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.
cyclin-dependent kinae 8 (CDK8); endometrial cancer; tumorigenesis; cell growth; cell migration
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.
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.
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.
small-cell carcinoma of cervix; multimodal treatment regimen; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; prognostic factor
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.
PAX8; Ascitic fluid; Ovarian cancer; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Origin; Marker
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.
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.
SREBP1; cell death; cell growth; endometrial cancer; lipogenesis
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
Uterine arteriovenous malformation; Doppler ultrasonography; Angiography; Therapeutic embolization
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.
PAX8; tumor marker; ovarian epithelial carcinoma
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.
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
Polymorphism; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Ovarian cancer; p73; p63
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.
Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase; Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; Gene therapy; Ovarian neoplasma; SCID
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.
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.
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.
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1308004512669913.
Uterine cervical neoplasia; Oncogenes; Fluorescence in situ hybridization; Telomerase RNA gene; C-MYC; Human papillomavirus
Recent morphologic and molecular genetic studies have led to a paradigm shift in our conceptualization of the carcinogenesis and histogenesis of pelvic (non-uterine) serous carcinomas. It appears that both low-grade and high-grade pelvic serous carcinomas that have traditionally been classified as ovarian in origin, actually originate, at least in a significant subset, from the distal fallopian tube. Clonal expansions of the tubal secretory cell probably give rise to serous carcinomas, and the degree of ciliated conversion is a function of the degree to which the genetic hits deregulate normal differentiation. In this article, the authors review the evidentiary basis for aforementioned paradigm shift, as well as its potential clinical implications.
Ovarian cancer; Fallopian tube; Carcinogenesis; Serous carcinoma; p53 signatures
53BP1 has been extensively studied as a key component of the DNA damage response, but little is known regarding the role of 53BP1 in preventing tumor development. The present study was designed to assess the impact of the modification of 53BP1 gene expression on the biological behavior of ovarian cancer cell lines and to elucidate the cellular pathway(s) triggered by 53BP1 in cancer cells. DNA liposome transfection technology was employed to increase and to knock down the expression of 53BP1 in A2780 and HO-8910PM cells, respectively. Viability, clonogenicity and cell cycle profiles were evaluated. Cell apoptosis was analyzed using flow cytometric assay. The expression of proteins related to apoptosis and cell signal transduction was assessed using western blotting. Increased expression of 53BP1 decreased the viability and the clonogenicity, and induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis of the treated cells. The protein expression of Bax, P21 and caspase-3 was upregulated, while the levels of Bcl-2 and p-Akt were reduced to a statistically significant level. In contrast, deregulation of 53BP1 significantly increased proliferative ability. Collectively, our data suggest that 53BP1 is involved in several important steps in controlling cell proliferation and growth and preventing tumor development.
53BP1; proliferation; cell cycle; apoptosis; p-Akt; ovarian cancer
Aggressive Angiomyxoma; Ascites; GnRH agonist
Type II endometrial cancer, which mainly presents as serous and clear cell types, has proved to be the most malignant and recurrent carcinoma among various female genital malignancies. The transcription factor, Nrf2, was first described as having chemopreventive activity. Activation of the Nrf2-mediated cellular defense response protects cells against the toxic and carcinogenic effects of environmental insults by upregulating an array of genes that detoxify reactive oxygen species (ROS) and restore cellular redox homeostasis. However, the cancer-promoting role of Nrf2 has recently been revealed. Nrf2 is constitutively upregulated in several types of human cancer tissues and cancer cell lines. Furthermore, inhibition of Nrf2 expression sensitizes cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs. In this study, the constitutive level of Nrf2 was compared in different types of human endometrial tumors. It was found that Nrf2 was highly expressed in endometrial serous carcinoma (ESC), whereas complex hyperplasia (CH) and endometrial endometrioid carcinoma (EEC) had no or marginal expression of Nrf2. Likewise, the ESC derived SPEC-2 cell line had a higher level of Nrf2 expression and was more resistant to the toxic effects of cisplatin and paclitaxel than that of the Ishikawa cell line, which was generated from EEC. Silencing of Nrf2 rendered SPEC-2 cells more susceptible to chemotherapeutic drugs while it had a limited effect on Ishikawa cells. Inhibition of Nrf2 expression by overexpressing Keap1 sensitized SPEC-2 cells or SPEC-2-derived xenografts to chemotherapeutic treatments using both cell culture and SCID mouse models. Collectively, we provide a molecular basis for the use of Nrf2 inhibitors to increase the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs and to combat chemoresistance, the biggest obstacle in chemotherapy.
