[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Barrett's esophagus (BE) involves a metaplastic replacement of native esophageal squamous epithelium (Sq) by columnar-intestinalized mucosa, and it is the main risk factor for Barrett-related adenocarcinoma (BAc). Ultra-conserved regions (UCRs) are a class non-coding sequences that are conserved in humans, mice and rats. More than 90% of UCRs are transcribed (T-UCRs) in normal tissues, and are altered at transcriptional level in tumorigenesis. To identify the T-UCR profiles that are dysregulated in Barrett's mucosa transformation, microarray analysis was performed on a discovery set of 51 macro-dissected samples obtained from 14 long-segment BE patients. Results were validated in an independent series of esophageal biopsy/surgery specimens and in two murine models of Barrett's esophagus (i.e. esophagogastric-duodenal anastomosis). Progression from normal to BE to adenocarcinoma was each associated with specific and mutually exclusive T-UCR signatures that included up-regulation of uc.58-, uc.202-, uc.207-, and uc.223- and down-regulation of uc.214+. A 9 T-UCR signature characterized BE versus Sq (with the down-regulation of uc.161-, uc.165-, and uc.327-, and the up-regulation of uc.153-, uc.158-, uc.206-, uc.274-, uc.472-, and uc.473-). Analogous BE-specific T-UCR profiles were shared by human and murine lesions. This study is the first demonstration of a role for T-UCRs in the transformation of Barrett's mucosa.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-level leukemia-cell expression of miR-155 is associated with more aggressive disease in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), including those cases with low-level expression of zeta-chain associated protein of 70 kD (ZAP-70). CLL with high-level miR-155 expressed lower levels of Src homology-2 domain-containing inositol 5-phosphatase 1 (SHIP1) and were more responsive to B-cell-receptor (BCR) ligation than CLL with low-level miR-155. Transfection with miR-155 enhanced responsiveness to BCR ligation, whereas transfection with a miR-155 inhibitor had the opposite effects. CLL in lymphoid tissue expressed higher levels of miR155HG than CLL in the blood of the same patient. Also, isolated CD5(bright)CXCR4(dim) cells, representing CLL that had been newly-released from the microenvironment, expressed higher levels of miR-155 and were more responsive to BCR ligation, than isolated CD5(dim)CXCR4(bright) cells of the same patient. Treatment of CLL or normal B-cells with CD40-ligand or B-cell-activating factor (BAFF) upregulated miR-155, and enhanced sensitivity to BCR ligation, effects that could be blocked by inhibitors to miR-155. This study demonstrates that the sensitivity to BCR ligation can be enhanced by high-level expression of miR-155, which in turn can be induced by cross-talk within the tissue microenvironment, potentially contributing to its association with adverse clinical outcome in patients with CLL.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autophagy is crucial for cellular homeostasis and plays important roles in tumorigenesis. FIP200 (FAK family-interacting protein of 200 kDa) is an essential autophagy gene required for autophagy induction, functioning in the ULK1-ATG13-FIP200 complex. Our previous studies showed that conditional knockout of FIP200 significantly suppressed mammary tumorigenesis, which was accompanied by accumulation of p62 in tumor cells. However, it is not clear whether FIP200 is also required for maintaining tumor growth and how the increased p62 level affects the growth in autophagy-deficient FIP200-null tumors in vivo. Here, we describe a new system to delete FIP200 in transformed mouse embryonic fibroblasts as well as mammary tumor cells following their transplantation and show that ablation of FIP200 significantly reduced growth of established tumors in vivo. Using similar strategies, we further showed that either p62 knockdown or p62 deficiency in established FIP200-null tumors dramatically impaired tumor growth. The stimulation of tumor growth by p62 accumulation in FIP200-null tumors is associated with the up-regulated activation of the NF-κB pathway by p62. Last, we showed that overexpression of the autophagy master regulator TFEB(S142A) increased the growth of established tumors, which correlated with the increased autophagy of the tumor cells. Together, our studies demonstrate that p62 and autophagy synergize to promote tumor growth, suggesting that inhibition of both pathways could be more effective than targeting either alone for cancer therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: -Low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) constitutes a major risk factor for atherosclerosis. Recent studies from our group reported a genetic association between the WW domain-containing oxidoreductase (WWOX) gene and HDL-C levels. Here, through next-generation resequencing, in vivo functional studies and gene microarray analyses, we investigated the role of WWOX in HDL and lipid metabolism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent investigations of chromosomal aberrations in CLL led to a better understanding of the molecular causes of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Here we report a rearrangement between MAML2 (mastermind like protein 2) and CXCR4 (specific receptor for CXC chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1) in CLL cells of a patient with a t(2;11)(q22.1;q21) chromosomal translocation. The rearrangement between MAML2 and CXCR4, created by a t(2;11)(q22.1;q21) translocation, results in a new fusion gene in which a portion of CXCR4 is linked to the MAML2 gene. This fusion gene encodes for CXCR4/MAML2 protein chimera in which the N-terminal basic domain of MAML2 is replaced by the N-terminal domain of CXCR4.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The leukocyte adhesion cascade is important in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) as it controls migration of malignant cells into the pro-survival lymph node microenvironment. Circulating trisomy 12 CLL cells have increased expression of the integrins CD11a and CD49d as well as CD38, but the tissue expression of these and other molecules as well as the functional and clinical sequelae of these changes have not been described. Here we demonstrate that circulating trisomy 12 CLL cells also have increased expression of the integrins CD11b, CD18, CD29, and ITGB7, and the adhesion molecule CD323. Notably, there was reduced expression of CD11a, CD11b and CD18 in trisomy 12 cases with NOTCH1 mutations compared to wild type. Trisomy 12 cells also exhibit up-regulation of intra-cellular integrin signaling molecules CALDAG-GEFI, RAP1B and RAPL resulting in enhanced VLA-4 directed adhesion and motility. CD38 expression in CLL has prognostic significance, but the increased CD38 expression in trisomy 12 CLL cells must be taken into account in this subgroup and the threshold of CD38 positivity raised to 40% for this marker to retain its prognostic value. In conclusion, trisomy 12 CLL cells exhibit functional up-regulation of integrin signaling, with β2-integrin expression being modulated by NOTCH1 mutation status.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNA deregulation is frequent in human colorectal cancers (CRCs), but little is known as to whether it represents a bystander event or actually drives tumor progression in vivo. We show that miR-135b overexpression is triggered in mice and humans by APC loss, PTEN/PI3K pathway deregulation, and SRC overexpression and promotes tumor transformation and progression. We show that miR-135b upregulation is common in sporadic and inflammatory bowel disease-associated human CRCs and correlates with tumor stage and poor clinical outcome. Inhibition of miR-135b in CRC mouse models reduces tumor growth by controlling genes involved in proliferation, invasion, and apoptosis. We identify miR-135b as a key downsteam effector of oncogenic pathways and a potential target for CRC treatment.
Cancer cell 04/2014; 25(4):469-83. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNAi is a powerful tool for the regulation of gene expression. It is widely and successfully employed in functional studies and is now emerging as a promising therapeutic approach. Several RNAi-based clinical trials suggest encouraging results in the treatment of a variety of diseases, including cancer. Here we present miR-Synth, a computational resource for the design of synthetic microRNAs able to target multiple genes in multiple sites. The proposed strategy constitutes a valid alternative to the use of siRNA, allowing the employment of a fewer number of molecules for the inhibition of multiple targets. This may represent a great advantage in designing therapies for diseases caused by crucial cellular pathways altered by multiple dysregulated genes. The system has been successfully validated on two of the most prominent genes associated to lung cancer, c-MET and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). (See http://microrna.osumc.edu/mir-synth).
Nucleic Acids Research 03/2014; · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression and, in cancers, are often packaged within secreted microvesicles. The cachexia syndrome is a debilitating state of cancer that predominantly results from the loss of skeletal muscle mass, which is in part associated with apoptosis. How tumors promote apoptosis in distally located skeletal muscles has not been explored. Using both tumor cell lines and patient samples, we show that tumor-derived microvesicles induce apoptosis of skeletal muscle cells. This proapoptotic activity is mediated by a microRNA cargo, miR-21, which signals through the Toll-like 7 receptor (TLR7) on murine myoblasts to promote cell death. Furthermore, tumor microvesicles and miR-21 require c-Jun N-terminal kinase activity to regulate this apoptotic response. Together, these results describe a unique pathway by which tumor cells promote muscle loss, which might provide a great insight into elucidating the causes and treatment options of cancer cachexia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell survival after DNA damage relies on DNA repair, the abrogation of which causes genomic instability and development of cancer. However, defective DNA repair in cancer cells can be exploited for cancer therapy using DNA-damaging agents. DNA double-strand breaks are the major lethal lesions induced by ionizing radiation (IR) and can be efficiently repaired by DNA homologous recombination, a system that requires numerous factors including the recombinase RAD51 (RAD51). Therapies combined with adjuvant radiotherapy have been demonstrated to improve the survival of triple-negative breast cancer patients; however, such therapy is challenged by the emergence of resistance in tumor cells. It is, therefore, essential to develop novel therapeutic strategies to overcome radioresistance and improve radiosensitivity. In this study we show that overexpression of microRNA 155 (miR-155) in human breast cancer cells reduces the levels of RAD51 and affects the cellular response to IR. miR-155 directly targets the 3'-untranslated region of RAD51. Overexpression of miR-155 decreased the efficiency of homologous recombination repair and enhanced sensitivity to IR in vitro and in vivo. High miR-155 levels were associated with lower RAD51 expression and with better overall survival of patients in a large series of triple-negative breast cancers. Taken together, our findings indicate that miR-155 regulates DNA repair activity and sensitivity to IR by repressing RAD51 in breast cancer. Testing for expression levels of miR-155 may be useful in the identification of breast cancer patients who will benefit from an IR-based therapeutic approach.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanism by which the 8q24 MYC enhancer region, including cancer-associated variant rs6983267, increases cancer risk is unknown due to the lack of protein-coding genes at 8q24.21. Here we report the identification of long noncoding RNAs named cancer-associated region long noncoding RNAs (CARLos) in the 8q24 region. The expression of one of the long noncoding RNAs, CARLo-5, is significantly correlated with the rs6983267 allele associated with increased cancer susceptibility. We also found the MYC enhancer region physically interacts with the active regulatory region of the CARLo-5 promoter, suggesting long-range interaction of MYC enhancer with the CARLo-5 promoter regulates CARLo-5 expression. Finally, we demonstrate that CARLo-5 has a function in cell-cycle regulation and tumor development. Overall, our data provide a key of the mystery of the 8q24 gene desert.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nucleophosmin mutated AML (NPM1mut-AML) patients have a high rate of complete remission (CR) to induction chemotherapy. However, the mechanisms responsible for such effects are unknown. Since miR-10 family members are expressed at high levels in NPM1mut-AML, we evaluated whether these microRNAs could predict chemotherapy response in AML. We found that high baseline miR-10 family expression in 54 untreated cytogenetically heterogeneous AML patients was associated with achieving CR. However, when we included NPM1 mutation status in the multivariable model, there was a significant interaction effect between miR-10a-5p expression and NPM1 mutation status. Similar results were observed when using a second cohort of 183 cytogenetically normal older (age≥60 years) AML patients. Loss and gain of function experiments using miR-10a-5p in cell lines and primary blasts did not demonstrate any effect in apoptosis or cell proliferation at baseline or after chemotherapy. These data support a bystander role for the miR-10 family in NPM1mut-AML.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenously expressed and evolutionarily conserved small non-coding RNAs, which regulate gene expression. Several studies have shown that they are involved in fundamental biological processes, such as proliferation and apoptosis. MicroRNA dysregulation plays an important role in cancer onset and progression where miRs can function as both tumor promoters (oncomiRs) or tumor suppressors by targeting numerous biomolecules that are important in carcinogenesis. MicroRNA molecules are already entering the clinic as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for patient stratification and also as therapeutic targets and agents. Their role as biomarkers and therapeutic targets is appealing but several obstacles have as yet limited our ability to translate this potential into a clinical reality. This review provides a comprehensive overview of miRNAs with established functional relevance in cancer. Furthermore, approaches towards therapeutic miRNA-based intervention are discussed. Those include viral or non-viral approaches of miRNA replacement therapy in the case of tumor-suppressing miRNAs and strategies for the inhibition of oncogenic miRNAs.
Current pharmaceutical design 01/2014; · 4.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Therapeutic regimens for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have increasingly utilized monoclonal antibodies since the chimeric anti-CD20 antibody rituximab was introduced. Despite improved clinical outcomes, current CLL therapies are not curative. Therefore, antibodies with greater efficacy and novel targets are desirable. One promising target is CD37, a tetraspanin protein highly expressed on malignant B-cells in CLL and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While several novel CD37-directed therapeutics are emerging, detailed preclinical evaluation of these agents is limited by lack of appropriate animal models with spontaneous leukemia expressing the human CD37 (hCD37) target. To address this, we generated a murine CLL model that develops transplantable hCD37+ leukemia. Subsequently, we engrafted healthy mice with this leukemia to evaluate IMGN529, a novel hCD37-targeting antibody-drug conjugate. IMGN529 rapidly eliminated peripheral blood leukemia and improved overall survival. In contrast, the antibody component of IMGN529 could not alter disease course despite exhibiting substantial in vitro cytotoxicity. Furthermore, IMGN529 is directly cytotoxic to human CLL in vitro, depletes B-cells in patient whole blood, and promotes killing by macrophages and NK cells. Our results demonstrate the utility of a novel mouse model for evaluating anti-human CD37 therapeutics and highlight the potential of IMGN529 for treatment of CLL and other CD37-positive B-cell malignancies.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 21 January 2014. doi:10.1038/leu.2014.32.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 01/2014; · 10.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Triple Negative Breast Cancers (TNBC) is a heterogeneous disease at the molecular and clinical level with poor outcome. Molecular subclassification of TNBCs is essential for optimal use of current therapies and for development of new drugs. microRNAs (miRNA) are widely recognized as key players in cancer progression and drug resistance; investigation of their involvement in a TNBC cohort may reveal biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of TNBC. Here we stratified a large TNBC cohort into Core Basal (CB, EGFR and/or CK5, 6 positive) and five negative (5NP) if all markers are negative. We determined the complete miRNA expression profile and found a subset of miRNAs specifically deregulated in the two subclasses. We identified a 4-miRNA signature given by miR-155, miR-493, miR-30e and miR-27a expression levels, that allowed subdivision of TNBCs not only into CB and 5NP subgroups (sensitivity 0.75 and specificity 0.56; AUC=0.74) but also into high risk and low risk groups. We tested the diagnostic and prognostic performances of both the 5 IHC marker panel and the 4-miRNA expression signatures, which clearly identify worse outcome patients in the treated and untreated subcohorts. Both signatures have diagnostic and prognostic value, predicting outcomes of patient treatment with the two most commonly used chemotherapy regimens in TNBC: anthracycline or anthracycline plus taxanes. Further investigations of the patients' overall survival treated with these regimens show that regardless of IHC group subdivision, taxanes addition did not benefit patients, possibly due to miRNA driven taxanes resistance. TNBC subclassification based on the 5 IHC markers and on the miR-155, miR-493, miR-30e, miR-27a expression levels are powerful diagnostic tools. Treatment choice and new drug development should consider this new subtyping and miRNA expression signature in planning low toxicity, maximum efficacy therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The EGF receptor (EGFR) is amplified and mutated in glioblastoma (GBM) where its common mutation (EGFR, also called EGFRvIII) has a variety of activities that promote growth and inhibit death, thereby conferring a strong tumor-enhancing effect. This range of activities suggested to us that EGFR might exert its influence through pleiotropic effectors, and we hypothesized that microRNAs (miRs) might serve such a function. Here, we report that EGFR specifically suppresses one such miR, namely miR-9, through the Ras/PI3K/AKT axis that it is known to activate. Correspondingly, expression of miR-9 antagonizes the tumor growth advantage conferred by EGFR. Silencing of FOXP1, a miR-9 target, inhibits EGFR-dependent tumor growth and, conversely, de-repression of FOXP1, as a consequence of miR-9 inhibition, increases tumorigenicity. FOXP1 was sufficient to increase tumor growth in the absence of oncogenic EGFR signaling. The significance of these findings is underscored by our finding that high FOXP1 expression predicts poor survival in a cohort of 131 GBM patients. Collectively, these data suggest a novel regulatory mechanism by which EGFR suppression of miR-9 upregulates FOXP1 to increase tumorigenicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs are being exploited for diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of cancer and other diseases. Their high tissue specificity and critical role in oncogenesis provide new biomarkers for the diagnosis and classification of cancer as well as predicting patients' outcomes. MicroRNAs signatures have been identified for many human tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC). In most cases, metastatic disease is difficult to predict and to prevent with adequate therapies. The aim of our study was to identify a microRNA signature for metastatic CRC that could predict and differentiate metastatic target organ localization. Normal and cancer tissues of three different groups of CRC patients were analyzed. RNA microarray and TaqMan Array analysis were performed on 66 Italian patients with or without lymph nodes and/or liver recurrences. Data obtained with the two assays were analyzed separately and then intersected to identify a primary CRC metastatic signature. Five differentially expressed microRNAs (hsa-miR-21, -103, -93, -31 and -566) were validated by qRT-PCR on a second group of 16 American metastatic patients. In situ hybridization was performed on the 16 American patients as well as on three distinct commercial tissues microarray (TMA) containing normal adjacent colon, the primary adenocarcinoma, normal and metastatic lymph nodes and liver. Hsa-miRNA-21, -93, and -103 upregulation together with hsa-miR-566 downregulation defined the CRC metastatic signature, while in situ hybridization data identified a lymphonodal invasion profile. We provided the first microRNAs signature that could discriminate between colorectal recurrences to lymph nodes and liver and between colorectal liver metastasis and primary hepatic tumor.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(6):e96670. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRs) are a large class of small regulatory RNAs that function as nodes of signaling networks. This implicates that miRs expression has to be finely tuned, as observed during cell cycle progression. Here, using an expression profiling approach, we provide evidence that the CDK inhibitor p27Kip1 regulates miRs expression following cell cycle exit. By using wild type and p27KO cells harvested in different phases of the cell cycle we identified several miRs regulated by p27Kip1 during the G1 to S phase transition. Among these miRs, we identified miR-223 as a miR specifically upregulated by p27Kip1 in G1 arrested cells. Our data demonstrate that p27Kip1 regulated the expression of miR-223, via two distinct mechanisms. p27Kip1 directly stabilized mature miR-223 expression, acting as a RNA binding protein and it controlled E2F1 expression that, in turn, regulated miR-223 promoter activity. The resulting elevated miR-223 levels ultimately participated to arresting cell cycle progression following contact inhibition. Importantly, this mechanism of growth control was conserved in human cells and deranged in breast cancers. Here, we identify a novel and conserved function of p27Kip1 that, by modulating miR-223 expression, contributes to proper regulation of cell cycle exit following contact inhibition. Thus we propose a new role for miR-223 in the regulation of breast cancer progression.