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1.  Prognostic impact of urokinase-type plasminogen activator system components in clear cell renal cell carcinoma patients without distant metastasis 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):974.
Background
Members of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) system including uPA, its receptor uPAR and the plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) play an important role in tumour invasion and progression in a variety of tumour types. Since the majority of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) shows distant metastasis at time of diagnosis or later, the interplay of uPA, uPAR and PAI-1 might be of importance in this process determining the patients’ outcome.
Methods
Corresponding pairs of malignant and non-malignant renal tissue specimens were obtained from 112 ccRCC patients without distant metastasis who underwent tumour nephrectomy. Tissue extracts prepared from fresh-frozen tissue samples by detergent extraction were used for the determination of antigen levels of uPA, uPAR and PAI-1 by ELISA. Antigen levels were normalised to protein concentrations and expressed as ng per mg of total protein.
Results
Antigen levels of uPA, uPAR, and PAI-1 correlated with each other in the malignant tissue specimens (rs=0.51-0.65; all P<0.001). Antigen levels of uPA system components were significantly higher in tissue extracts of non-organ confined tumours (pT3+4) compared to organ-confined tumours (pT1+2; all P<0.05). Significantly elevated levels of uPAR and PAI-1 were also observed in high grade ccRCC. When using median antigen levels as cut-off points, all three uPA system factors were significant predictors for disease-specific survival (DSS) in univariate Cox’s regression analyses. High levels of uPA and uPAR remained independent predictors for DSS with HR=2.86 (95% CI 1.07-7.67, P=0.037) and HR=4.70 (95% CI 1.51-14.6, P=0.008), respectively, in multivariate Cox’s regression analyses. A combination of high antigen levels of uPA and/or uPAR further improved the prediction of DSS in multivariate analysis (HR=14.5, 95% CI 1.88-111.1, P=0.010). Moreover, high uPA and/or uPAR levels defined a patient subgroup of high risk for tumour-related death in ccRCC patients with organ-confined disease (pT1+2) (HR=9.83, 95% CI 1.21-79.6, P=0.032).
Conclusions
High levels of uPA and uPAR in tumour tissue extracts are associated with a significantly shorter DSS of ccRCC patients without distant metastases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-974) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-974
PMCID: PMC4301943  PMID: 25519168
PAI-1; Prognostic biomarker; Renal cell carcinoma; uPA; uPAR; uPA system
2.  Association of Tissue mRNA and Serum Antigen Levels of Members of the Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator System with Clinical and Prognostic Parameters in Prostate Cancer 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:972587.
The objective was to determine the mRNA expression and protein levels of uPA system components in tissue specimens and serum samples, respectively, from prostate cancer (PCa) patients and to assess their association with clinicopathological parameters and overall survival (OS). The mRNA expression levels of uPA, its receptor (uPAR), and its inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) were analyzed in corresponding malignant and adjacent nonmalignant tissue specimens from 132 PCa patients by quantitative PCR. Preoperative serum samples from 81 PCa patients were analyzed for antigen levels of uPA system members by ELISA. RNA levels of uPA system components displayed significant correlations with each other in the tumor tissues. A significantly decreased uPA mRNA expression in PCa compared to the corresponding nonmalignant tissue was detected. High uPA mRNA level was significantly associated with a high Gleason score. Elevated concentration of soluble uPAR (suPAR) in serum was significantly associated with a poor OS of PCa patients (P = 0.022). PCa patients with high suPAR levels have a significantly higher risk of death (multivariate Cox's regression analysis; HR = 7.12, P = 0.027). The association of high suPAR levels with poor survival of PCa patients suggests a prognostic impact of suPAR levels in serum of cancer patients.
doi:10.1155/2014/972587
PMCID: PMC4022202  PMID: 24877154
3.  Loss of MTUS1/ATIP expression is associated with adverse outcome in advanced bladder carcinomas: data from a retrospective study 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:214.
