H Huynh

Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Publications (85)397.44 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Contrary to the common notion that tumor necrotic regions are non-enhancing after contrast administration, recent evidence has shown that necrotic regions exhibit delayed and slow uptake of gadolinium tracer on dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE MRI). The purpose of this study is to explore whether the mapping of tumor voxels with delayed and slow enhancement on DCE MRI can be used to derive estimates of tumor necrotic fraction. Patient-derived tumor xenograft lines of seven human cancers were implanted in 26 mice which were subjected to DCE MRI performed using a spoiled gradient recalled sequence. Gadolinium tracer concentration was estimated using the variable flip angle technique. To identify tumor voxels exhibiting delayed and slow uptake of contrast medium, clustering analysis was performed using a k-means clustering algorithm that classified tumor voxels according to their contrast enhancement patterns. Comparison of the percentage of tumor voxels exhibiting delayed and slow enhancement with the tumor necrotic fraction estimated on histology showed a strong correlation (r = 0.962, p < 0.001). The mapping of tumor regions with delayed and slow contrast uptake on DCE MRI correlated strongly with tumor necrotic fraction, and can potentially serve as a non-invasive imaging surrogate for the in vivo assessment of necrotic fraction. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    NMR in Biomedicine 02/2014; · 3.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gene regulation of many key cell cycle players in S, G2 phase and mitosis results from transcriptional repression in their respective promoter regions during the G0 and G1 phases of cell cycle. Within these promoter regions, are phylogenetically conserved sequences known as the cell cycle-dependent element (CDE) and cell cycle genes homology regions (CHR) sites. Thus, we hypothesize that transcriptional regulation of cell cycle-regulation via the CDE/CHR region together with liver-specific apolipoprotein E (apoE)-hAAT promoter could bring about a selective transgene expression in proliferating human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We show that the newly generated vector, AH-6CC-L2C, could mediate hepatocyte-targeted luciferase gene expression in tumor cells and freshly isolated short-term HCC cultures from patient biopsy. By contrast, normal murine and human hepatocytes infected with AH-6CC-L2C expressed minimal or low luciferase activities. In the presence of prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC), AH-6CC-L2C effectively suppressed the growth of orthotopic HCC patient-derived xenograft mouse model via the expression of yeast cytosine deaminase (yCD) that converts 5-FC to anti-cancer metabolite, 5-fluoruracil (5-FU). More importantly, we show that combination treatment of AH-6CC-L2C with an EZH2 inhibitor, DZNep that targets EpCAM-positive HCC, can bring about a greater therapeutic efficacy compare to a single treatment of virus or inhibitor. Our study showed that targeting proliferating human HCC cells through the transcriptional control of therapeutic gene could represent a feasible approach against HCC.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 05/2013; · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND & AIMS: Preclinical studies have demonstrated the additive effect of rapamycin with bevacizumab for hepatocellular carcinoma treatment. We conducted a Phase 1 study to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of the combination in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. METHODS: Adult participants with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma received intravenous bevacizumab (5mg/kg every 14days) and oral rapamycin (1-6mg/day; 3+3 dose escalation design). Computed tomography assessed tumour response and treatment safety. Pharmacokinetics assessment established rapamycin blood concentrations pre- and post-dose. Dynamic contrast-enhanced computed tomography analysed the tumour region for blood flow, permeability surface area product, fractional intravascular blood volume and extracellular-extravascular volume. RESULTS: Twenty-four participants were treated. There were two dose limiting toxicities with rapamycin 5mg: grade 3 thrombocytopenia and grade 3 mucositis. The maximally tolerated dose of rapamycin was 4mg. Adverse events (grade 1-2) included hyperglycaemia (83%), thrombocytopenia (75%), fatigue (46%), mucositis (46%), anorexia (42%), diarrhoea (33%) and proteinuria (12.5%). Of 20 evaluable participants, one reached complete response that lasted 4.5months, two reached partial response, 14 reached stable disease and three had progressive disease. Median overall survival was 9.4months; progression-free survival was 5.5months. Dose level and steady state area under the concentration time curve for hour zero to infinity of rapamycin correlated inversely with blood flow rate and change in permeability-surface area. After 22days of treatment, there were significant reductions from baseline in blood flow rate, permeability-surface area and fractional intracellular blood volume. CONCLUSIONS: The recommended Phase 2 dose of rapamycin is 4mg in combination with bevacizumab. Evidence of anti-vascular activity was observed together with promising clinical activity.
    European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 12/2012; · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sorafenib, a multikinase inhibitor, is currently used as monotherapy for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, adverse effects associated with its use have been experienced by some patients. In this study, we examined the antitumor and antiangiogenic activities of low-dose sorafenib in combination with the MEK inhibitor AZD6244 (sorafenib/AZD6244) in a preclinical model of RCC. Primary RCC 08-0910 and RCC 786-0 cells as well as patient-derived RCC models were used to study the antitumor and antiangiogenic activities of sorafenib/AZD6244. Changes of biomarkers relevant to angiogenesis and cell cycle were determined by western immunoblotting. Microvessel density, apoptosis and cell proliferation were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Treatment of RCC 786-0 cells with sorafenib/AZD6244 resulted in G1 cell cycle arrest and blockade of serum-induced cell migration. Sorafenib/AZD6244 induced apoptosis in primary RCC 08-0910 cells at low concentrations. In vivo addition of AZD6244 to sorafenib significantly augmented the antitumor activity of sorafenib and allowed dose reduction of sorafenib without compromising its antitumor activity. Sorafenib/AZD6244 potently inhibited angiogenesis and phosphorylation of VEGFR-2, PDGFR-β and ERK, p90RSK, p70S6K, cdk-2 and retinoblastoma. Sorafenib/AZD6244 also caused upregulation of p27, Bad and Bim but downregulation of survivin and cyclin B1. These resulted in a reduction in cellular proliferation and the induction of tumor cell apoptosis. Our findings showed that AZD6244 and sorafenib complement each other to inhibit tumor growth. This study provides sound evidence for the clinical investigation of low-dose sorafenib in combination with AZD6244 in patients with advanced RCC.
    International Journal of Oncology 05/2012; 41(2):712-20. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer death. Although sorafenib has been shown to improve survival of patients with advanced HCC, this improvement is modest and patients eventually have refractory disease. This study aims at investigating the antitumor, antiangiogenesis and antimetastatic activities of dovitinib in preclinical models of HCC. 21-0208 and SK-HEP1 cells as well as patient-derived HCC models were employed to study the antitumor effect of dovitinib. Changes of biomarkers relevant to FGFR/VEGFR/PDGFR pathways were determined by Western blotting. Microvessel density, apoptosis and cell proliferation were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Treatment of SK-HEP1 cells with dovitinib resulted in G2/M cell cycle arrest, inhibition of colony formation in soft agar and blockade of bFGF-induced cell migration. Dovitinib inhibited basal expression and FGF-induced phosphorylation of FGFR-1, FRS2-α and ERK1/2. In vivo, dovitinib potently inhibited tumor growth of six HCC lines. Inhibition of angiogenesis correlated with inactivation of FGFR/PDGFR-β/VEGFR-2 signaling pathways. Dovitinib also caused dephosphorylation of retinoblastoma, upregulation of p-histone H2A-X and p27, and downregulation of p-cdk-2 and cyclin B1, which resulted in a reduction in cellular proliferation and the induction of tumor cell apoptosis. In an orthotopic model, dovitinib potently inhibited primary tumor growth and lung metastasis and significantly prolonged mouse survival. Dovitinib demonstrated significant antitumor and antimetastatic activities in HCC xenograft models. This study provides a compelling rationale for clinical investigation in patients with advanced HCC.
    Journal of Hepatology 03/2012; 56(3):595-601. · 9.86 Impact Factor
  • Hung Huynh, Richard Ong, Khee Chee Soo
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE OF STUDY: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer death. Although sorafenib has been shown to improve survival of patients with advanced HCC, this improvement is modest and patients eventually have refractory disease. The purpose of this study is to assess the anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic activities of foretinib, a vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) and c-Met inhibitor using mouse models of human HCC. EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUES: SK-HEP1 and 21-0208 HCC cells as well as patient-derived HCC models were employed to study the anti-tumor and antiangiogenic activities of foretinib. Changes of biomarkers relevant to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) signaling pathways were determined by Western blotting. Microvessel density, apoptosis and cell proliferation were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Treatment of SK-HEP1 cells with foretinib resulted in growth inhibition, G2/M cell cycle arrest, reduced colony formation and blockade of HGF-induced cell migration. In both orthotopic and ectopic models of HCC, foretinib potently inhibited tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition of angiogenesis correlated with inactivation of VEGFR-2/c-Met signaling pathways. Foretinib also caused elevation of p27 and Bim but reduced cyclin B1 expression and p-c-Myc, which resulted in a reduction in cellular proliferation and the induction of tumor cell apoptosis. In an orthotopic model, foretinib potently inhibited primary tumor growth and significantly prolonged mouse survival. DATA INTERPRETATIONS: Foretinib demonstrated significant antitumor activities in patient-derived HCC xenograft models. This study provides a compelling rationale for clinical investigation in patients with advanced HCC.
    Angiogenesis 12/2011; 15(1):59-70. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is usually refractory to the available treatments. For cancer gene therapy purposes, real-time imaging of therapeutic gene expression is of great importance because there are multiple factors that modulate the therapeutic gene expression in a complex tumor microenvironment. As a consequence, multiple doses of therapeutic viral vectors may be required for improved efficacy. In the present study, the luciferase reporter gene and the yeast cytosine deaminase (yCD) genes were bicistronically expressed using the foot-and-mouth disease virus 2A peptide under the regulation of the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. The effectiveness of the yCD/5-FC (5-fluorocytosine) killing efficacy mediated by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) amplicon viral vector was shown using HCC and non-HCC cell lines in vitro. In addition, in vivo experiment also showed tumor regression of a primary HCC 26-1004 tumor xenograft in tumor expressing high levels of the yCD gene (as determined by noninvasive imaging) after intratumoral injection of 1.5 × 10(6) TU HGCX-L2C HSV-1 amplicon viral vector and 5-FC administration. The HSV-1 amplicon viral vector coupled with the yCD/5-FC prodrug activated suicide gene could potentially be of use in clinical gene therapy for HCC.
    Gene therapy 09/2011; 19(5):532-42. · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common and third deadliest malignancy. Sorafenib has demonstrated 44% survival advantage over placebo and has emerged as a standard of care in advanced HCC. The therapeutic effects of sorafenib are however transient and hence additional treatment options are warranted. In this study, we aimed to compare the efficacy of sunitinib relative to sorafenib, two potent inhibitors of protein tyrosine kinases involved in tumor growth, metastasis, or angiogenesis. We reported that sorafenib and sunitinib suppressed tumor growth, angiogenesis, cell proliferation, and induced apoptosis in both orthotopic and ectopic models of HCC. However, the antitumor effect of 50 mg/kg sorafenib was greater than that of 40 mg/kg sunitinib. Sorafenib inhibited p-eIF4E Ser209, p-p38 Thr180/Tyr182 and reduced survivin expression. This was not seen with sunitinib. In addition, the antitumor and apoptotic effects of sorafenib, which are associated with upregulation of fast migrating Bim and ASK1 and downregulation of survivin, were greater than that of sunitinib. These observations explained in part the apparent superior anti-tumor activity of sorafenib compared to sunitinib. In conclusion, sunitinib demonstrated an inferior anti-tumor activity compared to sorafenib in ectopic and orthotopic models of human HCC. It remains to be seen whether such observations would be recapitulated in humans.
    Current cancer drug targets 08/2011; 11(8):944-53. · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is the fifth most common malignancy worldwide with 660,000 deaths annually. Studies of the molecular pathophysiology of HCC have shown that growth factors and their corresponding receptors are commonly overexpressed and/or dysregulated in HCC. Activation of these receptors and their downstream signaling pathways can lead to angiogenesis, cell proliferation, survival and metastasis of HCC. Hence, agents that specifically block their activation and signaling cascades would be valuable for treatment of HCC. Many small molecular tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and antibodies have been tested in various phases of clinical trials. Although sorafenib has been shown to improve overall survival of patients with advanced HCC, the improvement is marginal and many patients eventually turn out to be refractory to this therapy. Thus, there is a pressing need to identify new drugs and effective treatments for this fatal disease. This review summarizes the pre-clinical and clinical data on the efficacy of the emerging tyrosine kinase inhibitors as well as the rationale for combination therapies for advanced HCC treatment. Understanding the mechanisms of action of these therapeutic agents and methods of combining these drugs may help to increase their efficacy, reduce toxicity, and improve overall survival and quality of life in patients with HCC.
    Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry 07/2011; 11(6):560-75.
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    ABSTRACT: It is widely recognised that sorafenib inhibits a range of molecular targets in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this study, we aim to use patient-derived RCC xenografts to delineate the angiogenic and non-angiogenic molecular targets of sorafenib therapy for advanced RCC (aRCC). We successfully generated three patient RCC-derived xenografts in severe combined immunodeficient mice, consisting of three different RCC histological subtypes: conventional clear cell, poorly differentiated clear cell RCC with sarcomatoid changes, and papillary RCC. This study also used clear cell RCC cells (786-0/EV) harbouring mutant VHL to investigate the clonogenic survival of cells transfected with survivin sense and antisense oligonucleotides. All three xenografts retain their original histological characteristics. We reported that sorafenib inhibited all three RCC xenograft lines regardless of histological subtypes in a dose-dependant manner. Sorafenib-induced growth suppression was associated with not only inhibition of angiogenic targets p-PDGFR-β, p-VEGFR-2, and their downstream signalling pathways p-Akt and p-ERK, cell cycle, and anti-apoptotic proteins that include cyclin D1, cyclin B1, and survivin but also upregulation of proapoptotic Bim. Survivin knockdown by survivin-specific antisense-oligonucleotides inhibited colony formation and induced cell death in clear cell RCC cells. This study has shed light on the molecular mechanisms of sorafenib in RCC. Inhibition of non-angiogenic molecules by sorafenib could contribute in part to its anti-tumour activities observed in vivo, in addition to its anti-angiogenic effects.
    British Journal of Cancer 03/2011; 104(6):941-7. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) amplicon vectors are attractive tools for gene transfer because of their large DNA insert capacity, their broad host range of vector transduction and a minimal immune response as a result of the absence of helper viruses during viral packaging. However, the transient gene expression remains a challenge for the translation of HSV-1 amplicon based therapeutic strategies to a clinical setting. Although oriP/EBV nuclear antigen (EBNA)-1 elements of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have been successfully employed to achieve prolonged transgene expression, little is known about the stability of the EBNA-1 elements in the context of HSV-1 amplicon viral vectors. We have generated HSV/EBV hybrid vectors expressing the mutant EBNA-1 gene with the luciferase reporter gene bicistronically to enable monitoring of EBNA-1 expression in real-time, both in vitro and in vivo. The results obtained showed that the HSV/EBV hybrid vectors could mediate high levels of transgene expression (ranging from approximately two-fold to nine-fold) in primary human tumor cells and human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells compared to the control vector. Prolonged transgene expression could also be observed in primary patient-derived human hepatocellular carcinoma xenografts and in the mouse brain parenchyma up to a period of 17 and 365 days, respectively. Taken together, we have demonstrated that these hybrid vectors could be promising tools as carriers of therapeutic genes in mesenchymal stem cells or even provide an alternative non-integrating platform for the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells.
    The Journal of Gene Medicine 10/2010; 12(10):848-58. · 2.16 Impact Factor
  • Hung Huynh
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    ABSTRACT: With an annual incidence of over 660,000 deaths, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer death globally. This disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, when potentially curative therapies are not feasible. HCC is highly resistant to conventional systemic therapies and prognosis for advanced HCC patients remains poor. Given the clear need, clinical development of novel therapeutic agents in HCC has begun in earnest. Our recent knowledge of the molecular mechanisms responsible of tumor initiation and progression has identified several potential molecular targets in HCC. These targets are the receptor tyrosine kinase-activated pathways, which include the Raf/MEK/ERK, PI-3K/Akt/mTOR, and Jak/Stat. Sorafenib is the multikinase inhibitor that has shown modest survival benefits in advanced HCC in two randomized controlled trials, supporting the use of molecularly targeted therapies in treatment of HCC. A number of strategies including monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as erlotinib, sunitinib, vandetanib, cediranib, brivanib, foretinib, and dovitinib have been developed and tested in various phases of clinical trials. The successful development of these novel targeted agents in the future will be dependent on the selection of patient populations that are most likely to derive clinical benefit, optimization of the dose used and schedules, and investigation of combined therapies. This review describes evolving molecular targeted agents, their common adverse side effects, and its potential use in management of HCC.
    Biochemical pharmacology 04/2010; 80(5):550-60. · 4.25 Impact Factor
  • Hung Huynh
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    ABSTRACT: The protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (AKT/mTOR) and mitogen activated protein kinase/extracellular regulated kinase kinase/extracellular regulated kinase (MEK/ERK) signaling pathways have been shown to play an important role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) growth and angiogenesis, suggesting that inhibition of these pathways may have therapeutic potential. We treated patient-derived HCC xenografts with 1) mTOR inhibitor rapamycin (RAPA); 2) MEK inhibitor AZD6244 (ARRY-142886); and 3) AZD6244 plus RAPA (AZD6244/RAPA). Western blotting was used to determine pharmacodynamic changes in biomarkers relevant to angiogenesis, mTOR pathway, and MEK signaling. Apoptosis, microvessel density, and cell proliferation were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. We report here that pharmacological inhibition of the MEK/ERK pathway by AZD6244 enhanced the antitumor and antiangiogenic activities of mTOR inhibitor RAPA in both orthotopic and ectopic models of HCC. Such inhibition led to increased apoptosis, decreased angiogenesis and cell proliferation, reduced expression of positive cell cycle regulators, and increase in proapoptotic protein Bim. Our findings indicate that the AZD6244/RAPA combination had antitumor and antiangiogenic effects in preclinical models of human HCC. Given the urgent need for effective therapies in HCC, clinical evaluating AZD6244/RAPA combination seems warranted.
    Cancer 03/2010; 116(5):1315-25. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gastric cancer is a deadly disease for which current therapeutic options are extremely limited. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptors and platelet-derived growth factor receptors regulate gastric cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and tumor angiogenesis. In the present study, we report that sorafenib therapy effectively inhibited tumor growth and angiogenesis in tumor xenografts. These were associated with reduction in the phosphorylation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 Tyr951, c-Kit Tyr568/570, platelet-derived growth factor receptor-beta Tyr1021, and Akt Ser473 and Thr308, down-regulation of positive cell cycle regulators, increased apoptosis, and up-regulation of p27. Sorafenib treatment also caused up-regulation of p-c-Raf Ser338 and p-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) Thr202/Tyr204 in gastric cancer xenografts. The combination of sorafenib and MAP/ERK kinase inhibitor AZD6244 enhances the effectiveness of each compound alone. Potential effect of sorafenib/AZD6244 included increase in proapoptotic Bim. Our data show that MAP/ERK kinase inhibition enhances the antitumor activity of sorafenib in vivo, supporting a rationale for multitargeted suppression of the angiogenesis and ERK signaling network in gastric cancer therapy.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 10/2009; 8(9):2537-45. · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a particularly vascularized solid tumor where the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway is activated; suggesting that inhibition of this pathway may have therapeutic potential. We treated patient-derived HCC xenografts with (i) sorafenib, (ii) AZD6244 (ARRY-142886), and (iii) sorafenib plus AZD6244. Western blotting was employed to determine pharmacodynamic changes in biomarkers relevant to both angiogenesis and MEK signaling. Apoptosis, microvessel density, and cell proliferation were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. We report here that sorafenib treatment resulted in suppression of tumor growth, reduction in cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis and inhibition of mTOR targets. Sorafenib-induced elevation of the insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGF-1R), phospho-c-Raf Ser338, phospho-MEK Ser217/221 and phospho-ERK Thr202/Tyr204 was attenuated by co-treating cells with anti-human IGF-1R antibody or over-expression of activated mutant p70S6K. Pharmacological inhibition of the MEK/ERK pathway by AZD6244 enhanced the anti-tumor effect of sorafenib in both orthotopic and ectopic models of HCC. Such inhibition led to a further increase in pro-apoptotic Bim, apoptosis and a profound inhibition of cell proliferation. Our findings underscore the potential of a combined therapeutic approach with sorafenib and MEK inhibitors in the treatment of HCC.
    Journal of Hepatology 10/2009; 52(1):79-87. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common and third deadliest primary neoplasm. Since HCC is a particularly vascular solid tumor, we determined the antitumor and antiangiogenic activities of sunitinib malate, a potent inhibitor of two receptors involved in angiogenesis - vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR). In the present study, we reported that treatment of HepG2 and SK-Hep-1 cells with sunitinib led to growth inhibition and apoptosis in a dose-dependent fashion. Sunitinib inhibited phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 at Tyr951 and PDGFR-beta at Tyr1021 both in vitro and in vivo. Sunitinib also suppressed tumor growth of five patient-derived xenografts. Sunitinib-induced tumor growth inhibition was associated with increased apoptosis, reduced microvessel density and inhibition of cell proliferation. This study provides a strong rationale for further clinical investigation of sunitinib in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
    Current cancer drug targets 09/2009; 9(6):738-47. · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common and third deadliest primary neoplasm. Since HCC is a particularly vascular solid tumor, we determined the antitumor and antiangiogenic activities of sunitinib malate, a potent inhibitor of two receptors involved in angiogenesis - vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) and plateletderived growth factor receptor (PDGFR). In the present study, we reported that treatment of HepG2 and SK-Hep-1 cells with sunitinib led to growth inhibition and apoptosis in a dose-dependent fashion. Sunitinib inhibited phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 at Tyr951 and PDGFR-β at Tyr1021 both in vitro and in vivo. Sunitinib also suppressed tumor growth of five patient-derived xenografts. Sunitinib-induced tumor growth inhibition was associated with increased apoptosis, reduced microvessel density and inhibition of cell proliferation. This study provides a strong rationale for further clinical investigation of sunitinib in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
    Current Cancer Drug Targets 08/2009; 9(6):738-747. · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) displays a characteristic hypervascularity and depends on angiogenesis for tumor growth, which thus provides a potential target for therapeutic approaches to HCC. In this study, through the use of combined micro-positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT), we investigate if such a combined targeting of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) activity and expression might retard HCC growth in an orthotopic intrahepatic xenograft model. Xenograft models were created by intraportal vein injection of HepG2 cell suspensions in severe combined immunodeficient mice. The mice were then treated with (1) rapamycin (RAPA), a mammalian target of rapamycin pathway inhibitor; (2) bevazicumab (BEV), a VEGF monoclonal antibody; and (3) a RAPA/BEV combination. Assessment of HCC progression using CT with Omnipaque and PET with 2-deoxy-2-(F-18)-fluoro-D: -glucose showed that mice treated with RAPA/BEV had the lowest standardized uptake values (SUVs). At week 2, mice treated with RAPA/BEV, RAPA, and BEV all showed a marked decrease in the SUV(max) readings with the greatest drop being observed in the RAPA/BEV group (1.33 + 0.26, 1.81 + 0.2, 2.05 + 0.4 vs. vehicle control 2.11 + 0.53). Our results, supported by micro-PET/CT, suggest that RAPA/BEV represents a potential novel antiangiogenic therapy for the treatment of HCC.
    Molecular imaging and biology: MIB: the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging 04/2009; 11(5):334-42. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common malignancy worldwide. Vascular endothelial growth factor, platelet derived growth factor and the Raf/mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal regulated kinase (Raf/MEK/ERK) signalling pathway regulates the growth, neovascularization, invasiveness and metastatic potential of HCC. In this study, we investigated the in vivo antitumour activity and mechanisms of action of sorafenib tosylate on four patient-derived HCC xenografts. Sorafenib dosed at 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg inhibited tumour growth by 85% and 96%, respectively. Sorafenib-induced growth suppression and apoptosis were associated with inhibition of angiogenesis, down-regulation of phospho-platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta Tyr1021, phospho-eIF4E Ser209, phospho-c-Raf Ser259, c-Raf, Mcl-1, Bcl-2, Bcl-x and positive cell cycle regulators, up-regulation of apoptosis signalling kinase-1, p27 and p21. Expression of IGF-1Rbeta and phosphorylation of c-Raf Ser338, MEK1/2 Ser217/221 and ERK1/2 Thr202/Tyr204 were increased by sorafenib treatment. Phosphorylation of mammalian target-of-rapamycin (mTOR) targets (p70S6K, S6R and 4EBP1) was reduced by sorafenib in sorafenib-sensitive lines but activated in sorafenib-less-sensitive 10-0505 xenograft. Sorafenib-induced phosphorylation of c-met, p70S6K and 4EBP1 was significantly reduced when 10-0505 cells were co-treated with anti-human anti-HGF antibody, suggesting that treatment with sorafenib leads to increased HGF secretion and activation of c-met and mTOR targets. Treatment of 10-0505 tumours with sorafenib plus rapamycin resulted in growth inhibition, inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 phosphorylation, increased apoptosis and completely blocked sorafenib-induced phosphorylation of mTOR targets and cyclin B1 expression. These data also provide a strong rationale for clinical investigation of sorafenib in combination with mTOR inhibitors in patients with HCC.
    Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 03/2009; 13(8B):2673-83. · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common mesenchymal tumor of the gastrointestinal tract. Current therapeutic options include surgery and targeted molecular approaches such as imatinib and sunitinib. Our aim was to establish patient-derived GIST xenografts for the use of screening new drugs and improving current treatment regimens used in GIST. In this present study, we investigate the antitumor activity of sorafenib against patient-derived GIST xenografts. Murine xenograft models were given two oral doses of sorafenib daily for 30 days and growth of established tumor xenografts was monitored at least twice weekly by vernier caliper measurements. Western blotting was then used to determine changes in proteins in these xenografts before and after sorafenib therapy. Apoptotic and cell proliferation were analyzed by immunohistochemisty. Our data found that oral administration of sorafenib to mice, bearing patient-derived GIST xenografts, resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of tumor growth. Sorafenib-induced growth inhibition was associated with decreased cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and reduction in tumor angiogenesis. Western blot analysis revealed that sorafenib inhibited C-Raf, phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, and phospho-MEK1 (Thr286) slightly as well as phospho-c-Kit (Tyr568/Tyr570), phospho- platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (Tyr1021), and phospho-Flk1 (Tyr951), suggesting that sorafenib inhibited GIST growth by blocking the Raf/MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway and angiogenesis. Sorafenib also induced cell cycle arrest, evident through increased levels of p15 and p27 and decreased levels of p21, cyclin A, cyclin B1, and cdc-2. Our study provides a strong rationale for the clinical investigation of sorafenib in patients with GIST as well as an established platform for further drug evaluation studies using GIST xenograft models.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 02/2009; 8(1):152-9. · 5.60 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
52 Downloads
397.44 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2012
    • Singapore General Hospital
      • • Department of Urology
      • • Department of Plastic Surgery
      Singapore, Singapore
  • 2000–2012
    • National Cancer Centre Singapore
      • Division of Cellular and Molecular Research
      Singapore
  • 2002–2005
    • National University of Singapore
      • Department of Pharmacy
      Singapore, Singapore
  • 1994–1998
    • Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1993–1998
    • McGill University
      • • Department of Surgery
      • • Department of Medicine
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada