Yu-Jen Chen

University of Otago , Taieri, Otago Region, New Zealand

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Publications (6)29.4 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The molecular basis to overcome therapeutic resistance to treat glioblastoma remains unclear. The anti-apoptotic b cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) gene is associated with treatment resistance, and is transactivated by the paired box transcription factor 8 (PAX8). In earlier studies, we demonstrated that increased PAX8 expression in glioma cell lines was associated with the expression of telomerase. In this current study, we more extensively explored a role for PAX8 in gliomagenesis METHODS: PAX8 expression was measured in 156 gliomas including telomerase-negative tumours, those with the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism or with a non-defined telomere maintenance mechanism (NDTMM), using immunohistochemistry and quantitative PCR. We also tested the affect of PAX8 knockdown using siRNA in cell lines on cell survival and BCL2 expression RESULTS: Seventy-two percent of glioblastomas were PAX8-positive (80% telomerase, 73% NDTMM, and 44% ALT). The majority of the low-grade gliomas and normal brain cells were PAX8-negative. The suppression of PAX8 was associated with a reduction in both cell growth and BCL2, suggesting that a reduction in PAX8 expression would sensitise tumours to cell death. PAX8 is increased in the majority of glioblastomas and promoted cell survival. Because PAX8 is absent in normal brain tissue, it may be a promising therapeutic target pathway for treating aggressive gliomas.
    BMC Cancer 03/2014; 14(1):159. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prognostic markers for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are important for patient management. Recent advances have identified prognostic markers for GBMs that use telomerase or the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism for telomere maintenance. Approximately 40% of GBMs have no defined telomere maintenance mechanism (NDTMM), with a mixed survival for affected individuals. This study examined genetic variants in the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A) gene that encodes the p16(INK4a) and p14(ARF) tumor suppressors, and the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) gene as potential markers of survival for 40 individuals with NDTMM GBMs (telomerase negative and ALT negative by standard assays), 50 individuals with telomerase, and 17 individuals with ALT positive tumors. The analysis of CDKN2A showed NDTMM GBMs had an increased minor allele frequency for the C500G (rs11515) polymorphism compared to those with telomerase and ALT positive GBMs (p = 0.002). Patients with the G500 allele had reduced survival that was independent of age, extent of surgery, and treatment. In the NDTMM group G500 allele carriers had increased loss of CDKN2A gene dosage compared to C500 homozygotes. An analysis of IDH1 mutations showed the R132H mutation was associated with ALT positive tumors, and was largely absent in NDTMM and telomerase positive tumors. In the ALT positive tumors cohort, IDH1 mutations were associated with a younger age for the affected individual. In conclusion, the G500 CDKN2A allele was associated with NDTMM GBMs from older individuals with poorer survival. Mutations in IDH1 were not associated with NDTMM GBMs, and instead were a marker for ALT positive tumors in younger individuals.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(10):e26737. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Telomere maintenance by either telomerase activity or the recombination-mediated alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism is a hallmark of cancer. Tumors that use ALT as their telomere maintenance mechanism are characterized by long telomeres of great heterogeneity in length and by specific nuclear structures of co-localized promyelocytic leukemia protein and telomere DNA, called ALT-associated promyelocytic leukemia bodies (APBs). Recent advances have revealed a direct role for APBs in telomere recombination in ALT-positive cells. In this study, we investigated the possibility that APBs could occur before the long 'alternatively' lengthened telomeres arise, particularly in low-grade tumors. We measured APBs, telomere length, and telomerase activity in 64 astrocytomas inclusive of grade 1-4 tumors. Almost all grade 1-3 tumors (93%) were APB-positive using published criteria. Grade 2-3 APB-positive tumors also had long telomeres and were confirmed as ALT positive. However, grade 1 tumors lacked long telomeres and were therefore classified as ALT negative, but positive for telomere-associated promyelocytic leukemia bodies (TPB). This is the first report of a TPB-positive but ALT-negative tumor, and suggests that low-grade tumors have the foundation for recombinational telomere repair, as in ALT. Further work is warranted to characterize the TPB-positive phenotype in other early malignancies, as well as to determine whether TPBs predispose to telomere maintenance by ALT.
    American Journal Of Pathology 10/2010; 177(6):2694-700. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Paired box (PAX) developmental genes are frequently expressed in cancers and confer survival advantages on cancer cells. We have previously found that PAX genes are deregulated in glioma. We have now investigated the expression of PAX genes in glioma and their role in telomere maintenance. The mRNA level of PAX8 showed a positive correlation with telomerase activity in glioma biopsies (r(2) = 0.75, P < 0.001) and in established glioma cell lines (r(2) = 0.97, P = 0.0025). We found that PAX8 is able to coordinately transactivate the promoter for both the telomerase catalytic subunit (hTERT) and the telomerase RNA component (hTR) genes. By electrophoretic mobility shift assay, quantitative PCR, and a telomerase activity assay, we show that PAX8 binds directly to the hTERT and hTR promoters, up-regulating hTERT and hTR mRNA, as well as telomerase activity. Additionally, PAX8 small interfering RNA down-regulated hTERT and hTR. Collectively, these results show that PAX8 may have a role in telomerase regulation.
    Cancer Research 07/2008; 68(14):5724-32. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The molecular basis for alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT), a prognostic marker for glioma patients, remains unknown. We examined TP53 status in relation to telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM) in 108 patients with glioblastoma multiforme and two patients with anaplastic astrocytoma from New Zealand and United Kingdom. Tumor samples were analyzed with respect to telomerase activity, telomere length, and ALT-associated promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies to determine their TMM. TP53 mutation was analyzed by direct sequencing of coding exons 2 to 11. We found an association between TP53 mutation and ALT mechanism and between wild-type TP53 and telomerase and absence of a known TMM (P < 0.0001). We suggest that TP53 deficiency plays a permissive role in the activation of ALT.
    Cancer Research 08/2006; 66(13):6473-6. · 8.65 Impact Factor