Lucia Belloni

Università degli studi di Parma, Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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Publications (7)26.73 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: ApoJ/Clusterin (CLU) is a heterodimeric protein localized in the nucleus, cytoplasm or secretory organelles and involved in cell survival and neoplastic transformation. Its function in human cancer is still highly controversial. In this study, we examined the prostate of mice in which CLU has been genetically inactivated. Surprisingly, we observed transformation of the prostate epithelium in the majority of CLU knockout mice. Either PIN (prostate intraepithelial neoplasia) or differentiated carcinoma was observed in 100 and 87% of mice with homozygous or heterozygous deletion of CLU, respectively. Crossing CLU knockout with TRAMP (prostate cancer prone) mice results in a strong enhancement of metastatic spread. Finally, CLU depletion causes tumourigenesis in female TRAMP mice, which are normally cancer free. Mechanistically, deletion of CLU induces activation of nuclear factor-kB, a potentially oncogenic transcription factor important for the proliferation and survival of prostate cells.
    Oncogene 09/2009; 28(49):4344-52. · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Clusterin (CLU) gene produces different forms of protein products, which vary in their biological properties and distribution within the cell. Both the extra- and intracellular CLU forms regulate cell proliferation and apoptosis. Dis-regulation of CLU expression occurs in many cancer types, including prostate cancer. The role that CLU plays in tumorigenesis is still unclear. We found that CLU over-expression inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Here we show that depletion of CLU affects the growth of PC-3 prostate cancer cells. Following siRNA targeting all CLU mRNA variants, all protein products quickly disappeared, inducing cell cycle progression and higher expression of specific proliferation markers (i.e., H3 mRNA, PCNA, and cyclins A, B1, and D) as detected by RT-qPCR and Western blot. Quite surprisingly, we also found that the turnover of CLU protein is very rapid and tightly regulated by ubiquitin-proteasome mediated degradation. Inhibition of protein synthesis by cycloheximide showed that CLU half-life is less than 2 h. CLU protein products were found poly-ubiquitinated by co-immuniprecipitation. Proteasome inhibition by MG132 caused stabilization and accumulation of all CLU protein products, including the nuclear form of CLU (nCLU), and committing cells to caspase-dependent death. In conclusion, proteasome inhibition may induce prostate cancer cell death through accumulation of nCLU, a potential tumor suppressor factor.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 02/2009; 219(2):314-23. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (CaP) is one of the most relevant causes of cancer death in Western Countries. Although detection of CaP at early curable stage is highly desirable, actual screening methods present limitations and new molecular approaches are needed. Gene expression analysis increases our knowledge about the biology of CaP and may render novel molecular tools, but the identification of accurate biomarkers for reliable molecular diagnosis is a real challenge. We describe here the diagnostic power of a novel 8-genes signature: ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), ornithine decarboxylase antizyme (OAZ), adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (AdoMetDC), spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase (SSAT), histone H3 (H3), growth arrest specific gene (GAS1), glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and Clusterin (CLU) in tumour detection/classification of human CaP. The 8-gene signature was detected by retrotranscription real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) in frozen prostate surgical specimens obtained from 41 patients diagnosed with CaP and recommended to undergo radical prostatectomy (RP). No therapy was given to patients at any time before RP. The bio-bank used for the study consisted of 66 specimens: 44 were benign-CaP paired from the same patient. Thirty-five were classified as benign and 31 as CaP after final pathological examination. Only molecular data were used for classification of specimens. The Nearest Neighbour (NN) classifier was used in order to discriminate CaP from benign tissue. Validation of final results was obtained with 10-fold cross-validation procedure. CaP versus benign specimens were discriminated with (80+/-5)% accuracy, (81+/-6)% sensitivity and (78+/-7)% specificity. The method also correctly classified 71% of patients with Gleason score<7 versus > or =7, an important predictor of final outcome. The method showed high sensitivity in a collection of specimens in which a significant portion of the total (13/31, equal to 42%) was considered CaP on the basis of having less than 15% of cancer cells. This result supports the notion of the "cancer field effect", in which transformed cells extend beyond morphologically evident tumour. The molecular diagnosis method here described is objective and less subjected to human error. Although further confirmations are needed, this method poses the potential to enhance conventional diagnosis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2008; 3(10):e3617. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • S Bettuzzi, F Rizzi, L Belloni
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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (CaP) is a fast-growing health and social problem already representing the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men in Western countries. Lifestyle-related factors and diet are major contributors for CaP promotion. Because of unfavourable prognosis of extra-prostatic CaP, prevention is considered the best approach to fight it at present time. Green Tea Catechins (GTCs) were proven effective at inhibiting cancer growth in several laboratory studies. We recently performed a pilot clinical trial in HG-PIN subjects showing that only 1/30 tumour was diagnosed in subjects treated for 1 year with 600 mg/die GTCs, while 9/30 cancers were found in placebo-treated men. CaP is an elusive disease, whose biological behaviour is difficult to predict. We have recently described and validated a RT-qPCR method based on a 8-genes signature that significantly discriminated benign tissue from CaP in both humans and TRAMP mice spontaneously developing CaP. In the animal model, also GTCs-resistant CaP was significantly discriminated from GTCs-sensitive CaP, i.e. responding to GTCs administration. Preliminary experiments in our laboratory have shown that this method can be successfully applied to a single tissue needle biopsy specimen in humans. The combination of these results may be of particular significance on the field. In fact, GTCs treatment for men at high risk of CaP as first line prevention therapy in combination with the 8-genes signature profiling in tissue needle biopsies for real time monitoring of patient's response might importantly change, in the near future, the clinical managing of this highly diffuse malignancy.
    Polish journal of veterinary sciences 02/2007; 10(1):57-60. · 0.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clusterin (CLU), whose role is still debated, is differentially regulated in several patho-physiological processes and invariably induced during apoptosis. In heat shock response, CLU is considered a stress-inducible, pro-survival/cyto-protective factor via an HSE element present in his promoter. In both human prostate PNT1A and PC-3 epithelial cells we found that apoptotic stimuli induced nuclear localization of CLU (nCLU), and that overexpression of nCLU is pro-apoptotic. We show here that CLU time-course accumulation kinetic is different from that of HSP70 in these cells, thus other factor(s) might mediate HSF-1 activation and CLU expression. Sub-lethal heat shock inhibited the secretion of CLU (sCLU), leading to increased cytoplasm accumulation of CLU (cCLU) in association to cell survival. At difference, lethal heat stress caused massive accumulation of pro-apoptotic nCLU in cells dying by caspase-3-dependent apoptosis. Double heat stress (sub-lethal heat shock followed by recovery and lethal stress) induced HSP70 and thermo-tolerance in PNT1A cells, but not in PC-3 cells. In PNT1A cells, CLU secretion was inhibited and cCLU was accumulated, suggesting that cCLU might be pro-survival, while in PC-3 cells accumulation of nCLU was concomitant to caspase-3 induction and PARP activation instead. Thus, CLU expression/sub-cellular localization is strictly related to cell fate. In particular, nCLU and physiological levels of HSP70 affected cell survival in an antagonistic fashion. Prevalence of heat-induced nCLU, not allowing PC-3 cells to cope with heat shock, could be the rational explaining why malignant cells are more sensitive to heat when delivered by minimally invasive procedures for ablation of localized prostate cancer.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 05/2006; 207(1):208-19. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously found that human prostate cancer (CaP) progression is accompanied by differential expression of a panel of 8 informative genes, some of which are metabolically related. Gene profiling focused on this 8-gene pack by northern blot analysis in combination with standard clinical information provided reliable prognostic prediction of human CaP. For a better insight into the potential of this 8-gene signature in tumor detection/classification and therapeutic response, we determined, by qPCR, the expression of these informative genes in the TRAMP mice model of CaP progression. The 8-genes signature resulted effective in discriminating, by linear discriminant analysis (LDA), the prostate of wild type mice from transgenic TRAMP mice developing CaP (P < 0.0002). Since it is known that Green Tea Catechin (GTC) administration to TRAMP mice results in a substantial delay of CaP progression in 80% of the animals, while 20% remain unresponsive, we determined the 8-gene signature in the prostates of GTC-sensitive and GTC-resistant mice. LDA discriminated benign tissue from CaP (i.e. wild-type + chemoprevented, GTC-sensitive TRAMP mice, in which CaP progression was delayed, was discriminated from TRAMP mice + GTC-resistant TRAMP mice, in which CaP developed irrespective of GTC administration; P < 0.01). Moreover, GTC-sensitive TRAMP mice bearing CaP were discriminated from GTCs-resistant ones, (P = 0.0001). These results show that qPCR gene profiling, based on the signature of the 8-genes selected by us, could represent an appropriate means for studying the biological behavior of CaP, which may lead to identifying new tools of potential prognostic value, in that a molecular classification for the presence/absence of cancer and for discriminating GTCs-responsive from GTC-resistant CaP is provided.
    Carcinogenesis 05/2006; 27(5):1047-53. · 5.64 Impact Factor
  • European Urology Supplements - EUR UROL SUPPL. 01/2006; 5(14):791-791.