Lara P Fernandez

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

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Publications (11)57.9 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The presence of differentiated thyroid cells in thyroid cancer is critical for the antitumor response to radioactive iodide treatment, and loss of the differentiated phenotype is a key hallmark of iodide-refractory metastatic disease. The role of microRNAs (miRs) in fine-tuning gene expression has become a major regulatory mechanism by which developmental and pathological processes occur. In this study, we performed next-generation sequencing and expression analysis of eight papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC) to comprehensively characterize miRs involved in loss of differentiation. We found that only a small set of abundant miRs is differentially expressed between PTC tissue and normal tissue from the same patient. In addition, we integrated computational prediction of potential targets and mRNA sequencing and identified a master miR regulatory network involved in essential biological processes such as thyroid differentiation. Both mature products of miR-146b (miR-146b-5p and -3p) were among the most abundantly expressed miRs in tumors. Specifically, we found that miR-146b-3p binds to the 3`UTR of PAX8 and Sodium/Iodide Symporter (NIS) leading to impaired protein translation and a subsequent reduction in iodide uptake. Furthermore, our findings show that miR-146b and PAX8 regulate each other and share common target genes, thus highlighting a novel regulatory circuit that governs the differentiated phenotype of PTC. In conclusion, our study has uncovered the existence of a miR-146b-3p-PAX8-NIS regulatory circuit that may be exploited therapeutically to modulate thyroid cell differentiation and iodide uptake for improved treatment of advanced thyroid cancer. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of the thyroid transcription factors (TTFs), NKX2-1, FOXE1, PAX8 and HHEX, has considerably advanced our understanding of thyroid development, congenital thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. The TTFs are fundamental to proper formation of the thyroid gland and for maintaining the functional differentiated state of the adult thyroid; however, they are not individually required for precursor cell commitment to a thyroid fate. Although knowledge of the mechanisms involved in thyroid development has increased, the full complement of genes involved in thyroid gland specification and the signals that trigger expression of the genes that encode the TTFs remain unknown. The mechanisms involved in thyroid organogenesis and differentiation have provided clues to identifying the genes that are involved in human congenital thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. Mutations in the genes that encode the TTFs, as well as polymorphisms and epigenetic modifications, have been associated with thyroid pathologies. Here, we summarize the roles of the TTFs in thyroid development and the mechanisms by which they regulate expression of the genes involved in thyroid differentiation. We also address the implications of mutations in TTFs in thyroid diseases and in diseases not related to the thyroid gland.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Nature Reviews Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: FoxE1 is a thyroid-specific forkhead transcription factor essential for thyroid gland development, as well as for the maintenance of the thyroid differentiated state in adults. FoxE1 recognizes and binds to a short DNA sequence present in thyroglobulin (Tg) and thyroperoxidase (Tpo) promoters, but FoxE1 binding to regulatory regions other than Tg and Tpo promoters remains almost unexplored. Improving knowledge of the regulatory functions of FoxE1 is necessary to clarify its role in endocrine syndromes and cancer susceptibility.
    Preview · Article · May 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Seven genetic biomarkers previously associated with melanoma were analysed in a meta-analysis conducted in three South European populations: five red hair colour (RHC) MC1R alleles, one SLC45A2 variant (p.Phe374Leu) and one thermosensitive TYR variant (p.Arg402Gln). The study included 1639 melanoma patients and 1342 control subjects. The estimated odds ratio (OR) associated with carrying at least one MC1R RHC variant was 2.18 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.86-2.55; p-value=1.02×10(-21)), with an additive effect for carrying two RHC variants (OR: 5.02, 95% CI: 2.88-8.94, p-value=3.91×10(-8)). The SLC45A2 variant, p.Phe374Leu, was significantly and strongly protective for melanoma in the three South European populations studied, with an overall OR value of 0.41 (95% CI: 0.33-0.50; p-value=3.50×10(-17)). The association with melanoma of the TYR variant p.Arg402Gln was also statistically significant (OR: 1.50; 95% CI: 1.11-2.04; p-value=0.0089). Adjustment for all clinical potential confounders showed that melanoma risks attributable to MC1R and SLC45A2 variants strongly persisted (OR: 2.01 95% CI: 1.49-2.72 and OR: 0.50, 95% CI: 0.31-0.80, respectively), while the association of TYR p.Arg402Gln was no longer significant. In addition, stratification of clinical melanoma risk factors showed that the risk of melanoma was strong in those individuals who did not have clinical risk factors. In conclusion, our results show without ambiguity that in South European populations, MC1R RHC and SCL45A2 p.Phe374Leu variants are strong melanoma risk predictors, notably in those individuals who would not be identified as high risk based on their phenotypes or exposures alone. The use of these biomarkers in clinical practice could be promising and warrants further discussion.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990)
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    ABSTRACT: Base excision repair (BER) and nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathways eliminate a wide variety of DNA damage, including UV photoproducts. The ability of each individual to repair DNA damage following different causes might explain at least in part the variability in cancer susceptibility. Moreover, inflammatory response to UV exposure may further contribute to skin carcinogenesis by oxidative stress mechanisms. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes encoding various DNA-repair enzymes and oxidative stress factors may be candidate low-penetrance variants with a role in susceptibility to different cancers, particularly in those with aetiologies linked to environmental exposure, such as malignant melanoma (MM). In this case-control study, 684 Spanish sporadic MM patients and 406 cancer-free control subjects were included and the role of 46 polymorphisms belonging to 16 BER and NER genes as well as 11 genes involved in oxidative stress processes were investigated. One polymorphism was identified to be individually associated with MM in the Spanish population. The variant was found in the NOS1 oxidative stress gene (rs2682826; p-value=0.01). These results suggest a putative role of oxidative stress processes in the genetic predisposition to melanoma. To the authors' knowledge, this is the largest DNA repair-related SNP study in melanoma risk conducted in the Spanish population up to now. Furthermore, it also represents a comprehensive genetic study of several oxidative stress polymorphisms tested in relation to MM susceptibility.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2011 · European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990)
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    ABSTRACT: As the incidence of Malignant Melanoma (MM) reflects an interaction between skin colour and UV exposure, variations in genes implicated in pigmentation and tanning response to UV may be associated with susceptibility to MM. In this study, 363 SNPs in 65 gene regions belonging to the pigmentation pathway have been successfully genotyped using a SNP array. Five hundred and ninety MM cases and 507 controls were analyzed in a discovery phase I. Ten candidate SNPs based on a p-value threshold of 0.01 were identified. Two of them, rs35414 (SLC45A2) and rs2069398 (SILV/CKD2), were statistically significant after conservative Bonferroni correction. The best six SNPs were further tested in an independent Spanish series (624 MM cases and 789 controls). A novel SNP located on the SLC45A2 gene (rs35414) was found to be significantly associated with melanoma in both phase I and phase II (P<0.0001). None of the other five SNPs were replicated in this second phase of the study. However, three SNPs in TYR, SILV/CDK2 and ADAMTS20 genes (rs17793678, rs2069398 and rs1510521 respectively) had an overall p-value<0.05 when considering the whole DNA collection (1214 MM cases and 1296 controls). Both the SLC45A2 and the SILV/CDK2 variants behave as protective alleles, while the TYR and ADAMTS20 variants seem to function as risk alleles. Cumulative effects were detected when these four variants were considered together. Furthermore, individuals carrying two or more mutations in MC1R, a well-known low penetrance melanoma-predisposing gene, had a decreased MM risk if concurrently bearing the SLC45A2 protective variant. To our knowledge, this is the largest study on Spanish sporadic MM cases to date.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: The CDKN2A gene is regarded as the major familial malignant melanoma (MM) susceptibility gene. Human pigmentation is one of the main modulators of individual risk of developing MM. Therefore, the genes involved in the determination of skin colour and tanning response are potentially implicated in MM predisposition and may be useful predictors of MM risk in the general population. The human melanocortin-1 receptor gene (MC1R) plays a crucial role in pigmentation and also appears to be important in MM. The OCA2 gene has emerged as a new and significant determinant of human iris colour variation. We present a case-control study in Spanish population including 390 consecutive patients with melanoma and 254 control subjects. Sequence analysis of the entire coding region and genotyping of 5 tag-SNPs in the genomic region of MC1R was performed. We identified 27 variants, two reaching statistical significance [R160W (OR: 4.18, 95% CI: 1.24-14.04, P = 0.02) and D294H (OR: 3.10, 95% CI: 1.37-7.01, P = 0.01)] and we detected two novel non-synonymous changes: V92L and T308M. Odds ratio for carrying two functional variants was 4.25 (95% CI: 2.30-7.84, P = 3.63 × 10-6). Haplotypes of the entire MC1R region have been established, and we observed an enrichment of a rare European haplotype similar to African values carrying variants V92M and I155T. In addition, three potentially functional SNPs were selected in p16/CDKN2A and in the promoter region of OCA2/HERC2. Our data for CDKN2A gene did not reach statistically significant results for any of the two studied alleles. We found that the variant allele A > G of OCA2/HERC2 (rs12913832) was associated with pigmentation features: eye, hair and skin colour; P-values = 1.8 × 10-29, 9.2 × 10-16, 1.1 × 10-3, respectively, validating previous results.