The breast cancer stem cells (BCSC) play important roles in breast cancer occurrence, recurrence and metastasis. However, the role of estrogen signaling, a signaling pathway important in development and progression of breast cancer, in regulation of BCSC has not been well established. Previously, we identified and cloned a variant of estrogen receptor α, ER-α36, with a molecular weight of 36 kDa. ER-α36 lacks both transactivation domains AF-1 and AF-2 of the 66 kDa full-length ER-α (ER-α66) and mediates rapid estrogen signaling to promote proliferation of breast cancer cells. In this study, we aim to investigate the function and the underlying mechanism of ER-α36-mediated rapid estrogen signaling in growth regulation of the ER-positive breast cancer stem/progenitor cells. ER-positive breast cancer cells MCF7 and T47D as well as the variants with different levels of ER-α36 expression were used. The effects of estrogen on BCSC's abilities of growth, self-renewal, differentiation and tumor-seeding were examined using tumorsphere formation, flow cytometry, indirect immunofluorence staining and in vivo xenograft assays. The underlying mechanisms were also studied with Western-blot analysis. We found that 17-β-estradiol (E2β) treatment increased the population of ER-positive breast cancer stem/progenitor cells while failed to do so in the cells with knocked-down levels of ER-α36 expression. Cells with forced expression of recombinant ER-α36, however, responded strongly to E2β treatment by increasing growth in vitro and tumor-seeding efficiency in vivo. The rapid estrogen signaling via the AKT/GSK3β pathway is involved in estrogen-stimulated growth of ER-positive breast cancer stem/progenitor cells. We concluded that ER-α36-mediated rapid estrogen signaling plays an important role in regulation and maintenance of ER-positive breast cancer stem/progenitor cells.
Up to 50% of women receiving aromatase inhibitor (AI) complain of AI-associated musculoskeletal symptoms (AIMSS) and 15% discontinue treatment. We conducted a randomized, sham-controlled trial to evaluate whether acupuncture improves AIMSS and to explore potential mechanisms.
Patients and Methods
Postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer, experiencing AIMSS were randomized to 8 weekly real or sham acupuncture sessions. We evaluated changes in the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI) and pain visual analog scale (VAS) following the intervention compared to baseline. Serum estradiol, β-endorphin and proinflammatory cytokine concentrations were measured pre and post-intervention.
We enrolled 51 women, of whom 47 were evaluable, including 23 randomized to real and 24 to sham acupuncture. Baseline characteristics were balanced between groups with the exception of a higher HAQ-DI score in the real acupuncture group (p=0.047). We did not observe a statistically significant difference in reduction of HAQ-DI (p=0.30) or VAS (p=0.31) between the two groups. Following 8 weekly treatments, we observed a statistically significant reduction of IL-17 (p≤0.009) in both groups. No significant modulation was seen in estradiol, β-endorphin, or other proinflammatory cytokine concentrations in either group.
We did not observe a significant difference in AIMSS changes between real and sham acupuncture. As sham acupuncture used in this study may not be equivalent to placebo, further studies with a non-acupuncture arm may be required to establish whether acupuncture is beneficial for the treatment of AIMSS.
Local renin-angiotensin systems exist in various malignant tumor tissues; this suggests that the main effector peptide, angiotensin II, could act as a key factor in tumor growth. The underlying mechanisms for the anti-angiogenic effect of angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers need to be further evaluated. The present study was carried out to investigate the anti-angiogenic effect of olmesartan alone or in combination with sorafenib, an angiotensin (1–7) agonist or an angiotensin (1–7) antagonist in Ehrlich's ascites carcinoma-bearing mice. The tumor was induced by intradermal injection of Ehrlich's ascites carcinoma cells into mice. Tumor discs were used to evaluate the microvessel density; the serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and serum insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I); and their intratumoral receptors, VEGF receptor-2 and IGF-I receptor, respectively. All parameters were determined following the treatment course, which lasted for 21 days post-inoculation. Monotherapy with olmesartan and its combination with sorafenib resulted in a significant reduction in microvessel density and serum levels of VEGF and IGF-I, as well as their intratumoral receptors. In addition, the combination of olmesartan (30 mg/kg) with an angiotensin (1–7) agonist reduced the microvessel density, IGF-I serum levels and the levels of its intratumoral receptor. In conclusion, olmesartan reduced the levels of the angiogenesis markers IGF-I and VEGF and down-regulated the intratumoral expression of their receptors in a dose-dependent manner, and these effects were dependent on the angiotensin (1–7) receptor. These results suggest that olmesartan is a promising adjuvant to sorafenib in the treatment of cancer.
