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1.  Workshop report on the 2nd Joint ENCCA/EuroSARC European bone sarcoma network meeting: integration of clinical trials with tumour biology 
This is the report of the 2nd Joint ENCCA/EuroSARC European Bone Sarcoma Network Meeting held in Leiden, The Netherlands, on 26-27 September 2013, bringing together preclinical and clinical investigators on bone sarcoma. The purpose of this workshop was to present the achievements of biological research and clinical trials in bone sarcomas and to stimulate crosstalk.
PMCID: PMC4014081
Osteosarcoma; Ewing sarcoma; Bone tumours; Translational research; ENCCA; EuroSARC
2.  Osteosarcoma Models: From Cell Lines to Zebrafish 
Sarcoma  2012;2012:417271.
High-grade osteosarcoma is an aggressive tumor most commonly affecting adolescents. The early age of onset might suggest genetic predisposition; however, the vast majority of the tumors are sporadic. Early onset, most often lack of a predisposing condition or lesion, only infrequent (<2%) prevalence of inheritance, extensive genomic instability, and a wide histological heterogeneity are just few factors to mention that make osteosarcoma difficult to study. Therefore, it is sensible to design and use models representative of the human disease. Here we summarize multiple osteosarcoma models established in vitro and in vivo, comment on their utilities, and highlight newest achievements, such as the use of zebrafish embryos. We conclude that to gain a better understanding of osteosarcoma, simplification of this extremely complex tumor is needed. Therefore, we parse the osteosarcoma problem into parts and propose adequate models to study them each separately. A better understanding of osteosarcoma provides opportunities for discovering and assaying novel effective treatment strategies.
“Sometimes the model is more interesting than the original disease” PJ Hoedemaeker (1937–2007).
PMCID: PMC3329665  PMID: 22566751
3.  Immunotherapy 
Oncoimmunology  2012;1(2):255-257.
The Janus-faced roles of macrophages in cancer imply both tumor-suppressive and -stimulating actions of these innate immune cells. Whereas the balance is toward tumor promotion in most epithelial cancers, we have recently shown that osteosarcoma metastasis seems to be inhibited by macrophages. Here we discuss the possible mechanism of this observation.
PMCID: PMC3376989  PMID: 22720262
4.  Mesenchymal stromal cells of osteosarcoma patients do not show evidence of neoplastic changes during long-term culture 
In vitro expanded mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are increasingly used as experimental cellular therapy. However, there have been concerns regarding the safety of their use, particularly with regard to possible oncogenic transformation. MSCs are the hypothesized precursor cells of high-grade osteosarcoma, a tumor with often complex karyotypes occurring mainly in adolescents and young adults.
To determine if MSCs from osteosarcoma patients could be predisposed to malignant transformation we cultured MSCs of nine osteosarcoma patients and five healthy donors for an average of 649 days (range 601–679 days). Also, we compared MSCs derived from osteosarcoma patients at diagnosis and from healthy donors using genome wide gene expression profiling.
Upon increasing passage, increasing frequencies of binucleate cells were detected, but no increase in proliferation suggestive of malignant transformation occurred in MSCs from either patients or donors. Hematopoietic cell specific Lyn substrate 1 (HLCS1) was differentially expressed (fold change 0.25, P value 0.0005) between MSCs of osteosarcoma patients (n = 14) and healthy donors (n = 9).
This study shows that although HCLS1 expression was downregulated in MSCs of osteosarcoma patients and binucleate cells were present in both patient and donor derived MSCs, there was no evidence of neoplastic changes to occur during long-term culture.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13569-015-0031-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4477606  PMID: 26106474
5.  Inhibition of mutant IDH1 decreases D-2-HG levels without affecting tumorigenic properties of chondrosarcoma cell lines 
Oncotarget  2015;6(14):12505-12519.
Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and IDH2 are found in a subset of benign and malignant cartilage tumors, gliomas and leukaemias. The mutant enzyme causes the production of D-2-hydroxyglutarate (D-2-HG), affecting CpG island and histone methylation. While mutations in IDH1/2 are early events in benign cartilage tumors, we evaluated whether these mutations play a role in malignant chondrosarcomas. Compared to IDH1/2 wildtype cell lines, chondrosarcoma cell lines harboring an endogenous IDH1 (n=3) or IDH2 mutation (n=2) showed up to a 100-fold increase in intracellular and extracellular D-2-HG levels. Specific inhibition of mutant IDH1 using AGI-5198 decreased levels of D-2-HG in a dose dependent manner. After 72 hours of treatment one out of three mutant IDH1 cell lines showed a moderate decrease in viability, while D-2-HG levels decreased >90%. Likewise, prolonged treatment (up to 20 passages) did not affect proliferation and migration. Furthermore, global gene expression, CpG island methylation as well as histone H3K4, -9, and -27 trimethylation levels remained unchanged. Thus, while IDH1/2 mutations cause enchondroma, malignant progression towards central chondrosarcoma renders chondrosarcoma growth independent of these mutations. Thus, monotherapy based on inhibition of mutant IDH1 appears insufficient for treatment of inoperable or metastasized chondrosarcoma patients.
