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1.  Retargeting of Gene Expression Using Endothelium Specific Hexon Modified Adenoviral Vector 
Virology  2013;447(0):312-325.
Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors are well suited for gene therapy. However, tissue-selective transduction by systemically administered Ad5-based vectors is confounded by viral particle sequestration in the liver. Hexon-modified Ad5 expressing reporter gene under transcriptional control by the immediate/early cytomegalovirus (CMV) or the Roundabout 4 receptor (Robo4) enhancer/promoter were characterized by growth in cell culture, stability in vitro, gene transfer in the presence of human coagulation factor X, and biodistribution in mice. The obtained data demonstrate the utility of the Robo4 promoter in an Ad5 vector context. Substitution of the hypervariable region 7 (HVR7) of the Ad5 hexon with HVR7 from Ad serotype 3 resulted in decreased liver tropism and dramatically altered biodistribution of gene expression. The results of these studies suggest that the combination of liver detargeting using a genetic modification of hexon with an endothelium-specific transcriptional control element produces an additive effect in the improvement of Ad5 biodistribution.
PMCID: PMC3894856  PMID: 24210128
adenovirus; targeting; endothelium; Roundabout 4 promoter; hexon
2.  Clinical Implications of Rabphillin-3A-Like Gene Alterations in Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129216.
For the rabphillin-3A-like (RPH3AL) gene, a putative tumor suppressor, the clinical significance of genetic alterations in breast cancers was evaluated. DNA and RNA were extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) cancers and matching normal tissues. DNA samples were assessed for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the 17p13.3 locus of RPH3AL and the 17p13.1 locus of the tumor suppressor, TP53. RPH3AL was sequenced, and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped. RNA samples were evaluated for expression of RPH3AL, and FFPE tissues were profiled for its phenotypic expression. Alterations in RPH3AL were correlated with clinicopathological features, LOH of TP53, and patient survival. Of 121 cancers, 80 had LOH at one of the RPH3AL locus. LOH of RHP3AL was associated with nodal metastasis, advanced stage, large tumor size, and poor survival. Although ~50% were positive for LOH at the RPH3AL and TP53 loci, 19 of 105 exhibited LOH only at the RPH3AL locus. Of these, 12 were non-Hispanic Caucasians (Whites), 15 had large tumors, and 12 were older (>50 years). Patients exhibiting LOH at both loci had shorter survival than those without LOH at these loci (log-rank, P = 0.014). LOH at the TP53 locus alone was not associated with survival. Analyses of RPH3AL identified missense point mutations in 19 of 125 cases, a SNP (C>A) in the 5’untranslated region at -25 (5’UTR-25) in 26 of 104, and a SNP (G>T) in the intronic region at 43 bp downstream to exon-6 (intron-6-43) in 79 of 118. Genotype C/A or A/A of the SNP at 5’UTR-25 and genotype T/T of a SNP at intron-6-43 were predominantly in Whites. Low levels of RNA and protein expression of RPH3AL were present in cancers relative to normal tissues. Thus, genetic alterations in RPH3AL are associated with aggressive behavior of breast cancers and with short survival of patients.
PMCID: PMC4466565  PMID: 26070152
3.  Effect of niclosamide on basal-like breast cancers 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2014;13(4):800-811.
Basal-like breast cancers (BLBCs) are poorly differentiated and display aggressive clinical behavior. These tumors become resistant to cytotoxic agents and tumor relapse has been attributed to the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs). One of the pathways involved in CSC regulation is the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. LRP6, a Wnt ligand receptor, is one of the critical elements of this pathway and could potentially be an excellent therapeutic target. Niclosamide has been shown to inhibit the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway by causing degradation of LRP6. TRA-8, a monoclonal antibody specific to TRAIL death receptor 5, is cytotoxic to BLBC cell lines and their CSC enriched populations. The goal of this study was to examine whether niclosamide is cytotoxic to BLBCs, specifically the CSC population, and if in combination with TRA-8 could produce increased cytotoxicity. Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) is a known marker of CSCs. By testing BLBC cells for ALDH expression by flow cytometry, we were able to isolate a non-adherent population of cells that have high ALDH expression. Niclosamide showed cytotoxicity against these non-adherent ALDH expressing cells in addition to adherent cells from four BLBC cell lines: 2LMP, SUM159, HCC1187 and HCC1143. Niclosamide produced reduced levels of LRP6 and β-catenin, which is a downstream Wnt/β-catenin signaling protein. The combination of TRA-8 and niclosamide produced additive cytotoxicity and a reduction in Wnt/β-catenin activity. Niclosamide in combination with TRA-8 suppressed growth of 2LMP orthotopic tumor xenografts. These results suggest that niclosamide or congeners of this agent may be useful for the treatment of BLBC.
