Persin is a plant toxin that displays synergistic cytotoxicity with tamoxifen in human breast cancer cell lines. Here, we examined the ability of persin to circumvent tamoxifen resistance and delineated the intracellular signalling pathways involved.
The induction of apoptosis in tamoxifen-resistant and -sensitive breast cancer cells was measured by flow cytometry following treatment with persin±tamoxifen. Markers of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) were analysed following treatment, and their causal role in mediating persin-induced apoptosis was determined using chemical inhibitors and RNA interference.
Cells that were resistant to an apoptotic concentration of tamoxifen maintained an apoptotic response to persin. Persin-induced apoptosis was associated with an increase in markers of ERS, that is, CHOP expression and XBP-1 splicing and was decreased by CHOP siRNA. The CASP-4 inhibitor Z-YVAD-FMK markedly inhibited persin-induced apoptosis in both tamoxifen-sensitive and -resistant cells.
The cytotoxic effects of persin are CASP-4 dependent and mediated by CHOP-dependent and -independent ERS signalling cascades. Increased ERS signalling contributes to persin-induced reversal of tamoxifen resistance.
tamoxifen; persin; breast cancer; apoptosis; endoplasmic reticulum stress
Collagen and calcium-binding EGF domains 1 (CCBE1) is an uncharacterised gene that has down-regulated expression in breast cancer. As CCBE1 maps to 18q21.32, a region frequently exhibiting loss of heterozygosity in ovarian cancer, the aim of this study was to determine the expression and function of CCBE1 in ovarian cancer.
Expression and methylation patterns of CCBE1 were determined in ovarian cancer cell lines and primary tumours. CCBE1 contains collagen repeats and an aspartic acid/asparagine hydroxylation/EGF-like domain, suggesting a function in extracellular matrix remodelling and migration, which was determined using small-interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown and over-expression of CCBE1 in cell lines.
CCBE1 is expressed in normal ovary, but is reduced in ovarian cancer cell lines and primary carcinomas. Pharmacological demethylation/deacetylation in ovarian cancer cell lines re-induced CCBE1 expression, indicating that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to its silencing in cancer. CCBE1 promoter hypermethylation was detected in 6/11 (55%) ovarian cancer cell lines and 38/81 (41%) ovarian carcinomas. siRNA-mediated knockdown of CCBE1 in ovarian cancer cell lines enhanced their migration; conversely, re-expression of CCBE1 reduced migration and survival. Hence, loss of CCBE1 expression may promote ovarian carcinogenesis by enhancing migration and cell survival.
These data suggest that CCBE1 is a new candidate tumour suppressor in ovarian cancer.
ovarian cancer; CCBE1; tumour suppressor
Basal-like tumours account for 15% of invasive breast carcinomas and are associated with a poorer prognosis and resistance to therapy. We hypothesised that this aggressive phenotype is because of an intrinsically elevated hypoxic response. Microarrayed tumours from 188 patients were stained for hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, prolyl hydroxylase (PHD)1, PHD2, PHD3 and factor inhibiting HIF (FIH)-1, and carbonic anhydrase (CA) IX stained in 456 breast tumours. Tumour subtypes were correlated with standard clincopathological parameters as well as hypoxic markers. Out of 456 tumours 62 (14%) tumours were basal-like. These tumours were positively correlated with high tumour grade (P<0.001) and were associated with a significantly worse disease-free survival compared with luminal tumours (P<0.001). Fifty percent of basal-like tumours expressed HIF-1α, and more than half expressed at least one of the PHD enzymes and FIH-1. Basal-like tumours were nine times more likely to be associated with CAIX expression (P<0.001) in a multivariate analysis. Carbonic anhydrase IX expression was positively correlated with tumour size (P=0.005), tumour grade (P<0.001) and oestrogen receptor (ER) negativity (P<0.001). Patients with any CAIX-positive breast tumour phenotype and in the basal tumour group had a significantly worse prognosis than CAIX-negative tumours when treated with chemotherapy (P<0.001 and P=0.03, respectively). The association between basal phenotype and CAIX suggests that the more aggressive behaviour of these tumours is partly due to an enhanced hypoxic response. Further, the association with chemoresistance in CAIX-positive breast tumours and basal-like tumours in particular raises the possibility that targeted therapy against HIF pathway or downstream genes such as CAs may be an approach to investigate for these patients.
