Psychological stress-associated immune dysregulation has been shown to disrupt the steady state expression and reactivate latent herpes viruses. One such virus is the Epstein Barr virus (EBV), which is associated with several human malignancies. EBV infects >90% of people living in North America and persists for life in latently infected cells. Although several studies have shown that glucocorticoids (GCs) can directly induce reactivation of the latent virus, the mechanism of stress hormone involvement in the control of EBV gene expression is not well understood. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that GCs can induce the latent EBV genome to lytically replicate through the induction of the EBV immediate early gene BZLF1 which encodes the lytic transactivator protein ZEBRA. We show a dose-dependent upregulation of BZLF1 mRNA expression by hydrocortisone (HC) and dexamethasone (Dex) in Daudi cells, an EBV genome positive Burkitt’s lymphoma cell line, and Dex-induction of the early gene products BLLF3 (encoding for the EBV dUTPase) and BALF5 (encoding for the EBV DNA polymerase). We show that Daudi cells express glucocorticoid receptors (GR) that mediate Dex-dependent upregulation of BZLF1 mRNA levels. This effect was inhibited by both the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU486 and by cycloheximide. The results suggest that GCs, in addition to inducing stress-related immune dysregulation, can mediate latent EBV reactivation through the induction of the BZLF1 gene.
Epstein Barr virus; glucocorticoids; glucocorticoid receptor; herpesvirus reactivation; psychological stress
Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a strong predisposing factor in the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Many viral gene products including EBNA1, LMP1, and LMP2 have been implicated in NPC tumorigenesis, although the de novo control of these viral oncoproteins remains largely unclear. The recent discovery of EBV-encoded viral microRNA (miRNA) in lymphoid malignancies has prompted us to examine the NPC-associated EBV miRNA. Using large-scale cloning analysis on EBV-positive NPC cells, two novel EBV miRNA, now named miR-BART21 and miR-BART22, were identified. These two EBV-encoded miRNA are abundantly expressed in most NPC samples. We found two nucleotide variations in the primary transcript of miR-BART22, which we experimentally confirmed to augment its biogenesis in vitro and thus may underline the high and consistent expression of miR-BART22 in NPC tumors. More importantly, we determined that the EBV latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) is the putative target of miR-BART22. LMP2A is a potent immunogenic viral antigen that is recognized by the cytotoxic T cells; down-modulation of LMP2A expression by miR-BART22 may permit escape of EBV-infected cells from host immune surveillance. Taken together, we demonstrated that two newly identified EBV-encoded miRNA are highly expressed in NPC. Specific sequence variations on the prevalent EBV strain in our locality might contribute to the higher miR-BART22 expression level in our NPC samples. Our findings emphasize the role of miR-BART22 in modulating LMP2A expression, which may facilitate NPC carcinogenesis by evading the host immune response.
This study evaluated the preclinical activity and molecular predictors of response to gefitinib (Iressa®, Astra Zeneca Inc, UK) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The activity of gefitinib was evaluated in four human NPC cell lines—HK1, HONE-1, CNE2, C666-1. A representative gefitinib-sensitive (HK1, IC50 = 250 nM) and gefitinib-resistant cell line (HONE-1, IC50 > 15 μM) were selected and compared for expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and related ligands, and activation of downstream proteins. Gefitinib induced G1 cycle arrest, apoptosis and inhibited cell invasion more significantly in HK1 than HONE-1 cells. HK1 expressed higher levels of p-EGFR, lower p-AKT and phospho-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (p-STAT3) than other cell lines. EGFR gene was found to be amplified in HK1. Gefitinib at IC50 concentrations significantly suppressed EGF-induced activation of p-EGFR, phospho-mitogen-activated protein kinase (p-MAPK) and p-STAT3, but p-AKT showed persistent activation in HK1 and HONE-1 cells. There was no difference in EGFR-ligand expression between the 4 NPC cell lines. In NPC samples derived from non-responders to gefitinib, 50% and 60% showed cytoplasmic and nuclear pi-EGFR expression, respectively, and 33% showed p-AKT expression. EGFR or KRAS mutations were not detected. This study suggests that most NPC cell lines are intrinsically resistant to gefitinib (except HK1 cells), and further studies are needed to confirm whether EGFR gene amplification and persistent AKT activation may influence response to gefitinib in NPC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10637-009-9316-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Head and neck cancer; Gefitinib; Epidermal growth factor receptor
The tumor suppressor gene p53 plays a central role in the maintenance of normal cell growth and genetic integrity, while its impact on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) life cycle remains elusive. We found that p53 is important for histone deacetylase inhibitor-induced EBV lytic gene expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. Restoration of p53 in p53-null, EBV-infected H1299 cells augments the potential for viral lytic cycle initiation. Evidence from reporter assays demonstrated that p53 contributes to the expression of the immediate-early viral Zta gene. Further analysis indicated that the DNA-binding ability of p53 and phosphorylation of Ser392 may be critical. This study provides the first evidence that p53 is involved in the regulation of EBV lytic cycle initiation.