Nrf2; chemoresistance; and endometrial cancer
Endometrial serous carcinoma (ESC) is the most aggressive subtype of endometrial cancer. Its aggressive behavior and poor clinical outcome may be partially attributed to lack of early diagnostic markers and unclear patho-genesis. The transcription factor Erythroid–E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a recently identified protein marker, which plays a role in carcinogenesis as well as responsible for poor prognosis of many human cancers. The aim of this study is to determine the Nrf2 expression in benign endometrium (n=28), endometrial cancers (n=122) as well as their precursor lesions (n=81) trying to see whether Nrf2 has any diagnostic usage and is potentially involved in endometrial carcinogenesis. The level of Nrf2 was evaluated by immunohistochemical (IHC) and verified by using Western blots. Among the malignant cases, Nrf2 was positive in 28 (68%) of 50 ESCs, which was significantly more than in 3 (6%) of 50 endometrioid carcinomas (p < 0.001) and 2 (13%) of 15 clear cell carcinomas (p = 0.001) and other histologic types of endometrial cancers. Among endometrial precursor lesions, both serous endometrial glandular dysplasia (EmGD, 40%) and serous endometrial intraepithelial carcinoma (EIC, 44%) showed a significantly higher Nrf2 expression than that in atypical endometrial hyperplasia or endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia (0%), clear cell EmGD (10%), and clear cell EIC (25%), respectively. We conclude that Nrf2 overexpression is closely associated with endometrial neoplasms with serous differentiation. Alteration of Nrf2 expression may represent one of the early molecular events in ESC carcinogenesis and overexpression of Nrf2 may used as a diagnostic marker in surgical pathology.
Nrf2; endometrial cancer; precancer; endometrial serous carcinoma; endometrial glandular dysplasia
Tumour stromal myofibroblasts can promote tumour invasion. As these cells are genetically more stable than cancer cells, there has been enormous interest in developing targeted molecular therapies against them. Chloride intracellular channel 4 (CLIC4) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been linked with promoting stromal cell transdifferentiation in various cancers, but little is known of their roles in ovarian cancer. In this study, we examined the functional roles that both CLIC4 and ROS play in the process of ovarian cancer cell-stimulated or TGF-β1 induced fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transdifferentiation. We also examine whether it is possible to reverse such a process, with the aim of developing novel therapies against ovarian cancer by targeting activated transdifferentiated myofibroblasts.
We demonstrate that TGF-β1 induced or CMSKOV3 activate transdifferentiated myofibroblasts (fibroblasts). These fibroblasts mimic "reactive" stromal myofibroblasts and demonstrate significant up-regulation of CLIC4 expression and increased level of ROS production. Blocking the production of ROS with an antioxidant consequently reduces the expression of CLIC4, and is accompanied by disappearance of α-smooth-muscle actin (α-SMA), a myofibroblast marker, suggesting ROS acts as a signalling molecule that promotes and enhances CLIC4 activities in the myofibroblast transdifferentiaton process. Down-regulation of CLIC4 with a generic agent or specific siRNA both significantly reduces the expression of factors related to the phenotypes and functions of myofibroblasts, such as α-SMA, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), thus reversing the myofibroblast phenotype back to fibroblasts. These results convincingly show that ROS and CLIC4 are responsible for TGF-β1 induced fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transdifferentiaton and down-regulation of both is sufficient to block transdifferentiated myofibroblasts.
Molecular targeting of ROS and CLIC4 has the potential to develop novel therapies for ovarian cancer.