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2.  Kinetics of cancer: a method to test hypotheses of genetic causation 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:163.
Background
Mouse studies have recently compared the age-onset patterns of cancer between different genotypes. Genes associated with earlier onset are tentatively assigned a causal role in carcinogenesis. These standard analyses ignore the great amount of information about kinetics contained in age-onset curves. We present a method for analyzing kinetics that measures quantitatively the causal role of candidate genes in cancer progression. We use our method to demonstrate a clear association between somatic mutation rates of different DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genotypes and the kinetics of cancer progression.
Methods
Most experimental studies report age-onset curves as the fraction diagnosed with tumors at each age for each group. We use such data to estimate smoothed survival curves, then measure incidence rates at each age by the slope of the fitted curve divided by the fraction of mice that remain undiagnosed for tumors at that age. With the estimated incidence curves, we compare between different genotypes the median age of cancer onset and the acceleration of cancer, which is the rate of increase in incidence with age.
Results
The direction of change in somatic mutation rate between MMR genotypes predicts the direction of change in the acceleration of cancer onset in all 7 cases (p ˜ 0.008), with the same result for the association between mutation rate and the median age of onset.
Conclusion
Many animal experiments compare qualitatively the onset curves for different genotypes. If such experiments were designed to analyze kinetics, the research could move to the next stage in which the mechanistic consequences of particular genetic pathways are related to the dynamics of carcinogenesis. The data we analyzed here were not collected to test mechanistic and quantitative hypotheses about kinetics. Even so, a simple reanalysis revealed significant insights about how DNA repair genotypes affect separately the age of onset and the acceleration of cancer. Our method of comparing genotypes provides good statistical tests even with small samples for each genotype.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-163
PMCID: PMC1352380  PMID: 16371164
3.  Expression of minichromosome maintenance protein 2 as a marker for proliferation and prognosis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: a tissue microarray and clinico-pathological analysis 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:162.
Background
Minichromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins are essential for the initiation of DNA replication and have been found to be relevant markers for prognosis in a variety of tumours. The aim of this study was to assess the proliferative activity of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in tissue microarray (TMA) using one of the minichromosome maintenance proteins (Mcm2) and to explore its potential value to predict prognosis.
Methods
Immunohistochemistry for Mcm2 was performed on TMAs constructed from 302 cases of DLBCL. A monoclonal mouse antibody was used after heat induced antigen retrieval. Mcm2 expression was scored quantitatively. Positivity for Mcm2 was defined as presence of nuclear expression of Mcm2 in greater than or equal to 40 % of tumour cells. A statistical analysis was carried out of the association of Mcm2 and the clinico-pathological characteristics.
Results
Mcm2 expression was clearly evident in the nuclei of proliferating non-neoplastic cells and tumour cells. Positivity for Mcm2 was found in 46% (98/211) of analysable cases. A significant correlation existed between Mcm2 expression and presence of bulky disease (p = 0.003). Poor disease specific survival was observed in patients with DLBCL positive for Mcm2 expression in the univariate analysis (p = 0.0424).
Conclusion
Mcm2 expression can be used to assess tumour proliferation and may be useful as an additional prognostic marker to refine the prediction of outcome in DLBCL.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-162
PMCID: PMC1343577  PMID: 16368013
4.  Introduction of in vitro transcribed ENO1 mRNA into neuroblastoma cells induces cell death 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:161.
Background
Neuroblastoma is a solid tumour of childhood often with an unfavourable outcome. One common genetic feature in aggressive tumours is 1p-deletion.
The α-enolase (ENO1) gene is located in chromosome region 1p36.2, within the common region of deletion in neuroblastoma. One alternative translated product of the ENO1 gene, known as MBP-1, acts as a negative regulator of the c-myc oncogene, making the ENO1 gene a candidate as a tumour suppressor gene.
Methods
Methods used in this study are transfection of cDNA-vectors and in vitro transcribed mRNA, cell growth assay, TUNEL-assay, real-time RT-PCR (TaqMan) for expression studies, genomic sequencing and DHPLC for mutation detection.
Results
Here we demonstrate that transfection of ENO1 cDNA into 1p-deleted neuroblastoma cell lines causes' reduced number of viable cells over time compared to a negative control and that it induces apoptosis. Interestingly, a similar but much stronger dose-dependent reduction of cell growth was observed by transfection of in vitro transcribed ENO1 mRNA into neuroblastoma cells. These effects could also be shown in non-neuroblastoma cells (293-cells), indicating ENO1 to have general tumour suppressor activity.
Expression of ENO1 is detectable in primary neuroblastomas of all different stages and no difference in the level of expression can be detected between 1p-deleted and 1p-intact tumour samples. Although small numbers (11 primary neuroblastomas), there is some evidence that Stage 4 tumours has a lower level of ENO1-mRNA than Stage 2 tumours (p = 0.01). However, mutation screening of 44 primary neuroblastomas of all different stages, failed to detect any mutations.