Background
Seventy percent of all bladder tumours tend to recur and need intensive surveillance, and a subset of tumours progress to muscle-invasive and metastatic disease. However, it is still difficult to find the adequate treatment for every individual patient as it is a very heterogeneous disease and reliable biomarkers are still missing. In our study we searched for new target genes in the critical chromosomal region 8p and investigated the potential tumour suppressor gene candidate MTUS1/ATIP in bladder cancer.
Methods
MTUS1 was identified to be the most promising deleted target gene at 8p in aCGH analysis with 19 papillary bladder tumours. A correlation with bladder cancer was further validated using immunohistochemistry of 85 papillary and 236 advanced bladder tumours and in functional experiments. Kaplan-Meier analysis and multivariate Cox-regression addressed overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) as a function of MTUS1/ATIP expression. Bivariate correlations investigated associations between MTUS1/ATIP expression, patient characteristics and histopathology. MTUS1 expression was analysed in cell lines and overexpressed in RT112, where impact on viability, proliferation and migration was measured.
Results
MTUS1 protein expression was lost in almost 50% of all papillary and advanced bladder cancers. Survival, however, was only influenced in advanced carcinomas, where loss of MTUS1 was associated with adverse OS and DSS. In this cohort, there was also a significant correlation of MTUS1 expression and histological subtype: positive expression was detected in all micropapillary tumours and aberrant nuclear staining was detected in a subset of plasmocytoid urothelial carcinomas. MTUS1 was expressed in all investigated bladder cell lines and overexpression in RT112 led to significantly decreased viability.
Conclusions
MTUS1 is a tumour suppressor gene in cultured bladder cancer cells and in advanced bladder tumours. It might represent one new target gene at chromosome 8p and can be used as an independent prognostic factor for advanced bladder cancer patients. The limitation of the study is the retrospective data analysis. Thus, findings should be validated with a prospective advanced bladder tumour cohort.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-214
PMCID: PMC3994487  PMID: 24650297
MTUS1; ATIP; Bladder cancer; Chromosome 8p deletions
4.  Bladder cancer – the neglected tumor: a descriptive analysis of publications referenced in MEDLINE and data from the register clinicaltrials.gov 
BMC Urology  2013;13:56.
Background
Uro-oncological neoplasms have both a high incidence and mortality rate and are therefore a major public health problem. The aim of this study was to evaluate research activity in uro-oncology over the last decade.
Methods
We searched MEDLINE and ClinicalTrials.gov systematically for studies on prostatic, urinary bladder, kidney, and testicular neoplasms. The increase in newly published reports per year was analyzed using linear regression. The results are presented with 95% confidence intervals, and a p value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results
The number of new publications per year increased significantly for prostatic, kidney and urinary bladder neoplasms (all <0.0001). We identified 1,885 randomized controlled trials (RCTs); also for RCTs, the number of newly published reports increased significantly for prostatic (p = 0.001) and kidney cancer (p = 0.005), but not for bladder (p = 0.09) or testicular (p = 0.44) neoplasms. We identified 3,114 registered uro-oncological studies in ClinicalTrials.gov. However, 85% of these studies are focusing on prostatic (45%) and kidney neoplasms (40%), whereas only 11% were registered for bladder cancers.
Conclusions
While the number of publications on uro-oncologic research rises yearly for prostatic and kidney neoplasms, urothelial carcinomas of the bladder seem to be neglected despite their important clinical role. Clinical research on neoplasms of the urothelial bladder must be explicitly addressed and supported.
doi:10.1186/1471-2490-13-56
PMCID: PMC4015820  PMID: 24156254
Kidney neoplasms; Prostatic neoplasms; Randomized controlled trial; Testicular neoplasms; Urinary bladder neoplasms
5.  Collecting Duct Carcinomas Represent a Unique Tumor Entity Based on Genetic Alterations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78137.