PMCID: PMC3981919  PMID: 24552774
TRA-8; Tigatuzumab; Death Receptor 5; Basal-like Breast Cancer; Cancer Stem Cells; Tumor Initiating Cells; LRP6; Wnt/β-catenin; Niclosamide (Niclocide)
4.  l-Methionine inhibits growth of human pancreatic cancer cells 
Anti-cancer drugs  2014;25(2):200-203.
We have previously shown that l-methionine inhibits proliferation of breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells. This study extends these findings to BXPC-3 (mutated p53) and HPAC (wild-type p53) pancreatic cancer cells and explores the reversibility of these effects. Cells were exposed to l-methionine (5 mg/ml) for 7 days or for 3 days, followed by 4 days of culture without l-methionine (recovery). Cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cell cycle effects were assessed by flow cytometry after staining for Ki-67 or annexin V/propidium iodide. Cell proliferation was reduced by 31–35% after 7 days of methionine exposure; the effect persisted in BXPC-3 and HPAC cells after 4 days of recovery. Methionine increased apoptosis by 40–75% in HPAC cells, but not in BXPC-3 cells. Continuous exposure to methionine caused accumulation of BXPC-3 cells in the S phase and HPAC cells in both the G0/G1 and S phases; however, after 4 days of recovery, these effects disappeared. In conclusion, l-methionine inhibits proliferation and interferes with the cell cycle of BXPC-3 and HPAC pancreatic cancer cells; the effects on apoptosis remarkably persisted after methionine withdrawal. Apoptosis was induced only in BXPC-3 cells. Some of the differences in the effects of methionine between cell lines may be related to disparate p53 status. These findings warrant further studies on the potential therapeutic benefit of l-methionine against pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4346324  PMID: 24126240
BXPC-3 cells; HPAC cells; methionine; p53; pancreatic cancer cells
5.  NSAIDs inhibit tumorigenesis, but how? 
Numerous epidemiological studies have reported that the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is associated with a significant decrease in cancer incidence and delayed progression of malignant disease. The use of NSAIDs has also been linked with reduced risk from cancer-related mortality and distant metastasis. Certain prescription strength NSAIDs, such as sulindac, have been shown to cause regression of precancerous lesions. Unfortunately, the extended use of NSAIDs for chemoprevention results in potentially fatal side effects related to their cyclooxygenase (COX)-inhibitory activity and suppression of prostaglandin synthesis. While the basis for the tumor growth-inhibitory activity of NSAIDs likely involves multiple effects on tumor cells and their microenvironment, numerous investigators have concluded that the underlying mechanism is not completely explained by COX inhibition. It may therefore be possible to develop safer and more efficacious drugs by targeting such COX-independent mechanisms. NSAID derivatives or metabolites that lack COX-inhibitory activity, but retain or have improved anticancer activity support this possibility. Experimental studies suggest that apoptosis induction and suppression of β-catenin-dependent transcription are important aspects of their antineoplastic activity. Studies show that the latter involves phosphodiesterase inhibition and the elevation of intracellular cyclic GMP levels. Here, we review the evidence for COX-independent mechanisms and discuss progress towards identifying alternative targets and developing NSAID derivatives that lack COX-inhibitory activity but have improved antineoplastic properties.
PMCID: PMC3947450  PMID: 24311630
Chemoprevention; NSAIDs; sulindac; colorectal cancer
6.  Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Reduces Tamoxifen Efficacy and Promotes Metastatic Colonization and Desmoplasia in Breast Tumors 
Cancer research  2008;68(15):6232-6240.
Clinical studies have shown that decreased tamoxifen effectiveness correlates with elevated levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A165 in biopsy samples of breast cancers. To investigate the mechanisms underlying tamoxifen resistance and metastasis, we engineered the estrogen receptor (ER)–positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line to express VEGF to clinically relevant levels in a doxycycline-regulated manner. Induction of VEGF expression in orthotopically implanted xenografts that were initially tamoxifen responsive and noninvasive resulted in tamoxifen-resistant tumor growth and metastasis to the lungs. Lung metastases were also observed in a VEGF-dependent manner following tail vein injection of tumor cells. At both primary and metastatic sites, VEGF-overexpressing tumors exhibited extensive fibroblastic stromal content, a clinical feature called desmoplasia. VEGF-induced metastatic colonies were surrounded by densely packed stromal cells before detectable angiogenesis, suggesting that VEGF is involved in the initiation of desmoplasia. Because expression of VEGF receptors R1 and R2 was undetectable in these tumor cells, the observed VEGF effects on reduction of tamoxifen efficacy and metastatic colonization are most likely mediated by paracrine signaling that enhances tumor/stromal cell interactions and increases the level of desmoplasia. This study reveals new roles for VEGF in breast cancer progression and suggests that combination of antiestrogens and VEGF inhibitors may prolong tamoxifen sensitivity and prevent metastasis in patients with ER-positive tumors.