PMCID: PMC4494954  PMID: 25895133
isocitrate dehydrogenase; d-2-hydroxyglutarate; chondrosarcoma; sarcoma; AGI-5198
6.  Macrophages inhibit human osteosarcoma cell growth after activation with the bacterial cell wall derivative liposomal muramyl tripeptide in combination with interferon-γ 
In osteosarcoma, the presence of tumor-infiltrating macrophages positively correlates with patient survival in contrast to the negative effect of tumor-associated macrophages in patients with other tumors. Liposome-encapsulated muramyl tripeptide (L-MTP-PE) has been introduced in the treatment of osteosarcoma patients, which may enhance the potential anti-tumor activity of macrophages. Direct anti-tumor activity of human macrophages against human osteosarcoma cells has not been described so far. Hence, we assessed osteosarcoma cell growth after co-culture with human macrophages.
Monocyte-derived M1-like and M2-like macrophages were polarized with LPS + IFN-γ, L-MTP-PE +/− IFN-γ or IL-10 and incubated with osteosarcoma cells. Two days later, viable tumor cell numbers were analyzed. Antibody-dependent effects were investigated using the therapeutic anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab.
M1-like macrophages inhibited osteosarcoma cell growth when activated with LPS + IFN-γ. Likewise, stimulation of M1-like macrophages with liposomal muramyl tripeptide (L-MTP-PE) inhibited tumor growth, but only when combined with IFN-γ. Addition of the tumor-reactive anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab did not further improve the anti-tumor activity of activated M1-like macrophages. The inhibition was mediated by supernatants of activated M1-like macrophages, containing TNF-α and IL-1β. However, specific blockage of these cytokines, nitric oxide or reactive oxygen species did not inhibit the anti-tumor effect, suggesting the involvement of other soluble factors released upon macrophage activation. While LPS + IFN-γ–activated M2-like macrophages had low anti-tumor activity, IL-10–polarized M2-like macrophages were able to reduce osteosarcoma cell growth in the presence of the anti-EGFR cetuximab involving antibody-dependent tumor cell phagocytosis.
This study demonstrates that human macrophages can be induced to exert direct anti-tumor activity against osteosarcoma cells. Our observation that the induction of macrophage anti-tumor activity by L-MTP-PE required IFN-γ may be of relevance for the optimization of L-MTP-PE therapy in osteosarcoma patients.
PMCID: PMC4007518  PMID: 24612598
Macrophages; Muramyl tripeptide; IFN-γ; Osteosarcoma; Cetuximab
7.  Kinome and mRNA expression profiling of high-grade osteosarcoma cell lines implies Akt signaling as possible target for therapy 
High-grade osteosarcoma is a primary malignant bone tumor mostly occurring in adolescents and young adults, with a second peak at middle age. Overall survival is approximately 60%, and has not significantly increased since the introduction of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the 1970s. The genomic profile of high-grade osteosarcoma is complex and heterogeneous. Integration of different types of genome-wide data may be advantageous in extracting relevant information from the large number of aberrations detected in this tumor.
We analyzed genome-wide gene expression data of osteosarcoma cell lines and integrated these data with a kinome screen. Data were analyzed in statistical language R, using LIMMA for detection of differential expression/phosphorylation. We subsequently used Ingenuity Pathways Analysis to determine deregulated pathways in both data types.
Gene set enrichment indicated that pathways important in genomic stability are highly deregulated in these tumors, with many genes showing upregulation, which could be used as a prognostic marker, and with kinases phosphorylating peptides in these pathways. Akt and AMPK signaling were identified as active and inactive, respectively. As these pathways have an opposite role on mTORC1 signaling, we set out to inhibit Akt kinases with the allosteric Akt inhibitor MK-2206. This resulted in inhibition of proliferation of osteosarcoma cell lines U-2 OS and HOS, but not of 143B, which harbors a KRAS oncogenic transformation.
We identified both overexpression and hyperphosphorylation in pathways playing a role in genomic stability. Kinome profiling identified active Akt signaling, which could inhibit proliferation in 2/3 osteosarcoma cell lines. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 signaling may be effective in osteosarcoma, but further studies are required to determine whether this pathway is active in a substantial subgroup of this heterogeneous tumor.
PMCID: PMC3932036  PMID: 24447333
Osteosarcoma; Tumor cell lines; Kinome profiling; Gene expression profiling; Genomic instability; Bone tumor
8.  Immune response to RB1-regulated senescence limits radiation-induced osteosarcoma formation 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(12):5351-5360.
