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1.  Polymorphisms in the SULF1 gene are associated with early age of onset and survival of ovarian cancer 
Background
SULF1 (sulfatase 1) selectively removes the 6-O-sulphate group from heparan sulfate, changing the binding sites for extracellular growth factors. SULF1 expression has been reported to be decreased in various cancers, including ovarian cancer. We hypothesized that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of SULF1 would impact clinicopathologic characteristics.
Methods
We genotyped five common (minor allele frequency>0.05) regulatory SNPs with predicted functionalities (rs2623047 G>A, rs13264163 A>G, rs6990375 G>A, rs3802278 G>A, and rs3087714 C>T) in 168 patients with primary epithelial ovarian cancer, using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method.
Results
We found that rs2623047 G>A was significantly associated with an early age of onset of ovarian cancer in the G allele dose-response manner (P = 0.027; Ptrend = 0.007) and that rs2623047 GG/GA genotypes were associated with longer progression-free survival; rs6990375 G>A was also associated with the early age of onset in the A allele dose-response manner (P = 0.013; Ptrend= 0.009). The significant differences in age of disease onset persisted among carriers of haplotypes of rs2623047 and rs6990375 (P = 0.014; Ptrend = 0.004). In luciferase reporter gene assays, rs2623047 G allele showed a slightly higher promoter activity than the A allele in the SKOV3 tumorigenic cell line.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that genetic variations in SULF1 may play a role in ovarian cancer onset and prognosis. Further studies with large sample sizes and of the mechanistic relevance of SULF1 SNPs are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-30-5
PMCID: PMC3025876  PMID: 21214932
2.  Methylation associated inactivation of RASSF1A and its synergistic effect with activated K-Ras in nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Background
Epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes associated with promoter methylation is considered to be a hallmark of oncogenesis. RASSF1A is a candidate tumor suppressor gene which was found to be inactivated in many human cancers. Although we have had a prelimilary cognition about the function of RASSF1A, the exact mechanisms about how RASSF1A functions in human cancers were largely unknown. Moreover, the effect of mutated K-Ras gene on the function of RASSF1A is lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression profile and methylation status of RASSF1A gene, and to explore its concrete mechanisms as a tumor suppressor gene in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.
Methods
We examined the expression profile and methylation status of RASSF1A in two NPC cell lines, 38 primary nasopharyngeal carcinoma and 14 normal nasopharyngeal epithelia using RT-PCR and methylated specific PCR(MSP) respectively. 5-aza-dC was then added to confirm the correlation between hypermethylation status and inactivation of RASSF1A. The NPC cell line CNE-2 was transfected with exogenous pcDNA3.1(+)/RASSF1A plasmid in the presence or absence of mutated K-Ras by liposome-mediated gene transfer method. Flow cytometry was used to examine the effect of RASSF1A on cell cycle modulation and apoptosis. Meanwhile, trypan blue dye exclusion assays was used to detect the effect of RASSF1A transfection alone and the co-transfection of RASSF1A and K-Ras on cell proliferation.
Results
Promoter methylation of RASSF1A could be detected in 71.05% (27/38) of NPC samples, but not in normal nasopharyngeal epithelia. RASSF1A expression in NPC primary tumors was lower than that in normal nasopharyngeal epithelial (p < 0.01). Expression of RASSF1A was down-regulated in two NPC cell lines. Loss of RASSF1A expression was greatly restored by the methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-dC in CNE-2. Ectopic expression of RASSF1A in CNE-2 could increase the percentage of G0/G1 phase cells (p < 0.01), inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis (p < 0.001). Moreover, activated K-Ras could enhance the growth inhibition effect induced by RASSF1A in CNE-2 cells (p < 0.01).
Conclusion
Expression of RASSF1A is down-regulated in NPC due to the hypermethylation of promoter. Exogenous expression of RASSF1A is able to induce growth inhibition effect and apoptosis in tumor cell lines, and this effect could be enhanced by activated K-Ras.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-28-160
PMCID: PMC2809060  PMID: 20042089
3.  MMP7 expression regulated by endocrine therapy in ERβ-positive colon cancer cells 
Background
Many studies have shown that colon cancer is an estrogen-dependent carcinoma. This study explored the efficacy of endocrine therapy in colon cancer cells with high metastatic potential (HT29). We investigated the proliferation of HT29 cells after exposure to endocrine therapy (tamoxifen) and 5-FU.
Methods
Apoptosis was evaluated using flow cytometry. The expression of matrix metalloproteinases 7 (MMP-7) and estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) was measured by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blot. The migration capability of treated cells was determined with wound scratch assay.
Results
Tamoxifen alone, 5-FU alone, and the combination of the two drugs can significantly inhibit HT29 cell proliferation and migration, block the cells in G2/M phase and induce cell apoptosis. These drugs also can down-regulate MMP7 and ERβ expression.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that endocrine therapy is an efficient therapy for inhibiting ERβ-positive colon cancer cell proliferation and migration via down-regulation of MMP7.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-28-132
PMCID: PMC2762977  PMID: 19785773

Results 1-3 (3)