[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Numerous microarray-based gene expression studies performed on several types of solid tumors revealed significant changes in key genes involved in progression and regulation of the cell cycle, including AURKA that is known to be overexpressed in many types of human malignancies. Tumor hypoxia is associated with poor prognosis in several cancer types, including breast cancer (BC). Since hypoxia is a condition that influences the expression of many genes involved in tumorigenesis, proliferation, and cell cycle regulation, we performed a microarray-based gene expression analysis in order to identify differentially expressed genes in BC cell lines exposed to hypoxia. This analysis showed that hypoxia induces a down-regulation of AURKA expression. Although hypoxia is a tumor feature, the molecular mechanisms that regulate AURKA expression in response to hypoxia in BC are still unknown. For the first time, we demonstrated that HIF-1 activation downstream of hypoxia could drive AURKA down-regulation in BC cells. In fact, we found that siRNA-mediated knockdown of HIF-1α significantly reduces the AURKA down-regulation in BC cells under hypoxia. The aim of our study was to obtain new insights into AURKA transcriptional regulation in hypoxic conditions. Luciferase reporter assays showed a reduction of AURKA promoter activity in hypoxia. Unlike the previous findings, we hypothesize a new possible mechanism where HIF-1, rather than inducing transcriptional activation, could promote the AURKA down-regulation via its binding to hypoxia-responsive elements into the proximal region of the AURKA promoter. The present study shows that hypoxia directly links HIF-1 with AURKA expression, suggesting a possible pathophysiological role of this new pathway in BC and confirming HIF-1 as an important player linking an environmental signal to the AURKA promoter. Since AURKA down-regulation overrides the estrogen-mediated growth and chemoresistance in BC cells, these findings could be important for the development of new possible therapies against BC.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 08/2013; · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, the hypothesis that colorectal tumors originate from a subpopulation of cells called 'cancer stem cells' (CSCs) or tumor-initiating cells, which exhibit stem-like features, has been confirmed experimentally in various human cancers. Several studies have confirmed the existence of colorectal CSCs (CRCSCs) and have demonstrated that this rare cell population can be isolated by the expression of specific cell surface biomarkers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs, which are crucial for post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and participate in a wide variety of biological functions, including development, cell proliferation, differentiation, metabolism and signal transduction. Moreover, new evidences suggest that miRNAs could contribute to preserve stemness of embryonic stem cells and could be involved in maintaining stemness of CSCs. Recent studies have begun to outline the role of miRNAs in regulation of CRCSCs. This review aims to summarize the recent advancement about the roles of miRNAs in CRCSCs that may represent a step forward in understanding the molecular mechanisms and the possible approaches for colorectal cancer therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: miRNAs are noncoding RNAs that target specific mRNA with subsequent regulation of particular genes, implicated in various biological processes. In cancer, miRNAs could show a different expression from normal tissues. miRNAs have a role as oncogenes when they target tumor suppressor genes and similarly they are tumor suppressors when they target oncogenes. AREAS COVERED: In this review, areas covered include the role of miRNAs in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and research for achievement of therapeutic strategies implicating miRNAs in oncology. As biogenesis of miRNAs is fundamental to understand their usefulness, this has also been discussed. Both miRNA expression profiles in cancer tissues and miRNA levels in peripheral blood were studied for improvement in the management of cancer patients. EXPERT OPINION: miRNAs have the potential for better understanding of tumor biology, but could also provide clinical advancement in management and therapy of various malignancies. The possibility of miRNA detection in peripheral blood would allow an eager expansion of their application in various clinical settings for cancer. The applicability of miRNA expression profiles still needs to be defined.