Collecting duct carcinoma (CDC) is a rare renal neoplasm that is associated with poor prognosis due to its highly aggressive course and limited response to immuno- or chemotherapy. Histologically, CDC is defined as a subtype of renal cell carcinomas, but in some cases, it is difficult to differentiate from urothelial carcinomas (UC). Therefore the aim of this study was to determine genetic alterations of CDC in comparison to that of urothelial carcinomas of the upper urinary tract (UUT-UC) to clarify the histological origin of this rare tumor entity. Twenty-nine CDC samples were obtained from seven different German centers and compared with twenty-six urothelial carcinomas of the upper urinary tract. Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) was used to investigate the genetic composition of patients’ tumors and allowed the detection of losses and gains of DNA copy numbers throughout the entire genome. The clinical data were correlated with CGH results. CGH analysis of CDC revealed DNA aberrations in many chromosomes. DNA losses were more frequently observed than gains, while high-level amplifications were not detected. The mean frequency of CDC chromosomal aberrations (4.9/case) was slightly lower than that in UUT-UC (5.4/case). Recurrent CDC DNA losses occurred at 8p (n=9/29), 16p (9/29), 1p (n=7/29) and 9p (n=7/29), and gains occurred in 13q (n=9/29). In contrast to CDC, the most frequently detected UUT-UC DNA aberration was a loss at 9q (n=13/26). DNA losses at 9q, 13q and 8q as well as gains at 8p showed significant variations in UUT-UC compared to CDC. There was no correlation between the patients’ clinical course and the presence or absence of these recurrent genetic alterations. CDCs are characterized by a different genetic pattern compared to UUT-UC. Regarding the published data on renal cell carcinoma, we conclude that CDC appears to be a unique entity among kidney carcinomas.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078137
PMCID: PMC3805592  PMID: 24167600
6.  BK viremia and polyomavirus nephropathy in 352 kidney transplants; risk factors and potential role of mTOR inhibition 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:207.
Background
Polyomavirus BK nephropathy (PyVAN) remains an important cause of early graft dysfunction and graft loss in kidney transplantation.
Methods
In this retrospective, single centre cohort study we studied the incidence and outcome of BK viral infection in 352 patients transplanted in 2008–2011.
Results
During follow-up viral replication was detected in 48 patients (13.6%); 22 patients (6.2%) had biopsy proven PyVAN.
In multivariate logistic regression analyses risk factors for BK-viremia were lack of enrolment into randomized controlled trials (RCTs), biopsy proven acute rejections, cytomegaly virus (CMV) serostatus of both donor and recipient and previous transplantation.
In patients without PyVAN reduction or switch of immunosuppression was associated with rapid viral clearance and stable graft function. In contrast, in most patients with PyVAN graft function deteriorated and 5 patients prematurely lost their allograft. Switch of immunosuppression to a low dose cyclosporine plus mTOR inhibitor based regimen in patients with PyVAN was safe, well tolerated and tended to be associated with a better short-term outcome in terms of graft function compared to reduction of existing immunosuppression alone.
Conclusions
With the lack of licensed anti-polyoma viral drugs reduction or conversion of immunosuppression remains the mainstay of therapy in patients with PyVAN. The combination of low dose cyclosporine plus mTOR inhibition appears to be safe and warrants further investigation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-207
PMCID: PMC3850699  PMID: 24088187
Polyomavirus BK nephropathy; PyVAN; mTOR inhibition
7.  Role of two single nucleotide polymorphisms in secreted frizzled related protein 1 and bladder cancer risk 
In this study, we determined the genotype distribution of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in secreted frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1), rs3242 and rs921142, in a Caucasian bladder cancer case-control study. Allelic variants of the SNPs were determined using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and partly verified by sequencing analysis. Overall, DNA from 188 consecutive and 215 early-onset bladder cancer patients (≤45 years) as well as from 332 controls was investigated. Potential microRNA binding sites were determined for rs3242, and microRNA expression was analysed in cell lines and tumour specimens. We observed a remarkable distribution difference in rs3242 between bladder cancer patients and healthy controls (p=0.05). Additionally, we found a significant difference in genotype distribution (p=0.032), resulting from the difference of early-onset patients and the control group (p=0.007). The risk allele T showed increased frequency in the early-onset patient group (p=0.002). Genotype-dependent differences of microRNA binding capacity were predicted in SFRP1 mRNA for two microRNAs. Hsa-miR-3646 showed strong expression in cell lines and tumour tissue, whereas hsa-miR-603 exhibited weak expression. The rs921142 SNP showed no significant association with bladder cancer risk. This is the first study to describe an association of the SFRP1 SNP rs3242 and bladder cancer risk as well as the influence of rs3242 on genotype-dependent microRNA capacity on SFRP1 mRNA. The onset of bladder seems to be associated with the increased occurrence of the T-allele in rs3242.
