Gisela Keller

Technische Universität München, München, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (99)445.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background:Patients with UICC/AJCC stage II colon cancer have a high 5-year overall survival rate after surgery. Nevertheless, a significant subgroup of patients develops tumour recurrence. Currently, there are no clinically established biomarkers available to identify this patient group. We applied reverse-phase protein arrays (RPPA) for phosphatidylinositide-3-kinase pathway activation mapping to stratify patients according to their risk of tumour recurrence after surgery.Methods:Full-length proteins were extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples of 118 patients who underwent curative resection. RPPA technology was used to analyse expression and/or phosphorylation levels of six major factors of the phosphatidylinositide-3-kinase pathway. Oncogenic mutations of KRAS and BRAF, and DNA microsatellite status, currently discussed as prognostic markers, were analysed in parallel.Results:Expression of phospho-AKT (HR=3.52; P=0.032), S6RP (HR=6.3; P=0.044), and phospho-4E-BP1 (HR=4.12; P=0.011) were prognostic factors for disease-free survival. None of the molecular genetic alterations were significantly associated with prognosis.Conclusions:Our data indicate that activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway evidenced on the protein level might be a valuable prognostic marker to stratify patients for their risk of tumour recurrence. Beside adjuvant chemotherapy targeting of upregulated PI3K/AKT signalling may be an attractive strategy for treatment of high-risk patients.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 11 March 2014; doi:10.1038/bjc.2014.100
    British Journal of Cancer 03/2014; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hallmarks of Lynch syndrome (LS) include a positive family history of colorectal cancer (CRC), germline mutations in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes, tumours with high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) and loss of MMR protein expression. However, in ∼10-15% of clinically suspected LS cases, MMR mutation analyses cannot explain MSI-H and abnormal immunohistochemistry (IHC) results. The highly variable phenotype of MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) can overlap with the LS phenotype, but is inherited recessively. We analysed the MUTYH gene in 85 'unresolved' patients with tumours showing IHC MMR-deficiency without detectable germline mutation. Biallelic p.(Tyr179Cys) MUTYH germline mutations were found in one patient (frequency 1.18%) with CRC, urothelial carcinoma and a sebaceous gland carcinoma. LS was suspected due to a positive family history of CRC and because of MSI-H and MSH2-MSH6 deficiency on IHC in the sebaceous gland carcinoma. Sequencing of this tumour revealed two somatic MSH2 mutations, thus explaining MSI-H and IHC results, and mimicking LS-like histopathology. This is the first report of two somatic MSH2 mutations leading to an MSI-H tumour lacking MSH2-MSH6 protein expression in a patient with MAP. In addition to typical transversion mutations in KRAS and APC, MAP can also induce tumourigenesis via the MSI-pathway.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 12 February 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.15.
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 02/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Methylentetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) plays a major role in folate metabolism and consequently could be an important factor for the efficacy of a treatment with 5-fluorouracil. Our aim was to evaluate the prognostic and predictive value of two well characterized constitutional MTHFR gene polymorphisms for primarily resected and neoadjuvantly treated esophagogastric adenocarcinomas. 569 patients from two centers were analyzed (gastric cancer: 218, carcinoma of the esophagogastric junction (AEG II, III): 208 and esophagus (AEG I): 143). 369 patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery, 200 patients were resected without preoperative treatment. The MTHFR C677T and A1298C polymorphisms were determined in DNA from peripheral blood lymphozytes. Associations with prognosis, response and clinicopathological factors were analyzed retrospectively within a prospective database (chi-square, log-rank, cox regression). Only the MTHFR A1298C polymorphisms had prognostic relevance in neoadjuvantly treated patients but it was not a predictor for response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The AC genotype of the MTHFR A1298C polymorphisms was significantly associated with worse outcome (p = 0.02, HR 1.47 (1.06-2.04). If neoadjuvantly treated patients were analyzed based on their tumor localization, the AC genotype of the MTHFR A1298C polymorphisms was a significant negative prognostic factor in patients with gastric cancer according to UICC 6th edition (gastric cancer including AEG type II, III: HR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3-2.0, p = 0.001) and 7th edition (gastric cancer without AEG II, III: HR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5-5.7, p = 0.003), not for AEG I. For both definitions of gastric cancer the AC genotype was confirmed as an independent negative prognostic factor in cox regression analysis. In primarily resected patients neither the MTHFR A1298C nor the MTHFR C677T polymorphisms had prognostic impact. The MTHFR A1298C polymorphisms was an independent prognostic factor in patients with neoadjuvantly treated gastric adenocarcinomas (according to both UICC 6th or 7th definitions for gastric cancer) but not in AEG I nor in primarily resected patients, which confirms the impact of this enzyme on chemotherapy associated outcome.