Conclusion
Our studies indicate that ENO1 has tumour suppressor activity and that high level of ENO1 expression has growth inhibitory effects.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-161
PMCID: PMC1327688  PMID: 16359544
5.  Mutations in APC, CTNNB1 and K-ras genes and expression of hMLH1 in sporadic colorectal carcinomas from the Netherlands Cohort Study 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:160.
Background
The early to intermediate stages of the majority of colorectal tumours are thought to be driven by aberrations in the Wnt (APC, CTNNB1) and Ras (K-ras) pathways. A smaller proportion of cancers shows mismatch repair deficiency. The aim of this study was to analyse the co-occurrence of these genetic alterations in relation to tumour and patient characteristics.
Methods
In a group of 656 unselected sporadic colorectal cancer patients, aberrations in the APC, K-ras, CTNNB1 genes, and expression of hMLH1 were investigated. Additionally, tumours were divided in groups based on molecular features and compared with respect to patient's age at diagnosis, sex, family history of colorectal cancer, tumour sub-localisation, Dukes' stage and differentiation.
Results
Mutations at the phosphorylation sites (codons 31, 33, 37, and 45) in the CTNNB1 gene were observed in tumours from only 5/464 patients. Tumours with truncating APC mutations and activating K-ras mutations in codons 12 and 13 occurred at similar frequencies (37% (245/656) and 36% (235/656), respectively). Seventeen percent of tumours harboured both an APC and a K-ras mutation (109/656). Nine percent of all tumours (58/656) lacked hMLH1 expression. Patients harbouring a tumour with absent hMLH1 expression were older, more often women, more often had proximal colon tumours that showed poorer differentiation when compared to patients harbouring tumours with an APC and/or K-ras mutation.
Conclusion
CTNNB1 mutations seem to be of minor importance in sporadic colorectal cancer. The main differences in tumour and patient characteristics are found between groups of patients based on mismatch repair deficiency.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-160
PMCID: PMC1334229  PMID: 16356174
6.  Association between frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:159.
Background
Eighty percent of all breast cancers and almost 90% of breast cancer deaths occur among post-menopausal women. We used a nested case control design to examine the association between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use and breast cancer occurrence among women over 65 years of age. The cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 enzyme is expressed more in breast cancers than in normal breast tissue. COX-2 inhibition may have a role in breast cancer prevention.
Methods
In the Canadian province of Quebec, physician services are covered through a governmental insurance plan. Medication costs are covered for those ≥ 65 years of age and a publicly funded screening program for breast cancer targets all women 50 years of age or older. We obtained encrypted data from these insurance databases on all women ≥ 65 years of age who filled a prescription for COX-2 inhibitors, non-selective NSAIDs (ns-NSAIDs), aspirin, or acetaminophen between January 1998 and December 2002. Cases were defined as those women who have undergone mammography between April 2001 and June 2002 and had a diagnosis of breast cancer within six months following mammography. Controls included those who have undergone mammography between April 2001 and June 2002 without a diagnosis of any cancer during the six months following mammography. The exposure of interest, frequent NSAID use, was defined as use of ns-NSAIDs and/or COX-2 inhibitors for ≥ 90 days during the year prior to mammography. Frequent use served as a convenient proxy for long term chronic use.
Results
We identified 1,090 cases and 44,990 controls. Cases were older and more likely to have breast cancer risk factors. Logistic regression models adjusting for potential confounders showed that frequent use of ns-NSAIDs and/or COX-2 inhibitors was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer (OR: 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.64–0.89). Results were similar for COX-2 inhibitors (0.81, 0.68–0.97) and ns-NSAIDs (0.65, 0.43–0.99), when assessed separately. Frequent use of aspirin at doses > 100 mg/day in the year prior to mammography was also associated with a lower risk of breast cancer (0.75, 0.64–0.89). However, use of aspirin at doses ≤ 100 mg/day did not have any association with breast cancer (0.91, 0.71–1.16).
Conclusion
Women who use NSAIDs or doses of aspirin > 100 mg frequently may have a lower risk of breast cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-159
PMCID: PMC1334211  PMID: 16343343
7.  Caffeic acid phenethyl ester decreases acute pneumonitis after irradiation in vitro and in vivo 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:158.
Background
Lung cancer is relatively resistant to radiation treatment and radiation pneumonitis is a major obstacle to increasing the radiation dose. We previously showed that Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) induces apoptosis and increases radiosensitivity in lung cancer. To determine whether CAPE, an antioxidant and an inhibitor of NF-kappa B, could be a useful adjuvant agent for lung cancer treatment, we examine the effects of CAPE on irradiated normal lung tissue in this study.
