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1.  Human monocytes undergo functional re-programming during differentiation to dendritic cell mediated by human extravillous trophoblasts 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:20409.
Maternal immune adaptation is required for a successful pregnancy to avoid rejection of the fetal–placental unit. Dendritic cells within the decidual microenvironment lock in a tolerogenic profile. However, how these tolerogenic DCs are induced and the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. In this study, we show that human extravillous trophoblasts redirect the monocyte-to-DC transition and induce regulatory dendritic cells. DCs differentiated from blood monocytes in the presence of human extravillous trophoblast cell line HTR-8/SVneo displayed a DC-SIGN+CD14+CD1a− phenotype, similar with decidual DCs. HTR8-conditioned DCs were unable to develop a fully mature phenotype in response to LPS, and altered the cytokine secretory profile significantly. Functionally, conditioned DCs poorly induced the proliferation and activation of allogeneic T cells, whereas promoted CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg cells generation. Furthermore, the supernatant from DC and HTR-8/SVneo coculture system contained significant high amount of M-CSF and MCP-1. Using neutralizing antibodies, we discussed the role of M-CSF and MCP-1 during monocyte-to-DCs differentiation mediated by extravillous trophoblasts. Our data indicate that human extravillous trophoblasts play an important role in modulating the monocyte-to-DC differentiation through M-CSF and MCP-1, which facilitate the establishment of a tolerogenic microenvironment at the maternal–fetal interface.
PMCID: PMC4746586  PMID: 26857012
2.  Tim-3 Is Upregulated in NK Cells during Early Pregnancy and Inhibits NK Cytotoxicity toward Trophoblast in Galectin-9 Dependent Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(1):e0147186.
NK cells accumulate at the maternal-fetal interface (MFI) and play essential roles in maintaining immune tolerance during pregnancy. The mechanisms that facilitate NK cells tolerance to fetal tissue are largely unknown. T cell Ig and mucin domain-containing protein 3 (Tim-3) is a newly defined molecule with essential immunological function in many physiological and pathological processes. Recent study showed that Tim-3 was involved in the regulation of immune tolerance at MFI. However, whether Tim-3 regulates NK cells cytotoxicity toward trophoblasts is unclear. Here, we showed Tim-3 was mainly expressed by decidual NK cells (dNK) and Tim-3 level in dNK was higher than peripheral NK cells (pNK). Tim-3+ dNK expressed more levels of mature markers CD94 and CD69 than Tim-3- dNK cells and blocking Tim-3 significantly inhibited dNK IFN-γ and TNF-α secretion. Furthermore, we found TGF-β1 may contribute to such up-regulation of Tim-3 in NK cells. Interestingly, blocking Tim-3 enhanced NK cytotoxicity toward trophoblast cell line HTR-8 but not K562. We found HTR-8 expressed Tim-3 ligand Galectin-9, in contrast K562 did not. Small interfering RNA-mediated silencing of Galectin-9 expression enhanced NK cytotoxicity toward HTR-8. We further showed Tim-3/Galecin-9 inhibited NK cytotoxicity toward trophoblast partially via impairing the degranulation process. In addition, clinical data showed that abnormal Tim-3 level on pNK might be associated with recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA). Thus, our data demonstrate Tim-3/Galectin-9 pathway maintains local tolerance by suppressing NK cytotoxicity toward trophoblasts which may represent a new immunologic tolerance mechanism at MFI.
PMCID: PMC4720443  PMID: 26789128
3.  Role of miR-182 in response to oxidative stress in the cell fate of human fallopian tube epithelial cells 
Oncotarget  2015;6(36):38983-38998.
High grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSC) is a DNA instable tumor and its precursor is commonly found originating from the fimbriated end of the fallopian tube secretory epithelial (FTSE) cells. The local stresses via ovulation and related inflammation are risks for HGSC. In this study, we examined the cellular and molecular responses of FTSE cells to stress. We found that excess intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in normal FTSE cells upregulated a subset of microRNA expression (defined as ROSmiRs). Most ROSmiRs' expression and function were influenced and regulated by p53, and together they drove the cells into stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS). However, ROS-induced miR-182 is regulated by β-catenin, not by p53. In normal FTSE cells, miR-182 overexpression triggers cellular senescence by p53-mediated upregulation of p21. Conversely, in cells with p53 mutations, miR-182 overexpression no longer enhances p21 but functions as an “Onco-miR”. p53 dysfunction is a prerequisite for miR-182-mediated tumorigenesis. In addition, we found that human follicular fluid could significantly induce intracellular ROS in normal FTSE cells. These findings suggest that ROS and p53 mutations may trigger a series of events, beginning with overexpressing miR-182 by ROS and β-catenin, impairing the DNA damage response, promoting DNA instability, bypassing senescence and eventually leading to DNA instable tumors in FTSE cells.
PMCID: PMC4770751  PMID: 26472020
fallopian tube secretory cells; ROS-induced miRNA (ROSmiR); p53; senescence bypass; tumorigenesis
4.  The GADD45A (1506T>C) Polymorphism Is Associated with Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility and Prognosis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0138692.
