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2.  Overexpression of Tbx3 is correlated with Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition phenotype and predicts poor prognosis of colorectal cancer 
Aims: To investigate the clinical significance of Tbx3 in colorectal cancer (CRC) and the possible association between Tbx3 expression and Epithelial- Transition Mesenchymal (EMT) phenotype. Methods: Quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and western blotting were employed to evaluate the expression of Tbx3 in 30 fresh CRC and matched normal tissues. Using immunochemistry, protein level of Tbx3 and EMT markers (E-cadherin and N-cadherin) were identified in 150 pairs of paraffin-embedded specimen. Results: The results of qRT-PCR and western blotting showed that Tbx3 expression was higher in CRC tissues than in corresponding normal tissues. The statistical analysis based on immunohistochemical evaluation suggested that Tbx3 aberrant expression was significantly associated with tumor size (P=0.049), differentiation (P=0.032), invasion (P=0.019), lymph node metastasis (P=0.049) and TNM stage (P=0.018). Patients who displayed high expression of Tbx3 may achieve a poorer overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS), compared to those with low expression of Tbx3. This tendency was also observed in patients with intermediate levels of disease (II and III stage). The multivariate analysis indicated Tbx3 expression could independently predict the outcome of CRC patients. Interestingly, correlation analysis suggested Tbx3 expression was negatively correlated with E-cadherin expression, but positively correlated with N-cadherin expression. Conclusion: Tbx3 may promote CRC progression by involving EMT program and has the potential to be an effective prognostic predictor for CRC patients.
PMCID: PMC4300685  PMID: 25628943
Tbx3; Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition; colorectal cancer; prognosis; biomarker
3.  Serum-tryptase at diagnosis: a novel biomarker improving prognostication in Ph+ CML 
Basophilia is an established prognostic variable in Ph-chromosome+ chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). However, in CML, basophils are often immature and thus escape microscopic quantification. We have previously shown that tryptase is produced and secreted by immature CML basophils. In the current study, serum samples of 79 CML patients (chronic phase=CP, n=69; accelerated/blast phase=AP/BP, n=10) treated with BCR/ABL inhibitors, were analyzed for their tryptase content. Serum-tryptase levels at diagnosis were found to correlate with basophil counts and were higher in AP/BP patients (median tryptase: 29.9 ng/mL) compared to patients with CP (11.7 ng/mL; p<0.05). In 20/69 patients with CP, progression occurred. The progression-rate was higher in patients with tryptase >15 ng/mL (31%) compared to those with normal tryptase levels (9%, p<0.05). To validate tryptase as new prognostic variable, we replaced basophils by tryptase levels in the EUTOS score. This modified EUTOS-T score was found to predict progression-free and event-free survival significantly better, with p values of 0.000064 and 0.00369, respectively, compared to the original EUTOS score (progression-free survival: p=0.019; event-free survival: p=0.156). In conclusion, our data show that the serum-tryptase level at diagnosis is a powerful prognostic biomarker in CML. Inclusion of tryptase in prognostic CML scores may improve their predictive value.
PMCID: PMC4300686  PMID: 25628944
CML; tryptase; survival; scoring system; prognostication
4.  Dovitinib (TKI258), a multi-target angiokinase inhibitor, is effective regardless of KRAS or BRAF mutation status in colorectal cancer 
Introduction: We aimed to determine whether KRAS and BRAF mutant colorectal cancer (CRC) cells exhibit distinct sensitivities to the multi-target angiokinase inhibitor, TKI258 (dovitinib). Materials and methods: We screened 10 CRC cell lines by using receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) array to identify activated RTKs. MTT assays, anchorage-independent colony-formation assays, and immunoblotting assays were performed to evaluate the in vitro anti-tumor effects of TKI258. In vivo efficacy study followed by pharmacodynamic evaluation was done. Results: Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1 (FGFR1) and FGFR3 were among the most highly activated RTKs in CRC cell lines. In in vitro assays, the BRAF mutant HT-29 cells were more resistant to the TKI258 than the KRAS mutant LoVo cells. However, in xenograft assays, TKI258 equally delayed the growth of tumors induced by both cell lines. TUNEL assays showed that the apoptotic index was unchanged following TKI258 treatment, but staining for Ki-67 and CD31 was substantially reduced in both xenografts, implying an anti-angiogenic effect of the drug. TKI258 treatment was effective in delaying CRC tumor growth in vivo regardless of the KRAS and BRAF mutation status. Conclusions: Our results identify FGFRs as potential targets in CRC treatment and suggest that combined targeting of multiple RTKs with TKI258 might serve as a novel approach to improve outcome of patients with CRC.