Methods
We compared the effects of CAPE on cytotoxicity and intracellular oxidative stress in normal lung fibroblast and a lung cancer cell line. For in vivo analysis, whole thorax radiation (single dose 10 Gy and 20 Gy) was delivered to BALB/c male mice with or without CAPE pretreatment. NF- kappaB activation and the expression levels of acute inflammatory cytokines were evaluated in mice after irradiation.
Results
The in vitro studies showed that CAPE cause no significant cytotoxicity in normal lung as compared to lung cancer cells. This is probably due to the differential effect on the expression of NF-kappa B between normal and malignant lung cells. The results from in vivo study showed that CAPE treatment decreased the expression of inflammatory cytokines including IL-1 alpha and beta, IL-6, TNF-alpha and TGF- beta, after irradiation. Moreover, histological and immunochemical data revealed that CAPE decreased radiation- induced interstitial pneumonitis and TGF-beta expression.
Conclusion
This study suggests that CAPE decreases the cascade of inflammatory responses induced by thoracic irradiation without causing toxicity in normal lung tissue. This provides a rationale for combining CAPE and thoracic radiotherapy for lung cancer treatment in further clinical studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-158
PMCID: PMC1325253  PMID: 16336675
8.  Synchronous adenocarcinoma and carcinoid tumor of the terminal ileum in a Crohn's disease patient 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:157.
Background
Several malignancies have been described in association with inflammatory bowel diseases, the most common being adenocarcinoma. Carcinoid tumor and Crohn disease has also been previously reported, however the coexistence of both neoplasms is quite rare and the clinical diagnosis is very difficult. Here we report what we believe to be the fourth case of a mixed adenocarcinoid tumor coexisting with Crohn's disease.
Case report
The patient presented with clinical and radiological features of intestinal obstruction. Laparotomy showed a stricturing lesion in the last 6 cm of the terminal ileum with proximal dilation. Only the histology of the resected surgical specimen proved the presence of a mixed adenocarcinoid tumor involving the terminal ileum.
Conclusion
Carcinoid tumor should be suspected in elderly patients with Crohn's disease presenting with intestinal obstruction and laparotomy should be considered to exclude malignancy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-157
PMCID: PMC1322224  PMID: 16336666
9.  Unilateral anterior uveitis complicating zoledronic acid therapy in breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:156.
Background
Zoledronic acid is very widely used in patients with metastatic bone disease and osteoporosis. Only one case of bilateral uveitis was recently reported related to its use.
Case presentation
We report the first case of severe unilateral anterior uveitis in a patient with breast cancer and an intraocular lens. Following zoledronic acid infusion, the patient developed severe and dramatic right eye pain with decreased visual acuity within 24 hours and was found to have a fibrinous anterior uveitis of moderate severity The patient was treated with topical prednisone and atropine eyedrops and recovered slowly over several months.
Conclusion
Internists, oncologists, endocrinologists, and ophtalmologists should be aware of uveitis as a possible complication of zoledronic acid therapy. Patients should be instructed to report immediately to their physicians and treatment with topical prednisone and atropine eyedrops should be instituted immediately at the onset of symptoms. This report documents anterior uveitis as a complication of zoledronic acid therapy. This reaction could be an idiosyncratic one but further research may shed more light on the etiology.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-156
PMCID: PMC1326210  PMID: 16332258
10.  Increased staining for phospho-Akt, p65/RELA and cIAP-2 in pre-neoplastic human bronchial biopsies 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:155.
Background
The development of non-small cell lung carcinoma proceeds through a series of well-defined pathological steps before the appearance of invasive lung carcinoma. The molecular changes that correspond with pathology changes are not well defined and identification of the molecular events may provide clues on the progression of intraepithelial neoplasia in the lung, as well as suggest potential targets for chemoprevention. The acquisition of anti-apoptotic signals is critical for the survival of cancer cells but the pathways involved are incompletely characterized in developing intra-epithelial neoplasia (IEN).
Methods
We used immunohistochemistry to determine the presence, relative levels, and localization of proteins that mediate anti-apoptotic pathways in developing human bronchial neoplasia.
Results
Bronchial epithelial protein levels of the phosphorylated (active) form of AKT kinase and the caspase inhibitor cIAP-2 were increased in more advanced grades of bronchial IEN lesions than in normal bronchial epithelium. Additionally, the percentage of biopsies with nuclear localization of p65/RELA in epithelial cells increased with advancing pathology grade, suggesting that NF-κB transcriptional activity was induced more frequently in advanced IEN lesions.
Conclusion
Our results indicate that anti-apoptotic pathways are elevated in bronchial IEN lesions prior to the onset of invasive carcinoma and that targeting these pathways therapeutically may offer promise in prevention of non-small cell lung carcinoma.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-155
PMCID: PMC1325242  PMID: 16332260
11.  Neogenin expression may be inversely correlated to the tumorigenicity of human breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:154.
