Alice L Yu

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, T’ai-pei, Taipei, Taiwan

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Publications (63)429.21 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Tumor vascularization, which is mainly contributed by angiogenesis and vascularization, is necessary for tumor maintenance and progression. Vasculogenic mimicry (VM), vascular-like channels which are lack of the involvement of endothelial cells, has been observed in aggressive cancers and also involves in tumor vascularization. Breast cancer stem/progenitor cells (BCSCs) have been identified as a subpopulation of breast cancer cells with markers of CD24(-)CD44(+), high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (ALDH(+)) or could be enriched by mammosphere cultivation. These cells have been proven to be associated with tumor vascularization. Here we investigated the molecular mechanisms in VM activity of BCSCs. By periodic acid-Schiff or hematoxylin-eosin stain, we found that there were VM structures in two xenografted human breast cancer tissues established from CD24(-)CD44(+) or ALDH(+) cells. Only ALDH(+) or mammosphere-forming BCSCs could form tube structures on matrigel coated surface as similar as microvascular endothelial cells. Inhibition of the phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by gefitinib or knockdown of EGFR by lentiviral shRNA abolished the in vitro VM activity of BCSCs. By quercetin treatment, a plant flavonoid compound which is known to suppress heat shock proteins, or siRNA mediated gene silencing, both Hsp27 expression and VM capability of BCSCs were suppressed. Forced expression of phosphor-mimic form of Hsp27 in ALDH(+) BCSCs could overcome the inhibitory effect of gefitinib. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that VM activity of BCSCs is mediated by EGF/Hsp27 signaling and targeting this pathway may benefit to breast cancer therapy.
    Biochimie 06/2014; · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of SH2-containing-5'-inositol phosphatase-2 (SHIP2) correlates with poor survival in breast cancer. However, its role in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) remains unclear. Here, we showed that the percentage of SHIP2+ cells was positively correlated with that of CD24-CD44+ cells in 60 breast cancer specimens. Among 20 estrogen receptor (ER)-negative samples, 17 had greater SHIP2 expression in CD24-CD44+ subpopulation than the remaining subpopulation. Data mining of microarray analysis of 295 breast tumors showed a significant correlation of higher SHIP2 expression with distant metastasis. Examination of patient-derived mouse xenografts revealed that SHIP2 protein and its tyrosine 1135 phosphorylation were significantly higher in BCSCs, identified as CD24-CD44+ or ALDH+, than non-BCSCs. SHIP2 silencing or inhibitor of SHIP2 phosphatase significantly decreased mammosphere-forming efficiency, ALDH+ subpopulation in vitro and tumorigenicity of BCSCs in vivo. Overexpression of SHIP2 enhanced the expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers including vimentin (VIM), which was mainly expressed in ER-negative breast cancer cells with higher level in mammospheres than monolayer culture. Ablation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1), JNK2 or VIM diminished the increased ALDH+ population and tumorigenicity, induced by SHIP2 overexpression. BCSCs displayed greater expression of phospho-JNK than non-BCSCs and silencing of JNK suppressed SHIP2-mediated upregulation of VIM. Furthermore, SHIP2 overexpression enhanced Akt activation, but Akt inhibition failed to influence SHIP2-induced phospho-JNK/VIM upregulation. In conclusion, SHIP2 plays a key role in BCSCs of ER-negative breast cancers through activation of Akt and JNK with upregulation of VIM, and may serve as a target for therapy directed at BCSCs. Stem Cells 2014
    Stem Cells 05/2014; · 7.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: H5N1 influenza virus is a highly pathogenic virus, posing a pandemic threat. Previously, we showed that phenyl analogs of α-Galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) displayed greater NKT stimulation than α-GalCer. Here, we examined the adjuvant effects of one of the most potent analogs, C34, on consensus hemagglutinin based DNA vaccine (pCHA5) for H5N1 virus. Upon intramuscular electroporation of mice with pCHA5 with/without various α-GalCer analogs, C34-adjuvanted group developed the highest titer against consensus H5 and more HA-specific IFN-γ secreting CD8 cells (203 ± 13.5) than pCHA5 alone (152.6 ± 13.7, p < 0.05). Upon lethal challenge of NIBRG-14 virus, C34-adjuvanted group (84.6%) displayed higher survival rate than pCHA5 only group (46.1%). In the presence of C34 as adjuvant, the anti-sera displayed broader and greater neutralizing activities against virions pseudotyped with HA of clade 1, and 2.2 than pCHA5 only group. Moreover, to simulate an emergency response to a sudden H5N1 outbreak, we injected mice intramuscularly with single dose of a new consensus H5 (pCHA5-II) based on 1192 full-length H5 sequences, with C34 as adjuvant. The latter not only enhanced the humoral immune response and protection against virus challenge, but also broadened the spectrum of neutralization against pseudotyped HA viruses. Our vaccine strategy can be easily implemented for any H5N1 virus outbreak by single IM injection of a consensus H5 DNA vaccine based on updated HA sequences using C34 as an adjuvant.