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zoledronic acid (ZOL) is the most potent nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (N-BPs) that strongly binds to bone mineral and acts as a powerful inhibitor of bone resorption, already clinically available for the treatment of patients with osteolytic metastases. Recent data also suggest that ZOL, used in breast cancer, may provide more than just supportive care modifying the course of the disease, though the possible molecular mechanism of action is still unclear.As breast cancer is one of the primary tumours with high propensity to metastasize to the bone, we investigated, for the first time, differential gene expression profile on Michigan Cancer Foundation-7 (MCF-7) breast cancer cells treated with low doses of ZOL (10 μM). Microarrays analysis was used to identify, describe and summarize evidence regarding the molecular basis of actions of ZOL and of their possible direct anti-tumour effects. We validated gene expression results of specific transcripts involved in major cellular process by Real Time and Western Blot analysis and we observed inhibition of proliferation and migration through 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and Matrigel assay. We then focused on changes in the cytoskeletal components as fibronectin 1 (FN1), actin, and anti angiogenic compounds as transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and thrombospondin 1 (THBS1). The up-regulation of these products may have an important role in inhibiting proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis mediated by ZOL.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 01/2012; 16(9):2186-95. · 3.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death with a worldwide incidence of almost a million
cases annually in both males and females. The accelerated decrease in CRC incidence rates from 1998 to 2006 largely reflects
the advances in diagnosis and treatment that have enabled to detect and remove precancerous polyps. However, the screening
technology has not resulted in major improvements in the prognosis of patients with advanced cancer and the liver metastasis
remains the major cause of death in CRC. About 25% of patients have detectable liver metastasis at diagnosis, that are classified
as “synchronous” lesions and approximately 70% of patients develop a liver recurrence during the course of their disease,
identified as “metachronous” lesions. Despite the development of different treatment modalities, the outcome for patients
with unresectable metastatic lesion is still unfavorable and the metastatic spread to the liver is the major contributor to
mortality in CRC. Therefore, elucidation of the molecular mechanism involved in the development of metastases, by the identification
of a specific gene signature for liver metastasis in CRC, could allow prediction of the onset of metastatic disease in patients
with localized tumors. This could then lead to the design of new strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of CRC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer (BC) is a heterogeneous disease that exhibits familial aggregation. Family linkage studies have identified high-penetrance genes, BRCA1, BRCA2, PTEN and TP53, that are responsible for inherited BC syndromes. Moreover, a combination of family-based and population-based approaches indicated that genes involved in DNA repair, such as CHEK2, ATM, BRIP and PALB2, are associated with moderate risk. Therefore, all of these known genes account for only 25% of the familial aggregation cases. Recently, genome wide association studies (GWAS) in BC revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five novel genes associated to susceptibility: TNRC9, FGFR2, MAP3K1, H19 and lymphocyte-specific protein 1 (LSP1). The most strongly associated SNP was in intron 2 of the FGFR2 gene that is amplified and overexpressed in 5-10% of BC. rs3803662 of TNRC9 gene has been shown to be the SNP with the strongest association with BC, in particular, this polymorphism seems to be correlated with bone metastases and estrogen receptor positivity. Relevant data indicate that SNP rs889312 in MAP3K1 is correlated with BC susceptibility only in BRCA2 mutation carriers, but is not associated with an increased risk in BRCA1 carriers. Finally, different SNPs in LSP1 and H19 and in minor genes probably were associated with BC risk. New susceptibility allelic variants associated with BC risk were recently discovered including potential causative genes involved in regulation of cell cycle, apoptosis, metabolism and mitochondrial functions. In conclusion, the identification of disease susceptibility loci may lead to a better understanding of the biological mechanism for BC to improve prevention, early detection and treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An important molecular target for metastatic CRC treatment is the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Many potential biomarkers predictive of response to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies (cetuximab and panitumumab) have been retrospectively evaluated, including EGFR activation markers and EGFR ligands activation markers. With regard to the "negative predictive factors" responsible for primary or intrinsic resistance to anti-EGFR antibodies a lot of data are now available. Among these, KRAS mutations have emerged as a major predictor of resistance to panitumumab or cetuximab in the clinical setting and several studies of patients receiving first and subsequent lines of treatment have shown that those with tumors carrying KRAS mutations do not respond to EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibodies or show any survival benefit from such treatments. The role of B-RAF mutations, mutually exclusive with KRAS mutations, in predicting resistance to anti-EGFR mAbs is not yet consolidated. It therefore appears that BRAF mutations may play a strong negative prognostic role and only a slight role in resistance to anti-EGFR Abs.