PMCID: PMC4337242  PMID: 18676847
7.  Human PDE4A8, a novel brain-expressed PDE4 cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase that has undergone rapid evolutionary change 
The Biochemical journal  2008;411(2):361-369.
We have isolated cDNAs encoding PDE4A8 (phosphodiesterase 4 isoform A8), a new human cAMP-specific PDE4 isoform encoded by the PDE4A gene. PDE4A8 has a novel N-terminal region of 85 amino acids that differs from those of the related ‘long’ PDE4A4, PDE4A10 and PDE4A11 isoforms. The human PDE4A8 N-terminal region has diverged substantially from the corresponding isoforms in the rat and other mammals, consistent with rapid evolutionary change in this region of the protein. When expressed in COS-7 cells, PDE4A8 localized predominantly in the cytosol, but approx. 20% of the enzyme was associated with membrane fractions. Cytosolic PDE4A8 was exquisitely sensitive to inhibition by the prototypical PDE4 inhibitor rolipram (IC50 of 11 ± 1 nM compared with 1600 nM for PDE4A4), but was less sensitive to inhibition by cilomilast (IC50 of 101 ± 7 nM compared with 61 nM for PDE4A4). PDE4A8 mRNA was found to be expressed predominantly in skeletal muscle and brain, a pattern that differs from the tissue expression of other human PDE4 isoforms and also from that of rat PDE4A8. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that PDE4A8 could be detected in discrete regions of human brain, including the cerebellum, spinal cord and cerebral cortex. The unique tissue distribution of PDE4A8, combined with the evolutionary divergence of its N-terminus, suggest that this isoform may have a specific function in regulating cAMP levels in human skeletal muscle and brain.
PMCID: PMC4337886  PMID: 18095939
alternative mRNA splicing; cAMP; cilomilast; phosphodiesterase 4 isoform A (PDE4A); phosphoric diester hydrolyase; rolipram
8.  SELDI-TOF MS Whole Serum Proteomic Profiling with IMAC Surface Does Not Reliably Detect Prostate Cancer 
Clinical chemistry  2007;54(1):53-60.
The analysis of bodily fluids using SELDI-TOF MS has been reported to identify signatures of spectral peaks that can be used to differentiate patients with a specific disease from normal or control patients. This report is the 2nd of 2 companion articles describing a validation study of a SELDI-TOF MS approach with IMAC surface sample processing to identify prostatic adenocarcinoma.
We sought to derive a decision algorithm for classification of prostate cancer from SELDI-TOF MS spectral data from a new retrospective sample cohort of 400 specimens. This new cohort was selected to minimize possible confounders identified in the previous study described in the companion paper.
The resulting new classifier failed to separate patients with prostate cancer from biopsy-negative controls; nor did it separate patients with prostate cancer with Gleason scores <7 from those with Gleason scores ≥7.
In this, the 2nd stage of our planned validation process, the SELDI-TOF MS– based protein expression profiling approach did not perform well enough to advance to the 3rd (prospective study) stage. We conclude that the results from our previous studies—in which differentiation between prostate cancer and noncancer was demonstrated—are not generalizable. Earlier study samples likely had biases in sample selection that upon removal, as in the present study, resulted in inability of the technique to discriminate cancer from non-cancer cases.
PMCID: PMC4332515  PMID: 18024530
9.  Effect of exercise and calorie restriction on biomarkers of aging in mice 
Unlike, calorie restriction, exercise fails to extend maximum life span, but the mechanisms that explain this disparate effect are unknown. We used a 24-wk protocol of treadmill running, weight matching, and pair feeding to compare the effects of exercise and calorie restriction on biomarkers related to aging. This study consisted of young controls, an ad libitum-fed sedentary group, two groups that were weight matched by exercise or 9% calorie restriction, and two groups that were weight matched by 9% calorie restriction + exercise or 18% calorie restriction. After 24 wk, ad libitum-fed sedentary mice were the heaviest and fattest. When weight-matched groups were compared, mice that exercised were leaner than calorie-restricted mice. Ad libitum-fed exercise mice tended to have lower serum IGF-1 than fully-fed controls, but no difference in fasting insulin. Mice that underwent 9% calorie restriction or 9% calorie restriction + exercise, had lower insulin levels; the lowest concentrations of serum insulin and IGF-1 were observed in 18% calorie-restricted mice. Exercise resulted in elevated levels of tissue heat shock proteins, but did not accelerate the accumulation of oxidative damage. Thus, failure of exercise to slow aging in previous studies is not likely the result of increased accrual of oxidative damage and may instead be due to an inability to fully mimic the hormonal and/or metabolic response to calorie restriction.