Background
Neogenin is expressed in cap cells that have been suggested to be mammary stem or precursor cells. Neogenin is known to play an important role in mammary morphogenesis; however its relationship to tumorigenesis remains to be elucidated.
Methods
To compare the expression levels of neogenin in cells with different tumorigenicity, the expression levels in M13SV1, M13SV1R2 and M13SV1R2N1 cells, which are immortalized derivatives of type I human breast epithelial cells, were evaluated. Then we measured the expression level of neogenin in paired normal and cancer tissues from eight breast cancer patients. Tissue array analysis was performed for 54 human breast tissue samples with different histology, and the results were divided into four categories (none, weak, moderate, strong) by a single well-trained blinded pathologist and statistically analyzed.
Results
The nontumorigenic M13SV1 cells and normal tissues showed stronger expression of neogenin than the M13SV1R2N1 cells and the paired cancer tissues. In the tissue array, all (8/8) of the normal breast tissues showed strong neogenin expression, while 93.5% (43/46) of breast cancer tissues had either no expression or only moderate levels of neogenin expression. There was a significant difference, in the expression level of neogenin, in comparisons between normal and infiltrating ductal carcinoma (p < 0.001).
Conclusion
Neogenin may play a role in mammary carcinogenesis as well as morphogenesis, and the expression may be inversely correlated with mammary carcinogenicity. The value of neogenin as a potential prognostic factor needs further evaluation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-154
PMCID: PMC1322231  PMID: 16324219
12.  The impact of age on post-operative outcomes of colorectal cancer patients undergoing surgical treatment 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:153.
Background
the purpose of study was to evaluate the impact of age on outcomes in colorectal cancer surgery.
Methods
patients on hospital database treated for colorectal cancer during the period 1995 – 2002 were divided into two groups: Group 1 – patients of 75 years or older (n = 154), and Group 2 – those younger than 75 years (n = 532).
Results
In Group 1, for colon cancers, proximal tumors were significantly more common (23% vs. 13.5%, p < 0.05), complicated cases were more frequent (46 % vs. 33%, p = 0.002), bowel obstruction more common at presentation (40% vs. 26.5%, p = 0.001), and more frequent emergency surgery required (24% vs. 14%, p = 0.003). Postoperative overall morbidity was higher in the elderly group, but with no differences in surgical complications rate. Overall 5 year survival was 39% vs. 55% (p = 0.0006) and cancer related 5 year survival was 44% vs. 62% (p = 0.0006). Multivariate Cox analysis showed that age was not an independent risk factor for postoperative mortality.
Conclusion
Preoperative complications and co-morbidities, more advanced disease, and higher postoperative nonsurgical complication rates adversely affect postoperative outcomes after surgery for colorectal cancer in the elderly.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-153
PMCID: PMC1318482  PMID: 16324216
13.  Kinetic analysis of dynamic 18F-fluoromisonidazole PET correlates with radiation treatment outcome in head-and-neck cancer 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:152.
Background
Hypoxia compromises local control in patients with head-and-neck cancer (HNC). In order to determine the value of [18F]-fluoromisonidazole (Fmiso) with regard to tumor hypoxia, a patient study with dynamic Fmiso PET was performed. For a better understanding of tracer uptake and distribution, a kinetic model was developed to analyze dynamic Fmiso PET data.
Methods
For 15 HNC patients, dynamic Fmiso PET examinations were performed prior to radiotherapy (RT) treatment. The data was analyzed using a two compartment model, which allows the determination of characteristic hypoxia and perfusion values. For different parameters, such as patient age, tumor size and standardized uptake value, the correlation to treatment outcome was tested using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney U-test. Statistical tests were also performed for hypoxia and perfusion parameters determined by the kinetic model and for two different metrics based on these parameters.
Results
The kinetic Fmiso analysis extracts local hypoxia and perfusion characteristics of a tumor tissue. These parameters are independent quantities. In this study, different types of characteristic hypoxia-perfusion patterns in tumors could be identified.
The clinical verification of the results, obtained on the basis of the kinetic analysis, showed a high correlation of hypoxia-perfusion patterns and RT treatment outcome (p = 0.001) for this initial patient group.
Conclusion
The presented study established, that Fmiso PET scans may benefit from dynamic acquisition and analysis by a kinetic model. The pattern of distribution of perfusion and hypoxia in the tissue is correlated to local control in HNC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-152
PMCID: PMC1325034  PMID: 16321146
14.  First-line therapy with gemcitabine and paclitaxel in locally, recurrent or metastatic breast cancer: A phase II study 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:151.
Background
This phase II study evaluated the efficacy and safety of gemcitabine (G) plus paclitaxel (T) as first-line therapy in recurrent or metastatic breast cancer.