breast; hypoxia; carbonic anhydrase; predictive; basal
BAG-1 (bcl-2-associated athanogene) enhances oestrogen receptor (ER) function and may influence outcome and response to endocrine therapy in breast cancer. We determined relationships between BAG-1 expression, molecular phenotype, response to tamoxifen therapy and outcome in a cohort of breast cancer patients and its influence on tamoxifen sensitivity in MCF-7 breast cancer cells in vitro. Publically available gene expression data sets were analysed to identify relationships between BAG-1 mRNA expression and patient outcome. BAG-1 protein expression was assessed using immunohistochemistry in 292 patients with invasive ductal carcinoma and correlated with clinicopathological variables, therapeutic response and disease outcome. BAG-1-overexpressing MCF-7 cells were treated with antioestrogens to assess its effects on cell proliferation. Gene expression data demonstrated a consistent association between high BAG-1 mRNA and improved survival. In ER+ cancer (n=189), a high nuclear BAG-1 expression independently predicted improved outcome for local recurrence (P=0.0464), distant metastases (P=0.0435), death from breast cancer (P=0.009, hazards ratio 0.29, 95% CI: 0.114–0.735) and improved outcome in tamoxifen-treated patients (n=107; P=0.0191). BAG-1 overexpression in MCF-7 cells augmented antioestrogen-induced growth arrest. A high BAG-1 expression predicts improved patient outcome in ER+ breast carcinoma. This may reflect both a better definition of the hormone-responsive phenotype and a concurrent increased sensitivity to tamoxifen.
breast cancer; prognosis; response marker; BAG-1; tamoxifen sensitivity
The significance of chromosome 3p gene alterations in lung cancer is poorly understood. This study set out to investigate promoter methylation in the deleted in lung and oesophageal cancer 1 (DLEC1), MLH1 and other 3p genes in 239 non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC). DLEC1 was methylated in 38.7%, MLH1 in 35.7%, RARβ in 51.7%, RASSF1A in 32.4% and BLU in 35.3% of tumours. Any two of the gene alterations were associated with each other except RARβ. DLEC1 methylation was an independent marker of poor survival in the whole cohort (P=0.025) and in squamous cell carcinoma (P=0.041). MLH1 methylation was also prognostic, particularly in large cell cancer (P=0.006). Concordant methylation of DLEC1/MLH1 was the strongest independent indicator of poor prognosis in the whole cohort (P=0.009). However, microsatellite instability and loss of MLH1 expression was rare, suggesting that MLH1 promoter methylation does not usually lead to gene silencing in lung cancer. This is the first study describing the prognostic value of DLEC1 and MLH1 methylation in NSCLC. The concordant methylation is possibly a consequence of a long-range epigenetic effect in this region of chromosome 3p, which has recently been described in other cancers.
NSCLC; mismatch repair; DLEC1; promoter methylation; prognosis
Identification of a biomarker of prognosis and response to therapy that can be assessed preoperatively would significantly improve overall outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer. In this study, patients whose tumours exhibited high LMO4 expression had a significant survival advantage following operative resection, whereas the survival of those patients whose tumours had low or no LMO4 expression was not significantly different when resection was compared with operative biopsy alone.
LMO4; prognosis; outcome; pancreatic cancer; surgical resection; therapeutic response
To investigate the role of DNA repair proteins and their prognostic significance in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods and results
A retrospective analysis of 108 cases of stage I–II NSCLC was undertaken. Immunohistochemical expression of DNA repair proteins MLH1, MSH2 and MGMT was assessed using tissue microarrays of paraffin-embedded samples of invasive carcinoma and precursor lesions. Results were analysed in relation to clinicopathological parameters and patient survival. Reduced expression of MLH1 was found in 58.5% of tumours and occurred less frequently in poorly differentiated tumours (P = 0.044) and large cell carcinomas (P = 0.004). MSH2 and MGMT expression was reduced in 18.1% and 77.8% of cases, respectively. There was an inverse relationship between MLH1 and MSH2 expression (P = 0.012). Normal expression of MLH1, MSH2 and MGMT was found in all cases of squamous metaplasia and squamous dysplasia. Only a single case of carcinoma in situ (12.5%) showed reduced MLH1, none showed reduced MSH2 and 25% showed reduced MGMT. Survival analyses showed no prognostic significance based on expression of MLH1 (P = 0.92), MSH2 (P = 0.78) or MGMT (P = 0.57).