KISS1 is a broadly functional secreted proprotein that is then processed into small peptides, termed kisspeptins (KP). Since sequence analysis showed cleavage at KR or RR dibasic sites of the nascent protein, it was hypothesized that enzyme(s) belonging to the proprotein convertase family of proteases process KISS1 to generate KP. To this end, cell lines over-expressing KISS1 were treated with the proprotein convertase inhibitors, Dec-RVKR-CMK and α1-PDX, and KISS1 processing was completely inhibited. To identify the specific enzyme(s) responsible for KISS1 processing, mRNA expression was systematically analyzed for six proprotein convertases found in secretory pathways. Consistent expression of the three proteases – furin, PCSK5 and PCSK7 – were potentially implicated in KISS1 processing. However, shRNA-mediated knockdown of furin – but not PCSK5 or PCSK7 – blocked KISS1 processing. Thus, furin appears to be the essential enzyme for the generation of kisspeptins.
TNBC is an aggressive breast cancer subtype that does not express hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone receptors, ER and PR) or amplified human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2), and there currently exist no targeted therapies effective against it. Consequently, finding new molecular targets in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is critical to improving patient outcomes. Previously, we have detected the expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor-1 (gene: GRM1; protein: mGluR1) in TNBC and observed that targeting glutamatergic signaling inhibits TNBC growth both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we explored how mGluR1 contributes to TNBC progression, using the isogenic MCF10 progression series, which models breast carcinogenesis from nontransformed epithelium to malignant basal-like breast cancer. We observed that mGluR1 is expressed in human breast cancer and that in MCF10A cells, which model nontransformed mammary epithelium, but not in MCF10AT1 cells, which model atypical ductal hyperplasia, mGluR1 overexpression results in increased proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and invasiveness. In contrast, mGluR1 knockdown results in a decrease in these activities in malignant MCF10CA1d cells. Similarly, pharmacologic inhibition of glutamatergic signaling in MCF10CA1d cells results in a decrease in proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. Finally, transduction of MCF10AT1 cells, which express c-Ha-ras, using a lentiviral construct expressing GRM1 results in transformation to carcinoma in 90% of resultant xenografts. We conclude that mGluR1 cooperates with other factors in hyperplastic mammary epithelium to contribute to TNBC progression and therefore propose that glutamatergic signaling represents a promising new molecular target for TNBC therapy.
The lack of three-dimensional (3-D) high-throughput (HT) screening assays designed to identify anti-cancer invasion drugs is a major hurdle in reducing cancer-related mortality, with the key challenge being assay standardization. Presented is the development of a novel 3-D invasion assay with HT potential that involves surrounding cell-collagen spheres within collagen to create a 3-D environment through which cells can invade. Standardization was achieved by designing a tooled 96-well plate to create a precisely designated location for the cell-collagen spheres and by using dialdehyde dextran to inhibit collagen contraction, maintaining uniform size and shape. This permits automated readout for determination of the effect of inhibitory compounds on cancer cell invasion. Sensitivity was demonstrated by the ability to distinguish varying levels of invasiveness of cancer cell lines, and robustness was determined by calculating the Z-factor. A Z-factor of 0.65 was obtained by comparing the effects of DMSO and anti-β1-integrin antibody, an inhibitory reagent, on the invasion of Du145 cancer cells, suggesting this novel assay is suitable for large scale drug discovery. As proof of principle, the NCI Diversity Compound Library was screened against human invasive cancer cells. Nine compounds exhibiting high potency and low toxicity were identified, including DX-52-1, a compound previously reported to inhibit cell migration, a critical determinant of cancer invasion. The results indicate that this innovative HT platform is a simple, precise, and easy to replicate 3-D invasion assay for anti-cancer drug discovery.
Glycemic control among patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) in Malaysia is suboptimal, especially after the continuous worsening over the past decade. Improved glycemic control may be achieved through a comprehensive management strategy that includes medical nutrition therapy (MNT). Evidence-based recommendations for diabetes-specific therapeutic diets are available internationally. However, Asian patients with T2D, including Malaysians, have unique disease characteristics and risk factors, as well as cultural and lifestyle dissimilarities, which may render international guidelines and recommendations less applicable and/or difficult to implement. With these thoughts in mind, a transcultural Diabetes Nutrition Algorithm (tDNA) was developed by an international task force of diabetes and nutrition experts through the restructuring of international guidelines for the nutritional management of prediabetes and T2D to account for cultural differences in lifestyle, diet, and genetic factors. The initial evidence-based global tDNA template was designed for simplicity, flexibility, and cultural modification. This paper reports the Malaysian adaptation of the tDNA, which takes into account the epidemiologic, physiologic, cultural, and lifestyle factors unique to Malaysia, as well as the local guidelines recommendations.
