Peter Schmezer

German Cancer Research Center, Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (155)559.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Measuring concentrations of the differentiation-promoting hormone retinoic acid (RA) in glioblastoma tissues would help to understand the reason why RA treatment has been inefficient in clinical trials involving brain tumor patients. Here, we apply a recently established extraction and measurement protocol to screen glioblastoma tissues for the levels of the RA precursor retinol and biologically active RA. Combining this approach with mRNA analyses of 26 tumors and 8 normal brains, we identify a multifaceted disturbance of RA synthesis in glioblastoma, involving multiple aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family and retinol dehydrogenase enzymes. Through database studies and methylation analyses, we narrow down chromosomal deletions and aberrant promoter hypermethylation as potential mechanisms accounting for these alterations. Employing chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses and cell-culture studies, we further show that chromatin at RA target genes is poised to RA substitution, but most glioblastoma cell cultures are completely resistant to RA treatment. This paradoxical RA response is unrelated to alternative RA signaling through the fatty acid-binding protein 5/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta axis. Our data suggest a multifaceted disturbance of RA synthesis in glioblastoma and contribute to reconsider current RA treatment strategies. GLIA 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Glia 05/2015; DOI:10.1002/glia.22849 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in oxidative stress-related genes associated with risk of late toxicities in breast cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. Using a 2-stage design, 305 SNPs in 59 candidate genes were investigated in the discovery phase in 753 breast cancer patients from 2 prospective cohorts from Germany. The 10 most promising SNPs in 4 genes were evaluated in the replication phase in up to 1883 breast cancer patients from 6 cohorts identified through the Radiogenomics Consortium. Outcomes of interest were late skin toxicity and fibrosis of the breast, as well as an overall toxicity score (Standardized Total Average Toxicity). Multivariable logistic and linear regression models were used to assess associations between SNPs and late toxicity. A meta-analysis approach was used to summarize evidence. The association of a genetic variant in the base excision repair gene XRCC1, rs2682585, with normal tissue late radiation toxicity was replicated in all tested studies. In the combined analysis of discovery and replication cohorts, carrying the rare allele was associated with a significantly lower risk of skin toxicities (multivariate odds ratio 0.77, 95% confidence interval 0.61-0.96, P=.02) and a decrease in Standardized Total Average Toxicity scores (-0.08, 95% confidence interval -0.15 to -0.02, P=.016). Using a stage design with replication, we identified a variant allele in the base excision repair gene XRCC1 that could be used in combination with additional variants for developing a test to predict late toxicities after radiation therapy in breast cancer patients. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.04.011 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are responsible for the lifelong production of blood cells. The accumulation of DNA damage in HSCs is a hallmark of ageing and is probably a major contributing factor in age-related tissue degeneration and malignant transformation. A number of accelerated ageing syndromes are associated with defective DNA repair and genomic instability, including the most common inherited bone marrow failure syndrome, Fanconi anaemia. However, the physiological source of DNA damage in HSCs from both normal and diseased individuals remains unclear. Here we show in mice that DNA damage is a direct consequence of inducing HSCs to exit their homeostatic quiescent state in response to conditions that model physiological stress, such as infection or chronic blood loss. Repeated activation of HSCs out of their dormant state provoked the attrition of normal HSCs and, in the case of mice with a non-functional Fanconi anaemia DNA repair pathway, led to a complete collapse of the haematopoietic system, which phenocopied the highly penetrant bone marrow failure seen in Fanconi anaemia patients. Our findings establish a novel link between physiological stress and DNA damage in normal HSCs and provide a mechanistic explanation for the universal accumulation of DNA damage in HSCs during ageing and the accelerated failure of the haematopoietic system in Fanconi anaemia patients.