    Antiviral research 04/2014; · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although breast phyllodes tumors are rare, there is no effective therapy other than surgery. Little is known about their tumor biology. Malignant phyllodes tumor contains heterologous stromal elements, and can transform into rhabdomyosarcoma, liposarcoma and osteosarcoma. These versatile properties prompted us to explore their possible relationship to mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and search for the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in phyllodes tumors. Paraffin sections of malignant phyllodes tumors were examined for various markers by immunohistochemical staining. Xenografts of human primary phyllodes tumors were established by injecting freshly isolated tumor cells into the mammary fat pad of nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD-SCID) mice. To search for CSCs, xenografted tumor cells were sorted into various subpopulations by flow cytometry and examined for their in vitro mammosphere forming capacity, in vivo tumorigenicity in NOD-CSID mice and their ability to undergo differentiation. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed the expression of the following 10 markers: CD44, CD29, CD106, CD166, CD105, CD90, disialoganglioside (GD2), CD117, Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH), and Oct4, and 7 clinically relevant markers (CD10, CD34, p53, p63, Ki-67, Bcl-2, vimentin, and Globo H) in all 51 malignant phyllodes tumors examined, albeit to different extents. Four xenografts were successfully established from human primary phyllodes tumors. In vitro, ALDH+ cells sorted from xenografts displayed approximately 10-fold greater mammosphere-forming capacity than ALDH- cells. GD2+ cells showed a 3.9-fold greater capacity than GD2- cells. ALDH+/GD2+cells displayed 12.8-fold greater mammosphere forming ability than ALDH-/ GD2- cells. In vivo, the tumor-initiating frequency of ALDH+/GD2+ cells were up to 33-fold higher than that of ALDH+ cells, with as few as 50 ALDH+/GD2+ cells being sufficient for engraftment . Moreover, we provided the first evidence for the induction of ALDH+/GD2+ cells to differentiate into neural cells of various lineages, along with the observation of neural differentiation in clinical specimens and xenografts of malignant phyllodes tumors. ALDH+ or ALDH+/GD2+ cells could also be induced to differentiate into adipocytes, osteocytes or chondrocytes. Our findings revealed that malignant phyllodes tumor possessed many characteristics of MSC, and their CSCs were enriched in ALDH+ and ALDH+/GD2+ subpopulations.
    Breast cancer research: BCR 03/2014; 16(2):R29. · 5.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A recent study identified a haplotype on a small region of chromosome 12, between markers D12S1725 and D12S1596, shared by all patients with familial neuroblastoma (NB). We previously localized the human MGST1 gene, whose gene product protects against oxidative stress, to this very same chromosomal region (12p112.1-12p13.33). Due to the chromosomal location of MGST1, its roles in tumorigenesis, drug resistance and oxidative stress, and the known sensitivity of NB cell lines to oxidative stress, we considered a role for MGST1 in NB development. Surprisingly there was no detectable MGST1 mRNA or protein in either NB cell lines or NB primary tumor tissue, although all other human tissues, cell lines, and primary tumor tissue examined to date express MGST1 at high levels. The mechanism behind the failure of NB cells and tissue to express MGST1 mRNA is unknown, and involves failure of MGST1 pre-mRNA expression, but does not involve chromosomal rearrangement or nucleotide variation in the promoter, exons, or 3'-untranslated region of MGST1. MGST1 provides significant protection against oxidative stress and constitutes 4 to 6% of all protein in the outer membrane of the mitochondria. As NB cells are extremely sensitive to oxidative stress, and often used as a model system to investigate mitochondrial response to endogenous and exogenous stress, these findings may be due to the lack of expression MGST1 protein in NB. The significance of this finding to the development of neuroblastoma (familial or otherwise), however, is unknown and may even be incidental. While our studies provide a molecular basis for previous work on the sensitivity of NB cells to oxidative stress, and possibly marked variations in NB mitochondrial homeostasis, it also implies that the results of these earlier studies using NB cells are not transferable to other tumor and cell types which express MGST1 at high concentrations.