PMCID: PMC4332519  PMID: 18321952
energetics; obesity; energy balance
10.  S100A4 promotes pancreatic cancer progression through a dual signaling pathway mediated by Src and focal adhesion kinase 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8453.
S100A4 expression is associated with poor clinical outcomes of patients with pancreatic cancer. The effects of loss or gain of S100A4 were examined in pancreatic cancer cell lines. S100A4 downregulation remarkably reduces cell migration and invasion, inhibits proliferation, and induces apoptosis in pancreatic tumor cells. S100A4 downregulation results in significant cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in response to TGF-β1, supporting a non-canonical role of S100A4 in pancreatic cancer. The role of S100A4 in tumor progression was studied by using an orthotopic human pancreatic cancer xenograft mouse model. Tumor mass is remarkably decreased in animals injected with S100A4-deficient pancreatic tumor cells. P27Kip1 expression and cleaved caspase-3 are increased, while cyclin E expression is decreased, in S100A4-deficient pancreatic tumors in vivo. S100A4-deficient tumors have lower expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, suggesting reduced angiogenesis. Biochemical assays revealed that S100A4 activates Src and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) signaling events, and inhibition of both kinases is required to maximally block the tumorigenic potential of pancreatic cancer cells. These findings support that S100A4 plays an important role in pancreatic cancer progression in vivo and S100A4 promotes tumorigenic phenotypes of pancreatic cancer cells through the Src-FAK mediated dual signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4326725  PMID: 25677816
11.  Thymus Exosomes-Like Particles Induce Regulatory T Cells1 
Exosomes released from different types of cells have been proposed to contribute to intercellular communication. We report that thymic exosome-like particles (ELPs) released from cells of the thymus can induce the development of Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells in the lung and liver. Thymic ELPs also induce the conversion of thymic CD4+CD25− T cells into Tregs. Tregs induced by thymic ELPs suppress the proliferation of CD4+CD25− T cells in vitro and in vivo. We further show that neutralization of TGF-β in ELPs partially reverses thymic ELP-mediated induction of CD4+Foxp3+ T cells in the lung and liver. This study demonstrates that thymic ELPs participate in the induction of Foxp3+ Tregs. Also, TGF-β of thymic ELPs might be required for the generation of Tregs in the peripheral tissues.
PMCID: PMC4319673  PMID: 18832678
12.  A Framework for Biobank Sustainability 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2014;12(1):60-68.
Each year funding agencies and academic institutions spend millions of dollars and euros on biobanking. All funding providers assume that after initial investments biobanks should be able to operate sustainably. However the topic of sustainability is challenging for the discipline of biobanking for several major reasons: the diversity in the biobanking landscape, the different purposes of biobanks, the fact that biobanks are dissimilar to other research infrastructures and the absence of universally understood or applicable value metrics for funders and other stakeholders. In this article our aim is to delineate a framework to allow more effective discussion and action around approaches for improving biobank sustainability. The term sustainability is often used to mean fiscally self-sustaining, but this restricted definition is not sufficient for biobanking. Instead we propose that biobank sustainability should be considered within a framework of three dimensions – financial, operational, and social. In each dimension, areas of focus or elements are identified that may allow different types of biobanks to distinguish and evaluate the relevance, likelihood, and impact of each element, as well as the risks to the biobank of failure to address them. Examples of practical solutions, tools and strategies to address biobank sustainability are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC4150367  PMID: 24620771
13.  IL-23 Promotes TCR-mediated Negative Selection of Thymocytes through the Upregulation of IL-23 Receptor and RORγt 
Nature communications  2014;5:4259.
Transient thymic involution is frequently found during inflammation, yet the mode of action of inflammatory cytokines is not well defined. Here we report that interleukin-23 (IL-23) production by the thymic dendritic cells (DCs) promotes apoptosis of the CD4hiCD8hi double positive (DP) thymocytes. A deficiency in IL-23 signaling interferes with negative selection in the male Db/H-Y T-cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mice. IL-23 plus TCR signaling results in significant up-regulation of IL-23 receptor (IL-23R) expressed predominantly on CD4hiCD8hiCD3+αβTCR+ DP thymocytes, and leads to RORγt dependent apoptosis. These results extend the action of IL-23 beyond its peripheral effects to a unique role in TCR mediated negative selection including elimination of natural T regulatory cells in the thymus.
PMCID: PMC4136447  PMID: 25001511
14.  Loss of N-Myc interactor promotes epithelial-mesenchymal-transition by activation of TGF-β/SMAD signaling 
Oncogene  2013;33(20):2620-2628.
