Michael A Tangrea

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States

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Publications (44)185.98 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The development of prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers, such as those from gene expression studies, requires independent validation in clinical specimens. Immunohistochemical analysis on tissue microarrays (TMAs) of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue is often used to increase the statistical power, and it is used more often than in situ hybridization, which can be technically limiting. Herein, we introduce a method for performing quantitative gene expression analysis across a TMA using an adaptation of 2D-RT-qPCR, a recently developed technology for measuring transcript levels in a histologic section while maintaining 2-dimensional positional information of the tissue sample. As a demonstration of utility, a TMA with tumor and normal human prostate samples was used to validate expression profiles from previous array-based gene discovery studies of prostate cancer. The results show that 2D-RT-qPCR expands the utility of TMAs to include sensitive and accurate gene expression measurements.
    Applied immunohistochemistry & molecular morphology: AIMM / official publication of the Society for Applied Immunohistochemistry 01/2014; 22(5):323-30. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SIVQ-LCM is a new methodology that automates and streamlines the more traditional, user-dependent laser dissection process. It aims to create an advanced, rapidly customizable laser dissection platform technology. In this report, we describe the integration of the image analysis software Spatially Invariant Vector Quantization (SIVQ) onto the ArcturusXT instrument. The ArcturusXT system contains both an infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) laser, allowing for specific cell or large area dissections. The principal goal is to improve the speed, accuracy, and reproducibility of the laser dissection to increase sample throughput. This novel approach facilitates microdissection of both animal and human tissues in research and clinical workflows.
    Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Expression Microdissection (xMD) is a high-throughput, operator-independent technology that enables the procurement of specific cell populations from tissue specimens. In this method, histological sections are first stained for cellular markers via either chemical or immuno-guided methods, placed in close contact with an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) film, and exposed to a light source. The focal, transient heating of the stained cells or subcellular structures melts the EVA film selectively to the targets for procurement. In this report, we introduce a custom-designed flashcube system that permits consistent and reproducible microdissection of nuclei across an FFPE rat brain tissue section in milliseconds. In addition, we present a method to efficiently recover and combine captured proteins from multiple xMD films. Both light and scanning electron microscopy demonstrated captured nuclear structures. Shotgun proteomic analysis of the samples showed a significant enrichment in nuclear localized proteins, with an average 25% of recovered proteins localized to the nucleus, versus 15% for whole tissue controls (p<0.001). Targeted mass spectrometry using Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) showed more impressive data, with a 3-fold enrichment in histones, and a concurrent depletion of proteins localized to the cytoplasm, cytoskeleton, and mitochondria. These data demonstrate that the flashcube-xMD technology is applicable to the proteomic study of a broad range of targets in molecular pathology.
    Analytical Chemistry 06/2013; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Collective cell behaviors in migration and force generation were studied at the mesoscopic-level using cells grown in a 3D extracellular matrix (ECM) simulating tissues. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was applied to investigate dynamic cell mechanics at this level. MDCK, NBT2, and MEF cells were embedded in 3D ECM, forming clusters that then migrated and generated forces affecting the ECM. The cells demonstrated MRI contrast due to iron accumulation in the clusters. Timelapse-MRI enabled the measurement of dynamic stress fields generated by the cells, as well as simultaneous monitoring of the cell distribution and ECM deformation/remodeling. We found cell clusters embedded in the 3D ECM can exert translational forces to pull and push, as well as torque, their surroundings. We also observed that the sum of forces generated by multiple cell clusters may result in macroscopic deformation. In summary, MRI can be used to image cell-ECM interactions mesoscopically.
    Scientific Reports 05/2013; 3:1879. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a recent study, a unique gene expression signature was observed when comparing esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) epithelial cells to normal esophageal epithelial cells using laser capture microdissection (LCM) and cDNA microarray technology. To validate the expression of several intriguing genes from that study (KRT17, cornulin, CD44, and EpCAM), we employed two new technologies, expression microdissection (xMD) for high-throughput microdissection facilitating protein analysis and RNAscope for the evaluation of low abundant transcripts in situ. For protein measurements, xMD technology was utilized to specifically procure sufficient tumor and normal epithelium from frozen human tissue for immunoblot analysis of KRT17 (CK17) and cornulin. A novel in situ hybridization method (RNAscope) was used to determine the transcript level of two relatively low expressed genes, CD44 and EpCAM in both individual formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections and in an ESCC tissue microarray (TMA). The results successfully confirmed the initial expression pattern observed for all four genes, potentially implicating them in the pathogenesis of ESCC. Additionally, the study provides important methodological information on the overall process of candidate gene validation.