    Free Radical Biology & Medicine 01/2014; · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Strategies for cancer immunotherapy include activating immune system for therapeutic benefit or blockade of immune checkpoints. To harness innate immunity to fight cancer, α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) has been used to activate NKT cells. Unfortunately, administration of α-GalCer causes long-term NKT cell anergy, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. In this study, we showed that α-GalCer-triggered egr2/3, which induced programmed death 1 and cbl-b in NKT cells, leading to NKT cell anergy. We also uncovered the induction of the immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the spleen by α-GalCer that might attenuate its antitumor efficacy. The accumulation of MDSC was accompanied by 20-fold rise in their arg-1 mRNAs and enhanced expression of programmed death 1/programmed death ligand 1. Furthermore, α-GalCer-induced egr-2/3 in hepatic NKT cells upregulated their TRAIL in addition to Fas ligand (FasL) and induced alarm signaling molecule IL-33 in Kupffer cells, presumably because of liver damage triggered by TRAIL/FasL. We further demonstrated that IL-33-stimulated macrophages produce G-CSF, which in turn, boosted MDSCs. Thus, α-GalCer-induced FasL/TRAIL and IL-33 provided a novel mechanism underlying α-GalCer-induced hepatotoxicity and MDSC accumulation. In contrast, analogs of α-GalCer containing phenyl group in the lipid tail could neither induce NKT anergy nor enhance MDSCs accumulation. Furthermore, tumor-infiltrating MDSCs in mice injected repeatedly with α-GalCer were 2-fold higher than those treated with phenyl-glycolipids. These results not only revealed the induction of MDSC via IL-33 as a new mechanism for α-GalCer-elicited immunosuppression but also provided one of the mechanisms underlying the superior antitumor potency of phenyl-glycolipids. Our findings have important implications for the development of NKT-stimulatory glycolipids as vaccine adjuvants and anticancer therapeutics.
    The Journal of Immunology 01/2014; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: H5N1 influenza virus is a highly pathogenic virus, posing a pandemic threat. Previously, we showed that phenyl analogs of α-Galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) displayed greater NKT stimulation than α-GalCer. Here, we examined the adjuvant effects of one of the most potent analogs, C34, on consensus hemagglutinin based DNA vaccine (pCHA5) for H5N1 virus. Upon intramuscular electroporation of mice with pCHA5 with/without various α-GalCer analogs, C34-adjuvanted group developed the highest titer against consensus H5 and more HA-specific IFN-γ secreting CD8 cells (203 ± 13.5) than pCHA5 alone (152.6 ± 13.7, p < 0.05). Upon lethal challenge of NIBRG-14 virus, C34-adjuvanted group (84.6%) displayed higher survival rate than pCHA5 only group (46.1%). In the presence of C34 as adjuvant, the anti-sera displayed broader and greater neutralizing activities against virions pseudotyped with HA of clade 1, and 2.2 than pCHA5 only group. Moreover, to simulate an emergency response to a sudden H5N1 outbreak, we injected mice intramuscularly with single dose of a new consensus H5 (pCHA5-II) based on 1192 full-length H5 sequences, with C34 as adjuvant. The latter not only enhanced the humoral immune response and protection against virus challenge, but also broadened the spectrum of neutralization against pseudotyped HA viruses. Our vaccine strategy can be easily implemented for any H5N1 virus outbreak by single IM injection of a consensus H5 DNA vaccine based on updated HA sequences using C34 as an adjuvant.
    Antiviral Research. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Dendrobium huoshanense is a valuable and versatile Chinese herbal medicine with the anecdotal claims of cancer prevention and anti-inflammation. However, its immunological activities are limited to in vitro studies on a few cytokines and immune cell functions. First, we investigated the effects of polysaccharides isolated from DH (DH-PS) on inducing a panel of cytokines/chemokines in mice in vivo and human in vitro. We found that DH polysaccharides (DH-PS) induced TH1, TH2, inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in mouse in vivo and human cells in vitro. Secondly, we demonstrated that DH-PS expanded mouse splenocytes in vivo including CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, B cells, NK cells, NKT cells, monocytes/macrophages, granulocytes and regulatory T cells. Notably, DH-PS induced an anti-inflammatory molecule, IL-1ra, in mouse and human immune cells, especially monocytes. The serum level of IL-1ra elicited by the injection of DH-PS was over 10 folds of IL-1β, suggesting that DH-PS-induced anti-inflammatory activities might over-ride the inflammatory ones mediated by IL-1β. The signaling pathways of DH-PS-induced IL-1ra production was shown to involve ERK/ELK, p38 MAPK, PI3K and NFκB. Finally, we observed that IL-1ra level induced by DH-PS was significantly higher than that by F3, a polysaccharide extract isolated from another popular Chinese herbal medicine, Ganoderma lucidum. These results indicated that DH-PS might have potential applications for ameliorating IL-1-induced pathogenic conditions.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e94040. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anti-GD2 antibody is a proven therapy for GD2-postive neuroblastoma. Monoclonal antibodies against GD2, such as chimeric mAb ch14.18, have become benchmarks for neuroblastoma therapies. Pain, however, can limit immunotherapy with anti-GD2 therapeutic antibodies like ch14.18. This adverse effect is attributed to acute inflammation via complement activation on GD2-expressing nerves. Thus, new strategies are needed for the development of treatment intensification strategies to improve the outcome of these patients. We established the mouse-human chimeric antibody c.8B6 specific to OAcGD2 in order to reduce potential immunogenicity in patients and to fill the need for a selective agent that can kill neuroblastoma cells without inducing adverse neurological side effects caused by anti-GD2 antibody immunotherapy. We further analyzed some of its functional properties compared with anti-GD2 ch14.18 therapeutic antibody. With the exception of allodynic activity, we found that antibody c.8B6 shares the same anti-neuroblastoma attributes as therapeutic ch14.18 anti-GD2 mAb when tested in cell-based assay and in vivo in an animal model. The absence of OAcGD2 expression on nerve fibers and the lack of allodynic properties of c.8B6-which are believed to play a major role in mediating anti-GD2 mAb dose-limiting side effects-provide an important rationale for the clinical application of c.8B6 in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e87210. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The INK4A locus codes for two independent tumor suppressors, p14ARF and p16/CDKN2A, and is frequently mutated in many cancers. Here we report a novel deletion/substitution from CC to T in the shared exon 2 of p14ARF/p16 in a melanoma cell line. This mutation aligns the reading frames of p14ARF and p16 mid-transcript, producing one protein which is half p14ARF and half p16, chimera ARF (chARF), and another which is half p16 and half non-p14ARF/non-p16 amino acids, p16-Alternate Carboxyl Terminal (p16-ACT). In an effort to understand the cellular impact of this novel mutation and others like it, we expressed the two protein products in a tumor cell line and analyzed common p14ARF and p16 pathways, including the p53/p21 and CDK4/cyclin D1 pathways, as well as the influence of the two proteins on growth and the cell cycle. We report that chARF mimicked wild-type p14ARF by inducing the p53/p21 pathway, inhibiting cell growth through G2/M arrest and maintaining a certain percentage of cells in G1 during nocodazole-induced G2 arrest. chARF also demonstrated p16 activity by binding CDK4. However, rather than preventing cyclin D1 from binding CDK4, chARF stabilized this interaction through p21 which bound CDK4. p16-ACT had no p16-related function as it was unable to inhibit cyclin D1/CDK4 complex formation and was unable to arrest the cell cycle, though it did inhibit colony formation. We conclude that these novel chimeric proteins, which are very similar to predicted p16/p14ARF chimeric proteins found in other primary cancers, result in maintained p14ARF-p53-p21 signaling while p16-dependent CDK4 inhibition is lost.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e88219. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor vascularization, which is mainly contributed by angiogenesis and vascularization, is necessary for tumor maintenance and progression. Vasculogenic mimicry (VM), vascular-like channels which are lack of the involvement of endothelial cells, has been observed in aggressive cancers and also involves in tumor vascularization. Breast cancer stem/progenitor cells (BCSCs) have been identified as a subpopulation of breast cancer cells with markers of CD24-CD44+, high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (ALDH+) or could be enriched by mammosphere cultivation. These cells have been proven to be associated with tumor vascularization. Here we investigated the molecular mechanisms in VM activity of BCSCs. By periodic acid-Schiff or hematoxylin-eosin stain, we found that there were VM structures in two xenografted human breast cancer tissues established from CD24-CD44+ or ALDH+ cells. Only ALDH+ or mammosphere-forming BCSCs could form tube structures on matrigel coated surface as similar as microvascular endothelial cells. Inhibition of the phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by gefitinib or knockdown of EGFR by lentiviral shRNA abolished the in vitro VM activity of BCSCs. By quercetin treatment, a plant flavonoid compound which is known to suppress heat shock proteins, or siRNA mediated gene silencing, both Hsp27 expression and VM capability of BCSCs were suppressed. Forced expression of phosphor-mimic form of Hsp27 in ALDH+ BCSCs could overcome the inhibitory effect of gefitinib. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that VM activity of BCSCs is mediated by EGF/Hsp27 signaling and targeting this pathway may benefit to breast cancer therapy.
    Biochimie 01/2014; · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common malignancy of the kidney, is refractory to standard therapy and has an incidence that continues to rise. Screening of plant extracts in search of new agents to treat RCC resulted in the discovery of englerin A (EA), a natural product exhibiting potent selective cytotoxicity against renal cancer cells. Despite the establishment of synthetic routes to the synthesis of EA, very little is known about its mechanism of action. The results of the current study demonstrate for the first time that EA induces apoptosis in A498 renal cancer cells in addition to necrosis. The induction of apoptosis by EA required at least 24 h and was caspase independent. In addition, EA induced increased levels of autophagic vesicles in A498 cells which could be inhibited by nonessential amino acids (NEAA), known inhibitors of autophagy. Interestingly, inhibition of autophagy by NEAA did not diminish cell death suggesting that autophagy is not a cell death mechanism and likely represents a cell survival mechanism which ultimately fails. Apart from cell death, our results demonstrated that cells treated with EA accumulated in the G2 phase of the cell cycle indicating a block in G2/M transition. Moreover, our results determined that EA inhibited the activation of both AKT and ERK, kinases which are activated in cancer and implicated in unrestricted cell proliferation and induction of autophagy. The phosphorylation status of the cellular energy sensor, AMPK, appeared unaffected by EA. The high renal cancer selectivity of EA combined with its ability to induce multiple mechanisms of cell death while inhibiting pathways driving cell proliferation, suggest that EA is a highly unique agent with great potential as a therapeutic lead for the treatment of RCC.
    Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 08/2013; 32(1):57. · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Myeloablative chemoradiotherapy and immunomagnetically purged autologous bone marrow transplantation has been shown to improve outcome for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. Currently, peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) are infused after myeloablative therapy, but the effect of purging is unknown. We did a randomised study of tumour-selective PBSC purging in stem-cell transplantation for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. Between March 16, 2001, and Feb 24, 2006, children and young adults (<30 years) with high-risk neuroblastoma were randomly assigned at diagnosis by a web-based system (in a 1:1 ratio) to receive either non-purged or immunomagnetically purged PBSC. Randomisation was done in blocks stratified by International Neuroblastoma Staging System stage, age, MYCN status, and International Neuroblastoma Pathology classification. Patients and treating physicians were not masked to treatment assignment. All patients were treated with six cycles of induction chemotherapy, myeloablative consolidation, and radiation therapy to the primary tumour site plus meta-iodobenzylguanidine avid metastases present before myeloablative therapy, followed by oral isotretinoin. PBSC collection was done after two induction cycles. For purging, PBSC were mixed with carbonyl iron and phagocytic cells removed with samarium cobalt magnets. Remaining cells were mixed with immunomagnetic beads prepared with five monoclonal antibodies targeting neuroblastoma cell surface antigens and attached cells were removed using samarium cobalt magnets. Patients underwent autologous stem-cell transplantation with PBSC as randomly assigned after six cycles of induction therapy. The primary endpoint was event-free survival and was analysed by intention-to-treat. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00004188. 495 patients were enrolled, of whom 486 were randomly assigned to treatment: 243 patients to receive non-purged PBSC and 243 to received purged PBSC. PBSC were collected from 229 patients from the purged group and 236 patients from the non-purged group, and 180 patients from the purged group and 192 from the non-purged group received transplant. 5-year event-free survival was 40% (95% CI 33-46) in the purged group versus 36% (30-42) in the non-purged group (p=0·77); 5-year overall survival was 50% (95% CI 43-56) in the purged group compared with 51% (44-57) in the non-purged group (p=0·81). Toxic deaths occurred in 15 patients during induction (eight in the purged group and seven in the non-purged group) and 12 during consolidation (eight in the purged group and four in the non-purged group). The most common adverse event reported was grade 3 or worse stomatitis during both induction (87 of 242 patients in the purged group and 93 of 243 patients in the non-purged group) and consolidation (131 of 177 in the purged group vs 145 of 191 in the non-purged group). Serious adverse events during induction were grade 3 or higher decreased cardiac function (four of 242 in the purged group and five of 243 in the non-purged group) and elevated creatinine (five of 242 in the purged group and six of 243 non-purged group) and during consolidation were sinusoidal obstructive syndrome (12 of 177 in the purged group and 17 of 191 in the non-purged group), acute vascular leak (11 of 177 in the purged group and nine of 191 in the non-purged group), and decreased cardiac function (one of 177 in the purged group and four of 191 in the non-purged group). Immunomagnetic purging of PBSC for autologous stem-cell transplantation did not improve outcome, perhaps because of incomplete purging or residual tumour in patients. Non-purged PBSC are acceptable for support of myeloablative therapy of high-risk neuroblastoma. National Cancer Institute and Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
    The Lancet Oncology 07/2013; · 25.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Dysregulation of the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R)/ PI3K/Akt pathway was shown to correlate with breast cancer disease progression. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a subpopulation within cancer cells which participate in tumor initiation, radio/chemoresistance and metastasis. In breast cancer, breast CSCs (BCSCs) were identified as CD24-CD44+ cells or cells with high intracellular aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (ALDH+). Elucidation of the role of IGF-1R in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) is crucial to the design of breast cancer therapies targeting BCSCs. METHODS: IGF-1R expression in BCSCs and non-CSCs sorted from xenografts of human primary breast cancers was examined by FACS, western blot analysis and immunoprecipitation (IP). The role of IGF-1R in BCSCs was assessed by IGF-1R blockade with chemical inhibitor and gene silencing. The involvement of PI3K/Akt/mTOR as downstream pathway was studied by their phosphorylation status upon IGF-1R inhibition and the effects of chemical inhibitors of these signaling molecules on BCSCs. We also studied 16 clinical specimens of breast cancer for the expression of phosphor-Akt in the BCSCs by FACS. RESULTS: Expression of phosphorylated IGF-1R was greater in BCSCs than in non-BCSCs from xenografts of human breast cancer which were supported by western blot and IP experiments. The sorted IGF-1R expressing cells displayed features of cancer stem/progenitors such as mammosphere formation in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo, both of which were suppressed by knockdown of IGF-1R. A specific inhibitor of the IGF-1R, PPP, suppressed the phospho-AktSer473 and preferentially decreased ALDH+ BCSC populations of human breast cancer cells. Furthermore, PPP inhibited the capacity of CD24-CD44+ BCSCs to undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition process with downregulation of mesenchymal markers. Inhibitors of signal molecules downstream of IGR-1R including PI3K/Akt/mTOR also reduced the ALDH + population of breast cancer cells. Furthermore, the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, suppressed BCSCs in vitro and in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the notion that IGF-1R is a marker of stemness, and IGF-1R and its downstream PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway are attractive targets for therapy directed against breast cancer stem/progenitors.
    Breast cancer research: BCR 05/2013; 15(3):R39. · 5.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Globo H (GH) is a hexasaccharide specifically overexpressed on a variety of cancer cells and therefore, a good candidate for cancer vaccine development. To identify the optimal carrier and adjuvant combination, we chemically synthesized and linked GH to a carrier protein, including keyhole limpet hemocyanion, diphtheria toxoid cross-reactive material (CRM) 197 (DT), tetanus toxoid, and BSA, and combined with an adjuvant, and it was administered to mice for the study of immune response. Glycan microarray analysis of the antiserum obtained indicated that the combination of GH-DT adjuvanted with the α-galactosylceramide C34 has the highest enhancement of anti-GH IgG. Compared with the phase III clinical trial vaccine, GH-keyhole limpet hemocyanion/QS21, the GH-DT/C34 vaccine elicited more IgG antibodies, which are more selective for GH and the GH-related epitopes, stage-specific embryonic antigen 3 (SSEA3) and SSEA4, all of which were specifically overexpressed on breast cancer cells and breast cancer stem cells with SSEA4 at the highest level (>90%). We, therefore, further developed SSEA4-DT/C34 as a vaccine candidate, and after immunization, it was found that the elicited antibodies are also IgG-dominant and very specific for SSEA4.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been shown that imprecise cleavage of a primary or precursor RNA by Drosha or Dicer, respectively, may yield a group of microRNA (miRNA) variants designated as "isomiR". Variations in the relative abundance of isoforms for a given miRNA among different species and different cell types beg the question whether these isomiRs might regulate target genes differentially. We compared the capacity of three miR-31 isoforms (miR-31-H, miR-31-P, and miR-31-M), which differ only slightly in their 5'- and/or 3'-end sequences, to regulate several known targets and a predicted target, Dicer. Notably, we found isomiR-31s displayed concordant and discordant regulation of 6 known target genes. Furthermore, we validated a predicted target gene, Dicer, to be a novel target of miR-31 but only miR-31-P could directly repress Dicer expression in both MCF-7 breast cancer cells and A549 lung cancer cells, resulting in their enhanced sensitivity to cisplatin, a known attribute of Dicer knockdown. This was further supported by reporter assay using full length 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of Dicer. Our findings not only revealed Dicer to be a direct target of miR-31, but also demonstrated that isomiRs displayed similar and disparate regulation of target genes in cell-based systems. Coupled with the variations in the distribution of isomiRs among different cells or conditions, our findings support the possibility of fine-tuning gene expression by miRNAs.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e58169. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated a potent anticancer potential of medicinal fungus Antrodia cinnamomea, especially against hepatocarcinoma. These studies, however, were performed with prolonged treatments, and the early anticancer events remain missing. To probe the early anticancer mechanisms of A. cinnamomea, we treated SK-Hep-1 liver cancer cell with A. cinnamomea fruiting body extract for 2 and 4 hours, sequenced RNA samples with next-generation sequencing approach, and profiled the genome-wide miRNA and mRNA transcriptomes. Results unmistakably associated the early anticancer effect of A. cinnamomea fruiting body extract with a global downregulation of miRNAs which occurred solely in the A. cinnamomea fruiting body extract-treated SK-Hep-1 cells. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of A. cinnamomea fruiting body extract upon cancer miRNAs imposed no discrimination against any particular miRNA species, with oncomirs miR-21, miR-191 and major oncogenic clusters miR-17-92 and miR-106b-25 among the most severely downregulated. Western blotting further indicated a decrease in Drosha and Dicer proteins which play a key role in miRNA biogenesis, together with an increase of XRN2 known to participate in miRNA degradation pathway. Transcriptome profiling followed by GO and pathway analyses indicated that A. cinnamomea induced apoptosis, which was tightly associated with a downregulation of PI3K/AKT and MAPK pathways. Phosphorylation assay further suggested that JNK and c-Jun were closely involved in the apoptotic process. Taken together, our data indicated that the anticancer effect of A. cinnamomea can take place within a few hours by targeting multiple proteins and the miRNA system. A. cinnamomea indiscriminately induced a global downregulation of miRNAs by simultaneously inhibiting the key enzymes involved in miRNA maturation and activating XRN2 protein involved in miRNA degradation. Collapsing of the miRNA system together with downregulation of cell growth and survival pathways and activation of JNK signaling unleash the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways, leading to the cancer cell death.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e82751. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fluorescent nanodiamond (FND) is attracting much attention as a bioimaging agent because of its inherent biocompatibility and superior optical properties (e.g., excellent photostability and far‐red emission). However, for practical use in life science research, some issues such as higher brightness and ease of bioconjugation have to be solved. Here, it is shown that the 100‐nm FND particles fabricated by using nitrogen‐rich type Ib diamonds and high‐energy proton irradiation are highly fluorescent and readily functionalizable with proteins for biological applications. In the first approach, acid‐treated FND is noncovalently coated with glycoproteins or neoglycoproteins (i.e., proteins chemically modified with multiple sugar residues) for targeting hepatocytes via carbohydrate receptors. In the second approach, FND is first PEGylated and then covalently conjugated with streptavidin, to which biotin‐labeled antibodies of interest are linked. High targeting specificity of the bioconjugated FND is demonstrated with the human hepatoma cell line, HepG2, and breast cancer cell lines, ASB145‐1R, MCF‐7, and MDA‐MB‐231 cells. These approaches should be widely applicable to a variety of situations for specific targeting and labeling of cells.
    Advanced Functional Materials 01/2013; 23(46). · 9.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The synthesis of analogues of α-galactosyl ceramide (KRN7000) with an additional hydroxy group in the phyto-sphingosine chains and with varying stereochemistry is de-scribed. Careful selection of glucose, galactose, mannose,
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    ABSTRACT: Most cancers are detected when patients present with symptoms, and at that point the disease is usually quite advanced and often not curable. Therefore, new biomarkers are needed for detection and therapy. The recent success of using monoclonal antibodies against nonprotein gangliosides for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma provides an incentive to search for new glycan-targeted immunotherapies for cancer using markers found through glycomic analysis as targets. Since more than 85% of cell surface components are glycosylated, glycomic analysis is useful to probe systematically the cancer cell surface, in search for novel glycoproteins and glycolipids. Furthermore, cancer cells tend to dedifferentiate and express many oncofetoproteins, since human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are derived from epiblast of embryo, representing the early stage of normal embryonic development before gastrulation. Unique ESC surface markers are likely to be found in cancer cells, but not in normal mature tissues. Moreover, stem cells and cancer cells share several common features in related regulatory mechanisms and signaling pathways. Thus, identification of the cancer stem cells in cancer and definition of the glycoproteomic changes that accompany their transformation are important for the development of strategies for early detection and treatment of cancer.
    The International journal of biological markers 12/2012; · 1.59 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
429.21 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
      T’ai-pei, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2006–2014
    • Academia Sinica
      • • Genomics Research Center
      • • Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology
      T’ai-pei, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 1999–2014
    • University of California, San Diego
      • • Department of Pediatrics
      • • Department of Anesthesiology
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 2013
    • National Yang Ming University
      T’ai-pei, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2012
    • CSU Mentor
      Long Beach, California, United States
  • 2011
    • Chung Shan Medical University
      • Department of Biomedical Sciences
      Taichung, Taiwan, Taiwan
  • 2010
    • National Defense Medical Center
      • Graduate Institute of Life Sciences
      Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2009
    • Rady Children's Hospital
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 2007
    • University of Chicago
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2005
    • Naval Medical Center San Diego
      San Diego, California, United States