PMCID: PMC3796220  PMID: 24133576
SFRP1; SNP; bladder cancer; microRNA; Wnt signalling pathway
8.  Early versus deferred androgen suppression therapy for patients with lymph node-positive prostate cancer after local therapy with curative intent: a systematic review 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:131.
Background
There is currently no consensus regarding the optimal timing for androgen suppression therapy in patients with prostate cancer that have undergone local therapy with curative intent but are proven to have node-positive disease without signs of distant metastases at the time of local therapy. The objective of this systematic review was to determine the benefits and harms of early (at the time of local therapy) versus deferred (at the time of clinical disease progression) androgen suppression therapy for patients with node-positive prostate cancer after local therapy.
Methods
The protocol was registered prospectively (CRD42011001221; http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO). We searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL databases, as well as reference lists, the abstracts of three major conferences, and three trial registers, to identify randomized controlled trials (search update 04/08/2012). Two authors independently screened the identified articles, assessed trial quality, and extracted data.
Results
Four studies including 398 patients were identified for inclusion. Early androgen suppression therapy lead to a significant decrease in overall mortality (HR 0.62, 95% CI 0.46-0.84), cancer-specific mortality (HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.18-0.64), and clinical progression at 3 or 9 years (RR 0.29, 95% CI 0.16-0.52 at 3 years and RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.36-0.67 at 9 years). One study showed an increase of adverse effects with early androgen suppression therapy. All trials had substantial methodological limitations.
Conclusions
The data available suggest an improvement in survival and delayed disease progression but increased adverse events for patients with node-positive prostate cancer after local therapy treated with early androgen suppression therapy versus deferred androgen suppression therapy. However, quality of data is low. Randomized controlled trials with blinding of outcome assessment, planned to determine the timing of androgen suppression therapy in node-positive prostate cancer using modern diagnostic imaging modalities, biochemical testing, and standardized follow-up schedules should be conducted to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-131
PMCID: PMC3621662  PMID: 23510155
Prostatic neoplasms; Lymphatic metastasis; Lymph node excision; Androgen suppression therapy; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
9.  Plasmacytoid variant of bladder cancer defines patients with poor prognosis if treated with cystectomy and adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:71.
Background
Since the definition of different histologic subtypes of urothelial carcinomas by the World Health Organization (WHO) 2004 classification, description of molecular features and clinical behavior of these variants has gained more attention.
Methods
We reviewed 205 tumor samples of patients with locally advanced bladder cancer mainly treated within the randomized AUO-AB05/95 trial with radical cystectomy and adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy for histologic subtypes. 178 UC, 18 plasmacytoid (PUC) and 9 micropapillary (MPC) carcinomas of the bladder were identified. Kaplan Meier analysis and backward multivariate Cox’s proportional hazards regression analysis were performed to compare overall survival between the three histologic subtypes.