    BMC Cancer 02/2014; 14(1):58. · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:: The aim of this study was to independently validate a genomic signature developed both to assess recurrence risk in stage II patients and to assist in treatment decisions. BACKGROUND:: Adjuvant therapy is recommended for high-risk patients with stage II colon cancer, but better tools to assess the patients' prognosis accurately are still required. METHODS:: Previously, an 18-gene signature had been developed and validated on an independent cohort, using full genome microarrays. In this study, the gene signature was translated and validated as a robust diagnostic test (ColoPrint), using customized 8-pack arrays. In addition, clinical validation of the diagnostic ColoPrint assay was performed on 135 patients who underwent curative resection (R0) for colon cancer stage II in Munich. Fresh-frozen tissue, microsatellite instability status, clinical parameters, and follow-up data for all patients were available. The diagnostic ColoPrint readout was determined blindly from the clinical data. RESULTS:: ColoPrint identified most stage II patients (73.3%) as at low risk. The 5-year distant-metastasis free survival was 94.9% for low-risk patients and 80.6% for high-risk patients. In multivariable analysis, ColoPrint was the only significant parameter to predict the development of distant metastasis with a hazard ratio of 4.28 (95% confidence interval, 1.36-13.50; P = 0.013). Clinical risk parameters from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recommendation did not add power to the ColoPrint classification. Technical validation of ColoPrint confirmed stability and reproducibility of the diagnostic platform. CONCLUSIONS:: ColoPrint is able to predict the development of distant metastasis of patients with stage II colon cancer and facilitates the identification of patients who may be safely managed without chemotherapy.
    Annals of surgery 01/2013; · 7.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alterations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) can be observed in a significant subset of esophageal adenocarcinomas (EACs), and targeted therapy against EGFR may become an interesting approach for the treatment of these tumors. Mutations of KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase catalytic subunit (PIK3CA) and deregulation of PTEN expression influence the responsiveness against anti-EGFR therapy in colorectal carcinomas. We investigated the prevalence of these events in a collection of 117 primary resected EACs, correlated the findings with EGFR expression and amplification, and determined their clinicopathologic impact. KRAS mutations were detected in 4 (3%) of 117 tumors (3× G12D and 1 G12V mutation). One tumor had a PIK3CA E545K mutation. Neither NRAS nor BRAF mutations were detected. Sixteen (14%) of 117 cases were negative for PTEN expression, determined by immunohistochemistry. Loss of PTEN was observed predominantly in advanced tumor stages (P = .004). There was no association between PTEN and EGFR status. Loss of PTEN was associated with shorter overall and disease-free survival (P < .001 each) and also an independent prognostic factor in multivariate analysis (P = .015). EGFR status had no prognostic impact in this case collection. In summary, loss of PTEN can be detected in a significant subset of EAC and is associated with an aggressive phenotype. Therefore, PTEN may be useful as a prognostic biomarker. In contrast, mutations of RAS/RAF/PIK3CA appear only very rarely, if at all, in EAC. A possible predictive role of PTEN in anti-EGFR treatment warrants further investigations, whereas determination of RAS/RAF/PIK3CA mutations may only have a minor impact in this context.