We previously demonstrated that the Epstein-Barr virus-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) potently activates the cellular c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway by sequentially engaging an unknown adaptor, TRAF6, TAB1/TAK1, and JNKKs. We now show that BS69, a MYND domain-containing cellular protein, is the missing adaptor that bridges LMP1 and TRAF6, as the MYND domain and a separate region of BS69 bind to the carboxyl termini of LMP1 and TRAF6, respectively. While LMP1 promotes the interaction between BS69 and TRAF6, the complex formation between LMP1 and TRAF6 is BS69 dependent. A fraction of LMP1 and BS69 is constitutively colocalized in the membrane lipid rafts. Importantly, knockdown of BS69 by small interfering RNAs specifically inhibits JNK activation by LMP1 but not tumor necrosis factor alpha. Although overexpression of either BS69 or a mutant LMP1 without the cytoplasmic carboxyl tail is not sufficient to activate JNK, interestingly, when BS69 is covalently linked to the mutant LMP1, the chimeric protein restores the ability to activate JNK. This indicates that the recruitment and aggregation of BS69 is a prerequisite for JNK activation by LMP1.
Suppression of ovarian tumor growth by chromosome 3p was demonstrated in a previous study. Deleted in Lung and Esophageal Cancer 1 (DLEC1) on 3p22.3 is a candidate tumor suppressor in lung, esophageal, and renal cancers. The potential involvement of DLEC1 in epithelial ovarian cancer remains unknown. In the present study, DLEC1 downregulation was found in ovarian cancer cell lines and primary ovarian tumors. Focus-expressed DLEC1 in two ovarian cancer cell lines resulted in 41% to 52% inhibition of colony formation. No chromosomal loss of chromosome 3p22.3 in any ovarian cancer cell line or tissue was found. Promoter hypermethylation of DLEC1 was detected in ovarian cancer cell lines with reduced DLEC1 transcripts, whereas methylation was not detected in normal ovarian epithelium and DLEC1-expressing ovarian cancer cell lines. Treatment with demethylating agent enhanced DLEC1 expression in 90% (9 of 10) of ovarian cancer cell lines. DLEC1 promoter methylation was examined in 13 high-grade ovarian tumor tissues with DLEC1 downregulation, in which 54% of the tumors showed DLEC1 methylation. In addition, 80% of ovarian cancer cell lines significantly upregulated DLEC1 transcripts after histone deacetylase inhibitor treatment. Therefore, our results suggested that DLEC1 suppressed the growth of ovarian cancer cells and that its downregulation was closely associated with promoter hypermethylation and histone hypoacetylation.
DLEC1; chromosome 3p22.3; promoter hypermethylation; histone hypoacetylation; epithelial ovarian cancer; DLEC1, Deleted in Lung and Esophageal Cancer 1; HOSE, human ovarian surface epithelium; LOH, loss of heterozygosity; CNA, copy number abnormality; MSP, methylation-specific PCR; ChIP, chromatin immunoprecipitation; AZA, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine; TSA, Trichostatin A
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent infection is a critical event in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) tumorigenesis. EBV-encoded genes have been shown to be involved in immune evasion and in the regulation of various cellular signaling cascades. To elucidate the roles of EBV in NPC development, stable infection of EBV in nasopharyngeal epithelial cell lines was established. Similar to primary tumors of NPC, these infected cells exhibited a type II EBV latency expression pattern. In this study, multiple cellular signaling pathways in EBV-infected cells were investigated. We first demonstrated that in vitro EBV infection resulted in the activation of STAT3 and NFκB signal cascades in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Increased expression of their downstream targets (c-Myc, Bcl-xL, IL-6, LIF, SOCS-1, SOCS-3, VEGF, and COX-2) was also observed. Moreover, EBV latent infection induced the suppression of p38-MAPK activities, but did not activate PKR cascade. Our findings suggest that EBV latent infection is able to manipulate multiple cellular signal cascades to protect infected cells from immunologic attack and to facilitate cancer development.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Epstein-Barr virus; NFκB; STAT3; cell signaling
We investigated the epigenetic silencing and genetic changes of the RAS-associated domain family 1A (RASSF1A) gene and the O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene in retinoblastoma. We extracted DNA from microdissected tumor and normal retina tissues of the same patient in 68 retinoblastoma cases. Promoter methylation in RASSF1A and MGMT was analyzed by methylation-specific PCR, RASSF1A sequence alterations in all coding exons by direct DNA sequencing, and RASSF1A expression by RT-PCR. Cell cycle staging was analyzed by flow cytometry. We detected RASSF1A promoter hypermethylation in 82% of retinoblastoma, in tumor tissues only but not in adjacent normal retinal tissue cells. There was no expression of RASSF1A transcripts in all hypermethylated samples, but RASSF1A transcripts were restored after 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine treatment with no changes in cell cycle or apoptosis. No mutation in the RASSF1A sequence was found. MGMT hypermethylation was present in 15% of theretinoblastoma samples, and the absence of MGMT hypermethylation was associated (P = .002) with retinoblastoma at advanced Reese-Ellsworth tumor stage. Our results revealed a high RASSF1A hypermethylation frequency in retinoblastoma. The correlation of MGMT inactivation by promoter hypermethylation with lower-stage diseases indicated that MGMT hypermethylation provides useful prognostic information. Epigenetic mechanism plays an important role in the progression of retinoblastoma.
Retinoblastoma; methylation; RASSF1A; MGMT; RB
Aberrant retinoid signaling in human cancers is extending from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Recently, we have demonstrated frequent epigenetic inactivation of a retinoic acid receptor (RAR), RARβ2, in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). To further explore targets contributing to aberrant retinoid signaling in NPC, the expression of cellular retinol-binding proteins (CRBPs), cellular retinoic acid-binding proteins (CRABPs), RARs, and retinoid X receptors (RXRs) was examined. Apart from RARβ2, transcriptional silencing of two CRBPs, CRBPI and CRBPIV, was observed in NPC cell lines and xenografts. Hypermethylation of CRBPI and CRBPIV CpG islands was found to be closely correlated with the loss of expression. Treatment with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine, resulted in reexpression of CRBPI and CRBPIV gene expression in NPC cell lines. Both CRBPI and CRBPIV hypermethylations were also observed in 43/48 (87.8%) and 26/48 (54.2%) primary NPC tumors, respectively. Here, we reported for the first time that CRBPIV was transcriptionally inactivated by promoter hypermethylation in human cancer. Simultaneous methylation of CRBPI, CRBPIV, and RARβ2 was commonly found in NPC primary tumors. Our findings implied that epigenetic disruption of the CRBPs, CRBPI and CRBPIV, is important in NPC tumorigenesis and may contribute to the loss of retinoic acid responsiveness in cancer.
CRBPIV; CRBPI; retinoid; hypermethylation; nasopharyngeal carcinoma
The oncogenic process leading to nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) requires the combination of genetic and epigenetic alterations, latent infection by the Epstein-Barr virus and local inflammation. A transcriptome analysis of NPC xenografts identified the gene encoding the cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein 2 (c-IAP2) among the top five most intensely expressed. Consistently, the very high levels of the c-IAP2 protein were detected in 11 of 13 NPC biopsies. RMT 5265, a structural analog of second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (SMAC), induced the rapid degradation of c-IAP2 in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells, whether malignant or not, but blocked clonal cell growth in NPC cells only. In short-term experiments, RMT 5265 induced apoptosis in a fraction of NPC cells, and this apoptosis was dramatically enhanced when RMT 5265 was combined with Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) stimulation. By contrast, the cooperative effect with tumor necrosis factor α was only marginal. The apoptosis induced by the combination of RMT 5265 and TLR3 stimulation was mediated by caspase-8 and associated with a decrease in the cellular content of the long isoform of FLICE-like inhibitory protein. Similar caspase-8 activation was obtained when siRNA knockdown of c-IAP2 was combined with TLR3 stimulation. In conclusion, c-IAP2 has a specific protective function in NPC cells challenged by TLR3 agonists. This protective function is probably important to make NPC cells tolerant to their own production of small viral RNAs, which are potential agonists of TLR3. Our data will help to design a rational use of IAP inhibitors in NPC patients.
To compare volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) with conventional step and shoot intensity modulated radiation therapy (s-IMRT) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients, and identify which T category patient gains the maximum benefit from VMAT.
Fifty-two patients that randomly selected from 205 patients received VMAT at a single center were retrospectively replanned with s-IMRT. For a fair comparison, the planning target volume (PTV) coverage of the 2 plans was normalized to the same level. A standard planning constraint set was used; the constraints for the organs at risk (OARs) were individually adapted. The calculated doses to the PTV and OARs were compared for s-IMRT and VMAT plans generated using the Monaco treatment planning system.
VMAT and s-IMRT plans had similar PTV coverage and OAR sparing within all T categories. However, in stratified analysis, VMAT plans lead to better or similar sparing of the OARs in early T category patients; and lead to poorer sparing of the OARs in advanced T category patients (P<0.05). VMAT shows significant advantages for low dose burden (P<0.05) compared with s-IMRT. The delivery time per fraction for VMAT (424±64 s) was shorter than s-IMRT (778 ± 126 s, p<0.01).
VMAT provides similar dose coverage of the PTVs and similar/better normal tissue sparing in early T category NPC, and poorer OARs sparing in advanced T category NPC. And VMAT shows significant advantages for low dose burden and delivery time.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a distinct type of head and neck cancer which is consistently associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The C666-1 cell line is the only in vitro native EBV-infected NPC cell model commonly used for study of the viral-host interaction. Nevertheless, the complete EBV genome sequence in this in vitro EBV-infected NPC model has not been characterized.
To determine the complete EBV genome sequence in C666-1 cells.
The C666-1 genome was sequenced by 100-bases pair-end massive parallel sequencing. Bioinformatics analysis was performed to extract the EBV sequences and construct an EBV consensus sequence map. PCR amplification and Sanger DNA sequencing were used for sequence validation and gap filling. A phylogenetic analysis of EBV strain in C666-1 cells and other reported EBV strains was performed.
A 171,317 bp complete EBV genome of C666-1 was successfully constructed (GenBank accession number: KC617875). Phylogenetic analysis of EBV genome in C666-1 revealed that the C666-1 EBV strain is closely related to the reported strains in NPC primary tumors.
C666-1 contains a representative NPC-associated EBV genome and might serve as an important model for studying the roles or function of viral proteins in NPC tumorigenesis.
Epstein-Barr virus; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Whole-genome deep sequencing; Single-nucleotide variations; Indels; Phylogenetic analysis; BNRF
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an Epstein-Barr virus-associated malignancy most common in East Asia, Africa and Alaska. Radiotherapy and cisplatin-based chemotherapy are the main treatment options. Unfortunately, disease response to concurrent chemoradiotherapy varies among patients with NPC, and many cases are resistant to cisplatin and radiotherapy. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) has been implicated in the development and progression of various solid tumors. In this study, we assessed the activation and expression of Stat3 in NPC cells. We found that Stat3 was activated and could be blocked by the small molecule inhibitor Stattic. The inhibition of Stat3 in NPC cells by Stattic decreased the expression of cyclin D1 in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Thus, Stattic was used to target Stat3 in NPC cell lines. We found that Stattic could inhibit cell viability and proliferation in NPC cells and significantly induced apoptosis. Additionally, Stat3 transfection attenuated, whereas Stat3 knockdown enhanced, the effects of Stattic upon cell viability inhibition and apoptosis induction. Furthermore, Stattic sensitized NPC cells to cisplatin and ionizing radiation (IR) by preventing cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis. Taken together, Stattic inhibit Stat3 and display antitumor effect in NPC, and enhanced chemosensitivity and radiosensitivity in NPC. Therefore, our findings provide the base for more rational approaches to treat NPC in the clinic.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a unique EBV-associated epithelial malignancy, showing highly invasive and metastatic phenotype. Despite increasing evidence demonstrating the critical role of cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) in the maintenance and progression of tumors in a variety of malignancies, the existence and properties of CSC in EBV-associated NPC are largely unknown. Our study aims to elucidate the presence and role of CSCs in the pathogenesis of this malignant disease. Sphere-forming cells were isolated from an EBV-positive NPC cell line C666-1 and its tumor-initiating properties were confirmed by in vitro and in vivo assays. In these spheroids, up-regulation of multiple stem cell markers were found. By flow cytometry, we demonstrated that both CD44 and SOX2 were overexpressed in a majority of sphere-forming C666-1 cells. The CD44+SOX2+ cells was detected in a minor population in EBV-positive xenografts and primary tumors and considered as potential CSC in NPC. Notably, the isolated CD44+ NPC cells were resistant to chemotherapeutic agents and with higher spheroid formation efficiency, showing CSC properties. On the other hand, microarray analysis has revealed a number of differentially expressed genes involved in transcription regulation (e.g. FOXN4, GLI1), immune response (CCR7, IL8) and transmembrane transport (e.g. ABCC3, ABCC11) in the spheroids. Among these genes, increased expression of CCR7 in CD44+ CSCs was confirmed in NPC xenografts and primary tumors. Importantly, blocking of CCR7 abolished the sphere-forming ability of C666-1 in vitro. Expression of CCR7 was associated with recurrent disease and distant metastasis. The current study defined the specific properties of a CSC subpopulation in EBV-associated NPC. Our findings provided new insights into developing effective therapies targeting on CSCs, thereby potentiating treatment efficacy for NPC patients.
Nasopharyngeal carcinomas (NPC) are consistently associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Though NPCs are more radiosensitive and chemosensitive than other tumors of the upper aero-digestive tract, many therapeutic challenges remain. In a previous report, we have presented data supporting a possible therapeutic strategy based on artificial TLR3 stimulation combined to the inhibition of the IAP protein family (Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins). The present study was designed to progress towards practical applications of this strategy pursuing 2 main objectives: 1) to formally demonstrate expression of the TLR3 protein by malignant NPC cells; 2) to investigate the effect of poly(A:U) as a novel TLR3-agonist more specific than poly(I:C) which was used in our previous study.
TLR3 expression was investigated in a series of NPC cell lines and clinical specimens by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry, respectively. The effects on NPC cells growth of the TLR3 ligand poly(A:U) used either alone or in combination with RMT5265, an IAP inhibitor based on Smac-mimicry, were assessed using MTT assays and clonogenic assays.
TLR3 was detected at a high level in all NPC cell lines and clinical specimens. Low concentrations of poly(A:U) were applied to several types of NPC cells including cells from the C17 xenograft which for the first time have been adapted to permanent propagation in vitro. As a single agent, poly(A:U) had no significant effects on cell growth and cell survival. In contrast, dramatic effects were obtained when it was combined with the IAP inhibitor RMT5265. These effects were obtained using concentrations as low as 0.5 μg/ml (poly(A:U)) and 50 nM (RMT5265).
These data confirm that TLR3 expression is a factor of vulnerability for NPC cells. They suggest that in some specific pathological and pharmacological contexts, it might be worth to use Smac-mimetics at very low doses, allowing a better management of secondary effects. In light of our observations, combined use of both types of compounds should be considered for treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinomas.
Toll-Like Receptor 3; Nasopharyngeal cancer; Epstein-Barr virus; Poly(A:U); Smac-mimetic; Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein
Mesenchymal chondrosarcomas (MCs) account for 3–10% of primary chondrosarcomas. The cytogenetic literature includes only ten such tumours with karyotypic information and no specific aberrations have been identified. Using a purely molecular genetic approach a HEY1-NCOA2 fusion gene was recently detected in 10 of 15 investigated MCs. The fusion probably arises through intrachromosomal rearrangement of chromosome arm 8 q. We report a new case of MC showing a t(1;5)(q42;q32) as the sole karyotypic aberration. Through FISH and whole transcriptome sequencing analysis we found a novel fusion between the IRF2BP2 gene and the transcription factor CDX1 gene arising from the translocation. The IRF2BP2-CDX1 has not formerly been described in human neoplasia. In our hospital’s archives three more cases of MC were found, and we examined them looking for the supposedly more common HEY1-NCOA2 fusion, finding it in all three tumours but not in the case showing t(1;5) and IRF2BP2-CDX1 gene fusion. This demonstrates that genetic heterogeneity exists in mesenchymal chondrosarcoma.
c-Met represents an important emerging therapeutic target in cancer. Here, we demonstrate the mechanism by which c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibition inhibits tumor growth in a highly invasive Asian-prevalent head and neck cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs; AM7 and c-Met TKI tool compound SU11274) downregulated c-Met phosphorylation resulting in markedly inhibited growth and invasion of NPC cells. Strikingly, inhibition of c-Met resulted in marked downregulation of TIGAR (TP53-induced Glycolysis and Apoptosis Regulator) and subsequent depletion of intracellular NADPH. Importantly, overexpression of TIGAR ameliorated the effects of c-Met kinase inhibition, confirming the importance of TIGAR downregulation in growth inhibition induced by c-Met TKI. The effects of c-Met inhibition on TIGAR and NADPH levels were observed with two different c-Met TKIs (AM7 and SU11274) and with multiple cell lines. As NADPH provides a crucial reducing power required for cell survival and proliferation, our findings represent a novel mechanistic action of c-Met TKI, which may represent a key effect of c-Met kinase inhibition. Our data provides the first evidence linking c-Met, TIGAR and NADPH regulation in human cancer cells suggesting that inhibition of a tyrosine kinase/TIGAR/NADPH cascade may have therapeutic applicability in human cancers.
c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibitor; TIGAR; NADPH
Excision repair cross-complementation group 4 gene (ERCC4/XPF) plays an important role in nucleotide excision repair and participates in removal of DNA interstrand cross-links and DNA double-strand breaks. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ERCC4 may impact repair capacity and affect cancer susceptibility.
In this case-control study, we evaluated associations of four selected potentially functional SNPs in ERCC4 with risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) in 1,040 non-Hispanic white patients with SCCHN and 1,046 cancer-free matched controls. We found that the variant GG genotype of rs2276466 was significantly associated with a decreased risk of SCCHN (OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.50–0.96), and that the variant TT genotype of rs3136038 showed a borderline significant decreased risk with SCCHN (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.58–1.01) in the recessive model. Such protective effects were more evident in oropharyngeal cancer (OR = 0.61, 95% CI: 0.40–0.92 for rs2276466; OR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.48–0.98 for rs3136038). No significant associations were found for the other two SNPs (rs1800067 and rs1799798). In addition, individuals with the rs2276466 GG or with the rs3136038 TT genotypes had higher levels of ERCC4 mRNA expression than those with the corresponding wild-type genotypes in 90 Epstein-Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from Caucasians.
These results suggest that these two SNPs (rs2276466 and rs3136038) in ERCC4 may be functional and contribute to SCCHN susceptibility. However, our findings need to be replicated in further large epidemiological and functional studies.
Previous studies have reported that the tumour cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) exhibit recurrent chromosome abnormalities. These genetic changes are broadly assumed to lead to changes in gene expression which are important for the pathogenesis of this tumour. However, this assumption has yet to be formally tested at a global level. Therefore a genome wide analysis of chromosome copy number and gene expression was performed in tumour cells micro-dissected from the same NPC biopsies. Cellular tumour suppressor and tumour-promoting genes (TSG, TPG) and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)-encoded oncogenes were examined. The EBV-encoded genome maintenance protein EBNA1, along with the putative oncogenes LMP1, LMP2 and BARF1 were expressed in the majority of NPCs that were analysed. Significant downregulation of expression in an average of 76 cellular TSGs per tumour was found, whilst a per-tumour average of 88 significantly upregulated, TPGs occurred. The expression of around 60% of putative TPGs and TSGs was both up-and down-regulated in different types of cancer, suggesting that the simplistic classification of genes as TSGs or TPGs may not be entirely appropriate and that the concept of context-dependent onco-suppressors may be more extensive than previously recognised. No significant enrichment of TPGs within regions of frequent genomic gain was seen but TSGs were significantly enriched within regions of frequent genomic loss. It is suggested that loss of the FHIT gene may be a driver of NPC tumourigenesis. Notwithstanding the association of TSGs with regions of genomic loss, on a gene by gene basis and excepting homozygous deletions and high-level amplification, there is very little correlation between chromosomal copy number aberrations and expression levels of TSGs and TPGs in NPC.
Oral leukoplakia (OLK) is a potentially malignant disorder of the oral cavity. However, the underlying mechanism of OLK is still unclear. In this study, we explore possible miRNAs involved in OLK.
Using miRNA microarrays, we profiled miRNA expression in OLK and malignantly transformed OLK (mtOLK) tissue samples. The upregulation of miR-31*, miR-142-5p, miR-33a, miR-1259, miR-146b-5p, miR-886-3p, miR-886-5p, miR-519d, and miR-301a along with the downregulation of miR-572, miR-611, miR-602, miR-675, miR-585, miR-623, miR-637, and miR-1184 in mtOLK were new observations. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses confirmed that miR-31* is highly expressed in mtOLK. There was a significant difference between the FISH score (p<0.05) in patients with or without recurrent/newly formed OLK. Functional analyses demonstrated that a miR-31* inhibitor decreased apoptosis in the Leuk-1, which is an immortalized oral epithelial cell line spontaneously derived from an oral leukoplakia lesion. miR-31* regulated apoptosis, cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in the HOIEC, which is a HPV E6/E7-immortalized oral epithelial cell line. Furthermore, miR-31* modulated the biological functions of apoptosis, cell proliferation, cell cycle, migration, and invasion in the oral squamous cell carcinoma cell line, Cal-27. Using bioinformatic analyses and dual luciferase reporter assays, we determined that the 3′ untranslated region of fibroblast growth factor 3 (FGF3) is the target of miR-31*. Expression of FGF3 was downregulated or upregulated in the presence of a miR-31* mimic or inhibitor, respectively.
Upregulation of miR-31* is negatively associated with recurrent/newly formed OLK. MiR-31* may exert similar but distinguishable effects on biological function in oral cells with different malignant potential. FGF3 is the target of miR-31*. miR-31* may play an important role during OLK progression through regulating FGF3. MiRNA* strands may also have prominent roles in oral carcinogenesis.
