Joaquim Calbó

University of Barcelona, Barcino, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (12)51.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Human pancreatic adenocarcinomas are highly resistant to conventional treatment modalities, specially to chemotherapy. Among the genes that modulate apoptosis in response to cytotoxic drugs, the role of p53 has been demonstrated to be of paramount importance. Moreover, p53 is mutated in close to 50% of pancreatic cancer, which renders attractive the reintroduction of this gene as a way to enhance the action of chemotherapeutics. In this paper, gemcitabine, the most effective drug for the treatment of pancreatic tumors, has been selected to develop a new combination approach in vivo based on an administration schedule previously optimized in vitro. In a human xenograft model, the sequential administration of gemcitabine and p53 resulted in potent tumor growth inhibition. Statistical differences were observed with respect to the growth of tumors receiving only gemcitabine or p53. Moreover, the chemosensitization observed in tumors treated with the combination gemcitabine-p53 correlated with differential histological features such as important increases in intratumoral fibrosis and apoptotic levels, when compared with unimodal treatments. Taken together, our data indicate that reintroduction of p53 function in human pancreatic tumors in vivo allows to restore molecular pathways improving the response to gemcitabine. It may constitute a useful step towards a better clinical treatment of patients harboring pancreatic cancer.
    Oncology 02/2005; 68(2-3):179-89. DOI:10.1159/000086772 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    J Calbó · C Serna · J Garriga · X Graña · A Mazo ·
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    ABSTRACT: Restitution of lost tumor-suppressor activities may be a promising strategy to target specifically cancer cells. However, the action of ectopically expressed tumor-suppressor genes depends on genetic background of tumoral cells. Ectopic expression of p16(INK4a) induces either cell cycle arrest or apoptosis in different pancreatic cancer cell lines. We examined the molecular mechanisms mediating these two different cellular responses to p16 overexpression. Ectopic expression of p16 leads to G1 arrest in NP-9 cells by redistributing p21/p27 CKIs and inhibiting cyclin-dependent kinase CDK2 activity. In contrast, in NP-18 cells cyclin E (CycE)/CDK2 activity is significantly higher and is not downregulated by p16-mediated redistribution of p21/p27. Moreover, inhibition of CDK4 activity with fascaplysine, which does not affect CycE/CDK2 activity, reduces pocket protein phosphorylation in both cell lines, but fails to induce growth arrest. Like overexpression of p16, fascaplysine induces apoptosis in NP-18 cells, suggesting that inhibition of D-type cyclin/CDK activity in cells with high levels of CycE/CDK2 activity activates an apoptotic pathway. Inhibition of CycE/CDK2 activity via ectopic expression of p21 in NP-18 cells overexpressing p16 induces growth arrest and prevents p16-mediated apoptosis. Accordingly, silencing of p21 expression by using small interfering RNA switches the fate of p16-expressing NP-9 cells from cell cycle arrest to apoptosis. Our data suggest that, after CDK4/6 inactivation, the fate of pancreatic tumor cells depends on the ability to modulate CDK2 activity.
    Cell Death and Differentiation 11/2004; 11(10):1055-65. DOI:10.1038/sj.cdd.4401481 · 8.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gene transfer of a truncated variant of the retinoblastoma (RB) gene encoding a M(r) 94000 protein that lacks the NH(2)-terminal 112 amino acid residues, termed RB94, has been shown to inhibit proliferation of several human tumor cell types. We have assessed its therapeutic effectiveness on pancreatic cancer, one of the most aggressive and therapy-resistant types of cancer. For this purpose, preclinical studies aimed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of RB94 gene transfer in pancreatic cancer were carried out. We have compared the antiproliferative effects of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of RBwt and RB94 at the in vitro and in vivo levels in three RB-positive human pancreatic tumor cell lines: (a). NP-9; (b). NP-18; and (c). NP-31. We have also examined their effects on cell cycle and their capacity to induce apoptosis. In vitro results indicate that RB94 gene transfer has stronger antiproliferative effects compared with RBwt. RB94 transduction correlated with accumulation at the S-G(2) phase of the cell cycle in the three cell lines tested and induction of apoptosis in two of them. In vivo studies show significant decreases in the growth rate of tumors treated with Ad-RB94 when compared with those treated with Ad-RBwt. Moreover, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling analyses of Ad-RB94-treated tumor sections revealed that only RB94 is able to significantly induce apoptosis. RB94 gene expression has antiproliferative effects also in human pancreatic tumor cells, being more effective than wild-type RB in preventing tumor growth.
    Clinical Cancer Research 03/2004; 10(4):1454-62. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-0442-03 · 8.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We analyzed the differential gene expression in the pancreatic cancer cell line NP-18 upon induction of apoptosis caused by cyclin-dependent kinase inhibition triggered by either overexpression of the tumor suppressor gene p16(INK4A)using an adenoviral construction or incubation with the chemical inhibitors, roscovitine or olomoucine. Screening was performed using cDNA arrays from Clontech that allowed the determination of the expression of 1,176 genes specifically related with cancer. The analysis was carried out using the Atlas Image 2.01 (Clontech) and GeneSpring 4.2 (Silicon Genetics) softwares. Among the differentially expressed genes, we chose for further validation histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), von Hippel Lindau and decorin as upregulated genes, and Sp1, hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha and DNA primase as downregulated genes. The changes in the expression of these genes to mRNA were validated by quantitative RT-PCR and the final translation into protein by Western blot analysis. Inhibition of HDAC activity, Sp1 binding and DNA primase expression led to an increase in the level of apoptosis, both in parental cells and in doxorubicin-resistant cells. Therefore, these proteins could constitute possible targets to develop modulators in cancer chemotherapy that would increase or restore apoptosis.
    Oncology 02/2004; 67(3-4):277-90. DOI:10.1159/000081329 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CDK9 is a CDC2-related kinase and the catalytic subunit of the positive-transcription elongation factor b and the Tat-activating kinase. It has recently been reported that CDK9 is a short-lived protein whose levels are regulated during the cell cycle by the SCF(SKP2) ubiquitin ligase complex (R. E. Kiernan et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 21:7956-7970, 2001). The results presented here are in contrast to those observations. CDK9 protein levels remained unchanged in human cells entering and progressing through the cell cycle from G(0), despite dramatic changes in SKP2 expression. CDK9 levels also remained unchanged in cells exiting from mitosis and progressing through the next cell cycle. Similarly, the levels of CDK9 protein did not change as cells exited the cell cycle and differentiated along various lineages. In keeping with these observations, the kinase activity associated with CDK9 was found to not be regulated during the cell cycle. We have also found that endogenous CDK9 is a very stable protein with a half-life (t(1/2)) of 4 to 7 h, depending on the cell type. In contrast, when CDK9 is overexpressed, it is not stabilized and is rapidly degraded, with a t(1/2) of less than 1 h, depending on the level of expression. Treatment of cells with proteasome inhibitors blocked the degradation of short-lived proteins, such as p27, but did not affect the expression of endogenous CDK9. Ectopic overexpression of SKP2 led to reduction of p27 protein levels but had no effect on the expression of endogenous CDK9. Finally, downregulation of endogenous SKP2 gene expression by interfering RNA had no effect on CDK9 protein levels, whereas p27 protein levels increased dramatically. Therefore, the SCF(SKP2) ubiquitin ligase does not regulate CDK9 expression in a cell cycle-dependent manner.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 09/2003; 23(15):5165-73. DOI:10.1128/MCB.23.15.5165-5173.2003 · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: p130 is a member of the retinoblastoma family of pocket proteins, which includes pRB and p107. Unlike pRB and p107, p130 protein levels decrease dramatically following its hyperphosphorylation starting in the mid-G1 phase of the cell cycle. However, the mechanism leading to p130 downregulation is unknown. We have found that the proteasome inhibitor, lactacystin, inhibited p130 downregulation in T98G cells progressing through the G1/S transition and S phase and that p130 is multiubiquitylated in 293 cells. We have previously shown that ectopic expression of both cyclin D and E induces phosphorylation and downregulation of p130. Since the SKP1/Cul1/SKP2 E3 ubiquitin ligase complex mediates ubiquitylation of substrates previously phosphorylated by cyclin-dependent kinases, we investigated the potential role of this ubiquitin ligase in mediating p130 downregulation. We found that p130 interacts with SKP1, Cul-1 and SKP2 in human 293 cells. We also found that ectopic coexpression of SKP2 and p130 leads to dose-dependent downregulation of p130, reduces p130 protein half-life and induces p130 ubiquitylation in these cells. Moreover, adenoviral-mediated expression of SKP2 accelerates downregulation of endogenous hyperphosphorylated p130 in mitogen-stimulated T98G cells and primary WI38 fibroblasts. We conclude that p130 is a substrate of the SCF(SKP2) ubiquitin ligase and this E3 ligase regulates p130 abundance during the cell cycle.
    Oncogene 05/2003; 22(16):2443-51. DOI:10.1038/sj.onc.1206339 · 8.46 Impact Factor
  • J. Calbó · A. Mazo ·
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    ABSTRACT: The p16INK4a/ARF locus encodes for 2 tumor suppressor genes commonly lost during transformation and acquisition of malignancy processes. The product of p16INK4a gene is a CDK inhibitor that constrains cell cycle progression in response to different proliferative stresses and participates in cell-environment signaling pathways. Restitution of p16INK4a function has showed potent antitumoral activity in new gene therapy approaches and should be taken into consideration for future design of rationale and specific therapeutic strategies against cancer.
    Drugs of the Future 02/2003; 28(2). DOI:10.1358/dof.2003.028.02.856928 · 0.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitogenic stimulation leads to activation of G(1) cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), which phosphorylate pocket proteins and trigger progression through the G(0)/G(1) and G(1)/S transitions of the cell cycle. However, the individual role of G(1) cyclin-CDK complexes in the coordinated regulation of pocket proteins and their interaction with E2F family members is not fully understood. Here we report that individually or in concert cyclin D1-CDK and cyclin E-CDK complexes induce distinct and coordinated phosphorylation of endogenous pocket proteins, which also has distinct consequences in the regulation of pocket protein interactions with E2F4 and the expression of p107 and E2F1, both E2F-regulated genes. The up-regulation of these two proteins and the release of p130 and pRB from E2F4 complexes allows formation of E2F1 complexes not only with pRB but also with p130 and p107 as well as the formation of p107-E2F4 complexes. The formation of these complexes occurs in the presence of active cyclin D1-CDK and cyclin E-CDK complexes, indicating that whereas phosphorylation plays a role in the abrogation of certain pocket protein/E2F interactions, these same activities induce the formation of other complexes in the context of a cell expressing endogenous levels of pocket and E2F proteins. Of note, phosphorylated p130 "form 3," which does not interact with E2F4, readily interacts with E2F1. Our data also demonstrate that ectopic overexpression of either cyclin is sufficient to induce mitogen-independent growth in human T98G and Rat-1 cells, although the effects of cyclin D1 require downstream activation of cyclin E-CDK2 activity. Interestingly, in T98G cells, cyclin D1 induces cell cycle progression more potently than cyclin E. This suggests that cyclin D1 activates pathways independently of cyclin E that ensure timely progression through the cell cycle.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2003; 277(52):50263-74. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M209181200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer has long carried poor prognosis. The development of new therapeutic approaches is particularly urgent. Inactivation of the tumor-suppressor gene p16(INK4a/CDKN2), a specific inhibitor of the cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6, is the most common genetic alteration in human pancreatic cancer, making it an ideal target for gene replacement. Here we transfected tumor cells using a recombinant adenovirus containing the wt-p16 cDNA (Ad5RSV-p16). The overexpression of p16 decreased cell proliferation in all four human pancreatic tumor cell lines (NP-9, NP-18, NP-29, and NP-31). However, G1 arrest and senescence were observed in only three. In contrast, the fourth (NP-18) showed a significant increase in apoptosis. This differential behavior may be related to the differences found in the expression level of E2F-1. Experiments on subcutaneous pancreatic xenografts demonstrated the effectiveness of p16 in the inhibition of pancreatic tumor growth in vivo. Taken together, our results indicate that approaches involving p16 replacement are promising in pancreatic cancer treatment.
    Cancer Gene Therapy 11/2001; 8(10):740-50. DOI:10.1038/sj.cgt.7700374 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Strategies based on the introduction of pro-drug activating enzymes or the restoration of tumour suppressor genes have been proposed as encouraging methods to improve the efficiency of treatments in pancreatic cancer. The in situ bioactivation of cyclophosphamide by cytochrome p450-2B1 and subsequent p53 delivery were examined. NP-18 cell line derived from a human pancreatic adenocarcinoma was treated in vitro with a combination of the Adenovirus-CYP2B1/cyclophosphamide and adenoviral-mediated wt-p53 reintroduction. Cell viability and cytometric cell cycle profiles were analyzed to evaluate the sensitivity of NP-18 cells to this treatment. The efficiency of this combination was assessed in an in vivo model consisting of xenografts into the subcutaneous tissue of Balb/c mice by tumour growth, histological analysis and cell cycle determinations. Ad-CYP2B1/cyclophosphamide or Ad-p53 treatments led to a marked decrease in cell viability of NP-18 cells. Combination of both treatments elicited a higher loss of cell viability and marked increases in sub-G1 population in cell cycle profiles. Animals treated with the combination strategy showed a quick reduction of tumour volumes due to the bioactivation of cyclophosphamide by CYP2B1 and sustained growth inhibition throughout the period evaluated after p53 delivery. Only this group of animals presented statistically significant differences with respect to control and cyclophosphamide-treated groups (P < 0.05). These results indicate that in situ bioactivation of cyclophosphamide by CYP2B1 and the recognition of the damaged DNA by p53 increase tumour regressions and may be a promising therapy for solid tumour therapy in man.
    Annals of Oncology 04/2001; 12(3):379-88. DOI:10.1023/A:1011177223129 · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    Manel Cascalló · Joaquim Calbó · Josef Lluís Gelpí · Adela Mazo ·
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    ABSTRACT: Chemotherapy does not significantly improve prognosis in pancreatic cancer. New therapeutical approaches involving p53 gene replacement appear to be very encouraging due to the key role of p53 in the cell response to DNA damage. Here, we have evaluated the effectiveness of combining wild-type p53 (wt-p53) gene reintroduction (Ad5CMV-p53) and exposure to two genotoxic drugs, gemcitabine and cisplatin, in several human pancreatic cell lines. The efficiency of the combinations was clearly dependent upon timing, as assessed by cell survival determinations. Although wt-p53 transduction before drug treatment induced chemoresistance, p53 transduction in cells treated previously with gemcitabine increased cytotoxicity. Cell cycle profiles showed significant decreases in the percentage of cells in the S phase as a consequence of arrests provoked by the expression of exogenous p53, reducing the number of cells susceptible to the drug. The sensitivity of cells to cisplatin, which has a lower degree of S-phase specificity, was not modified as much by p53 gene replacement. In contrast, the recognition of the previous drug-induced DNA damage by the newly expressed wt-p53 elicited increases in sub-G1 populations, consistent with the annexin determinations and bax/bcl-2 ratios observed. Experiments on subcutaneous pancreatic xenografts corroborated the effectiveness of this approach in vivo. Thus, the combination of p53 transduction and chemotherapy, under a correct schedule of administration, appears to be a very promising therapy for human pancreatic cancer.
    Cancer Gene Therapy 05/2000; 7(4):545-56. DOI:10.1038/sj.cgt.7700150 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    M Cascalló · J Calbó · A Mazo ·

Publication Stats

306 Citations
51.60 Total Impact Points


  • 2000-2005
    • University of Barcelona
      • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Facultad de Biología)
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2003
    • Temple University
      • Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2001
    • Centro de Investigación del Cáncer
      Helmantica, Castille and León, Spain