    Nature 02/2015; DOI:10.1038/nature14131 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proteoglycans are often overexpressed in tumors and can be found on several normal and neoplastic stem cells. In this study we analyzed in-depth the role of CSPG4 in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC).Analysis of CSPG4 in a homogeneous study sample of HPV-negative stage IVa HNSCCs revealed overexpression of protein and mRNA levels in a subgroup of HNSCC tumors and a significant association of high CSPG4 protein levels with poor survival. This could be validated in three publicly available microarray data sets. As a potential cause for upregulated CSPG4 expression, we identified DNA hypomethylation in a CpG-island of the promoter region. Accordingly, we found an inverse correlation of methylation and patient outcome. Finally, CSPG4 re-expression was achieved by demethylating treatment of highly methylated HNSCC cell lines establishing a direct link between methylation and CSPG4 expression.In conclusion, we identified CSPG4 as a novel biomarker in HNSCC on several biological levels and established a causative link between DNA methylation and CSPG4 protein and mRNA expression. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    International Journal of Cancer 12/2014; 135(11). DOI:10.1002/ijc.28906 · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    Experimental Hematology 08/2014; 42(8S):S45. DOI:10.1016/j.exphem.2014.07.168 · 2.81 Impact Factor
  • C Weigel, P Schmezer, C Plass, O Popanda
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    ABSTRACT: Radiotherapy is a major cancer treatment option but dose-limiting side effects such as late-onset fibrosis in the irradiated tissue severely impair quality of life in cancer survivors. Efforts to explain radiation-induced fibrosis, for example, by genetic variation remained largely inconclusive. Recently published molecular analyses on radiation response and fibrogenesis showed a prominent role of epigenetic gene regulation. This review summarizes the current knowledge on epigenetic modifications in fibrotic disease and radiation response, and it points out the important role for epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, microRNAs and histone modifications in the development of this disease. The synopsis illustrates the complexity of radiation-induced fibrosis and reveals the need for investigations to further unravel its molecular mechanisms. Importantly, epigenetic changes are long-term determinants of gene expression and can therefore support those mechanisms that induce and perpetuate fibrogenesis even in the absence of the initial damaging stimulus. Future work must comprise the interconnection of acute radiation response and long-lasting epigenetic effects in order to assess their role in late-onset radiation fibrosis. An improved understanding of the underlying biology is fundamental to better comprehend the origin of this disease and to improve both preventive and therapeutic strategies.Oncogene advance online publication, 9 June 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.145.
    Oncogene 06/2014; 34(17). DOI:10.1038/onc.2014.145 · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One of the main obstacles of conventional anticancer therapy is the toxicity of chemotherapeutics to normal tissues. So far, clinical approaches that aim to specifically reduce chemotherapy-mediated toxicities are rare. Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated that herbal extracts derived from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may reduce chemotherapy-induced side effects. Thus, we screened a panel of published cancer-inhibiting TCM compounds for their chemoprotective potential and identified the phytochemical Rocaglamide (Roc-A) as a candidate. We show that Roc-A significantly reduces apoptotic cell death induced by DNA-damaging anticancer drugs in primary human and murine cells. Investigation of the molecular mechanism of Roc-A-mediated protection revealed that Roc-A specifically blocks DNA damage-induced upregulation of the transcription factor p53 by inhibiting its protein synthesis. The essential role of p53 in Roc-A-mediated protection was confirmed by siRNA knockdown of p53 and by comparison of the effects of Roc-A on chemoprotection of splenocytes isolated from wild-type and p53-deficient mice. Importantly, Roc-A did not protect p53-deficient or -mutated cancer cells. Our data suggest that Roc-A may be used as an adjuvant to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in patients with p53-deficient or -mutated tumors.
    Cell Death & Disease 01/2014; 5(1):e1000. DOI:10.1038/cddis.2013.528 · 5.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA damage is tightly associated with various biological and pathological processes, such as aging and tumorigenesis. Although detection of DNA damage is attracting increasing attention, only a limited number of methods are available to quantify DNA lesions, and these techniques are tedious or only detect global DNA damage. In this study, we present a high-sensitivity long-run real-time PCR technique for DNA-damage quantification (LORD-Q) in both the mitochondrial and nuclear genome. While most conventional methods are of low-sensitivity or restricted to abundant mitochondrial DNA samples, we established a protocol that enables the accurate sequence-specific quantification of DNA damage in >3-kb probes for any mitochondrial or nuclear DNA sequence. In order to validate the sensitivity of this method, we compared LORD-Q with a previously published qPCR-based method and the standard single-cell gel electrophoresis assay, demonstrating a superior performance of LORD-Q. Exemplarily, we monitored induction of DNA damage and repair processes in human induced pluripotent stem cells and isogenic fibroblasts. Our results suggest that LORD-Q provides a sequence-specific and precise method to quantify DNA damage, thereby allowing the high-throughput assessment of DNA repair, genotoxicity screening and various other processes for a wide range of life science applications.
    Nucleic Acids Research 12/2013; DOI:10.1093/nar/gkt1349 · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer (CRC) presents as a very heterogeneous disease which cannot sufficiently be characterized with the currently known genetic and epigenetic markers. To identify new markers for colorectal cancer we scrutinized the methylation status of 231 DNA repair-related genes by methyl-CpG immunoprecipitation followed by global methylation profiling on a CpG island microarray, as altered expression of these genes could drive genomic and chromosomal instability observed in these tumors. We show for the first time hypermethylation of MMP9, DNMT3A, and LIG4 in CRC which was confirmed in two CRC patient groups with different ethnicity. DNA ligase IV (LIG4) showed strong differential promoter methylation (up to 60%) which coincided with down-regulation of mRNA in 51% of cases. This functional association of LIG4 methylation and gene expression was supported by LIG4 re-expression in 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine-treated colon cancer cell lines, and reduced ligase IV amounts and end-joining activity in extracts of tumors with hypermethylation. Methylation of LIG4 was not associated with other genetic and epigenetic markers of CRC in our study. As LIG4 is located on chromosome 13 which is frequently amplified in CRC, two loci were tested for gene amplification in a subset of 47 cases. Comparison of amplification, methylation and expression data revealed that, in 30% of samples, the LIG4 gene was amplified and methylated, but expression was not changed. In conclusion, hypermethylation of the LIG4 promoter is a new mechanism to control ligase IV expression. It may represent a new epigenetic marker for colorectal cancer independent of known markers.
    Human Molecular Genetics 11/2013; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddt599 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The scaffold protein A-kinase anchor protein 12 (AKAP12) exerts tumor suppressor activity and is downregulated in several tumor entities. We characterized AKAP12 expression and regulation in astrocytomas, including pilocytic and diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas. We examined 194 human gliomas and 23 normal brain white matter samples by immunohistochemistry or immunoblotting for AKAP12 expression. We further performed quantitative methylation analysis of the AKAP12 promoter by MassARRAY® of normal brain, World Health Organization (WHO) grade I to IV astrocytomas, and glioma cell lines. Our results show that AKAP12 is expressed in a perivascular distribution in normal CNS, strongly upregulated in tumor cells in pilocytic astrocytomas, and weakly expressed in diffuse astrocytomas of WHO grade II to IV. Methylation analyses revealed specific hypermethylation of AKAP12α promoter in WHO grade II to IV astrocytomas. Restoration experiments using 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine in primary glioblastoma cells decreased AKAP12α promoter methylation and markedly increased AKAP12α mRNA levels. In summary, we demonstrate that AKAP12 is differentially expressed in human astrocytomas showing high expression in pilocytic but low expression in diffuse astrocytomas of all WHO-grades. Our results further indicate that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in silencing AKAP12 in diffuse astrocytomas; however, a tumor suppressive role of AKAP12 in distinct astrocytoma subtypes remains to be determined.
    Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 09/2013; 72(10):933. DOI:10.1097/NEN.0b013e3182a59a88 · 4.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is usually incurable. Contrary to genetic mechanisms involved in PDAC pathogenesis, epigenetic alterations are ill defined. Here, we determine the contribution of epigenetically silenced genes to the development of PDAC. We analyzed enriched, highly methylated DNAs from PDACs, chronic pancreatitis (CP) and normal tissues using CpG island microarrays and identified WNK2 as a prominent candidate tumor suppressor gene being downregulated early in PDAC development. WNK2 was further investigated in tissue microarrays, methylation analysis of early pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), mouse models for PDAC and pancreatitis, re-expression studies after demethylation, and cell growth assays using WNK2 overexpression. Demethylation assays confirmed the link between methylation and expression. WNK2 hypermethylation was higher in tumor than in surrounding inflamed tissues and was observed in PanIN lesions as well as in a PDAC mouse model. WNK2 mRNA and protein expressions were lower in PDAC and CP compared with normal tissues both in patients and mouse models. Overexpression of WNK2 led to reduced cell growth, and WNK2 expression in tissues correlated negatively with pERK1/2 expression, a downstream target of WNK2 responsible for cell proliferation. Downregulation of WNK2 by promoter hypermethylation occurs early in PDAC pathogenesis and may support tumor cell growth via the ERK-MAPK pathway.Oncogene advance online publication, 5 August 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.312.
