to HGSC. Accordingly, the Ki-67 index can aid the diagnosis of intraepithelial tubal proliferations suspicious for STIC. Therefore, we propose that a Ki-67 index of 10% is a useful diagnostic tool to distinguish STICs from normal FTE.
Ovarian cancer; Serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma; Ki-67; Serous; STIC
NOTCH3 gene amplification plays an important role in the progression of many ovarian and breast cancers, but the targets of NOTCH3 signaling are unclear. Here we report the use of an integrated systems biology approach to identify direct target genes for NOTCH3. Transcriptome analysis showed that suppression of NOTCH signaling in ovarian and breast cancer cells led to downregulation of genes in pathways involved in cell cycle regulation and nucleotide metabolism. ChIP-on-chip analysis defined promoter target sequences, including a new CSL binding motif (N1) in addition to the canonical CSL binding motif, that were occupied by the NOTCH3/CSL transcription complex. Integration of transcriptome and ChIP-on-chip data demonstrated that the ChIP target genes overlapped significantly with the NOTCH-regulated transcriptome in ovarian cancer cells. From the set of genes identified we determined that the mitotic apparatus organizing protein DLGAP5 (HURP/DLG7) was a critical target. Both the N1 motif and the canonical CSL binding motif were essential to activate DLGAP5 transcription. DLGAP5 silencing in cancer cells suppressed tumorigenicity and inhibited cellular proliferation by arresting the cell cycle at the G2/M phase. In contrast, enforced expression of DLGAP5 partially counteracted the growth inhibitory effects of a pharmacological or RNAi-mediated inhibition in cancer cells. Our findings define direct target genes of NOTCH3 and highlight DLGAP5 in the tumor-promoting function of NOTCH3.
Ovarian cancer is often called the ‘silent killer’ since it is difficult to have early detection and prognosis. Understanding the biological mechanism related to ovarian cancer becomes extremely important for the purpose of treatment. We propose an integrative framework to identify pathway related networks based on large-scale TCGA copy number data and gene expression profiles. The integrative approach first detects highly conserved copy number altered genes and regards them as seed genes, and then applies a network-based method to identify subnetworks that can differentiate gene expression patterns between different phenotypes of ovarian cancer patients. The identified subnetworks are further validated on an independent gene expression data set using a network-based classification method. The experimental results show that our approach can not only achieve good prediction performance across different data sets, but also identify biological meaningful subnetworks involved in many signaling pathways related to ovarian cancer.
The cell of origin of ovarian cancer has been long debated. The current paradigm is that epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) arises from the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE). OSE is composed of flat, nondescript cells more closely resembling the mesothelium lining the peritoneal cavity, with which it is continuous, rather than the various histologic types of ovarian carcinoma (serous, endometrioid, and clear cell carcinoma), which have a Müllerian phenotype. Accordingly, it has been argued that the OSE undergoes a process termed “metaplasia” to account for this profound morphologic transformation. Recent molecular and clinicopathologic studies not only have failed to support this hypothesis but also have provided evidence that EOC stems from Müllerian-derived extraovarian cells that involve the ovary secondarily, thereby calling into question the very existence of primary EOC. This new model of ovarian carcinogenesis proposes that fallopian tube epithelium (benign or malignant) implants on the ovary to give rise to both high-grade and low-grade serous carcinomas, and that endometrial tissue implants on the ovary and produces endometriosis, which can undergo malignant transformation into endometrioid and clear cell carcinoma. Thus, ultimately EOC is not ovarian in origin but rather is secondary, and it is logical to conclude that the only true primary ovarian neoplasms are germ cell and gonadal stromal tumors analogous to tumors in the testis. If this new model is confirmed, it has profound implications for the early detection and treatment of “ovarian cancer.”
Ovarian cancer; Pathogenesis; Model; Paradigm; Fallopian tube; Endometriosis; Serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma; STIC; Serous carcinoma
Newly discovered nanoparticle properties have driven the development of novel applications and uses. We report a new observation where the electrophoretic mobility of a quantum dot-DNA nanoassembly can be precisely modulated by the degree of surface DNA conjugation. By using streptavidin-coated quantum dots (QD) as nanotethers to gather biotin-labeled DNA into electrophoretic nanoassemblies, the QD surface charge is modulated and transformed into electrophoretic mobility shifts using standard agarose gel electrophoresis. Typical fluorescent assays quantify based on relative intensity. However, this phenomenon uses a novel approach that accurately maps DNA quantity into shifts in relative band position. This property was applied in a quantum dot enabled nanoassay called Quantum Dot Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (QEMSA) that enables accurate quantification of DNA targets down to 1.1-fold (9%) changes in quantity, beyond what is achievable in qPCR. In addition to these experimental findings, an analytical model is presented to explain this behavior. Finally, QEMSA was applied to both genetic and epigenetic analysis of cancer. First, it was used to analyze copy number variation (CNV) of the RSF1/HBXAP gene where conventional approaches for CNV analysis based on comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), microarrays, and qPCR are unable to reliably differentiate less than 2-fold changes in copy number. Then, QEMSA was used for DNA methylation analysis of the p16/CDK2A tumor suppressor gene where its ability to detect subtle changes in methylation was shown to be superior to that of qPCR.
Quantum dot; Nanother; DNA; Electrophoretic mobility; Copy number variation; methylation
It has been well established that ovarian low-grade and high-grade serous carcinomas are fundamentally different types of tumours. While the molecular genetic features of ovarian high-grade serous carcinomas are now well known, the pathogenesis of low-grade serous carcinomas, apart from the recognition of frequent somatic mutations involving KRAS and BRAF, is largely unknown. In order to comprehensively analyse somatic mutations in low-grade serous carcinomas, we applied exome sequencing to the DNA of eight samples of affinity-purified, low-grade, serous carcinomas. A remarkably small number of mutations were identified in seven of these tumours: a total of 70 somatic mutations in 64 genes. The eighth case displayed mixed serous and endometrioid features and a mutator phenotype with 783 somatic mutations, including a nonsense mutation in the mismatch repair gene, MSH2. We validated representative mutations in an additional nine low-grade serous carcinomas and 10 serous borderline tumours, the precursors of ovarian low-grade, serous carcinomas. Overall, the genes showing the most frequent mutations were BRAF and KRAS, occurring in 10 (38%) and 5 (19%) of 27 low-grade tumours, respectively. Except for a single case with a PIK3CA mutation, other mutations identified in the discovery set were not detected in the validation set of specimens. Our mutational analysis demonstrates that point mutations are much less common in low-grade serous tumours of the ovary than in other adult tumours, a finding with interesting scientific and clinical implications.
ovarian cancer; exome sequencing; BRAF; KRAS; somatic mutations
Nongastrointestinal-type mucinous borderline tumors have been described as displaying endocervical and serous differentiation and hence have been termed “endocervical-type” mucinous borderline tumors, “mixed epithelial papillary cystadenoma of borderline malignancy of mullerian type” or “atypical proliferative seromucinous tumors”. A striking feature of these tumors is their frequent association with endometriosis, which has been reported in a third to a half of cases. This is an unusual finding as pure endocervical and serous tumors are not usually associated with endometriosis. ARID1A is a recently identified tumor suppressor, which frequently loses its expression and is mutated in endometrium-related carcinomas including ovarian clear cell, ovarian endometrioid and uterine endometrioid carcinomas. Although ARID1A mutations and expression have been studied in gynecological cancer, the expression pattern of ARID1A has not been investigated in ovarian atypical proliferative (borderline) tumors. In this study, we analyzed ARID1A expression in serous, gastrointestinal-type and endocervical-type (seromucinous) mucinous, and endometrioid atypical proliferative (borderline) tumors using immunohistochemistry and performed mutational analysis in selected cases. We observed loss of ARID1A staining in 8 (33%) of 24 seromucinous tumors. In contrast, ARID1A staining was retained in all the other 32 tumors except in one endometrioid tumor (p<0.01). Mutational analysis was performed on two representative seromucinous tumors, which showed complete loss of ARID1A. Both tumors harbored somatic inactivating ARID1A mutations. Previous studies have reported loss of expression and/or mutation of ARID1A in 30–57% of endometrioid and clear cell carcinomas but only rarely in serous tumors. The findings in this study, showing a significantly higher frequency of loss of ARID1A expression in endocervical-type (seromucinous) tumors, presumably due to mutation, compared to the other histologic types suggest that they are molecularly related to endometrioid and clear cell tumors.
ARID1A; ovarian borderline tumor