Normal biological tissues harbour different populations of cells with intricate spacial distribution patterns resulting in heterogeneity of their overall cellular composition. Laser microdissection involving direct viewing and expertise by a pathologist, enables access to defined cell populations or specific region on any type of tissue sample, thus selecting near-pure populations of targeted cells. It opens the way for molecular methods directed towards well-defined populations, and provides also a powerful tool in studies focused on a limited number of cells. Laser microdissection has wide applications in oncology (diagnosis and research), cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry and forensics for tissue selection, but other areas have been gradually opened up to these new methodological approaches, such as cell cultures and cytogenetics. In clinical oncology trials, molecular profiling of microdissected samples can yield global “omics” information which, together, with the morphological analysis of cells, can provide the basis for diagnosis, prognosis and patient-tailored treatments. This remarkable technology has brought new insights in the understanding of DNA, RNA, and the biological functions and regulation of proteins to identify molecular disease signatures. We review herein the different applications of laser microdissection in a variety of fields, and we particularly focus attention on the pre-analytical steps that are crucial to successfully perform molecular-level investigations.
Laser microdissection; histopathology; quality control; snap-freezing; DNA; RNA; proteomics; in situ cellular and molecular analyses
Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), a hypoxia-inducible gene, regulates a variety of cellular processes including cell proliferation, senescence, apoptosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). IGFBP3 has been linked to the pathogenesis of cancers. Most previous studies focus upon proapoptotic tumor suppressor activities of IGFBP3. Nevertheless, IGFBP3 is overexpressed in certain cancers including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), one of the most aggressive forms of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). The tumor-promoting activities of IGFBP3 remain poorly understood in part due to a lack of understanding as to how the tumor microenvironment may influence IGFBP3 expression and how IGFBP3 may in turn influence heterogeneous intratumoral cell populations. Here, we show that IGFBP3 overexpression is associated with poor postsurgical prognosis in ESCC patients. In xenograft transplantation models with genetically engineered ESCC cells, IGFBP3 contributes to tumor progression with a concurrent induction of a subset of tumor cells showing high expression of CD44 (CD44H), a major cell surface receptor for hyaluronic acid, implicated in invasion, metastasis and drug resistance. Our gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments reveal that IGFBP3 mediates the induction of intratumoral CD44H cells. IGFBP3 cooperates with hypoxia to mediate the induction of CD44H cells by suppressing reactive oxygen species (ROS) in an insulin-like growth factor-independent fashion. Thus, our study sheds light on the growth stimulatory functions of IGFPB3 in cancer, gaining a novel mechanistic insight into the functional interplay between the tumor microenvironment and IGFBP3.
CD44; esophageal; squamous cell carcinoma; hypoxia; IGFBP3 and reactive oxygen species
The retinoblastoma gene Rb is a prototype tumor suppressor, which encodes a protein that is inactivated in a broad range of human cancers through different mechanisms. Rb functions to regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, as well as cell death. Therefore, even though Rb inactivation promotes cancer development, this may also open up certain vulnerabilities of cancers that can potentially be targeted with drug intervention. Based on the assumption that cancers that have mutation, deletion, or rearrangement in the Rb locus represent strong loss of Rb function while cancers with WT Rb on average retain some Rb function, we searched Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer database to identify cancer drugs that are particularly effective to cancers with Rb genomic alterations. Three mitotic inhibitors were identified from this analysis. We further tested the effects of two mitotic inhibitors, Taxol and STLC, on prostate and breast cancer cells. We demonstrate that the Rb status affects cancer cell sensitivity to these mitotic drugs and that the sensitizing effects of Rb are mediated in part by its regulation of the cell cycle checkpoint protein Mad2. Since the mitotic inhibitors identified in our analysis inhibit mitosis through distinct targets, it is possible that the Rb functional status may serve as a general biomarker for cancer sensitivity to mitotic inhibitors. Because the Rb pathway is inactivated in a large number of human cancers, identification of agents that are particularly effective or ineffective based on the Rb status in cancers can potentially be used generally to matching patients with appropriate treatments to achieve better therapeutic outcome.