Despite paclitxael's clinical success, treating hormone-refractory breast cancer remains challenging. Paclitaxel has a poor pharmacological profile, characterized by a low therapeutic index (TIX) caused by severe dose limiting toxicities, such as neutropenia and peripheral neuropathy. Consequently, new drugs are urgently required. STX140, a compound previously shown to have excellent efficacy against many tumors, is here compared to paclitaxel in three translational in vivo breast cancer models, a rat model of peripheral neuropathy, and through pharmacological testing. Three different in vivo mouse models of breast cancer were used; the metastatic 4T1 orthotopic model, the C3(1)/SV40 T-Ag model, and the MDA-MB-231 xenograft model. To determine TIX and pharmacological profile of STX140, a comprehensive dosing regime was performed in mice bearing MDA-MD-231 xenografts. Finally, peripheral neuropathy was examined using a rat plantar thermal hyperalgesia model. In the 4T1 metastatic model, STX140 and paclitaxel significantly inhibited primary tumor growth and lung metastases. All C3(1)/SV40 T-Ag mice in the control and paclitaxel treated groups developed palpable mammary cancer. STX140 blocked 47% of tumors developing and significantly inhibited growth of tumors that did develop. STX140 treatment caused a significant (P<0.001) survival advantage for animals in early and late intervention groups. Conversely, in C3(1)/SV40 T-Ag mice, paclitaxel failed to inhibit tumor growth and did not increase survival time. Furthermore, paclitaxel, but not STX140, induced significant peripheral neuropathy and neutropenia. These results show that STX140 has a greater anti-cancer efficacy, TIX, and reduced neurotoxicity compared to paclitaxel in C3(1)/SV40 T-Ag mice and therefore may be of significant benefit to patients with breast cancer.
Noroviruses (NoVs) are a leading cause of epidemic acute gastroenteritis affecting millions of people worldwide. Understanding of NoV remains limited due to the lack of a cell culture system and small animal models. Currently, there are no available vaccines or antivirals against NoVs. In this study, an approach for large-scale production of anti-NoV antibodies for use as a potential treatment for NoV disease using passive immunization was evaluated. NoV-specific immunoglobulins (IgY) were produced by immunizing chickens with NoV P particles. The birds continuously produced high titers of antibodies in their eggs for at least 3 months, in which NoV-specific antibody levels reached 4.7-9.2 mg/egg yolk. The egg yolk antibodies strongly reacted with NoV P particles by both ELISA and Western blot and blocked NoV virus-like particle (VLP) and P particle binding to the histo-blood group antigen (HBGA) receptors with a BT50 of about 1:800. The blocking activity of the chicken IgY remained after an incubation at 70°C for 30 min or treatment at pH 4 to 9 for 3 h. These data suggested that chicken IgY could be a practical strategy for large-scale production of anti-NoV antibodies for potential use as passive immunization against NoV infection, as well as for diagnostic purposes.
Norovirus; Immunoglobulin; IgY; Chicken; Norovirus P particle; Diarrhea
The inhibitory effect of two chemokine decoy receptors (CDRs), DARC and D6, on breast cancer metastasis is mainly due to their ability to sequester pro-malignant chemokines. We hypothesized that genetic variants in the DARC and CCBP2 (encoding D6) genes may be associated with breast cancer progression. In the present study, we evaluated the genetic contributions of DARC and CCBP2 to metastatic potential, indicated by lymph node metastasis (LNM). Ten single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (potentially functional SNPs and block-based tagging SNPs) in DARC and CCBP2 were genotyped in 785 breast cancer patients who had negative lymph nodes and 678 patients with positive lymph nodes. Two non-synonymous SNPs, rs12075 (G42D) in DARC and rs2228468 (S373Y) in CCBP2, were observed to be associated with LNM in univariate analysis and remained significant after adjustment for conventional clinical risk factors, with odds ratios (ORs) of 0.54 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37 to 0.79) and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.62 to 0.98), respectively. Additional functional experiments revealed that both of these significant SNPs could affect metastasis of breast cancer in xenograft models by differentially altering the chemokine sequestration ability of their corresponding proteins. Furthermore, heterozygous GD genotype of G42D on human erythrocytes had a significantly stronger chemokine sequestration ability than homozygous GG of G42D ex vivo. Our data suggest that the genetic variants in the CDR genes are probably associated with the varied metastatic potential of breast cancer. The underlying mechanism, though it needs to be further investigated, may be that CDR variants could affect the chemokine sequestration ability of CDR proteins.
