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1.  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
2.  MicroRNAs in Renal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnostic Implications of Serum miR-1233 Levels 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25787.
MicroRNA expression is altered in cancer cells, and microRNAs could serve as diagnostic/prognostic biomarker for cancer patients. Our study was designed to analyze circulating serum microRNAs in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
Methodology/Principal Findings
We first explored microRNA expression profiles in tissue and serum using TaqMan Low Density Arrays in each six malignant and benign samples: Although 109 microRNAs were circulating at higher levels in cancer patients' serum, we identified only 36 microRNAs with up-regulation in RCC tissue and serum of RCC patients. Seven candidate microRNAs were selected for verification based on the finding of up-regulation in serum and tissue of RCC patients: miR-7-1*, miR-93, miR-106b*, miR-210, miR-320b, miR-1233 and miR-1290 levels in serum of healthy controls (n = 30) and RCC (n = 33) patients were determined using quantitative real-time PCR (TaqMan MicroRNA Assays). miR-1233 was increased in RCC patients, and thus validated in a multicentre cohort of 84 RCC patients and 93 healthy controls using quantitative real-time PCR (sensitivity 77.4%, specificity 37.6%, AUC 0.588). We also studied 13 samples of patients with angiomyolipoma or oncocytoma, whose serum miR-1233 levels were similar to RCC patients. Circulating microRNAs were not correlated with clinical-pathological parameters.
MicroRNA levels are distinctly increased in cancer patients, although only a small subset of circulating microRNAs has a tumor-specific origin. We identify circulating miR-1233 as a potential biomarker for RCC patients. Larger-scaled studies are warranted to fully explore the role of circulating microRNAs in RCC.
PMCID: PMC3184173  PMID: 21984948
3.  Telomerase-pulsed dendritic cells: preclinical results and outcome of a clinical phase I/II trial in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma 
Objective: Therapeutic vaccination with dendritic cells (DC) showed promising results in first clinical trials in cases of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) could be a potential target because it is detectable in more than 85% of human tumors including RCC.
Design: 10 patients with progressive metastatic RCC were enrolled in a clinical phase I/II trial using DC pulsed with hTERT-peptide. Beside toxicity and feasibility aspects, a complex immune monitoring including in vitro data were evaluated. In addition to detection of tumor-specific effector cells we investigated their functionality like IFN-γ secretion and cytotoxic activity against tumor cells.
Results: The vaccine was well tolerated. Two patients showed a mixed response (MR) and one patient a stable disease (SD). Interestingly, responders showed cytotoxic activity already before start of therapy and there was a significant increase in cytotoxic activity of effector cells from all responders (SD and MR patients) after the first vaccination. In contrast non-responders showed no cytotoxic activity before and during treatment. Therefore, cytotoxic activity might be used as a predictive marker in the future. Tetramer staining detected higher amounts of tumor-specific cytotoxic cells in responding patients compared to non-responders. Also, responders possessed increasing amounts of IFN-γ producing immunological effector cells.
Conclusion: Telomerase-pulsed DC could enhance a tumor-specific immune response against RCC.
PMCID: PMC2703216  PMID: 19675693
dendritic cell vaccination; telomerase; immunotherapy; renal cancer; T-cell responses

Results 1-3 (3)