PMCID: PMC4300687  PMID: 25628921
Colorectal cancer; FGFR; KRAS; BRAF; Dovitinib (TKI258); multi-target angiokinase inhibitor
5.  Associations between S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine, and colorectal adenoma risk are modified by sex 
Methionine metabolism is an important component of one-carbon metabolism. S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), the methyl donor for nearly all methylation reactions, is irreversibly converted to S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), an inhibitor of methyltransferases, some of which are key enzymes for methylation. Changes in DNA methylation are common in colorectal cancers. We evaluated plasma SAM and SAH with colorectal adenoma risk in a matched case-control study conducted among individuals undergoing routine colonoscopy. 216 cases were individually matched to polyp-free controls in a 1:1 ratio on age (± 5 years), sex, race (white/non-white), study site (academic medical center/VA hospital) and date of sample collection (± 60 days). Sex-specific quantiles were evaluated based on the control distribution due to vastly different metabolite levels by sex. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Among males, both higher SAM (OR = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.18-0.77, p for trend = 0.007) and higher SAH (OR = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.22-0.91, p for trend = 0.02) were associated with statistically significantly decreased risks of colorectal adenoma in comparison to lowest plasma SAM or SAH tertile. Conversely, among females, both higher SAM and higher SAH were associated with increased risk of colorectal adenoma, which was statistically significant for SAH (OR = 5.18, 95% CI: 1.09-24.62, p for trend = 0.04). The difference in these associations between men and women was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The ratio of SAM/SAH was not associated with colorectal adenoma risk among males or females. These findings suggest SAM and SAH may be involved in the development of colorectal adenoma and the association may be modified by sex.
PMCID: PMC4300688  PMID: 25628954
Methionine; colorectal adenoma; S-adenosylmethionine; S-adenosylhomocysteine; epidemiology; biomarker; sex difference
6.  Bisphosphonates and statins inhibit expression and secretion of MIP-1α via suppression of Ras/MEK/ERK/AML-1A and Ras/PI3K/Akt/AML-1A pathways 
Osteolytic bone disease in multiple myeloma (MM) is associated with upregulated osteoclast activity. Macrophage inflammatory protein-1α (MIP-1α) is crucially involved in the development of osteolytic bone lesions in MM. We previously reported that minodronate inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced MIP-1α secretion in mouse myeloma cells. However, it remains unknown whether bisphosphonates and statins inhibit MIP-1α secretion by human MM cells. In present study, we investigated whether bisphosphonates and statins had any inhibitory effect on MIP-1α secretion by human myeloma cells and the mechanism underlying this effect. In this study, we found that bisphosphonates and statins inhibited MIP-1α mRNA and MIP-1α secretion and suppressed extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and Akt phosphorylation by inhibiting Ras prenylation. Moreover, bisphosphonates and statins suppressed the expression of acute myeloid leukemia-1A (AML-1A) mRNA, a MIP-1α transcription factor. These results indicate that bisphosphonates and statins suppress the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/ERK/AML-1A and Ras/phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Akt/AML-1A pathways, thereby inhibiting MIP-1α secretion by MM cells. Therefore, use of MIP-1α expression inhibitors such as bisphosphonates and statins may provide a new therapeutic approach to inhibiting tumour progression and bone destruction in MM patients.
PMCID: PMC4300689  PMID: 25628928
Bisphosphonate; statin; MIP-1α; AML-1A; myeloma; Ras; ERK; Akt
7.  High-level SAE2 promotes malignant phenotype and predicts outcome in gastric cancer 
Background: The SUMO pathway has been shown to play an important role in tumorigenesis. This report analyzed the involvement of the sole SUMO-Activating Enzyme Subunit 2 (SAE2) in human gastric cancer (GC) progression and prognosis. Methods: Expression of SAE2 was examined by Quantigene Plex, western blotting and immunohistochemistry. The expression of SAE2 and c-MYC were detected in parallel in 276 cases. The molecular mechanisms of SAE2 expression and its effects on cell growth, colony formation, migration and invasion were also explored by CCK8 assay, colony formation experiment, transwell chamber assay with or without matrigel, immunoprecipitation and in vivo tumorigenesis and tumor metastasis. Results: SAE2 was markedly overexpressed in GC cell lines and primary tumor samples of GC, and significantly correlated with deeper tumor depth, distant metastasis, higher pathological stage and stratified survival in human GC. SAE2 positivity was independently associated with a worse outcome in multivariate analysis. Knockdown of SAE2 expression inhibited the proliferation, migration, and invasion of SAE2-overexpressing GC cells. Consistent with the in vitro results, down-regulation of SAE2 in human GC BGC823 cells significantly reduced the tumorigenic and metastatic potential of the cells in vivo. SAE2 protein was significantly associated with the higher expression of c-MYC in primary GC tissues. Moreover, FoxM1 was SUMOylated in GC and that inhibition of SAE2 resulted in a decrease in SUMO1-FoxM1 levels compared with those in the controls. Conclusions: These findings suggest that SAE2 has a pivotal role in the aggressiveness of GC, and highlight its usefulness as a prognostic factor in GC.
