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1.  The Role of Wild-Type p53 in Cisplatin-Induced Chk2 Phosphorylation and the Inhibition of Platinum Resistance with a Chk2 Inhibitor 
The major obstacle in platinum chemotherapy is the repair of platinum-damaged DNA that results in increased resistance, reduced apoptosis, and finally treatment failure. Our research goal is to determine and block the mechanisms of platinum resistance. Our recent studies demonstrate that several kinases in the DNA-repair pathway are activated after cells are exposed to cisplatin. These include ATM, p53, and Chk2. The increased Chk2 phosphorylation is modulated by p53 in a wild-type p53 model. Overexpression of p53 by cDNA transfection in wt-p53 (but not p53 deficient) cells doubled the amount of Chk2 phosphorylation 48 hours after cisplatin treatment. p53 knockdown by specific siRNA greatly reduced Chk2 phosphorylation. We conclude that wild-type p53, in response to cisplatin stimulation, plays a role in the upstream regulation of Chk2 phosphorylation at Thr-68. Cells without normal p53 function survive via an alternative pathway in response to the exogenous influence of cisplatin. We strongly suggest that it is very important to include the p53 mutational status in any p53 involved studies due to the functional differentiation of wt p53 and p53 mutant. Inhibition of Chk2 pathway with a Chk2 inhibitor (C3742) increased cisplatin efficacy, especially those with defective p53. Our findings suggest that inhibition of platinum resistance can be achieved with a small-molecule inhibitor of Chk2, thus improving the therapeutic indices for platinum chemotherapy.
doi:10.1155/2011/715469
PMCID: PMC3265242  PMID: 22312557
2.  A Polymorphic Variant of AFAP-110 Enhances cSrc Activity12 
Translational Oncology  2010;3(4):276-285.
Enhanced expression and activity of cSrc are associated with ovarian cancer progression. Generally, cSrc does not contain activating mutations; rather, its activity is increased in response to signals that affect a conformational change that releases its autoinhibition. In this report, we analyzed ovarian cancer tissues for the expression of a cSrc-activating protein, AFAP-110. AFAP-110 activates cSrc through a direct interaction that releases it from its autoinhibited conformation. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed a concomitant increase of AFAP-110 and cSrc in ovarian cancer tissues. An analysis of the AFAP-110 coding sequence revealed the presence of a nonsynonymous, single-nucleotide polymorphism that resulted in a change of Ser403 to Cys403. In cells that express enhanced levels of cSrc, AFAP-110403C directed the activation of cSrc and the formation of podosomes independently of input signals, in contrast to wild-type AFAP-110. We therefore propose that, under conditions of cSrc overexpression, the polymorphic variant of AFAP-110 promotes cSrc activation. Further, these data indicate amechanismby which an inherited genetic variation could influence ovarian cancer progression and could be used to predict the response to targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC2915419  PMID: 20689769
3.  HPV Infection and EGFR Activation/Alteration in HIV-Infected East African Patients with Conjunctival Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10477.
Background
There has been substantial growth in the numbers of patients with conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma infected with HIV in East Africa. The natural history of the conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma appears to be unique in this region of the world, but the etiologic mechanism unclear and therapeutic options limited. This research was carried out to determine if conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma harbors human papillomavirus DNA and is associated with activation of the EGFR signaling pathway. Positive findings would identify etiologic causes and provide clinical guidance to improve treatment.
Methods/Findings
Expression of p-MAPK/MAPK, p-Akt/Akt and p-EGFR/EGFR in cell nuclei and cytoplasm of 38 FFPE specimens were assessed by immunohistochemistry; HPV genotype was detected by qPCR assay; EGFR mutation was assessed by DNA sequencing analysis; and EGFR mRNA expression was measured using relative qPCR. Statistical analyses included two-sided Fisher exact test or chi-square test, Spearman correlation coefficient and ANOVA. HPV 18 was found in 61% of samples, with HPV 16 double-genotype in 6 patients (16%). Immunohistochemistry and qPCR data suggest that activation and expression of the EGFR signaling pathway is related to disease progression of conjunctival cancer. The associations between cytoplasmic p-MAPK, cytoplasmic p-Akt and tumor invasiveness were significant (p = 0.05 or 0.028). Nuclear p-EGFR appeared only in invasive tumors. A significant positive association between EGFR expression and disease invasiveness was observed (p = 0.01). A SNP in 10 patients and one missense mutation were found within EGFR tyrosine kinase domain. Statistical analysis indicates that patients with measurable EGFR expression more likely harbor EGFR mutations, compared to those with negative EGFR expression (35.3% vs. 0%).
Conclusions/Significance
We conclude that HPV types 16/18 infection is frequent in East African patients with AIDS-associated squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva. EGFR activation/alteration may contribute to and sustain the high prevalence of this cancer. Our findings hint that adoption of HPV vaccination strategies may impact the incidence of conjunctival carcinoma. Agents that target the EGFR pathway may have potential therapeutic benefit.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010477
PMCID: PMC2871792  PMID: 20498858

Results 1-3 (3)