Epithelial-Mesenchymal-Transition (EMT) is one of the critical cellular programs that facilitate the progression of breast cancer to an invasive disease. We have observed that the expression of N-myc interactor (NMI) decreases significantly during progression of breast cancer, specifically in invasive and metastatic stages. Recapitulation of this loss in breast cell lines with epithelial morphology [MCF10A (non-tumorigenic) and T47D (tumorigenic)] by silencing NMI expression causes mesenchymal-like morphological changes in 3-D growth, accompanied by up-regulation of SLUG and ZEB2 and increased invasive properties. Conversely, we found that restoring NMI expression attenuated mesenchymal attributes of metastatic breast cancer cells accompanied by distinctly circumscribed 3-D growth with basement membrane deposition and decreased invasion. Further investigations into the downstream signaling modulated by NMI revealed that NMI expression negatively regulates SMAD signaling, which is a key regulator of cellular plasticity. We demonstrate that NMI blocks TGF-β/SMAD signaling via up-regulation of SMAD7, a negative feedback regulator of the pathway. We also provide evidence that NMI activates STAT signaling which negatively modulates TGF-β/SMAD signaling. Taken together, our findings suggest that loss of NMI during breast cancer progression could be one of the driving factors that enhance invasive ability of breast cancer by aberrant activation of TGF-β/SMAD signaling.
PMCID: PMC4267223  PMID: 23770854
N-Myc interactor; EMT; SMAD; Breast cancer
15.  A histological evaluation and in vivo assessment of intratumoral near infrared photothermal nanotherapy-induced tumor regression 
Nanoparticle (NP)-enabled near infrared (NIR) photothermal therapy has realized limited success in in vivo studies as a potential localized cancer therapy. This is primarily due to a lack of successful methods that can prevent NP uptake by the reticuloendothelial system, especially the liver and kidney, and deliver sufficient quantities of intravenously injected NPs to the tumor site. Histological evaluation of photothermal therapy-induced tumor regression is also neglected in the current literature. This report demonstrates and histologically evaluates the in vivo potential of NIR photothermal therapy by circumventing the challenges of intravenous NP delivery and tumor targeting found in other photothermal therapy studies.
Subcutaneous Cal 27 squamous cell carcinoma xenografts received photothermal nanotherapy treatments, radial injections of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-ylated gold nanorods and one NIR 785 nm laser irradiation for 10 minutes at 9.5 W/cm2. Tumor response was measured for 10–15 days, gross changes in tumor size were evaluated, and the remaining tumors or scar tissues were excised and histologically analyzed.
The single treatment of intratumoral nanorod injections followed by a 10 minute NIR laser treatment also known as photothermal nanotherapy, resulted in ~100% tumor regression in ~90% of treated tumors, which was statistically significant in a comparison to the average of all three control groups over time (P<0.01).
Photothermal nanotherapy, or intratumoral nanorod injections followed by NIR laser irradiation of tumors and tumor margins, demonstrate the potential of NIR photothermal therapy as a viable localized treatment approach for primary and early stage tumors, and prevents NP uptake by the reticuloendothelial system.
PMCID: PMC4227627  PMID: 25395847
photothermal cancer therapy; malignancy; cancer treatment; intratumoral; gold nanorods; nanoparticles; PEGylation; laser therapy
16.  Suppression by L-Methionine of Cell Cycle Progression in LNCaP and MCF-7 Cells but not Benign Cells 
Anticancer research  2010;30(6):1881-1885.
Methionine inhibits proliferation of breast and prostate cancer cells. This study aimed to determine cell cycle effects of methionine and selectivity for cancer cells.
Materials and Methods
MCF-7 (breast), LNCaP (prostate), and LS-174 (colon) cancer cells (wild-type p53), DU-145 (prostate) and SW480 (colon) cancer cells (mutated p53), and immortalized, non-tumorigenic MCF-10A (breast), BPH-1 (prostate), and NCM-460 (colon) epithelial cells were used. Cell cycle effects were assessed by flow cytometry and cell cycle-related gene expression by microarray analysis and QRT-PCR.
L-Methionine at 5 mg/ml for 72 hours (non-apoptotic) arrested cell cycle in LNCaP, DU145, and MCF-7 cells, but not in untransformed cells, nor in LS-174 cells. LNCaP and MCF-7 cells were arrested at G1, but DU-145 at S. Methionine up-regulated CDKIs and down-regulated CDKs.
L-Methionine selectively inhibits proliferation of breast and prostate cancer cells, but not non-tumorigenic cells, and may thus have therapeutic benefits. p53 status appeared to determine the cell cycle stage at which methionine acts.
PMCID: PMC4166481  PMID: 20651330
Methionine; prostate; breast; colon; p53
17.  Use of human specimens in research: the evolving United States regulatory, policy, and scientific landscape 
The use of human specimens in research has contributed to significant scientific and medical advancements. However, the development of sophisticated whole genome and informatics technologies and the increase in specimen and data sharing have raised new questions about the identifiability of specimens and the protection of participants in human specimen research.