    Oncogene 08/2013; DOI:10.1038/onc.2013.312 · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress and resulting cellular damage have been suggested to play a role in the etiology of several chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Identifying factors associated with reduced oxidative stress and resulting damage may guide future disease-prevention strategies. In the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) biomarker-study of 209 persons living in the Seattle area, we examined the association between current use of several specialty supplements and oxidative stress, DNA damage, and DNA repair capacity. Use of glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), ginseng, ginkgo, and saw palmetto was ascertained by a supplement inventory/interview, while use of fiber supplements was ascertained by questionnaire. Supplements used by more than 30 persons (glucosamine and chondroitin) were evaluated as the trend across number of pills/week (non-use, <14 pills/week, 14+ pills/week), while less-commonly used supplements were evaluated as use/non-use. Oxidative stress was measured by urinary 8-isoprostane and PGF2α concentrations using enzyme immunoassays (EIA), while lymphocyte DNA damage and DNA repair capacity were measured using the Comet assay. Multivariate-adjusted linear regression was used to model the associations between supplement use and oxidative stress/DNA damage. Use of glucosamine (p-trend:0.01), chondroitin (p-trend:0.003), and fiber supplements (p:0.01) was associated with reduced PGF2α concentrations, while CoQ10 supplementation was associated with reduced baseline DNA damage (p:0.003). Use of certain specialty supplements may be associated with reduced oxidative stress and DNA damage. Further research is needed to evaluate the association between specialty supplement use and markers of oxidative stress and DNA damage.
    Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 08/2013; 22(12). DOI:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0470 · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We assessed whether variants in 22 oxidative stress-related genes are associated with mortality of breast cancer patients and whether the associations differ according to radiotherapy. Using a prospective cohort of 1348 postmenopausal breast cancer patients, we estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for 109 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using Cox proportional hazards regression. Validation of results was attempted using two Scandinavian studies. Eleven SNPs in MT2A, NFE2L2, NQO1, PRDX1, and PRDX6 were significantly associated with overall mortality after a median follow-up of 5.7 years. Three SNPs in NQO1 (rs2917667) and in PRDX6 (rs7314, rs4916362) were consistently associated with increased risk of dying across all three study populations (pooled: HRNQO1_rs2917667 1.20, 95% CI 1.00-1.44, p = 0.051; HRPRDX6_rs7314 1.16, 95% CI 1.00-1.35, p = 0.056, HRPRDX6_rs4916362 1.14 95% CI 1.00-1.32, p = 0.062). Potential effect modification by radiotherapy was found for CAT_rs769218. In conclusion, genetic variants in NQO1 and PRDX6 may modify breast cancer prognosis.
    Breast (Edinburgh, Scotland) 03/2013; 22(5). DOI:10.1016/j.breast.2013.02.008 · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Base excision repair (BER) removes DNA damage induced by endogenous reactive oxygen species or ionizing radiation, important breast cancer risk factors. Genetic variation associated with impaired BER might thus increase breast cancer risk. Therefore, we assessed risk associations of 123 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 19 BER genes in 1,639 postmenopausal breast cancer cases and 1,967 controls from the German population-based case-control study MARIE. SNPs were tagging SNPs representing genetic variation across the gene together with potentially functional SNPs. Risk associations were assessed using conditional logistic regression, adjusted for potential breast cancer risk factors. Significant associations between polymorphisms and breast cancer risk were found for one SNP in PARP2 and three SNPs in the mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma, POLG. A SNP in the promoter region of POLG (rs2856268, A>G) showed a protective effect for homozygous GG carriers (odds ratio 0.81, 95% confidence intervals 0.65-1.00). Joint analysis of an enlarged sample set and haplotype analysis supported the results for POLG. Quantification of POLG mRNA expression in lymphocytes of 148 breast cancer patients revealed higher mRNA levels for rs2856268 GG carriers (p value = 0.038). A luciferase promoter assay showed significant differences between constructs harboring the respective alleles. Taken together, our results suggest that genetic variation in the POLG promoter region affects DNA polymerase gamma levels in mitochondria. This could contribute to the reported increase in mitochondrial mutation frequency resulting in dysfunction and altered breast cancer risk. Risk effects and the functional impact of the POLG promoter variant require further confirmation.
    International Journal of Cancer 01/2013; 132(1). DOI:10.1002/ijc.27665 · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Radiotherapy is a powerful cure for several types of solid tumours, but its application is often limited because of severe side effects in individual patients. With the aim to find biomarkers capable of predicting normal tissue side reactions we analysed the radiation responses of cells from individual head and neck tumour and breast cancer patients of different clinical radiosensitivity in a multicentric study. Multiple parameters of cellular radiosensitivity were analysed in coded samples of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) and derived lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from 15 clinical radio-hypersensitive tumour patients and compared to age- and sex-matched non-radiosensitive patient controls and 15 lymphoblastoid cell lines from age- and sex- matched healthy controls of the KORA study. Experimental parameters included ionizing radiation (IR)-induced cell death (AnnexinV), induction and repair of DNA strand breaks (Comet assay), induction of yH2AX foci (as a result of DNA double strand breaks), and whole genome expression analyses. Considerable inter-individual differences in IR-induced DNA strand breaks and their repair and/or cell death could be detected in primary and immortalised cells with the applied assays. The group of clinically radiosensitive patients was not unequivocally distinguishable from normal responding patients nor were individual overreacting patients in the test system unambiguously identified by two different laboratories. Thus, the in vitro test systems investigated here seem not to be appropriate for a general prediction of clinical reactions during or after radiotherapy due to the experimental variability compared to the small effect of radiation sensitivity. Genome-wide expression analysis however revealed a set of 67 marker genes which were differentially induced 6 h after in vitro-irradiation in lymphocytes from radio-hypersensitive and non-radiosensitive patients. These results warrant future validation in larger cohorts in order to determine parameters potentially predictive for clinical radiosensitivity.
    PLoS ONE 10/2012; 7(10):e47185. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0047185 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impairment of endogenous differentiation pathways like retinoic acid (RA) signaling seems to be a central pathogenetic event in astrocytic gliomas. Among others, expression of the differentiation-promoting RA chaperon protein cellular retinoic acid binding protein 2 (CRABP2) is extenuated in high-grade gliomas. Against this background, we aimed at identifying potential pathomechanisms underlying reduced CRABP2 expression in these tumors. Using MassARRAY methylation analysis, we detected extensive CpG methylation upstream of the CRABP2 gene locus in a study sample comprising 100 astrocytic gliomas of WHO Grade II to IV. Compared to nontumorous control samples, tumors revealed increased CpG methylation and methylation levels were inversely correlated to CRABP2 mRNA expression. Substantiating our in situ findings, CRABP2 mRNA levels increased in glioma cell lines after exposure to the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Finally, a distinct CpG methylation signature distinguished between primary glioblastoma on the one hand and the group of astrocytoma WHO II-III and secondary glioblastoma on the other hand. Altogether, our observations suggest that epigenetic silencing of CRABP2 might contribute to an immature phenotype in glioma cells.
    International Journal of Cancer 10/2012; 131(8):1963-8. DOI:10.1002/ijc.27446 · 5.01 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 06/2012; 72(8 Supplement):4032-4032. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2012-4032 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteosarcoma and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors are tumor entities with varying response to common standard therapy protocols. Histone acetylation affects chromatin structure and gene expression which are considered to influence radiation sensitivity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the combination therapy with the histone deacetylase inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and irradiation on atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors and osteosarcoma compared to normal tissue cell lines. Clonogenic assay was used to determine cell survival. DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) were examined by pulsed-field electrophoresis (PFGE) as well as by γH2AX immunostaining involving flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, and immunoblot analysis. SAHA lead to an increased radiosensitivity in tumor but not in normal tissue cell lines. γH2AX expression as an indicator for DSB was significantly increased when SAHA was applied 24 h before irradiation to the sarcoma cell cultures. In contrast, γH2AX expression in the normal tissue cell lines was significantly reduced when irradiation was combined with SAHA. Analysis of initial DNA fragmentation and fragment rejoining by PFGE, however, did not reveal differences in response to the SAHA pretreatment for either cell type. SAHA increases radiosensitivity in tumor but not normal tissue cell lines. The increased H2AX phosphorylation status of the SAHA-treated tumor cells post irradiation likely reflects its delayed dephosphorylation within the DNA damage signal decay rather than chromatin acetylation-dependent differences in the overall efficacy of DSB induction and rejoining. The results support the hypothesis that combining SAHA with irradiation may provide a promising strategy in the treatment of solid tumors.
    Strahlentherapie und Onkologie 02/2012; 188(2):168-76. DOI:10.1007/s00066-011-0028-5 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aberrant promoter methylation of different DNA repair genes has a critical role in the development and progression of various cancer types, including head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). A systematic analysis of known human repair genes for promoter methylation is however missing. We generated quantitative promoter methylation profiles in single CpG units of 160 human DNA repair genes in a set of DNAs isolated from fresh frozen HNSCC and normal tissues using MassARRAY technology. Ninety-eight percent of these genes contained CpG islands (CGIs) in their promoter region; thus, DNA methylation is a potential regulatory mechanism. Methylation data were obtained for 145 genes, from which 15 genes exhibited more than a 20% difference in methylation levels between tumor and normal tissues, manifested either as hypermethylation or as hypomethylation. Analyses of promoter methylation with mRNA expression identified the DNA glycosylase NEIL1 (nei endonuclease VIII-like 1) as the most prominent candidate gene. NEIL1 promoter hypermethylation was confirmed in additional fresh frozen HNSCC samples, normal mucosa, HNSCC cell lines and primary human skin keratinocytes. The investigation of laser-microdissected tissues further substantiated increased methylation levels in tumor versus matched non-tumor cells. Immunohistological analysis revealed significantly less NEIL1 protein expression in tumor tissues. 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment and DNMT1 knockdown resulted in the re-expression of NEIL1 in HNSCC cell lines, which initially carried hypermethylated promoter regions. In conclusion, our results suggest that DNA methylation contributes to the downregulation of NEIL1 expression and might thus have a role in modulating the response to therapies of HNSCC.Oncogene advance online publication, 30 January 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2011.660.
    Oncogene 01/2012; DOI:10.1038/onc.2011.660 · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Targeting synthetic lethality in DNA repair pathways has become a promising anti-cancer strategy. However little is known about such interactions with regard to the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. Therefore, cell lines with a defect in the NER genes ERCC6 or XPC and their normal counterparts were screened with 53 chemically defined phytochemicals isolated from plants used in traditional Chinese medicine for differential cytotoxic effects. The screening revealed 12 drugs that killed NER-deficient cells more efficiently than proficient cells. Five drugs were further analyzed for IC(50) values, effects on cell cycle distribution, and induction of DNA damage. Ascaridol was the most effective compound with a difference of >1000-fold in resistance between normal and NER-deficient cells (IC(50) values for cells with deficiency in ERCC6: 0.15μM, XPC: 0.18μM, and normal cells: >180μM). NER-deficiency combined with ascaridol treatment led to G2/M-phase arrest, an increased percentage of subG1 cells, and a substantially higher DNA damage induction. These results were confirmed in a second set of NER-deficient and -proficient cell lines with isogenic background. Finally, ascaridol was characterized for its ability to generate oxidative DNA damage. The drug led to a dose-dependent increase in intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species at cytotoxic concentrations, but only NER-deficient cells showed a strongly induced amount of 8-oxodG sites. In summary, ascaridol is a cytotoxic and DNA-damaging compound which generates intracellular reactive oxidative intermediates and which selectively affects NER-deficient cells. This could provide a new therapeutic option to treat cancer cells with mutations in NER genes.
    Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 01/2012; 259(3):302-10. DOI:10.1016/j.taap.2012.01.006 · 3.63 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
559.26 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1984–2014
    • German Cancer Research Center
      • • Division of Epigenomics and Cancer Risk Factors
      • • Division of Genetics of Skin Carcinogenesis
      • • Division of Cancer Epidemiology
      • • Division of Biostatistics
      • • Division of Preventive Oncology
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2008
    • National Cancer Institute Thailand
      Krung Thep, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2006
    • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
      • Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
      Buffalo, New York, United States
  • 2001
    • Babraham Institute
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
    • Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Ulm
      Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    • Universität Ulm
      Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1992
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • Institute of Inorganic Chemistry
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1991
    • University of Birmingham
      Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
  • 1988
    • Università degli Studi di Brescia
      Brescia, Lombardy, Italy