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1.  Trends in incidence and mortality of nasopharyngeal carcinoma over a 20–25 year period (1978/1983–2002) in Sihui and Cangwu counties in southern China 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:178.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a rare malignancy in most parts of the world but is common in southern China. A recent report from the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, a high-risk area for NPC in southern China, showed that incidence rate decreased by 29% for males and by 30% for females from 1980–1999, while mortality rate decreased by 43% for males and 50% for females. Changing environmental risk factors and improvements in diagnosis and treatment were speculated to be the major factors contributing to the downward trend of the incidence and mortality rates of NPC. To investigate the secular trends in different Cantonese populations with different socio-economic backgrounds and lifestyles, we report the incidences and mortality rates from two population-based cancer registries in Sihui and Cangwu counties from 1978–2002.
Incidence and mortality rates were aggregated by 5-year age groups and 5 calendar years. To adjust for the effect of difference in age composition for different periods, the total and age-specific rates of NPC incidence and mortality rate were adjusted by direct standardization according to the World Standard Population (1960). The Estimated Annual Percentage Change (EAPC) was used as an estimate of the trend.
The incidence rate of NPC has remained stable during the recent two decades in Sihui and in females in Cangwu, with a slight increase observed in males in Cangwu from 17.81 to 19.76 per 100,000. The incidence rate in Sihui is 1.4–2.0 times higher during the corresponding years than in Cangwu, even though the residents of both areas are of Cantonese ethnicity. A progressive decline in mortality rate was observed in females only in Sihui, with an average reduction of 6.3% (p = 0.016) per five-year period.
To summarize, there is great potential to work in the area of NPC prevention and treatment in southern China to decrease NPC risk and improve survival risk rates in order to reduce M:I ratios. Future efforts on effective prevention, early detection and treatment strategies were also discussed in this paper. Furthermore, the data quality and completeness also need to be improved.
PMCID: PMC1557527  PMID: 16822324
2.  Genome-wide association analyses identify three new susceptibility loci for primary angle closure glaucoma 
Vithana, Eranga N | Khor, Chiea-Chuen | Qiao, Chunyan | Nongpiur, Monisha E | George, Ronnie | Chen, Li-Jia | Do, Tan | Abu-Amero, Khaled | Huang, Chor Kai | Low, Sancy | Tajudin, Liza-Sharmini A | Perera, Shamira A | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Xu, Liang | Jia, Hongyan | Ho, Ching-Lin | Sim, Kar Seng | Wu, Ren-Yi | Tham, Clement C Y | Chew, Paul T K | Su, Daniel H | Oen, Francis T | Sarangapani, Sripriya | Soumittra, Nagaswamy | Osman, Essam A | Wong, Hon-Tym | Tang, Guangxian | Fan, Sujie | Meng, Hailin | Huong, Dao T L | Wang, Hua | Feng, Bo | Baskaran, Mani | Shantha, Balekudaru | Ramprasad, Vedam L | Kumaramanickavel, Govindasamy | Iyengar, Sudha K | How, Alicia C | Lee, Kelvin Y | Sivakumaran, Theru A | Yong, Victor H K | Ting, Serena M L | Li, Yang | Wang, Ya-Xing | Tay, Wan-Ting | Sim, Xueling | Lavanya, Raghavan | Cornes, Belinda K | Zheng, Ying-Feng | Wong, Tina T | Loon, Seng-Chee | Yong, Vernon K Y | Waseem, Naushin | Yaakub, Azhany | Chia, Kee-Seng | Allingham, R Rand | Hauser, Michael A | Lam, Dennis S C | Hibberd, Martin L | Bhattacharya, Shomi S | Zhang, Mingzhi | Teo, Yik Ying | Tan, Donald T | Jonas, Jost B | Tai, E-Shyong | Saw, Seang-Mei | Hon, Do Nhu | Al-Obeidan, Saleh A | Liu, Jianjun | Chau, Tran Nguyen Bich | Simmons, Cameron P | Bei, Jin-Xin | Zeng, Yi-Xin | Foster, Paul J | Vijaya, Lingam | Wong, Tien-Yin | Pang, Chi-Pui | Wang, Ningli | Aung, Tin
Nature genetics  2012;44(10):1142-1146.
Primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) is a major cause of blindness worldwide. We conducted a genome-wide association study including 1,854 PACG cases and 9,608 controls across 5 sample collections in Asia. Replication experiments were conducted in 1,917 PACG cases and 8,943 controls collected from a further 6 sample collections. We report significant associations at three new loci: rs11024102 in PLEKHA7 (per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.22; P = 5.33 × 10−12), rs3753841 in COL11A1 (per-allele OR = 1.20; P = 9.22 × 10−10) and rs1015213 located between PCMTD1 and ST18 on chromosome 8q (per-allele OR = 1.50; P = 3.29 × 10−9). Our findings, accumulated across these independent worldwide collections, suggest possible mechanisms explaining the pathogenesis of PACG.
PMCID: PMC4333205  PMID: 22922875
3.  Disrupting the Interaction of BRD4 with Di-acetylated Twist Suppresses Tumorigenesis in Basal-like Breast Cancer 
Cancer cell  2014;25(2):210-225.
Twist is a key transcription activator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). It remains unclear how Twist induces gene expression. Here we reported a mechanism by which Twist recruits BRD4 to direct WNT5A expression in basal-like breast cancer (BLBC). Twist contains a “histone H4 mimic” GK-X-GK motif that is di-acetylated by Tip60. The di-acetylated Twist binds the second bromodomain of BRD4, whose first bromodomain interacts with acetylated H4, thereby constructs an activated Twist/BRD4/P-TEFb/RNA-PolII complex at the WNT5A promoter and enhancer. Pharmacologic inhibition of the Twist-BRD4 association reduced WNT5A expression and suppressed invasion, cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties, and tumorigenicity of BLBC cells. Our study indicates that the interaction with BRD4 is critical for the oncogenic function of Twist in BLBC.
PMCID: PMC4004960  PMID: 24525235
4.  A Comparison between the Sixth and Seventh Editions of the UICC/AJCC Staging System for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in a Chinese Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116261.
The International Union Against Cancer/American Joint Committee on Cancer (UICC/AJCC) TNM staging system of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is the most important system for survival prediction. The TNM 7th edition UICC/AJCC TNM staging system for NPC was adopted in January 2009, and is now internationally recommended. In comparison with the TNM 6th edition, there were several revisions in the new edition staging system. This study aims to evaluate the prognostic value of the TNM 7th edition for NPC patients in comparison with the TNM 6th edition.
Clinical data of 2,629 NPC patients from the Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center between January 2006 and December 2010 were retrospectively collected and all the patients were restaged according to the criteria of the TNM 6th edition and TNM 7th edition UICC/AJCC staging manual. Univariate and multivariate COX proportional hazards analyses were applied to evaluate the prognostic values between adjacent stage categories of the TNM 6th edition and TNM 7th edition.
In comparison with the TNM 6th edition, a significant alteration of the distribution of N categories was observed when the TNM 7th edition was applied (χ2 = 20.589, P<0.001), with 119 (119/670, 17.8%) patients up-staging from N0 to N1. With regard to T and overall stage, 37 (37/561, 6.6%) patients were down-staged from T2a with the TNM 6th edition to T1 with the TNM 7th edition, and finally two patients were up-staged to overall stage II (2/118, 1.7%). Moreover, the survival curves were significantly segregated (P<0.05) between T1 and T2 as well as N1 and N2 with the TNM 7th edition.
The TNM 7th edition led to a significant alteration in the distribution of N categories and it is superior to the TNM 6th edition in predicting the frequency of overall survival and distant metastasis-free survival.
PMCID: PMC4275293  PMID: 25536307
5.  Large-scale genetic study in East Asians identifies six new loci associated with colorectal cancer risk 
Nature genetics  2014;46(6):533-542.
Known genetic loci explain only a small proportion of the familial relative risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). We conducted the largest genome-wide association study in East Asians with 14,963 CRC cases and 31,945 controls and identified six new loci associated with CRC risk (P = 3.42 × 10−8 to 9.22 × 10−21) at 10q22.3, 10q25.2, 11q12.2, 12p13.31, 17p13.3 and 19q13.2. Two of these loci map to genes (TCF7L2 and TGFB1) with established roles in colorectal tumorigenesis. Four other loci are located in or near genes involved in transcription regulation (ZMIZ1), genome maintenance (FEN1), fatty acid metabolism (FADS1 and FADS2), cancer cell motility and metastasis (CD9) and cell growth and differentiation (NXN). We also found suggestive evidence for three additional loci associated with CRC risk near genome-wide significance at 8q24.11, 10q21.1 and 10q24.2. Furthermore, we replicated 22 previously reported CRC loci. Our study provides insights into the genetic basis of CRC and suggests new biological pathways.
PMCID: PMC4068797  PMID: 24836286
6.  Tea Consumption and Mortality Among Oldest-Old Chinese 
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society  2013;61(11):10.1111/jgs.12498.
To investigate the association between tea consumption and mortality among oldest-old Chinese.
Population-based longitudinal data from The Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) was analyzed using Cox semi-parametric proportional hazard model.
631 randomly selected counties and cities of China’s 22 provinces.
9,093 old adults aged 80 and above who provided complete data at baseline survey (year 1998).
Self-reported current frequency of tea drinking and past frequency around age 60 were ascertained at baseline survey, and follow-up survey was conducted respectively in years 2000, 2002 and 2005.
Among oldest-old Chinese, tea consumption was associated with reduced risk of mortality after adjusting for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, health practices, and health status. Compared with non-tea drinkers, the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) was 0.90 (95% CI 0.84–0.96) for daily tea drinkers (at the baseline survey, 1998) and 1.00 (95% CI 1.01–1.07) for occasional tea drinkers respectively (P for linear trend=0.003). Similar results were found when tea drinking status around age 60 was used in analysis. Further analysis showed that compared to consistently infrequent tea drinkers, subjects who reported frequent tea drinking at both age 60 and at baseline survey had a 10% reduction in mortality (HR=0.90, 95%CI 0.84–0.97).
Tea consumption is associated reduced risk of mortality among oldest-old Chinese.
PMCID: PMC3830687  PMID: 24117374
Tea; Oldest-old Chinese; mortality; longitudinal study
7.  Inhibition of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Lytic Replication by HIV-1 Nef and Cellular MicroRNA hsa-miR-1258 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(9):4987-5000.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is causally linked to several AIDS-related malignancies, including Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), and multicentric Castleman's disease. The interaction of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and KSHV has a central role in promoting the aggressive manifestations of AIDS-KS. We have previously shown that negative factor (Nef), a secreted HIV-1 protein, synergizes with KSHV viral interleukin-6 (vIL-6) to promote angiogenesis and tumorigenesis by activating the AKT pathway (X. Zhu, et al., Oncogene, 22 April 2013, Here, we further demonstrated the role of soluble and ectopic Nef in the regulation of KSHV latency. We found that both soluble Nef protein and ectopic expression of Nef by transfection suppressed the expression of KSHV viral lytic mRNA transcripts and proteins and the production of infectious viral particles. MicroRNA (miRNA) microarray analysis identified a number of Nef-regulated miRNAs. Bioinformatics and luciferase reporter analyses showed that one of the Nef-upregulated miRNAs, cellular miRNA 1258 (hsa-miR-1258), directly targeted a seed sequence in the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the mRNA encoding the major lytic switch protein (RTA), which controls KSHV reactivation from latency. Ectopic expression of hsa-miR-1258 impaired RTA synthesis and enhanced Nef-mediated inhibition of KSHV replication, whereas repression of hsa-miR-1258 has the opposite effect. Mutation of the seed sequence in the RTA 3′UTR abolished downregulation of RTA by hsa-miR-1258. Collectively, these novel findings demonstrate that, by regulating cellular miRNA, Nef may inhibit KSHV replication to promote viral latency and contribute to the pathogenesis of AIDS-related malignancies.
IMPORTANCE This study found that Nef, a secreted HIV-1 protein, suppressed KSHV lytic replication to promote KSHV latency. Mechanistic studies indicated that a Nef-upregulated cellular miRNA, hsa-miR-1258, inhibits KSHV replication by directly targeting a seed sequence in the KSHV RTA 3′UTR. These results illustrate that, in addition to viral miRNAs, cellular miRNAs also play an important role in regulating the life cycle of KSHV. Overall, this is the first study to report the involvement of Nef in KSHV latency, implying its likely important role in the pathogenesis of AIDS-related malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3993842  PMID: 24554664
8.  Extended Fixed Attribute Dynamics Method and an Illustrative Application in Bio-demographic-genetic Analysis on Longevity 
This chapter presents and discuss the extended Fixed Attributes Dynamics (FAD) method to estimate the independent effect of a genetic variant (or other fixed attribute) in the absence of another relevant genetic variant (or another relevant fixed attribute), the joint effects when both are present and the effects of interactions between them. We present an illustrative application of the extended FAD method for estimating the general, independent and joint effects of the FOXO genotypes on longevity, based on the genotypic data of 760 centenarians from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, and the 1,060 middle-age controls. We also discuss the strengths and limitations of the FAD method.
PMCID: PMC4191865  PMID: 25309014
Fixed Attributes Dynamics method; Bio-demographic analysis; FOXO genes; G×G and G×E interactions; longevity
9.  Inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A with a small molecule LB100 radiosensitizes nasopharyngeal carcinoma xenografts by inducing mitotic catastrophe and blocking DNA damage repair 
Oncotarget  2014;5(17):7512-7524.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), while uncommon worldwide, is a major health problem in China. Although local radiation and surgery provide good control of NPC, better treatments that permit reductions in radiation dosing are needed. Inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a ubiquitous multifunctional enzyme with critical roles in cell cycle regulation and DNA-damage response, reportedly sensitizes cancer cells to radiation and chemotherapy. We studied PP2A inhibition with LB100, a small molecule currently in a Phase I clinical trial, on radiosensitization of two human nasopharyngeal cell lines: CNE1, which is reportedly radioresistant, and CNE2. In both cell lines, LB100 exposure increased intracellular p-Plk1, TCTP, and Cdk1 and decreased p53, changes associated with cell cycle arrest, mitotic catastrophe and radio-inhibition of cell proliferation. Mice bearing subcutaneous xenografts of either cell line were administered 1.5 mg/kg LB100 daily for three days and a single dose of 20 Gy radiation (day 3), which produced marked and prolonged tumor mass regression (dose enhancement factors of 2.98 and 2.27 for CNE1 and CNE2 xenografts, respectively). Treatment with either LB100 or radiation alone only transiently inhibited xenograft growth. Our results support further exploration of PP2A inhibition as part of radiotherapy regimens for NPC and potentially other solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC4202140  PMID: 25245035
LB100; Radiosensitization; Protein phosphatase 2A; Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
10.  TALEN-mediated Nanog disruption results in less invasiveness, more chemosensitivity and reversal of EMT in Hela cells 
Oncotarget  2014;5(18):8393-8401.
Emerging evidence suggests that Nanog is involved in cervical tumorigenesis. However, the regulating role of Nanog in tumorigenesis and chemosensitivity are still poorly understood. In this study, Nanog was disrupted by transcription activatorlike effector nucleases (TALEN) in Hela cells and its expression was significantly decreased in a single-cell derived sub-clone with biallelic mutations. The disruption of Nanog not only induced down regulation of some other core transcription factor genes for cell self-renewal, such as Oct4, Sox2 and FoxD3, but also led to the down regulation of some mesenchymal representative genes, vimentin and N-adherin, and up regulation of the epithelial gene, E-cadherin. In addition, the invasiveness and clonogenicity of the Hela cells were obviously affected, and surprisingly their sensitivities to anti-cancer drugs were also significantly increased in vitro. After Xenograft into nude mice, the growth volumes of the neoplasms from the Nanog disrupted Hela cells were significantly smaller compared with those from wild type ones. In conclusion, these results suggest that disruption of Nanog may reverse the status of epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which is critical in tumorigenesis, and alleviate chemoresistance, as well as their invasiveness, in cervical cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4226691  PMID: 25245189
Nanog; Hela cell; cervical cancer cell; TALEN; epithelial-mesenchymal transition
11.  SLIT/ROBO2 Signaling Promotes Mammary Stem Cell Senescence by Inhibiting Wnt Signaling 
Stem Cell Reports  2014;3(3):385-393.