Methods
Patients with locally, recurrent or metastatic breast cancer and no prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease received G 1200 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8, and T 175 mg/m2 on day 1 (before G) every 21 days for a maximum of 10 cycles.
Results
Forty patients, 39 metastatic breast cancer and 1 locally-advanced disease, were enrolled. Their median age was 61.5 years, and 85% had a World Health Organization performance status (PS) of 0 or 1. Poor prognostic factors at baseline included visceral involvement (87.5%) and ≥2 metastatic sites (70%). Also, 27 (67.5%) patients had prior adjuvant chemotherapy, 25 of which had prior anthracyclines. A total of 220 cycles (median 6; range, 1–10) were administered. Of the 40 enrolled patients, 2 had complete response and 12 partial response, for an overall response rate of 35.0% for intent-to-treat population. Among 35 patients evaluable for efficacy the response rate was 40%. Additional 14 patients had stable disease, and 7 had progressive disease. The median duration of response was 12 months; median time to progression, 7.2 months; median survival, 25.7 months. Common grade 3/4 toxicities were neutropenia in 17 (42.5%) patients each, grade 3 leukopenia in 19 (47.5%), and grade 3 alopecia in 30 (75.0%) patients; 1 (2.5%) patient had grade 4 thrombocytopenia.
Conclusion
GT exhibited encouraging activity and tolerable toxicity as first-line therapy in metastatic breast cancer. Phase III trials for further evaluation are ongoing.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-151
PMCID: PMC1315334  PMID: 16316459
15.  Unusual explosive growth of a squamous cell carcinoma of the scalp after electrical burn injury and subsequent coverage by sequential free flap vascular connection – a case report 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:150.
Background
Squamous cell carcinomos may arise from chronic ulcerating wounds in scars, most commonly postburn scars. Tumour growth usually takes place over months to years. Localization on the scalp is a relatively rare condition.
Case presentation
This report presents the case of a 63-year-old man with chronic ulceration of a postburn scar of the scalp due to an electrical burn 58 years ago. Sudden tumour growth started within weeks and on presentation already had extended through the skull into frontal cortex. After radical tumour resection, defect was covered with a free radial forearm flap. Local recurrence occurred 6 weeks later. Subsequent wide excision including discard of the flap and preservation of the radial vessels was followed by transfer of a free latissimus dorsi muscle flap, using the radial vessels of the first flap as recipient vessels. The patient received radiotherapy post-operatively. There were no problems with flap survivals or wound healing. Due to rapidly growing recurrence the patient died 2 months later.
Conclusion
Explosive SCC tumour growth might occur in post-burn scars after more than 50 years. As a treatment option the use of sequential free flap connections might serve in repeated extensive tumour resections, especially in the scalp region, where suitable donor vessels are often located in distance to the defect.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-150
PMCID: PMC1314891  PMID: 16309562
16.  Membrane testosterone binding sites in prostate carcinoma as a potential new marker and therapeutic target: Study in paraffin tissue sections 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:148.
Background
Steroid action is mediated, in addition to classical intracellular receptors, by recently identified membrane sites, that generate rapid non-genomic effects. We have recently identified a membrane androgen receptor site on prostate carcinoma cells, mediating testosterone rapid effects on the cytoskeleton and secretion within minutes.
Methods
The aim of this study was to investigate whether membrane androgen receptors are differentially expressed in prostate carcinomas, and their relationship to the tumor grade. We examined the expression of membrane androgen receptors in archival material of 109 prostate carcinomas and 103 benign prostate hyperplasias, using fluorescein-labeled BSA-coupled testosterone.
Results
We report that membrane androgen receptors are preferentially expressed in prostate carcinomas, and they correlate to their grade using the Gleason's microscopic grading score system.
Conclusion
We conclude that membrane androgen receptors may represent an index of tumor aggressiveness and possibly specific targets for new therapeutic regimens.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-148
PMCID: PMC1318463  PMID: 16293185
17.  Abnormal expression and processing of the proprotein convertases PC1 and PC2 in human colorectal liver metastases 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:149.
Background
The family of proprotein convertases has been recently implicated in tumorigenesis and metastasis in animal models. However, these studies have not yet been completely corroborated in human tumors.
Methods
Using RT PCR, immunoblot and immunohistochemistry we assessed the presence and the processing patterns of the convertases PC1 and PC2 as well as the PC2 specific chaperone 7B2 in human liver metastases originating from colorectal cancer and compared them to unaffected and normal liver. Furthermore, we assessed the presence and processing profiles of PC1, PC2 and 7B2 in primary colon cancers.
Results
mRNA, protein expression, and protein cleavage profiles of proprotein convertases 1 and 2 are altered in liver colorectal metastasis, compared to unaffected and normal liver. Active PC1 protein is overexpressed in tumor, correlating with its mRNA profile. Moreover, the enhanced PC2 processing pattern in tumor correlates with the overexpression of its specific binding protein 7B2. These results were corroborated by immunohistochemistry. The specific and uniform convertase pattern observed in the metastases was present only in a fraction of primary colon cancers.
Conclusion
The uniformly altered proprotein convertase profile in liver metastases is observed only in a fraction of primary colon cancers, suggesting possible selection processes involving PCs during metastasis as well as an active role of PCs in liver metastasis. In addition, the exclusive presence of 7B2 in metastatic tumors may represent a new target for early diagnosis, prognosis and/or treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-149
PMCID: PMC1310616  PMID: 16293189
18.  Long-term disease-free survival in advanced melanomas treated with nitrosoureas: mechanisms and new perspectives 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:147.
Background
Median survival of metastatic malignant melanoma is 6.0 to 7.5 months, with a 5-year survival of ~6.0%. Although long-term complete remissions are rare, few reports describe cases after chemotherapy. Fifty-three patients with metastatic melanoma were treated with Cystemustine, a chloroethyl nitrosourea (CENU) (60 or 90 mg/m2).
Case presentation
We describe 5 cases, presenting with complete response with long-term disease-free survival of long-term remission of 14, 12, 9, 7 and 6 years after Cystemustine therapy alone.
Conclusion
Long-term survival has already been described in literature, but in all cases they have been obtained after chemotherapy associated with or followed by surgery. But despite these noteworthy and encouraging but also rare results, it appears essential to increase cystemustine efficiency.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-147
PMCID: PMC1310625  PMID: 16287507
19.  Increased risk of cancer among relatives of patients with lung cancer in China 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:146.
Background
Genetic factors were considered as one of the risk factors for lung cancer or other cancers. The aim of this work was to determine whether a genetic predisposition accounts for such familial aggregation of cancer among relatives of lung cancer probands.
Methods
A case-control study was conducted in 800 case families identified by lung cancer patients (probands), and in 800 control families identified by the probands'spouses. The data were analysed with logistic regression analysis model.
Results
The data revealed a significantly greater overall risk of cancer (OR = 1.82, P < 0.01) in the proband group. The relatives of lung cancer probands maintained an increased risk of non-lung cancer (P < 0.05) after adjusting for confounder factors. The crude odds ratio of a proband family having one family member with cancer was 1.67 compared with control families. Proband families were 2.56 times more likely to have two other family members with cancer. For three cancers and four or more cancers, the risk increased to 3.50 and 5.91, respectively. The most striking differences in cancer prevalence between proband and control families were noted for cancer risk among female relatives. The strongest effects were for not only lung cancer in any female relatives (OR 2.17, 95%CI 1.60–3.64) and mothers (OR 2.78, 95%CI 1.23–5.12) and sisters (OR 2.03, 95%CI 1.26–3.97), but also non-lung cancer in females and mothers (OR 2.00, 95%CI 1.26–3.01, and OR 2.34, 95%CI 1.28–4.40, respectively).
Conclusion
These data support the hypothesis of a genetic susceptibility to cancer in families with lung cancer, and the female genetic susceptibility to cancer might be greater than male.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-146
PMCID: PMC1299321  PMID: 16281985
20.  Transformation of human bronchial epithelial cells alters responsiveness to inflammatory cytokines 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:145.
Background
Inflammation is commonly associated with lung tumors. Since inflammatory mediators, including members of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) cytokine family, suppress proliferation of normal epithelial cells, we hypothesized that epithelial cells must develop mechanisms to evade this inhibition during the tumorigenesis. This study compared the cytokine responses of normal epithelial cells to that of premalignant cells.
Methods
Short-term primary cultures of epithelial cells were established from bronchial brushings. Paired sets of brushings were obtained from areas of normal bronchial epithelium and from areas of metaplastic or dysplastic epithelium, or areas of frank endobronchial carcinoma. In 43 paired cultures, the signalling through the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) and extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) pathways and growth regulation by IL-6, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), oncostatin M (OSM), interferon-γ (IFNγ) or epidermal growth factor (EGF) were determined. Inducible expression and function of the leukemia inhibitory factor receptor was assessed by treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor depsipeptide.
Results
Normal epithelial cells respond strongly to OSM, IFNγ and EGF, and respond moderately to IL-6, and do not exhibit a detectable response to LIF. In preneoplastic cells, the aberrant signaling that was detected most frequently was an elevated activation of ERK, a reduced or increased IL-6 and EGF response, and an increased LIF response. Some of these changes in preneoplastic cell signaling approach those observed in established lung cancer cell lines. Epigenetic control of LIF receptor expression by histone acetylation can account for the gain of LIF responsiveness. OSM and macrophage-derived cytokines suppressed proliferation of normal epithelial cells, but reduced inhibition or even stimulated proliferation was noted for preneoplastic cells. These alterations likely contribute to the supporting effects that inflammation has on lung tumor progression.
Conclusion
This study indicates that during the earliest stage of premalignant transformation, a modified response to cytokines and EGF is evident. Some of the altered cytokine responses in primary premalignant cells are comparable to those seen in established lung cancer cell lines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-145
PMCID: PMC1289280  PMID: 16271139
21.  The bone marrow aspirate and biopsy in the diagnosis of unsuspected nonhematologic malignancy: A clinical study of 19 cases 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:144.
Background
Although bone marrow metastases can be found commonly in some malignant tumors, diagnosing a nonhematologic malignancy from marrow is not a usual event.
Methods
To underscore the value of bone marrow aspiration and biopsy as a short cut in establishing a diagnosis for disseminated tumors, we reviewed 19 patients with nonhematologic malignancies who initially had diagnosis from bone marrow.
Results
The main indications for bone marrow examination were microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA), leukoerythroblastosis (LEB) and unexplained cytopenias. Bone marrow aspiration was not diagnostic due to dry tap or inadequate material in 6 cases. Biopsy results were parallel to the cytological ones in all cases except one; however a meticulous second examination of the biopsy confirmed the cytologic diagnosis in this patient too. The most common histologic subtype was adenocarcinoma, and after all the clinical and laboratory evaluations, the primary focus was disclosed definitively in ten patients (5 stomach, 3 prostate, 1 lung, 1 muscle) and probably in four patients (3 gastrointestinal tract, 1 lung). All work up failed in five patients and these cases were classified as tumor of unknown origin (TUO).
Conclusion
Our series showed that anemia, thrombocytopenia, elevated red cell distribution width (RDW) and hypoproteinemia formed a uniform tetrad in patients with disseminated tumors that were diagnosed via bone marrow examination. The prognosis of patients was very poor and survivals were only a few days or weeks (except for 4 patients whose survivals were longer). We concluded that MAHA, LEB and unexplained cytopenias are strong indicators of the necessity of bone marrow examination. Because of the very short survival of many patients, all investigational procedures should be judged in view of their rationality, and should be focused on treatable primary tumors.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-144
PMCID: PMC1310632  PMID: 16262899
22.  Clinical and pathologic factors associated with survival in young adult patients with fibrolamellar hepatocarcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:142.
Background
Fibrolamellar Carcinoma (FLC), a subtype of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is a rare primary hepatic malignancy. Several aspects of the clinic features and epidemiology of FLC remain unclear because most of the literature on FLC consists of case reports and small cases series with limited information on factors that affect survival.
Methods
We did a retrospective analysis of the clinical and histological characteristics of FLC. We also determined the rate of cellular proliferation in biopsies of these tumors. We assessed whether these variables were associated with survival.
Results
We found 15 patients with FLC out of 174 patients with HCC (8.6%). Between patients with these neoplasms, we found statistically significant survival, age at onset, level of alpha fetoprotein, and an earlier stage of the disease. The 1, 3 and 5 year survival in patients with FLC was of 66, 40 and 26% respectively. The factors associated with a higher survival in patients with FLC were age more than 23 years, feasibility of surgical resection, free surgical borders, absence of thrombosis or invasion to hepatic vessels and the absence of alterations in liver enzymes. The size of the tumor, gender, cellular proliferation and atypia did not affect the prognosis.
Conclusion
We concluded that FLC patients diagnosed before 23 years of age have worse prognosis than those diagnosed after age 23. Other factors associated with worse prognosis in this study are: lack of surgical treatment, presence of positive surgical margins, vascular invasion, and altered hepatic enzymes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-142
PMCID: PMC1310628  PMID: 16259635
23.  Association of paternal age at birth and the risk of breast cancer in offspring: a case control study 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:143.
Background
Older paternal age may increase the germ cell mutation rate in the offspring. Maternal age may also mediate in utero exposure to pregnancy hormones in the offspring. To evaluate the association between paternal and maternal age at birth with the risk of breast cancer in female offspring, a case-control study was conducted in Korea.
Methods
Histologically confirmed breast cancer cases (n = 1,011) and controls (n = 1,011) with no present or previous history of cancer, matched on year of birth and menopausal status, were selected from several teaching hospitals and community in Seoul during 1995–2003. Information on paternal and maternal ages and other factors was collected by interviewed questionnaire. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were estimated by unconditional logistic regression model adjusting for family history of breast cancer in 1st or 2nd degree relatives, and lifetime estrogen exposure duration.
Results
The risk of breast cancer significantly increased as the paternal age increased (p for trend = 0.025). The association was stronger after controlling for maternal age; women whose fathers were aged ≥40 years at their birth had 1.6-fold increased risk of breast cancer compared with fathers aged <30 years. This association was profound in breast cancer cases in premenopausal women (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.12–3.26, for paternal aged ≥40 vs. <30) (p for trend = 0.031). Although the risk of breast cancer increased as maternal age increased up to the intermediate, and then reduced; the risks in women whose mother were aged 25–29, 30–34, and ≥35 yrs at birth compared to women whose mothers were aged <25 years, were 1.2, 1.4, and 0.8, respectively, the trend was not significant (p for trend = 0.998).
Conclusion
These findings suggest that older paternal age increases the risk of breast cancer in their female offspring.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-143
PMCID: PMC1291359  PMID: 16259637
24.  CEBPG transcription factor correlates with antioxidant and DNA repair genes in normal bronchial epithelial cells but not in individuals with bronchogenic carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:141.
Background
Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of bronchogenic carcinoma (BC), yet only 10–15% of heavy smokers develop BC and it is likely that this variation in risk is, in part, genetically determined. We previously reported a set of antioxidant genes for which transcript abundance was lower in normal bronchial epithelial cells (NBEC) of BC individuals compared to non-BC individuals. In unpublished studies of the same NBEC samples, transcript abundance values for several DNA repair genes were correlated with these antioxidant genes. From these data, we hypothesized that antioxidant and DNA repair genes are co-regulated by one or more transcription factors and that inter-individual variation in expression and/or function of one or more of these transcription factors is responsible for inter-individual variation in risk for BC.
Methods
The putative transcription factor recognition sites common to six of the antioxidant genes were identified through in silico DNA sequence analysis. The transcript abundance values of these transcription factors (n = 6) and an expanded group of antioxidant and DNA repair genes (n = 16) were measured simultaneously by quantitative PCR in NBEC of 24 non-BC and 25 BC individuals.
Results
CEBPG transcription factor was significantly (p < 0.01) correlated with eight of the antioxidant or DNA repair genes in non-BC individuals but not in BC individuals. In BC individuals the correlation with CEBPG was significantly (p < 0.01) lower than that of non-BC individuals for four of the genes (XRCC1, ERCC5, GSTP1, and SOD1) and the difference was nearly significant for GPX1. The only other transcription factor correlated with any of these five target genes in non-BC individuals was E2F1. E2F1 was correlated with GSTP1 among non-BC individuals, but in contrast to CEBPG, there was no significant difference in this correlation in non-BC individuals compared to BC individuals.
Conclusion
We conclude that CEBPG is the transcription factor primarily responsible for regulating transcription of key antioxidant and DNA repair genes in non-BC individuals. Further, we conclude that the heavy smokers selected for development of BC are those who have sub-optimal regulation of antioxidant and DNA repair genes by CEBPG.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-141
PMCID: PMC1310620  PMID: 16255782
25.  The expression of HSP60 and HSP10 in large bowel carcinomas with lymph node metastase 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:139.
Background
The involvement of Heat Shock Proteins (HSP) in cancer development and progression is a widely debated topic. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the presence and expression of HSP60 and HSP10 in a series of large bowel carcinomas and locoregional lymph nodes with and without metastases.
Methods
82 Astler and Coller's stage C2 colorectal cancers, of which 48 well-differentiated and 34 poorly-differentiated, were selected along with 661 lymph nodes, including 372 with metastases and 289 with reactive hyperplasia only, from the same tumours. Primitive tumours and both metastatic and reactive lymph nodes were studied; specifically, three different compartments of the lymph nodes, secondary follicle, paracortex and medullary sinus, were also analysed. An immunohistochemical research for HSP60 and HSP10 was performed and the semiquantitative results were analysed by statistical analysis to determine the correlation between HSPs expression and 1) tumour grading; 2) degree of inflammation; 3) number of lymph nodes involved; 4) lymph node compartment hyperplasia. Moreover, western blotting was performed on a smaller group of samples to confirm the immunohistochemical results.
Results
Our data show that the expression of HSP60, in both primary tumour and lymph node metastasis, is correlated with the tumoral grade, while the HSP10 expression is not. Nevertheless, the levels of HSP10 are commonly higher than the levels of HSP60. In addition, statistical analyses do not show any correlation between the degree of inflammation and the immunopositivity for both HSP60 and HSP10. Moreover, we find a significant correlation between the presence of lymph node metastases and the positivity for both HSP60 and HSP10. In particular, metastatic lymph nodes show a higher percentage of cells positive for both HSP60 and HSP10 in the secondary follicles, and for HSP10 in the medullary sinuses, when compared with hyperplastic lymph nodes.
Conclusion
HSP60 and HSP10 may have diagnostic and prognostic significance in the management of this tumour and their overexpression in tumoral cells may be functionally related to tumoral progression. We hypothesise that their expression in follicular and medullary cells of lymph nodes may be induced by formation of metastases. Further studies based on these observations could lead to a better understanding of the HSPs involvement in colorectal cancer progression, as well as other neoplasms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-139
PMCID: PMC1289279  PMID: 16253146

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