    American Journal of Cancer Research 01/2013; 3(4):402-10. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of effective cancer biomarkers is essential for the development of both advanced molecular diagnostics and new therapies/medications. Finding and exploiting useful clinical biomarkers for cancer patients is fundamentally linked to improving outcomes. Towards these aims, the heterogeneous nature of tumors represents a significant problem. Thus, methods establishing an effective functional linkage between laser capture microdissection (LCM) and mass spectrometry (MS) provides for an enhanced molecular profiling of homogenous, specifically targeted cell populations from solid tumors. Utilizing frozen tissue avoids molecular degradation and bias that can be induced by other preservation techniques. Since clinical samples are often of a small quantity, tissue losses must be minimized. Therefore, all steps are carried out in the same single tube. Proteins are identified through peptide sequencing and subsequent matching against a specific proteomic database. Using such an approach enhances clinical biomarker discovery in the following ways. First, LCM allows for the complexity of a solid tumor to be reduced. Second, MS provides for the profiling of proteins, which are the ultimate bio-effectors. Third, by selecting for tumor proper or microenvironment-specific cells from clinical samples, the heterogeneity of individual solid tumors is directly addressed. Finally, since proteins are the targets of most pharmaceuticals, the enriched protein data streams can then be further analyzed for potential biomarkers, drug targets, pathway elucidation, as well as an enhanced understanding of the various pathologic processes under study. Within this context, the following method illustrates in detail a synergy between LCM and MS for an enhanced molecular profiling of solid tumors and clinical biomarker discovery.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 1002:71-83. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Isolation of well-preserved pure cell populations is a prerequisite for sound studies of the molecular basis of any tissue-based biological phenomenon. This updated chapter reviews current methods for obtaining anatomically specific signals from molecules isolated from tissues, a basic requirement for productive linking of phenotype and genotype. The quality of samples isolated from tissue and used for molecular analysis is often glossed over or omitted from publications, making interpretation and replication of data difficult or impossible. Fortunately, recently developed techniques allow life scientists to better document and control the quality of samples used for a given assay, creating a foundation for improvement in this area. Tissue processing for molecular studies usually involves some or all of the following steps: tissue collection, gross dissection/identification, fixation, processing/embedding, storage/archiving, sectioning, staining, microdissection/annotation, and pure analyte labeling/identification and quantification. We provide a detailed comparison of some current tissue microdissection technologies and provide detailed example protocols for tissue component handling upstream and downstream from microdissection. We also discuss some of the physical and chemical issues related to optimal tissue processing and include methods specific to cytology specimens. We encourage each laboratory to use these as a starting point for optimization of their overall process of moving from collected tissue to high-quality, appropriately anatomically tagged scientific results. Improvement in this area will significantly increase life science quality and productivity. The chapter is divided into introduction, materials, protocols, and notes subheadings. Because many protocols are covered in each of these sections, information relating to a single protocol is not contiguous. To get the greatest benefit from this chapter, readers are advised to read through the entire chapter first, identify protocols appropriate to their laboratory for each step in their workflow, and then reread entries in each section pertaining to each of these single protocols.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 980:61-120. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The classic tumor clonal evolution theory postulates that cancers change over time to produce unique molecular subclones within a parent neoplasm, presumably including regional differences in gene expression. More recently, however, this notion has been challenged by studies showing that tumors maintain a relatively stable transcript profile. To examine these competing hypotheses, we microdissected discrete subregions containing approximately 3000 to 8000 cells (500 to 1500 μm in diameter) from ex vivo esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) specimens and analyzed transcriptomes throughout three-dimensional tumor space. Overall mRNA profiles were highly similar in all 59 intratumor comparisons, in distinct contrast to the markedly different global expression patterns observed in other dissected cell populations. For example, normal esophageal basal cells contained 1918 and 624 differentially expressed genes at a greater than twofold level (95% confidence level of <5% false positives), compared with normal differentiated esophageal cells and ESCC, respectively. In contrast, intratumor regions had only zero to four gene changes at a greater than twofold level, with most tumor comparisons showing none. The present data indicate that, when analyzed using a standard array-based method at this level of histological resolution, ESCC contains little regional mRNA heterogeneity.
    American Journal Of Pathology 12/2012; · 4.52 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 11/2012; 14(6):739. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), the predominant histological subtype of esophageal cancer, is characterized by high mortality. Previous work identified important mRNA expression differences between normal and tumor cells; however, to date there are limited ex vivo studies examining expression changes occurring during normal esophageal squamous cell differentiation versus those associated with tumorigenesis. In this study, we used a unique tissue microdissection strategy and microarrays to measure gene expression profiles associated with cell differentiation versus tumorigenesis in twelve cases of patient-matched normal basal squamous epithelial cells (NB), normal differentiated squamous epithelium (ND), and squamous cell cancer. Class comparison and pathway analysis were used to compare NB versus tumor in a search for unique therapeutic targets. As a first step towards this goal, gene expression profiles and pathways were evaluated. Overall, ND expression patterns were markedly different from NB and tumor; whereas, tumor and NB were more closely related. Tumor showed a general decrease in differentially expressed genes relative to NB as opposed to ND that exhibited the opposite trend. FSH and IgG networks were most highly dysregulated in normal differentiation and tumorigenesis, respectively. DNA repair pathways were generally elevated in NB and tumor relative to ND indicating involvement in both normal and pathological growth. PDGF signaling pathway and 12 individual genes unique to the tumor/NB comparison were identified as therapeutic targets, and 10 associated ESCC gene-drug pairs were identified. We further examined the protein expression level and the distribution patterns of four genes: ODC1, POSTN, ASPA and IGF2BP3. Ultimately, three genes (ODC1, POSTN, ASPA) were verified to be dysregulated in the same pattern at both the mRNA and protein levels. These data reveal insight into genes and molecular pathways mediating ESCC development and provide information potentially useful in designing novel therapeutic interventions for this tumor type.
    BMC Research Notes 01/2012; 5:73.
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic alterations occur in tumor-associated vessels in the tumor microenvironment. Methylation of the CYP24A1 gene promoter differs in endothelial cells isolated from tumors and non-tumor microenvironments in mice. The epigenetic makeup of endothelial cells of human tumor-associated vasculature is unknown due to difficulty of isolating endothelial cells populations from a heterogeneous tissue microenvironment. To ascertain CYP24A1 promoter methylation in tumor-associated endothelium, we utilized laser microdissection guided by CD31 immunohistochemistry to procure endothelial cells from human prostate tumor specimens. Prostate tissues were obtained following robotic radical prostatectomy from men with clinically localized prostate cancer. Adjacent histologically benign prostate tissues were used to compare endothelium from benign versus tumor microenvironments. Sodium bisulfite sequencing of CYP24A1 promoter region showed that the average CYP24A1 promoter methylation in the endothelium was 20% from the tumor microenvironment compared with 8.2% in the benign microenvironment (p< 0.05). A 2-fold to 17-fold increase in CYP24A1 promoter methylation was observed in the prostate tumor endothelium compared with the matched benign prostate endothelium in four patient samples, while CYP24A1 remained unchanged in two patient sample. In addition, there is no correlation of the level of CYP24A1 promoter methylation in prostate tumor-associated endothelium with that of epithelium/stroma. This study demonstrates that the CYP24A1 promoter is methylated in tumor-associated endothelium, indicating that epigenetic alterations in CYP24A1 may play a role in determining the phenotype of tumor-associated vasculature in the prostate tumor microenvironment.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 08/2011; 6(8):994-1000. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Measurement of mRNA levels across tissue samples facilitates an understanding of how genes function and what their roles are in disease. Quantifying low-abundance mRNA requires a workflow that preserves spatial information, isolates RNA, and performs reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). This is complex because these steps are typically performed in three separate platforms. In the present study, we describe two-dimensional RT-qPCR (2D-RT-qPCR), a method that quantifies RNA across tissues sections in a single integrated platform. The method uses the grid format of a multi-well plate to macrodissect tissue sections and preserve the spatial location of the RNA; this also eliminates the need for physical homogenization of the tissue. A new lysis and nucleic acid purification protocol is performed in the same multi-well plate, followed by RT-qPCR. The feasibility 2D-RT-qPCR was demonstrated on a variety of tissue types. Potential applications of the technology as a high-throughput tissue analysis platform are discussed.