Rotavirus (RV) P is an unique genotype that infects neonates. The mechanism of such age-specific host restriction remains unknown. In this study, we explored host mucosal glycans as a potential age-specific factor for attachment of P RVs. Using in vitro binding assays, we demonstrated that VP8* of a P RV (N155) could bind saliva of infants (60.3%, N = 151) but not of adults (0%, N = 48), with a significantly negative correlation between binding of VP8* and ages of infants (P<0.01). Recognition to the infant saliva did not correlate with the ABO, secretor and Lewis histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) but with the binding of the lectin Lycopersicon esculentum (LEA) that is known to recognize the oligomers of N-acetyllactosamine (LacNAc), a precursor of human HBGAs. Direct evidence of LacNAc involvement in P binding was obtained from specific binding of VP8* with homopolymers of LacNAc in variable lengths through a glycan array analysis of 611 glycans. These results were confirmed by strong binding of VP8* to the Lec2 cell line that expresses LacNAc oligomers but not to the Lec8 cell line lacking the LacNAc. In addition, N155 VP8* and authentic P RVs (human 116E and bovine B223) hemagglutinated human red blood cells that are known to express poly-LacNAc. The potential role of poly-LacNAc in host attachment and infection of RVs has been obtained by abrogation of 116E replication by the PAA-conjugated poly-LacNAc, human milk, and LEA positive infant saliva. Overall, our results suggested that the poly-LacNAc could serve as an age-specific receptor for P RVs and well explained the epidemiology that P RVs mainly infect neonates and young children.
Despite the prevalence of prostate cancer, the etiology and factors associated with its development and progression are largely unknown. An important relationship in prostate cancer is the role of zinc. Clinical evidence and experimental evidence have established that prostate cancer is associated with a decrease in the zinc uptake and accumulation in the malignant cells; and that the accumulation of zinc in the prostate cells prevents malignancy. In contrast to this established consistent clinical relationship, numerous epidemiology studies and reports of the effect of dietary and supplemental zinc on the incidence of prostate cancer have provided divergent, inconsistent, and inconclusive results; which range from adverse effects of zinc, protective effects of zinc, and no effect of zinc on the risk of prostate cancer. Despite these divergent and inconclusive results, a prevailing view and public warning has evolved from unsubstantiated and uncorroborated epidemiology studies that zinc consumption increases the risk of developing advanced stage prostate cancer. Such a conclusion is not well-founded and has serious, confusing and erroneous implications for the medical/scientific community and for the public-at-large. The admonition of Dimitrios Trichopoulos over a decade ago  that, “… (epidemiology) studies will inevitably generate false positive and false negative results with disturbing frequency. …, when (people) do take us seriously, we may unintentionally do more harm than good” can be applied to the situation that is the subject of this report.
Therefore it is extremely important to review the epidemiology studies that have lead to the conclusion of an adverse effect of zinc, and also that have produced such inconsistent and divergent results. This critical review defines issues, problems, and shortcomings that exist in the conduct, conclusions, and dissemination of the epidemiology studies. We caution that one should be knowledgeable and understanding of these issues in assessing the validity and the conclusiveness of the outcomes from the epidemiology studies of purported associations of dietary and supplemental zinc on the risk of prostate cancer; particularly when the unsubstantiated conclusions are at odds with clinical and experimental evidence. It is in the interest of the medical, scientific and public communities that this critical review is undertaken. We hope that this review will generate an open, objective, scientific and medical discussion and assessment of this important issue.