Results
Patients suffering from PUC have the worst clinical outcome regarding overall survival compared to conventional UC and MPC of the bladder that in turn seem have to best clinical outcome (27.4 months, 62.6 months, and 64.2 months, respectively; p=0.013 by Kaplan Meier analysis). Backward multivariate Cox´s proportional hazards regression analysis (adjusted to relevant clinicopathological parameters) showed a hazard ratio of 3.2 (p=0.045) for PUC in contrast to patients suffering from MPC.
Conclusions
Histopathological diagnosis of rare variants of urothelial carcinoma can identify patients with poor prognosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-71
PMCID: PMC3572418  PMID: 23394492
Chemotherapy; Cystectomy; Micropapillary; Plasmacytoid; Prognosis; Urinary bladder neoplasm
10.  Tamoxifen for the management of breast events induced by non-steroidal antiandrogens in patients with prostate cancer: a systematic review 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:96.
Background
Tamoxifen has emerged as a potential management option for gynecomastia and breast pain due to non-steroidal antiandrogens, and it is considered an alternative to surgery or radiotherapy. The objective of this systematic review was to assess the benefits and harms of tamoxifen, in comparison to other treatment options, for either the prophylaxis or treatment of breast events induced by non-steroidal antiandrogens in prostate cancer patients.
Methods
We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, reference lists, the abstracts of three major conferences and three trial registers to identify ongoing randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Two authors independently screened the articles identified, assessed the trial quality and extracted data. The protocol was prospectively registered (CRD42011001320; http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO).
Results
Four studies were identified. Tamoxifen significantly reduced the risk of suffering from gynecomastia (risk ratio 9RR0 0.10, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.22) or breast pain (RR 0.06, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.17) at six months compared to untreated controls. Tamoxifen also showed a significant benefit for the prevention of gynecomastia (RR 0.22, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.58) and breast pain (RR 0.25, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.64) when compared to anastrozole after a median of 12 months. One study showed a significant benefit of tamoxifen for the prevention of gynecomastia (RR 0.24, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.65) and breast pain (RR 0.20, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.65) when compared with radiotherapy at six months. Radiotherapy increased the risk of suffering from nipple erythema and skin irritation, but there were no significant differences for any other adverse events (all P > 0.05).
Conclusions
The currently available evidence suggests good efficacy of tamoxifen for the prevention and treatment of breast events induced by non-steroidal antiandrogens. The impact of tamoxifen therapy on long-term adverse events, disease progression and survival remains unclear. Further large, well-designed RCTs, including long-term follow-ups, are warranted. Also, the optimal dose needs to be clarified.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-96
PMCID: PMC3464149  PMID: 22925442
Prostatic neoplasms; Androgen suppression therapy; Gynecomastia; Tamoxifen; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
11.  Association of HLA class I antigen abnormalities with disease progression and early recurrence in prostate cancer 
Defects in HLA class I antigen processing machinery (APM) component expression often have a negative impact on the clinical course of tumors and on the response to T cell-based immunotherapy. Since only scant information is available about the frequency and clinical significance of HLA class I APM component abnormalities in prostate cancer, the APM component expression pattern was analyzed in 59 primary prostate carcinoma, adjacent normal tissues, as well as in prostate carcinoma cell lines. The IFN-γ inducible proteasome subunits LMP2 and LMP7, TAP1, TAP2, calnexin, calreticulin, ERp57, and tapasin are strongly expressed in the cytoplasm of normal prostate cells, whereas HLA class I heavy chain (HC) and β2-microglobulin are expressed on the cell surface. Most of the APM components were downregulated in a substantial number of prostate cancers. With the exception of HLA class I HC, TAP2 and ERp57 not detectable in about 0.5% of tumor lesions, all other APM components were not detected in at least 21% of lesions analyzed. These APM component defects were associated with a higher Gleason grade of tumors and an early disease recurrence. Prostate carcinoma cell lines also exhibit a heterogeneous, but reduced constitutive APM component expression pattern associated with lack or reduced HLA class I surface antigens, which could be upregulated by IFN-γ. Our results suggest that HLA class I APM component abnormalities are mainly due to regulatory mechanisms, play a role in the clinical course of prostate cancer and on the outcome of T cell-based immunotherapies.
doi:10.1007/s00262-009-0769-5
PMCID: PMC3426221  PMID: 19820934
Antigen processing machinery; HLA class I antigens; Immune escape; Prostate cancer
12.  Magnetic Resonance Image-Guided Biopsies with a High Detection Rate of Prostate Cancer 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:975971.
Aim. To explore the potential of transrectal magnetic resonance image- (MRI-) guided biopsies of the prostate in a patient cohort with prior negative ultrasound guided biopsies. Patients and Methods. Ninety-six men with suspected prostate cancer underwent MRI-guided prostate biopsies under real-time imaging control in supine position. Results. Adenocarcinoma of the prostate was detected in 39 of 96 patients. For individual core biopsies, MRI yielded a sensitivity of 93.0% and a specificity of 94.4%. When stratifying patients according to the free-to-total prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ratio, the prostate cancer discovery rate was significantly higher in the group with ratios less than 0.15 (57.1%). Conclusion. MRI-guided biopsy of the prostate is a diagnostic option for patients with suspected prostate cancer and a history of repeatedly negative transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsies. Combined with the free-to-total PSA ratio, it is a highly effective method for detecting prostate cancer.
doi:10.1100/2012/975971
PMCID: PMC3317570  PMID: 22489209
13.  Do urology journals enforce trial registration? A cross-sectional study of published trials 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000430.
Objectives
(1) To assess endorsement of trial registration in author instructions of urology-related journals and (2) to assess whether randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the field of urology were effectively registered.
Design
Cross-sectional study of author instructions and published trials.
Setting
Journals publishing in the field of urology.
Participants
First, the authors analysed author instructions of 55 urology-related journals indexed in ‘Journal Citation Reports 2009’ (12/2010). The authors divided these journals in two groups: those requiring and those not mentioning trial registration as a precondition for publication. Second, the authors chose the five journals with the highest impact factor (IF) from each group.
Intervention
MEDLINE search to identify RCTs published in these 10 journals in 2009 (01/2011); search of the clinical trials meta-search interface of WHO (International Clinical Trials Registry Platform) for RCTs that lacked information about registration (01–03/2011). Two authors independently assessed the information.
Outcome measures
Proportion of journals providing advice about trial registration and proportion of trials registered.
Results
Of 55 journals analysed, 26 (47.3%) provided some editorial advice about trial registration. Journals with higher IFs were more likely to mention trial registration explicitly (p=0.015). Of 106 RCTs published in 2009, 63 were registered (59.4%) with a tendency to an increase after 2005 (83.3%, p=0.035). 71.4% (30/42) of the RCTs that were published in journals mentioning and requiring registration, and 51.6% (33/64) of the RCTs that were published in journals that did not mention trial registration explicitly were registered. This difference was statistically significant (p=0.04).
Conclusions
The existence of a statement about trial registration in author instructions resulted in a higher proportion of registered RCTs in those journals. Journals with higher IFs were more likely to mention trial registration.
Article summary
Article focus
Trial registration can increase scientific transparency, but its implementation in specialty fields such as urology is unclear.
To assess the endorsement of trial registration in the author instructions of urology-related journals.
To assess whether randomised controlled trials in the field were effectively registered.
Key messages
A statement of trial registration in author instructions resulted in a higher proportion of registered randomised controlled trials.
Journals with high impact factors were more likely to mention trial registration.
We suggest, though, that ensuring trial registration is not the responsibility only of the editors. Medical scientists should realise that trial registration is necessary to contribute to transparency in research.
Strength and limitations of this study
Two authors independently assessed information regarding editorial advice about trial registration and identified the randomised controlled trials.
Potential bias occurred if registered randomised controlled trials were reported without giving a registration number and we could not identify them in the meta-search interface of WHO (International Clinical Trials Registry Platform).
Results might not be representative of the uro-nephrological field as a whole and reported figures may overestimate compliance with trial registration.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000430
PMCID: PMC3236819  PMID: 22146890
14.  Expression patterns of transcribed human endogenous retrovirus HERV-K(HML-2) loci in human tissues and the need for a HERV Transcriptome Project 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:354.
Background
A significant proportion of the human genome is comprised of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). HERV transcripts are found in every human tissue. Expression of proviruses of the HERV-K(HML-2) family has been associated with development of human tumors, in particular germ cell tumors (GCT). Very little is known about transcriptional activity of individual HML-2 loci in human tissues, though.
Results
By employing private nucleotide differences between loci, we assigned ~1500 HML-2 cDNAs to individual HML-2 loci, identifying, in total, 23 transcriptionally active HML-2 proviruses. Several loci are active in various human tissue types. Transcription levels of some HML-2 loci appear higher than those of other loci. Several HML-2 Rec-encoding loci are expressed in GCT and non-GCT tissues. A provirus on chromosome 22q11.21 appears strongly upregulated in pathologic GCT tissues and may explain high HML-2 Gag protein levels in GCTs. Presence of Gag and Env antibodies in GCT patients is not correlated with activation of individual loci. HML-2 proviruses previously reported capable of forming an infectious HML-2 variant are transcriptionally active in germ cell tissue. Our study furthermore shows that Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) data are insufficient to describe transcriptional activity of HML-2 and other HERV loci in tissues of interest.
Conclusion
Our, to date, largest-scale study reveals in greater detail expression patterns of individual HML-2 loci in human tissues of clinical interest. Moreover, large-scale, specialized studies are indicated to better comprehend transcriptional activity and regulation of HERVs. We thus emphasize the need for a specialized HERV Transcriptome Project.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-354
PMCID: PMC2525661  PMID: 18664271
15.  Antimicrobial peptides of the Cecropin-family show potent antitumor activity against bladder cancer cells 
BMC Urology  2008;8:5.
Background
This study evaluated the cytotoxic and antiproliferative efficacy of two well-characterized members of the Cecropin-family of antimicrobial peptides against bladder tumor cells and benign fibroblasts.
Methods
The antiproliferative and cytotoxic potential of the Cecropins A and B was quantified by colorimetric WST-1-, BrdU- and LDH-assays in four bladder cancer cell lines as well as in murine and human fibroblast cell lines. IC50 values were assessed by logarithmic extrapolation, representing the concentration at which cell viability was reduced by 50%. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was performed to visualize the morphological changes induced by Cecropin A and B in bladder tumor cells and fibroblasts.
Results
Cecropin A and B inhibit bladder cancer cell proliferation and viability in a dose-dependent fashion. The average IC50 values of Cecropin A and B against all bladder cancer cell lines ranged between 73.29 μg/ml and 220.05 μg/ml. In contrast, benign fibroblasts were significantly less or not at all susceptible to Cecropin A and B. Both Cecropins induced an increase in LDH release from bladder tumor cells whereas benign fibroblasts were not affected. SEM demonstrated lethal membrane disruption in bladder cancer cells as opposed to fibroblasts.
Conclusion
Cecropin A and B exert selective cytotoxic and antiproliferative efficacy in bladder cancer cells while sparing targets of benign murine or human fibroblast origin. Both peptides may offer novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of bladder cancer with limited cytotoxic effects on benign cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-2490-8-5
PMCID: PMC2276511  PMID: 18315881
16.  Detection of Novel Amplicons in Prostate Cancer by Comprehensive Genomic Profiling of Prostate Cancer Cell Lines Using Oligonucleotide-Based ArrayCGH 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(8):e769.
Background
The purpose of this study was to prove the feasibility of a longmer oligonucleotide microarray platform to profile gene copy number alterations in prostate cancer cell lines and to quickly indicate novel candidate genes, which may play a role in carcinogenesis.
Methods/Results and Findings
Genome-wide screening for regions of genetic gains and losses on nine prostate cancer cell lines (PC3, DU145, LNCaP, CWR22, and derived sublines) was carried out using comparative genomic hybridization on a 35,000 feature oligonucleotide microarray (arrayCGH). Compared to conventional chromosomal CGH, more deletions and small regions of gains, particularly in pericentromeric regions and regions next to the telomeres, were detected. As validation of the high-resolution of arrayCGH we further analyzed a small amplicon of 1.7 MB at 9p13.3, which was found in CWR22 and CWR22-Rv1. Increased copy number was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization using the BAC clone RP11-165H19 from the amplified region comprising the two genes interleukin 11 receptor alpha (IL11-RA) and dynactin 3 (DCTN3). Using quantitative real time PCR (qPCR) we could demonstrate that IL11-RA is the gene with the highest copy number gain in the cell lines compared to DCTN3 suggesting IL11-RA to be the amplification target. Screening of 20 primary prostate carcinomas by qPCR revealed an IL11-RA copy number gain in 75% of the tumors analyzed. Gain of DCTN3 was only found in two cases together with a gain of IL11-RA.
Conclusions/Significance
ArrayCGH using longmer oligonucleotide microarrays is feasible for high-resolution analysis of chomosomal imbalances. Characterization of a small gained region at 9p13.3 in prostate cancer cell lines and primary prostate cancer samples by fluorescence in situ hybridization and quantitative PCR has revealed interleukin 11 receptor alpha gene as a candidate target of amplification with an amplification frequency of 75% in prostate carcinomas. Frequent amplification of IL11-RA in prostate cancer is a potential mechanism of IL11-RA overexpression in this tumor type.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000769
PMCID: PMC1940319  PMID: 17712417
17.  Factor interaction analysis for chromosome 8 and DNA methylation alterations highlights innate immune response suppression and cytoskeletal changes in prostate cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2007;6:14.
Background
Alterations of chromosome 8 and hypomethylation of LINE-1 retrotransposons are common alterations in advanced prostate carcinoma. In a former study including many metastatic cases, they strongly correlated with each other. To elucidate a possible interaction between the two alterations, we investigated their relationship in less advanced prostate cancers.
Results
In 50 primary tumor tissues, no correlation was observed between chromosome 8 alterations determined by comparative genomic hybridization and LINE-1 hypomethylation measured by Southern blot hybridization. The discrepancy towards the former study, which had been dominated by advanced stage cases, suggests that both alterations converge and interact during prostate cancer progression. Therefore, interaction analysis was performed on microarray-based expression profiles of cancers harboring both alterations, only one, or none. Application of a novel bioinformatic method identified Gene Ontology (GO) groups related to innate immunity, cytoskeletal organization and cell adhesion as common targets of both alterations. Many genes targeted by their interaction were involved in type I and II interferon signaling and several were functionally related to hereditary prostate cancer genes. In addition, the interaction appeared to influence a switch in the expression pattern of EPB41L genes encoding 4.1 cytoskeleton proteins. Real-time RT-PCR revealed GADD45A, MX1, EPB41L3/DAL1, and FBLN1 as generally downregulated in prostate cancer, whereas HOXB13 and EPB41L4B were upregulated. TLR3 was downregulated in a subset of the cases and associated with recurrence. Downregulation of EPB41L3, but not of GADD45A, was associated with promoter hypermethylation, which was detected in 79% of carcinoma samples.
Conclusion
Alterations of chromosome 8 and DNA hypomethylation in prostate cancer probably do not cause each other, but converge during progression. The present analysis implicates their interaction in innate immune response suppression and cytoskeletal changes during prostate cancer progression. The study thus highlights novel mechanisms in prostate cancer progression and identifies novel candidate genes for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. In particular, TLR3 expression might be useful for prostate cancer prognosis and EPB41L3 hypermethylation for its detection.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-6-14
PMCID: PMC1797054  PMID: 17280610

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