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1.  P53 and Cancer-Associated Sialylated Glycans Are Surrogate Markers of Cancerization of the Bladder Associated with Schistosoma haematobium Infection 
Bladder cancer is a significant health problem in rural areas of Africa and the Middle East where Schistosoma haematobium is prevalent, supporting an association between malignant transformation and infection by this blood fluke. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms linking these events are poorly understood. Bladder cancers in infected populations are generally diagnosed at a late stage since there is a lack of non-invasive diagnostic tools, hence enforcing the need for early carcinogenesis markers.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Forty-three formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded bladder biopsies of S. haematobium-infected patients, consisting of bladder tumours, tumour adjacent mucosa and pre-malignant/malignant urothelial lesions, were screened for bladder cancer biomarkers. These included the oncoprotein p53, the tumour proliferation rate (Ki-67>17%), cell-surface cancer-associated glycan sialyl-Tn (sTn) and sialyl-Lewisa/x (sLea/sLex), involved in immune escape and metastasis. Bladder tumours of non-S. haematobium etiology and normal urothelium were used as controls. S. haematobium-associated benign/pre-malignant lesions present alterations in p53 and sLex that were also found in bladder tumors. Similar results were observed in non-S. haematobium associated tumours, irrespectively of their histological nature, denoting some common molecular pathways. In addition, most benign/pre-malignant lesions also expressed sLea. However, proliferative phenotypes were more prevalent in lesions adjacent to bladder tumors while sLea was characteristic of sole benign/pre-malignant lesions, suggesting it may be a biomarker of early carcionogenesis associated with the parasite. A correlation was observed between the frequency of the biomarkers in the tumor and adjacent mucosa, with the exception of Ki-67. Most S. haematobium eggs embedded in the urothelium were also positive for sLea and sLex. Reinforcing the pathologic nature of the studied biomarkers, none was observed in the healthy urothelium.
This preliminary study suggests that p53 and sialylated glycans are surrogate biomarkers of bladder cancerization associated with S. haematobium, highlighting a missing link between infection and cancer development. Eggs of S. haematobium express sLea and sLex antigens in mimicry of human leukocytes glycosylation, which may play a role in the colonization and disease dissemination. These observations may help the early identification of infected patients at a higher risk of developing bladder cancer and guide the future development of non-invasive diagnostic tests.
Author Summary
Epidemiological studies associate infection with S. haematobium, an endemic parasitic flatworm in Africa and the Middle East, with the development of bladder cancer. Nevertheless, little molecular evidence exists supporting this association. This work draws attention to the common molecular pathways underlying these two events, highlighting a potentially unreported link between infection and cancer development. It has been demonstrated that a panel of biomarkers commonly associated with aggressive forms of bladder cancer is also present in non-malignant tissues infected with the parasite. This may offer a means of early identification of people with this parasitic infection who are at risk of developing of bladder cancer, and may guide the establishment of non-invasive diagnostic tests. Furthermore, we observed that parasite eggs mimic the molecular nature of human cells, providing a possible mechanism of immune escape and persistent infection. Such knowledge is considered pivotal to develop novel therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC4263606  PMID: 25502795
2.  Preparation and Characterization of PEGylated Amylin 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2013;14(3):1083-1097.
Amylin is a pancreatic hormone that plays important roles in overall metabolism and in glucose homeostasis. The therapeutic restoration of postprandial and basal amylin levels is highly desirable for patients with diabetes who need to avoid glucose excursions. Protein conjugation with polyethylene glycol (PEG) has long been known to be a convenient approach for extending the biological effects of biopharmaceuticals. We have investigated the reactivity of amylin with methoxy polyethylene glycol succinimidyl carbonate and methoxy polyethylene glycol succinimidyl propionate, which have an average molecular weight of 5 kDa. The reaction, which was conducted in both aqueous and organic (dimethyl sulfoxide) solvents, occurred within a few minutes and resulted in at least four detectable products with distinct kinetic phases. These results suggest a kinetic selectivity for PEGylation by succinimidyl derivatives; these derivatives exhibit enhanced reactivity with primary amine groups, as indicated by an evaluation of the remaining amino groups using fluorescamine. The analysis of tryptic fragments from mono- and diPEGylated amylin revealed that conjugation occurred within the 1-11 amino acid region, most likely at the two amine groups of Lys1. The reaction products were efficiently separated by C-18 reversed phase chromatography. Binding assays confirmed the ability of mono- and diPEGylated amylin to interact with the amylin co-receptor receptor activity-modifying protein 2. Subcutaneous administration in mice revealed the effectiveness of monoPEG-amylin and diPEG-amylin in reducing glycemia; both compounds exhibited prolonged action compared to unmodified amylin. These features suggest the potential use of PEGylated amylin to restore basal amylin levels.
PMCID: PMC3755165  PMID: 23818080
amylin; diabetes; islet-associated polypeptide; PEGylation; receptor activity-modifying protein
4.  Predictive Biomarkers of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Immunotherapy Response in Bladder Cancer: Where Are We Now? 
Advances in Urology  2012;2012:232609.
The most effective therapeutic option for managing nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), over the last 30 years, consists of intravesical instillations with the attenuated strain Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (the BCG vaccine). This has been performed as an adjuvant therapeutic to transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) and mostly directed towards patients with high-grade tumours, T1 tumours, and in situ carcinomas. However, from 20% to 40% of the patients do not respond and frequently present tumour progression. Since BCG effectiveness is unpredictable, it is important to find consistent biomarkers that can aid either in the prediction of the outcome and/or side effects development. Accordingly, we conducted a systematic critical review to identify the most preeminent predictive molecular markers associated with BCG response. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review exclusively focusing on predictive biomarkers for BCG treatment outcome. Using a specific query, 1324 abstracts were gathered, then inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied, and finally 87 manuscripts were included. Several molecules, including CD68 and genetic polymorphisms, have been identified as promising surrogate biomarkers. Combinatory analysis of the candidate predictive markers is a crucial step to create a predictive profile of treatment response.
PMCID: PMC3420223  PMID: 22919375

Results 1-4 (4)