Bamboo shavings (Bambusae Caulis in Taeniam, BCT) are widely used as a traditional Chinese medicine to control hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and to alleviate fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. It has been demonstrated that BCT reduces ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation by regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, and decreases tumor growth in tumor-bearing mice. However, the effects of BCT on the metastatic potential of malignant cancer cells and the detailed mechanism of its anti-metastatic activity have not been examined previously. In this study, we investigated whether an aqueous extract of BCT (AE-BCT) reduces the metastatic potential of HT1080 cells, and elucidated the underlying anti-metastatic mechanism. In addition, we examined whether AE-BCT administration inhibits pulmonary metastasis of intravenously injected B16F10 cells in C57BL/6J mice. AE-BCT (50–250 µg/ml) dose-dependently suppressed colony-forming activity under anchorage-dependent and -independent growth conditions. Pretreatment with AE-BCT efficiently inhibited cell migration, invasion, and adhesion. AE-BCT also dramatically suppressed PMA-induced MMP-9 activity and expression by blocking NF-κB activation and ERK phosphorylation. Production of intracellular ROS, a key regulator of NF-κB-induced MMP-9 activity, was almost completely blocked by pretreatment with AE-BCT. Furthermore, daily oral administration of AE-BCT at doses of 50 and 100 mg/kg efficiently inhibited lung metastasis of B16F10 cells injected into the tail veins of C57BL/6J mice with no systemic toxicity. These results demonstrate that AE-BCT significantly reduced the metastatic activity of highly malignant cancer cells by suppressing MMP-9 activity via inhibition of ROS-mediated NF-κB activation. These results indicate that AE-BCT may be a safe natural product for treatment of metastatic cancer.
Speleothem laminae have been postulated to form annually, and this lamina-chronology is widely applied to high-resolution modern and past climate reconstructions. However, this argument has not been directly supported by high resolution dating methods. Here we present contemporary single-lamina 230Th dating techniques with 2σ precision as good as ±0.5 yr on a laminated stalagmite with density couplets from Xianren Cave, China, that covers the last 300 years. We find that the layers do not always deposit annually. Annual bands can be under- or over-counted by several years during different multi-decadal intervals. The irregular formation of missing and false bands in this example indicates that the assumption of annual speleothem laminae in a climate reconstruction should be approached carefully without a robust absolute-dated chronology.
The polycomb group transcriptional modifier Bmi1 is often upregulated in numerous cancers and is intensely involved in normal and cancer stem cells, and importantly is as a prognostic indicator for some cancers, but its role in breast cancer remains unclear. Here, we found Bmi1 overexpression in 5-Fu (5-fluorouracil)-resistant MCF-7 cells (MCF-7/5-Fu) derived from MCF-7 breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-453 breast cancer cells compared to MCF-7 cells, was related with 5-Fu resistance and enrichment of CD44+/CD24- stem cell subpopulation. Bmi1 knockdown enhanced the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to 5-Fu and 5-Fu induced apoptosis via mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, and decreased the fraction of CD44+/CD24- subpopulation. In addition, our analysis showed inverse expression pattern between Bmi1 and miR-200c and miR-203 in selected breast cancer cell lines, and miR-200c and miR-203 directly repressed Bmi1 expression in protein level confirmed by luciferase reporter assay. MiR-200c and miR-203 overexpression in breast cancer cells downregulated Bmi1 expression accompanied with reversion of resistance to 5-Fu mediated by Bmi1. Inversely, Bmi1 overexpression inhibited miR-200c expression in MCF-7 cells, but not miR-203, however ectopic wild-type p53 expression reversed Bmi1 mediated miR-200c downregulation, suggesting the repressive effect of Bmi1 on miR-200c maybe depend on p53. Thus, our study suggests a cross-talk between Bmi1 and miR-200c mediated by p53, and Bmi1 interference would improve chemotherapy efficiency in breast cancer via susceptive apoptosis induction and cancer stem cell enrichment inhibition.
WNT signaling plays a key role in the self-renewal of tumor initiation cells (TICs). In this study, we used pyrvinium pamoate (PP), an FDA-approved antihelmintic drug that inhibits WNT signaling, to test whether pharmacologic inhibition of WNT signaling can specifically target TICs of aggressive breast cancer cells. SUM-149, an inflammatory breast cancer cell line, and SUM-159, a metaplastic basal-type breast cancer cell line, were used in these studies. We found that PP inhibited primary and secondary mammosphere formation of cancer cells at nanomolar concentrations, at least 10 times less than the dose needed to have a toxic effect on cancer cells. A comparable mammosphere formation IC50 dose to that observed in cancer cell lines was obtained using malignant pleural effusion samples from patients with IBC. A decrease in activity of the TIC surrogate aldehyde dehydrogenase was observed in PP-treated cells, and inhibition of WNT signaling by PP was associated with down-regulation of a panel of markers associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In vivo, intratumoral injection was associated with tumor necrosis, and intraperitoneal injection into mice with tumor xenografts caused significant tumor growth delay and a trend toward decreased lung metastasis. In in vitro mammosphere-based and monolayer-based clonogenic assays, we found that PP radiosensitized cells in monolayer culture but not mammosphere culture. These findings suggest WNT signaling inhibition may be a feasible strategy for targeting aggressive breast cancer. Investigation and modification of the bioavailability and toxicity profile of systemic PP are warranted.
