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1.  Brain Metastasis in Pancreatic Cancer 
Pancreatic cancer is a fatal disease with a 5-year survival rate below 5%. Most patients are diagnosed at an advanced tumor stage and existence of distant metastases. However, involvement of the central nervous system is rare in pancreatic cancer. We retrospectively analyzed all cases of brain metastases in pancreatic cancer reported to date focusing on patient characteristics, clinical appearance, therapy and survival. Including our own, 12 cases of brain metastases originating from pancreatic cancer were identified. In three patients brain metastases were the first manifestation of pancreatic cancer. All other patients developed brain metastases during their clinical course. In most cases, the disease progressed rapidly and the patients died within weeks or months. However, two patients showed long-term survival. Of note, both patients received resection of the pancreatic cancer as well as curative resection of the metachronous brain metastases. Brain metastases in pancreatic cancer are a rare condition and usually predict a very poor prognosis. However, there is evidence that resection of brain metastases of pancreatic cancer can be immensely beneficial to patient’s survival, even with the chance for cure. Therefore, a surgical approach in metastatic pancreatic cancer should be considered in selective cases.
doi:10.3390/ijms14024163
PMCID: PMC3588092  PMID: 23429199
pancreatic cancer; pancreatic carcinoma; surgery; brain metastasis
2.  Visual Aids for Multimodal Treatment Options to Support Decision Making of Patients with Colorectal Cancer 
Background
A variety of multimodal treatment options are available for colorectal cancer and many patients want to be involved in decisions about their therapies. However, their desire for autonomy is limited by lack of disease-specific knowledge. Visual aids may be helpful tools to present complex data in an easy-to-understand, graphic form to lay persons. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the treatment preferences of healthy persons and patients using visual aids depicting multimodal treatment options for colorectal cancer.
Methods
We designed visual aids for treatment scenarios based on four key studies concerning multimodal treatment of colorectal cancer. The visual aids were composed of diagrams depicting outcome parameters and side effects of two treatment options. They were presented to healthy persons (n = 265) and to patients with colorectal cancer (n = 102).
Results
Most patients and healthy persons could make immediate decisions after seeing the diagrams (range: 88% – 100%). Patients (79%) chose the intensive-treatment option in the scenario with a clear survival benefit. In scenarios without survival benefit, all groups clearly preferred the milder treatment option (range: 78% - 90%). No preference was seen in the scenario depicting equally intense treatment options with different timing (neoadjuvant vs. adjuvant) but without survival benefit.
Conclusions
Healthy persons’ and patients’ decisions using visual aids seem to be influenced by quality-of-life aspects rather than recurrence rates especially in situations without survival benefit. In the future visual aids may help to improve the management of patients with colorectal cancer.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-12-118
PMCID: PMC3502169  PMID: 23092310
Visual aids; Colorectal cancer; Quality of life; Side effects; Shared decision-making
5.  Mechanism of chemoresistance mediated by miR-140 in human osteosarcoma and colon cancer cells 
Oncogene  2009;28(46):4065-4074.
In this study, our high throughput microRNA (miRNA) expression analysis revealed that the expression of miR-140 was associated with chemosensitivity in osteosarcoma tumor xenografts. Tumor cells ectopically transfected with miR-140 were more resistant to methotrexate (MTX) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Overexpression of miR-140 inhibited cell proliferation in both osteosarcoma U-2 OS (wt-p53) and colon cancer HCT 116 (wt-p53) cell lines, but less so in osteosarcoma MG63 (mut-p53) and colon cancer HCT 116 (null-p53) cell lines. miR-140 induced p53 and p21 expression accompanied with G1 and G2 phase arrest only in cell lines containing wild type of p53. Histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) was confirmed to be one of the important targets of miR-140. The expression of endogenous miR-140 was significantly elevated in CD133+hiCD44+hi colon cancer stem-like cells which exhibit slow proliferating rate and chemoresistance. Blocking endogenous miR-140 by locked nucleic acid (LNA) modified anti-miR partially sensitized resistant colon cancer stem-like cells to 5-FU treatment. Taken together, our findings indicate that miR-140 is involved in the chemoresistance by reduced cell proliferation via G1 and G2 phase arrest mediated in part, through the suppression of HDAC4. miR-140 might be a candidate target to develop novel therapeutic strategy to overcome drug resistance.
doi:10.1038/onc.2009.274
PMCID: PMC2783211  PMID: 19734943
miR-140; chemosensitivity; histone deacetylase 4; cancer stem cells
6.  Molecular mechanism of chemoresistance by miR-215 in osteosarcoma and colon cancer cells 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:96.
Background
Translational control mediated by non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) plays a key role in the mechanism of cellular resistance to anti-cancer drug treatment. Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and thymidylate synthase (TYMS, TS) are two of the most important targets for antifolate- and fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapies in the past 50 years. In this study, we investigated the roles of miR-215 in the chemoresistance to DHFR inhibitor methotrexate (MTX) and TS inhibitor Tomudex (TDX).
Results
The protein levels of both DHFR and TS were suppressed by miR-215 without the alteration of the target mRNA transcript levels. Interestingly, despite the down-regulation of DHFR and TS proteins, ectopic expression of miR-215 resulted in a decreased sensitivity to MTX and TDX. Paradoxically, gene-specific small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against DHFR or TS had the opposite effect, increasing sensitivity to MTX and TDX. Further studies revealed that over-expression of miR-215 inhibited cell proliferation and triggered cell cycle arrest at G2 phase, and that this effect was accompanied by a p53-dependent up-regulation of p21. The inhibitory effect on cell proliferation was more pronounced in cell lines containing wild-type p53, but was not seen in cells transfected with siRNAs against DHFR or TS. Moreover, denticleless protein homolog (DTL), a cell cycle-regulated nuclear and centrosome protein, was confirmed to be one of the critical targets of miR-215, and knock-down of DTL by siRNA resulted in enhanced G2-arrest, p53 and p21 induction, and reduced cell proliferation. Additionally, cells subjected to siRNA against DTL exhibited increased chemoresistance to MTX and TDX. Endogenous miR-215 was elevated about 3-fold in CD133+HI/CD44+HI colon cancer stem cells that exhibit slow proliferating rate and chemoresistance compared to control bulk CD133+/CD44+ colon cancer cells.
Conclusions
Taken together, our results indicate that miR-215, through the suppression of DTL expression, induces a decreased cell proliferation by causing G2-arrest, thereby leading to an increase in chemoresistance to MTX and TDX. The findings of this study suggest that miR-215 may play a significant role in the mechanism of tumor chemoresistance and it may have a unique potential as a novel biomarker candidate.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-9-96
PMCID: PMC2881118  PMID: 20433742
7.  Prognostic Values of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer 
Biomarker insights  2006;2:113-121.
The functions of non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) in tumorigenesis are just beginning to emerge. Previous studies from our laboratory have identified a number of miRNAs that were deregulated in colon cancer cell lines due to the deletion of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. In this study, the in vivo significance of some of these miRNAs was further evaluated using colorectal clinical samples. Ten miRNAs (hsa-let-7b, hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-15b, hsa-miR-181b, hsa-miR-191, hsa-miR-200c, hsa-miR-26a, hsa-miR-27a, hsa-miR-30a-5p and hsa-miR-30c) were evaluated for their potential prognostic value in colorectal cancer patients. Forty eight snap frozen clinical colorectal samples (24 colorectal cancer and 24 paired normal patient samples) with detailed clinical follow-up information were selected. The expression levels of 10 miRNAs were quantified via qRT-PCR analysis. The statistical significance of these markers for disease prognosis was evaluated using a two tailed paired Wilcoxon test. A Kaplan-Meier survival curve was generated followed by performing a Logrank test. Among the ten miRNAs, hsa-miR-15b (p = 0.0278), hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0002), hsa-miR-191 (p = 0.0264) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0017) were significantly over-expressed in tumors compared to normal colorectal samples. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that hsa-miR-200c was significantly associated with patient survival (p = 0.0122). The patients (n = 15) with higher hsa-miR-200c expression had a shorter survival time (median survival = 26 months) compared to patients (n = 9) with lower expression (median survival = 38 months). Sequencing analysis revealed that hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0098) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0322) expression were strongly associated with the mutation status of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Some of these miRNAs may function as oncogenes due to their over-expression in tumors. hsa-miR-200c may be a potential novel prognostic factor in colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC2134920  PMID: 18079988
hsa-miR-200c; micro-RNA; prognosis; colorectal cancer
8.  Prognostic Values of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer 
Biomarker Insights  2007;1:113-121.
The functions of non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) in tumorigenesis are just beginning to emerge. Previous studies from our laboratory have identified a number of miRNAs that were deregulated in colon cancer cell lines due to the deletion of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. In this study, the in vivo significance of some of these miRNAs was further evaluated using colorectal clinical samples. Ten miRNAs (hsa-let-7b, hsa-let-7g, hsa-miR-15b, hsa-miR-181b, hsa-miR-191, hsa-miR-200c, hsa-miR-26a, hsa-miR-27a, hsa-miR-30a-5p and hsa-miR-30c) were evaluated for their potential prognostic value in colorectal cancer patients. Forty eight snap frozen clinical colorectal samples (24 colorectal cancer and 24 paired normal patient samples) with detailed clinical follow-up information were selected. The expression levels of 10 miRNAs were quantified via qRT-PCR analysis. The statistical significance of these markers for disease prognosis was evaluated using a two tailed paired Wilcoxon test. A Kaplan-Meier survival curve was generated followed by performing a Logrank test. Among the ten miRNAs, hsa-miR-15b (p = 0.0278), hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0002), hsa-miR-191 (p = 0.0264) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0017) were significantly over-expressed in tumors compared to normal colorectal samples. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that hsa-miR-200c was significantly associated with patient survival (p = 0.0122). The patients (n = 15) with higher hsa-miR-200c expression had a shorter survival time (median survival = 26 months) compared to patients (n = 9) with lower expression (median survival = 38 months). Sequencing analysis revealed that hsa-miR-181b (p = 0.0098) and hsa-miR-200c (p = 0.0322) expression were strongly associated with the mutation status of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Some of these miRNAs may function as oncogenes due to their over-expression in tumors. hsa-miR-200c may be a potential novel prognostic factor in colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC2134920  PMID: 18079988
hsa-miR-200c; micro-RNA; prognosis; colorectal cancer

Results 1-8 (8)