Drug sensitivity; Rb; retinoblastoma tumor suppressor; Mad2; cell death; mitotic inhibitor; Taxol; S-Trityl-L-cysteine; STLC
Tissue hypoxia is a common pathophysiological process. Since 1990s, numerous studies have focused on investigating cellular adaptation to experimental hypoxia. A modular incubator chamber made of solid materials has frequently been used in the experiments that require hypoxic conditions. Here, we introduce a novel and inflatable chamber for hypoxia experiments. In experiments detecting hypoxia-induced accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and hypoxia-induced expression of HIF-1-regulated genes, the new chamber yielded reproducible and comparable results as the modular incubator chamber did. The new chamber did not create inner chamber pressure during its use. Other properties of the new chamber were low-cost, easy to use, and leakage-free. Moreover, the size of the new chamber was adjustable, and the smaller one could be placed onto an inverted microscope for real-time studies. The successful examples of real-time studies included the real-time recording of GFP-HIF-1α fusion nuclear translocation and endothelial cell tubular formation.
Cell culture; hypoxia; hypoxia chamber; hypoxia-inducible factor 1
Introduction: BRCA mutations increase the risk for development of high-grade pelvic serous carcinomas. Tissue biomarkers distinguishing women at high-risk (HR) for ovarian cancer from those at low-risk (LR) may provide insights into tumor initiation pathways. Methods: A prospective study of 47 HR women (40% BRCA carriers) undergoing risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy and 48 LR controls undergoing salpingo-oophorectomy was performed. Ovarian/tubal tissues were harvested. Immunohistochemical analysis of candidate proteins CSF-1, CSF-1R, ErbB4 is presented, with scores separately analyzed in epithelium and stroma, in ampulla, fimbria, ovary, and ovarian endosalpingiosis (ES). Comparison was performed between HR and LR groups. Results: Elevated levels of CSF-1 (p=0.005) or ErbB4 (p=0.005) in the ovarian epithelium, or ErbB4 (p=0.005) in the ovarian stroma, were significantly associated with both the HR status and carrying a BRCA mutation, as was nuclear ErbB4 staining. Ovarian ES, an entity which likely derives from the tubal mucosal epithelium, was also associated with HR (p=0.038) and BRCA mutation status (p=0.011). Among the BRCA carriers only, markers also found association when present in the tube as well as in ovarian ES (p < 0.05). ROCs were generated including in the regression model both CSF-1 and ErbB4 expression levels. A model including CSF-1 in ovarian epithelium, ErbB4 in ovarian stroma, and younger age achieves AUC=0.87 (73% sensitivity, 93% specificity) of detection of the HR status. In BRCA carriers, CSF-1 in ovarian epithelium alone achieves AUC=0.85. Conclusions: Our data suggest that elevated levels of CSF-1/ErbB4 in the adnexae correlate with HR/BRCA carrier status. CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling is active in ovarian cancer progression; our data suggests a role in its initiation. ErbB4, in particular nuclear ErbB4, may have a role in tumor initiation as well. Ovarian ES, an entity which may represent a latent precursor to low-grade pelvic serous carcinomas, was surprisingly associated with both HR status and the BRCA carrier cohort. In line with these findings, both ErbB4 and CSF-1R expression in ovarian ES correlated with carrying a BRCA mutation. This analysis, which needs to be validated, indirectly suggests a potential link between ovarian ES and the development of pelvic serous carcinoma in women who are BRCA mutation carriers.
CSF-1; ErbB4; endosalpingiosis; high-risk
Endometrial cancer (EC) is the most common gynecological malignancy in women and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Estrogenic stimulation significantly increases endometrial cell proliferation, and both insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are associated with the development of EC in women. It has long been known that insulin resistance occurs in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and/or obesity, but one important unanswered question is whether the insulin resistance associated with PCOS and obesity is part of the etiology of the initiation and development of EC. Therefore, research efforts to understand the common and specific underlying endometrial responses to insulin resistance in women with PCOS and obesity could provide further therapeutic options for early endometrial carcinoma.
