[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Personalized therapy considering clinical and genetic patient characteristics will further improve breast cancer survival. Two widely used treatments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can induce oxidative DNA damage and, if not repaired, cell death. Since base excision repair (BER) activity is specific for oxidative DNA damage, we hypothesized that germline genetic variation in this pathway will affect breast cancer-specific survival depending on treatment.
We assessed in 1,408 postmenopausal breast cancer patients from the German MARIE study whether cancer specific survival after adjuvant chemotherapy, anthracycline chemotherapy, and radiotherapy is modulated by 127 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in 21 BER genes. For SNPs with interaction terms showing p < 0.1 (likelihood ratio test) using multivariable Cox proportional hazard analyses, replication in 6,392 patients from nine studies of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) was performed.
rs878156 in PARP2 showed a differential effect by chemotherapy (p = 0.093) and was replicated in BCAC studies (p = 0.009; combined analysis p = 0.002). Compared to non-carriers, carriers of the variant G allele (minor allele frequency = 0.07) showed better survival after chemotherapy (combined allelic hazard ratio (HR) = 0.75, 95 % 0.53-1.07) and poorer survival when not treated with chemotherapy (HR = 1.42, 95 % 1.08-1.85). A similar effect modification by rs878156 was observed for anthracycline-based chemotherapy in both MARIE and BCAC, with improved survival in carriers (combined allelic HR = 0.73, 95 % CI 0.40-1.32). None of the SNPs showed significant differential effects by radiotherapy.
Our data suggest for the first time that a SNP in PARP2, rs878156, may together with other genetic variants modulate cancer specific survival in breast cancer patients depending on chemotherapy. These germline SNPs could contribute towards the design of predictive tests for breast cancer patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuroblastoma is a malignancy of the developing sympathetic nervous system that is often lethal when relapse occurs. We here used whole-exome sequencing, mRNA expression profiling, array CGH and DNA methylation analysis to characterize 16 paired samples at diagnosis and relapse from individuals with neuroblastoma. The mutational burden significantly increased in relapsing tumors, accompanied by altered mutational signatures and reduced subclonal heterogeneity. Global allele frequencies at relapse indicated clonal mutation selection during disease progression. Promoter methylation patterns were consistent over disease course and were patient specific. Recurrent alterations at relapse included mutations in the putative CHD5 neuroblastoma tumor suppressor, chromosome 9p losses, DOCK8 mutations, inactivating mutations in PTPN14 and a relapse-specific activity pattern for the PTPN14 target YAP. Recurrent new mutations in HRAS, KRAS and genes mediating cell-cell interaction in 13 of 16 relapse tumors indicate disturbances in signaling pathways mediating mesenchymal transition. Our data shed light on genetic alteration frequency, identity and evolution in neuroblastoma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are responsible for the lifelong production of blood cells. The accumulation of DNA damage in HSCs is a hallmark of ageing and is probably a major contributing factor in age-related tissue degeneration and malignant transformation. A number of accelerated ageing syndromes are associated with defective DNA repair and genomic instability, including the most common inherited bone marrow failure syndrome, Fanconi anaemia. However, the physiological source of DNA damage in HSCs from both normal and diseased individuals remains unclear. Here we show in mice that DNA damage is a direct consequence of inducing HSCs to exit their homeostatic quiescent state in response to conditions that model physiological stress, such as infection or chronic blood loss. Repeated activation of HSCs out of their dormant state provoked the attrition of normal HSCs and, in the case of mice with a non-functional Fanconi anaemia DNA repair pathway, led to a complete collapse of the haematopoietic system, which phenocopied the highly penetrant bone marrow failure seen in Fanconi anaemia patients. Our findings establish a novel link between physiological stress and DNA damage in normal HSCs and provide a mechanistic explanation for the universal accumulation of DNA damage in HSCs during ageing and the accelerated failure of the haematopoietic system in Fanconi anaemia patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiotherapy is a major cancer treatment option but dose-limiting side effects such as late-onset fibrosis in the irradiated tissue severely impair quality of life in cancer survivors. Efforts to explain radiation-induced fibrosis, for example, by genetic variation remained largely inconclusive. Recently published molecular analyses on radiation response and fibrogenesis showed a prominent role of epigenetic gene regulation. This review summarizes the current knowledge on epigenetic modifications in fibrotic disease and radiation response, and it points out the important role for epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, microRNAs and histone modifications in the development of this disease. The synopsis illustrates the complexity of radiation-induced fibrosis and reveals the need for investigations to further unravel its molecular mechanisms. Importantly, epigenetic changes are long-term determinants of gene expression and can therefore support those mechanisms that induce and perpetuate fibrogenesis even in the absence of the initial damaging stimulus. Future work must comprise the interconnection of acute radiation response and long-lasting epigenetic effects in order to assess their role in late-onset radiation fibrosis. An improved understanding of the underlying biology is fundamental to better comprehend the origin of this disease and to improve both preventive and therapeutic strategies.Oncogene advance online publication, 9 June 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.145.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the main obstacles of conventional anticancer therapy is the toxicity of chemotherapeutics to normal tissues. So far, clinical approaches that aim to specifically reduce chemotherapy-mediated toxicities are rare. Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated that herbal extracts derived from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may reduce chemotherapy-induced side effects. Thus, we screened a panel of published cancer-inhibiting TCM compounds for their chemoprotective potential and identified the phytochemical Rocaglamide (Roc-A) as a candidate. We show that Roc-A significantly reduces apoptotic cell death induced by DNA-damaging anticancer drugs in primary human and murine cells. Investigation of the molecular mechanism of Roc-A-mediated protection revealed that Roc-A specifically blocks DNA damage-induced upregulation of the transcription factor p53 by inhibiting its protein synthesis. The essential role of p53 in Roc-A-mediated protection was confirmed by siRNA knockdown of p53 and by comparison of the effects of Roc-A on chemoprotection of splenocytes isolated from wild-type and p53-deficient mice. Importantly, Roc-A did not protect p53-deficient or -mutated cancer cells. Our data suggest that Roc-A may be used as an adjuvant to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in patients with p53-deficient or -mutated tumors.
Preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Cell Death & Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA damage is tightly associated with various biological and pathological processes, such as aging and tumorigenesis. Although detection of DNA damage is attracting increasing attention, only a limited number of methods are available to quantify DNA lesions, and these techniques are tedious or only detect global DNA damage. In this study, we present a high-sensitivity long-run real-time PCR technique for DNA-damage quantification (LORD-Q) in both the mitochondrial and nuclear genome. While most conventional methods are of low-sensitivity or restricted to abundant mitochondrial DNA samples, we established a protocol that enables the accurate sequence-specific quantification of DNA damage in >3-kb probes for any mitochondrial or nuclear DNA sequence. In order to validate the sensitivity of this method, we compared LORD-Q with a previously published qPCR-based method and the standard single-cell gel electrophoresis assay, demonstrating a superior performance of LORD-Q. Exemplarily, we monitored induction of DNA damage and repair processes in human induced pluripotent stem cells and isogenic fibroblasts. Our results suggest that LORD-Q provides a sequence-specific and precise method to quantify DNA damage, thereby allowing the high-throughput assessment of DNA repair, genotoxicity screening and various other processes for a wide range of life science applications.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer (CRC) presents as a very heterogeneous disease which cannot sufficiently be characterized with the currently
known genetic and epigenetic markers. To identify new markers for CRC we scrutinized the methylation status of 231 DNA repair-related
genes by methyl-CpG immunoprecipitation followed by global methylation profiling on a CpG island microarray, as altered expression
of these genes could drive genomic and chromosomal instability observed in these tumors. We show for the first time hypermethylation
of MMP9, DNMT3A and LIG4 in CRC which was confirmed in two CRC patient groups with different ethnicity. DNA ligase IV (LIG4) showed strong differential promoter methylation (up to 60%) which coincided with downregulation of mRNA in 51% of cases.
This functional association of LIG4 methylation and gene expression was supported by LIG4 re-expression in 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine-treated colon cancer cell lines, and reduced ligase IV amounts and end-joining activity
in extracts of tumors with hypermethylation. Methylation of LIG4 was not associated with other genetic and epigenetic markers of CRC in our study. As LIG4 is located on chromosome 13 which is frequently amplified in CRC, two loci were tested for gene amplification in a subset
of 47 cases. Comparison of amplification, methylation and expression data revealed that, in 30% of samples, the LIG4 gene was amplified and methylated, but expression was not changed. In conclusion, hypermethylation of the LIG4 promoter is a new mechanism to control ligase IV expression. It may represent a new epigenetic marker for CRC independent
of known markers.
Preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The scaffold protein A-kinase anchor protein 12 (AKAP12) exerts tumor suppressor activity and is downregulated in several tumor entities. We characterized AKAP12 expression and regulation in astrocytomas, including pilocytic and diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas. We examined 194 human gliomas and 23 normal brain white matter samples by immunohistochemistry or immunoblotting for AKAP12 expression. We further performed quantitative methylation analysis of the AKAP12 promoter by MassARRAY® of normal brain, World Health Organization (WHO) grade I to IV astrocytomas, and glioma cell lines. Our results show that AKAP12 is expressed in a perivascular distribution in normal CNS, strongly upregulated in tumor cells in pilocytic astrocytomas, and weakly expressed in diffuse astrocytomas of WHO grade II to IV. Methylation analyses revealed specific hypermethylation of AKAP12α promoter in WHO grade II to IV astrocytomas. Restoration experiments using 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine in primary glioblastoma cells decreased AKAP12α promoter methylation and markedly increased AKAP12α mRNA levels. In summary, we demonstrate that AKAP12 is differentially expressed in human astrocytomas showing high expression in pilocytic but low expression in diffuse astrocytomas of all WHO-grades. Our results further indicate that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in silencing AKAP12 in diffuse astrocytomas; however, a tumor suppressive role of AKAP12 in distinct astrocytoma subtypes remains to be determined.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is usually incurable. Contrary to genetic mechanisms involved in PDAC pathogenesis, epigenetic alterations are ill defined. Here, we determine the contribution of epigenetically silenced genes to the development of PDAC. We analyzed enriched, highly methylated DNAs from PDACs, chronic pancreatitis (CP) and normal tissues using CpG island microarrays and identified WNK2 as a prominent candidate tumor suppressor gene being downregulated early in PDAC development. WNK2 was further investigated in tissue microarrays, methylation analysis of early pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), mouse models for PDAC and pancreatitis, re-expression studies after demethylation, and cell growth assays using WNK2 overexpression. Demethylation assays confirmed the link between methylation and expression. WNK2 hypermethylation was higher in tumor than in surrounding inflamed tissues and was observed in PanIN lesions as well as in a PDAC mouse model. WNK2 mRNA and protein expressions were lower in PDAC and CP compared with normal tissues both in patients and mouse models. Overexpression of WNK2 led to reduced cell growth, and WNK2 expression in tissues correlated negatively with pERK1/2 expression, a downstream target of WNK2 responsible for cell proliferation. Downregulation of WNK2 by promoter hypermethylation occurs early in PDAC pathogenesis and may support tumor cell growth via the ERK-MAPK pathway.Oncogene advance online publication, 5 August 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.312.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress and resulting cellular damage have been suggested to play a role in the etiology of several chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Identifying factors associated with reduced oxidative stress and resulting damage may guide future disease-prevention strategies.
In the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) biomarker-study of 209 persons living in the Seattle area, we examined the association between current use of several specialty supplements and oxidative stress, DNA damage, and DNA repair capacity. Use of glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), ginseng, ginkgo, and saw palmetto was ascertained by a supplement inventory/interview, while use of fiber supplements was ascertained by questionnaire. Supplements used by more than 30 persons (glucosamine and chondroitin) were evaluated as the trend across number of pills/week (non-use, <14 pills/week, 14+ pills/week), while less-commonly used supplements were evaluated as use/non-use. Oxidative stress was measured by urinary 8-isoprostane and PGF2α concentrations using enzyme immunoassays (EIA), while lymphocyte DNA damage and DNA repair capacity were measured using the Comet assay. Multivariate-adjusted linear regression was used to model the associations between supplement use and oxidative stress/DNA damage.
Use of glucosamine (p-trend:0.01), chondroitin (p-trend:0.003), and fiber supplements (p:0.01) was associated with reduced PGF2α concentrations, while CoQ10 supplementation was associated with reduced baseline DNA damage (p:0.003).
Use of certain specialty supplements may be associated with reduced oxidative stress and DNA damage.
Further research is needed to evaluate the association between specialty supplement use and markers of oxidative stress and DNA damage.
Preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assessed whether variants in 22 oxidative stress-related genes are associated with mortality of breast cancer patients and whether the associations differ according to radiotherapy. Using a prospective cohort of 1348 postmenopausal breast cancer patients, we estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for 109 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using Cox proportional hazards regression. Validation of results was attempted using two Scandinavian studies. Eleven SNPs in MT2A, NFE2L2, NQO1, PRDX1, and PRDX6 were significantly associated with overall mortality after a median follow-up of 5.7 years. Three SNPs in NQO1 (rs2917667) and in PRDX6 (rs7314, rs4916362) were consistently associated with increased risk of dying across all three study populations (pooled: HRNQO1_rs2917667 1.20, 95% CI 1.00-1.44, p = 0.051; HRPRDX6_rs7314 1.16, 95% CI 1.00-1.35, p = 0.056, HRPRDX6_rs4916362 1.14 95% CI 1.00-1.32, p = 0.062). Potential effect modification by radiotherapy was found for CAT_rs769218. In conclusion, genetic variants in NQO1 and PRDX6 may modify breast cancer prognosis.
No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Breast (Edinburgh, Scotland)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Base excision repair (BER) removes DNA damage induced by endogenous reactive oxygen species or ionizing radiation, important breast cancer risk factors. Genetic variation associated with impaired BER might thus increase breast cancer risk. Therefore, we assessed risk associations of 123 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 19 BER genes in 1,639 postmenopausal breast cancer cases and 1,967 controls from the German population-based case-control study MARIE. SNPs were tagging SNPs representing genetic variation across the gene together with potentially functional SNPs. Risk associations were assessed using conditional logistic regression, adjusted for potential breast cancer risk factors. Significant associations between polymorphisms and breast cancer risk were found for one SNP in PARP2 and three SNPs in the mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma, POLG. A SNP in the promoter region of POLG (rs2856268, A>G) showed a protective effect for homozygous GG carriers (odds ratio 0.81, 95% confidence intervals 0.65-1.00). Joint analysis of an enlarged sample set and haplotype analysis supported the results for POLG. Quantification of POLG mRNA expression in lymphocytes of 148 breast cancer patients revealed higher mRNA levels for rs2856268 GG carriers (p value = 0.038). A luciferase promoter assay showed significant differences between constructs harboring the respective alleles. Taken together, our results suggest that genetic variation in the POLG promoter region affects DNA polymerase gamma levels in mitochondria. This could contribute to the reported increase in mitochondrial mutation frequency resulting in dysfunction and altered breast cancer risk. Risk effects and the functional impact of the POLG promoter variant require further confirmation.
Preview · Article · Jan 2013 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiotherapy is a powerful cure for several types of solid tumours, but its application is often limited because of severe side effects in individual patients. With the aim to find biomarkers capable of predicting normal tissue side reactions we analysed the radiation responses of cells from individual head and neck tumour and breast cancer patients of different clinical radiosensitivity in a multicentric study. Multiple parameters of cellular radiosensitivity were analysed in coded samples of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) and derived lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from 15 clinical radio-hypersensitive tumour patients and compared to age- and sex-matched non-radiosensitive patient controls and 15 lymphoblastoid cell lines from age- and sex- matched healthy controls of the KORA study. Experimental parameters included ionizing radiation (IR)-induced cell death (AnnexinV), induction and repair of DNA strand breaks (Comet assay), induction of yH2AX foci (as a result of DNA double strand breaks), and whole genome expression analyses. Considerable inter-individual differences in IR-induced DNA strand breaks and their repair and/or cell death could be detected in primary and immortalised cells with the applied assays. The group of clinically radiosensitive patients was not unequivocally distinguishable from normal responding patients nor were individual overreacting patients in the test system unambiguously identified by two different laboratories. Thus, the in vitro test systems investigated here seem not to be appropriate for a general prediction of clinical reactions during or after radiotherapy due to the experimental variability compared to the small effect of radiation sensitivity. Genome-wide expression analysis however revealed a set of 67 marker genes which were differentially induced 6 h after in vitro-irradiation in lymphocytes from radio-hypersensitive and non-radiosensitive patients. These results warrant future validation in larger cohorts in order to determine parameters potentially predictive for clinical radiosensitivity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Impairment of endogenous differentiation pathways like retinoic acid (RA) signaling seems to be a central pathogenetic event in astrocytic gliomas. Among others, expression of the differentiation-promoting RA chaperon protein cellular retinoic acid binding protein 2 (CRABP2) is extenuated in high-grade gliomas. Against this background, we aimed at identifying potential pathomechanisms underlying reduced CRABP2 expression in these tumors. Using MassARRAY methylation analysis, we detected extensive CpG methylation upstream of the CRABP2 gene locus in a study sample comprising 100 astrocytic gliomas of WHO Grade II to IV. Compared to nontumorous control samples, tumors revealed increased CpG methylation and methylation levels were inversely correlated to CRABP2 mRNA expression. Substantiating our in situ findings, CRABP2 mRNA levels increased in glioma cell lines after exposure to the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Finally, a distinct CpG methylation signature distinguished between primary glioblastoma on the one hand and the group of astrocytoma WHO II-III and secondary glioblastoma on the other hand. Altogether, our observations suggest that epigenetic silencing of CRABP2 might contribute to an immature phenotype in glioma cells.
Preview · Article · Oct 2012 · International Journal of Cancer