14-3-3σ is frequently lost in human breast cancers by genetic deletion or promoter methylation. We have now investigated the involvement of 14-3-3σ in the termination of NF-κB signal in mammary cells and its putative role in cancer relapse and metastasis. Our results show that 14-3-3σ regulates nuclear export of p65-NF-κB following chronic TNFα stimulation. Restoration of 14-3-3σ in breast cancer cells reduces migration capacity and metastatic abilities in vivo. By microarray analysis, we have identified a genetic signature that responds to TNFα in a 14-3-3σ-dependent manner and significantly associates with different breast and other types of cancer. By interrogating public databases, we have found that over-expression of this signature correlates with poor relapse-free survival in breast cancer patients. Finally, screening of 96 human breast tumors showed that NF-κB activation strictly correlates with the absence of 14-3-3σ and it is significantly associated with worse prognosis in the multivariate analysis. Our findings identify a genetic signature that is important for breast cancer prognosis and for future personalized treatments based on NF-κB targeting.
Whether certain Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) strains are associated with pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is still an unresolved question. In the present study, EBV genome contained in a primary NPC tumor biopsy was amplified by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and sequenced using next-generation (Illumina) and conventional dideoxy-DNA sequencing. The EBV genome, designated HKNPC1 (Genbank accession number JQ009376) is a type 1 EBV of approximately 171.5 kb. The virus appears to be a uniform strain in line with accepted monoclonal nature of EBV in NPC but is heterogeneous at 172 nucleotide positions. Phylogenetic analysis with the four published EBV strains, B95-8, AG876, GD1, and GD2, indicated HKNPC1 was more closely related to the Chinese NPC patient-derived strains, GD1 and GD2. HKNPC1 contains 1,589 single nucleotide variations (SNVs) and 132 insertions or deletions (indels) in comparison to the reference EBV sequence (accession number NC007605). When compared to AG876, a strain derived from Ghanaian Burkitt's lymphoma, we found 322 SNVs, of which 76 were non-synonymous SNVs and were shared amongst the Chinese GD1, GD2 and HKNPC1 isolates. We observed 88 non-synonymous SNVs shared only by HKNPC1 and GD2, the only other NPC tumor-derived strain reported thus far. Non-synonymous SNVs were mainly found in the latent, tegument and glycoprotein genes. The same point mutations were found in glycoprotein (BLLF1 and BALF4) genes of GD1, GD2 and HKNPC1 strains and might affect cell type specific binding. Variations in LMP1 and EBNA3B epitopes and mutations in Cp (11404 C>T) and Qp (50134 G>C) found in GD1, GD2 and HKNPC1 could potentially affect CD8+ T cell recognition and latent gene expression pattern in NPC, respectively. In conclusion, we showed that whole genome sequencing of EBV in NPC may facilitate discovery of previously unknown variations of pathogenic significance.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with several types of cancers including Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). EBV-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), a multifunctional oncoprotein, is a powerful activator of the transcription factor NF-κB, a property that is essential for EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell survival. Previous studies reported LMP1 sequence variations and induction of higher NF-κB activation levels compared to the prototype B95-8 LMP1 by some variants. Here we used biopsies of EBV-associated cancers and blood of individuals included in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS) to analyze LMP1 genetic diversity and impact of sequence variations on LMP1-mediated NF-κB activation potential. We found that a number of variants mediate higher NF-κB activation levels when compared to B95-8 LMP1 and mapped three single polymorphisms responsible for this phenotype: F106Y, I124V and F144I. F106Y was present in all LMP1 isolated in this study and its effect was variant dependent, suggesting that it was modulated by other polymorphisms. The two polymorphisms I124V and F144I were present in distinct phylogenetic groups and were linked with other specific polymorphisms nearby, I152L and D150A/L151I, respectively. The two sets of polymorphisms, I124V/I152L and F144I/D150A/L151I, which were markers of increased NF-κB activation in vitro, were not associated with EBV-associated HL in the SHCS. Taken together these results highlighted the importance of single polymorphisms for the modulation of LMP1 signaling activity and demonstrated that several groups of LMP1 variants, through distinct mutational paths, mediated enhanced NF-κB activation levels compared to B95-8 LMP1.