    Human pathology 11/2012; · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cell (CSC) based gene expression signatures are associated with prognosis in various tumour types and CSCs are suggested to be particularly drug resistant. The aim of our study was first, to determine the prognostic significance of CSC-related gene expression in residual tumour cells of neoadjuvant-treated gastric cancer (GC) patients. Second, we wished to examine, whether expression alterations between pre- and post-therapeutic tumour samples exist, consistent with an enrichment of drug resistant tumour cells. The expression of 44 genes was analysed in 63 formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tumour specimens with partial tumour regression (10-50% residual tumour) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy by quantitative real time PCR low-density arrays. A signature of combined GSK3B(high), β-catenin (CTNNB1)(high) and NOTCH2(low) expression was strongly correlated with better patient survival (p<0.001). A prognostic relevance of these genes was also found analysing publically available gene expression data. The expression of 9 genes was compared between pre-therapeutic biopsies and post-therapeutic resected specimens. A significant post-therapeutic increase in NOTCH2, LGR5 and POU5F1 expression was found in tumours with different tumour regression grades. No significant alterations were observed for GSK3B and CTNNB1. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated a chemotherapy-associated increase in the intensity of NOTCH2 staining, but not in the percentage of NOTCH2. Taken together, the GSK3B, CTNNB1 and NOTCH2 expression signature is a novel, promising prognostic parameter for GC. The results of the differential expression analysis indicate a prominent role for NOTCH2 and chemotherapy resistance in GC, which seems to be related to an effect of the drugs on NOTCH2 expression rather than to an enrichment of NOTCH2 expressing tumour cells.
    PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e44566. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The therapeutic activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-directed monoclonal antibody cetuximab in gastric cancer is currently being investigated in clinical studies. Reliable biomarkers for the identification of patients who are likely to benefit from this treatment are not available. In this study, we assessed the activity of cetuximab in five gastric cancer cell lines (AGS, AZ521, Hs746T, LMSU and MKN1). The viability of two of these cell lines, AZ521 and MKN1, was significantly reduced by cetuximab treatment. High expression and secretion levels of the EGFR-binding ligand, amphiregulin (AREG), were associated with cetuximab responsiveness. MET activation and mutations in Kirsten-Ras gene (KRAS) were associated with cetuximab resistance. By introducing a hierarchy between these markers, we established a model that facilitated the correct classification of all five gastric cancer cell lines as cetuximab responsive or non-responsive. The highest priority was allocated to activating KRAS mutations, followed by MET activation and finally by the levels of secreted AREG. In order to validate these results, we used three additional human gastric cancer cell lines (KATOIII, MKN28 and MKN45). In conclusion, we propose that our model allows the response of gastric cancer cell lines to cetuximab treatment to be predicted.
    International Journal of Oncology 05/2012; 41(2):733-44. · 2.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resistance to chemotherapy is a major obstacle for curative treatment of human gastric cancer (GC). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. Wingless-type MMTV integration site family members (WNTs) are secreted glycoproteins involved in embryogenesis and, on inappropriate expression in the adult, in cancer. Here, we show expression of WNT6 in GC patient specimens, human GC cell lines and in a mouse model of GC. In human GC cells, WNT6 expression was enhanced by caveolin-1 (Cav1), a scaffold protein of plasma membrane caveolae. WNT6 knock-down and overexpression experiments demonstrated that WNT6 increased the resistance to apoptotic cell death induced by the anthracycline chemotherapeutics epirubicin (Epi) and doxorubicin (Dox). Epi increased the activity of the human WNT6 promoter through Cav1-dependent binding of β-catenin to the proximal WNT6 promoter. Epi increased both WNT6/Wnt6 and Cav1 expression in human GC cells and within the tumor area of a murine model of GC (CEA424-SV40 TAg). In GC patients, WNT6 expression was positively associated with the tumor stage and the nodal status, and inversely correlated with the response to ECF (Epi, cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil) chemotherapy. These results showed that WNT6 and Cav1 are upregulated by chemotherapeutics and enhance the resistance of GC cells to anthracycline drugs. Understanding the molecular mechanisms driving WNT6/Cav1-induced drug resistance will provide benefits in developing new therapies for GC.Oncogene advance online publication, 27 February 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.40.
