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1.  Assessing the value of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) in improving the appropriateness of referrals for colorectal cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;108(5):1149-1156.
Background:
A blood test may be an effective means of improving the appropriateness of referrals for symptomatic patients referred to specialist colorectal clinics. We evaluated the accuracy of a serum matrix metalloproteinase (MMP9) test in indicating colorectal cancer or its precursor conditions in a symptomatic population.
Methods:
Patients aged over 18, referred urgently or routinely to secondary care following primary care presentation with colorectal symptoms completed a questionnaire and provided a blood sample for serum MMP9 estimation. Univariate analysis and logistic regression modelling investigated the association between presenting symptoms, MMP9 measurements and the diagnostic outcome of patient investigations, in order to derive the combination of factors which best predicted a high risk of malignancy.
Results:
Data were analysed for 1002 patients. Forty-seven cases of neoplasia were identified. Age, male gender, absence of anal pain, diabetes, blood in stools, urgent referral, previous bowel polyps and previous bowel cancer were significantly associated with neoplasia. Matrix metalloproteinase 9 measurements were not found to be associated with significant colorectal pathology.
Conclusion:
This study, despite robust sampling protocols, showed no clear association between MMP9 and colorectal neoplasia. Matrix metalloproteinase 9 therefore appears to have little value as a tool to aid referral decisions in the symptomatic population.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.49
PMCID: PMC3619067  PMID: 23392084
colorectal cancer; matrix metalloproteinase; diagnosis; referral; serum; risk
2.  Serum matrix metalloproteinase 9 and colorectal neoplasia: a community-based evaluation of a potential diagnostic test 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;106(8):1431-1438.
Background:
A blood test may be a more acceptable routine colorectal cancer (CRC) screening test than faecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, and could be safer and cheaper. We evaluated the accuracy of a serum matrix metalloproteinase (MMP9) test for CRC in a non-presenting symptomatic population.
Methods:
A cohort, aged 50–69 with lower gastrointestinal symptoms, was identified by community-based survey. Accuracy of serum MMP9 was assessed by comparison with colonoscopy. Logistic regression identified predictors of neoplasia and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses determined the cutoff to maximise the sensitivity.
Results:
Data were available for 748 patients. Overall, 46 cases of neoplasia were identified. Univariate analysis demonstrated that demographic characteristics, behavioural factors, clinical symptoms and raised serum MMP9 concentration were all significantly associated with the presence of neoplasia. Our final logistic regression model had a sensitivity of 79% and specificity of 70%.
Conclusion:
We demonstrated a significant association between serum MMP9 concentration and the presence of neoplasia. Serum MMP9 levels are raised in those with cancer and high-risk adenomas, although MMP9 estimation is likely to have the greatest predictive utility when used as part of a panel of biomarkers. Further work is required to identify biomarkers that are sufficiently accurate for implementing into routine practice.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2012.93
PMCID: PMC3326675  PMID: 22433968
colorectal cancer; matrix metalloproteinase; diagnosis; serum; screening; risk
3.  Factors affecting attitudes toward colorectal cancer screening in the primary care population 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;101(2):250-255.
Background:
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of death in the United Kingdom. Regular screening could significantly reduce CRC-related morbidity and mortality. However, screening programmes in the United Kingdom have to date seen uptake rates of less than 60%. Attitudes towards screening are the primary factors determining patient uptake.
Methods:
A questionnaire was sent to people aged 50–69 years who were registered with general practices in the West Midlands. A total of 11 355 people (53%) completed the questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify those factors (gender, age, ethnicity, deprivation, number of symptoms, and their duration) that most strongly contributed to negative/positive attitudes in the primary care population.
Results:
Fourteen percent of respondents had a negative attitude towards screening. Men, older people, and those with Indian ethnic backgrounds were more likely to have negative attitudes toward screening, whereas people with Black-Caribbean ethnic background, people with multiple symptoms and those reporting abdominal pain, bleeding, and tiredness were more likely to have a positive attitude.
Conclusion:
Culturally relevant screening strategies should aim to increase knowledge of the symptoms and signs related to bowel cancer among South Asian ethnic groups in the United Kingdom. It is also important to find ways to increase the acceptability of screening among asymptomatic patients.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605130
PMCID: PMC2720207  PMID: 19550423
colorectal cancer; screening; attitude; ethnic minority; symptom
4.  Arginine‐16 β2 adrenoceptor genotype predisposes to exacerbations in young asthmatics taking regular salmeterol 
Thorax  2006;61(11):940-944.
Background
The homozygous presence of the arginine‐16 variant of the β2 adrenoceptor gene ADRB2 reverses the benefits from the regular use of short acting β2 agonists in asthmatic adults compared with the homozygous glycine‐16 genotype. We studied the effect of this polymorphic variation on asthma exacerbations in children and young adults and its relation to long acting β2 agonists.
Methods
A cross‐sectional survey was undertaken using electronic records, direct interviews, and genotype determination of position 16 and 27 of the ADRB2 gene in DNA from mouthwash samples of 546 children and young asthmatics attending paediatric and young adult asthma clinics in Tayside, Scotland during 2004–5. The primary outcome measure was asthma exacerbations over the previous 6 months.
Results
There was an increased hazard of asthma exacerbations across all treatment steps of the British Thoracic Society (BTS) asthma guidelines when the homozygous genotypes Arg/Arg and Gly/Gly were compared (OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.19 to 3.53, p = 0.010), particularly in patients treated with salmeterol (OR 3.40, 95% CI 1.19 to 9.40, p = 0.022). The Glu27Gln polymorphism had no significant effect on asthma exacerbations in any treatment group.
Conclusions
The arginine‐16 genotype of ADRB2 predisposes to exacerbations in asthmatic children and young adults, particularly in those exposed to regular salmeterol. This may be explained by genotype selective salmeterol induced downregulation and impaired receptor coupling, and associated subsensitivity of the response.
doi:10.1136/thx.2006.059386
PMCID: PMC2121164  PMID: 16772309
asthma; children; polymorphism; salmeterol;  ADRB2
5.  Modulation of iron transport proteins in human colorectal carcinogenesis 
Gut  2006;55(10):1449-1460.
Background and aims
Total body iron and high dietary iron intake are risk factors for colorectal cancer. To date there is no comprehensive characterisation of iron transport proteins in progression to colorectal carcinoma. In this study, we examined expression of iron import (duodenal cytochrome b (DCYTB), divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1), and transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1)) and export (hephaestin (HEPH) and ferroportin (FPN)) proteins in colorectal carcinoma.
Methods
Perl's staining was used to examine colonocyte iron content. Real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and western blotting were used to examine mRNA and protein levels of the molecules of interest in 11 human colorectal cancers. Semiquantitative immunohistochemistry was used to verify protein levels and information on cellular localisation. The effect of iron loading on E‐cadherin expression in SW480 and Caco‐2 cell lines was examined by promoter assays, real time PCR and western blotting.
Results
Perl's staining showed increased iron in colorectal cancers, and there was a corresponding overexpression of components of the intracellular iron import machinery (DCYTB, DMT1, and TfR1). The iron exporter FPN was also overexpressed, but its intracellular location, combined with reduced HEPH levels, suggests reduced iron efflux in the majority of colorectal cancers examined. Loss of HEPH and FPN expression was associated with more advanced disease. Iron loading Caco‐2 and SW480 cells caused cellular proliferation and E‐cadherin repression.
Conclusions
Progression to colorectal cancer is associated with increased expression in iron import proteins and a block in iron export due to decreased expression and aberrant localisation of HEPH and FPN, respectively. This results in increased intracellular iron which may induce proliferation and repress cell adhesion.
doi:10.1136/gut.2006.094060
PMCID: PMC1856421  PMID: 16641131
E‐cadherin; iron; colon; cancer
7.  Elevated serum matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) concentration predicts the presence of colorectal neoplasia in symptomatic patients 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(7):971-977.
Early detection of polyps or colorectal carcinoma can reduce colorectal carcinoma-associated deaths. Previous studies have demonstrated raised serum levels of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (sMMP-9) in a range of cancers. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of sMMP-9 levels in identifying colorectal neoplasia. Consenting patients donated a blood sample and were assessed by proforma-led history and physical examination. Samples were analysed for sMMP-9 concentration (enzyme-linked immuno-sorbant assay) and compared to final diagnoses. Logistic regression modelling determined independent factors associated with neoplasia. A total of 365 patients were recruited of whom 300 were analysed, including 46 normal controls. A total of 27 significant adenomas and 63 malignancies were identified. The median sMMP-9 concentration was 443ng ml−1 (IQR: 219–782; mean: 546). Patients with neoplasia had significantly elevated sMMP-9 levels (P<0.001). Logistic regression modelling identified elevated log(sMMP-9) as the most significant predictor of neoplasia (χ2=38.33, P<0.001). Other significant factors were age, sex, smoking history, abdominal pain and weight loss. The model accurately predicted neoplasia in 77.3% of cases. Sensitivity and specificity were 77.9 and 77.1%. sMMP-9 estimation can accurately stratify patient to low- or high-risk cohorts. Serum sampling is a potential means of avoiding unnecessary colonoscopy and reducing patient anxiety, iatrogenic morbidity and mortality, and cost.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6603958
PMCID: PMC2360395  PMID: 17912241
colorectal; matrix metalloproteinase; screening; risk
8.  Identification of serum biomarkers for colon cancer by proteomic analysis 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(12):1898-1905.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is often diagnosed at a late stage with concomitant poor prognosis. Early detection greatly improves prognosis; however, the invasive, unpleasant and inconvenient nature of current diagnostic procedures limits their applicability. No serum-based test is currently of sufficient sensitivity or specificity for widespread use. In the best currently available blood test, carcinoembryonic antigen exhibits low sensitivity and specificity particularly in the setting of early disease. Hence, there is great need for new biomarkers for early detection of CRC. We have used surface-enhanced laser desorbtion/ionisation (SELDI) to investigate the serum proteome of 62 CRC patients and 31 noncancer subjects. We have identified proteins (complement C3a des-arg, α1-antitrypsin and transferrin) with diagnostic potential. Artificial neural networks trained using only the intensities of the SELDI peaks corresponding to identified proteins were able to classify the patients used in this study with 95% sensitivity and 91% specificity.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6603188
PMCID: PMC2361335  PMID: 16755300
colorectal cancer; SELDI; serum proteome; biomarker; proteomic; mass spectrometry
10.  Native and recombinant human hepatocyte growth factors are highly potent promoters of DNA synthesis in both human and rat hepatocytes. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1991;87(5):1853-1857.
Human hepatocyte growth factor (hHGF) has recently been expressed as a recombinant polypeptide from Chinese hampster ovary cell transfectants. Using a primary rat hepatocyte bioassay, we have tested the biological activity of recombinant hHGF and compared it with native hHGF. Dose-response curves were almost identical, with half-maximal stimulation of DNA synthesis at 1-2 ng/ml (equivalent to approximately 10 pM). S-phase labeling index was similarly enhanced and numerous mitotic cells were observed. Recombinant and native hHGF also stimulated DNA synthesis and S-phase labeling index in primary adult human hepatocytes. Human cells were more responsive than rat hepatocytes, with recombinant hHGF slightly more potent than native hHGF (half-maximal stimulation 0.3 and 0.6 ng/ml, respectively). Since HGF levels rise in patients with fulminant hepatic failure and in animals after partial hepatectomy or administration of hepatotoxins, situations where liver regeneration occurs, HGF is suggested to play a key role in regulation of hepatic growth. The high potency of the factor on human hepatocytes reinforces its candidacy as a critical mitogen in human liver growth. The availability of a recombinant hHGF opens the way for in vivo experimental studies and to the possibility of using hHGF as a clinical therapeutic agent, either alone or in combination with other factors.
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PMCID: PMC295309  PMID: 1827130

Results 1-10 (10)