GADD45A (growth arrest and DNA damage 45 A) is the first stress-inducible gene identified to be a target of p53. However, no studies to date have assessed variants of the GADD45 gene and their potential relationship to tumor susceptibility. We investigated the association of the GADD45A (1506T>C) polymorphism with ovarian cancer development in 258 ovarian cancer patients and 332 age-matched healthy women as controls using sequence analysis. We found a statistically significant difference in the GADD45A (1506T>C) genotype distributions between the case and control groups (TT vs. TC vs. CC, P = 0.0021) and found that variant 1506T>C was significantly associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer (P<0.001, OR = 1.71, 95% CI [1.28–2.29]). We observed a statistically significant effect between tumor histology (P = 0.032) and CA125 status (P = 0.021). Carrying the C allele (TC+CC) was associated with an increased risk of positive CA125 (OR = 3.20, 95% CI [1.15–8.71). Carrying the T allele (TT+TC) showed a significant correlation with both higher GADD45A mRNA expression and longer ovarian cancer RFS (relapse-free survival) and OS (overall survival). We are the first group to demonstrate that the GADD45A (1506T>C) polymorphism is associated with ovarian cancer susceptibility and prognosis. These data suggest that GADD45A (1506T>C) is a new tumor susceptibility gene and could be a useful molecular marker for assessing ovarian cancer risk and for predicting ovarian cancer patient prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4589388  PMID: 26422378
5.  Anti-MiR-182 reduces ovarian cancer burden, invasion, and metastasis: An in vivo study in orthotopic xenografts of nude mice 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2014;13(7):1729-1739.
High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) is a fatal disease, and its grave outcome is largely due to widespread metastasis at the time of diagnosis. Current chemotherapies reduce tumor burden, but they do not provide long term benefits for cancer patients. The aggressive tumor growth and metastatic behavior characteristic of these tumors demand novel treatment options such as anti-microRNA treatment which is emerging as a potential modality for cancer therapy. MicroRNA-182 miR-182 overexpression contributes to aggressive ovarian cancer, largely by its negative regulation of multiple tumor suppressor genes involved in tumor growth, invasion, metastasis, and DNA instability. In this study, we examined the therapeutic potential of anti-miR-182 utilizing the animal orthotopic model to mimic human ovarian cancer using ovarian cancer cells SKOV3 (intrabursal xenografts) and OVCAR3 (IP injection). These models provide a valuable model system for the investigation of ovarian cancer therapy in vivo. Through a combination of imaging, histological, and molecular analyses, we found that anti-miR-182 treatment can significantly reduce tumor burden (size), local invasion, and distant metastasis compared to its control in both models. The bases of anti-miR-182 treatment are mainly through the restoration of miR-182 target expression, including but not limited to BRCA1, FOXO3a, HMGA2 and MTSS1. Overall, our results strongly suggest that anti-miR-182 can potentially be used as a therapeutic modality in treating HGSOC.
PMCID: PMC4096544  PMID: 24825857
Anti-miR-182; ovarian cancer; mouse model; metastasis; IVIS
6.  Tubal origin of ovarian endometriosis and clear cell and endometrioid carcinoma 
Current research has strongly proposed that contrary to prior beliefs, many ovarian epithelial cancers (OECs) do not, as their name suggests, originate in the ovaries. Recent findings regarding both high-grade and low-grade serous carcinomas has implicated the fallopian tube as a cell source for these OECs, but until now, there has been little insight into the cellular source for clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas. In this commentary review article, we aimed to discuss the new findings that support the possible contribution from the fallopian tube in clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas. Specifically, we have provided results that showcased ovarian surface epithelia (OSE) and ovarian epithelial inclusions (OEIs) as having mesothelial and tubal origins and have strongly recognized the secondary müllerian system and the ability for tubal epithelia to implant upon the ovarian surface as contributing to fallopian tube-derived OEIs (F-OEIs). We have provided initial indications of these F-OEIs and their relationship to endometriosis and then clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas and subsequently offer our new proposal of a probable tubal origin. This new proposal is a paradigm that drastically changes the understanding behind the origin of these OECs and has significant clinical implications in the near future.
PMCID: PMC4449423  PMID: 26045974
Fallopian tube; secondary müllerian system; endometriosis; clear cell carcinoma; endometrioid carcinoma
7.  Coexistence of benign struma ovarii, pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome and elevated serum CA 125: Case report and review of the literature 
Oncology Letters  2015;9(4):1739-1742.