    Oncogene 02/2012; · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Mantle cell lymphoma is a clinically heterogeneous disease characterized by overexpression of cyclin D1 protein. Blastoid morphology, high proliferation, and secondary genetic aberrations are markers of aggressive behavior. Expression profiling of mantle cell lymphoma revealed that predominance of the 3'UTR-deficient, short cyclin D1 mRNA isoform was associated with high cyclin D1 levels, a high "proliferation signature" and poor prognosis. DESIGN AND METHODS: Sixty-two cases of mantle cell lymphoma were analyzed for cyclin D1 mRNA isoforms and total cyclin D1 levels by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and TP53 alterations were assessed by immunohistochemistry and molecular analysis. Results were correlated with proliferation index and clinical outcome. RESULTS: Predominance of the short cyclin D1 mRNA was found in 14 (23%) samples, including four with complete loss of the standard transcript. TP53 alterations were found in 15 (24%) cases. Predominance of 3'UTR-deficient mRNA was significantly associated with high cyclin D1 mRNA levels (P=0.009) and more commonly found in blastoid mantle cell lymphoma (5/11, P=0.060) and cases with a proliferation index of >20% (P=0.026). Both blastoid morphology (11/11, P<0.001) and TP53 alterations (15/15, P<0.001) were significantly correlated with a high proliferation index. A proliferation index of 10% was determined to be a significant threshold for survival in multivariate analysis (P=0.01). Conclusions TP53 alterations are strongly associated with a high proliferation index and aggressive behavior in mantle cell lymphoma. Predominance of the 3'UTR-deficient transcript correlates with higher cyclin D1 levels and may be a secondary contributing factor to high proliferation, but failed to reach prognostic significance in this study.
    Haematologica 02/2012; 97(9):1422-30. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: The therapeutic activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-directed monoclonal antibody cetuximab in gastric cancer is currently being investigated. Reliable biomarkers for the identification of patients who are likely to benefit from the treatment are not available. The aim of the study was to examine the drug sensitivity of five gastric cancer cell lines towards cetuximab as a single agent and to establish predictive markers for chemosensitivity in this cell culture model. The effect of a combination of cetuximab with chemotherapy was compared between a sensitive and a nonsensitive cell line. METHODS: EGFR expression, activation and localisation, the presence and subcellular localisation of the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin as well as MET activation were examined by Western blot analysis, flow cytometry and immunofluorescence staining. Cells were treated with varying concentrations of cetuximab and cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil in tumour-relevant concentrations. The biological endpoint was cell viability, which was measured by XTT cell proliferation assay. Response to treatment was evaluated using statistical methods. RESULTS: We assessed the activity of cetuximab in five gastric cancer cell lines (AGS, KATOIII, MKN1, MKN28 and MKN45). The viability of two cell lines, MKN1 and MKN28, was significantly reduced by cetuximab treatment. High EGFR expression and low levels of receptor activation were associated with cetuximab responsiveness. MET activation as well as mutations of KRAS and CDH1 (gene encoding E-cadherin) was associated with cetuximab resistance. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that our examinations may be clinically relevant, and the candidate markers should therefore be tested in clinical studies.
    Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology 01/2012; · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chemotherapy for advanced colorectal cancer leads to improved survival; however, predictors of response to systemic treatment are not available. Genomic and epigenetic alterations of the gene encoding transcription factor AP-2 epsilon (TFAP2E) are common in human cancers. The gene encoding dickkopf homolog 4 protein (DKK4) is a potential downstream target of TFAP2E and has been implicated in chemotherapy resistance. We aimed to further evaluate the role of TFAP2E and DKK4 as predictors of the response of colorectal cancer to chemotherapy. We analyzed the expression, methylation, and function of TFAP2E in colorectal-cancer cell lines in vitro and in patients with colorectal cancer. We examined an initial cohort of 74 patients, followed by four cohorts of patients (total, 220) undergoing chemotherapy or chemoradiation. TFAP2E was hypermethylated in 38 of 74 patients (51%) in the initial cohort. Hypermethylation was associated with decreased expression of TFAP2E in primary and metastatic colorectal-cancer specimens and cell lines. Colorectal-cancer cell lines overexpressing DKK4 showed increased chemoresistance to fluorouracil but not irinotecan or oxaliplatin. In the four other patient cohorts, TFAP2E hypermethylation was significantly associated with nonresponse to chemotherapy (P<0.001). Conversely, the probability of response among patients with hypomethylation was approximately six times that in the entire population (overall estimated risk ratio, 5.74; 95% confidence interval, 3.36 to 9.79). Epigenetic alterations of TFAP2E were independent of mutations in key regulatory cancer genes, microsatellite instability, and other genes that affect fluorouracil metabolism. TFAP2E hypermethylation is associated with clinical nonresponsiveness to chemotherapy in colorectal cancer. Functional assays confirm that TFAP2E-dependent resistance is mediated through DKK4. In patients who have colorectal cancer with TFAP2E hypermethylation, targeting of DKK4 may be an option to overcome TFAP2E-mediated drug resistance. (Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and others.).
    New England Journal of Medicine 01/2012; 366(1):44-53. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-directed monoclonal antibody cetuximab combined with oxaliplatin/leucovorin/5-fluorouracil (FUFOX) was assessed in first-line metastatic gastric and oesophago-gastric junction (OGJ) cancer in a prospective phase II study showing a promising objective tumour response rate of 65% and a low mutation frequency of KRAS (3%). The aim of the correlative tumour tissue studies was to investigate the relationship between EGFR gene copy numbers, activation of the EGFR pathway, expression and mutation of E-cadherin, V600E BRAF mutation and clinical outcome of patients with gastric and OGJ cancer treated with cetuximab combined with FUFOX. Patients included in this correlative study (n = 39) were a subset of patients from the clinical phase II study. The association between EGFR gene copy number, activation of the EGFR pathway, abundance and mutation of E-cadherin which plays an important role in these disorders, BRAF mutation and clinical outcome of patients was studied. EGFR gene copy number was assessed by FISH. Expression of the phosphorylated forms of EGFR and its downstream effectors Akt and MAPK, in addition to E-cadherin was analysed by immunohistochemistry. The frequency of mutant V600E BRAF was evaluated by allele-specific PCR and the mutation profile of the E-cadherin gene CDH1 was examined by DHPLC followed by direct sequence analysis. Correlations with overall survival (OS), time to progression (TTP) and overall response rate (ORR) were assessed. Our study showed a significant association between increased EGFR gene copy number (≥ 4.0) and OS in gastric and OGJ cancer, indicating the possibility that patients may be selected for treatment on a genetic basis. Furthermore, a significant correlation was shown between activated EGFR and shorter TTP and ORR, but not between activated EGFR and OS. No V600E BRAF mutations were identified. On the other hand, an interesting trend between high E-cadherin expression levels and better OS was observed and two CDH1 exon 9 missense mutations (A408V and D402H) were detected. Our finding that increased EGFR gene copy numbers, activated EGFR and the E-cadherin status are potentially interesting biomarkers needs to be confirmed in larger randomized clinical trials. Multicentre clinical study with the European Clinical Trials Database number 2004-004024-12.
    BMC Cancer 12/2011; 11:509. · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA methylation contributes to carcinogenesis by mediating transcriptional regulation and chromatin remodelling, which may influence the effect of DNA-damaging drugs. We examined the prognostic and predictive impact of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 and 3b expression in gastric carcinomas (GC) treated by neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In vitro, DNMT1 expression and chemosensitivity were investigated for a functional relationship and the DNMT inhibitor decitabine (DAC) was tested as an alternative treatment option. DNMT1/3b expression was analysed immunohistochemically in 127 pretherapeutic biopsies of neoadjuvant (platinum/5-fluorouracil)-treated GC patients and correlated with response and overall survival (OS). Short hairpin RNA technology was used to knockdown DNMT1 in the GC cell line, AGS. The chemosensitivity of GC cell lines to DAC alone and to DAC in combination with cisplatin was analysed by XTT or colony formation assays. High DNMT1 and DNMT3b expression was found in 105/127 (83%) and 79/127 (62%) carcinomas, respectively. Patients with low DNMT1 expression demonstrated a significantly better histopathological/clinical response (P=0.03/P=0.008) and OS (P(log-rank)=0.001). In vitro, knockdown of DNMT1 caused an increased chemosensitivity towards cisplatin. Combined treatment with cisplatin and DAC showed a synergistic effect leading to increased cytotoxicity in the cisplatin-resistant cell line AGS. Low DNMT1 expression defines a subgroup of GC patients with better outcomes following platinum/5FU-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In vitro data support a functional relationship between DNMT1 and cisplatin sensitivity. Besides its potential use as a predictive biomarker, DNMT1 may represent a promising target for alternative therapeutic strategies for a subset of GC patients.