PMCID: PMC4300690  PMID: 25628926
SAE2; gastric cancer; prognosis; FoxM1; c-MYC
8.  MicroRNA-27a distinguishes glioblastoma multiforme from diffuse and anaplastic astrocytomas and has prognostic value 
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small noncoding RNAs that bind to 3’-untranslated (UTR) regions of target messenger RNAs to regulate protein synthesis. Reports have suggested that a set of specific miRNAs may be used as diagnostic and/or prognostic markers for astrocytoma grading. However, there are few studies of the specific miRNAs differentially expressed in each astrocytoma grade. MiRNA-containing total RNA was isolated from archived formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples from WHO grade II-IV astrocytoma patients. The RNA was labeled and hybridized to Affymetrix miRNA 2.0 arrays. Statistical analysis identified several miRNAs differentially expressed in each astrocytoma grade. In particular, miR-27a, miR-210, and miR-1225-5p expression levels were able to differentiate grade IV from grade II and III astrocytomas as confirmed by real-time PCR. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that disease progression occurred faster for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) patients with a lower miR-27a expression level. Transfection of CRL-1690 GBM human cancer cells with a miR-27a oligonucleotide inhibitor followed by Real-time PCR identified six potential miR-27a target genes. Furthermore, the miR-27a oligonucleotide inhibitor induced CRL-1690 cell apoptosis. Taken together, our results provide additional miRNA signatures for distinguishing GBM from lower astrocytoma grades and suggest miR-27a as a prognostic and therapeutic target for GBM.
PMCID: PMC4300691  PMID: 25628931
miR-27a; glioblastoma multiforme; astrocytoma; microRNAs
9.  Epidermal growth factor receptor pathway polymorphisms and the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma 
The EGFR signaling pathway is important in the control of vital processes in the carcinogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), including cell survival, cell cycle progression, tumor invasion and angiogenesis. In the current study, we aim to assess if genetic variants in the genes of the EGFR signaling pathway are associated with the prognosis of HCC. We genotyped 36 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in four core genes (EGF, EGFR, VEGF, and VEGFR2) by using DNA from blood samples of 363 HCC patients with surgical resection. The associations between genotypes and overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confident intervals (CIs) were estimated for the multivariate survival analyses by Cox proportional hazards regression models, adjusting for age, gender, family history, HBsAg and AFP. We found that five SNPs in the VEGFR2 gene were significantly associated with clinical outcomes of HCC patients. Among them, four SNPs (rs7692791, rs2305948, rs13109660, rs6838752) were associated with OS (p=0.035, 0.038, 0.029 and 0.028, respectively), and two SNPs (rs7692791 and rs2034965) were associated with DFS (p=0.039 and 0.017, respectively). Particularly, rs7692791 TT genotype was associated with both reduced OS (p=0.037) and DFS (p=0.043). However, only one SNP rs2034965 with the AA genotype was shown to be an independent effect on DFS (p=0.009) in the multivariate analysis. None of the other 31 polymorphisms or 9 haplotypes attained from the four genes was significantly associated with OS or DFS. Our results illustrated the potential use of VEGFR2 polymorphisms as prognostic markers for HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC4300692  PMID: 25628948
Hepatocellular carcinoma; survival; EGF; EGFR; VEGF; VEGFR2; genetic polymorphisms
10.  BCL6 is a negative prognostic factor and exhibits pro-oncogenic activity in ovarian cancer 
Background: Dysregulation of BCL6 plays critical oncogenic roles and facilitates tumorigenesis in various malignancies. However, whether the aberrant expression of BCL6 in ovarian carcinoma is associated with malignancy, metastasis or prognosis remains unknown. Our study aimed to investigate the expression of BCL6 in ovarian carcinoma and its possible correlation with clinicopathological features as well as patient survival to reveal its biological effects in ovarian tumor progression. Methods: Immunochemistry analysis was performed in 105 cases of ovarian carcinoma covering the histological types of serous, endometrioid and clear cell. Spearman analysis was used to calculate the correlation between pathological parameters and the expression of BCL6. Kaplan–Meier method and Cox proportional hazards analysis were used to analyze the disease-specific survival (DSS) and disease-free survival (DFS). We also assessed whether overexpression and knockdown of BCL6 influence in vitro cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, as well as tumor cell invasion and migration. Results: The expression of BCL6 was higher in all three major kinds of ovarian cancer in comparison with paratumorous epithelium. BCL6 expression was tightly correlated with FIGO staging, lymph node metastasis and recurrence. Higher expression of BCL6 led to a significantly poorer DSS and DFS and multivariate analysis revealed that BCL6 was an independent risk factor of DSS and DFS. Enforced overexpression of BCL6 in ovarian tumor cells stimulated proliferation by inducing G1–S transition, and promoted tumor cell invasion and migration. Conversely, RNA interference–mediated silencing BCL6 expression inhibited proliferation by altered cell cycle progression and reduced the ability of the cells to migrate, and invade the extracellular matrix in culture. Conclusions: Our study suggests that the inappropriate activation of BCL6 predicts poor prognosis and promotes tumor progression in ovarian carcinoma. Targeting BCL6 could be a novel therapeutic choice for treating ovarian carcinoma patients.
PMCID: PMC4300693  PMID: 25628935
BCL6; ovarian carcinoma; prognosis; proliferation; invasion
11.  Frequent SOCS3 and 3OST2 promoter methylation and their epigenetic regulation in endometrial carcinoma 
DNA methylation has been considered as an important means of early diagnosis of cancer, which cooperates with histone modifications, playing a crucial role in silencing tumor suppressor genes (TSGs). However, how TSGs are regulated by these epigenetic mechanisms in cancer remains unknown. In this study, we first evaluated 7 TSGs methylation in the early diagnosis of endometrial carcinoma (EC), and then explored the epigenetic mechanisms of their transcriptional regulation. The results showed that SOCS3 and 3OST2 were the most frequently methylated genes in EC (88.3% and 78.3%, respectively), and 3OST2 was correlated with younger patients (< 57 years, P = 0.030) and well-differentiated EC (P = 0.026). Unlike 3OST2, SOCS3 methylation occurred even in complex hyperplasia (53.3%) and atypical hyperplasia (54.2%). 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR) or trichostatin A (TSA) alone could partially reverse SOCS3 and 3OST2 methylation, and their combination completely reversed the methylation of both genes. In addition, UHRF1 and methylated H3R8 were enriched on both hypermethylated SOCS3 and 3OST2 promoters, but after 5-Aza-CdR or TSA treatment, the UHRF1 and H3R8me2s enrichment was decreased while H3R8me2a enrichment was increased. In conclusion, we demonstrate for the first time that SOCS3 and 3OST2 methylation plays an important role in endometrial carcinogenesis, and could be directly regulated by UHRF1. Moreover, H3R8me2s acts as a repressive mark, while H3R8me2a was correlated with transcriptional activity in EC.
PMCID: PMC4300694  PMID: 25628929
Endometrial carcinoma; DNA methylation; histone modifications; tumor suppressor genes; gene expression
12.  Aging-related gene signature regulated by Nlrp3 predicts glioma progression 
Aging is the strongest risk factor for glioma development, suggesting that molecular crosstalks between aging and tumorigenesis exist in many cellular pathways. Recently, Nlrp3 inflammasome have been shown to modulate several major cellular pathways such as inflammation and cell death and have been demonstrated to be an upstream target that controlled the process of brain aging. We proposed Nlrp3 inflammasome may serve as a possible molecular link between aging and glioma progression. In this study, we generated a aging-related gene signature that regulated by Nlrp3 in mouse hippocampus and demonstrated that this gene signature can distinguish subsets of glioma samples and predicts clinical outcome in radiotherapy-treated patients. In addition, using U87 and GL261 xenograft mouse glioblastoma model, we found that Nlrp3 inflammasome contributed to radiotherapy resistance in glioma. Ionizing radiation can induce Nlrp3 inflammasome expression; Nlrp3 inhibition reduced tumor growth and prolonged the survival of mouse following IR treatment; Nlrp3 inhibition reduced number of senescent cells induced by IR. These results above suggest that Nlrp3 inflammasome is an important molecular link between brain aging and glioma progression; the Nlrp3 gene signature may serve as a predictive biomarker for glioma patients.
PMCID: PMC4300695  PMID: 25628952
Nlrp3; radiotherapy; aging; gene signature; glioma
13.  β-catenin SUMOylation is involved in the dysregulated proliferation of myeloma cells 
Over-activation of SUMOylation is correlated with poor prognosis in multiple myeloma (MM), with the mechanism unclear. Wnt signaling is one of the aberrantly regulated pathways related to cancer tumorigenesis and progression. Whether SUMOylation is involved in regulating the activity of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, however, has not been reported in MM. Here we found that the TOPflash reporter activity and the expression of Wnt/β-catenin target genes can be down-regulated after interference with SUMOylation through SUMO-1 small interfering RNA (siRNA). SUMOylation inhibition down-regulated β-catenin at protein level via promotion of ubiquitin-proteasomal mediated degradation. Furthermore, over-expression of β-catenin rescued Wnt/β-catenin pathway activity and partially prevented increased apoptosis and growth inhibition induced by SUMOylation inhibition, indicating that β-catenin was responsible for the observed effect on Wnt/β-catenin pathway. To gain a clearer view, we exploited the inter-protein interactions of β-catenin and SUMO-1 in myeloma cell lines. Immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assay proved that β-catenin is subjected to SUMOylation in vivo, which may, at least partially explain the impact of SUMOylation inhibition on β-catenin. The association of SUMO-1 and β-catenin was confirmed in myeloma patient samples. Taken together, our data proved that SUMOylation inhibition down-regulates Wnt/β-catenin pathway by promoting the ubiquitin-proteasomal mediated degradation of β-catenin. SUMOylation of β-catenin is part of the mechanisms involved in the dysregulated proliferation of myeloma cells.
PMCID: PMC4300696  PMID: 25628940
Multiple myeloma; SUMO-1; SUMOylation; Wnt/β-catenin
14.  Morusin induces cell death through inactivating STAT3 signaling in prostate cancer cells 
STAT3 has been recognized as an efficacious drug target for prostate cancer because of its constitutive activation in this fatal disease. We recently identified the root bark of Morus alba Linn. as a potential STAT3 inhibitor among 33 phytomedicines traditionally used in Korea. Morusin, an active compound isolated from the root bark of Morus alba, has shown anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In the present study, we examined whether morusin has a potential as an anti-cancer agent in prostate cancer. We found that morusin suppressed viability of prostate cancer cells, but little effect in normal human prostate epithelial cells. Morusin also reduced STAT3 activity by inhibiting its phosphorylation, nuclear accumulation, and DNA binding activity. In addition, morusin down-regulated expression of STAT3 target genes encoding Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, Survivin, c-Myc and Cyclin D1, which are involved in regulation of apoptosis and cell cycle. Furthermore, morusin induced apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells by reducing STAT3 activity. Taken together, these results suggest that morusin could be a potentially therapeutic agent for prostate cancer by reducing STAT3 activity and inducing apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4300697  PMID: 25628938
Morusin; prostate cancer; apoptosis; STAT3; SHP1; traditional phytomedicine
15.  KDM5B is overexpressed in gastric cancer and is required for gastric cancer cell proliferation and metastasis 
Epigenetic alterations such as aberrant expression of histone-modifying enzymes have been implicated in tumorigenesis. KDM5B (also known as JARID1B) is a newly identified histone demethylase that regulates chromatin structure or gene expression by removing methyl residues from trimethylated lysine 4 on histone H3. Recent observations have shown oncogenic activity of KDM5B. However, the role of KDM5B in gastric cancer carcinogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of KDM5B in gastric cancer. Immunohistochemical analysis, western blotting, and qRT-PCR were used to measure the levels of KDM5B in gastric cancer cell lines, 45 pairs of gastric cancer tissues and the adjacent nonneoplastic tissues. KDM5B and shKDM5B were transfected into gastric cancer cells to investigate its role on regulating cell proliferation which was measured by MTT and colony formation assay. Cell’s migration and invasion were measured by Transwell and Matrigel analysis in vitro. PCNA expression was measured by immunofluorescence staining and immunohistochemical analysis. The in vivo tumorigenesis and metastasis assays were performed in SCID mice. In clinical gastric cancer samples, we found that KDM5B expression was significantly up-regulated in cancer lesions compared with paired normal gastric tissues. By silencing or overexpressing KDM5B in gastric cancer cells, we found that KDM5B could promote cell growth and metastasis in vitro. An in vivo assay showed that KDM5B not only dramatically promoted gastric cancer cell xenograft formation and growth but also promoted gastric cancer cell metastasis in a liver metastasis model. Moreover, we demonstrated that KDM5B promoted gastric cancer metastasis via regulation of the Akt pathway. Our study provided evidence that KDM5B functions as a novel tumor oncogene in gastric cancer and may be a potential therapeutic target for gastric cancer management.
PMCID: PMC4300698  PMID: 25628922
KDM5B; gastric cancer; proliferation; metastasis
16.  MUC16 mucin (CA125) regulates the formation of multicellular aggregates by altering β-catenin signaling 
After shedding from the primary tumor site, ovarian cancer cells form three-dimensional multicellular aggregates that serve as vehicle for cancer cell dissemination in the peritoneal cavity. MUC16 mucin (CA125) is aberrantly expressed by most advanced serous ovarian cancers and can promote proliferation, migration and metastasis. MUC16 associates with E-cadherin and β-catenin, two proteins involved in regulation of cell adhesion and the formation of multicellular aggregates. However, the role of MUC16 in the formation of multicellular aggregates remains to be defined. Here, we show that MUC16 alters E-cadherin cellular localization and expression. Consistent with this, MUC16 knockdown inhibited the formation of multicellular aggregates and, conversely, forced expression of MUC16 C-terminal domain (CTD) enhanced the formation of multicellular aggregates. MUC16 knockdown induces β-catenin relocation from the cell membrane to the cytoplasm, decreases its expression by increasing degradation and decreases β-catenin target gene expression. MUC16 CTD inhibits GSK-3β-mediated phosphorylation and degradation of β-catenin, leading to increased β-catenin levels. Importantly, knockdown of β-catenin inhibited multicellular aggregation. These findings indicate that MUC16 promotes the formation of multicellular aggregates by inhibiting β-catenin degradation.
PMCID: PMC4300699  PMID: 25628932
MUC16; membrane-bound mucin; ovarian cancer; multicellular aggregates; B-catenin; E-cadherin
17.  Anti-miR21 oligonucleotide enhances chemosensitivity of T98G cell line to doxorubicin by inducing apoptosis 
Various signal transduction pathways seem to be involved in chemoresistance mechanism of glioblastomas (GBMs). miR-21 is an important oncogenic miRNA which modulates drug resistance of tumor cells. We analyzed the expression of 5 miRNAs, previously found to be dysregulated in high grade gliomas, in 9 pediatric (pGBM) and in 5 adult (aGBM) GBMs. miR-21 was over-expressed, with a significant difference between pGBMs and aGBMs represented by a 4 times lower degree of expression in the pediatric compared to the adult series (p = 0.001). Doxorubicin (Dox) seems to be an effective anti-glioma agent with high antitumor activity also against glioblastoma stem cells. We therefore evaluated the chemosensitivity to Dox in 3 GBM cell lines (A172, U87MG and T98G). Dox had a cytotoxic effect after 48 h of treatment in A172 and U87MG, while T98G cells were resistant. TUNEL assay verified that Dox induced apoptosis in A172 and U87MG but not in T98G. miR-21 showed a low basal expression in treated cells and was over-expressed in untreated cells. To validate the possible association of miR-21 with drug resistance of T98G cells, we transfected anti-miR-21 inhibitor into the cells. The expression level of miR-21 was significantly lower in T98G transfected cells (than in the parental control cells). Transfected cells showed a high apoptotic rate compared to control after Dox treatment by TUNEL assay, suggesting that combined Dox and miR-21 inhibitor therapy can sensitize GBM resistant cells to anthracyclines by enhancing apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4300700  PMID: 25628933
miRNA; glioblastoma multiforme; expression analysis; CNS tumors; pediatric brain tumors
18.  MYC-xing it up with PIK3CA mutation and resistance to PI3K inhibitors: summit of two giants in breast cancers 
Approximately 35% of breast cancers exhibit PIK3CA activating mutation. Since PIK3CA hotspot mutation is the most frequently mutated gene in human breast cancers and primarily overlaps in HER2+ as well as ER+ breast cancers, the subset of patients bearing PIK3CA activating mutation does not get fullest benefit from either anti-HER2 or anti-hormonal agents. Literature also suggests that these patients may have chemotherapy resistance. Indeed, multiple clinical trials are currently evaluating the efficacy of over 30 drugs targeting different nodal points in the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway in breast and other cancers. However, to date, responses of solid tumors to PI3K pathway inhibitor monotherapy remains modest with an accompanied rapid emergences of drug resistance. MYC elevation represents one of the potential modes of actions by which breast tumors develop resistance to the PI3K pathway-specific targeted therapies. As products of oncogenes, both MYC and PIK3CA are well-established onco-proteins which contribute to breast oncogenesis. However, their similarities out number their dissimilarities in the context of their specific oncogenic cellular signals. In this review we will describe the specific cellular signals initiated following alteration in the MYC gene and PIK3CA gene in breast cancers. We will interrogate how MYC gene alterations influence the action of PI3K pathway targeted drugs in the context of PIK3CA mutation towards the development PI3K inhibitor induced drug-resistance in breast cancers.
PMCID: PMC4300701  PMID: 25628917
Breast tumors; MYC; PIK3CA; PI3K inhibitors; resistance
19.  MicroRNA-381 increases radiosensitivity in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Background: Radiation resistance poses a major clinical challenge in treatment of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). However, the mechanisms of radioresistance has not been fully elucidated. Since accumulating evidence demonstrates that aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) contributes to cancer sensitivity to radiation, we aimed to identify miRNAs associated with radioresistance of ESCC. Methods: In this study, we used GeneChip miRNA Array to perform an comparison of miRNAs expression in tissues from primary ESCC and recurrent ESCC in situ after radiotherapy. Differential expressions of miRNAs were comfirmed by quantitative Real-Time PCR in tissues and six ESCC cell lines. Cell radiosensitivity were determined by colony formation assay. Functional analyses of miRNA-381 in ESCC cells growth and metastasis were performed by MTT and Transwell Assays. In vivo assays of the functions of miRNA-381 were performed in tumor xenografts. Results: One miRNA candidate, miRNA-381, was found to be downregulated in radiation resistance tissues and cells. Enforced expression of miRNA-381 increased radiosensitivity of ESCC cells and promoted nonaggressive phenotype including decreased cellular proliferation and migration. In contrast, inhibition of miRNA-381 in ESCC cells promoted radiation resistance and development of an aggressive phenotype. In vivo assays extended the significance of these results, showing that miRNA-381 overexpression decreased the tumor growth and the resistance to radiation treatment in tumor xenografts. Conclusions: Together, our work reveals miRNA-381 expression as a critical determinant of radiosensitivity in esophageal cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4300702  PMID: 25628936
microRNA; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; radioresistance; aberrant expression
20.  Methylation of tumor suppressor genes is related with copy number aberrations in breast cancer 
This study investigates the relationship of promoter methylation in tumor suppressor genes with copy-number aberrations (CNA) and with tumor markers in breast cancer (BCs). The study includes 98 formalin fixed paraffin-embedded BCs in which promoter methylation of 24 tumour suppressor genes were assessed by Methylation-Specific Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MS-MLPA), CNA of 20 BC related genes by MLPA and ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6, CK18, EGFR, Cadherin-E, P53, Ki-67 and PARP expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Cluster analysis classed BCs in two groups according to promoter methylation percentage: the highly-methylated group (16 BCs), containing mostly hyper-methylated genes, and the sparsely-methylated group (82 BCs) with hypo-methylated genes. ATM, CDKN2A, VHL, CHFR and CDKN2B showed the greatest differences in the mean methylation percentage between these groups. We found no relationship of the IHC parameters or pathological features with methylation status, except for Catherin-E (p = 0.008). However the highly methylated BCs showed higher CNA proportion than the sparsely methylated BCs (p < 0.001, OR = 1.62; IC 95% [1.26, 2.07]). CDC6, MAPT, MED1, PRMD14 and AURKA showed the major differences in the CNA percentage between the two groups, exceeding the 22%. Methylation in RASSF1, CASP8, DAPK1 and GSTP1 conferred the highest probability of harboring CNA. Our results show a new link between promoter methylation and CNA giving support to the importance of methylation events to establish new BCs subtypes. Our findings may be also of relevance in personalized therapy assessment, which could benefit the hyper methylated BC patients group.
PMCID: PMC4300703  PMID: 25628946
Breast cancer; promoter methylation; copy number aberrations; immunochemistry
21.  Novel mechanisms of resistance to vemurafenib in melanoma – V600E B-Raf reversion and switching VEGF-A splice isoform expression 
Targeting activating mutations in the proto-oncogene B-Raf, in melanoma, has led to increases in progression free survival. Treatment with vemurafenib, which inhibits the most common activating-mutated form of B-Raf (B-RafV600E), eventually results in resistance to therapy. VEGF-A is the principal driver of angiogenesis in primary and metastatic lesions. The bioactivity of VEGF-A is dependent upon alternative RNA splicing and pro-angiogenic isoforms of VEGF-A are upregulated in many disease states dependent upon angiogenesis, including cancers. Using techniques including RT-PCR, Western blotting, ELISA and luciferase reporter assays, the effect of vemurafenib on proliferation, ERK1/2 phosphorylation and the levels of pro- and anti-angiogenic VEGF-A isoforms was investigated in melanoma cell types expressing either wild-type B-Raf or B-RafV600E, including a primary melanoma culture derived from a highly vascularised and active nodule taken from a patient with a V600E mutant melanoma. The primary melanoma culture was characterised and found to have reverted to wild-type B-Raf. In B-RafV600E A375 cells ERK1/2 phosphorylation, pro-angiogenic VEGF-A mRNA, total VEGF-A protein expression and VEGF-A 3’UTR activity were all decreased in a concentration-dependent manner by vemurafenib. Conversely vemurafenib treatment of wild-type B-Raf cells significantly increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation, pro-angiogenic VEGF-A mRNA and total VEGF-A expression in a concentration-dependent manner. A switch to pro-angiogenic VEGF-A isoforms, with a concomitant upregulation of expression by increasing VEGF-A mRNA stability, may be an additional oncogenic and pathological mechanism in B-RafV600E melanomas, which promotes tumor-associated angiogenesis and melanoma-genesis. We have also identified the genetic reversal of B-RafV600E to wild-type in an active melanoma nodule taken from a V600E-positive patient and continued vemurafenib treatment for this patient is likely to have had a detrimental effect by promoting B-RafWT activity.
PMCID: PMC4300704  PMID: 25628951
Melanoma; vemurafenib; A375; 92.1; VEGF-A; VEGF-Axxxb; mechanism of resistance
22.  Myeloid cell leukemia-1 is associated with tumor progression by inhibiting apoptosis and enhancing angiogenesis in colorectal cancer 
Myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) is a highly expressed anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein in cancer. Therefore, inhibition of its expression induces apoptosis in cancer cells and enhances sensitivity to cancer treatment. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether Mcl-1 affects the oncogenic behaviors of colorectal cancer cells, and to document the relationship of its expression with various clinicopathological parameters in colorectal cancer. Mcl-1 knockdown induced apoptosis by activating cleaved caspase-3 and -9, and increasing the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein, PUMA. Mcl-1 knockdown induced cell cycle arrest by decreasing cyclin D1, CDK4 and 6, and by increasing p27 expression. Mcl-1 knockdown decreased both endothelial cell invasion and tube formation, and decreased the expression of VEGF. The phosphorylation level of STAT3 was decreased by Mcl-1 knockdown. The mean apoptotic index value of Mcl-1 positive tumors was significantly lower than that of Mcl-1 negative tumors. The mean microvessel density value of Mcl-1 positive tumors was significantly higher than that of negative tumors. Mcl-1 expression was significantly increased in colorectal cancer, also associated with tumor stage, lymph node metastasis, and poor survival. These results indicate Mcl-1 is associated with tumor progression through its inhibition of apoptosis and enhancement of angiogenesis in colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC4300705  PMID: 25628923
Myeloid cell leukemia-1; apoptosis; angiogenesis; prognosis; colorectal neoplasm
23.  Myelomatous plasma cells display an aberrant gene expression pattern similar to that observed in normal memory B cells 
Memory B cells (MBCs) remain in a quiescent state for years, expressing pro-survival and anti-apoptotic factors while repressing cell proliferation and activation genes. During their differentiation into plasma cells (PCs), their expression pattern is reversed, with a higher expression of genes related to cell proliferation and activation, and a lower expression of pro-survival genes. To determine whether myelomatous PCs (mPCs) share characteristics with normal PCs and MBCs and to identify genes involved in the pathophysiology of multiple myeloma (MM), we compared gene expression patterns in these three cell sub-types. We observed that mPCs had features intermediate between those of MBCs and normal PCs, and identified 3455 genes differentially expressed in mPCs relative to normal PCs but with a similar expression pattern to that in MBCs. Most of these genes are involved in cell death and survival, cell growth and proliferation and protein synthesis. According to our findings, mPCs have a gene expression pattern closer to a MBC than a PC with a high expression of genes involved in cell survival. These genes should be physiologically inactivated in the transit from MBC to PC, but remain overexpressed in mPCs and thus may play a role in the pathophysiology of the disease.
PMCID: PMC4300706  PMID: 25628947
Gene expression; plasma cells; cell survival; memory B cells; multiple myeloma
24.  Gastrointestinal stromal tumors of the esophagus: evaluation of a pooled case series regarding clinicopathological features and clinical outcome 
Background and Objectives: To elucidate diagnostic criteria, clinicopathological features and clinical outcome in patients with esophageal gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), representing an extremely rare subform of GIST with an estimated incidence of about 0.1 to 0.3 per million people. Patients and methods: Esophageal GIST cases from the Ulmer GIST registry consisting of 1077 cases were pooled with case reports and case series of esophageal GIST extracted from MEDLINE. Data were compared with those from 683 cases with gastric GIST from the Ulmer GIST registry. Results: In comparison to gastric GIST, esophageal GIST (n = 55) occurred significantly more frequent in men (p = 0.035) as well as in patients younger than 60 at diagnosis (p < 0.001). Primary tumor sizes were significantly larger (p < 0.001), thereby resulting more frequently in a high-risk classification (OR = 4.53, CI 95% 2.41-8.52, p < 0.001). The 5-year rates of disease-specific survival (DSS), disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS) were 50.9%, 65.3% and 48.3%, respectively. The prognosis of esophageal GIST was less favorable compared with gastric GIST (DSS: p < 0.001, HR = 0.158, 95% CI: 0.087-0.288; DFS: p = 0.023, HR 0.466, 95% CI: 0.241-0.901; OS p = 0.003, HR = 0.481, 95% CI: 0.294-0.785; univariate Cox model) after a median follow-up time of 28 months (range 1.9 to 202). Mutational analysis for KIT showed more frequently wild-type status in esophageal GIST (OR = 10.13, CI 95% 3.02-33.96, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Esophageal GIST differ significantly from gastric GIST in respect to clinicopathological features and clinical outcome. To optimize treatment options further prospective data on patients with esophageal GIST are urgently warranted.
PMCID: PMC4300707  PMID: 25628942
GIST; gastrointestinal stromal tumor; esophagus; prognosis; outcome; mutation analysis
25.  Efficacy of local delivery of ardipusilloside I using biodegradable implants against cerebral tumor growth 
Ardipusilloside I (ADS-I) is a natural compound that can be isolated from the Chinese medicinal herb Ardisiapusilla A.DC, and has been reported to inhibit the growth of glioblastoma cells in cultures. This study was designed to test its efficacy by the delivery using biodegradable implants against glioblastoma in vivo. ADS-I was incorporated into polymer microspheres, which were prepared by a mixture of poly (D, L-lactic acid) and poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) polymers and then fabricated into wafers. The anti-glioma activities of ADS-I-loaded wafers were examined by methylthiazol tetrazolium (MTT) assay in cultured rat C6 glioma cells, and by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and survival monitoring in C6 glioma-bearing rats. Here, we showed that ADS-I-loaded wafers sustained ADS-I release in vitro for 36 days in Higuchi model of kinetics, and had the same cytotoxic activity as ADS-I in the solution against the growth of C6 glioma cells in cultures. In C6 glioma-bearing rats, ADS-I wafer implants inhibited tumor growth in a dose-dependent matter, and were more effective than the same dosage of ADS-I in the solution. The tumor suppression efficacies of ADS-I wafer implants were positively correlated with an increase in tumor cell apoptosis and prolonged animal survival, and were associated with a decrease in vascular endothelial growth factor, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6, and an increase in interleukin-2 expression. In conclusion, this study demonstrates significant efficacy of local delivery of ADS-I using polymer implants against glioma tumor growth in vivo, suggesting the potential of ADS-I-loaded wafers for glioma treatment.
PMCID: PMC4300708  PMID: 25628934
Ardipusilloside I; glioblastoma; interstitial therapy; implant wafer; anti-tumor activities

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