Struma ovarii is an uncommon ovarian teratoma comprised predominantly of mature thyroid tissue. The combination of pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome, and elevation of CA 125 to the struma ovarii is a rare condition that can mimic ovarian malignancy. We reported a case of benign struma ovarii, presenting with the clinical features of advanced ovarian carcinoma: complex pelvic mass, gross ascites, bilateral pleural effusion and markedly elevated serum CA 125 levels. The patient underwent total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Ascites and pleural effusion were not evident and the CA 125 levels returned to normal following surgical excision. A systematic review of reported cases of coexistent benign struma ovarii, pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome and elevated serum CA 125 was performed. Struma ovarii accompanied by pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome and elevated serum CA 125 should be considered in the differential diagnosis of ovarian epithelial cancer.
PMCID: PMC4356400  PMID: 25789033
struma ovarii; pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome; CA 125; mature teratoma; ascites; pleural effusion
8.  MED12 and HMGA2 mutations: Two independent genetic events in uterine leiomyoma and leiomyosarcoma 
Recent identification of somatic MED12 mutations in most uterine leiomyomas brings a new venue for the study of the tumorigenesis of leiomyomas. We are particularly interested in the correlation of MED12 and HMGA2 gene products in leiomyomas and leiomyosarcomas with and without MED12 mutations. To address these issues, in this study we examined MED12 mutations in a large cohort of usual type leiomyomas (178 cases) and uterine leiomyosarcomas (32 cases). We found that 74.7% (133/178) of leiomyomas had MED12 mutations, which was consistent with several independent studies. In contrast, only 9.7% (3/32) of leiomyosarcomas harbored MED12 mutations. Expression analysis by Western blot and immunohistochemistry revealed that those leiomyomas with complex MED12 mutations had significantly lower protein products than matched myometrium. Interestingly, most leiomyosarcomas without MED12 mutations also had very low levels of MED12 expression in comparison to the matched myometrium. These findings suggest a potential functional role of MED12 in both benign and malignant uterine smooth muscle tumors. When we further examined HMGA2 expression in all leiomyomas and leiomyosarcomas, we found HMGA2 overexpression was exclusively present in those leiomyomas with no MED12 mutation, accounting for 10.1 % (18/178) of total leiomyomas and 40 % (18/45) of non-MED12 mutant leiomyomas. Twenty-five % (8/32) of leiomyosarcomas had HMGA2 overexpression and no MED12 mutations were found in HMGA2 positive leiomyosarcoma. These findings strongly suggest that MED12 mutations and HMGA2 overexpression are independent genetic events that occur in leiomyomas, and they may act differently in the tumorigenesis of uterine leiomyomas.
PMCID: PMC4081525  PMID: 24390224
MED12; HMGA2; leiomyomas; leiomyosarcoma
9.  miR-145 inhibits tumor growth and metastasis by targeting metadherin in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(21):10816-10829.
High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC), the most common and aggressive subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer, is characterized by TP53 mutations and genetic instability. Using miRNA profiling analysis, we found that miR-145, a p53 regulated miRNA, was frequently down-regulated in HGSOC. miR-145 down-regulation was further validated in a large cohort of HGSOCs by qPCR. Overexpression of miR-145 in ovarian cancer cells significantly suppressed proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro and inhibited tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Metadherin (MTDH) was subsequently identified as a direct target of miR-145, and was found to be significantly up-regulated in HGSOC. Furthermore, overexpression of MTDH rescued the inhibitory effects of miR-145 in ovarian cancer cells. Finally, we found that high level of MTDH expression correlated with poor prognosis of HGSOC. Therefore, lack of suppression of MTDH by miR-145 when p53 is dysfunctional leads to increased tumor growth and metastasis of HGSOC. Our study established a new link between p53, miR-145 and MTDH in the regulation of tumor growth and metastasis in HGSOC.
PMCID: PMC4279412  PMID: 25333261
miR-145; MTDH; p53; HGSOC; metastasis
10.  Analyzing Association of the XRCC3 Gene Polymorphism with Ovarian Cancer Risk 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:648137.
This meta-analysis aims to examine whether the XRCC3 polymorphisms are associated with ovarian cancer risk. Eligible case-control studies were identified through search in PubMed. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) were appropriately derived from fixed effects models. We therefore performed a meta-analysis of 5,302 ovarian cancer cases and 8,075 controls from 4 published articles and 8 case-control studies for 3 SNPs of XRCC3. No statistically significant associations between XRCC3 rs861539 polymorphisms and ovarian cancer risk were observed in any genetic models. For XRCC3 rs1799794 polymorphisms, we observed a statistically significant correlation with ovarian cancer risk using the homozygote comparison (T2T2 versus T1T1: OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.54–0.90, P = 0.005), heterozygote comparison (T1T2 versus T1T1: OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.00–1.21, P = 0.04), and the recessive genetic model (T2T2 versus T1T1+T1T2: OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.52–0.87, P = 0.002). For XRCC3 rs1799796 polymorphisms, we also observed a statistically significant correlation with ovarian cancer risk using the heterozygote comparison (T1T2 versus T1T1: OR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.83–0.99, P = 0.04). In conclusion, this meta-analysis shows that the XRCC3 were associated with ovarian cancer risk overall for Caucasians. Asian and African populations should be further studied.
PMCID: PMC4071988  PMID: 25006581
11.  Tumor-suppressive effects of CDK8 in endometrial cancer cells 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(6):987-999.
CDK8 is either amplified or mutated in a variety of human cancers, and CDK8 functions as an oncoprotein in melanoma and colorectal cancers. Previously, we reported that loss or reduction of CDK8 results in aberrant fat accumulation in Drosophila and mammals, suggesting that CDK8 plays an important role in inhibiting lipogenesis. Epidemiological studies have identified obesity and overweight as the major risk factors of endometrial cancer, thus we examined whether CDK8 regulates endometrial cancer cell growth by using several endometrial cancer cell lines, including KLE, which express low levels of CDK8, as well as AN3 CA and HEC-1A cells, which have high levels of endogenous CDK8. We observed that ectopic expression of CDK8 in KLE cells inhibited cell proliferation and potently blocked tumor growth in an in vivo mouse model. In addition, gain of CDK8 in KLE cells blocked cell migration and invasion in transwell, wound healing and persistence of migratory directionality assays. Conversely, we observed the opposite effects in all of the aforementioned assays when CDK8 was depleted in AN3 CA cells. Similar to AN3 CA cells, depletion of CDK8 in HEC-1A cells strongly enhanced cell migration in transwell assays, while overexpression of CDK8 in HEC-1A cells blocked cell migration. Furthermore, gene profiling of KLE cells overexpressing CDK8 revealed genes whose protein products are involved in lipid metabolism, cell cycle and cell movement pathways. Finally, depletion of CDK8 increased the expression of lipogenic genes in endometrial cancer cells. Taken together, these results show a reverse correlation between CDK8 levels and several key features of the endometrial cancer cells, including cell proliferation, migration and invasion as well as tumor formation in vivo. Therefore, in contrast to the oncogenic effects of CDK8 in melanoma and colorectal cancers, our results suggest that CDK8 plays a tumor-suppressive role in endometrial cancers.
PMCID: PMC3637357  PMID: 23454913
cyclin-dependent kinae 8 (CDK8); endometrial cancer; tumorigenesis; cell growth; cell migration
12.  Tc17 Cells in Patients with Uterine Cervical Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e86812.
The existence of Tc17 cells was recently shown in several types of infectious and autoimmune diseases, but their distribution and functions in uterine cervical cancer (UCC) have not been fully elucidated.
The frequency of Tc17 cells in peripheral blood samples obtained from UCC patients, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) patients and healthy controls was determined by flow cytometry. Besides, the prevalence of Tc17 cells and their relationships to Th17 cells and Foxp3-expressing T cells as well as microvessels in tissue samples of the patients were assessed by immunohistochemistry staining.
Compared to controls, patients with UCC or CIN had a higher proportion of Tc17 cells in both peripheral blood and cervical tissues, but the level of Tc17 cells in UCC tissues was significantly higher than that in CIN tissues. Besides, the increased level of Tc17 in UCC patients was associated with the status of pelvic lymph node metastases and increased microvessel density. Finally, significant correlations of infiltration between Tc17 cells and Th17 cells or Foxp3-expressing T cells were observed in UCC and CIN tissues.
This study indicates that Tc17 cell infiltration in cervical cancers is associated with cancer progression accompanied by increased infiltrations of Th17 cells and regulatory T cells as well as promoted tumor vasculogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3921122  PMID: 24523865
13.  miR-106a Represses the Rb Tumor Suppressor p130 to Regulate Cellular Proliferation and Differentiation in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2013;11(11):1314-1325.
The degree of differentiation in human cancers generally reflects the degree of malignancy, with the most undifferentiated cancer being also the highest grade and the most aggressive. High-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (HGSOC) are poorly differentiated and fast-growing malignancies. The molecular mechanisms underlying the poor differentiation of HGSOC has not been completely characterized. Evidence suggests that miRNA, miR are dysregulated in HGSOC. Therefore, we focused on those miRNAs that are relevant to tumor differentiation. Expression profiling of miRNAs in HGSOC, indicated miR-106a and its family members were significantly upregulated. Upregulation of miR-106a was further validated by real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) and miRNA in situ hybridization in a large cohort of HGSOC specimens. Overexpression of miR-106a in benign and malignant ovarian cells significantly increased the cellular proliferation rate and expanded the side-population fraction. In particular, SKOV3 cells with miR-106a overexpression had significantly higher tumor initial/stem cell population (CD24- and CD133-positive cells) than control SKOV3 cells. Among many miR-106a predicated target genes, p130 (RBL2), an retinoblastoma (Rb) tumor suppressor family member, was not only confirmed as a specific target of miR-106a but also related to tumor growth and differentiation. The importance of mir-106a and RBL2 was further demonstrated in vivo, in which, SKOV3 cells overexpressing miR-106a formed poorly differentiated carcinomas and had reduced RBL2 levels. To our knowledge, this is the first study of miR-106a mediating proliferation and tumor differentiation in HGSOC.
The current study suggests that the RB tumor suppressor pathway is a critical regulator of growth and differentiation in HGSOC.
PMCID: PMC3911890  PMID: 24045973
14.  A retrospective clinicopathological analysis of small-cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix 
Cervical cancer encompasses several histological types, including neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Small-cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix (SCCC) is the most common and aggressive subtype of cervical NET. The objective of this case report was to investigate SCCC using a retrospective clinicopathological approach. Four cases of large (≥4 cm) SCCCs are presented in this case study. The patients were diagnosed with SCCC through a sequential hierarchy of physical examinations, laboratory reports, radiological reports, immunohistochemical and pathological tests. The diagnosis for each case was made at various stages (Ib1, Ib2, IIa2 and IIb, according to the FIGO staging system, 2000) and each of the patients received different multimodality therapeutic regimens. All the patients underwent radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was administered prior to surgery in two of the patients. The clinical and pathological analyses were assessed using a retrospective measure, maintaining timely follow-ups. SCCC is a rare but serious gynecological malignancy. This condition has a poor prognosis due to its high aggressiveness, high rate of metastases and mortality. Furthermore, the rarity of this disease represents a hindrance to adequate research and development of novel, efficient therapeutic regimens.
PMCID: PMC3915860  PMID: 24649310
small-cell carcinoma of cervix; multimodal treatment regimen; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; prognostic factor
15.  PAX8: a sensitive and specific marker to identify cancer cells of ovarian origin for patients prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy 
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by cytoreduction surgery has been used where an accurate cytologic or pathologic diagnosis is usually required before the initiation of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. However, it is difficult to make definitive diagnosis of presence of cancer cells, particularly gynecologic versus non-gynecologic origin, from those ascites specimens due to the absence of specific biomarkers of gynecologic cancers. In the present study, we evaluated if, in addition to the routine morphologic diagnosis, the biomarker PAX8 could be useful in recognition of ovarian epithelial cancer cells prior to the neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Two hundred and two cytology specimens including 120 pretreatment ovarian cancer samples, 60 benign controls, and 22 malignant non-gynecologic cases were studied. All cytology slides were morphologically reviewed in a blinded fashion without knowing corresponding pathology diagnosis, if present. A total of 168 cytology specimens with a cell block were stained with PAX8 and Calretinin. These included patients with potential for ovarian cancer neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n = 96), metastatic cancers (n = 22), and benign controls (n = 50).
Among the 96 ascitic samples prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, 76 (79%) showing morphologic features consistent with cancers of ovarian primary were all PAX+/Calretinin-. The remaining 20 (21%) cases were positive for adenocarcinoma, but morphologically unable to be further classified. Among the 22 metastatic cancers into the pelvis, one case with PAX8+/Calretinin- represented a renal cell carcinoma and the remaining 21 PAX8-/Calretinin- metastatic cancers were either breast metastasis (n = 4) and the metastasis from gastrointestinal tract (n = 17). Among the 50 benign control pelvic washing cases, 5 PAX8+/Calretinin-cases represented endosalpingiosis (n = 4) and endometriosis (n = 1), 25 PAX8-/Calretinin + cases showed reactive mesothelial cells, and the remaining 20 specimens with PAX8-/Calretinin- phenotype typically contained inflammatory or blood cells without noticeable diagnostic epithelia.
PAX8 identifies all Müllerian derived benign or malignant epithelia. When combining with Calretinin, PAX8 is a sensitive marker to diagnose the carcinomas of ovarian origin, which will be ideal to be used for those patients with a possible advanced ovarian cancer prior to receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3751714  PMID: 23958394
PAX8; Ascitic fluid; Ovarian cancer; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Origin; Marker
16.  Association of Dll4/Notch and HIF-1a -VEGF Signaling in the Angiogenesis of Missed Abortion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70667.
Dll4/Notch and HIF-1a-VEGF have been shown to play an important role during angiogenesis, but there are no data about their roles and association in missed abortion. In this study, we investigated the association of Dll4/Notch and HIF-1a-VEGF signaling in missed abortion.
Women with missed abortion (n = 27) and healthy controls (n = 26) were included in the study. Real-time Reverse Transcription-PCR Analyses (RT-PCR) was used to analyze the mRNA levels of Dll4/Notch and HIF-1a-VEGF signaling molecules. The protein level for Dll4 was measured by immunohistochemistry.
Compared with induced abortion, the expression of VEGF was statistically reduced while the level of VEGFR1 and Notch1 was significantly up-regulated in missed abortion. Though other molecules (VEGFR2 and Dll4) were marginally higher in missed abortion, no statistical difference was observed. The expression of HIF-1a was significantly up-regulated, and close negatively correlated with VEGF in missed abortion. Both in induced abortion and missed abortion, Dll4 was positively correlated with Notch1.
The early pregnancy is in a hypoxic environment, this may encourage the angiogenesis, but severe hypoxic may inhibit the angiogenesis. Aberrant Dll4/Notch and HIF-1a-VEGF signaling may have a role in missed abortion.
PMCID: PMC3739820  PMID: 23950980
17.  Repression of endometrial tumor growth by targeting SREBP1 and lipogenesis 
Cell Cycle  2012;11(12):2348-2358.
The aberrantly increased lipogenesis is a universal metabolic feature of proliferating tumor cells. Although most normal cells acquire the bulk of their fatty acids from circulation, tumor cells synthesize more than 90% of required lipids de novo. The sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP1), encoded by SREBF1 gene, is a master regulator of lipogenic gene expression. SREBP1 and its target genes are overexpressed in a variety of cancers; however, the role of SREBP1 in endometrial cancer is largely unknown. We have screened a cohort of endometrial cancer (EC) specimen for their lipogenic gene expression and observed a significant increase of SREBP1 target gene expression in cancer cells compared with normal endometrium. By using immunohistochemical staining, we confirmed SREBP1 protein overexpression and demonstrated increased nuclear distribution of SREBP1 in EC. In addition, we found that knockdown of SREBP1 expression in EC cells suppressed cell growth, reduced colonigenic capacity and slowed tumor growth in vivo. Furthermore, we observed that knockdown of SREBP1 induced significant cell death in cultured EC cells. Taken together, our results show that SREBP1 is essential for EC cell growth both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that SREBP1 activity may be a novel therapeutic target for endometrial cancers.
PMCID: PMC3383594  PMID: 22672904
SREBP1; cell death; cell growth; endometrial cancer; lipogenesis
18.  Osteopontin splice variants expressed by breast tumors regulate monocyte activation via MCP-1 and TGF-β1 
Cellular and Molecular Immunology  2013;10(2):176-182.
Osteopontin (OPN), a multifunctional glycoprotein, has three transcripts that have distinct roles in tumors in vitro. Whether OPN transcripts have different functions in tumor processes in vivo is unclear. It has been reported that immune cell-derived OPN can promote tumor formation. We propose a hypothesis that tumor-derived OPN may facilitate tumor immune escape by affecting immune cell differentiation and function. In this study, we constructed lentiviral expression vectors of OPN transcripts and transfected them into the MCF-7 cell line. MCF-7 cells transfected with OPN transcripts were injected into the armpit of nude mice, and tumor growth was monitored. The results showed that all OPN transcripts promoted local tumor formation, but that there was no significant difference among transcripts. We also investigated the effect of the OPN expressed by tumor cells on monocyte differentiation by coculturing monocytes with tumor supernatant. We found OPN-c upregulated CD163 levels compared with OPN-a and OPN-b; however, none of the transcripts affected HLA-DR and CD206 levels. All OPN transcripts significantly inhibited TNF-α and enhanced IL-10 production by monocytes. Furthermore, we found that the overexpression of OPN transcripts significantly upregulated TGF-β1 and MCP-1 production by tumor cells. Using neutralizing antibody and recombinant cytokines, we found that OPN overexpressed by tumor cells regulates the production of TNF-α and IL-10 by monocytes partly via MCP-1 and TGF-β1, respectively. Collectively, our results show that OPN transcripts have no distinct role in breast cancer formation in vivo. We also demonstrate that OPN regulates the alternative activation of monocytes via TGF-β1 and MCP-1, which may represent an additional mechanism for tumor immune escape.
PMCID: PMC4003052  PMID: 23416968
alternative activation of monocytes; immune escape; OPN transcripts; MCP-1; TGF-β1
19.  Embolization of uterine arteriovenous malformation 
Background: Uterine arteriovenous malformation is a rare but potential life-threatening source of bleeding. A high index of suspicion and accurate diagnosis of the condition in a timely manor are essential because instrumentation that is often used for other sources of uterine bleeding can be lead to massive hemorrhage.
Case: We describe here a case of uterine arteriovenous malformation. A 32-year-old woman presented abnormal vaginal bleeding following the induced abortion. A diagnosis of uterine arteriovenous malformation made on the basis of Doppler ultrasonraphy was confirmed through pelvic angiography. The embolization of bilateral uterine arteries was performed successfully.
Conclusion: Uterine arteriovenous malformation should be suspected in patient with abnormal vaginal bleeding, especially who had the past medical history incluing cesarean section, induced abortion, or Dillation and Curethage and so on. Although angiography remains the gold standard, Doppler ultrasonography is also a good noninvasive technique. The transcatheter uterine artery embolization offers a safe and effective treatment
PMCID: PMC3941356  PMID: 24639742
Uterine arteriovenous malformation; Doppler ultrasonography; Angiography; Therapeutic embolization
20.  PAX8 is a novel marker for differentiating between various types of tumor, particularly ovarian epithelial carcinomas 
Oncology Letters  2013;5(3):735-738.
Paired-box gene 8 (PAX8) encodes a transcription factor associated with important roles in embryogenesis and disease, and is a member of the PAX gene family. PAX8 has been demonstrated to be crucial in determining cell fate during the development of the thyroid, kidney, brain, eyes and Müllerian system and regulates expression of the Wilms’ tumor suppressor gene (WT1). Several previous studies have reported that PAX8 is expressed at high levels in specific types of tumor, including thyroid and renal carcinomas and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. In addition, PAX8 has been reported to be useful for the detection and differential diagnosis of ovarian carcinoma. The consistency of PAX8 staining in epithelial ovarian carcinomas (EOCs) and the fallopian tube has provided morphological evidence that EOC may originate from the fallopian tube. The molecular mechanism of PAX8 in the carcinogenesis of these tumors remains unclear and requires further studies.
PMCID: PMC3576179  PMID: 23425942
PAX8; tumor marker; ovarian epithelial carcinoma
21.  The MTDH (−470G>A) Polymorphism Is Associated with Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51561.
MTDH(metadherin), an important oncogene that is widely overexpressed in various cancers, is a potential biomarker of tumor malignancy. Variants in MTDH have been associated with susceptibility to breast cancer. However, no studies assessing MTDH gene polymorphisms and their potential relationship to ovarian cancer susceptibility have been reported. Thus, we investigated the association of MTDH (−470G>A) polymorphism with ovarian cancer development in 145 ovarian cancer patients and 254 matched control subjects, using sequence analysis. We found that the MTDH (−470G>A) polymorphism was statistically correlated with ovarian cancer risk (under the additive genetic model, GG vs. GA vs AA, P = 0.042). Compared with genotypes containing the G allele (GG and GA), the AA genotype may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer (P = 0.0198, OR = 0.33, 95% CI [0.12∼0.78]). Compared with the G allele, the A allele is protective against ovarian cancer risk (P = 0.01756, OR = 0.66, 95% CI [0.46∼0.93]). Furthermore, a statistically significant association between the GG and GA+AA genotypes and the clinical stage was observed (P = 0.038). These data suggest that MTDH (−470G>A) could be a useful molecular marker for assessing ovarian cancer risk and for predicting ovarian cancer patient prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3519849  PMID: 23240043
22.  Polymorphisms in the p63 and p73 genes are associated with ovarian cancer risk and clinicopathological variables 
p73 and p63 are two structural and functional homologs of p53, and their biological functions in cancer progression have attracted attention due to the presence of variants generated by genetic polymorphisms. Recently, three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the p63 and p73 genes have been associated with female reproduction. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the relationship between these SNPs and ovarian cancer susceptibility and clinical pathology.
We genotyped the p63 (rs873330 [Genbank, refSNP ID] T > C [T: original base, C: mutant base]) and p73 (rs4648551 G > A and rs6695978 G > A) SNPs in ovarian cancers and healthy controls and analyzed the distributions of genotype frequencies to evaluate the association of the genotypes with the risk of ovarian cancer and the clinicopathological characteristics. Logistic regression models were applied in statistical analyses.
Our research revealed that p73 rs6695978 G > A was significantly associated with ovarian cancer patients. Women with the A allele were at increased risk of ovarian cancer compared to carriers of the G allele (OR = 1.55; 95% CI:1.07–2.19; P = 0.003). Meanwhile, the at-risk A allele was positively related with the occurrence of mucinous ovarian cancer (OR = 3.48; 95% CI:1.15-6.83; P = 0.001), low degree of differentiation (OR = 1.87; 95% CI:1.03-3.47; P = 0.003), lymph node metastasis (OR = 1.69; 95% CI: 1.14-2.75; P = 0.010) and estrogen receptor positive (OR = 2.72; 95% CI: 1.38-4.81; P = 0.002). However, we were unable to find any associations of the polymorphisms in another two SNPs (rs4648551 G > A, rs873330 T > C) with ovarian cancer risk and clinicopathological parameters.
The p73 rs6695978 G > A polymorphism will serve as a modifier of ovarian cancer susceptibility and prognosis. Further investigations with large sample sizes and of the mechanistic relevance of p73 polymorphism will be warranted
PMCID: PMC3542002  PMID: 23095717
Polymorphism; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Ovarian cancer; p73; p63
23.  Enforced effect of tk-MCP-1 fusion gene in ovarian cancer 
The efficiency of HSV-tk/GCV system is not high because of insufficient gene transfer and incompletely initiative of host antineoplastic potency. The present study was designed to assess the antitumor efficacy of tk-MCP-1 on ovarian cancer in vitro and vivo.
A novel bicistronic expression system can help to improve the expression level of a gene in a stable manner. pLXSN/tk-MCP-1 co-expressing tk and MCP-1 genes was constructed using a pLXSN retroviral vector and an internal ribosome entry site sequence by restriction enzyme. Western blot was performed to determine tk and MCP-1 expression in the infected SKOV3. The GCV-sensitively tumoricidal activities of SKOV3/tk-MCP-1 with or without monocytes were compared to those of SKOV3 expressing HSV-tk or MCP-1. We investigated the growth of subcutaneous tumors in SCID mice immuno-reconstituted, and evaluated the antitumor effect of MCP-1 in conjunction with suicide gene.
The significant GCV-sensitively tumoricidal activity of pLXSN/tk-MCP-1 was observed when compared with those of pLXSN/tk, pLXSN/MCP-1 and pLXSN/neo, especially when monocytes were added. The growth of subcutaneous tumors in SCID mice immuno-reconstituted was markedly suppressed by co-delivery of HSV-tk and MCP-1 genes, and the enhanced antitumor effect was associated with the recruitment of monocytes.
These results demonstrated pLXSN/tk-MCP-1 presented an enhanced antitumor effects on ovarian cancer by orchestration of immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3515507  PMID: 22971726
Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase; Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; Gene therapy; Ovarian neoplasma; SCID
24.  Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 Secreted by Decidual Stromal Cells Inhibits NK Cells Cytotoxicity by Up-Regulating Expression of SOCS3 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41869.
Decidual stromal cells (DSCs) are of particular importance due to their pleiotropic functions during pregnancy. Although previous research has demonstrated that DSCs participated in the regulation of immune cells during pregnancy, the crosstalk between DSCs and NK cells has not been fully elucidated. To address this issue, we investigated the effect of DSCs on perforin expression in CD56+ NK cells and explored the underlying mechanism.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Flow cytometry analysis showed perforin production in NK cells was attenuated by DSC media, and it was further suppressed by media from DSCs pretreated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). However, the expression of granzyme A and apoptosis of NK cells were not influenced by DSC media. ELISA assays to detect cytokine production indicated that monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) in the supernatant of DSCs conditioned culture significantly increased after LPS stimulation. The inhibitory effect of DSC media on perforin was abolished by the administration of anti-MCP-1 neutralizing antibody. Notably, reduced perforin expression attenuated the cytotoxic potential of CD56+NK cells to K562 cells. Moreover, Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) expression in NK cells was enhanced by treatment with MCP-1, as measured by RT-PCR and western blot. Interestingly, MCP-1-induced perforin expression was partly abolished by the siRNA induced SOCS3 knockdown. Western blot analysis suggested that both NF-κB and ERK/MAPKs pathway were involved in the LPS-induced upregulation of MCP-1 in DSCs.
Our results demonstrate that LPS induces upregulation of MCP-1 in DSCs, which may play a critical role in inhibiting the cytotoxicity of NK cells partly by promoting SOCS3 expression. These findings suggest that the crosstalk between DSCs and NK cells may be crucial to maintain pregnancy homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3407114  PMID: 22848642
25.  Genomic amplification patterns of human telomerase RNA gene and C-MYC in liquid-based cytological specimens used for the detection of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 
Diagnostic Pathology  2012;7:40.
The amplification of oncogenes initiated by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is an early event in cervical carcinogenesis and can be used for cervical lesion diagnosis. We measured the genomic amplification rates and the patterns of human telomerase RNA gene (TERC) and C-MYC in the liquid-based cytological specimens to evaluate the diagnostic characteristics for the detection of high-grade cervical lesions.
Two hundred and forty-three residual cytological specimens were obtained from outpatients aged 25 to 64 years at Qilu Hospital, Shandong University. The specimens were evaluated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using chromosome probes to TERC (3q26) and C-MYC (8q24). All of the patients underwent colposcopic examination and histological evaluation. A Chi-square test was used for categorical data analysis.
In the normal, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1 (CIN1), grade 2 (CIN2), grade 3 (CIN3) and squamous cervical cancer (SCC) cases, the TERC positive rates were 9.2%, 17.2%, 76.2%, 100.0% and 100.0%, respectively; the C-MYC positive rates were 20.7%, 31.0%, 71.4%, 81.8% and 100.0%, respectively. The TERC and C-MYC positive rates were higher in the CIN2+ (CIN2, CIN3 and SCC) cases than in the normal and CIN1 cases (p < 0.01). Compared with cytological analysis, the TERC test showed higher sensitivity (90.0% vs. 84.0%) and higher specificity (89.6% vs. 64.3%). The C-MYC test showed lower sensitivity (80.0% vs. 84.0%) and higher specificity (77.7% vs. 64.3%). Using a cut-off value of 5% or more aberrant cells, the TERC test showed the highest combination of sensitivity and specificity. The CIN2+ group showed more high-level TERC gene copy number (GCN) cells than did the normal/CIN1 group (p < 0.05). For C-MYC, no significant difference between the two histological categories was detected (p > 0.05).
The TERC test is highly sensitive and is therefore suitable for cervical cancer screening. The C-MYC test is not suitable for cancer screening because of its lower sensitivity. The amplification patterns of TERC become more diverse and complex as the severity of cervical diseases increases, whereas for C-MYC, the amplification patterns are similar between the normal/CIN1 and CIN2+ groups.
Virtual slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3379933  PMID: 22500694
Uterine cervical neoplasia; Oncogenes; Fluorescence in situ hybridization; Telomerase RNA gene; C-MYC; Human papillomavirus

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