    European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 03/2011; 47(12):1817-25. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA repair plays an important role in chemoresistance to platinum-based therapy, and therefore polymorphisms in the genes may modulate therapeutic response. We assessed 12 polymorphisms in 7 DNA repair genes and 2 polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene for association with disease response and prognosis. A total of 258 patients included in the study had adenocarcinoma of the esophagus (n = 114) or gastric cancer (n = 144), at stage cT3/4 and cM0, and had been treated with platinum-based neoadjuvant polychemotherapy. The patients were genotyped for polymorphisms in the XPC, XPD, XPG, APEX, XRCC1, NBS1, XRCC3, and MTHFR genes by the allelic discrimination method and the data correlated with various clinical parameters. None of the investigated polymorphisms was associated with histopathological response. XRCC3 polymorphisms rs861539 (P = 0.02) and rs861530 (P = 0.05) showed association with clinical response in gastric cancer. The variants in XRCC3 (rs861539, P = 0.05; rs1799794, P = 0.03) and MTHFR (rs1801131, P = 0.02) were associated with survival in esophageal and gastric cancer, respectively. In R0 resected patients, XRCC3 variants (rs861539, P = 0.04; rs861530, P = 0.02) in esophageal cancer, and XRCC3 (rs1799794, P = 0.02) and MTHFR (rs1801131, P = 0.005) in gastric cancer predicted survival. Cox regression revealed ypT category (P = 0.001) and lymphatic vessel invasion (P = 0.03) to be independent prognostic factors for esophageal cancer, and histopathological response (P = 0.01), MTHFR variant (rs1801131, P = 0.002), and ypN category (P = 0.02) to be prognostic factors for gastric cancer. In gastric cancer patients, MTHFR variant (rs1801131) could serve as a potential prognostic marker. In esophageal cancer patients, none of the polymorphisms studied had conclusive results in multivariate analysis, although XRCC3 variant (rs861539) showed an effect on survival in Kaplan-Meier univariate analysis.
    Annals of Surgical Oncology 02/2011; 18(9):2688-98. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a series of 10 primary esophageal melanomas of Caucasian patients characterized clinicopathologically and on the molecular level. Mutation analysis for c-Kit (exons 9, 11, 13 and 17), PDGFR (exons 12, 14 and 18), NRAS and KRAS were determined using PCR and direct sequencing. Analysis of the V600E mutation of BRAF was performed using mutation-specific PCR. Expression of c-Kit and PDGFR-A was additionally determined using immunohistochemistry. One tumor harbored a missense mutation in the c-Kit (p.F504L) and in the KRAS gene (p.G12S). A different c-Kit mutation (c.1507_1508 ins TTGCCT) was detected in another case. A third case had a V600E BRAF mutation. Using immunohistochemistry, c-Kit expression could be detected in all cases. The two cases with c-Kit mutations showed high c-Kit expression. None of the tumors showed a PDGFR mutation or expression or a NRAS mutation. We conclude that molecular analysis can identify targets for a specific therapy such as tyrosin kinase inhibitors as additional treatment option in these highly malignant tumors.