PCOS; obesity; insulin resistance; estrogen; IGF-1; endometrial carcinoma
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells may be a powerful tool in regenerative medicine, but their potential tumorigenicity is a significant challenge for the clinical use of iPS cells. Previously, we succeeded in converting miPS cells into cancer stem cells (CSCs) under the conditions of tumor microenvironment. Both stem cells and tumor cells are profoundly influenced by bi-directional communication with their respective microenvironment, which dictates cell fate determination and behavior. The microenvironment derived from iPS cells has not been well studied. In this paper, we have investigated the effects of secreted factors from Nanog-mouse iPS (miPS) cells on mouse Lewis lung cancer (LLC) cells that are found in the conditioned media. The results demonstrated that miPS cells secrete factors that can convert the epithelia phenotype of LLC cells to a mesenchymal phenotype, and that can promote tumorigenisity, migration and invasion. Furthermore, LLC cells that have been exposed to miPS conditioned medium became resistant to apoptosis. These various biological effects suggest that the miPS microenvironment contain factors that can promote an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through an active Snail-MMP axis or by suppressing differentiation in LLC cells.
Mouse induced pluripotent stem cell; stem cell microenvironment; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; lung Lewis cancer cell
The nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activity of NFκB are constitutively increased in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) cells, and are responsible for their increased survival and proliferation. However, in addition to the anti-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory genes, NFκB induces expression of immunosuppressive genes, such as IL-10 and TGFβ, which inhibit the immune responses and are characteristic for the advanced stages of CTCL. While the mechanisms regulating NFκB-dependent transcription of anti-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory genes have been studied extensively, very little is known about the NFκB regulation of immunosuppressive genes. The specificity of NFκB-regulated responses is determined by the subunit composition of NFκB complexes recruited to the individual promoters, post-translational modifications of NFκB proteins, as well as by their interactions with other transcriptional factors and regulators. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms regulating the transcription of NFκB-dependent anti-apoptotic, pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive genes in CTCL cells, as potential targets for CTCL therapies.
Apoptosis; bortezomib; cutaneous T cell lymphoma; IκBα; IL-10; immunosuppression; NFκB; proteasome inhibition; TGFβ
Raf Kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP) is a well-established metastasis suppressor that is frequently downregulated in aggressive cancers. The impact of RKIP and its phosphorylated form on disease-free survival (DFS) and other clinicopathological parameters in breast cancer is yet to be discovered. To this end, we examined RKIP expression in 3 independent breast cancer cohorts. At the Protein level, loss or reduced total RKIP expression was associated with large-sized tumors characterized by high proliferative index, high-grade and diminished estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptor expression. Loss or diminution of RKIP expression was significantly associated with shorter DFS in all cohorts. Moreover, the complete loss of p-RKIP was an independent prognostic factor using multivariate analysis in operable invasive ductal breast cancer. We show for the first time that ER, partly, drives RKIP expression through MTA3-Snail axis. Consistent with this finding, we found that, at the mRNA level, RKIP expression varied significantly across the different molecular subtypes of breast cancer with the Luminal (ER+) subtype expressing high levels of RKIP and the more aggressive Claudin-low (ER-) subtype, which depicted the highest epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) registered the lowest RKIP expression levels. In conclusion, loss of expression/diminution of RKIP or its phosphorylated form is associated with poor diseases-free survival in breast cancer. Determining the expression of RKIP and p-RKIP adds significant prognostic value to the management and subtyping of this disease.
RKIP; PEBP1; ERK; estrogen receptor; aggressive cancer; breast cancer; Luminal; claudin-low; ERBB2; basal; prognosis; disease-free survival
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death in the US and exhibits aggressive features with short survival rate and high mortality. Therefore, it is important to understand the molecular mechanism(s) involved in the aggressive growth of pancreatic cancers, and further design novel targeted therapies for its treatment with better treatment outcome. In the present study, we found that the expression of miR-221 was significantly up-regulated in pancreatic cancer cell lines and tumor tissues compared to normal pancreatic duct epithelial cells and normal pancreas tissues. Moreover, we found that the pancreatic cancer patients with high miR-221 expression had a relatively shorter survival compared to those with lower expression, suggesting that miR-221 could be an oncogenic miRNA and a prognostic factor for poor survival of patients. Interestingly, transfection of miR-221 inhibitor suppressed the proliferative capacity of pancreatic cancer cells with concomitant up-regulation of PTEN, p27kip1, p57kip2, and PUMA, which are the tumor suppressors and the predicted targets of miR-221. Most importantly, we found that the treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with isoflavone mixture (G2535), formulated 3,3’-diindolylmethane (BR-DIM), or synthetic curcumin analogue (CDF) could down-regulate the expression of miR-221 and consequently up-regulate the expression of PTEN, p27kip1, p57kip2, and PUMA, leading to the inhibition of cell proliferation and migration of MiaPaCa-2 and Panc-1 cells. These results provide experimental evidence in support of the oncogenic role of miR-221 and also demonstrate the role of isoflavone, BR-DIM, and CDF as potential non-toxic agents that are capable of down-regulation of miR-221. Therefore, these agents combined with conventional chemotherapeutics could be useful in designing novel targeted therapeutic strategy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer for which there is no curative therapy.
miR-221; proliferation; pancreatic cancer; isoflavone; DIM; CDF
DNA polymerase ε (polε) plays a central role in DNA replication in eukaryotic cells, and has been suggested to the main synthetic polymerase on the leading strand. It is a hetero-tetrameric enzyme, comprising a large catalytic subunit (the A subunit ~250 kDa), a B subunit of ~60 kDa in most species (~80 kDa in budding yeast) and two smaller subunits (each ~20 kDa). In Drosophila, two subunits of polε (dpolε) have been identified. One is the 255 kDa catalytic subunit (dpolεp255), and the other is the 58 kDa subunit (dpolεp58). The functions of the B subunit have been mainly studied in budding yeast and mammalian cell culture, few studies have been performed in the context of an intact multicellular organism and therefore its functions in this context remain poorly understood. To address this we examined the in vivo role of dpolεp58 in Drosophila. A homozygous dpolεp58 mutant is pupal lethal, and the imaginal discs are less developed in the third instar larvae. In the eye discs of this mutant S phases, as measured by BrdU incorporation assays, were significantly reduced. In addition staining with an anti-phospho histone H3 (PH3) antibody, (a marker of M phase), was increased in the posterior region of eye discs, where usually cells stop replicating and start differentiation. These results indicate that dpolεp58 is essential for Drosophila development and plays an important role in progression of S phase in mitotic cell cycles. We also observed that the size of nuclei in salivary gland cells were decreased in dpolεp58 mutant, indicating that dpolεp58 also plays a role in endoreplication. Furthermore we detect a putative functional interaction between dpolε and ORC2 in discs suggesting that polε plays a role in the initiation of DNA replication in Drosophila.
DNA polymerase ε B subunit; Drosophila melanogaster
Notch signaling plays an essential role in development as well as cancer. We have previously shown that Notch3 is important for lung cancer growth and survival. Notch receptors are activated through the interaction with their ligands, resulting in proteolytic cleavage of the receptors. This interaction is modulated by Fringe, a family of fucose-specific β1,3 N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases that modify the extracellular subunit of Notch receptors. Studies in developmental models showed that Fringe enhances Notch’s response to Delta ligands at the expense of Jagged ligands. We observed that Manic Fringe expression is down-regulated in lung cancer. Since Jagged1, a known ligand for Notch3, is often over-expressed in lung cancer, we hypothesized that Fringe negatively regulates Notch3 activation. In this study, we show that re-expression of Manic Fringe down-regulates Notch3 target genes HES1 and HeyL and reduces tumor phenotype in vitro and in vivo. The mechanism for this phenomenon appears to be related to modulation of Notch3 protein stability. Proteasome inhibition reverses Manic Fringe-induced protein turnover. Taken together, our data provide the first evidence that Manic Fringe functions as a tumor suppressor in the lung and that the mechanism of its anti-tumor activity is mediated by inhibition of Notch3 activation.
