[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The need to answer the question “how much of the familial risk is currently explained by the known genes?” has increased ,and although BRCA1 and BRCA2 are considered the two major breast cancer (BC) susceptibility genes, they do not justify the entire percentage of all hereditary BC cases. The current consensus is that other BC predisposing genes could explain at least a portion of the remaining non-mutated familial cases, including not only other highpenetrance BC genes, but also moderate and low-penetrance genes. Considering these three different categories of genes, a gap of risk estimation in breast cancer can be observed. Moreover, different researchers tried to give significance to the mutations identified in terms of family management but the way in which these common variants contribute to cancer is still largely unknown.
It has been recently proposed that the ‘rare variant hypothesis’, a model in which the summation of the effects of a series of low frequency gene variants, could justify a great portion of the inherited susceptibility to relatively common human diseases, such as breast cancer, independently by their way of acting. However, this hypothesis is still debated due the fact that there is little or no evidence about the fitness effects of common, disease-associated variants.
Current Women s Health Reviews 07/2012; 8(1):38-43.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: miRNAs are noncoding RNAs that target specific mRNA with subsequent regulation of particular genes, implicated in various biological processes. In cancer, miRNAs could show a different expression from normal tissues. miRNAs have a role as oncogenes when they target tumor suppressor genes and similarly they are tumor suppressors when they target oncogenes. AREAS COVERED: In this review, areas covered include the role of miRNAs in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and research for achievement of therapeutic strategies implicating miRNAs in oncology. As biogenesis of miRNAs is fundamental to understand their usefulness, this has also been discussed. Both miRNA expression profiles in cancer tissues and miRNA levels in peripheral blood were studied for improvement in the management of cancer patients. EXPERT OPINION: miRNAs have the potential for better understanding of tumor biology, but could also provide clinical advancement in management and therapy of various malignancies. The possibility of miRNA detection in peripheral blood would allow an eager expansion of their application in various clinical settings for cancer. The applicability of miRNA expression profiles still needs to be defined.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zoledronic acid (ZOL) is the most potent nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (N-BPs) that strongly binds to bone mineral and acts as a powerful inhibitor of bone resorption, already clinically available for the treatment of patients with osteolytic metastases. Recent data also suggest that ZOL, used in breast cancer, may provide more than just supportive care modifying the course of the disease, though the possible molecular mechanism of action is still unclear.As breast cancer is one of the primary tumours with high propensity to metastasize to the bone, we investigated, for the first time, differential gene expression profile on Michigan Cancer Foundation-7 (MCF-7) breast cancer cells treated with low doses of ZOL (10 μM). Microarrays analysis was used to identify, describe and summarize evidence regarding the molecular basis of actions of ZOL and of their possible direct anti-tumour effects. We validated gene expression results of specific transcripts involved in major cellular process by Real Time and Western Blot analysis and we observed inhibition of proliferation and migration through 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and Matrigel assay. We then focused on changes in the cytoskeletal components as fibronectin 1 (FN1), actin, and anti angiogenic compounds as transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and thrombospondin 1 (THBS1). The up-regulation of these products may have an important role in inhibiting proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis mediated by ZOL.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 01/2012; 16(9):2186-95. · 4.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of EGFR in cancer development and progression has been recognized for long time in a variety of human malignancies including lung, head and neck, colon, breast, ovary and glioma. Recently its role as a target of antineoplastic agents has also been identified and a variety of EGFR-targeted drugs is already being used in a clinical setting and others are at present under investigation. Many data involving EGFR protein expression are now available for the choice of anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies in colorectal cancer and with regard to EGFR gene mutations for the choice of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancer. Other EGFR-related molecular factors, including the EGFR gene copy number, are currently under investigation. This review summarizes both preclinical and clinical available data regarding EGFR genomic alterations as prognostic and predictive factors.
Frontiers in bioscience (Elite edition) 01/2011; 3:879-87.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although leptin and its receptor (ObR) have emerged as important cancer biomarkers, the role of the leptin system in brain tumor development remains unknown. We screened 87 human brain tumor biopsies using immunohistochemistry and detected leptin and ObR in 55.2% and 60.9% cases, respectively. In contrast, leptin and ObR were absent in 14 samples of normal brain tissue. The presence of leptin correlated with ObR with overall concordance 80.5%. The leptin/ObR system was highly expressed in glioblastomas and anaplastic astrocytomas, while lower expression of both markers was noted in low-grade astrocytomas and gangliogliomas. The association between leptin/ObR and the degree of tumor malignancy was highly significant (P < 0.001). Using double immunofluorescence of glioblastoma tissues, we found co-expression of leptin with ObR and with the proliferation marker Ki-67 in 87% and 64% of cells, respectively. The leptin/ObR-positive tissues also expressed activated forms of STAT3 and Akt. In line with this finding, ObR-positive glioblastoma cells responded to leptin with cell growth and induction of the STAT3 and Akt pathways as well as inactivation of the cell cycle suppressor Rb. In summary, our data demonstrate that the leptin/ObR system is expressed in malignant brain tumors and might be involved in tumor progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leptin is overexpressed in human breast tumors and is produced by breast cancer cells in response to obesity-related stimuli. The leptin promoter polymorphism Lep-2548G/A can be associated with increased leptin secretion by adipocytes and elevated cancer risk. However, molecular mechanisms underlying the link between Lep-2548G/A and breast cancer have never been addressed. Lep-2548G/A is proximal to a binding site for the transcriptional factor Sp1. Furthermore nucleolin, a transcriptional repressor, can bind Sp1 or its consensus site. Consequently, we focused on the impact of Lep-2548G/A on Sp1- and nucleolin-dependent leptin transcription in breast cancer cells. The Lep-2548G/A was identified in a homozygous conformation in BT-474 and SK-BR-3 breast cancer cells, in a heterozygous conformation in MDA-MB-231 cells, and a wild-type Lep-2548G/G sequence was present in MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 cells. The occurrence of Lep-2548A/A and Lep-2548G/A coincided with high and intermediate leptin mRNA expression, respectively, while cells containing Lep-2548G/G expressed low leptin mRNA levels. We demonstrated that the existence of Lep-2548G/A improved efficient recruitment of Sp1 to DNA under insulin treatment, while Sp1 loading on DNA containing Lep-2548G/G was not insulin-dependent. In contrast, nucleolin binding to Lep-2548G/A was downregulated in response to insulin, while it was not regulated on Lep-2548G/G. The presence of Lep-2548G/A was studied in breast cancer epithelial cells by IHC and LCM. Interestingly, all 14 tumors expressing high leptin levels contained Lep-2548A/A. In conclusion, the occurrence of Lep-2548G/A can enhance leptin expression in breast cancer cells via Sp1- and nucleolin-dependent mechanisms and possibly contribute to intratumoral leptin overexpression.
International Journal of Cancer 03/2009; 125(5):1038-44. · 6.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity in postmenopausal women is associated with increased breast cancer risk, development of more aggressive tumors and resistance to certain anti-breast cancer treatments. Some of these effects might be mediated by obesity hormone leptin, acting independently or modulating other signaling pathways. Here we focused on the link between leptin and HER2. We tested if HER2 and the leptin receptor (ObR) can be coexpressed in breast cancer cell models, whether these two receptors can physically interact, and whether leptin can transactivate HER2. Next, we studied if leptin/ObR can coexist with HER2 in breast cancer tissues, and if presence of these two systems correlates with specific clinicopathological features.
Expression of ObR, HER2, phospho-HER2 was assessed by immunoblotting. Physical interactions between ObR and HER2 were probed by immunoprecipitation and fluorescent immunostaining. Expression of leptin and ObR in breast cancer tissues was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Associations among markers studied by IHC were evaluated using Fisher's exact test for count data.
HER2 and ObR were coexpressed in all studied breast cancer cell lines. In MCF-7 cells, HER2 physically interacted with ObR and leptin treatment increased HER2 phosphorylation on Tyr 1248. In 59 breast cancers, the presence of leptin was correlated with ObR (the overall association was about 93%). This result was confirmed both in HER2-positive and in HER2-negative subgroups. The expression of leptin or ObR was numerically more frequent in larger (> 10 mm) tumors.
Coexpression of HER2 and the leptin/ObR system might contribute to enhanced HER2 activity and reduced sensitivity to anti-HER2 treatments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leptin, a hormone produced by adipose tissue, regulates energy balance in the hypothalamus and is involved in fertility, immune response and carcinogenesis. The existence of disorders related to leptin deficit and leptin overabundance calls for the development of drugs activating or inhibiting the leptin receptor (ObR). We synthesized four proposed receptor-binding leptin fragments (sites I, IIa and IIb, III), their reportedly antagonist analogs, and a peptide chimera composed of the two discontinuous site II arms. To assess the pharmacological utility of leptin fragments, we studied the peptides' ability to stimulate the growth of ObR-positive and ObR-negative cells. The combined site II construct and site III derivatives selectively reversed leptin-induced growth of ObR-positive cells at mid-nanomolar concentrations. However, these peptides appeared to be partial agonists/antagonists as they activated cell growth in the absence of exogenous leptin. A designer site III analog, featuring non-natural amino acids at terminal positions to decrease proteolysis and a blood–brain barrier (BBB) penetration-enhancing carbohydrate moiety, proved to be full agonist to ObR, i.e., stimulated proliferation of different ObR-positive but not ObR-negative cells in the presence or absence of leptin. This glycopeptide bound to isolated ObR on solid-phase assays and activated ERK-1/2 signaling in ObR-positive MCF-7 cells at 100–500 nM concentrations. The glycopeptide was stable in mouse serum, readily crossed endothelial/astrocyte cell layers in a cellular BBB model, and was distributed into the brain of Balb/c mice after intraperitoneal administration. These characteristics suggest a potential pharmaceutical utility of the designer site III glycopeptide in leptin-deficient diseases.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2008; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of oesophageal adenocarcinoma is generally closely associated with the presence of a specialised intestinal-type epithelium such as that found in Barrett's oesophagus (BO). A particular histological condition is when the distal oesophagus showing cardiac and/or fundic mucosa without intestinal metaplasia cannot be defined as 'Barrett's mucosa' [condition that we call 'columnar-lined oesophagus' (CLO)] and up till now, there has been no agreement in literature about the management of this condition. Aurora-A overexpression leads to centrosome amplification, chromosomal instability and aneuploidy in mammalian cells.
A prospective study was carried out on 28 consecutive patients who presented columnar mucosa above the gastro-oesophageal junction (GOJ) at endoscopy. As controls, two more biopsies were obtained, one on the normal-appearing squamous oesophagus above the GOJ, as far as possible from the columnar mucosa (controls A), and one taken 1 cm below the GOJ (controls B). The Aurora-A and p53 expression levels were analysed respectively by Quantitative Real Time PCR and immunohistochemistry.
Twelve patients were affected by BO (43%) while the other 16 patients (57%) had a CLO. Nine of 28 (32%) cases were focally positive for p53 immunostaining. All the BO/CLO samples were positive for the Aurora-A transcript with regard to controls. Furthermore, 13 of 28 (46%) cases showed overexpression (above the median for the whole group).
Due to the low number of cases, we are not at present able to state that statistically significant quantitative differences in Aurora-A messenger RNA expression exist between CLO and BO cases with and without dysplasia and p53-positive immunostaining. Further studies on a larger number of cases with a follow-up period are necessary in order to establish the risk of progression and the correct management of these subjects.