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1.  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
2.  Loss of aquaporin 3 protein expression constitutes an independent prognostic factor for progression-free survival: an immunohistochemical study on stage pT1 urothelial bladder cancer 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:459.
Treatment of patients with stage pT1 urothelial bladder cancer (UBC) continues to be a challenge due to its unpredictable clinical course. Reliable molecular markers that help to determine appropriate individual treatment are still lacking. Loss of aquaporin (AQP) 3 protein expression has previously been shown in muscle-invasive UBC. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prognostic value of AQP3 protein expression with regard to the prognosis of stage pT1 UBC.
AQP 3 protein expression was investigated by immunohistochemistry in specimens of 87 stage T1 UBC patients, who were diagnosed by transurethral resection of the bladder (TURB) and subsequent second resection at a high-volume urological centre between 2002 and 2009. Patients underwent adjuvant instillation therapy with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG). Loss of AQP3 protein expression was defined as complete absence of the protein within the whole tumour. Expression status was correlated retrospectively with clinicopathological and follow-up data (median: 31 months). Multivariate Cox regression analysis was used to assess the value of AQP3 tumour expression with regard to recurrence-free (RFS), progression-free (PFS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS). RFS, PFS and CSS were calculated by Kaplan-Meier analysis and Log rank test.
59% of patients were shown to exhibit AQP3-positive tumours, whereas 41% of tumours did not express the marker. Loss of AQP3 protein expression was associated with a statistically significantly worse PFS (20% vs. 72%, p=0.020). This finding was confirmed by multivariate Cox regression analysis (HR 7.58, CI 1.29 – 44.68; p=0.025).
Loss of AQP3 protein expression in pT1 UBC appears to play a key role in disease progression and is associated with worse PFS. Considering its potential prognostic value, assessment of AQP3 protein expression could be used to help stratify the behavior of patients with pT1 UBC.
PMCID: PMC3517507  PMID: 23043286
Urothelial bladder carcinoma; Stage pT1; Aquaporin 3 protein; Immunohistochemistry; Progression
3.  A Seven-Marker Signature and Clinical Outcome in Malignant Melanoma: A Large-Scale Tissue-Microarray Study with Two Independent Patient Cohorts 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38222.
Current staging methods such as tumor thickness, ulceration and invasion of the sentinel node are known to be prognostic parameters in patients with malignant melanoma (MM). However, predictive molecular marker profiles for risk stratification and therapy optimization are not yet available for routine clinical assessment.
Methods and Findings
Using tissue microarrays, we retrospectively analyzed samples from 364 patients with primary MM. We investigated a panel of 70 immunohistochemical (IHC) antibodies for cell cycle, apoptosis, DNA mismatch repair, differentiation, proliferation, cell adhesion, signaling and metabolism. A marker selection procedure based on univariate Cox regression and multiple testing correction was employed to correlate the IHC expression data with the clinical follow-up (overall and recurrence-free survival). The model was thoroughly evaluated with two different cross validation experiments, a permutation test and a multivariate Cox regression analysis. In addition, the predictive power of the identified marker signature was validated on a second independent external test cohort (n = 225). A signature of seven biomarkers (Bax, Bcl-X, PTEN, COX-2, loss of β-Catenin, loss of MTAP, and presence of CD20 positive B-lymphocytes) was found to be an independent negative predictor for overall and recurrence-free survival in patients with MM. The seven-marker signature could also predict a high risk of disease recurrence in patients with localized primary MM stage pT1-2 (tumor thickness ≤2.00 mm). In particular, three of these markers (MTAP, COX-2, Bcl-X) were shown to offer direct therapeutic implications.
The seven-marker signature might serve as a prognostic tool enabling physicians to selectively triage, at the time of diagnosis, the subset of high recurrence risk stage I–II patients for adjuvant therapy. Selective treatment of those patients that are more likely to develop distant metastatic disease could potentially lower the burden of untreatable metastatic melanoma and revolutionize the therapeutic management of MM.
PMCID: PMC3369875  PMID: 22685558
4.  Alterations of global histone H4K20 methylation during prostate carcinogenesis 
BMC Urology  2012;12:5.
Global histone modifications have been implicated in the progression of various tumour entities. Our study was designed to assess global methylation levels of histone 4 lysine 20 (H4K20me1-3) at different stages of prostate cancer (PCA) carcinogenesis.
Global H4K20 methylation levels were evaluated using a tissue microarray in patients with clinically localized PCA (n = 113), non-malignant prostate disease (n = 27), metastatic hormone-naive PCA (mPCA, n = 30) and castration-resistant PCA (CRPC, n = 34). Immunohistochemistry was performed to assess global levels of H4K20 methylation levels.
Similar proportions of the normal, PCA, and mPCA prostate tissues showed strong H4K20me3 staining. CRPC tissue analysis showed the weakest immunostaining levels of H4K20me1 and H4K20me2, compared to other prostate tissues. H4K20me2 methylation levels indicated significant differences in examined tissues except for normal prostate versus PCA tissue. H4K20me1 differentiates CRPC from other prostate tissues. H4K20me1 was significantly correlated with lymph node metastases, and H4K20me2 showed a significant correlation with the Gleason score. However, H4K20 methylation levels failed to predict PSA recurrence after radical prostatectomy.
H4K20 methylation levels constitute valuable markers for the dynamic process of prostate cancer carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3323457  PMID: 22413846
Histone; Methylation; H4K20; Prostate cancer; Epigenetics
5.  Insulin-like growth factor II mRNA binding protein 3 (IMP3) is overexpressed in prostate cancer and correlates with higher Gleason scores 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:341.
The oncofetal protein insulin-like growth factor II mRNA binding protein 3 (IMP3) is an important factor for cell-migration and adhesion in malignancies. Recent studies have shown a remarkable overexpression of IMP3 in different human malignant neoplasms and also revealed it as an important prognostic marker in some tumor entities. To our knowledge, IMP3 expression has not been investigated in prostate carcinomas so far.
Immunohistochemical stainings for IMP3 were performed on tissue microarray (TMA) organized samples from 507 patients: 31 normal prostate tissues, 425 primary carcinomas and 51 prostate cancer metastases or castration-resistant prostate cancers (CRPC). IMP3 immunoreactivity was semiquantitatively scored and correlated with clinical-pathologic parameters including survival.
IMP3 is significantly stronger expressed in prostate carcinomas compared to normal prostate tissues (p < 0.0001), but did not show significant correlation with the pT-stage, the proliferation index (MIB1), preoperative serum PSA level and the margin status. Only a weak and slightly significant correlation was found with the Gleason score and IMP3 expression failed to show prognostic significance in clinico-pathological correlation-analyses.
Although IMP3 is overexpressed in a significant proportion of prostate cancer cases, which might be of importance for novel therapeutic approaches, it does not appear to possess any immediate diagnostic or prognostic value, limiting its potential as a tissue biomarker for prostate cancer. These results might be corroborated by the fact, that two independent tumor cohorts were separately reviewed.
PMCID: PMC2909208  PMID: 20591150

Results 1-5 (5)