Resistance to trastuzumab, a rationally designed HER-2-targeting antibody, remains a major hurdle in the management of HER-2-positive breast cancer. Preclinical studies suggest the mechanisms of trastuzumab resistance are numerous. Unfortunately, the majority of these studies are based around HER-2-positive (HER-2+) luminal cell lines. The role of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a genetic program that confers a basal phenotype, may represent a novel mechanism of escape for HER-2+ luminal cells from trastuzumab treatment. Here we investigated this possibility using a model of clonal selection in HER-2+ luminal breast cancer cells. Following a random isolation and expansion of “colony clusters” from SKBR-3 cell lines, several colony clusters underwent a spontaneous EMT in-vitro. In addition to expression of conventional EMT markers, all mesenchymal colony clusters displayed a predominant CD44+/CD24- phenotype with decreased HER-2 expression and elevated levels of a β1-integrin isoform with a high degree of N-glycosylation. Treatment with a β1-integrin function-blocking antibody, AIIB2, preferentially decreased the N-glycosylated form of β1-integrin, impaired mammosphere formation and restored epithelial phenotype in mesenchymal colony clusters. Using this model we provide the first clear evidence that resistance to trastuzumab (and lapatinib) can occur spontaneously as HER-2+ cells shift from a luminal to a basal/mesenchymal phenotype following EMT. While the major determinant of trastuzumab resistance in mesenchymal colony clusters is likely the down regulation of the HER-2 protein, our evidence suggests that multiple factors may contribute, including expression of N-glycosylated β1-integrin.
Cross-talk between the estrogen and the EGFR/HER signalling pathways has been suggested as a potential cause of resistance to endocrine therapy in breast cancer. Here, we determined HER1-4 receptor and neuregulin-1 (NRG1) ligand mRNA expression levels in breast cancers and corresponding normal breast tissue from patients previously characterized for plasma and tissue estrogen levels. In tumours from postmenopausal women harbouring normal HER2 gene copy numbers, we found HER2 and HER4, but HER3 levels in particular, to be elevated (2.48, 1.30 and 22.27 –fold respectively; P<0.01 for each) compared to normal tissue. Interestingly, HER3 as well as HER4 were higher among ER+ as compared to ER- tumours (P=0.004 and P=0.024, respectively). HER2 and HER3 expression levels correlated positively with ER mRNA (ESR1) expression levels (r=0.525, P=0.044; r=0.707, P=0.003, respectively). In contrast, EGFR/HER1 was downregulated in tumour compared to normal tissue (0.13-fold, P<0.001). In addition, EGFR/HER1 correlated negatively to intra-tumour (r=-0.633, P=0.001) as well as normal tissue (r=-0.556, P=0.006) and plasma estradiol levels (r=-0.625, P=0.002), suggesting an inverse regulation between estradiol and EGFR/HER1 levels. In ER+ tumours from postmenopausal women, NRG1 levels correlated positively with EGFR/HER1 (r=0.606, P=0.002) and negatively to ESR1 (r=-0.769, P=0.003) and E2 levels (r=-0.542, P=0.020). Our results indicate influence of estradiol on the expression of multiple components of the HER system in tumours not amplified for HER2, adding further support to the hypothesis that cross-talk between these systems may be of importance to breast cancer growth in vivo.
Fumarate hydratase (FH)-deficient kidney cancer undergoes metabolic remodeling, with changes in mitochondrial respiration, glucose, and glutamine metabolism. These changes represent multiple biochemical adaptations in glucose and fatty acid metabolism that supports malignant proliferation. However, the metabolic linkages between altered mitochondrial function, nucleotide biosynthesis and NADPH production required for proliferation and survival have not been elucidated. To characterize the alterations in glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and the pentose phosphate pathways (PPP) that either generate NADPH (oxidative) or do not (non-oxidative), we utilized [U-13C]-glucose, [U-13C,15N]-glutamine, and [1,2- 13C2]-glucose tracers with mass spectrometry and NMR detection to track these pathways, and measured the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) of growing cell lines. This metabolic reprogramming in the FH null cells was compared to cells in which FH has been restored. The FH null cells showed a substantial metabolic reorganization of their intracellular metabolic fluxes to fulfill their high ATP demand, as observed by a high rate of glucose uptake, increased glucose turnover via glycolysis, high production of glucose-derived lactate, and low entry of glucose carbon into the Krebs cycle. Despite the truncation of the Krebs cycle associated with inactivation of fumarate hydratase, there was a small but persistent level of mitochondrial respiration, which was coupled to ATP production from oxidation of glutamine-derived α–ketoglutarate through to fumarate. [1,2- 13C2]-glucose tracer experiments demonstrated that the oxidative branch of PPP initiated by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity is preferentially utilized for ribose production (56-66%) that produces increased amounts of ribose necessary for growth and NADPH. Increased NADPH is required to drive reductive carboxylation of α-ketoglutarate and fatty acid synthesis for rapid proliferation and is essential for defense against increased oxidative stress. This increased NADPH producing PPP activity was shown to be a strong consistent feature in both fumarate hydratase deficient tumors and cell line models.
The Chlamydiae are a highly successful group of obligate intracellular bacteria, whose members are remarkably diverse, ranging from major pathogens of humans and animals to symbionts of ubiquitous protozoa. While their infective developmental stage, the elementary body (EB), has long been accepted to be completely metabolically inert, it has recently been shown to sustain some activities, including uptake of amino acids and protein biosynthesis. In the current study, we performed an in-depth characterization of the metabolic capabilities of EBs of the amoeba symbiont Protochlamydia amoebophila. A combined metabolomics approach, including fluorescence microscopy-based assays, isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), ion cyclotron resonance Fourier transform mass spectrometry (ICR/FT-MS), and ultra-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) was conducted, with a particular focus on the central carbon metabolism. In addition, the effect of nutrient deprivation on chlamydial infectivity was analyzed. Our investigations revealed that host-free P. amoebophila EBs maintain respiratory activity and metabolize D-glucose, including substrate uptake as well as host-free synthesis of labeled metabolites and release of labeled CO2 from 13C-labeled D-glucose. The pentose phosphate pathway was identified as major route of D-glucose catabolism and host-independent activity of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle was observed. Our data strongly suggest anabolic reactions in P. amoebophila EBs and demonstrate that under the applied conditions D-glucose availability is essential to sustain metabolic activity. Replacement of this substrate by L-glucose, a non-metabolizable sugar, led to a rapid decline in the number of infectious particles. Likewise, infectivity of Chlamydia trachomatis, a major human pathogen, also declined more rapidly in the absence of nutrients. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that D-glucose is utilized by P. amoebophila EBs and provide evidence that metabolic activity in the extracellular stage of chlamydiae is of major biological relevance as it is a critical factor affecting maintenance of infectivity.
The Chlamydiae are a group of bacteria that strictly rely on eukaryotic host cells as a niche for intracellular growth. This group includes major pathogens of humans and animals as well as symbionts of protists. Unlike most other bacteria, chlamydiae alternate between two distinct developmental stages. Here we provide novel insights into the infective stage, the elementary body (EB), which has been described almost a century ago and is commonly referred to as an inert spore-like particle. Our analyses of EBs of the amoeba symbiont Protochlamydia amoebophila provide a detailed overview of their metabolism outside of, and independent from, their natural host cells. We demonstrated that these EBs are capable of respiration and are active in the major routes of central carbon metabolism, including glucose import, biosynthetic reactions, and catabolism for energy generation. Glucose starvation resulted in a rapid decline of metabolic activity in P. amoebophila EBs and a concomitant decrease in their potential to infect new host cells. The human pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis was also dependent on nutrient availability for extracellular survival. The extent of metabolic activity in chlamydial EBs and its consequences for infectivity challenge long-standing textbook knowledge and demonstrate that the infective stage is far more dependent on its environment than previously recognized.
The presence of the Philadelphia chromosome in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ALL) is a negative prognostic indicator. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) that target BCR/ABL, such as imatinib, have improved treatment of Ph+ALL and are generally incorporated into induction regimens. This approach has improved clinical responses, but molecular remissions are seen in less than 50% of patients leaving few treatment options in the event of relapse. Thus, identification of additional targets for therapeutic intervention has potential to improve outcomes for Ph+ALL. The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (ErbB2) is expressed in ∼30% of B-ALLs, and numerous small molecule inhibitors are available to prevent its activation. We analyzed a cohort of 129 ALL patient samples using reverse phase protein array (RPPA) with ErbB2 and phospho-ErbB2 antibodies and found that activity of ErbB2 was elevated in 56% of Ph+ALL as compared to just 4.8% of Ph−ALL. In two human Ph+ALL cell lines, inhibition of ErbB kinase activity with canertinib resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the phosphorylation of an ErbB kinase signaling target p70S6-kinase T389 (by 60% in Z119 and 39% in Z181 cells at 3 µM). Downstream, phosphorylation of S6-kinase was also diminished in both cell lines in a dose-dependent manner (by 91% in both cell lines at 3 µM). Canertinib treatment increased expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bim by as much as 144% in Z119 cells and 49% in Z181 cells, and further produced caspase-3 activation and consequent apoptotic cell death. Both canertinib and the FDA-approved ErbB1/2-directed TKI lapatinib abrogated proliferation and increased sensitivity to BCR/ABL-directed TKIs at clinically relevant doses. Our results suggest that ErbB signaling is an additional molecular target in Ph+ALL and encourage the development of clinical strategies combining ErbB and BCR/ABL kinase inhibitors for this subset of ALL patients.
