Sandra Orsulic

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States

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Publications (38)317.18 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although dendritic cell (DC) vaccines are considered to be promising treatments for advanced cancer, their production and administration is costly and labor-intensive. We developed a novel immunotherapeutic agent that links a single-chain antibody variable fragment (scFv) targeting mesothelin (MSLN), which is overexpressed on ovarian cancer and mesothelioma cells, to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), which is a potent immune activator that stimulates monocytes and DCs, enhances DC aggregation and maturation and improves cross-priming of T cells mediated by DCs. Binding of this fusion protein with MSLN on the surface of tumor cells was measured by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. The therapeutic efficacy of this fusion protein was evaluated in syngeneic and orthotopic mouse models of papillary ovarian cancer and malignant mesothelioma. Mice received 4 intraperitoneal (ip) treatments with experimental or control proteins post ip injection of tumor cells. Ascites-free and overall survival time was measured. For the investigation of anti-tumor T-cell responses, a time-matched study was performed. Splenocytes were stimulated with peptides, and IFNgamma- or Granzyme B- generating CD3+CD8+ T cells were detected by flow cytometry. To examine the role of CD8+ T cells in the antitumor effect, we performed in vivo CD8+ cell depletion. We further determined if the fusion protein increases DC maturation and improves antigen presentation as well as cross-presentation by DCs. We demonstrated in vitro that the scFvMTBHsp70 fusion protein bound to the tumor cells used in this study through the interaction of scFv with MSLN on the surface of these cells, and induced maturation of bone marrow-derived DCs Use of this bifunctional fusion protein in both mouse models significantly enhanced survival and slowed tumor growth while augmenting tumor-specific CD8+ T-cell dependent immune responses. We also demonstrated in vitro and in vivo that the fusion protein enhanced antigen presentation and cross-presentation by targeting tumor antigens towards DCs. This new cancer immunotherapy has the potential to be cost-effective and broadly applicable to tumors that overexpress mesothelin.
    Journal of Hematology & Oncology 02/2014; 7(1):15. · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify molecular prognosticators and therapeutic targets for high-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC) using genetic analyses driven by biologic features of EOC pathogenesis. Ovarian tissue samples (n=172; 122 serous EOC, 30 other EOC, 20 normal/benign) collected prospectively from sequential patients undergoing gynecologic surgery were analyzed using RNA expression microarrays. Samples were classified based on expression of genes with potential relevance in ovarian cancer. Gene sets were defined using Rosetta Similarity Search Tool (ROAST) and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Gene copy number variations were identified by array comparative genomic hybridization. No distinct subgroups of EOC could be identified by unsupervised clustering, however, analyses based on based on genes correlated with periostin (POSTN) and estrogen receptor-alpha (ESR1) yielded distinct subgroups. When 95 high-grade serous EOC were grouped by genes based on ANOVA comparing ESR1/WT1 and POSTN/TGFBI samples, overall survival (OS) was significantly shorter for 43 patients with tumors expressing genes associated with POSTN/TGFBI compared to 52 patients with tumors expressing genes associated with ESR1/WT1 (median 30 versus 49 months, respectively; P=0.022). Several targets with therapeutic potential were identified within each subgroup. BRCA germline mutations were more frequent in the ESR1/WT1 subgroup. Proliferation-associated genes and TP53 status (mutated or wild-type) did not correlate with survival. Findings were validated using independent ovarian cancer datasets. Two distinct molecular subgroups of high-grade serous EOC based on POSTN/TGFBI and ESR1/WT1 expression were identified with significantly different OS. Specific differentially expressed genes between these subgroups provide potential prognostic and therapeutic targets.
    Gynecologic Oncology 12/2013; · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To elucidate molecular pathways contributing to metastatic cancer progression and poor clinical outcome in serous ovarian cancer. Poor survival signatures from three different serous ovarian cancer datasets were compared and a common set of genes was identified. The predictive value of this gene signature was validated in independent datasets. The expression of the signature genes was evaluated in primary, metastatic, and/or recurrent cancers using qPCR and in situ hybridization. Alterations in gene expression by TGFβ1 and functional consequences of loss of COL11A1 were evaluated using pharmacologic and knockdown approaches, respectively. We identified and validated a 10-gene signature (AEBP1, COL11A1, COL5A1, COL6A2, LOX, POSTN, SNAI2, THBS2, TIMP3, VCAN) that is associated with poor overall survival in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer. The signature genes encode extracellular matrix proteins involved in collagen remodeling. Expression of the signature genes is regulated by TGFβ1 signaling and is enriched in metastases in comparison to primary ovarian tumors. We demonstrate that levels of COL11A1, one of the signature genes, continuously increase during ovarian cancer disease progression, with the highest expression in recurrent metastases. Knockdown of COL11A1 decreases in vitro cell migration and invasion and tumor progression in mice. Our findings suggest that collagen-remodeling genes regulated by TGFβ1 signaling promote metastasis and contribute to poor overall survival in patients with serous ovarian cancer. Our 10-gene signature has both predictive value and biological relevance and thus may be useful as a therapeutic target.
    Clinical Cancer Research 11/2013; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ovarian cancers are thought to result from the accumulation of multiple genetic aberrations that transform ovarian and/or fallopian tube surface epithelial cells, allowing for their abnormal growth, proliferation and metastasis. In the report presented here, we carried out genome-wide copy-number analysis using comparative genomic hybridization on a panel of mouse ovarian cancer (OVCA) cell lines previously established in our laboratory. We identified a recurrent focal amplification on mouse chromosomal region 2qB, which contains the LIM-homeodomain-containing transcription factor 1B (Lmx1b) gene. LMX1B is not expressed in normal human ovary, but is expressed in many human OVCA cell lines and primary tumors. High expression of LMX1B correlates with poor outcome. To clarify the role of LMX1B in ovarian carcinogenesis, we transduced LMX1B into a panel of mouse and human OVCA cell lines and demonstrated that LMX1B strongly promotes migration of cancer cells in culture and promotes xenograft growth in nude mice. Conversely, knockdown of LMX1B in a human cell line with endogenous high expression of LMX1B inhibits cell migration in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Microarray analysis of cells overexpressing LMX1B identified the nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway as a potential mediator of tumor progression and subsequent treatment of NFκB inhibitor decreased the migratory capacity of these cells. Thus, our data demonstrate that LMX1B is a novel oncogene in OVCA pathogenesis.Oncogene advance online publication, 23 September 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.375.
    Oncogene 09/2013; · 7.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Development of recurrent platinum resistant disease following chemotherapy presents a challenge in managing ovarian cancer. Using tumors derived from genetically defined mouse ovarian cancer cells, we investigated the stem cell properties of residual cells post-chemotherapy. Utilizing CD133 and Sca-1 as markers of candidate tumor initiating cells (TIC), we determined that the relative levels of CD133(+) and Sca-1(+) cells were unaltered following chemotherapy. CD133(+) and Sca-1(+) cells exhibited increased stem cell-related gene expression were enriched in Go/G1-early S phase and exhibited increased tumor initiating capacity, giving rise to heterogeneous tumors. Our findings suggest that residual TICs may contribute to recurrent disease.
    Cancer letters 06/2013; · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proliferation and fusion of myoblasts is a well-orchestrated process occurring during muscle development and regeneration. Although myoblasts are known to originate from muscle satellite cells, the molecular mechanisms that coordinate their commitment toward differentiation are poorly understood. Here, we present a novel role for the transcription factor Forkhead box protein C2 (Foxc2) in regulating proliferation and preventing premature differentiation of activated muscle satellite cells. We demonstrate that Foxc2 expression is upregulated early in activated mouse muscle satellite cells and then diminishes during myogenesis. In undifferentiated C2C12 myoblasts, downregulation of endogenous Foxc2 expression leads to a decrease in proliferation, whereas forced expression of FOXC2 sustains proliferation and prevents differentiation into myotubes. We also show that FOXC2 induces Wnt signaling by direct interaction with the Wnt4 (wingless-type MMTV integration site family member-4) promoter region. The resulting elevated expression of bone morphogenetic protein-4 (Bmp4) and RhoA-GTP proteins inhibits the proper myoblast alignment and fusion required for myotube formation. Interestingly, continuous forced expression of FOXC2 alters the commitment of C2C12 myoblasts toward osteogenic differentiation, which is consistent with FOXC2 expression observed in patients with myositis ossificans, an abnormal bone growth within muscle tissue. In summary, our results suggest that (a) Foxc2 regulates the proliferation of multipotent muscle satellite cells; (b) downregulation of Foxc2 is critical for myogenesis to progress; and (c) sustained Foxc2 expression in myoblast cells suppresses myogenesis and alters their lineage commitment toward osteogenesis by inducing the Wnt4 and Bmp4 signaling pathways.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 3 May 2013; doi:10.1038/cdd.2013.34.
    Cell death and differentiation 05/2013; · 8.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BRCA1-associated breast and ovarian cancer risks can be modified by common genetic variants. To identify further cancer risk-modifying loci, we performed a multi-stage GWAS of 11,705 BRCA1 carriers (of whom 5,920 were diagnosed with breast and 1,839 were diagnosed with ovarian cancer), with a further replication in an additional sample of 2,646 BRCA1 carriers. We identified a novel breast cancer risk modifier locus at 1q32 for BRCA1 carriers (rs2290854, P = 2.7×10(-8), HR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.09-1.20). In addition, we identified two novel ovarian cancer risk modifier loci: 17q21.31 (rs17631303, P = 1.4×10(-8), HR = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.17-1.38) and 4q32.3 (rs4691139, P = 3.4×10(-8), HR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.17-1.38). The 4q32.3 locus was not associated with ovarian cancer risk in the general population or BRCA2 carriers, suggesting a BRCA1-specific association. The 17q21.31 locus was also associated with ovarian cancer risk in 8,211 BRCA2 carriers (P = 2×10(-4)). These loci may lead to an improved understanding of the etiology of breast and ovarian tumors in BRCA1 carriers. Based on the joint distribution of the known BRCA1 breast cancer risk-modifying loci, we estimated that the breast cancer lifetime risks for the 5% of BRCA1 carriers at lowest risk are 28%-50% compared to 81%-100% for the 5% at highest risk. Similarly, based on the known ovarian cancer risk-modifying loci, the 5% of BRCA1 carriers at lowest risk have an estimated lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer of 28% or lower, whereas the 5% at highest risk will have a risk of 63% or higher. Such differences in risk may have important implications for risk prediction and clinical management for BRCA1 carriers.
    PLoS Genetics 03/2013; 9(3):e1003212. · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Gynecologic Oncology. 10/2012; 127(1):S1–S2.
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    ABSTRACT: Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. Ovarian cancers display a high degree of complex genetic alterations involving many oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Analysis of the association between genetic alterations and clinical endpoints such as survival will lead to improved patient management via genetic stratification of patients into clinically relevant subgroups. In this study, we aim to define subgroups of high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas that differ with respect to prognosis and overall survival. Genome-wide DNA copy number alterations (CNAs) were measured in 72 clinically annotated, high-grade serous tumors using high-resolution oligonucleotide arrays. Two clinically annotated, independent cohorts were used for validation. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of copy number data derived from the 72 patient cohort resulted in two clusters with significant difference in progression free survival (PFS) and a marginal difference in overall survival (OS). GISTIC analysis of the two clusters identified altered regions unique to each cluster. Supervised clustering of two independent large cohorts of high-grade serous tumors using the classification scheme derived from the two initial clusters validated our results and identified 8 genomic regions that are distinctly different among the subgroups. These 8 regions map to 8p21.3, 8p23.2, 12p12.1, 17p11.2, 17p12, 19q12, 20q11.21 and 20q13.12; and harbor potential oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes that are likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of ovarian carcinoma. We have identified a set of genetic alterations that could be used for stratification of high-grade serous tumors into clinically relevant treatment subgroups.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e30996. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bortezomib is a proteasome inhibitor with minimal clinical activity as a monotherapy in solid tumours, but its combination with other targeted therapies is being actively investigated as a way to increase its anticarcinogenic properties. Here, we evaluate the therapeutic potential of co-treatment with bortezomib and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a natural compound found in cruciferous vegetables, in human ovarian cancer. We examined the effects of I3C, bortezomib and cisplatin in several human ovarian cancer cell lines. Synergy was determined using proliferation assays and isobologram analysis. Cell cycle and apoptotic effects were assessed by flow cytometry. The mechanism of I3C and bortezomib action was determined by RNA microarray studies, quantitative RT-PCR and western blotting. Antitumour activity of I3C and bortezomib was evaluated using an OVCAR5 xenograft mouse model. I3C sensitised ovarian cancer cell lines to bortezomib treatment through potent synergistic mechanisms. Combination treatment with bortezomib and I3C led to profound cell cycle arrest and apoptosis as well as disruptions to multiple pathways, including those regulating endoplasmic reticulum stress, cytoskeleton, chemoresistance and carcinogen metabolism. Moreover, I3C and bortezomib co-treatment sensitised ovarian cancer cells to the standard chemotherapeutic agents, cisplatin and carboplatin. Importantly, in vivo studies demonstrated that co-treatment with I3C and bortezomib significantly inhibited tumour growth and reduced tumour weight compared with either drug alone. Together, these data provide a novel rationale for the clinical application of I3C and bortezomib in the treatment of ovarian cancer.
    British Journal of Cancer 12/2011; 106(2):333-43. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The chemokine CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 are expressed widely in human cancers, including ovarian cancer, in which they are associated with disease progression at the levels of tumor cell proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis. Here, we used an immunocompetent mouse model of intraperitoneal papillary epithelial ovarian cancer to show that modulation of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in ovarian cancer has multimodal effects on tumor pathogenesis associated with induction of antitumor immunity. siRNA-mediated knockdown of CXCL12 in BR5-1 cells that constitutively express CXCL12 and CXCR4 reduced cell proliferation in vitro, and tumor growth in vivo. Similarly, treatment of BR5-1-derived tumors with AMD3100, a selective CXCR4 antagonist, resulted in increased tumor apoptosis and necrosis, reduction in intraperitoneal dissemination, and selective reduction of intratumoral FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg). Compared with controls, CXCR4 blockade greatly increased T-cell-mediated antitumor immune responses, conferring a significant survival advantage to AMD3100-treated mice. In addition, the selective effect of CXCR4 antagonism on intratumoral Tregs was associated with both higher CXCR4 expression and increased chemotactic responses to CXCL12, a finding that was also confirmed in a melanoma model. Together, our findings reinforce the concept of a critical role for the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in ovarian cancer pathogenesis, and they offer a definitive preclinical validation of CXCR4 as a therapeutic target in this disease.
    Cancer Research 08/2011; 71(16):5522-34. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway is the principal DNA repair pathway for removing bulky platinum DNA adducts. Suboptimal DNA repair may lead to improved response to platinum agents. The objective of this study was to determine whether single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in NER pathway genes could be markers of platinum response in ovarian cancer. The authors identified patients with advanced-stage, papillary serous ovarian cancer who underwent primary cytoreductive surgery followed by platinum-based chemotherapy. DNA was isolated from peripheral blood specimens. Twenty-two SNPs within NER genes (xeroderma pigmentosum [XP] complementation group A [XPA], XPB/excision repair cross-complementing rodent repair deficiency, complementation group 3 [ERCC3], XPC, XPD/ERCC2, XPF/ERCC4, XPG/ERCC5, Cockayne syndrome group B protein [CSB]/ERCC8, ERCC1) were genotyped using polymerase chain reaction analysis. In total, 139 patients with stage III and IV papillary serous ovarian cancer were genotyped. The XPC (reference SNP 3731108 [rs3731108]) adenosine-guanine (AG)/AA genotype versus the GG genotype was associated with prolonged a progression-free survival (PFS) of 21.3 months versus 13.4 months (hazard ratio [HR], 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42-0.95; P = .03). The XPC (rs1124303) guanosine-thymidine (GT)/GG genotype versus the TT genotype was associated with a prolonged PFS of 22.8 months versus 14.9 months (HR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.24-0.94; P = .03). The XPC poly(AT) (PAT) (-/+)/(-/-) genotype versus the (+/+) genotype was associated with a prolonged PFS of 17 months versus 11.6 months (HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.36-0.89; P = .01). The XPF/ERCC4 (rs12926685) cytidine-thymidine (CT)/CC genotype versus the TT genotype was associated with a prolonged PFS of 16.7 months versus 12.4 months (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.41-0.95; P = .03). On multivariate analysis adjusting for breast cancer (BRCA) gene and cytoreductive surgery status, the XPC SNPs remained significantly associated with prolonged PFS. The current results indicated that XPC is a key component of the NER pathway that participates in DNA damage repair. SNPs in the XPC gene may represent novel markers of ovarian cancer response to platinum-based chemotherapy.
    Cancer 07/2011; 118(3):689-97. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A catalogue of molecular aberrations that cause ovarian cancer is critical for developing and deploying therapies that will improve patients' lives. The Cancer Genome Atlas project has analysed messenger RNA expression, microRNA expression, promoter methylation and DNA copy number in 489 high-grade serous ovarian adenocarcinomas and the DNA sequences of exons from coding genes in 316 of these tumours. Here we report that high-grade serous ovarian cancer is characterized by TP53 mutations in almost all tumours (96%); low prevalence but statistically recurrent somatic mutations in nine further genes including NF1, BRCA1, BRCA2, RB1 and CDK12; 113 significant focal DNA copy number aberrations; and promoter methylation events involving 168 genes. Analyses delineated four ovarian cancer transcriptional subtypes, three microRNA subtypes, four promoter methylation subtypes and a transcriptional signature associated with survival duration, and shed new light on the impact that tumours with BRCA1/2 (BRCA1 or BRCA2) and CCNE1 aberrations have on survival. Pathway analyses suggested that homologous recombination is defective in about half of the tumours analysed, and that NOTCH and FOXM1 signalling are involved in serous ovarian cancer pathophysiology.
    Nature 01/2011; 474(7353):609-615. · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • Gynecologic Oncology - GYNECOL ONCOL. 01/2011; 120.
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    ABSTRACT: Inhibition of the DNA repair enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) with small molecules has been shown to be an effective treatment for ovarian cancer with BRCA mutations. Here, we report the in vivo administration of siRNA to Parp1 in mouse models of ovarian cancer. A unique member of the lipid-like materials known as lipidoids is shown to deliver siRNA to disseminated murine ovarian carcinoma allograft tumors following intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection. siParp1 inhibits cell growth, primarily by induction of apoptosis, in Brca1-deficient cells both in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, the treatment extends the survival of mice bearing tumors derived from Brca1-deficient ovarian cancer cells but not from Brca1 wild-type cells, confirming the proposed mechanism of synthetic lethality. Because there are 17 members of the Parp family, the inherent complementarity of RNA affords a high level of specificity for therapeutically addressing Parp1 in the context of impaired homologous recombination.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2011; 108(2):745-50. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Statin therapy has been associated with prolonged survival in patients with ovarian cancer. We hypothesized that statins have a cytotoxic effect and that the combination of fluvastatin and cisplatin inhibits cellular proliferation in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Fluvastatin and cisplatin were examined in CAOV3 and SKOV3 human ovarian cancer cell lines. Cellular proliferation was assessed using MTT assays. Annexin V/propidium iodide (PI) staining was used to discriminate between early and late apoptosis, bromodeoxyuridine and PI staining for cell cycle profiling, and Western blotting for protein expression analysis. Synergy was determined using isobologram analysis. Treatment with combination fluvastatin and cisplatin at multiple doses resulted in significantly greater inhibition of proliferation compared to either drug alone. When examining equipotent combinations of fluvastatin and cisplatin to determine potential synergy, a combination index (CI) of 0.66 was identified for CAOV3 cells and a CI of 0.24 for SKOV3 cells indicating synergy. Combination fluvastatin and cisplatin resulted in G2/M arrest, and a significant increase in early apoptotic cells compared to fluvastatin or cisplatin alone. Moreover, supplementation of farnesylpyrophosphate (FPP) and geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (GGPP) demonstrated that GGPP rather than FPP was able to overcome fluvastatin-induced cytotoxicity. Finally, the two-drug combination impaired the expression and modification status of proteins of the Ras pathway. These data demonstrate the synergistic cytotoxicity of fluvastatin and cisplatin, through premature apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, with concomitant dysregulation of Ras pathway proteins. Our studies support a plausible therapeutic role for statins in the adjuvant treatment of ovarian cancer.
    Gynecologic Oncology 12/2010; 119(3):549-56. · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Hippo pathway regulates organ size and tumorigenesis in Drosophila and mammals and is altered in a variety of human cancers, yet it remains unclear if the Hippo pathway is of prognostic significance to cancer patients. Here we show that the key targets of Hippo signaling, transcriptional coactivators Yki and Yap, play a conserved role in promoting ovarian cancer in flies and humans, respectively. Whereas studies linking Yap to cancer in other tissues have focused on overall Yap levels, we show for the first time that subcellular levels of Yap show an exceptionally strong association with poor patient survival. Specifically, high levels of nuclear Yap (nYap), or low levels of cytoplasmic phosphorylated Yap (cpYap), associated with poor survival from ovarian cancer. Patients with both high nYap and low cpYap had ∼50% lower 5-year survival, and this combination is an independent prognostic marker for survival, with an exceptionally high hazard ratio of 7.8. We find that Yap2 is the predominantly expressed Yap isoform in both the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) and epithelial ovarian cancers. Overexpression of Yap2 and phosphorylation-defective Yap2-5SA in immortalized OSE cells resulted in increased cell proliferation, resistance to cisplatin-induced apoptosis, faster cell migration, and anchorage-independent growth, whereas Yap knockdown resulted in increased sensitivity to cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Findings argue that the Hippo signaling pathway defines an important pathway in progression of ovarian cancer.
    Cancer Research 10/2010; 70(21):8517-25. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The majority of tumors arising in BRCA1 mutation carriers exhibit inactivation of p53, a key effector of cell death after DNA damage. Despite the loss of p53, BRCA1-deficient tumor cells exhibit increased sensitivity to cisplatin, and patients with BRCA1-associated ovarian carcinomas experience improved outcomes with platinum-based chemotherapy compared with sporadic cases. Although it is known that chemosensitivity in BRCA1-associated cancers is associated with unrepaired DNA damage, the specific effector pathway mediating the cellular response to platinum-induced damage in these tumors is poorly understood. Here, we show that the p53-related gene p73, encoding a proapoptotic protein that is linked to chemosensitivity in many settings, is upregulated through a novel epigenetic mechanism in both human and murine models of BRCA1-associated ovarian carcinoma. BRCA1-deficient ovarian carcinoma cells exhibit hypermethylation within a p73 regulatory region, which includes the binding site for the p73 transcriptional repressor ZEB1, leading to the abrogation of ZEB1 binding and increased expression of transactivating p73 isoforms (TAp73). Cisplatin chemotherapy induces TAp73 target genes specifically in BRCA1-deficient cells, and knockdown of TAp73 in these cells causes chemoresistance while having little or no effect on BRCA1-expressing tumor cells. In primary ovarian carcinomas, ZEB1 binding site methylation and TAp73 expression correlate with BRCA1 status and with clinical response. Together, these findings uncover a novel regulatory mechanism that supports the contribution of TAp73 as an important mediator of the response to platinum chemotherapy in a subset of ovarian carcinomas. TAp73 might represent a response predictor and potential therapeutic target for enhancing chemosensitivity in this disease.
    Cancer Research 09/2010; 70(18):7155-65. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aldehyde dehydrogenase isoform 1 (ALDH1) has been proved useful for the identification of cancer stem cells. However, our knowledge of the expression and activity of ALDH1 in common epithelial cancers and their corresponding normal tissues is still largely absent. Therefore, we characterized ALDH1 expression in 24 types of normal tissues and a large collection of epithelial tumor specimens (six cancer types, n = 792) by immunohistochemical staining. Using the ALDEFUOR assay, ALDH1 activity was also examined in 16 primary tumor specimens and 43 established epithelial cancer cell lines. In addition, an ovarian cancer transgenic mouse model and 7 murine ovarian cancer cell lines were analyzed. We found that the expression levels and patterns of ALDH1 in epithelial cancers are remarkably distinct, and they correlate with their corresponding normal tissues. ALDH1 protein expression levels are positively correlated with ALDH1 enzymatic activity measured by ALDEFLUOR assay. Long-term in vitro culture doesn't significantly affect ALDH1 activity in epithelial tumor cells. Consistent with research on other cancers, we found that high ALDH1 expression is significantly associated with poor clinical outcomes in serous ovarian cancer patients (n = 439, p = 0.0036). Finally, ALDH(br) tumor cells exhibit cancer stem cell properties and are resistant to chemotherapy. As a novel cancer stem cell marker, ALDH1 can be used for tumors whose corresponding normal tissues express ALDH1 in relatively restricted or limited levels such as breast, lung, ovarian or colon cancer.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(4):e10277. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Dong-Joo Cheon, Sandra Orsulic
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    ABSTRACT: Genetically engineered mouse models have significantly contributed to our understanding of cancer biology. They have proven to be useful in validating gene functions, identifying novel cancer genes and tumor biomarkers, gaining insight into the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying tumor initiation and multistage processes of tumorigenesis, and providing better clinical models in which to test novel therapeutic strategies. However, mice still have significant limitations in modeling human cancer, including species-specific differences and inaccurate recapitulation of de novo human tumor development. Future challenges in mouse modeling include the generation of clinically relevant mouse models that recapitulate the molecular, cellular, and genomic events of human cancers and clinical response as well as the development of technologies that allow for efficient in vivo imaging and high-throughput screening in mice.
    Annual Review of Pathology Mechanisms of Disease 01/2010; 6:95-119. · 25.79 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
298 Downloads
3k Views
317.18 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2009–2013
    • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
      • • Women’s Cancer Program
      • • Cedars Sinai Medical Center
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2005–2010
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Department of Pathology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2002
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      New York City, New York, United States