Ionizing radiation (IR) and germline mutations in the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene (RB1) are the strongest risk factors for developing osteosarcoma. Recapitulating the human predisposition, we found that Rb1+/– mice exhibited accelerated development of IR-induced osteosarcoma, with a latency of 39 weeks. Initial exposure of osteoblasts to carcinogenic doses of IR in vitro and in vivo induced RB1-dependent senescence and the expression of a panel of proteins known as senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), dominated by IL-6. RB1 expression closely correlated with that of the SASP cassette in human osteosarcomas, and low expression of both RB1 and the SASP genes was associated with poor prognosis. In vivo, IL-6 was required for IR-induced senescence, which elicited NKT cell infiltration and a host inflammatory response. Mice lacking IL-6 or NKT cells had accelerated development of IR-induced osteosarcomas. These data elucidate an important link between senescence, which is a cell-autonomous tumor suppressor response, and the activation of host-dependent cancer immunosurveillance. Our findings indicate that overcoming the immune response to senescence is a rate-limiting step in the formation of IR-induced osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3859382  PMID: 24231354
9.  Recurrent Chromosome 22 Deletions in Osteoblastoma Affect Inhibitors of the Wnt/Beta-Catenin Signaling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80725.
Osteoblastoma is a bone forming tumor with histological features highly similar to osteoid osteoma; the discrimination between the tumor types is based on size and growth pattern. The vast majority of osteoblastomas are benign but there is a group of so-called aggressive osteoblastomas that can be diagnostically challenging at the histopathological level. The genetic aberrations required for osteoblastoma development are not known and no genetic difference between conventional and aggressive osteoblastoma has been reported. In order to identify recurrent genomic aberrations of importance for tumor development we applied cytogenetic and/or SNP array analyses on nine conventional and two aggressive osteoblastomas. The conventional osteoblastomas showed few or no acquired genetic aberrations while the aggressive tumors displayed heavily rearranged genomes. In one of the aggressive osteoblastomas, three neighboring regions in chromosome band 22q12 were homozygously deleted. Hemizygous deletions of these regions were found in two additional cases, one aggressive and one conventional. In total, 10 genes were recurrently and homozygously lost in osteoblastoma. Four of them are functionally involved in regulating osteogenesis and/or tumorigenesis. MN1 and NF2 have previously been implicated in the development of leukemia and solid tumors, and ZNRF3 and KREMEN1 are inhibitors of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. In line with deletions of the latter two genes, high beta-catenin protein expression has previously been reported in osteoblastoma and aberrations affecting the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway have been found in other bone lesions, including osteoma and osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3827481  PMID: 24236197
10.  Mesenchymal stem cell transformation and sarcoma genesis 
MSCs are hypothesized to potentially give rise to sarcomas after transformation and therefore serve as a good model to study sarcomagenesis. Both spontaneous and induced transformation of MSCs have been reported, however, spontaneous transformation has only been convincingly shown in mouse MSCs while induced transformation has been demonstrated in both mouse and human MSCs. Transformed MSCs of both species can give rise to pleomorphic sarcomas after transplantation into mice, indicating the potential MSC origin of so-called non-translocation induced sarcomas. Comparison of expression profiles and differentiation capacities between MSCs and sarcoma cells further supports this. Deregulation of P53- Retinoblastoma-, PI3K-AKT-and MAPK pathways has been implicated in transformation of MSCs. MSCs have also been indicated as cell of origin in several types of chromosomal translocation associated sarcomas. In mouse models the generated sarcoma type depends on amongst others the tissue origin of the MSCs, the targeted pathways and genes and the differentiation commitment status of MSCs. While some insights are glowing, it is clear that more studies are needed to thoroughly understand the molecular mechanism of sarcomagenesis from MSCs and mechanisms determining the sarcoma type, which will potentially give directions for targeted therapies.
PMCID: PMC3724575  PMID: 23880362
MSC; Sarcoma; Bone tumour; Soft tissue tumour; Osteosarcoma; Ewing sarcoma
11.  IR/IGF1R signaling as potential target for treatment of high-grade osteosarcoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:245.
High-grade osteosarcoma is an aggressive tumor most often developing in the long bones of adolescents, with a second peak in the 5th decade of life. Better knowledge on cellular signaling in this tumor may identify new possibilities for targeted treatment.
We performed gene set analysis on previously published genome-wide gene expression data of osteosarcoma cell lines (n=19) and pretreatment biopsies (n=84). We characterized overexpression of the insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) signaling pathways in human osteosarcoma as compared with osteoblasts and with the hypothesized progenitor cells of osteosarcoma – mesenchymal stem cells. This pathway plays a key role in the growth and development of bone. Since most profound differences in mRNA expression were found at and upstream of the receptor of this pathway, we set out to inhibit IR/IGF1R using OSI-906, a dual inhibitor for IR/IGF1R, on four osteosarcoma cell lines. Inhibitory effects of this drug were measured by Western blotting and cell proliferation assays.
OSI-906 had a strong inhibitory effect on proliferation of 3 of 4 osteosarcoma cell lines, with IC50s below 100 nM at 72 hrs of treatment. Phosphorylation of IRS-1, a direct downstream target of IGF1R signaling, was inhibited in the responsive osteosarcoma cell lines.
This study provides an in vitro rationale for using IR/IGF1R inhibitors in preclinical studies of osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3672007  PMID: 23688189
Osteosarcoma; IGF1R signaling; Signal transduction; IGF1R; OSI-906; Bone neoplasm; Sarcoma
12.  MicroRNAs at the human 14q32 locus have prognostic significance in osteosarcoma 
Deregulation of microRNA (miRNA) transcript levels has been observed in many types of tumors including osteosarcoma. Molecular pathways regulated by differentially expressed miRNAs may contribute to the heterogeneous tumor behaviors observed in naturally occurring cancers. Thus, tumor-associated miRNA expression may provide informative biomarkers for disease outcome and metastatic potential in osteosarcoma patients. We showed previously that clusters of miRNAs at the 14q32 locus are downregulated in human osteosarcoma.
Human and canine osteosarcoma patient’s samples with clinical follow-up data were used in this study. We used bioinformatics and comparative genomics approaches to identify miRNA based prognostic biomarkers in osteosarcoma. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Whitney Mann U tests were conducted for validating the statistical significance.
Here we show that an inverse correlation exists between aggressive tumor behavior (increased metastatic potential and accelerated time to death) and the residual expression of 14q32 miRNAs (using miR-382 as a representative of 14q32 miRNAs) in a series of clinically annotated samples from human osteosarcoma patients. We also show a comparable decrease in expression of orthologous 14q32 miRNAs in canine osteosarcoma samples, with conservation of the inverse correlation between aggressive behavior and expression of orthologous miRNA miR-134 and miR-544.
We conclude that downregulation of 14q32 miRNA expression is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that contributes to the biological behavior of osteosarcoma, and that quantification of representative transcripts from this family, such as miR-382, miR-134, and miR-544, provide prognostic and predictive markers that can assist in the management of patients with this disease.
PMCID: PMC3566973  PMID: 23311495
Bone neoplasm; Prognosis; Integrative analysis; Osteosarcoma; 14q32 miRNAs
13.  Integrative Analysis Reveals Relationships of Genetic and Epigenetic Alterations in Osteosarcoma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48262.
Osteosarcomas are the most common non-haematological primary malignant tumours of bone, and all conventional osteosarcomas are high-grade tumours showing complex genomic aberrations. We have integrated genome-wide genetic and epigenetic profiles from the EuroBoNeT panel of 19 human osteosarcoma cell lines based on microarray technologies.
Principal Findings
The cell lines showed complex patterns of DNA copy number changes, where genomic copy number gains were significantly associated with gene-rich regions and losses with gene-poor regions. By integrating the datasets, 350 genes were identified as having two types of aberrations (gain/over-expression, hypo-methylation/over-expression, loss/under-expression or hyper-methylation/under-expression) using a recurrence threshold of 6/19 (>30%) cell lines. The genes showed in general alterations in either DNA copy number or DNA methylation, both within individual samples and across the sample panel. These 350 genes are involved in embryonic skeletal system development and morphogenesis, as well as remodelling of extracellular matrix. The aberrations of three selected genes, CXCL5, DLX5 and RUNX2, were validated in five cell lines and five tumour samples using PCR techniques. Several genes were hyper-methylated and under-expressed compared to normal osteoblasts, and expression could be reactivated by demethylation using 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine treatment for four genes tested; AKAP12, CXCL5, EFEMP1 and IL11RA. Globally, there was as expected a significant positive association between gain and over-expression, loss and under-expression as well as hyper-methylation and under-expression, but gain was also associated with hyper-methylation and under-expression, suggesting that hyper-methylation may oppose the effects of increased copy number for detrimental genes.
Integrative analysis of genome-wide genetic and epigenetic alterations identified dependencies and relationships between DNA copy number, DNA methylation and mRNA expression in osteosarcomas, contributing to better understanding of osteosarcoma biology.
PMCID: PMC3492335  PMID: 23144859
14.  Modulation of the Osteosarcoma Expression Phenotype by MicroRNAs 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48086.
Osteosarcomas are the most common primary malignant tumors of bone and show multiple and complex genomic aberrations. miRNAs are non-coding RNAs capable of regulating gene expression at the post transcriptional level, and miRNAs and their target genes may represent novel therapeutic targets or biomarkers for osteosarcoma. In order to investigate the involvement of miRNAs in osteosarcoma development, global microarray analyses of a panel of 19 human osteosarcoma cell lines was performed.
Principal findings
We identified 177 miRNAs that were differentially expressed in osteosarcoma cell lines relative to normal bone. Among these, miR-126/miR-126*, miR-142-3p, miR-150, miR-223, miR-486-5p and members of the miR-1/miR-133a, miR-144/miR-451, miR-195/miR-497 and miR-206/miR-133b clusters were found to be downregulated in osteosarcoma cell lines. All miRNAs in the paralogous clusters miR-17-92, miR-106b-25 and miR-106a-92 were overexpressed. Furthermore, the upregulated miRNAs included miR-9/miR-9*, miR-21*, miR-31/miR-31*, miR-196a/miR-196b, miR-374a and members of the miR-29 and miR-130/301 families. The most interesting inversely correlated miRNA/mRNA pairs in osteosarcoma cell lines included miR-9/TGFBR2 and miR-29/p85α regulatory subunit of PI3K. PTEN mRNA correlated inversely with miR-92a and members of the miR-17 and miR-130/301 families. Expression profiles of selected miRNAs were confirmed in clinical samples. A set of miRNAs, miR-1, miR-18a, miR-18b, miR-19b, miR-31, miR-126, miR-142-3p, miR-133b, miR-144, miR-195, miR-223, miR-451 and miR-497 was identified with an intermediate expression level in osteosarcoma clinical samples compared to osteoblasts and bone, which may reflect the differentiation level of osteosarcoma relative to the undifferentiated osteoblast and fully differentiated normal bone. Significance: This study provides an integrated analysis of miRNA and mRNA in osteosarcoma, and gives new insight into the complex genetic mechanisms of osteosarcoma development and progression.
PMCID: PMC3485010  PMID: 23133552
15.  BMP and TGFbeta pathways in human central chondrosarcoma: enhanced endoglin and Smad 1 signaling in high grade tumors 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:488.
As major regulators of normal chondrogenesis, the bone morphogenic protein (BMP) and transforming growth factor β (TGFB) signaling pathways may be involved in the development and progression of central chondrosarcoma. In order to uncover their possible implication, the aim of this study was to perform a systematic quantitative study of the expression of BMPs, TGFBs and their receptors and to assess activity of the corresponding pathways in central chondrosarcoma.
Gene expression analysis was performed by quantitative RT-PCR in 26 central chondrosarcoma and 6 healthy articular cartilage samples. Expression of endoglin and nuclear localization of phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 and Smad2 was assessed by immunohistochemical analysis.
The expression of TGFB3 and of the activin receptor-like kinase ALK2 was found to be significantly higher in grade III compared to grade I chondrosarcoma. Nuclear phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 and Smad2 were found in all tumors analyzed and the activity of both signaling pathways was confirmed by functional reporter assays in 2 chondrosarcoma cell lines. Immunohistochemical analysis furthermore revealed that phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 and endoglin expression were significantly higher in high-grade compared to low-grade chondrosarcoma and correlated to each other.
The BMP and TGFβ signaling pathways were found to be active in central chondrosarcoma cells. The correlation of Smad1/5/8 activity to endoglin expression suggests that, as described in other cell types, endoglin could enhance Smad1/5/8 signaling in high-grade chondrosarcoma cells. Endoglin expression coupled to Smad1/5/8 activation could thus represent a functionally important signaling axis for the progression of chondrosarcoma and a regulator of the undifferentiated phenotype of high-grade tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3495847  PMID: 23088614
Conventional central chondrosarcoma; Bone tumor; Chondrogenic differentiation; Bone morphogenic proteins; Transforming growth factor β
16.  Targeting JNK-interacting protein 1 (JIP1) sensitises osteosarcoma to doxorubicin 
Oncotarget  2012;3(10):1169-1181.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignant bone tumour in children and adolescents. Despite aggressive therapy, survival outcomes remain unsatisfactory, especially for patients with metastatic disease or patients with a poor chemotherapy response. Chemoresistance contributes to treatment failure. To increase the efficacy of conventional chemotherapy, essential survival pathways should be targeted concomitantly. Here, we performed a loss-of-function siRNA screen of the human kinome in SaOS-2 cells to identify critical survival kinases after doxorubicin treatment. Gene silencing of JNK-interacting-protein-1 (JIP1) elicited the most potent sensitisation to doxorubicin. This candidate was further explored as potential target for chemosensitisation in OS. A panel of OS cell lines and human primary osteoblasts was examined for sensitisation to doxorubicin using small molecule JIP1-inhibitor BI-78D3. JIP1 expression and JIP1-inhibitor effects on JNK-signalling were investigated by Western blot analysis. JIP1 expression in human OS tumours was assessed by immunohistochemistry on tissue micro arrays. BI-78D3 blocked JNK-signalling and sensitised three out of four tested OS cell lines, but not healthy osteoblasts, to treatment with doxorubicin. Combination treatment increased the induction of apoptosis. JIP1 was found to be expressed in two-thirds of human primary OS tissue samples. Patients with JIP1 positive tumours showed a trend to inferior overall survival. Collectively, JIP1 appears a clinically relevant novel target in OS to enhance the efficacy of doxorubicin treatment by means of RNA interference or pharmacological inhibition.
PMCID: PMC3717953  PMID: 23045411
osteosarcoma; functional genomics; siRNA; chemosensitisation; JIP1
17.  Somatic mosaic IDH1 or IDH2 mutations are associated with enchondroma and spindle cell hemangioma in Ollier disease and Maffucci syndrome 
Nature genetics  2011;43(12):1256-1261.
Ollier disease and Maffucci syndrome are non-hereditary skeletal disorders characterized by multiple enchondromas (Ollier disease) combined with spindle cell hemangiomas (Maffucci syndrome). We report somatic heterozygous IDH1 (R132C and R132H) or IDH2 (R172S) mutations in 87% of enchondromas, benign cartilage tumors, and in 70% of spindle cell hemangiomas, benign vascular lesions. In total, 35 of 43 (81%) patients with Ollier disease and 10 of 13 (77%) patients with Maffucci syndrome carried IDH1 (98%) or IDH2 (2%) mutations in their tumors. Fourteen of sixteen patients displayed identical mutations in separate lesions. Immunohistochemistry for mutant R132H IDH1 protein suggested intraneoplastic and somatic mosaicism. IDH1 mutations in cartilage tumors are associated with hypermethylation and downregulation of expression of several genes. Mutations were also found in 40% of solitary central cartilaginous tumors and in four chondrosarcoma cell lines, enabling functional studies to assess the role of IDH1 and IDH2 mutations in tumor formation.
PMCID: PMC3427908  PMID: 22057234
18.  mRNA expression profiles of primary high-grade central osteosarcoma are preserved in cell lines and xenografts 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:66.
Conventional high-grade osteosarcoma is a primary malignant bone tumor, which is most prevalent in adolescence. Survival rates of osteosarcoma patients have not improved significantly in the last 25 years. Aiming to increase this survival rate, a variety of model systems are used to study osteosarcomagenesis and to test new therapeutic agents. Such model systems are typically generated from an osteosarcoma primary tumor, but undergo many changes due to culturing or interactions with a different host species, which may result in differences in gene expression between primary tumor cells, and tumor cells from the model system. We aimed to investigate whether gene expression profiles of osteosarcoma cell lines and xenografts are still comparable to those of the primary tumor.
We performed genome-wide mRNA expression profiling on osteosarcoma biopsies (n = 76), cell lines (n = 13), and xenografts (n = 18). Osteosarcoma can be subdivided into several histological subtypes, of which osteoblastic, chondroblastic, and fibroblastic osteosarcoma are the most frequent ones. Using nearest shrunken centroids classification, we generated an expression signature that can predict the histological subtype of osteosarcoma biopsies.
The expression signature, which consisted of 24 probes encoding for 22 genes, predicted the histological subtype of osteosarcoma biopsies with a misclassification error of 15%. Histological subtypes of the two osteosarcoma model systems, i.e. osteosarcoma cell lines and xenografts, were predicted with similar misclassification error rates (15% and 11%, respectively).
Based on the preservation of mRNA expression profiles that are characteristic for the histological subtype we propose that these model systems are representative for the primary tumor from which they are derived.
PMCID: PMC3193807  PMID: 21933437
19.  Expression of aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha in chondrosarcoma, but no beneficial effect of inhibiting estrogen signaling both in vitro and in vivo 
Chondrosarcomas are malignant cartilage-forming tumors which are highly resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Estrogen signaling is known to play an important role in proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes and in growth plate regulation at puberty. Our experiments focus on unraveling the role of estrogen signaling in the regulation of neoplastic cartilage growth and on interference with estrogen signaling in chondrosarcomas in vitro and in vivo.
We investigated the protein expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1), androgen receptor (AR), and aromatase in tumor specimens of various chondrosarcoma subtypes, and (primary) chondrosarcoma cultures. Dose-response curves were generated of conventional central chondrosarcoma cell lines cultured in the presence of 17β-estradiol, dihydrotestosterone, 4-androstene-3,17 dione, 4-hydroxytamoxifen, fulvestrant and aromatase inhibitors. In a pilot series, the effect of anastrozole (n = 4) or exemestane (n = 2) treatment in 6 chondrosarcoma patients with progressive disease was explored.
We showed protein expression of ESR1 and aromatase in a large majority of all subtypes. Only a minority of the tumors showed few AR positive cells. The dose-response assays showed no effect of any of the compounds on proliferation of conventional chondrosarcoma in vitro. The median progression-free survival of the patients treated with aromatase inhibitors did not significantly deviate from untreated patients.
The presence of ESR1 and aromatase in chondrosarcoma tumors and primary cultures supports a possible role of estrogen signaling in chondrosarcoma proliferation. However, our in vitro and pilot in vivo studies have shown no effect of estrogen-signaling inhibition on tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC3372281  PMID: 22613849
20.  Hypoxia-inducible factor regulates osteoclast-mediated bone resorption: role of angiopoietin-like 4 
The FASEB Journal  2010;24(12):4648-4659.
Hypoxia and the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) transcription factor regulate angiogenic-osteogenic coupling and osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. To determine how HIF might coordinate osteoclast and osteoblast function, we studied angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4), the top HIF target gene in an Illumina HumanWG-6 v3.0 48k array of normoxic vs. hypoxic osteoclasts differentiated from human CD14+ monocytes (14.3-fold induction, P<0.0004). ANGPTL4 mRNA and protein were induced by 24 h at 2% O2 in human primary osteoclasts, monocytes, and osteoblasts. ANGPTL4 protein was observed by immunofluorescence in osteoclasts and osteoblasts in vivo. Normoxic inducers of HIF (CoCl2, desferrioxamine, and l-mimosine) and 100 ng/ml ANGPTL4 stimulated osteoclastic resorption 2- to 3-fold in assays of lacunar dentine resorption, without affecting osteoclast viability. Isoform-specific HIF-1α small interfering RNA ablated hypoxic induction of ANGPTL4 and of resorption, which was rescued by addition of exogenous ANGPTL4 (P<0.001). In the osteoblastic Saos2 cell line, ANGPTL4 caused a dose-dependent increase in proliferation (P<0.01, 100 ng/ml) and, at lower doses (1–25 ng/ml), mineralization. These results demonstrate that HIF is sufficient to enhance osteoclast-mediated bone resorption and that ANGPTL4 can compensate for HIF-1α deficiency with respect to stimulation of osteoclast activity and also augments osteoblast proliferation and differentiation.—Knowles, H. J., Cleton-Jansen, A.-M., Korsching, E., and Athanasou, N.A. Hypoxia-inducible factor regulates osteoclast-mediated bone resorption: role of angiopoietin-like 4.
PMCID: PMC2992372  PMID: 20667978
osteoblast; proliferation; differentiation; osteoclastogenesis; pathological bone resorption
21.  Evaluation of high-resolution microarray platforms for genomic profiling of bone tumours 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:223.
Several high-density oligonucleotide microarray platforms are available for genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detection and microarray-based comparative genomic hybridisation (array CGH), which may be used to detect copy number aberrations in human tumours. As part of the EuroBoNeT network of excellence for research on bone tumours (, we have evaluated four different commercial high-resolution microarray platforms in order to identify the most appropriate technology for mapping DNA copy number aberrations in such tumours.
DNA from two different cytogenetically well-characterized bone sarcoma cell lines, representing a simple and a complex karyotype, respectively, was tested in duplicate on four high-resolution microarray platforms; Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0, Agilent Human Genome CGH 244A, Illumina HumanExon510s-duo and Nimblegen HG18 CGH 385 k WG tiling v1.0. The data was analysed using the platform-specific analysis software, as well as a platform-independent analysis algorithm. DNA copy number was measured at six specific chromosomes or chromosomal regions, and compared with the expected ratio based on available cytogenetic information. All platforms performed well in terms of reproducibility and were able to delimit and score small amplifications and deletions at similar resolution, but Agilent microarrays showed better linearity and dynamic range. The platform-specific analysis software provided with each platform identified in general correct copy numbers, whereas using a platform-independent analysis algorithm, correct copy numbers were determined mainly for Agilent and Affymetrix microarrays.
All platforms performed reasonably well, but Agilent microarrays showed better dynamic range, and like Affymetrix microarrays performed well with the platform-independent analysis software, implying more robust data. Bone tumours like osteosarcomas are heterogeneous tumours with complex karyotypes that may be difficult to interpret, and it is of importance to be able to well separate the copy number levels and detect copy number changes in subpopulations. Taking all this into consideration, the Agilent and Affymetrix microarray platforms were found to be a better choice for mapping DNA copy numbers in bone tumours, the latter having the advantage of also providing heterozygosity information.
PMCID: PMC2929238  PMID: 20691109
22.  MLPAinter for MLPA interpretation: an integrated approach for the analysis, visualisation and data management of Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:67.
Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) is an application that can be used for the detection of multiple chromosomal aberrations in a single experiment. In one reaction, up to 50 different genomic sequences can be analysed. For a reliable work-flow, tools are needed for administrative support, data management, normalisation, visualisation, reporting and interpretation.
Here, we developed a data management system, MLPAInter for MLPA interpretation, that is windows executable and has a stand-alone database for monitoring and interpreting the MLPA data stream that is generated from the experimental setup to analysis, quality control and visualisation. A statistical approach is applied for the normalisation and analysis of large series of MLPA traces, making use of multiple control samples and internal controls.
MLPAinter visualises MLPA data in plots with information about sample replicates, normalisation settings, and sample characteristics. This integrated approach helps in the automated handling of large series of MLPA data and guarantees a quick and streamlined dataflow from the beginning of an experiment to an authorised report.
PMCID: PMC3098110  PMID: 20113482
23.  Central chondrosarcoma progression is associated with pRb pathway alterations: CDK4 down-regulation and p16 overexpression inhibit cell growth in vitro 
Chondrosarcomas are highly resistant to conventional radiation and chemotherapy, and surgical removal is the only option for curative treatment. Consequently, there is nothing to offer patients with inoperable tumours and metastatic disease. The aim of this study is to investigate genes involved in cell cycle control: CDK4, CDKN2A/p16, cyclin D1, p21, p53, MDM2 and c-MYC, which may point towards new therapeutic strategies. The pRb pathway was targeted using CDKN2A/p16 overexpressing vectors and shRNA against CDK4 in chondrosarcoma cell lines OUMS27, SW1353, and CH2879. Cell survival and proliferation were assessed. CDK4, MDM2 and c-MYC expression levels were investigated by qPCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 34 fresh frozen and 90 FFPE samples of enchondroma and chondrosarcoma patients. On a subset of 29 high-grade chondrosarcomas IHC for cyclin D1, p21 and p53 was performed. The overexpression of CDKN2A/p16 and knockdown of CDK4 by shRNA in OUMS27, SW1353 and CH2879 resulted in a significant decrease in cell viability and proliferation and a decreased ability to form colonies in vitro. Expression of CDK4 and MDM2 was associated with high-grade chondrosarcoma both at the mRNA and protein level. Combining these results with the expression of cyclin D1 and the previously shown loss of CDKN2A/p16 expression show that the majority (96%; 28/29) of high-grade chondrosarcomas contain alterations in the pRb pathway. This suggests a role for the use of CDK4 inhibitors as a treatment of metastatic or inoperable high-grade chondrosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC4498940  PMID: 18624751
chondrosarcoma; bone tumour; cell cycle; pRb-pathway; shRNA
24.  Cellular/intramuscular myxoma and grade I myxofibrosarcoma are characterized by distinct genetic alterations and specific composition of their extracellular matrix 
Cellular myxoma and grade I myxofibrosarcoma are mesenchymal tumours that are characterized by their abundant myxoid extracellular matrix (ECM). Despite their histological overlap, they differ clinically. Diagnosis is therefore difficult though important. We investigated their (cyto) genetics and ECM. GNAS1-activating mutations have been described in intramuscular myxoma, and lead to downstream activation of cFos. KRAS and TP53 mutations are commonly involved in sarcomagenesis whereby KRAS subsequently activates c-Fos. A well-documented series of intramuscular myxoma (three typical cases and seven cases of the more challenging cellular variant) and grade I myxofibrosarcoma (n= 10) cases were karyotyped, analyzed for GNAS1, KRAS and TP53 mutations and downstream activation of c-Fos mRNA and protein expression. ECM was studied by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry and expression of proteins identified was validated by immunohistochemistry and qPCR. Grade I myxofibrosarcoma showed variable, non-specific cyto-genetic aberrations in 83,5% of cases (n= 6) whereas karyotypes of intramuscular myxoma were all normal (n= 7). GNAS1-activating mutations were exclusively found in 50% of intramuscular myxoma. Both tumour types showed over-expression of c-Fos mRNA and protein. No mutations in KRAS codon 12/13 or in TP53 were detected. Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry revealed structural proteins (collagen types I, VI, XII, XIV and decorin) in grade I myxofibrosarcoma lacking in intramuscular myxoma. This was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and qPCR. Intramuscular/cellular myxoma and grade I myxofibrosarcoma show different molecular genetic aberrations and different composition of their ECM that probably contribute to their diverse clinical behaviour. GNAS1 mutation analysis can be helpful to distinguish intramuscular myxoma from grade I myxofibrosarcoma in selected cases.
PMCID: PMC4496143  PMID: 19320777
GNAS; karyotype; myxoid; extracellular matrix; proteomics; LC-MS; MLPA; myxofibrosarcoma; intramuscular myxoma
25.  ATBF1 and NQO1 as candidate targets for allelic loss at chromosome arm 16q in breast cancer: Absence of somatic ATBF1 mutations and no role for the C609T NQO1 polymorphism 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:105.
Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome arm 16q is frequently observed in human breast cancer, suggesting that one or more target tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) are located there. However, detailed mapping of the smallest region of LOH has not yet resulted in the identification of a TSG at 16q. Therefore, the present study attempted to identify TSGs using an approach based on mRNA expression.
A cDNA microarray for the 16q region was constructed and analyzed using RNA samples from 39 breast tumors with known LOH status at 16q.
Five genes were identified to show lower expression in tumors with LOH at 16q compared to tumors without LOH. The genes for NAD(P)H dehydrogenase quinone (NQO1) and AT-binding transcription factor 1 (ATBF1) were further investigated given their functions as potential TSGs. NQO1 has been implicated in carcinogenesis due to its role in quinone detoxification and in stabilization of p53. One inactive polymorphic variant of NQO1 encodes a product showing reduced enzymatic activity. However, we did not find preferential targeting of the active NQO1 allele in tumors with LOH at 16q. Immunohistochemical analysis of 354 invasive breast tumors revealed that NQO1 protein expression in a subset of breast tumors is higher than in normal epithelium, which contradicts its proposed role as a tumor suppressor gene.
ATBF1 has been suggested as a target for LOH at 16q in prostate cancer. We analyzed the entire coding sequence in 48 breast tumors, but did not identify somatic sequence changes. We did find several in-frame insertions and deletions, two variants of which were reported to be somatic pathogenic mutations in prostate cancer. Here, we show that these variants are also present in the germline in 2.5% of 550 breast cancer patients and 2.9% of 175 healthy controls. This indicates that the frequency of these variants is not increased in breast cancer patients. Moreover, there is no preferential LOH of the wildtype allele in breast tumors.
Two likely candidate TSGs at 16q in breast cancer, NQO1 and ATBF1, were identified here as showing reduced expression in tumors with 16q LOH, but further analysis indicated that they are not target genes of LOH. Furthermore, our results call into question the validity of the previously reported pathogenic variants of the ATBF1 gene.
PMCID: PMC2377272  PMID: 18416817

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