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1.  Cell division cycle 7-kinase inhibitor PHA-767491 hydrochloride suppresses glioblastoma growth and invasiveness 
Background
Genomic instability is a hallmark of cancer cells, and this cellular phenomenon can emerge as a result of replicative stress. It is possible to take advantage of replicative stress, and enhance it in a targeted way to fight cancer cells. One of such strategies involves targeting the cell division cycle 7-related protein kinase (CDC7), a protein with key roles in regulation of initiation of DNA replication. CDC7 overexpression is present in different cancers, and small molecule inhibitors of the CDC7 have well-documented anti-tumor effects. Here, we aimed to test the potential of CDC7 inhibition as a new strategy for glioblastoma treatment.
Methods
PHA-767491 hydrochloride was used as the CDC7 inhibitor. Two glioblastoma cell lines (U87-MG and U251-MG) and a control cell line (3T3) were used to characterize the effects of CDC7 inhibition. The effect of CDC7 inhibition on cell viability, cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion were analyzed. In addition, real-time PCR arrays were used to identify the differentially expressed genes in response to CDC7 inhibition.
Results
Our results showed that CDC7 inhibition reduces glioblastoma cell viability, suppresses cell proliferation, and triggers apoptosis in glioblastoma cell lines. In addition, we determined that CDC7 inhibition also suppresses glioblastoma cell migration and invasion. To identify molecular targets of CDC7 inhibition, we used real-time PCR arrays, which showed dysregulation of several mRNAs and miRNAs.
Conclusions
Taken together, our findings suggest that CDC7 inhibition is a promising strategy for treatment of glioblastoma.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0364-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0364-8
PMCID: PMC5116134  PMID: 27891063
Glioblastoma; Cell division cycle 7; CDC7 inhibitor; Cathepsin S; Kinase inhibitor
2.  Alpha-synuclein contributes to malignant progression of human meningioma via the Akt/mTOR pathway 
Background
The aim of this study is to explore the expression of alpha-synuclein (α-synuclein) in benign, atypical, and anaplastic meningiomas and determine its role in the malignant progression of meningiomas.
Methods
Expression of α-synuclein was measured in 44 meningioma samples by real-time PCR analysis. The effects of overexpression or knockdown of α-synuclein on meningioma cell growth, invasiveness, and tumorigenicity were determined.
Results
Atypical and anaplastic meningiomas displayed significantly greater levels of α-synuclein mRNA, relative to benign tumors. Depletion of α-synuclein decreased cell proliferation and colony formation and promoted apoptosis in IOMM-Lee meningioma cells, whereas overexpression of α-synuclein facilitated cell proliferation and colony formation in CH-157MN meningioma cells. Silencing of α-synuclein attenuated IOMM-Lee cell migration and invasion. In contrast, ectopic expression of α-synuclein increased the invasiveness of CH-157MN cells. In vivo studies further demonstrated that downregulation of α-synuclein significantly retarded meningioma growth in nude mice. At the molecular level, the phosphorylation levels of Akt, mTOR, p70S6K and 4EBP were significantly decreased in α-synuclein-depleted IOMM-Lee cells.
Conclusions
In conclusion, α-synuclein upregulation contributes to aggressive phenotypes of meningiomas via the Akt/mTOR pathway and thus represents a potential therapeutic target for malignant meningiomas.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0361-y
PMCID: PMC5109801  PMID: 27895530
Akt/mTOR signaling; α-Synuclein; Growth; Invasion; Meningioma
3.  Simultaneous dual targeting of Par-4 and G6PD: a promising new approach in cancer therapy? Quintessence of a literature review on survival requirements of tumor cells 
The aim of this hypothesis is to propose a new approach in targeted therapy of cancer: The simultaneous, dual targeting of two single molecules, Par-4 and G6PD, rather than inhibition of full-length signaling pathways. Rationale: Targeted inhibition of especially two survival signaling pathways (PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK/ERK) is frequently tried, however, a major breakthrough has not yet been reported. Inhibition of complete pathways naturally goes along with a variety of dose-limiting side effects thus contributing to poor efficacy of the administered drugs. This essay offers a synopsis of relevant studies to support the above mentioned idea—targeting of two single molecules which either are crucial for tumor growth and cancer-cell-survival: on one side, Par-4-activation selectively triggers apoptosis of tumor cells thus reversing their characteristic feature—immortality. On the other side inhibition of G6PD breaks the energy supply of tumor cells, weakens their defence against oxidative stress and thereby enhances the sensitivity of tumor cells to oxidative agents (e.g. chemotherapy). Advantage of the proposed dual Par-4/G6PD-therapy is good tolerability and—especially when administered along with conventional therapy—less frequent emergence of resistance.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0363-9
PMCID: PMC5111342  PMID: 27872579
Cancer; Par-4; G6PD; Targeted therapy; Apoptosis; PI3K/AKT/mTOR; MAPK/ERK; MEK; Aspirin
4.  Overexpression of A613T and G462T variants of DNA polymerase β weakens chemotherapy sensitivity in esophageal cancer cell lines 
Background
Human DNA polymerase β (polβ) is a small monomeric protein that is essential for short-patch base excision repair. It plays an important role in regulating the sensitivity of tumor cells to chemotherapy.
Methods
We evaluated the mutation of polβ in a larger cohort of esophageal cancer (EC) patients by RT-PCR and sequencing analysis. The function of the mutation was evaluated by CCK-8, in vivo tumor growth, and flow cytometry assays.
Results
There are 229 patients with the polβ mutation, 18 patients with A613T mutation, 12 patients with G462T mutation among 538 ECs. Analysis results of survival time showed that EC patients with A613T, G462T mutation had a shorter survival than the others (P < 0.05). CCK-8 and flow cytometry assays results showed the A613T, G462T EC9706 cells were less sensitive than WT cells to 5-FU and cisplatin (P < 0.05). Experiments results in vivo showed that the tumor sizes of A613T and G462T group were larger than WT and polβ−/− groups (P < 0.05).
Conclusions
In this study, we discovered A to T point mutation at nucleotide 613 (A613T) and G to T point mutation at nucleotide 462 (G462T) in the polβ gene through 538 EC patients cohort study. A613T and G462T variant of DNA polymerase β weaken chemotherapy sensitivity of esophageal cancer.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0362-x
PMCID: PMC5103481  PMID: 27843412
Esophageal cancer; DNA polymerase β; Mutation; Chemotherapy sensitivity
7.  The zebrafish as a model for studying neuroblastoma 
Neuroblastoma is a tumor arising in the peripheral sympathetic nervous system and is the most common cancer in childhood. Since most of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neuroblastoma onset and progression remain unknown, the generation of new in vivo models might be appropriate to better dissect the peripheral sympathetic nervous system development in both physiological and disease states. This review is focused on the use of zebrafish as a suitable and innovative model to study neuroblastoma development. Here, we briefly summarize the current knowledge about zebrafish peripheral sympathetic nervous system formation, focusing on key genes and cellular pathways that play a crucial role in the differentiation of sympathetic neurons during embryonic development. In addition, we include examples of how genetic changes known to be associated with aggressive neuroblastoma can mimic this malignancy in zebrafish. Thus, we note the value of the zebrafish model in the field of neuroblastoma research, showing how it can improve our current knowledge about genes and biological pathways that contribute to malignant transformation and progression during embryonic life.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0360-z
PMCID: PMC5093987  PMID: 27822138
Neuroblastoma; Zebrafish; Embryonic development; Neural crest; Sympathoadrenal cells; Chromaffin cells; Peripheral sympathetic nervous system
8.  Long non-coding RNA DBCCR1-003 regulate the expression of DBCCR1 via DNMT1 in bladder cancer 
Background
Many long non coding RNAs have been identified as key modulators in cancer development. A lncRNA, DBCCR1-003, derived from the locus of tumor suppressor gene DBCCR1 (deleted in bladder cancer chromosome region 1), has unknown function. In the present study, we explored function and molecular mechanism of DBCCR1-003 in bladder cancer (BC) development.
Methods
We evaluated the expression levels of DBCCR1-003 in tissues and cells with western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Multiple approaches including chromatin immunoprecipitation assay and RNA immunoprecipitation were used to confirm the direct binding of DBCCR1-003 to DNMT1. The recombinant vector overexpressing DBCCR1-003 was constructed. Cell proliferation assay, colony formation assay and flow cytometric analysis were employed to measure the role of DBCCR1-003 in regulation of cell proliferation, cycle and apoptosis.
Results
Firstly we detected the expression of DBCCR1-003, DBCCR1, DNMT1 (DNA methyltransferase 1) and DNA methylation in the promoter of DBCCR1. We found low expression of DBCCR1-003, same as DBCCR1, while high expression of DNMT1 and hypermethylation of DBCCR1 gene promoter in BC tissues and T24 cells line. Further studies revealed that treatment of DNMT inhibitor, 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine(DAC), or overexpression of DBCCR1-003 led to increased DBCCR1 expression by reversion of promoter hypermethylation and DNMT1 binding to DBCCR1 promoter in T24 cells. Importantly, RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) showed that DBCCR1-003 physically associates with DNMT1. The binding of them was increased with the inhibition of DBCCR1 promoter methylation, indicating that DBCCR1-003 may bind to DNMT1 and prevent DNMT1-mediated the methylation of DBCCR1. Furthermore, overexpression of DBCCR1-003 resulted in significant inhibition of T24 cells growth through the inducing G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis.
Conclusions
Taken together, these findings demonstrated that a novel tumor suppressor DBCCR1-003 regulates the expression of DBCCR1 via binding to DNMT1 and preventing DNMT1-mediated the methylation of DBCCR1 in BC. LncRNA DBCCR1-003 may serve as a novel biomarker and therapeutic target for BC in future cancer clinic.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0356-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0356-8
PMCID: PMC5069854  PMID: 27777512
lncRNA; DBCCR1-003; DBCCR1; DNMT1; Bladder cancer
9.  The chimeric multi-domain proteins mediating specific DNA transfer for hepatocellular carcinoma treatment 
Aim
This study was aimed to evaluate the therapeutic efficiency of a non-virus based specific chimeric multi-domain DNA transferred with apoptin in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) HepG-2 cells in vitro and in mice H22 cells in vivo.