Jagged1; manic fringe; Notch3; lung cancer
Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are heterogeneous cancers that present tumors without the estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Because of the absence of these receptors, there are currently no known specific molecular targets for treatment, and although TNBC tumors are chemosensitive, prognosis is poor because this type of cancer relapses more frequently and more aggressively than hormone receptor-positive cancers. The mechanisms by which TNBCs escape control by chemotherapy are not clear, and it is crucial to identify novel molecular drivers that can be targeted in order to develop more efficient therapeutic approaches. We recently highlighted a pleiotropic role for parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) in all stages of breast cancer, and used our neutralizing anti-PTHrP monoclonal antibody (mAb M158) to efficiently inhibit progression and metastasis of human breast cancer xenografts in athymic mice. In the present study, we present evidence for a strong in vitro anti-proliferative effect of our blocking anti-PTHrP mAb M158 as a single agent on TNBC lines of various subtypes that are known to express PTHrP (MDA-MB-231, BT-549, MDA-MB-435). The same mAb is inactive in a TNBC line without detectable PTHrP expression (MDA-MB-468). In in vitro combination studies, the mAb enhances the effect of the chemotherapeutic drugs taxol and doxorubicin in PTHrP-positive TNBC cells in an additive manner. When combined with the bisphosphonate zoledronate, M158 can act in additive or antagonistic fashion in vitro depending on the cell line. Our observations identify PTHrP as a novel target against TNBC cell proliferation, and suggest that combination therapies that include an anti-PTHrP approach might increase treatment efficacy in patients with PTHrP-positive TNBC.
Breast cancer cell lines; PTHrP; TNBC; zoledronate; doxorubicin; paclitaxel; neutralizing antibody
Gene amplified in squamous cell carcinoma 1 (GASC1) is a member of Jumonji C-domain containing histone demethylases that play an essential role in affecting chromatin architecture and gene expression. The purpose of this study was to determine the expression features and the clinical significance of GASC1 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). GASC1 expression was detected on tissue microarrays of ESCC samples in 185 cases using immunohistochemical staining. Strong nuclear staining for GASC1 was observed in a subset of ESCC samples. The nuclear expression of GASC1 was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (P=0.030) and tumor-node metastasis stages (P=0.013). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a tendency that high expression of GASC1 in the nucleus was associated with poor survival of ESCC patients, with a 5-year survival rate of 26.5%, as compared to 43.7% for patients with GASC1-negative/low expression. Furthermore, multivariate analysis revealed that high expression of GASC1 likely acts as a predictive factor for overall survival of ESCC patients, despite the P-value failing to reach significance (P=0.059). The findings indicate that histone demethylase GASC1 may play an important role in promoting cancer metastasis, and shed new light on the importance of targeting GASC1 to suppress metastatic disease in various tumor types, including ESCC.
Histone demethylase; GASC1; lymph node metastasis; immunohistochemistry; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
Introduction: The ability to ascertain survival information is important for retrospective and prospective studies. Two databases that can be used are the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and the National Death Index (NDI). Although the NDI is more complete, there are advantages to the SSDI such as ease of use and cost. The intent of this study was to determine accuracy of the SSDI. Methods: Publically available data on all known deceased individuals in the state of Ohio in 2003 were obtained from the State of Ohio Department of Health. A random sample of 63,557 of these were compared to the SSDI to identify risk factor for inclusion/exclusion. Results: Overall, 94.7% of all death records were confirmed by the SSDI. Age at death, gender, race, ethnicity, and cause of death were all found to significantly affect the likelihood of inclusion. Specifically, people aged 18-24 were included only 79.8% of the time compared to 96.2% for those over the age of 65. Also, malignancy as cause of death resulted in a 95.3% inclusion while trauma as a cause of death led to 86.5% inclusion. While Caucasians had an inclusion of 95.6%, African Americans were included only 87.8% of the time. Hispanics and women also had lower inclusion rates. Discussion: The SSDI is a strong tool for following up on participants lost to follow up in certain populations but is weaker in others. The SSDI would be particularly useful in a population that is largely older, Caucasian, or has malignant disease.
Social; security; death; index; SSDI; NDI; survival
Background: Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a key component of the inflammatory microenvironment. Their role in prostate cancer development and progression remains unclear. We examined whether the amount of TAMs in prostate cancer is: 1) higher than prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and benign tissue 2) associated with poorly differentiated disease, and 3) predictive of biochemical recurrence among surgically treated men. Methods: A tissue microarray (TMA) of prostatectomy specimens from 332 patients was stained for CD68, a TAM marker. A separate TMA was used for validation. Associations between mean TAMs in cancer cores and PSA recurrence were determined by Cox proportional hazards models after adjusting for age, preoperative PSA, race, body mass index, pathologic Gleason sum, seminal vesicle invasion, extracapsular extension, and margin status. Results: Mean TAM number was higher in cancer versus PIN and benign tissue (p<0.0001). Mean TAM number was higher in Gleason grade 4 cores vs. Gleason grade 3 cores (p=0.003). On multivariable analysis, no association was observed between mean TAM number per cancer core and biochemical recurrence in either cohort. Conclusion: Mean TAM number was higher in cancer cores vs. PIN and benign tissue, and higher in high grade prostate cancer supporting the potential role of TAMs in prostate cancer development. However, TAMs were not associated with biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy suggesting TAM counts do not provide independent prognostic value among surgically treated men. Further studies are required to elucidate the functional significance of TAMs in the prostate cancer microenvironment.
Biochemical recurrence; cancer development; prostate; tumor associated macrophages; tissue microarray
Our group recently demonstrated in a rat model that pretreatment with morphine facilitates doxorubicin delivery to the brain in the absence of signs of increased acute systemic toxicity. Morphine and other drugs such as dexamethasone or ondansetron seem to inhibit MDR proteins localized on blood-brain barrier, neurons and glial cells increasing the access of doxorubicin to the brain by efflux transporters competition. We explored the feasibility of active modification of the blood-brain barrier protection, by using morphine dexamethasone or ondansetron pretreatment, to allow doxorubicin accumulation into the brain in a rodent model. Rats were pretreated with morphine (10 mg/kg, i.p.), dexamethasone (2 mg/kg, i.p.) or ondansetron (2 mg/kg, i.p.) before injection of doxorubicin (12 mg/kg, i.p.). Quantitative analysis of doxorubicin was performed by mass spectrometry. Acute hearth and kidney damage was analyzed by measuring doxorubicin accumulation, LDH activity and malondialdehyde plasma levels. The concentration of doxorubicin was significantly higher in all brain areas of rats pretreated with morphine (P < 0.001) or ondansetron (P < 0.05) than in control tissues. The concentration of doxorubicin was significantly higher in cerebral hemispheres and brainstem (P < 0.05) but not in cerebellum of rats pretreated with dexamethasone than in control tissues. Pretreatment with any of these drugs did not increase LDH activity or lipid peroxidation compared to controls. Our data suggest that morphine, dexamethasone or ondansetron pretreatment is able to allow doxorubicin penetration inside the brain by modulating the BBB. This effect is not associated with acute cardiac or renal toxicity. This finding might provide the rationale for clinical applications in the treatment of refractory brain tumors and pave the way to novel applications of active but currently inapplicable chemotherapeutic drugs.
Doxorubicin; morphine; dexamethasone; ondansetron; blood-brain barrier; rodent model; MDR transporters; mass spectrometry
Nuclear transcription factor Y (NF-Y) is an example of a transcriptional regulation factor in eukaryotes consisting of three different subunits, NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC, which are all necessary for formation of NF-Y complexes and binding to CCAAT boxes in promoters of its target genes. Highly conserved between human and Drosophila, NF-Y regulates transcription of various genes related to the cell cycle and various human diseases. Drosophila models have been widely used as tools for studying genetics and developmental biology and more recently for analyzing the functions of human disease genes, including those responsible for developmental and neurological disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease and metabolic and storage diseases, as well as genes required for function of the visual, auditory and immune systems. In this review, in vivo findings from Drosophila models relevant to the roles of NF-Y in various human diseases are summarized. Recent studies have demonstrated novel contributions of dNF-Y to apoptosis and apoptosis-induced proliferation, and in photoreceptor cell differentiation during the development of the Drosophila compound eye.
Transcription factors; NF-Y; NF-YB; apoptosis; Drosophila model
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and has been linked to inflammation. Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) is synthesized from arachidonic acid via the 5-lipoxygenase pathway and is a potent chemoattractant for inflammatory cells. LTB4 was recently shown to be associated with the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, including cancer. Of the two known LTB4 receptors, BLT1 and BLT2, the biological roles of the low-affinity LTB4 receptor 2, BLT2, have only recently been elucidated. This review focuses on recent discoveries regarding BLT2 and its roles in cancer progression and the downstream signaling mechanisms of the BLT2-linked signaling cascade in cancer cells. We believe that these findings will facilitate the development of new cancer treatments.