In the US, new regulations and policies are being considered to address these changes. This review discusses the current and proposed regulations as they apply to specimen research, as well as relevant policy discussions. It summarizes the ways that researchers and other stakeholders can provide their input to these discussions and policy development efforts. Input from all the stakeholders in specimen research will be essential for the development of policies that facilitate such research while at the same time protecting the rights and welfare of research participants.
PMCID: PMC3954467  PMID: 24639889
biorepositories; ethical issues; human specimen research; human subjects protection regulations; personalized medicine; research policy
18.  Sulindac selectively inhibits colon tumor cell growth by activating the cGMP/PKG pathway to suppress Wnt/β-catenin signaling 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2013;12(9):1848-1859.
NSAIDs display promising antineoplastic activity for colorectal and other cancers, but toxicity from cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibition limits their long-term use for chemoprevention. Previous studies have concluded that the basis for their tumor cell growth inhibitory activity does not required COX inhibition, although the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. Here we report that the NSAID, sulindac sulfide (SS) inhibits cyclic guanosine monophosphate phosphodiesterase (cGMP PDE) activity to increase intracellular cGMP levels and activate cGMP dependent protein kinase (PKG) at concentrations that inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of colon tumor cells. SS did not activate the cGMP/PKG pathway, nor affect proliferation or apoptosis in normal colonocytes. Knockdown of the cGMP-specific PDE5 isozyme by siRNA and PDE5-specific inhibitors, tadalafil and sildenafil, also selectively inhibited the growth of colon tumor cells that expressed high levels of PDE5 compared with colonocytes. The mechanism by which SS and the cGMP/PKG pathway inhibits colon tumor cell growth appears to involve the transcriptional suppression of β-catenin to inhibit Wnt/β-catenin TCF transcriptional activity, leading to down-regulation of cyclin D1 and survivin. These observations suggest that safer and more efficacious sulindac derivatives can be developed for colorectal cancer chemoprevention by targeting PDE5 and possibly other cGMP degrading isozymes.
PMCID: PMC3800150  PMID: 23804703
colorectal cancer; chemoprevention; sulindac; phosphodiesterase; β-catenin
20.  DCE-MRI Detects Early Vascular Response in Breast Tumor Xenografts Following Anti-DR5 Therapy 
Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) measured the early vascular changes after administration of TRA-8, bevacizumab, or TRA-8 combined with bevacizumab in breast tumor xenografts.
Groups 1–4 of nude mice bearing human breast carcinoma were injected with phosphate-buffered saline, TRA-8, bevacizumab, and TRA-8 + bevacizumab on day0, respectively. DCE-MRI was performed on days0, 1, 2, and 3, and thereafter tumors were collected for terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUT nick end labeling and CD31 staining.
DCE-MRI measured a significant Ktrans change within 3 days after TRA-8 therapy that correlated with tumor growth arrest, whichwas not shown with statistical significance by histopathology at these early time points posttreatment. The Ktrans changes followed quadratic polynomial curves.
DCE-MRI detected significantly lower Ktrans levels in breast tumor xenografts following TRA-8 monotherapy or combined therapy with bevacizumab.
PMCID: PMC4138021  PMID: 20383593
DCE-MRI; Reference region model; DR5; TRAIL; TRA-8; Bevacizumab; Breast cancer; Novel biomarker
22.  Translational pathology of neoplasia 
With the increasing use of individualized medical care (personalized medicine) in treating and managing patients with cancer, the utilization of biomarkers in selecting and tailoring such medical approaches also is increasing and becoming more important. Specifically, many therapies are effective against only a subgroup of a specific type of tumors and exposing patients with different non-responsive subgroups of the same tumor to ineffective therapies, not only exposes these patients needlessly to acute and chronic side effects of the therapy, but also adds to the costs of medical care. For example, the Oncotype Dx test for estrogen receptor positive tumors that are node negative has been used to identify low risk tumors for which surgery alone is an adequate therapy. Biomarkers may be used to aid in multiple aspects of medical care related to cancer, including early detection, diagnosis, risk assessment, as well as in predicting the aggressiveness of cancers (i.e., prognosis) and predicting the therapeutic efficacy of treatments (i.e., prediction). Biomarkers may be also used as surrogate endpoints to aid in evaluating therapies and preventive approaches. Types of biomarkers vary greatly and include histopathologic appearance, stage of the lesion, quantitative morphologic features, size of the lesion, metastatic pattern and extent of metastasis, as well as imaging and molecular features. The types of measurements of biomarkers also vary; for example, molecular features can be measured at the DNA, mRNA or protein levels as well as at regulatory levels (e.g., microRNA). The usefulness of each biomarker is limited by its sensitivity and specificity in fulfilling its role (e.g., in early detection) and the requirements of sensitivity and specificity to accomplish specific tasks are affected by multiple variables. For example, both very high specificity and sensitivity of a test are required to screen a population with a low prevalence of a specific tumor. The goal of this manuscript is to introduce the reader to how biomarkers may be used and the limitations on the uses of biomarkers in translational research.
PMCID: PMC3445029  PMID: 22112467
Sensitivity; specificity; early detection; prognosis; risk assessment; surrogate endpoints; diagnosis; receiver operating characteristic; prediction; biomarkers; prevalence; medical costs; side effects; histopathology; molecular features; imaging; prevention; treatment; personalized medicine; individualized medical care
23.  Issues in collecting, processing and storing human tissues and associated information to support biomedical research 
The availability of human tissues to support biomedical research is critical to advance translational research focused on identifying and characterizing approaches to individualized (personalized) medical care. Providing such tissues relies on three acceptable models – a tissue banking model, a prospective collection model and a combination of these two models. An unacceptable model is the “catch as catch can” model in which tissues are collected, processed and stored without goals or a plan or without standard operating procedures, i.e., portions of tissues are collected as available and processed and stored when time permits. In the tissue banking model, aliquots of tissues are collected according to SOPs. Usually specific sizes and types of tissues are collected and processed (e.g., 0.1 gm of breast cancer frozen in OCT). Using the banking model, tissues may be collected that may not be used and/or do not meet specific needs of investigators; however, at the time of an investigator request, tissues are readily available as is clinical information including clinical outcomes. In the model of prospective collection, tissues are collected based upon investigator requests including specific requirements of investigators. For example, the investigator may request that two 0.15 gm matching aliquots of breast cancer be minced while fresh, put in RPMI media with and without fetal calf serum, cooled to 4°C and shipped to the investigator on wet ice. Thus, the tissues collected prospectively meet investigator needs, all collected specimens are utilized and storage of specimens is minimized; however, investigators must wait until specimens are collected, and if needed, for clinical outcome. The operation of any tissue repository requires well trained and dedicated personnel. A quality assurance program is required which provides quality control information on the diagnosis of a specimen that is matched specifically to the specimen provided to an investigator instead of an overall diagnosis of the specimen via a surgical pathology report. This is necessary because a specific specimen may not match the diagnosis of the case due to many factors such as necrosis, unsuspected tumor invasion of apparently normal tissue, and areas of fibrosis which are mistaken grossly for tumor. Aliquots for quality control (QC) may or may not be collected at the time of collection and in some cases, QC may not occur until specimens are distributed to investigators. In establishing a tumor repository, multiple issues need to be considered. These include the available resources, long term support, space and equipment. The needs of the potential users need to be identified as to the types of tissues and services needed and the annotation expected. Other specific issues to be considered include collection of specimens potentially infected with blood borne pathogens (e.g., hepatitis B), charge back mechanisms, informatics needs and support, and investigator requirements (e.g., recognition of repository contributions in publications). In general, the repository should not perform the research of the investigators, but should provide the infrastructure necessary to support the research of the investigator. Thus, the goals of the repository must be established. Similarly, ethical and regulatory issues must be evaluated. In general, tissue repositories need ethical (e.g., IRB) and privacy (e.g., HIPAA) review. Also, safety issues need to be considered as well as how biohazards will be addressed by investigator-users. Considerations involving the transfer of specimens to other organization usually require a material transfer agreement (MTA). A MTA should address biohazards as well as indemnification. Thus, many issues must be considered and addressed in order to establish and operate successfully a biorepository.
PMCID: PMC3445033  PMID: 22112494
Tissue repositories; tissue banking; prospective collections; quality control; quality assurance; repository science; bias; clinical trials; epidemiology; annotation; material transfer agreement; shipping; informatics; safety; biohazards; security; difficult requests; caBIG; vocabulary; common data elements; chemical hazards; cost recovery; HIPAA; informed consent; demographics; clinical information; training; audits; good manufacturing practice; storage; specimen identification; services
24.  The Prognostic Value of microRNAs Varies with Patient Race/Ethnicity and Stage of Colorectal Cancer 
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have potential prognostic value for colorectal cancers (CRCs); however, their value based on patient race/ethnicity and pathologic stage has not been determined. The goal was to ascertain the prognostic value of 5 miRNAs with increased expression in CRCs of African American (Black) and non-Hispanic Caucasian (White) patients.
Experimental Design
TaqMan® qRT-PCR was used to quantify expression of miR-20a, miR-21, miR-106a, miR-181b, and miR-203 in paired normal and tumor CRC archival tissues collected from 106 Black and 239 White patients. The results were correlated with overall survival based on patient race/ethnicity and pathologic stage. Since decisions regarding adjuvant therapy are important for Stage III CRCs, and since miR-181b appeared to have prognostic value only for Stage III Black patients, we assessed its prognostic value in a separate cohort of Stage III CRCs of Blacks.