    Modern Pathology 12/2010; 24(4):495-501. · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylases (HDACs) modulate chromatin and may influence the effect of DNA-damaging drugs. We investigated HDAC1 and -2 expression in gastric carcinomas (GCs) for an association of patient outcome with conventional neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In vitro, HDAC inhibitors were evaluated as alternative treatment options. HDAC1/2 expression was analyzed immunohistochemically in 127 pretherapeutic biopsy samples of neoadjuvant (platinum/5-fluorouracil) chemotherapy-treated GC patients and correlated with response and overall survival (OS). Chemosensitivity of four GC cell lines to cisplatin and the HDAC inhibitors suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and valproic acid was determined by XTT assays. Efficiencies of combined drug schedules were analyzed. High expression of HDAC1/2 was found in 69 (54%) of 127 and 108 (85%) of 127 carcinomas, respectively, and was not associated with response or OS. In patients whose disease responded to therapy, high HDAC1 expression was associated with worse OS (P = 0.005). In cell lines, sequential treatment with SAHA and cisplatin showed synergistic effects irrespective of the initial cisplatin sensitivity. HDAC1 and -2 expression is not suitable to predict response or survival for neoadjuvant-treated GC patients, but HDAC1 expression may be used for risk stratification in patients whose disease responds to therapy. Sequential treatment with SAHA and cisplatin may represent an alternative treatment option for GC patients.
    Annals of Surgical Oncology 12/2010; 17(12):3336-43. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Microsatellite instability (MSI) testing in clinics is becoming increasingly widespread; therefore, there is an urgent need for methodology standardization and the availability of quality control. This study is aimed to assess the interlaboratory reproducibility of MSI testing in archive samples by using a panel of 5 recently introduced, mononucleotide repeats (MNR). The quality control involved 8 European institutions. Participants were supplied with DNA extracted from 15 archive colon carcinoma samples and from the corresponding normal tissues. Every group was asked to assess the MSI status of the samples by using the BAT25, BAT26, NR21, NR24, and NR27 mononucleotide markers. Four institutions repeated the analysis using the NCI reference panel to confirm the results obtained with the MNR markers. The overall concordance among institutions for MSI analyses at single locus level was 97.7% when using the MNR panel and 95.0% with the NCI one. The laboratories obtained a full agreement in scoring the MSI status of each patient sample, both using the mononucleotide and the NCI marker sets. With the NCI marker set, however, concordance was lowered to 85.7% when considering the MSI-Low phenotype. Concordance between the 2 panels in scoring the MSI status of each sample was complete if no discrimination was made between MSI-Stable and MSI-L, whereas it dropped to 76.7% if MSI-L was considered. In conclusion, the use of the MNR panel seems to be a robust approach that yields a very high level of reproducibility. The results obtained with the 5 MNR are diagnostically consistent with those obtained by the use of the NCI markers, except for the MSI-Low phenotype.
    Diagnostic molecular pathology: the American journal of surgical pathology, part B 11/2010; 19(4):236-42. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are enzymes which play a central role in post-translational histone and non-histone protein modification. Deregulation of HDACs has been detected in various human malignancies and may also influence response to chemotherapy. To investigate the expression of class I histone deacetylase (HDAC) isoforms 1 and 2 in oesophageal adenocarcinomas. 132 primary resected tumours and 48 tumours treated by chemotherapy were analysed. Expression of HDAC1 and HDAC2 was determined by immunohistochemistry, applied on a tissue microarray and on pretherapeutic biopsies, and correlated with pathological features and prognosis. There was negative or low expression of HDAC1 in 54% of tumours, moderate expression in 41% and high expression in 5%. HDAC2 expression was negative or low in 30% of tumours, moderate in 47% and high in 21%. In primary resected tumours, high HDAC2 levels were associated with lymphatic tumour spread and lower tumour differentiation grade. HDAC1 levels were not associated with pT, pN category or tumour differentiation grade. For neoadjuvant treated tumours, there was only a trend for an association with high pretherapeutic HDAC2 expression and tumour regression after chemotherapy. Pretherapeutic HDAC1 levels were not associated with regression after chemotherapy. Survival analysis failed to show any prognostic impact of HDAC1 or HDAC2 expression. High HDAC2 expression is associated with aggressive tumour behaviour in oesophageal adenocarcinomas. No significant prognostic value could be found with respect to overall survival or an association with response to conventional chemotherapy for HDAC expression. Immunohistochemical determination of HDACs may be useful for prediction of response to specific HDAC inhibitors.