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 05/2011; 400(10):3383-93. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Laser-based microdissection facilitates the isolation of specific cell populations from clinical or animal model tissue specimens for molecular analysis. Expression microdissection (xMD) is a second-generation technology that offers considerable advantages in dissection capabilities; however, until recently the method has not been accessible to investigators. This protocol describes the adaptation of xMD to commonly used laser microdissection instruments and to a commercially available handheld laser device in order to make the technique widely available to the biomedical research community. The method improves dissection speed for many applications by using a targeting probe for cell procurement in place of an operator-based, cell-by-cell selection process. Moreover, xMD can provide improved dissection precision because of the unique characteristics of film activation. The time to complete the protocol is highly dependent on the target cell population and the number of cells needed for subsequent molecular analysis.
    Nature Protocol 04/2011; 6(4):457-67. · 8.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Current technologies for measuring protein expression across a tissue section are based on MS or in situ detection such as immunohistochemistry. However, due to the inherent molecular complexity of tissue samples and the large dynamic range of protein expression in cells, current approaches are often unable to measure moderate- and low-abundant proteins. In addition, they do not provide information on the physico-chemical properties of the proteins studied. To address these problems, we are developing a new pre-analytic methodology termed layered electrophoretic transfer (LET) that selectively separates and processes proteins from an intact tissue section without compromising important two-dimensional histological information. LET offers two potential advantages over standard techniques: (i) A reduced complexity of the tissue proteome for subsequent analysis; (ii) An opportunity to assess the biochemical status of proteins as they exist in situ. As an initial proof-of-concept, we demonstrate here that the protein content from a mixture of molecular weight standards, human tissue lysates, and tissue sections can be successfully transferred and separated using LET, and further demonstrate that the method can be coupled with immunoblotting or MS for downstream measurements. LET technology represents a new pre-analytic tool for interrogating the proteome in tissue sections while preserving valuable spatial information.
    Proteomics 03/2011; 11(5):883-9. · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Laser-based tissue microdissection is an important tool for the molecular evaluation of histological sections. The technology has continued to advance since its initial commercialization in the 1990s, with improvements in many aspects of the process. More recent developments are tailored toward an automated, operator-independent mode that relies on antibodies as targeting probes, such as immuno-laser capture microdissection or expression microdissection (xMD). Central to the utility of expression-based dissection techniques is the effect of the staining process on the biomolecules in histological sections. To investigate this issue, the authors analyzed DNA, RNA, and protein in immunostained, microdissected samples. DNA was the most robust molecule, exhibiting no significant change in quality after immunostaining but a variable 50% to 75% decrease in the total yield. In contrast, RNA in frozen and ethanol-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples was susceptible to hydrolysis and digestion by endogenous RNases during the initial steps of staining. Proteins from immunostained tissues were successfully analyzed by one-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry but were less amenable to solution phase assays. Overall, the results suggest investigators can use immunoguided microdissection methods for important analytic techniques; however, continued improvements in staining protocols and molecular extraction methods are key to further advancing the capability of these methods.
    Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry 03/2011; 59(6):591-600. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Over the past 15 years, laser-based microdissection has improved the precision by which scientists can procure cells of interest from a heterogeneous tissue section. However, for studies that require a large amount of material (e.g., proteomics) or for cells that are scattered and difficult to identify by standard histological stains, an immunostain-based, automated approach becomes essential. In this chapter, we discuss the use of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) to guide the microdissection process via manual and software-driven auto-dissection methods. Although technical challenges still exist with these innovative approaches, we present here methods and protocols to successfully perform immuno-based microdissection on commercially available laser dissection systems.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2011; 755:57-66. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have identified several dysregulated microRNAs in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC); however, to date there are no ex vivo analyses comparing expression levels of these regulatory molecules in esophageal squamous cell tumors versus patient-matched normal epithelium. We describe here a technical strategy to evaluate microRNAs in normal esophageal basal cells (NB), normal esophageal differentiated cells (ND), and tumor cells (T). Laser capture microdissection was used to procure target populations from five cases and 18 ESCC-associated microRNAs were measured by RT-qPCR. Five microRNAs (miR-25, miR-106b, miR-21, miR-203, and miR-145) demonstrated consistent differential expression in at least one of the three comparisons: T vs. NB, T vs. ND, or NB vs. ND. The potential regulatory role of the microRNAs in ESCC was further evaluated by correlating their expression with a matched mRNA dataset, which included the same five cases and cell populations. In conclusion, the present work demonstrates the feasibility of studying microRNA levels in precisely dissected cell populations from clinical samples, and sheds light on the molecular mechanisms associated with ESCC.