Methods
We firstly constructed the multi-domain recombinant chimeric proteins based on recombinant proteins [G (yeast GAL4), NG (none GAL4), TG (GAL4 + Tat protein) and TNG (Tat protein)] and pUAS-Apoptin plasmid, and transfected them into human HepG-2 cells. The antitumor effect of this multi-domain recombinant chimeric proteins to HCC cells were detected by MTT assay, AO/EB staining, DAPI staining and Annexin V assay. In order to find the pathway of cell apoptosis, the Caspase (1, 3, 6 and 8) activity was detected. We then constructed the H22 liver cancer mice model and analyzed the anti-tumor rate and mice survival rate after treated with G/pUAS-Apoptin NG/pUAS-Apoptin TG/pUAS-Apoptin, and TNG/pUAS-Apoptin.
Results
MTT results showed that the Tat protein (TG and TNG) significantly induced cell death in a time dependent manner. AO/EB, DAPI, Annexin V and Caspases assay results indicated that the Caspase 1, 3, 6 and 8 were highly expressed in TG/pUAS-Apoptin, and TNG/pUAS-Apoptin treated mouse groups. The antitumor rate and survival rate in TG/pUAS-Apoptin, and TNG/pUAS-Apoptin treated mouse groups were higher than in the other groups.
Conclusion
The Tat-apoptin is a potential anti-tumor agent for HCC treatment with remarkable anti-tumor efficacy and high safety based on non-virus gene transfer system. The anti-tumor function may be associated with high expression of Caspase 1, 3, 6 and 8.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0351-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0351-0
PMCID: PMC5062862  PMID: 27752239
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Tat-apoptin; Antitumor effect; HepG-2; Mouse model
10.  Expression of microtubule-associated protein TPX2 in human gastric carcinoma and its prognostic significance 
Background
The molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of gastric carcinoma remain poorly understood. The main objective of this study was to investigate the expression level of targeting protein for Xenopus kinesin-like protein 2 (TPX2) and its clinical significance in human gastric carcinoma.
Methods
Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blotting were used to determine the mRNA and protein levels of TPX2 in 20 paired gastric carcinoma tissues and the adjacent normal tissues, and the expression of TPX2 protein in 106 specimens of a gastric carcinoma tissue microarray was determined by immunohistochemistry. The associations of TPX2 expression with the clinicopathological features were analyzed, and the prognosis of gastric carcinoma patients was evaluated.
Results
The results showed that the expression of TPX2 mRNA was significantly higher in gastric carcinoma than in the adjacent normal tissues in 20 paired samples. Western blotting analysis revealed that TPX2 protein was differentially increased in 17 of 20 specimens from primary human gastric carcinoma tissues compared with those from adjacent non-tumor tissues. Immunohistochemical staining showed that TPX2 over-expression was significantly associated with advanced age (P = 0.001) and tumor T stage (P = 0.003). In addition, TPX2 was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (OS) in the multivariate analysis [hazard ratio (HR) 0.001; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 2.626–7.198; P = 0.001].
Conclusions
TPX2 is up-regulated in gastric carcinoma and is associated with old age and tumor T stage. TPX2 may serve as a good prognostic indicator in patients with gastric carcinoma.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0357-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0357-7
PMCID: PMC5057506  PMID: 27777511
Gastric carcinoma; TPX2; Prognostic marker
11.  Cytologic studies of the fallopian tube in patients undergoing salpingo-oophorectomy 
Background
Mounting evidence suggests the fallopian tube as the origin for ovarian high grade serous carcinoma (HGSC). We attempted to identify the tubal cytological features that allow us to distinguish malignant from benign conditions.
Methods
Tubal specimens (n = 56) were collected from patients who underwent bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) due to various clinical indications. A standard procedure to collect fallopian tube brushings from freshly received surgical specimens was developed. Cytological diagnoses were classified into three categories: benign, atypical, and suspicious for malignancy/malignant. Cytological variables of individual cells and epithelia were subjected to statistical analysis. The fallopian tube histology was used as diagnostic reference for confirmation of cytology diagnosis.
Results
Among the 56 fallopian tube specimens, 2 (3.7 %) showed inadequate cellularity preventing further evaluation, 11 (20.4 %) were diagnosed as malignant or suspicious of malignancy, 7 were atypical, and 36 were benign. The presence of three dimensional clusters (p < 0.0001, Fisher’s Exact Test), or prominent nucleoli (p = 0.0252, Fisher Exact test) was highly correlated with the diagnosis of malignancy. The suspicious malignant/malignant cytological diagnosis was also highly correlated with presence of HGSC with or without serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC).
Conclusions
Tubal cytology may be useful for ovarian cancer screening and early detection.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0354-x
PMCID: PMC5045608  PMID: 27733814
Tubal cytology; High-grade serous carcinoma; Serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma; Early detection; Atypical cytology
12.  Relationship between TRAF6 and deterioration of HCC: an immunohistochemical and in vitro study 
Objective
To explore the relationship between tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and the clinicopathological features in HCC as well as its biological function.
Methods
Totally, 412 liver tissues were collected, including 171 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and their corresponding non-tumor tissues, 37 cirrhosis and 33 normal liver tissues. The expression of TRAF6 was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Then, analysis of the correlations between TRAF6 expression and clinicopathological parameters in HCC was conducted. Furtherer, in vitro experiments on HepG2 and Hep3B cells were performed to validate the biological function of TRAF6 on HCC cells. TRAF6 siRNA was transfected into HepG2 and Hep3B cell lines and TRAF6 expression was evaluated with RT-qPCR and western blot. The assays of cell viability, proliferation, apoptosis and caspase-3/7 activity were carried out to investigate the effects of TRAF6 on HCC cells with RNA interference. Cell viability was assessed with Cell Titer-Blue kit. Cell proliferation was tested with MTS kit. Cell apoptosis was checked through morphologic detection with fluorescence microscope, as well as caspase-3/7 activity was measured with fluorogenic substrate detection.
Results
The positive expression rate of TRAF6 protein was 49.7 % in HCC, significantly higher than that of normal liver (12.1 %), cirrhosis (21.6 %) and adjacent non-cancerous tissues (36.3 %, all P < 0.05). Upregulated TRAF6 was detected in groups with metastasis (Z = −2.058, P = 0.04) and with low micro-vessel density (MVD) expression (Z = −2.813, P = 0.005). Spearman correlation analysis further showed that the expression of TRAF6 was positively correlated with distant metastasis (r = 0.158, P = 0.039) and negatively associated with MVD (r = −0.249, P = 0.004). Besides, knock-down of TRAF6 mRNA in HCC cell lines HepG2 and Hep3B both resulted in cell viability and proliferation inhibition, also cell apoptosis induction and caspase-3/7 activity activation.
Conclusions
TRAF6 may contribute to metastasis and deterioration of the HCC via influencing cell growth and apoptosis. Thus, TRAF6 might become a predictive and therapeutic biomarker for HCC.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0352-z
PMCID: PMC5041287  PMID: 27708550
TRAF6; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Clinicopathological parameters; Proliferation; Apoptosis; Caspase
13.  Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) induces growth suppression and enhances chemosensitivity of human colon cancer cells 
Background
Molecular profiling of colorectal cancer (CRC) based on global gene expression has revealed multiple dysregulated signalling pathways associated with drug resistance and poor prognosis. However, the role of BMP2 signaling in CRC is not fully characterised.
Methods
Bioinformatics data analysis were conducted on the GSE21510 dataset. Leniviral technology was utilized to stably express BMP2 in the HCT116 CRC model. Gene expression profiling was conducted using Agilent microarray platform while data normalization and bioinformatics were conducted using GeneSpring software. Changes in gene expression were assessed using qRT-PCR. AlamarBlue assay was used to assess cell viability in vitro. In vivo experiments were conducted using SCID mice.
Results
Our data revealed frequent downregulation of BMP2 in primary CRC tissues. Additionally, interrogation of publically available gene expression datasets revealed significant downregulation of BMP2 in metastatic recurrent compared to non-metastatic cancer (p = 0.02). Global gene expression analysis in CRC cells over-expressing BMP2 revealed multiple dysregulated pathways mostly affecting cell cycle and DNA damage response. Concordantly, lentiviral-mediated re-expression of BMP2 inhibited HCT116 CRC growth, sphere formation, clonogenic potential, cell migration, and sensitized CRC cells to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in vitro. Additionally, BMP2 inhibited CRC tumor formation in SCID mice.
Conclusions
Our data revealed an inhibitory role for BMP2 in CRC, suggesting that restoration of BMP2 expression could be a potential therapeutic strategy for CRC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0355-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0355-9
PMCID: PMC5043592  PMID: 27708551
Bone morphogenetic protein2 (BMP2); Colon cancer; Chemosensitivity
14.  Success of tumorsphere isolation from WHO grade IV gliomas does not correlate with the weight of fresh tumor specimens: an immunohistochemical characterization of tumorsphere differentiation 
Background
A trend of stage-by-stage increase in tumorsphere (TS) formation from glioma samples has been reported. Despite this trend, not all surgical specimens give rise to TSs, even World Health Organization (WHO) grade IV gliomas. Furthermore, it has been reported that differences in overall survival of primary glioblastoma patients depends on the propensity of their tumors to form TSs. However, the weights of fresh specimens vary from one surgical isolate to the next.
Methods
Accordingly, we evaluated the relationship between the weights of surgical specimens in WHO grade IV gliomas with the capacity to isolate TSs. Thirty-five fresh WHO grade IV glioma specimens were separated into two groups, based on whether they were positive or negative for TS isolation, and the relationship between TS isolation and weight of surgical specimens was assessed.
Results
We observed no significant difference in the weights of surgical samples in the two groups, and found that the optimal weight of specimens for TSs isolation was 500 mg.
Conclusion
Thus, contrary to our expectations, the ability to isolate TSs from WHO grade IV glioma specimens was not related to the weight of fresh specimens.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0350-1
PMCID: PMC5037893  PMID: 27708549
WHO grade IV glioma; Isolation; Tumorsphere; Weight; Fresh specimen
15.  KIAA0101, a target gene of miR-429, enhances migration and chemoresistance of epithelial ovarian cancer cells 
Background
Ovarian cancer is a common type of gynecological malignancies, and is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women in the United States. MiR-429 and KIAA0101 have been found to be involved in several human malignancies, respectively. However, the role of miR-429 and KIAA0101, and the correlation between them during development of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remain to be investigated.
Methods
The expression of KIAA0101 in EOC tissues and cells was measured by Quantitative real-time PCR, western blot, and immunochemistry. Cell proliferation assay, colony formation assay, and transwell assay was performed to assess the role of miR-429 and KIAA0101 in regulation of proliferation, migration, and chemoresistance of EOC cells. Luciferase assay was used to test the Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity in response to depletion of KIAA0101 and overexpression of miR-429.
Results
We found that KIAA0101 was upregulated in metastatic EOC tissues, compared to primary EOC tissues, and KIAA0101 was required for the migration activity and chemoresistance of EOC cells by enhancing Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Furthermore, we revealed KIAA0101 is direct target of miR-429. Similar to knockdown of KIAA0101, overexpression of miR-429 reduced invasion and chemoresistance of EOC cells. Co-transfection of KIAA0101 partially abrogates the inhibitory effects on invasion and chemoresistance in EOC cells.
Conclusions
KIAA0101, a target gene of miR-429, was upregulated in the metastatic EOC tissues, and enhanced the migration activity and chemoresistance of EOC cells. Both miR-429 and KIAA0101 may represent the potential therapeutic targets of EOC.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0353-y
PMCID: PMC5037619  PMID: 27708548
KIAA0101; miR-429; Epithelial ovarian cancer; Migration; Chemoresistance
16.  Long noncoding RNA ANRIL is activated by hypoxia-inducible factor-1α and promotes osteosarcoma cell invasion and suppresses cell apoptosis upon hypoxia 
Background
Osteosarcoma is the most common malignancy of bone. Intratumoral hypoxia occurs in many solid tumors, where it is associated with the development of aggressive phenotype. ANRIL has been shown to be a long noncoding RNA that facilitates the progression of a number of malignancies. Yet, few studies have explored the expression pattern of ANRIL in osteosarcoma and the effect of hypoxia on ANRIL.
Methods
We evaluated the expression levels of ANRIL in osteosarcoma tissues, adjacent normal tissues and cells with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Multiple approaches including luciferase reporter assay with nucleotide substitutions, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay were used to confirm the direct binding of HIF-1α to the ANRIL promoter region. SiRNA-based knockdown and other molecular biology techniques were employed to measure the effect of HIF-1α on the expression of ANRIL.
Results
We found that the expression of ANRIL was upregulated in 15 pairs of osteosarcoma compared with adjacent normal tissues. We found that hypoxia is sufficient to upregulate ANRIL expression in osteosarcoma cells (MNNG and U2OS). HIF-1α directly binds to the putative hypoxia response element in the upstream region of ANRIL. What’s more, siRNA and small molecular inhibitors-mediated HIF-1α suppression attenuated ANRIL upregulation under hypoxic conditions. Upon hypoxia, ANRIL promoted cancer cell invasion and suppressed cell apoptosis.
Conclusion
Taken together, these data suggest that HIF-1α may contribute to the upregulation of ANRIL in osteosarcoma under hypoxic conditions. ANRIL is involved in hypoxia-induced aggressive phenotype in osteosarcoma.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0349-7
PMCID: PMC5035454  PMID: 27688736
Osteosarcoma; Long noncoding RNA; Hypoxia; HIF-1α; ANRIL
17.  Altering bioelectricity on inhibition of human breast cancer cells 
Background
Membrane depolarization is associated with breast cancer. Depolarization-activated voltage-gated ion channels are directly implicated in the initiation, proliferation, and metastasis of breast cancer.
Methods
In this study, the role of voltage-gated potassium and calcium ion channel modulation was explored in two different invasive ductal human carcinoma cell lines, MDA-MB-231 (triple-negative) and MCF7 (estrogen-receptor-positive).
Results
Resting membrane potential is more depolarized in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells compared to normal human mammary epithelial cells. Increasing extracellular potassium concentration up to 50 mM depolarized membrane potential and greatly increased cell growth. Tetraethylammonium (TEA), a non-specific blocker of voltage-gated potassium channels, stimulated growth of MCF7 cells (control group grew by 201 %, 1 mM TEA group grew 376 %). Depolarization-induced calcium influx was hypothesized as a requirement for growth of human breast cancer. Removing calcium from culture medium stopped growth of MDA and MCF7 cells, leading to cell death after 1 week. Verapamil, a blocker of voltage-gated calcium channels clinically used in treating hypertension and coronary disease, inhibited growth of MDA cells at low concentration (10–20 μM) by 73 and 92 % after 1 and 2 days, respectively. At high concentration (100 μM), verapamil killed >90 % of MDA and MCF7 cells after 1 day. Immunoblotting experiments demonstrated that an increased expression of caspase-3, critical in apoptosis signaling, positively correlated with verapamil concentration in MDA cells. In MCF7, caspase-9 expression is increased in response to verapamil.
Conclusions
Our results support our hypotheses that membrane depolarization and depolarization-induced calcium influx stimulate proliferation of human breast cancer cells, independently of cancer subtypes. The underlying mechanism of verapamil-induced cell death involves different caspases in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231. These data suggest that voltage-gated potassium and calcium channels may be putative targets for pharmaceutical remediation in human invasive ductal carcinomas.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0348-8
PMCID: PMC5034549  PMID: 27688735
Membrane potential; Voltage-gated calcium channels; Voltage-gated potassium channels; Verapamil; TEA; Caspase-3; Caspase-9
18.  Robo3A and Robo3B expression is regulated via alternative promoters and mRNA stability 
Background
The transmembrane receptor family Roundabout (Robo) was described to have an essential role in the developing nervous system. Recent studies demonstrated that Robo3 shows an altered expression in rheumatoid arthritis as well as in melanoma.
Context and purpose of the study
Until today no detailed studies of the two Robo3 isoforms (Robo3A and Robo3B) and their roles in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts, respectively malignant melanoma are available. To get a better understanding regarding the role of Robo3A and Robo3B in the molecular process of rheumatoid arthritis and melanoma the exact characterization of expression and regulation is object of this study.
Results
mRNA and protein expression of the transcriptional variants were analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR respectively western blotting and revealed particularly enhanced expression of Robo3B in rheumatoid arthritis and melanoma. Promoter assays and inhibitor studies also disclosed that there is apparently a cell- and isoform-specific regulation of the Robo3 expression. Finally, dissimilar mRNA stabilities of Robo3A and Robo3B are identified as decisive posttranscriptional gene expression control.
Conclusion
In summary, this study supported an isotype specific role of Robo3B in disease hinting to different functional roles of each isoform.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0347-9
PMCID: PMC5028924  PMID: 27660555
Repellent factor; Robo; Rheumatoid arthritis; Malignant melanoma
19.  Selected polyphenols potentiate the apoptotic efficacy of glycolytic inhibitors in human acute myeloid leukemia cell lines. Regulation by protein kinase activities 
Cancer Cell International  2016;16(1):70.
Background
The glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxy-d-glucose (2-DG) is a safe, potentially useful anti-tumour drug, but its efficacy is normally low when used alone. Recent studies indicated that 2-DG stimulates the PI3K/Akt and MEK/ERK defensive pathways, which limits the apoptotic efficacy in tumour cell lines. We hypothesized that co-treatment with selected polyphenols could improve 2-DG-provoked apoptosis by preventing defensive kinase activation.
Methods
Cell proliferation was measured by cell counting or the MTT assay. Cell cycle, apoptosis and necrosis were determined by propidium iodide staining and/or annexin V labeling followed by flow cytometry. Mitochondria pore transition and depolarization were determined by calcein-ATM or rhodamine 123 labeling followed flow cytometry. Intracellular reactive oxygen species and GSH were determined by dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate or monochlorobimane labeling followed by flow cytometry or fluorimetry. Expression and phosphorylation of protein kinases were analyzed by the Western blot.
Results
(i) 2-DG-provoked apoptosis was greatly potentiated by co-treatment with the sub-lethal concentrations of the flavonoid quercetin in human HL60 acute myeloblastic leukemia cells. Allowing for quantitative differences, apoptosis potentiation was also obtained using NB4 promyelocytic and THP-1 promonocytic cells, using curcumin or genistein instead of quercetin, and using lonidamine instead of 2-DG, but not when 2-DG was substituted by incubation in glucose-free medium. (ii) Quercetin and 2-DG rapidly elicited the opening of mitochondria pore transition, which preceded the trigger of apoptosis. (iii) Treatments did not affect GSH levels, and caused disparate effects on reactive oxygen species generation, which did not match the changes in lethality. (iv) 2-DG and lonidamine stimulated defensive Akt and ERK phosphorylation/activation, while glucose starvation was ineffective. Polyphenols prevented the stimulation of Akt phosphorylation, and in some cases also ERK phosphorylation. In addition, quercetin and 2-DG stimulated GSK-3α,β phosphorylation/inactivation, although with different isoform specificity. The use of pharmacologic inhibitors confirmed the importance of these kinase modifications for apoptosis.
Conclusions
The present in vitro observations suggest that co-treatment with low concentrations of selected polyphenols might represent a manner of improving the poor anti-tumour efficacy of some glycolytic inhibitors, and that apoptosis potentiation may be at least in part explained by the regulation of defensive protein kinase activities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0345-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0345-y
PMCID: PMC5015235  PMID: 27610044
2-Deoxy-d-glucose; Lonidamine; Natural polyphenols; Apoptosis; Oxidative stress; Protein kinases (Akt, ERKs); Acute myeloid leukemia cells
20.  Molecular mechanism leading to SAHA-induced autophagy in tumor cells: evidence for a p53-dependent pathway 
Cancer Cell International  2016;16(1):68.
Background
Recent studies indicated that histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), a class of anticancer agents, are in addition to their ability of apoptosis induction also capable of provoking autophagy. Promoted by the treatment of malignant uterine sarcoma cells with the HDACi suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), we previously demonstrated predominant dose-dependent activation of autophagy in ESS-1 cells, but prevalent induction of apoptosis in MES-SA cells.
Methods
In order to extend our previous studies, SAHA-treated ESS-1 and MES-SA cells were monitored for protein expression to reveal differences in known markers of apoptosis explaining the different cytotoxic responses. Further analysis of the identified candidate protein included cell rescue experiments by gene transfer followed by subsequent screening of cells for induction of apoptosis and autophagy by immunoblotting, caspase activity as well as LC3 and MDC/PI staining. LDH release assays were performed to assess the amount of cell-mediated cytotoxicity.
Results
In our search for responsible autophagic regulatory genes upstream of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), we now discovered that, in contrast to MES-SA cells, a TP53-637C>T nonsense mutation located in the transactivating domain of the oncogenic suppressor p53 causes loss of its protein and consequently reduced PUMA induction in ESS-1 cells. Upon re-introduction of wild-type TP53, SAHA-treated ESS-1 cells underwent immediate apoptotic cell death as supported by upregulation of PUMA and caspase-9 as well as by activation of caspases-3 and -7 and PARP-1 cleavage. Concurrent downregulation of autophagy was noticed by upregulated mTor and phospho-mTOR expression as well as monitoring autophagosome formation employing LC3 and MDC staining. Previously, cytoplasmic master regulatory activities of the oncogenic suppressor p53 in inhibiting autophagy and triggering apoptosis were unravelled. Accordingly, p53-deficiency could explain both, the previously documented apoptosis resistance and prevailing SAHA-induced autophagy in ESS-1 cells. Using MES-SA cells with RNAi-silenced p53 expression and several p53-deficient tumor cell lines undergoing SAHA-induced autophagy, we could generally validate our finding suggesting an inhibitory role for p53 in the autophagic pathway in response to SAHA treatment.
Conclusions
Conclusively, these results could identify cytoplasmic p53 protein as a molecular switch that directly mediates the cytotoxic response of SAHA and thus open new therapeutic avenues.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0343-0
PMCID: PMC5011867  PMID: 27601937
HDACi; SAHA; Autophagy; Apoptosis; p53; HDACi; ESS-1; MES-SA; Tumor
21.  CD147 promotes cell motility via upregulation of p190-B RhoGAP in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Cancer Cell International  2016;16(1):69.
Background
The acquisition of inappropriate migratory feature is crucial for tumor metastasis. Rho-family GTPases including RhoA are molecular switches that play critical roles in regulating cell movement. We investigated the molecular mechanism underlying CD147 induced RhoA deactivation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells.
Methods
Wound-healing assay was performed to study the cell motility. Analysis of RhoA activation in living cells was conducted using RhoA biosensor. Changes in the expression of certain genes were determined by quantitative real-time PCR. The expression of proteins was evaluated by Western blot. Cytoskeleton reorganization and focal adhesion formation were observed by immunofluorescence staining. Further investigation on the correlation between CD147 and p190-B RhoGAP (p190-B) in HCC tissues was performed by immunological histological chemistry analysis.
Results
CD147 promoted cell movement and suppressed RhoA activation. p190-B, a negative regulator of RhoA activity, was upregulated by CD147 at both mRNA and protein levels. This regulatory relationship was further confirmed by analyzing the expression pattern of CD147 and p190-B in human HCC tissues. Silencing of p190-B caused the increased formation of stress fiber and focal adhesion and blunted the impact of CD147 overexpression on cell movement, indicating that the regulatory effect of CD147 on cell movement is mediated, at least partially, by p190-B.
Conclusions
These findings indicated that p190-B, a negative regulator of RhoA, is positively regulated by CD147 and contributes to the regulation of cell movement in HCC. CD147 plays critical roles in the motility of cancer cells and may be therefore a valuable drug target for anti-cancer therapy.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0344-z
PMCID: PMC5012051  PMID: 27601938
CD147; Cell movement; Hepatocellular carcinoma; p190-B RhoGAP; RhoA
22.  MicroRNA-23a regulates epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in endometrial endometrioid adenocarcinoma by targeting SMAD3 
Cancer Cell International  2016;16(1):67.
Background
To investigate the role of total cellular microRNA (miRNA) in regulating epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during human endometrial endometrioid adenocarcinoma (EEC).
Methods
A miRCURY LNA microRNA array was used to evaluate the miRNA profiles of human EEC tissues and corresponding nontumorous endometriums. An in vitro model of TGF-β induced EMT in HEC-1-A cells was used to investigate the role of miRNAs in the EEC during EMT. The expression of SMAD3, SMAD5, and a panel of EMT markers was detected by Western blot and quantitative PCR.
Results
The results of miRNA profiling in human EEC tissues and corresponding nontumorous endometriums demonstrated that miR-23a expression was down-regulated. Using bioinformatics, we identified SMAD3 or SMAD5 maybe as a predicted target of miR-23a. The results of luciferase reporter assay showed miR-23a directly targets and down-regulates human SMAD3 protein levels, not SMAD5 protein levels. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-23a in HEC-1-A cells increased E-cadherin expression and decreased the expression of vimentin and alpha smooth muscle actin, markers of mesenchymal cellular phenotype.
Conclusions
Our data provide firm evidence of a role for miR-23a in the direct regulation of EMT through its targeting of SMAD3. Due to its ability to repress the EMT, miR-23a may be a novel target for EER therapeutic intervention.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0342-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0342-1
PMCID: PMC5011925  PMID: 27601936
Endometrial endometrioid adenocarcinoma; MicroRNA; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; SMAD3
23.  Schedule-dependent increased efficiency of pemetrexed-ionizing radiation combination therapy elicits a differential DNA damage response in lung cancer cells 
Cancer Cell International  2016;16(1):66.
Background
Lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths worldwide, thus there is a urgent need to develop new treatment options. Concurrent chemoradiotherapy has become a common strategy for the treatment of non-resectable solid tumors including non-small cell lung cancer. Pemetrexed is a folic acid antagonist that inhibits the synthesis of precursor nucleotides, whereas ionizing radiation induces DNA damage, the repair of which is dependent on sufficiently high nucleotide levels. In the clinical setting, the pemetrexed-ionizing radiation combination therapy is administered concomitantly. We hypothesized that prolonged pretreatment with pemetrexed could be beneficial, as prior depletion of nucleotide pools could sensitize cancer cells to subsequent irradiation.
Methods
Non-small cell lung cancer A549 cells were treated with 1 µM pemetrexed for 72 h. In addition, cells were exposed to five gray ionizing radiation either 1, 48 or 71 h after the initiation of the pemetrexed treatment. Cell growth, senescence induction, cell cycle distribution and DNA damage marker accumulation were analysed at different time points during the treatment and the recovery phase.
Results
Stand-alone treatments of five gray ionizing radiation and 1 µM pemetrexed resulted in an intermediate cell growth inhibition of A549 cells and were therefore applied as the combination regimen. Prolonged pemetrexed pretreatment for 71 h resulted in a significant S-phase accumulation. Irradiation and prolonged pemetrexed pretreatment maximally delayed long term cell growth. Additionally, senescence was augmented and recovery from treatment-induced DNA damage was most prominently delayed by prolonged pemetrexed pretreatment.
Conclusions
Pretreatment with pemetrexed increases anticancer efficiency of pemetrexed-ionizing radiation combination therapy, which correlates with a persistence of treatment-induced DNA damage. Therefore, this study warrants further investigations to elucidate whether a similar adaptation to the standard treatment regimen could enhance the effectiveness of the non-small cell lung cancer clinical treatment regimen.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0346-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0346-x
PMCID: PMC5010745  PMID: 27594806
Pemetrexed; Ionizing radiation; Chemoradiotherapy; Non-small cell lung cancer; DNA damage; Senescence
24.  MiR-145 functions as a tumor suppressor via regulating angiopoietin-2 in pancreatic cancer cells 
Cancer Cell International  2016;16(1):65.
Background
Pancreatic cancer is currently one of the leading causes of cancer deaths without any effective therapies. Mir-145 has been found to be tumor-suppressive in various types of cancers. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of miR-145 in pancreatic cancer cells and explore its underlying mechanism.
Methods
Quantitative real time PCR was used to determine the expression level of miR-145 and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) mNRA, and the expression level of Ang-2 protein was measured by western blotting. The anti-cancer activities of miR-145 were tested both in in vitro by using cell invasion and colony formation assay and in vivo by using xenograft assay. The direct action of miR-145 on Ang-2 was predicted by TargetScan and confirmed by luciferase report assay. The vascularization of xenografts were performed by immunohistochemical analysis.
Results
The expression level of miR-145 was significantly lower and the expression levels of Ang-2 mRNA and protein was significantly higher in the more aggressive pancreatic cancer cells (MiaPaCa-2 and Panc-1) when compared to that in BxPC3 cells. Overexpression of miR-145 in the BxPC3, MiaPaCa-2 and Panc-1 cells suppressed the cell invasion and colony formation ability, and the expression level of Ang-2 protein in MiaPaCa-2 and Panc-1 cells was also suppressed after pre-miR-145 transfection. Intratumoral delivery of miR-145 inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer xenografts and angiogenesis in vivo, and also suppressed the expression level of angiopoietin-2 protein. Luciferase report assay showed that Ang-2 is a direct target of miR-145, and down-regulation of angiopoietin-2 by treatment with Ang-2 siRNA in the BxPC3, MiaPaCa-2 and Panc-1 cells suppressed cell invasion and colony formation ability. The reverse transcription PCR results also showed that Tie1 and Tie2 were expressed in BxPC3, MiaPaCa-2 and Panc-1 cells.
Conclusion
MiR-145 functions as a tumor suppressor in pancreatic cancer cells by targeting Ang-2 for translation repression and thus suppresses pancreatic cancer cell invasion and growth, which suggests that restoring of miR-145 may be a potential therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0331-4
PMCID: PMC5000507  PMID: 27570490
miR-145; Ang-2; Pancreatic cancer; Angiogenesis
25.  MiR-20a-5p represses multi-drug resistance in osteosarcoma by targeting the KIF26B gene 
Background
Chemoresistance hinders curative cancer chemotherapy in osteosarcoma (OS), resulting in only an approximately 20 % survival rate in patients with metastatic disease at diagnosis. Identifying the mechanisms responsible for regulating chemotherapy resistance is crucial for improving OS treatment.
Methods
This study was performed in two human OS cell lines (the multi-chemosensitive OS cell line G-292 and the multi-chemoresistant OS cell line SJSA-1). The levels of miR-20a-5p and KIF26B mRNA expression were determined by quantitative real-time PCR. KIF26B protein levels were determined by western blot analysis. Cell viability was assessed by MTT assay. Apoptosis was evaluated by flow cytometry.
Results
We found that miR-20a-5p was more highly expressed in G-292 cells than in SJSA-1 cells. Forced expression of miR-20a-5p counteracted OS cell chemoresistance in both cell culture and tumor xenografts in nude mice. One of miR-20a-5p’s targets, kinesin family member 26B (KIF26B), was found to mediate the miR-20a-5p-induced reduction in OS chemoresistance by modulating the activities of the MAPK/ERK and cAMP/PKA signaling pathways.
Conclusions
In addition to providing mechanistic insights, our study revealed that miR-20a-5p and KIF26B contribute to OS chemoresistance and determined the roles of these genes in this process, which may be critical for characterizing drug responsiveness and overcoming chemoresistance in OS patients.
doi:10.1186/s12935-016-0340-3
PMCID: PMC4974744  PMID: 27499703
Osteosarcoma; miR-20a-5p; KIF26B; Multi-drug resistance

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