    Journal of clinical pathology 10/2010; 63(11):994-8. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The MUNICON trial confirmed prospectively the usefulness of early response evaluation by 2-deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoro-D-glucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) . Metabolic responders (R) showed initially a higher FDG uptake compared with nonresponders (p = 0.018). An association of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) 936C>T polymorphism and FDG uptake was reported for breast cancer. Therefore, we investigated the VEGF 936C>T polymorphism for an association with response and survival. The study was based on 110 patients included in the MUNCON trial (103 male, seven female; 75 AEG I, 35 AEG II, event-free survival (EFS) median 21.1 ± 4.6 months). Response was significantly associated with EFS. The VEGF 936C>T polymorphism was determined by PCR and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. For analysis, the T-variants were combined. One hundred two patients were evaluable. Seventy-two patients showed the CC, 24 the CT, and six the TT genotype. Median EFS was 29.3 months for CC and 11.7 months for CT/TT (p = 0.04). No association of the genotypes (CC or CT/TT) with the SUV or response was found. Multivariate analysis revealed histopathological regression (p = 0.003) and genotype (p = 0.04) as independent prognostic factors. A combination of genotype and PET response (Gen-PET) defines three prognostic groups early in the course of treatment (p = 0.002). Cox regression analysis including clinical and histopathological response and Gen-PET reveals Gen-PET as independent prognostic factor (p = 0.003). The VEGF 936C>T polymorphism is a prognostic factor in patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy, although it is not associated with FDG uptake and response. The combination of metabolic response and VEGF 936C>T polymorphism defines three different prognostic groups. These findings need to be confirmed prospectively. This study has been registered in the European Clinical Trials Database as trial 2007-003356-11.
    Molecular imaging and biology: MIB: the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging 05/2010; 13(1):178-86. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cetuximab enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy in several cancer types. This trial assessed the activity of cetuximab and chemotherapy in advanced gastric cancer. Patients with previously untreated, metastatic, gastric cancer received cetuximab 400 mg m(-2) at first infusion followed by weekly infusions of 250 mg m(-2) combined with FUFOX (oxaliplatin 50 mg m(-2), 5-FU 2000 mg m(-2), and DL-folinic acid 200 mg m(-2) d1, 8, 15 and 22 qd36). The primary endpoint was tumour response. Overall, 52 patients were enrolled. The most common grade 3/4 toxicities were diarrhoea (33%), and skin toxicity (24%). Efficacy was evaluable in 46 patients who showed a response rate of 65% (CI 95%: 50-79%) including four complete responses. Time to progression (TTP) was 7.6 months (CI 95%: 5.0-10.1 months) and overall survival (OS) was 9.5 months (CI 95%: 7.9-11.1 months). Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was detectable in 60% of tumours but showed no correlation with treatment outcome. A KRAS mutation was found in only 1 of 32 (3%) tumour samples analysed. Cetuximab plus FUFOX showed an interesting high response rate in metastatic gastric cancer. Cetuximab plus platinum-fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy is at present being investigated in a phase III randomised controlled trial.
    British Journal of Cancer 02/2010; 102(3):500-5. · 5.08 Impact Factor

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  • 1996–2012
    • Technische Universität München
      • • Institut für Allgemeine Pathologie und Pathologische Anatomie
      • • Clinic and Polyclinic for Surgery
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2008
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • Department of Spine Surgery
      Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
    • Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich
      • Department of Internal Medicine II
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2007
    • University of Porto
      • Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology (IPATIMUP)
      Porto, Distrito do Porto, Portugal
  • 1995–2006
    • Università degli Studi dell'Aquila
      • Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health
      Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy
  • 2005
    • Medical Center of Genetics
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2004
    • Klinikum Kassel
      Cassel, Hesse, Germany
  • 2003
    • Deutsches Herzzentrum München
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1999
    • Università degli studi di Parma
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy