David J Harrison

University of St Andrews, Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (111)512.53 Total impact

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    Enliven: Bioinformatics. 09/2014; 1(1):e002.
  • Alexander Laird, David J Harrison, Grant D Stewart
    European urology. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Flavonoids are a large group of ubiquitous polyphenolic secondary metabolites in plants with a wide range of properties, including a widely reported anti-cancer effect. The present review focuses on the different known mechanisms partaking in said anti-tumour effects, with particular emphasis on breast cancer. Their structure and reactivity allows flavonoids to work as antioxidant agents and phyto-oestrogens, modulating oestrogen signalling and metabolism to induce an overall anti-proliferative response. Other effects include the ability of flavonoids to modulate the CYP1 (cytochrome P450 1) and ABC (ATP-binding cassette) protein families, involved in carcinogenesis and drug delivery respectively. They can also induce apoptosis and cell cycle arrest and regulate other signalling pathways involved in the development and progression of cancer. In conclusion, there is accumulating evidence on the versatility of flavonoids and the numerous activities contributing to their anti-tumour effect. This complex, yet effective, mechanism of action of flavonoids, together with their interesting pharmacological properties, has set the basis for their potential application in breast and other cancers. This rationale has led to the current interest in the application of flavonoids, including clinical trials currently underway and the development of novel flavonoids with improved properties, which hold great promise for tackling breast cancer.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 08/2014; 42(4):1017-1023. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumour budding (TB), lymphatic vessel density (LVD) and lymphatic vessel invasion (LVI) have shown promise as prognostic factors in colorectal cancer (CRC) but reproducibility using conventional histopathology is challenging. We demonstrate image analysis methodology to quantify the histopathological features which could permit standardisation across institutes and aid risk stratification of Dukes B patients.
    Journal of translational medicine. 06/2014; 12(1):156.
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    ABSTRACT: There is a lack of biomarkers to predict outcome with targeted therapy in metastatic clear cell renal cancer (mccRCC). This may be because dynamic molecular changes occur with therapy. To explore if dynamic, targeted-therapy-driven molecular changes correlate with mccRCC outcome. Multiple frozen samples from primary tumours were taken from sunitinib-naïve (n=22) and sunitinib-treated mccRCC patients (n=23) for protein analysis. A cohort (n=86) of paired, untreated and sunitinib/pazopanib-treated mccRCC samples was used for validation. Array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) analysis and RNA interference (RNAi) was used to support the findings. Three cycles of sunitinib 50mg (4 wk on, 2 wk off). Reverse phase protein arrays (training set) and immunofluorescence automated quantitative analysis (validation set) assessed protein expression. Differential expression between sunitinib-naïve and treated samples was seen in 30 of 55 proteins (p<0.05 for each). The proteins B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL2), mutL homolog 1 (MLH1), carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9), and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) (serine/threonine kinase) had both increased intratumoural variance and significant differential expression with therapy. The validation cohort confirmed increased CA9 expression with therapy. Multivariate analysis showed high CA9 expression after treatment was associated with longer survival (hazard ratio: 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.87; p=0.02). Array CGH profiles revealed sunitinib was associated with significant CA9 region loss. RNAi CA9 silencing in two cell lines inhibited the antiproliferative effects of sunitinib. Shortcomings of the study include selection of a specific protein for analysis, and the specific time points at which the treated tissue was analysed. CA9 levels increase with targeted therapy in mccRCC. Lower CA9 levels are associated with a poor prognosis and possible resistance, as indicated by the validation cohort. Drug treatment of advanced kidney cancer alters molecular markers of treatment resistance. Measuring carbonic anhydrase 9 levels may be helpful in determining which patients benefit from therapy.
    European Urology 05/2014; · 10.48 Impact Factor
  • European Urology 03/2014; · 10.48 Impact Factor
  • BJU International 02/2014; · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are key drivers of cancer progression and targets for drug therapy. A major challenge in anti-RTK treatment is the dependence of drug effectiveness on co-expression of multiple RTKs which defines resistance to single drug therapy. Reprogramming of the RTK network leading to alteration in RTK co-expression in response to drug intervention is a dynamic mechanism of acquired resistance to single drug therapy in many cancers. One route to overcome this resistance is combination therapy. We describe the results of a joint in silico, in vitro, and in vivo investigations on the efficacy of trastuzumab, pertuzumab and their combination to target the HER2 receptors. Computational modelling revealed that these two drugs alone and in combination differentially suppressed RTK network activation depending on RTK co-expression. Analyses of mRNA expression in SKOV3 ovarian tumour xenograft showed up-regulation of HER3 following treatment. Considering this in a computational model revealed that HER3 up-regulation reprograms RTK kinetics from HER2 homodimerisation to HER3/HER2 heterodimerisation. The results showed synergy of the trastuzumab and pertuzumab combination treatment of the HER2 overexpressing tumour can be due to an independence of the combination effect on HER3/HER2 composition when it changes due to drug-induced RTK reprogramming.
    Cells. 01/2014; 3(2):563-591.
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    ABSTRACT: Drug resistance, de novo and acquired, pervades cellular signaling networks (SNs) from one signaling motif to another as a result of cancer progression and/or drug intervention. This resistance is one of the key determinants of efficacy in targeted anti-cancer drug therapy. Although poorly understood, drug resistance is already being addressed in combination therapy by selecting drug targets where SN sensitivity increases due to combination components or as a result of de novo or acquired mutations. Additionally, successive drug combinations have shown low resistance potential. To promote a rational, systematic development of combination therapies, it is necessary to establish the underlying mechanisms that drive the advantages of combination therapies, and design methods to determine drug targets for combination regimens. Based on a joint systems analysis of cellular SN response and its sensitivity to drug action and oncogenic mutations, we describe an in silico method to analyze the targets of drug combinations. Our method explores mechanisms of sensitizing the SN through a combination of two drugs targeting vertical signaling pathways. We propose a paradigm of SN response customization by one drug to both maximize the effect of another drug in combination and promote a robust therapeutic response against oncogenic mutations. The method was applied to customize the response of the ErbB/PI3K/PTEN/AKT pathway by combination of drugs targeting HER2 receptors and proteins in the down-stream pathway. The results of a computational experiment showed that the modification of the SN response from hyperbolic to smooth sigmoid response by manipulation of two drugs in combination leads to greater robustness in therapeutic response against oncogenic mutations determining cancer heterogeneity. The application of this method in drug combination co-development suggests a combined evaluation of inhibition effects together with the capability of drug combinations to suppress resistance mechanisms before they become clinically manifest.
    Frontiers in Oncology 01/2014; 4:13.
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    ABSTRACT: Proteomic profiling of the estrogen/tamoxifen-sensitive MCF-7 cell line and its partially sensitive (MCF-7/LCC1) and fully resistant (MCF-7/LCC9) variants was performed to identify modifiers of endocrine sensitivity in breast cancer. Analysis of the expression of 120 paired phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated epitopes in key oncogenic and tumor suppressor pathways revealed that STAT1 and several phosphorylated epitopes (phospho-STAT1(Tyr701) and phospho-STAT3(Ser727)) were differentially expressed between endocrine resistant and parental controls, confirmed by qRT-PCR and western blotting. The STAT1 inhibitor EGCG was a more effective inhibitor of the endocrine resistant MCF-7/LCC1 and MCF-7/LCC9 lines than parental MCF-7 cells, while STAT3 inhibitors Stattic and WP1066 were equally effective in endocrine-resistant and parental lines. The effects of the STAT inhibitors were additive, rather than synergistic, when tested in combination with tamoxifen in vitro. Expression of STAT1 and STAT3 were measured by quantitative immunofluorescence in invasive breast cancers and matched lymph nodes. When lymph node expression was compared to its paired primary breast cancer expression, there was greater expression of cytoplasmic STAT1 (∼3.1 fold), phospho-STAT3(Ser727) (∼1.8 fold), and STAT5 (∼1.5 fold) and nuclear phospho-STAT3(Ser727) (∼1.5 fold) in the nodes. Expression levels of STAT1 and STAT3 transcript were analysed in 550 breast cancers from publicly available gene expression datasets (GSE2990, GSE12093, GSE6532). When treatment with tamoxifen was considered, STAT1 gene expression was nearly predictive of distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS, log-rank p = 0.067), while STAT3 gene expression was predictive of DMFS (log-rank p<0.0001). Analysis of STAT1 and STAT3 protein expression in a series of 546 breast cancers also indicated that high expression of STAT3 protein was associated with improved survival (DMFS, p = 0.006). These results suggest that STAT signaling is important in endocrine resistance, and that STAT inhibitors may represent potential therapies in breast cancer, even in the resistant setting.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e94226. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is widely studied in the context of cancer. However, the rediscovery of 5-hydroxymethylation of DNA adds a new layer of complexity to understanding the epigenetic basis of development and disease, including carcinogenesis. There have been significant advances in techniques for the detection of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine and, with this, greater insight into the distribution, regulation and function of this mark, which are reviewed here. Better understanding of the associated pathways involved in regulation of, and by, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine may give promise to new therapeutic targets. We discuss evidence to support the view of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine as a unique and dynamic mark of cellular state. These 5-hydroxymethylcytosine profiles may offer optimism for the development of diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers.
    Epigenomics 12/2013; 5(6):655-669. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histopathology, the examination of an architecturally artefactual, two dimensional, static image remains a potent tool allowing diagnosis and empirical expectation of prognosis. Considerable optimism exists that the advent of molecular genetic testing and other biomarker strategies will improve or even replace this ancient technology. A number of biomarkers add considerable value for prediction of whether a treatment will work. This short review argues that a systems medicine approach to pathology will not seek to replace traditional pathology, but rather augment it. Systems approaches need to incorporate quantitative morphological, protein, mRNA and DNA. A significant challenge for clinical implementation of systems pathology is how to optimise information available from tissue, which is frequently sub-optimal in quality and amount, and yet generate useful predictive models which work. The transition of histopathology to systems pathophysiology and the use of multiscale datasets ushers in a new era in diagnosis, prognosis and prediction based on analysis of human tissue. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEBS Journal 10/2013; · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue microarrays (TMAs) allow multiplexed analysis of tissue samples and are frequently used to estimate biomarker protein expression in tumour biopsies. TMA Navigator (www.tmanavigator.org) is an open access web application for analysis of TMA data and related information, accommodating categorical, semi-continuous and continuous expression scores. Non-biological variation, or batch effects, can hinder data analysis and may be mitigated using the ComBat algorithm, which is incorporated with enhancements for automated application to TMA data. Unsupervised grouping of samples (patients) is provided according to Gaussian mixture modelling of marker scores, with cardinality selected by Bayesian information criterion regularization. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis is available, including comparison of groups identified by mixture modelling using the Mantel-Cox log-rank test. TMA Navigator also supports network inference approaches useful for TMA datasets, which often constitute comparatively few markers. Tissue and cell-type specific networks derived from TMA expression data offer insights into the molecular logic underlying pathophenotypes, towards more effective and personalized medicine. Output is interactive, and results may be exported for use with external programs. Private anonymous access is available, and user accounts may be generated for easier data management.
    Nucleic Acids Research 06/2013; · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Different cell types have distinctive patterns of chromosome positioning in the nucleus. Although ectopic affinity-tethering of specific loci can be used to relocate chromosomes to the nuclear periphery, endogenous nuclear envelope proteins that control such a mechanism in mammalian cells have yet to be widely identified. RESULTS: To search for such proteins twenty three nuclear envelope transmembrane proteins were screened for their ability to promote peripheral localization of human chromosomes in HT1080 fibroblasts. Five of these proteins had strong effects on chromosome 5, but individual proteins affected different subsets of chromosomes. The repositioning effects were reversible and the proteins with effects all exhibited highly tissue-restricted patterns of expression. Depletion of two nuclear envelope transmembrane proteins that were preferentially expressed in liver each reduced the normal peripheral positioning of chromosome 5 in liver cells. CONCLUSIONS: The discovery of nuclear envelope transmembrane proteins that can modulate chromosome position and have restricted patterns of expression may enable dissection of the functional relevance of tissue-specific patterns of radial chromosome positioning.
    Genome biology 02/2013; 14(2):R14. · 10.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Currently there is no curative treatment for metastatic clear cell renal cell cancer, the commonest variant of the disease. A key factor in this treatment resistance is thought to be the molecular complexity of the disease (1). Targeted therapy such as the tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-sunitinib have been utilized, but only 40% of patients will respond, with the overwhelming majority of these patients relapsing within 1 year (2). As such the question of intrinsic and acquired resistance in renal cell cancer patients is highly relevant (3). In order to study resistance to TKIs, with the ultimate goal of developing effective, personalized treatments, sequential tissue after a specific period of targeted therapy is required, an approach which had proved successful in chronic myeloid leukaemia (4). However the application of such a strategy in renal cell carcinoma is complicated by the high level of both inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity, which is a feature of renal cell carcinoma(5,6) as well as other solid tumors (7). Intertumoral heterogeneity due to transcriptomic and genetic differences is well established even in patients with similar presentation, stage and grade of tumor. In addition it is clear that there is great morphological (intratumoral) heterogeneity in RCC, which is likely to represent even greater molecular heterogeneity. Detailed mapping and categorization of RCC tumors by combined morphological analysis and Fuhrman grading allows the selection of representative areas for proteomic analysis. Protein based analysis of RCC(8) is attractive due to its widespread availability in pathology laboratories; however, its application can be problematic due to the limited availability of specific antibodies (9). Due to the dot blot nature of the Reverse Phase Protein Arrays (RPPA), antibody specificity must be pre-validated; as such strict quality control of antibodies used is of paramount importance. Despite this limitation the dot blot format does allow assay miniaturization, allowing for the printing of hundreds of samples onto a single nitrocellulose slide. Printed slides can then be analyzed in a similar fashion to Western analysis with the use of target specific primary antibodies and fluorescently labelled secondary antibodies, allowing for multiplexing. Differential protein expression across all the samples on a slide can then be analyzed simultaneously by comparing the relative level of fluorescence in a more cost-effective and high-throughput manner.
    Journal of Visualized Experiments 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Although the theoretical possibility of oscillations in MAPK signalling has long been described, experimental validation has proven more elusive. In this study we observed oscillations in MAPK and PI3K signalling in breast cancer cells in response to epidermal growth factor receptor-family stimulation. Using systems level analysis with a kinetic model, we demonstrate that receptor amplification, loss of transcriptional feedback, or pathway crosstalk, are responsible for oscillations in MAPK and PI3K signalling. Transcriptional profiling reveals architectural motifs likely to be responsible for feedback control of oscillations. Overexpression of the HER2 oncogene and inhibition of transcriptional feedback increase the amplitude of oscillations and provide experimental validation of the computational findings.
    Cellular Signalling 01/2013; 25(1):26–32. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) is a key regulator of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, one of the downstream pathways activated by different intracellular mediators which control cell proliferation, differentiation, motility, survival, and metabolism. PTEN along with phosphoinositide 3-kinase makes up a regulatory hub which strictly controls the pool of the second lipid messenger, PtdIns(3,4,5)P3, an activator of the AKT/mTOR pathway. A genomic analysis of breast and other cancers revealed that this regulatory hub is vulnerable to cancer-driving mutations causing a constant activation of AKT signal. It was established that PTEN is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor gene with one functional allele being insufficient to maintain wild-type function of PTEN which leads to cancer initiation in mice and humans. The observed PTEN dose-dependence of cancer susceptibility strongly indicates that PTEN is under strict control at both translational and post-translational levels. Haploinsufficiency at the PTEN gene is suggested to synergistically interact with post-translation inactivation of PTEN. More than 15 proteins regulate/inhibit PTEN activity through phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and acetylation via more than 15 PTEN regulatory sites. PTEN-modifier proteins form a PTEN regulatory network connecting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway with multiple pathways relevant to cancer development. Heterozygous PTEN mutations were observed to cooperatively interact with genetic aberrations events in this regulatory network providing selective benefits in cancer progression. The PTEN regulatory network has been revealed to be a druggable target in cancer personalized therapy through restoration of PTEN activity in PTEN-deficient cancers.
    01/2013: pages 173-210; , ISBN: 978-1-62808-049-0
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    ABSTRACT: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most deadly of urological malignancies. Metastatic disease affects one third of patients at diagnosis with a further third developing metastatic disease after extirpative surgery. Heterogeneity in the clinical course ensures predicting metastasis is notoriously difficult, despite the routine use of prognostic clinico-pathological parameters in risk stratification. With greater understanding of pathways involved in disease pathogenesis, a number of biomarkers have been shown to have prognostic significance, including Ki67, p53, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and ligand D (VEGFD), SNAIL and SLUG. Previous pathway analysis has been from study of the primary tumour, with little attention to the metastatic tumours which are the focus of targeted molecular therapies. As such, in this study a tissue microarray from 177 patients with primary renal tumour, renal vein tumour thrombus and/or RCC metastasis has been created and used with Automated Quantitative Analysis (AQUA) of immunofluorescence to study the prognostic significance of these markers in locally advanced and metastatic disease. Furthermore, this has allowed assessment of differential protein expression between the primary tumours, renal vein tumour thrombi and metastases. The results demonstrate that clinico-pathological parameters remain the most significant predictors of cancer specific survival; however, high VEGFR1 or VEGFD can predict poor cancer specific survival on univariate analysis for locally advanced and metastatic disease. There was significantly greater expression of Ki67, p53, VEGFR1, SLUG and SNAIL in the metastases compared with the primary tumours and renal vein tumour thrombi. With the exception of p53, these differences in protein expression have not been shown previously in RCC. This confirms the importance of proliferation, angiogenesis and epithelial to mesenchymal transition in the pathogenesis and metastasis of RCC. Importantly, this work highlights the need for further pathway analysis of metastatic tumours for overcoming drug resistance and developing new therapies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e60483. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
512.53 Total Impact Points


  • 2012–2014
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Medicine
      Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2000–2014
    • The University of Edinburgh
      • • Edinburgh Urological Cancer Group
      • • Division of Pathology
      • • Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2011–2013
    • Western General Hospital
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
    • Breakthrough Breast Cancer
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010–2012
    • University of Dundee
      Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
    • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
      • Department of Pathology
      Memphis, TN, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Malta
      • Department of Physiology and Biochemistry
      Msida, Malta