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1.  HGUE-C-1 is an atypical and novel colon carcinoma cell line 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:240.
Colorectal carcinoma is a common cause of cancer. Adjuvant treatments include: 5-fluorouracil administered together with folinic acid, or more recently, oral fluoropyrimidines such as capecitabine, in combination with oxaliplatin or irinotecan. Metastatic colorectal cancer patients can benefit from other additional treatments such as cetuximab or bevacizumab.
Using cell culture techniques, we isolated clonal populations from primary cultures of ascitic effusion derived from a colon cancer patient and after several passages an established cell line, HGUE-C-1, was obtained. Genetic analysis of HGUE-C-1 cells was performed by PCR of selected exons and sequencing. Cell proliferation studies were performed by MTT assays and cell cycle analyses were performed by flow cytometry. Retinoblastoma activity was measured by luciferase assays and proteins levels and activity were analysed by Western blot or immunohistochemistry.
We have established a new cell line from ascitic efussion of a colon cancer patient who did not respond to 5-fluorouracil or irinotecan. HGUE-C-1 cells did not show microsatellite instability and did not harbour mutations in KRAS, BRAF, PI3KCA or TP53. However, these cells showed loss of heterozygosity affecting Adenomatous Polyposis Coli and nuclear staining of β-catenin protein. The HGUE-C-1 cell line was sensitive to erlotinib, gefitinib, NVP-BEZ235, rapamycin and trichostatin, among other drugs, but partially resistant to heat shock protein inhibitors and highly resistant to AZD-6244 and oxaliplatin, even though the patient from which this cell line was derived had not been exposed to these drugs. Molecular characterization of this cell line revealed low expression levels and activity of Retinoblastoma protein and elevated basal levels of Erk1/2 activity and p70S6K expression and activity, which may be related to chemoresistance mechanisms.
HGUE-C-1 represents a novel and peculiar colon carcinoma model to study chemoresistance to chemotherapeutic agents and to novel anti-neoplasic drugs that interrupt signalling pathways such as the APC/βcatenin, Ras/Raf/Mek/Erk, PI3K/mTOR/p70S6K pathways as well as histone regulation mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4394422  PMID: 25885658
Colon carcinoma; Cell line; Chemoresistance
2.  Resistance to Selumetinib (AZD6244) in Colorectal Cancer Cell Lines is Mediated by p70S6K and RPS6 Activation1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(10):845-860.
Selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886) is a MEK1/2 inhibitor that has gained interest as an anti-tumour agent. We have determined the degree of sensitivity/resistance to Selumetinib in a panel of colorectal cancer cell lines using cell proliferation and soft agar assays. Sensitive cell lines underwent G1 arrest, whereas Selumetinib had no effect on the cell cycle of resistant cells. Some of the resistant cell lines showed high levels of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the absence of serum. Selumetinib inhibited phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and RSK and had no effect on AKT phosphorylation in both sensitive and resistant cells. Furthermore, mutations in KRAS, BRAF, or PIK3CA were not clearly associated with Selumetinib resistance. Surprisingly, Selumetinib was able to inhibit phosphorylation of p70 S6 kinase (p70S6K) and its downstream target ribosomal protein S6 (RPS6) in sensitive cell lines. However, p70S6K and RPS6 phosphorylation remained unaffected or even increased in resistant cells. Moreover, in some of the resistant cell lines p70S6K and RPS6 were phosphorylated in the absence of serum. Interestingly, colorectal primary cultures derived from tumours excised to patients exhibited the same behaviour than established cell lines. Pharmacological inhibition of p70S6K using the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235, the specific mTOR inhibitor Rapamycin and the specific p70S6K inhibitor PF-4708671 potentiated Selumetinib effects in resistant cells. In addition, biological inhibition of p70S6K using siRNA rendered responsiveness to Selumetinib in resistant cell lines. Furthermore, combination of p70S6K silencing and PF-47086714 was even more effective. We can conclude that p70S6K and its downstream target RPS6 are potential biomarkers of resistance to Selumetinib in colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC4212257  PMID: 25379021
MEK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; ERK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase; p70S6K, p70 S6 kinase; RPS6, ribosomal protein S6; RSK, p90 ribosomal S6 kinase; CRC, colorectal cancer
3.  Effect of rosemary polyphenols on human colon cancer cells: transcriptomic profiling and functional enrichment analysis 
Genes & Nutrition  2012;8(1):43-60.
In this work, the effect of rosemary extracts rich on polyphenols obtained using pressurized fluids was investigated on the gene expression of human SW480 and HT29 colon cancer cells. The application of transcriptomic profiling and functional enrichment analysis was done via two computational approaches, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis. These two approaches were used for functional enrichment analysis as a previous step for a reliable interpretation of the data obtained from microarray analysis. Reverse transcription quantitative-PCR was used to confirm relative changes in mRNA levels of selected genes from microarrays. The selection of genes was based on their expression change, adjusted p value, and known biological function. According to genome-wide transcriptomics analysis, rosemary polyphenols altered the expression of ~4 % of the genes covered by the Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0ST chip in both colon cancer cells. However, only ~18 % of the differentially expressed genes were common to both cell lines, indicating markedly different expression profiles in response to the treatment. Differences in induction of G2/M arrest observed by rosemary polyphenols in the two colon adenocarcinoma cell lines suggest that the extract may be differentially effective against tumors with specific mutational pattern. From our results, it is also concluded that rosemary polyphenols induced a low degree of apoptosis indicating that other multiple signaling pathways may contribute to colon cancer cell death.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12263-012-0311-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3534995  PMID: 22923011
Colon cancer; Dietary polyphenols; Microarray; Nutrigenomics; Transcriptomics
4.  Dual regulation of P-glycoprotein expression by Trichostatin A in cancer cell lines 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:25.
It has been reported that the histone deacetylase inhibitor (iHDAc) trichostatin A (TSA) induces an increase in MDR1 gene transcription (ABCB1). This result would compromise the use of iHDACs in combination with other cytotoxic agents that are substrates of P-glycoprotein (Pgp). It has also been reported the use of alternative promoters by the ABCB1 gene and the existence of a translational control of Pgp protein. Finally, the ABCB1 gene is located in a genetic locus with the nested gene RUNDC3B in the complementary DNA strand, raising the possibility that RUNDC3B expression could interfere with ABCB1 alternative promoter regulation.
A combination of RT-PCR, real time RT-PCR, Western blot and drug accumulation assays by flow cytometry has been used in this study.
The iHDACs-induced increase in MDR1 mRNA levels is not followed by a subsequent increase in Pgp protein levels or activity in several pancreatic and colon carcinoma cell lines, suggesting a translational control of Pgp in these cell lines. In addition, the MDR1 mRNA produced in these cell lines is shorter in its 5′ end that the Pgp mRNA produced in cell lines expressing Pgp protein. The different size of the Pgp mRNA is due to the use of alternative promoters. We also demonstrate that these promoters are differentially regulated by TSA. The translational blockade of Pgp mRNA in the pancreatic carcinoma cell lines could be related to alterations in the 5′ end of the MDR1 mRNA in the Pgp protein expressing cell lines. In addition, we demonstrate that the ABCB1 nested gene RUNDC3B expression although upregulated by TSA is independent of the ABCB1 alternative promoter used.
The results show that the increase in MDR1 mRNA expression after iHDACs treatment is clinically irrelevant since this mRNA does not render an active Pgp protein, at least in colon and pancreatic cancer cell lines. Furthermore, we demonstrate that TSA in fact, regulates differentially both ABCB1 promoters, downregulating the upstream promoter that is responsible for active P-glycoprotein expression. These results suggest that iHDACs such as TSA may in fact potentiate the effects of antitumour drugs that are substrates of Pgp. Finally, we also demonstrate that TSA upregulates RUNDC3B mRNA independently of the ABCB1 promoter in use.
PMCID: PMC3441908  PMID: 22846052

Results 1-4 (4)