WNT signaling stimulates the self-renewal of many types of adult stem cells, including mammary stem cells (MaSCs), but mechanisms that limit this activity are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that SLIT2 restricts stem cell renewal by signaling through ROBO2 in a subset of basal cells to negatively regulate WNT signaling. The absence of SLIT/ROBO2 signaling leads to increased levels of nuclear β-catenin. Robo2 loss does not increase the number of stem cells; instead, stem cell renewal is enhanced in the absence of SLIT/ROBO2 signaling. This is due to repressed expression of p16INK4a, which, in turn, delays MaSC senescence. Together, our studies support a model in which SLITs restrict the expansion of MaSCs by countering the activity of WNTs and limiting self-renewal.
Graphical Abstract
•SLIT2 opposes WNT signaling to act as a mammary stem cell nonrenewal factor•SLIT/ROBO2 signaling increases p16INK4a expression, promoting cellular senescence•Loss of SLIT/ROBO2 signaling enhances mammary gland serial transplantability
In this article, Hinck and colleagues show that SLIT2 restricts stem cell renewal by signaling through ROBO2 and opposing WNT signaling. This results in increased expression of p16INK4a, promoting cellular senescence.
PMCID: PMC4266005  PMID: 25241737
12.  Evaluation and Integration of Genetic Signature for Prediction Risk of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in Southern China 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:434072.
Genetic factors, as well as environmental factors, play a role in development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). A number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been reported to be associated with NPC. To confirm these genetic associations with NPC, two independent case-control studies from Southern China comprising 1166 NPC cases and 2340 controls were conducted. Seven SNPs in ITGA9 at 3p21.3 and 9 SNPs within the 6p21.3 HLA region were genotyped. To explore the potential clinical application of these genetic markers in NPC, we further evaluate the predictive/diagnostic role of significant SNPs by calculating the area under the curve (AUC). Results. The reported associations between ITGA9 variants and NPC were not replicated. Multiple loci of GABBR1, HLA-F, HLA-A, and HCG9 were statistically significant in both cohorts (Pcombined range from 5.96 × 10−17 to 0.02). We show for the first time that these factors influence NPC development independent of environmental risk factors. This study also indicated that the SNP alone cannot serve as a predictive/diagnostic marker for NPC. Integrating the most significant SNP with IgA antibodies status to EBV, which is presently used as screening/diagnostic marker for NPC in Chinese populations, did not improve the AUC estimate for diagnosis of NPC.
PMCID: PMC4142549  PMID: 25180181
13.  Real-time Metabolomics on Living Microorganisms Using Ambient Electrospray Ionization Flow-Probe 
Analytical chemistry  2013;85(15):7014-7018.
Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi produce a variety of specialized metabolites that are invaluable for agriculture, biological research, and drug discovery. However, the screening of microbial metabolic output is usually a time intensive task. Here we utilize a liquid micro-junction surface sampling probe for electrospray ionization mass spectrometry to extract and ionize metabolite mixtures directly from living microbial colonies grown on soft nutrient agar in Petri-dishes without any sample pre-treatment. To demonstrate the method is robust, this technique was applied to observe the metabolic output of more than 30 microorganisms, including yeast, filamentous fungi, pathogens, and marine-derived bacteria, that were collected worldwide. Diverse natural products produced from different microbes, including Streptomyces coelicolor, Bacillus subtilis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are further characterized.
PMCID: PMC3890442  PMID: 23819546
15.  Neural pathway prediction based on multi-neuron spike train data 
BMC Neuroscience  2014;15(Suppl 1):P6.
PMCID: PMC4126519
16.  Neural spike prediction based on spreading activation 
BMC Neuroscience  2014;15(Suppl 1):P7.
PMCID: PMC4126541
17.  Tumor-derived exosomes promote tumor progression and T-cell dysfunction through the regulation of enriched exosomal microRNAs in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(14):5439-5452.
Tumor-derived exosomes contain biologically active proteins and messenger and microRNAs (miRNAs). These particles serve as vehicles of intercellular communication and are emerging mediators of tumorigenesis and immune escape. Here, we isolated 30-100 nm exosomes from the serum of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) or the supernatant of TW03 cells. Increased circulating exosome concentrations were correlated with advanced lymphoid node stage and poor prognosis in NPC patients (P < 0.05). TW03-derived exosomes impaired T-cell function by inhibiting T-cell proliferation and Th1 and Th17 differentiation and promoting Treg induction by NPC cells in vitro. These results are associated with decreases in ERK, STAT1, and STAT3 phosphorylation and increases in STAT5 phosphorylation in exosome-stimulated T-cells. TW03-derived exosomes increased the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 but decreased IFNγ, IL-2, and IL-17 release from CD4+ or CD8+ T-cells. Furthermore, five commonly over-expressed miRNAs were identified in the exosomes from patient sera or NPC cells: hsa-miR-24-3p, hsa-miR-891a, hsa-miR-106a-5p, hsa-miR-20a-5p, and hsa-miR-1908. These over-expressed miRNA clusters down-regulated the MARK1 signaling pathway to alter cell proliferation and differentiation. Overall, these observations reveal the clinical relevance and prognostic value of tumor-derived exosomes and identify a unique intercellular mechanism mediated by tumor-derived exosomes to modulate T-cell function in NPC.
PMCID: PMC4170615  PMID: 24978137
exosomes; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; tumor microenvironment
18.  Monoacylglycerol lipase promotes metastases in nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) is a serine hydrolase that hydrolyzes monoacylglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerol. It has recently been found to be involved in cancer progression through the free fatty acid or endocannabinoid network after studies on its function in the endocannabinoid system. Here, we determined a role for MAGL in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), which is known for its high metastatic potential. Among the different NPC cells we tested, MAGL was highly expressed in high metastatic NPC cells, whereas low metastatic potential NPC cells exhibited lower expression of MAGL. Overexpression of MAGL in low metastatic NPC cells enhanced their motile behavior and metastatic capacity in vivo. Conversely, knockdown of MAGL reduced the motility of highly metastatic cells, reducing their metastatic capacity in vivo. Growth rate was not influenced by MAGL in either high or low metastatic cells. MAGL expression was associated with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) proteins, such as E-cadherin, vimentin and Snail. It was also related to the sidepopulation (SP) of NPC cells. Our findings establish that MAGL promotes metastases in NPC through EMT, and it may serve as a target for the prevention of NPC metastases.
PMCID: PMC4128981  PMID: 25120746
MAGL; metastases; nasopharyngeal carcinoma
19.  Increased HIF-1alpha expression in tumor cells and lymphocytes of tumor microenvironments predicts unfavorable survival in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients 
The expression of hypoxia-induced factor (HIF)-1α is up-regulated in tumor microenvironments under hypoxia condition. However, the prognostic significance of HIF-1α in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is still elusive. We measured the HIF-1α expression by immunochemistry in tumor specimens from 136 resected ESCC; in the current study, the HIF-1α expression in tumor cells was significantly associated with tumor stage (P = 0.003) and lymph node metastasis (P = 0.006); whereas the HIF-1α expression in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) had no relationship with patients’ clinicopathological parameters. Patients with high HIF-1α expression in tumor cells or in TILs showed worse survival related to those with low HIF-1α expression. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that expression of HIF-1α in TILs was an independent factor for DFS (P = 0.007) and OS (P = 0.013). Additionally, the expression of HIF-1α in tumor cells was an independent factor for DFS (P = 0.037) and OS (P = 0.033) in locoregional ESCC patients, whereas the expression of HIF-1α in TILs was an independent factor for DFS (P = 0.048) and OS (P = 0.039) in metastatic ESCC patients. Correlation analysis revealed that expressions of HIF-1α in tumor cells and in TILs were positively correlated, and patients with combined high HIF-1α in both tumor cells and TILs had the worst survivals (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that the HIF-1α expressions in different cell populations of ESCC microenvironments have different clinical relevance and prognostic impact on patients.
PMCID: PMC4129000  PMID: 25120765
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; HIF-1α; tumor microenvironments; clinical prognosis; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
20.  Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Infection in Chinese Children: A Retrospective Study of Age-Specific Prevalence 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99857.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is a globally prevalent herpesvirus associated with infectious mononucleosis and many malignancies. The survey on EBV prevalence appears to be important to study EBV-related diseases and determine when to administer prophylactic vaccine. The purpose of this retrospective study was to collect baseline information about the prevalence of EBV infection in Chinese children.
Methodology/Principal Finding
We collected 1778 serum samples from healthy children aged 0 to 10, who were enrolled in conventional health and nutrition examinations without any EBV-related symptom in 2012 and 2013 in North China (n = 973) and South China (n = 805). We detected four EBV-specific antibodies, i.e., anti-VCA-IgG and IgM, anti-EBNA-IgG and anti-EA-IgG, by ELISA, representing all of the phases of EBV infection. The overall EBV seroprevalence in samples from North and South China were 80.78% and 79.38% respectively. The EBV seropositivity rates dropped slightly at age 2, and then increased gradually with age. The seroprevalence became stabilized at over 90% after age 8. In this study, the seroprevalence trends between North and South China showed no difference (P>0.05), and the trends of average antibody concentrations were similar as well (P>0.05).
EBV seroprevalence became more than 50% before age 3 in Chinese children, and exceed 90% after age 8. This study can be helpful to study the relationship between EBV and EBV-associated diseases, and supportive to EBV vaccine development and implementation.
PMCID: PMC4051769  PMID: 24914816
21.  c-Ski Inhibits Autophagy of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Induced by oxLDL and PDGF 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98902.
Autophagy is increasingly being recognized as a critical determinant of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) biology. Previously, we have demonstrated that c-Ski inhibits VSMC proliferation stimulated by transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), but it is not clear whether c-Ski has the similar protective role against other vascular injury factors and whether regulation of autophagy is involved in its protective effects on VSMC. Accordingly, in this study, rat aortic A10 VSMCs were treated with 40 µg/ml oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) or 20 ng/ml platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), both of which were autophagy inducers and closely related to the abnormal proliferation of VSMCs. Overexpression of c-Ski in A10 cells significantly suppressed the oxLDL- and PDGF- induced autophagy. This action of c-Ski resulted in inhibiting the cell proliferation, the decrease of contractile phenotype marker α-SMA expression while the increase of synthetic phenotype marker osteopontin expression stimulated by oxLDL or PDGF. Inversely, knockdown of c-Ski by RNAi enhanced the stimulatory effects of oxLDL or PDGF on A10 cell growth and phenotype transition. And further investigation found that inhibition of AKT phosphorylation to downregulate proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression, was involved in the regulation of autophagy and associated functions by c-Ski in the oxLDL- and PDGF-stimulated VSMCs. Collectively, c-Ski may play an important role in inhibiting autophagy to protect VSMCs against some harsh stress including oxLDL and PDGF.
PMCID: PMC4041777  PMID: 24887307
22.  Household and Living Arrangement Projections at the Subnational Level: An Extended Cohort-Component Approach 
Demography  2013;50(3):10.1007/s13524-012-0171-3.
This article presents the core methodological ideas, empirical assessments, and applications of an extended cohort-component approach (known as the “ProFamy model”) to simultaneously project household composition, living arrangements, and population sizes at the subnational level in the United States. Comparisons of projections from 1990 to 2000 using this approach with census counts in 2000 for each of the 50 states and Washington, DC show that 68.0 %, 17.0 %, 11.2 %, and 3.8 % of the absolute percentage errors are <3.0 %, 3.0 % to 4.99 %, 5.0 % to 9.99 %, and ≥10.0 %, respectively. Another analysis compares average forecast errors between the extended cohort-component approach and the still widely used classic headship-rate method, by projecting number-of-bedrooms–specific housing demands from 1990 to 2000 and then comparing those projections with census counts in 2000 for each of the 50 states and Washington, DC. The results demonstrate that, compared with the extended cohort-component approach, the headship-rate method produces substantially more serious forecast errors because it cannot project households by size while the extended cohort-component approach projects detailed household sizes. We also present illustrative household and living arrangement projections for the five decades from 2000 to 2050, with medium-, small-, and large-family scenarios for each of the 50 states; Washington, DC; six counties of southern California, and the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. Among many interesting numerical outcomes of household and living arrangement projections with medium, low, and high bounds, the aging of American households over the next few decades across all states/areas is particularly striking. Finally, the limitations of the present study and potential future lines of research are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3622161  PMID: 23208782
Household and living arrangement projections; Cohort-component approach; Subnational projections; Aging of households; Forecast errors
23.  Weighted Risk Score-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction to Detect Gene-Gene Interactions in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
Determining the complex relationships between diseases, polymorphisms in human genes and environmental factors is challenging. Multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) has been proven to be capable of effectively detecting the statistical patterns of epistasis, although classification accuracy is required for this approach. The imbalanced dataset can cause seriously negative effects on classification accuracy. Moreover, MDR methods cannot quantitatively assess the disease risk of genotype combinations. Hence, we introduce a novel weighted risk score-based multifactor dimensionality reduction (WRSMDR) method that uses the Bayesian posterior probability of polymorphism combinations as a new quantitative measure of disease risk. First, we compared the WRSMDR to the MDR method in simulated datasets. Our results showed that the WRSMDR method had reasonable power to identify high-order gene-gene interactions, and it was more effective than MDR at detecting four-locus models. Moreover, WRSMDR reveals more information regarding the effect of genotype combination on the disease risk, and the result was easier to determine and apply than with MDR. Finally, we applied WRSMDR to a nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) case-control study and identified a statistically significant high-order interaction among three polymorphisms: rs2860580, rs11865086 and rs2305806.
PMCID: PMC4100176  PMID: 24933637
gene-gene interaction; weighted risk score; multifactor dimensionality reduction; nasopharyngeal carcinoma
24.  Hemodynamic effects of various support modes of continuous flow LVADs on the cardiovascular system: A numerical study 
The aim of this study was to determine the hemodynamic effects of various support modes of continuous flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) on the cardiovascular system using a numerical cardiovascular system model.
Three support modes were selected for controlling the CF-LVAD: constant flow mode, constant speed mode, and constant pressure head mode of CF-LVAD. The CF-LVAD is established between the left ventricular apex and the ascending aorta, and was incorporated into the numerical model. Various parameters were evaluated, including the blood assist index (BAI), the left ventricular external work (LVEW), the energy of blood flow (EBF), pulsatility index (PI), and surplus hemodynamic energy (SHE).
The results show that the constant flow mode, when compared to the constant speed mode and the constant pressure head mode, increases LVEW by 31% and 14%, and EBF by 21% and 15%, respectively, indicating that this mode achieved the best ventricular unloading among the 3 support modes. As BAI is increased, PI and SHE are gradually decreased, whereas PI of the constant pressure head reaches the maximum value.
The study demonstrates that the continuous flow control mode of the CF-LVAD may achieve the highest ventricular unloading. In contrast, the constant rotational speed mode permits the optimal blood perfusion. Finally, the constant pressure head strategy, permitting optimal pulsatility, should optimize the vascular function.
PMCID: PMC4020910  PMID: 24793178
Blood Flow Velocity; Heart Failure; Ventricular Function; Left
25.  Targeting the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C)- bromodomain containing 7 (BRD7) pathway for human osteosarcoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(10):3088-3100.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignant bone tumor in childhood and adolescence and has a propensity for local invasion and early lung metastasis. However, the current therapies often result in chemoresistance, and a therapeutic target is not available in the clinic for osteosarcoma. Here, we report that BRD7 forms a complex with the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) and is degraded by APC/Ccdh1 and APC/Ccdc20 during the cell cycle. Moreover, BRD7 is a tumor suppressor in osteosarcoma, and the BRD7 mutant resistant to degradation by APC/C is more efficient than the wild-type protein at suppressing proliferation, colony formation, and tumor growth of osteosarcoma in vitro and in vivo. The combination of proTAME, an inhibitor of APC/C, with chemotherapeutic drugs efficiently targets osteosarcoma in vitro. Furthermore, there is a strong inverse correlation of protein levels between BRD7 and Cdh1 or Cdc20, and lower BRD7 expression is an indicator for poor prognosis in patients with osteosarcoma. Collectively, our results indicate that targeting the APC/C-BRD7 pathway may be a novel strategy for treating osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC4102794  PMID: 24840027
APC/C; BRD7; Cancer Target

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