Leukotriene B4 receptor 2 (BLT2); leukotriene B4; NADPH oxidase; reactive oxygen species; nuclear factor-kB; cancer progression
The properties of stem cells can be induced during the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). The responsible molecular mechanisms, however, remain largely undefined. Here we report the identification of the microRNA-146a (miR-146a) as a common target of Krüppel-like factor 8 (KLF8) and TGF-β, both of which are known EMT-inducers. Upon KLF8 overexpression or TGF-β treatment, a significant portion of the MCF-10A cells gained stem cell traits as demonstrated by an increased expression of CD44high/CD24low, activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), mammosphere formation and chemoresistance. Along with this change, the expression of miR-146a was highly upregulated in the cells. Importantly, we found that miR-146a was aberrantly co-overexpressed with KLF8 in a panel of invasive human breast cancer cell lines. Ectopic expression of KLF8 failed to induce the stem cell traits in the MCF-10A cells if the cells were pre-treated with miR-146a inhibitor, whereas overexpression of miR-146a in the MCF-10A cells alone was sufficient to induce the stem cell traits. Co-staining and luciferase reporter analyses indicated that miR-146a targets the 3’-UTR of the Notch signaling inhibitor NUMB for translational inhibition. Overexpression of KLF8 dramatically potentiated the tumorigenecity of MCF-10A cells expressing the H-Ras oncogene, which was accompanied by a loss of NUMB expression in the tumors. Taken together, this study identifies a novel role and mechanism for KLF8 in inducing pro-tumorigenic mammary stem cells via miR-146a potentially by activating Notch signaling. This mechanism could be exploited as a therapeutic target against drug resistance of breast cancer.
KLF8; miR-146a; EMT; mammary stem cells; tumorigenesis
We have identified an alternatively spliced, non-functional aberrant E-cadherin transcript that lacks exon 11 and is over expressed in malignant cells as compared to the normal non-malignant cells. This increase in the aberrant transcript is a mechanism of loss of E-cadherin gene expression as it is rapidly degraded by the nonsense mediated decay pathway. To study the mechanism of this gene missplicing we analyzed the role of histone epigenetic modifications in lung cancer cell lines. The treatment of low E-cadherin lung cancer cell lines with histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi, MS-275) resulted in the preferential expression of the correctly spliced transcripts in the low E-cadherin expressing cell lines only. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays revealed that the histone hypoacetylation levels correlate with aberrant exon 11 splicing as there is more aberrant splicing in cell lines with E-cadherin promoter hypoacetylation. Inactivation of histone deacetylases (HDAC) 1, 2 and 3 resulted in an increase in E-cadherin expression and an increase in the ratio of the correctly spliced E-cadherin transcript. As transcription of the gene is closely linked to splicing, we considered the possibility that change in E-cadherin transcription correlates with splicing. The Zeb1 epithelial-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) inducer silences E-cadherin expression and could also alter the splicing of this exon. Inhibition of the E-cadherin promoter transcription with Zeb1 expression increases aberrant splicing and the reverse is observed when Zeb1 is knocked down. The role of HDAC inhibitors was also studied in vivo in a immunodeficient mouse xenograft model. Exposure of mice to HDACi resulted in growth inhibition, increase in E-cadherin expression, alteration of aberrant splicing and the reversal of EMT in mouse tumors. The findings support the modulation of E-cadherin exon 11 inclusion or exclusion by histone epigenetic modifications as they change the overall chromatin structure. The results provide an interesting link between epigenetic alterations in cancer cells and gene splicing in addition to their effect on gene silencing.
E-cadherin; splicing; histone modifications; HDAC; HDAC inhibitor; Zeb1; EMT
Historically, metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) is more resistant to conventional cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents than other solid tumors. Although significant progress has been made over the last decade with several novel therapeutics, these agents invariably go on to fail, largely due to either intrinsic or acquired resistance. To help overcome, or at least delay resistance, combinatorial therapies utilizing agents with disparate, and ideally complementary, mechanisms of actions are needed. In this report, we assess the novel combination of the mTOR inhibitor, temsirolimus, with the microtubule stabilizing drug ixabepilone in RCC. Our results demonstrate synergy in multiple cell lines of RCC and further evaluation of this combination is warranted in the clinical setting. Activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response pathway may in part explain the combinatorial synergy. We further propose that ER stress induced proteins may serve as early response biomarkers to combinatorial therapy in a clinical trial.
Renal cell carcinoma; ixabepilone; microtubule stabilizer; mTOR inhibitor; temsirolimus; combination therapy
In a recent study, a unique gene expression signature was observed when comparing esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) epithelial cells to normal esophageal epithelial cells using laser capture microdissection (LCM) and cDNA microarray technology. To validate the expression of several intriguing genes from that study (KRT17, cornulin, CD44, and EpCAM), we employed two new technologies, expression microdissection (xMD) for high-throughput microdissection facilitating protein analysis and RNAscope for the evaluation of low abundant transcripts in situ. For protein measurements, xMD technology was utilized to specifically procure sufficient tumor and normal epithelium from frozen human tissue for immunoblot analysis of KRT17 (CK17) and cornulin. A novel in situ hybridization method (RNAscope) was used to determine the transcript level of two relatively low expressed genes, CD44 and EpCAM in both individual formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections and in an ESCC tissue microarray (TMA). The results successfully confirmed the initial expression pattern observed for all four genes, potentially implicating them in the pathogenesis of ESCC. Additionally, the study provides important methodological information on the overall process of candidate gene validation.
Expression microdissection; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; RNAscope; immunoblot
Background: malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare peritoneal mesothelial neoplasm. Ki67 and BCL2 are established prognostic markers in several cancers. High Ki67 expression indicates tumour progression, whilst similar expression of BCL2 retards tumour replication. Traditionally, prognosis in MPM is gauged with a single biomarker assessed separately in a dichotomous manner. Here, we examine prognosis with dual biomarkers incorporated in a model to predict survival. Materials and methods: Forty two MPM archival patient tumours were screened for Ki67 and BCL2 by immunohistochemistry and evaluated using standard methods. Ki67 and BCL2 expression was incorporated into a prognostic model to develop Ki67-BCL2 index. Using this index, three hazard groups were identified (high, medium and low risk). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed to assess the significance of these hazard groups in the various clinicopathological categories. Results: In all clinicopathological categories, high risk group showed poor prognosis compared to low risk group (p = < 0.001). Compared to medium risk, high risk group carried poor prognosis in all tumours, females, epitheloid tumours, peritoneal cancer index (PCI) < 20, ≥ 20, age at diagnosis (AAD) < 60, and ≥ 60 years. Independent of the Ki67-BCL2 index, male, sarcomatoid, PCI ≥ 20 and AAD ≥ 60 were poor prognostic factors. High risk group was an independent poor prognostic factor in all tumours, males, females and age < 60 years. The distribution of high risk: low risk group in male and female was 3: 2 and 2: 3, respectively, indicating a gender difference. Comparing hazard ratios generated by Ki67-BCL2 index to that of either Ki67 or BCL2, as a single prognostic biomarker, there was a reduction of HR values. Conclusion: Ki67-BCL2 index seems to suggest a more sensitive method of predicting prognosis. However, the current model needs further evaluation in an independent large cohort sample.
Ki67; BCl2; prognosis; malignant peritoneal mesothelima
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with the number of affected people increasing. There are many risk factors that increase CRC risk, including family or personal history of CRC, smoking, consumption of red meat, obesity, and alcohol consumption. Conversely, increased screening, maintaining healthy body weight, not smoking, and limiting intake of red meat are all associated with reduced CRC morbidity and mortality. Mouse models of CRC were first used in 1928 and have played an important role in understanding CRC biology and treatment and have long been instrumental in clarifying the pathobiology of CRC formation and inhibition. This review focuses on advancements in modeling CRC in mice.
Colorectal cancer; human; mouse models; tumorigenesis; Apc; FAP; HNPCC; stem cells