Reduction in expression of DNA repair proteins MLH1, MSH2 and MGMT is relatively common in NSCLC, appears to be a late event in the development of invasive malignancy and does not influence survival in this patient cohort.
Cooper W A, Kohonen-Corish M R J, Chan C, Kwun S Y, McCaughan B, Kennedy C, Sutherland R L & Lee C-S (2008) Histopathology52, 613–622
Prognostic significance of DNA repair proteins MLH1, MSH2 and MGMT expression in non-small-cell lung cancer and precursor lesions
DNA mismatch repair proteins; immunohistochemistry; MGMT; MLH1; MSH2; non-small-cell lung cancer; prognosis
Mucinous epithelial ovarian cancers (MOC) are clinically and morphologically distinct from the other histological subtypes of ovarian cancer. To determine the genetic basis of MOC and to identify potential tumour markers, gene expression profiling of 49 primary ovarian cancers of different histological subtypes was performed using a customised oligonucleotide microarray containing >59 000 probesets. The results show that MOC express a genetic profile that both differs and overlaps with other subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancer. Concordant with its histological phenotype, MOC express genes characteristic of mucinous carcinomas of varying epithelial origin, including intestinal carcinomas. Differences in gene expression between MOC and other histological subtypes of ovarian cancer were confirmed by RT–PCR and/or immunohistochemistry. In particular, galectin 4 (LGALS4) was highly and specifically expressed in MOC, but expressed at lower levels in benign mucinous cysts and borderline (atypical proliferative) tumours, supporting a malignant progression model of MOC. Hence LGALS4 may have application as an early and differential diagnostic marker of MOC.
ovarian cancer; mucinous; microarray; immunohistochemistry; diagnosis
The aim of this study is to determine whether immunohistochemical (IHC) assessment of Ki67 and p53 improves prognostication of oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer after breast-conserving therapy (BCT). In all, 498 patients with invasive breast cancer from a randomised trial of BCT with or without tumour bed radiation boost were assessed using IHC.
The ER+ tumours were classified as ‘luminal A' (LA): ER+ and/or PR+, Ki-67 low, p53−, HER2− or ‘luminal B' (LB): ER+ and/or PR+and/or Ki-67 high and/or p53+ and/or HER2+. Kaplan–Meier and Cox proportional hazards methodology were used to ascertain relationships to ispilateral breast tumour recurrence (IBTR), locoregional recurrence (LRR), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) and breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS).
In all, 73 patients previously LA were re-classified as LB: a greater than four-fold increase (4.6–19.3%) compared with ER, PR, HER2 alone. In multivariate analysis, the LB signature independently predicted LRR (hazard ratio (HR) 3.612, 95% CI 1.555–8.340, P=0.003), DMFS (HR 3.023, 95% CI 1.501–6.087, P=0.002) and BCSS (HR 3.617, 95% CI 1.629–8.031, P=0.002) but not IBTR.
The prognostic evaluation of ER+ breast cancer is improved using a marker panel, which includes Ki-67 and p53. This may help better define a group of poor prognosis ER+ patients with a greater probability of failure with endocrine therapy.
breast cancer; biomarker; Ki67; p53; luminal B
Background and aims: Intraductal papillary mucinous tumours (IPMT) of the pancreas constitute a unique pathological entity with an overall incidence of associated invasive malignancy of 20%. The malignant potential of an individual IPMT cannot be accurately predicted. Preoperative estimation of the risk of associated invasive malignancy with IPMT would be of significant clinical benefit. As aberrations in cell cycle regulatory genes are associated with the progression of precursor pancreatic ductal lesions to invasive adenocarcinoma, we examined expression of key cell cycle regulatory genes in the cyclin D1/retinoblastoma pathway and the transforming growth factor β/Smad4 signalling pathway in a cohort of patients with surgically resected IPMT.
Methods: Sections of formalin fixed paraffin embedded pancreatic tissue from a cohort of 18 patients with IPMT were examined using immunohistochemistry for protein expression of cell cycle regulatory genes p16INK4A, p21CIP1, p27KIP1, cyclin D1, pRb, and p53, as well as the cell signalling molecule Smad4. A comparison of expression levels was made between adenoma/borderline IPMT (10 patients) and intraductal papillary mucinous carcinoma (IPMC) (eight patients, four of whom harboured invasive carcinoma). Statistical analysis was performed using the χ2 and Fisher's exact tests.