All 5 miRNAs had higher expression in CRCs (>1.0-fold) than in corresponding normal tissues. High expression of miR-203 was associated with poor survival of Whites with Stage IV CRCs (HR=3.00, 95% CI=1.29–7.53), but in Blacks it was an indicator of poor survival of patients with Stage I and II CRCs (HR=5.63, 95% CI=1.03–30.64). Increased miR-21 expression correlated with poor prognosis for White Stage IV patients (HR=2.50, 95% CI=1.07–5.83). In both test and validation cohorts, high miR-181b expression correlated with poor survival of only Black patients with Stage III CRCs (HR=1.94, 95% CI=1.03–3.67).
These preliminary findings suggest that the prognostic value of miRNAs in CRCs varies with patient race/ethnicity and stage of disease.
PMCID: PMC3746330  PMID: 23719259
Race; miRNAs; prognosis; stage; colorectal cancer
25.  The biology of incipient, pre-invasive or intraepithelial neoplasia 
Invasive tumors (cancers or malignant lesions) typically develop in the setting in which there is the presence of putative non-invasive lesions and the development of these non-invasive lesions frequently precedes the development of cancers. For some organs, such as the oral cavity, cervix and skin, the respective putative pre-invasive lesions can be observed over time and documented to progress to invasive lesions. However, for less readily observable lesions, such as those of the prostate, the progression of the pre-invasive lesions, e.g., prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and prostatic proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA) to prostatic cancer are more difficult to document. Thus, for most organ systems, specific pre-invasive neoplastic lesions have been proposed based upon the apparent observations of one or more of the following: 1) microinvasive disease developing from a pre-invasive neoplastic lesion, 2) the general association of the pre-invasive lesion with invasive lesions, 3) the subsequent development of invasive lesions following diagnosis of the pre-invasive lesion, 4) correlations of the molecular features of the putative pre-invasive lesion with the matching invasive lesions, and 5) reductions in the rate of cancer following removal of the pre-invasive lesion. When there are mixtures of pre-invasive lesions with actual cancers in the same case, some of the above specific associations are more difficult to make. Several terms have been used to describe pre-invasive lesions, many of which are now less useful as our knowledge of these lesions increases. It is now commonly accepted that these lesions are a features of the spectrum of neoplastic development and most are accepted as “neoplastic lesions” with associated molecular features, even though they may be reversible even if they have mutations in suppressor genes (e.g., p53) or are associated with viral etiologies (e.g., cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). The overall term, “pre-invasive neoplasia”, seems to best describe these putative pre-invasive lesions. Thus, terms such as incipient neoplasia should be abandoned. The term “intra-epithelial neoplasia” with an associated grade, which has been developed for pre-invasive neoplastic lesions of the cervix, i.e. cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), seems to be a terminology that adds consistency across epithelial organs. Thus, adoption of these terms for the additional organ sites of pancreas (PanIN) and prostate (PIN) seems accepted. Less descriptive terms such as the degrees of dysplasia of the oral cavity and bronchopulmonary system and actinic keratosis and Bowen's disease of the skin might be better designated as oral intraepithelial neoplasia (OIN), pulmonary intraepithelial neoplasia (PulIN) and dermal intraepithelial neoplasia (DIN). The etiology of pre-invasive neoplasia is the etiology of the matching cancers. Some obvious initiating factors include exposure to the whole range of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, tobacco abuse and a broad range of other carcinogens (e.g., benzene). A frequent initiation factor is the setting of long standing continuing damage, inflammation and repair (LOCDIR) which leads to early molecular features associated with neoplasia after about one year. An excellent example of this is ulcerative colitis (UC) in which dysregulation of microsatellite repair enzymes have been documented one year following diagnosis of UC. While the nomenclature, description, diagnosis and etiology of pre-invasive neoplasia has advanced, approaches to therapy of such lesions have not progressed adequately even though it has been identified that, for example, removal of polyps periodically from the colorectum, DCIS from the breast, and high grade CIN from the cervix, results in a reduction in the development of cancers of the colorectum, breast, and cervix, respectively. With the development of more molecularly targeted therapy with fewer side effects, preventive therapies may be more successfully targeted to pre-invasive neoplastic lesions.
PMCID: PMC3430522  PMID: 22112468
Intraepithelial neoplasia; pre-invasive neoplasia; prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia; pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia; cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; adenomatous polyps; ductal carcinoma in situ; lobular carcinoma in situ; inflammation; radiation; viral infections; carcinogens; dysplasia; actinic keratosis; repair; angiogenesis; LOCDIR

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