    American Journal of Cancer Research 01/2011; 1(5):574-584. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Laser capture microdissection (LCM) facilitates procurement of defined cell populations for study in the context of histopathology. The morphologic assessment step in the LCM procedure is time consuming and tedious, thus restricting the utility of the technology for large applications. Here, we describe the use of Spatially Invariant Vector Quantization (SIVQ) for histological analysis and LCM. Using SIVQ, we selected vectors as morphologic predicates that were representative of normal epithelial or cancer cells and then searched for phenotypically similar cells across entire tissue sections. The selected cells were subsequently auto-microdissected and the recovered RNA was analyzed by expression microarray. Gene expression profiles from SIVQ-LCM and standard LCM-derived samples demonstrated highly congruous signatures, confirming the equivalence of the differing microdissection methods. SIVQ-LCM improves the work-flow of microdissection in two significant ways. First, the process is transformative in that it shifts the pathologist's role from technical execution of the entire microdissection to a limited-contact supervisory role, enabling large-scale extraction of tissue by expediting subsequent semi-autonomous identification of target cell populations. Second, this work-flow model provides an opportunity to systematically identify highly constrained cell populations and morphologically consistent regions within tissue sections. Integrating SIVQ with LCM in a single environment provides advanced capabilities for efficient and high-throughput histological-based molecular studies.
    Journal of pathology informatics. 01/2011; 2:19.
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    ABSTRACT: A nanoparticle delivery system termed dynamic magnetic shift (DMS) has the potential to more effectively treat metastatic cancer by equilibrating therapeutic magnetic nanoparticles throughout tumors. To evaluate the feasibility of DMS, histological liver sections from autopsy cases of women who died from breast neoplasms were studied to measure vessel number, size, and spatial distribution in both metastatic tumors and normal tissue. Consistent with prior studies, normal tissue had a higher vascular density with a vessel-to-nuclei ratio of 0.48 ± 0.14 (n = 1000), whereas tumor tissue had a ratio of 0.13 ± 0.07 (n = 1000). For tumors, distances from cells to their nearest blood vessel were larger (average 43.8 μm, maximum 287 μm, n ≈ 5500) than normal cells (average 5.3 μm, maximum 67.8 μm, n ≈ 5500), implying that systemically delivered nanoparticles diffusing from vessels into surrounding tissue would preferentially dose healthy instead of cancerous cells. Numerical simulations of magnetically driven particle transport based on the autopsy data indicate that DMS would correct the problem by increasing nanoparticle levels in hypovascular regions of metastases to that of normal tissue, elevating the time-averaged concentration delivered to the tumor for magnetic actuation versus diffusion alone by 1.86-fold, and increasing the maximum concentration over time by 1.89-fold. Thus, DMS may prove useful in facilitating therapeutic nanoparticles to reach poorly vascularized regions of metastatic tumors that are not accessed by diffusion alone.
    International Journal of Nanomedicine 01/2011; 6:2907-23. · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCC) are usually asymptomatic and go undetected until they are incurable. Cytological screening is one strategy to detect ESCC at an early stage and has shown promise in previous studies, although improvement in sensitivity and specificity are needed. Proteases modulate cancer progression by facilitating tumor invasion and metastasis. In the current study, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were studied in a search for new early detection markers for ESCC. Protein expression levels of MMPs were measured using zymography in 24 cases of paired normal esophagus and ESCC, and in the tumor-associated stroma and tumor epithelium in one sample after laser capture microdissection (LCM). MMP-3 and MMP-10 transcripts in both the epithelium and stroma in five cases were further analyzed by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Gelatin zymography showed bands corresponding in size to MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-9, and MMP-10 enzymes in each of the 24 cancer cases. MMP levels tended to be higher in tumors than paired normal tissue; however, only the 45 kDa band that corresponds to the activated form of MMP-3 and MMP-10 was strongly expressed in all 24 tumors with little or no expression in the paired normal foci. LCM-based analysis showed the 45 kDA band to be present in both the stromal and epithelial components of the tumor microenvironment, and that MMP-3 and MMP-10 mRNA levels were higher in tumors than paired normal tissues for each compartment. Increased levels of MMPs occur in ESCC suggesting their up-regulation is important in esophageal tumorigenesis. The up-regulated gene products have the potential to serve as early detection markers in the clinic.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 10/2010; 8:91. · 3.46 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

751 Citations
185.98 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2011
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Center for Cancer Research
      • • Laboratory of Pathology
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 2003–2011
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • • Center for Cancer Research
      • • Laboratory of Pathology
      Bethesda, MD, United States