Results: Aberrant expression of the proteins examined increased in frequency from adenoma/borderline IPMT to IPMC. Specifically, there was a significantly greater incidence of loss of p16INK4A expression in IPMC: 8/8 lesions (100%) compared with 1/10 (10%) adenoma/borderline IPMT (p<0.001). Similarly, loss of Smad4 expression was associated with IPMC: 3/8 (38%) versus adenoma/borderline IPMT 0/10 (p<0.03). Loss of Smad4 expression within the IPMT was the best marker for the presence of invasive carcinoma (p<0.001).
Conclusions: These data indicate that loss of p16INK4A and Smad4 expression occur more frequently in IPMC alone, or with associated invasive carcinoma, compared with adenoma/borderline IPMT. Aberrant protein expression of these cell cycle regulatory genes in IPMT and pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia in the current model of pancreatic cancer progression suggest similarities in their development and may also represent the subsequent risk of invasive carcinoma.
intraductal papillary mucinous tumour; pancreatic adenocarcinoma; DPC4; Smad4; p53; p16
Current staging methods for pancreatic cancer (PC) are inadequate, and biomarkers to
aid clinical decision making are lacking. Despite the availability of the serum marker
carbohydrate antigen 19.9 (CA19.9) for over two decades, its precise role in the
management of PC is yet to be defined, and as a consequence, it is not widely used.
We assessed the relationship between perioperative serum CA19.9 levels, survival and
adjuvant chemotherapeutic responsiveness in a cohort of 260 patients who underwent
operative resection for PC.
By specifically assessing the subgroup of patients with detectable CA19.9, we
identified potential utility at key clinical decision points. Low postoperative CA19.9
at 3 months (median survival 25.6 vs 14.8 months,
P = 0.0052) and before adjuvant chemotherapy were
independent prognostic factors. Patients with postoperative CA 19.9 levels >90 U/ml
did not benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy
(P = 0.7194) compared with those with a CA19.9 of
≤90 U/ml (median 26.0 vs 16.7 months, P = 0.0108).
Normalization of CA19.9 within 6 months of resection was also an independent favorable
prognostic factor (median 29.9 vs 14.8 months,
P = 0.0004) and normal perioperative CA19.9 levels
identified a good prognostic group, which was associated with a 5-year survival of
Perioperative serum CA19.9 measurements are informative in patients with detectable
CA19.9 (defined by serum levels of >5 U/ml) and have potential clinical utility in
predicting outcome and response to adjuvant chemotherapy. Future clinical trials should
prioritize incorporation of CA19.9 measurement at key decision points to prospectively
validate these findings and facilitate implementation.
adjuvant chemotherapy; CA19.9; pancreatic cancer; prognosis
A series of 55 patients were fitted with a new type of hydrophilic soft contact lens. These were found more comfortable than hard contact lenses and they had a protective and pain-relieving action in cases of chronic corneal disease. Vision was not as good as with hard contact lenses and a greater potential danger of infection was found. They are preferred by many patients despite the noticeable thick edge and the difficulty of obtaining an identical replacement.
Despite a high initial response rate to first-line platinum/paclitaxel chemotherapy, most women with epithelial ovarian cancer relapse with recurrent disease that becomes refractory to further cytotoxic treatment. We have previously shown that the E3 ubiquitin ligase, EDD, a regulator of DNA damage responses, is amplified and overexpressed in serous ovarian carcinoma. Given that DNA damage pathways are linked to platinum resistance, the aim of this study was to determine if EDD expression was associated with disease recurrence and platinum sensitivity in serous ovarian cancer. High nuclear EDD expression, as determined by immunohistochemistry in a cohort of 151 women with serous ovarian carcinoma, was associated with an approximately two-fold increased risk of disease recurrence and death in patients who initially responded to first-line chemotherapy, independently of disease stage and suboptimal debulking. Although EDD expression was not directly correlated with relative cisplatin sensitivity of ovarian cancer cell lines, sensitivity to cisplatin was partially restored in platinum-resistant A2780-cp70 ovarian cancer cells following siRNA-mediated knockdown of EDD expression. These results identify EDD as a new independent prognostic marker for outcome in serous ovarian cancer, and suggest that pathways involving EDD, including DNA damage responses, may represent new therapeutic targets for chemoresistant ovarian cancer.
ovarian cancer; serous; EDD; recurrence; chemoresistance; cisplatin
Little is known regarding the activity and function of the androgen receptor (AR) in human breast cancer. In the present study AR was evaluated in untreated primary breast cancers using antisera to the amino- and carboxy-termini of the receptor and quantitated using colour video image analysis. A strong correlation between tissue concentration and percentage AR-positive cells was observed for each antiserum. However, comparison of percentage positive cells using the amino- and carboxy-terminal AR antisera in individual breast cancer specimens revealed a subset of tumours with discordantly increased staining for the carboxy terminus. These findings suggest the presence of amino-terminal-truncated AR in a proportion of breast cancer cells or presence of AR mutations or associated protein alterations that affect binding of the amino-terminal AR antiserum. Immunohistochemical expression of the androgen-regulated glycoprotein, apolipoprotein D (apo-D), was also evaluated in the breast cancer specimens. Focal positivity of apo-D staining, which did not always co-localise with AR-positive cells, was observed within breast tumours. Furthermore, no correlation was evident between percentage positive cells stained for AR and apo-D in breast cancer specimens. These findings indicate that, although apo-D expression is androgen regulated in human breast cancer cell lines in vitro, its expression in primary breast cancers may be regulated by other factors. The expression of AR in primary breast cancers also suggests that the receptor may be involved in tumour responsiveness or in abnormal responses to endocrine therapies.
Cyclins and proto-oncogenes including c-myc have been implicated in eukaryotic cell cycle control. The role of cyclins in steroidal regulation of cell proliferation is unknown, but a role for c-myc has been suggested. This study investigated the relationship between regulation of T-47D breast cancer cell cycle progression, particularly by steroids and their antagonists, and changes in the levels of expression of these genes. Sequential induction of cyclins D1 (early G1 phase), D3, E, A (late G1-early S phase), and B1 (G2 phase) was observed following insulin stimulation of cell cycle progression in serum-free medium. Transient acceleration of G1-phase cells by progestin was also accompanied by rapid induction of cyclin D1, apparent within 2 h. This early induction of cyclin D1 and the ability of delayed administration of antiprogestin to antagonize progestin-induced increases in both cyclin D1 mRNA and the proportion of cells in S phase support a central role for cyclin D1 in mediating the mitogenic response in T-47D cells. Compatible with this hypothesis, antiestrogen treatment reduced the expression of cyclin D1 approximately 8 h before changes in cell cycle phase distribution accompanying growth inhibition. In the absence of progestin, antiprogestin treatment inhibited T-47D cell cycle progression but in contrast did not decrease cyclin D1 expression. Thus, changes in cyclin D1 gene expression are often, but not invariably, associated with changes in the rate of T-47D breast cancer cell cycle progression. However, both antiestrogen and antiprogestin depleted c-myc mRNA by > 80% within 2 h. These data suggest the involvement of both cyclin D1 and c-myc in the steroidal control of breast cancer cell cycle progression.
This study documents a biphasic change in the rate of cell cycle progression and proliferation of T-47D human breast cancer cells treated with synthetic progestins, consisting of an initial transient acceleration in transit through G1, followed by cell cycle arrest and growth inhibition. Both components of the response were mediated via the progesterone receptor. The data are consistent with a model in which the action of progestins is to accelerate cells already progressing through G1, which are then arrested early in G1 after completing a round of replication, as are cells initially in other phases of the cell cycle. Such acceleration implies that progestins act on genes or gene products which are rate limiting for cell cycle progression. Increased production of epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor alpha, putative autocrine growth factors in breast cancer cells, does not appear to account for the initial response to progestins, since although the mRNA abundance for these growth factors is rapidly induced by progestins, cells treated with epidermal growth factor or transforming growth factor alpha did not enter S phase until 5 to 6 h later than those stimulated by progestin. The proto-oncogenes c-fos and c-myc were rapidly but transiently induced by progestin treatment, paralleling the well-known response of these genes to mitogenic signals in other cell types. The progestin antagonist RU 486 inhibited progestin regulation of both cell cycle progression and c-myc expression, suggesting that this proto-oncogene may participate in growth modulation by progestins.