We performed a pilot study using Trojan vaccines in patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). These vaccines are composed of HLA-I and HLA-II restricted melanoma antigen E (MAGE)-A3 or human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 derived peptides, joined by furin-cleavable linkers, and linked to a “penetrin” peptide sequence derived from HIV-TAT. Thirty-one patients with SCCHN were screened for the trial and 5 were enrolled.
Enrolled patients were treated with 300 lg of Trojan peptide supplemented with Montanide and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) at 4-week intervals for up to 4 injections.
Following vaccination, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 4 of 5 patients recognized both the full Trojan constructs and constituent HLA-II peptides, whereas responses to HLA-I restricted peptides were less pronounced.
This treatment regimen seems to have acceptable toxicity and elicits measurable systemic immune responses against HLA-II restricted epitopes in a subset of patients with advanced SCCHN.
SCCHN; vaccine; HLA-I; HLA-II; immune response
Peginterferon and ribavirin treatment is less effective for hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infections in African Americans (AA) compared with Caucasian Americans (CA). Host genetic variability near the interleukin-28B (IL28B) gene locus is partly responsible. We investigated the relationship between ribavirin drug exposure and week 24 and 72 (sustained virologic response, SVR) responses (undetected serum HCV RNA) in 71 AA and 74 CA with HCV genotype 1 who received >90 % of the prescribed peginterferon and weight-based ribavirin (1,000 or 1,200 mg per day) from week 1 to 24.
Ribavirin plasma levels were measured at weeks 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24; ribavirin area under the concentration vs. time curve (AUC) was calculated using the linear trapezoidal rule.
Compared with CA, AA had lower week 24 (WK24VR) (57.8 vs. 78.1; P < 0.05) and week 72 (SVR) (36.6 % vs 54.8 %; P < 0.05) response rates. AA also had significantly lower ribavirin exposure (AUC) from week 1 to 12 (P < 0.05). Ribavirin exposures ≥ 4,065 and ≥ 4,480 ng/ml/day in the first week (AUC0–7) were thresholds for WK24VR and SVR in receiver-operating characteristic curve analyses. AA were less likely to have a threshold ribavirin AUC0–7 level than CA (P < 0.05). There were no significant racial differences in WK24VR (AA: 77 vs. CA: 84 %) and SVR (AA: 52 vs. CA: 60 %) rates in patients who met the ribavirin AUC0–7 thresholds. Ribavirin AUC0–7 predicted WK24VR and SVR independently of IL28B single-nucleotide polymorphism rs12979860 genotype. Yet, achieving threshold AUC0–7 levels increased response rates primarily in AA with the less favorable non-C/C genotypes.
Standard weight-based dosing leads to suboptimal ribavirin exposure in AA and contributes to the racial disparity in peginterferon and ribavirin treatment efficacy for HCV genotype 1.
Breast cancer occur both in hereditary and sporadic forms, and the later one comprises an overwhelming majority of breast cancer cases among women. Numerical and structural alterations involving chromosome 8, with loss of short arm (8p) and gain of long arm (8q), are frequently observed in breast cancer cells and tissues. In this study, we show that most of the human breast tumor cell lines examined display an over representation of 8q24, a chromosomal locus RecQL4 is regionally mapped to, and consequently, a markedly elevated level of RecQL4 expression. An increased RecQL4 mRNA level was also observed in a majority of clinical breast tumor samples (38/43) examined. shRNA-mediated RecQL4 suppression in MDA-MB453 breast cancer cells not only significantly inhibit the in vitro clonogenic survival and in vivo tumorigenicity. Further studies demonstrate that RecQL4 physically interacts with a major survival factor-survivin and its protein level affects survivin expression. Although loss of RecQL4 function due to gene mutations causally linked to occurrence of human RTS with features of premature aging and cancer predisposition, our studies provide the evidence that overexpression of RecQL4 due to gene amplification play a critical role in human breast tumor progression.