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Experimental Dermatology
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    No preview · Article · Nov 2009 · Melanoma research
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    ABSTRACT: Human pigmentation appears to be one of the main modulators of individual risk of developing malignant melanoma (MM). A large number of genes are known to be involved in rare pigmentary disorders and explain most of the variation in pigmentation phenotypes seen in human populations. This Spanish case-control study included 205 patients with melanoma and 245 control subjects. Thirty-one single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes that had been mainly associated with congenital pigmentation syndromes (ADTB3A, ATRN, CHS1, EDNRB, HPS, KIT, MGRN1, MITF, MLANA, MYO5A, MYO7A, OA1, OCA2, PAX3 and SOX10) were selected. We found that the variant allele of OCA2 R419Q (rs1800407) was associated with increased risk of MM (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.04-2.31, P = 0.03). This effect on melanoma risk appeared to be stronger among individuals with solar lentigines, or at least 50 nevi. We also describe, for the first time, an association with the variant S1666C (rs2276288) in the MYO7A gene (OR 1.35; 95% CI 1.04-1.76; P = 0.03). Again, this association appeared to be stronger in several phenotypic groups such as individuals with fair skin and those with childhood sunburns. We also found that several variants in the pigmentation genes considered were associated with intermediate phenotypic characteristics. Our findings highlight the potential importance of pigmentation genes in sporadic MM susceptibility.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · Experimental Dermatology
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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D serum levels have been found to be related to sun exposure and diet, together with cell differentiation, growth control and consequently, cancer risk. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) genotypes may influence cancer risk; however, no epidemiological studies in sporadic breast cancer (BC) or malignant melanoma (MM) have been performed in a southern European population. In this study, the VDR gene has been evaluated in two epithelial cancers BC and MM. We have conducted an analysis in 549 consecutive and non-related sporadic BC cases and 556 controls, all from the Spanish population, and 283 MM cases and 245 controls. Genotyping analyses were carried out on four putatively functional SNPs within the VDR gene. An association with the minor allele A of the non-synonymous SNP rs2228570 (rs10735810, FokI, Met1Thr) was observed for BC, with an estimated odds ratio (OR) of 1.26 (95% CI = 1.02-1.57; p = 0.036). The synonymous variant rs731236 (TaqI) appeared to be associated with protection from BC (OR = 0.80, 95%CI = 0.64-0.99; p = 0.047). No statistically significant associations with MM were observed for any SNP. Nevertheless, sub-group analyses revealed an association between rs2228570 (FokI) and absence of childhood sunburns (OR = 0.65, p = 0.003), between the 3'utr SNP rs739837 (BglI) and fair skin (OR = 1.31, p = 0.048), and between the promoter SNP rs4516035 and the more aggressive tumour location in head-neck and trunk (OR = 1.54, p = 0.020). In summary, we observed associations between SNPs in the VDR gene and BC risk, and a comprehensive analysis using clinical and tumour characteristics as outcome variables has revealed potential associations with MM. These associations required confirmation in independent studies.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2009 · BMC Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: One of the many potential uses of the HapMap project is its application to the investigation of complex disease aetiology among a wide range of populations. This study aims to assess the transferability of HapMap SNP data to the Spanish population in the context of cancer research. We have carried out a genotyping study in Spanish subjects involving 175 candidate cancer genes using an indirect gene-based approach and compared results with those for HapMap CEU subjects. Allele frequencies were very consistent between the two samples, with a high positive correlation (R) of 0.91 (P<1x10(-6)). Linkage disequilibrium patterns and block structures across each gene were also very similar, with disequilibrium coefficient (r (2)) highly correlated (R=0.95, P<1x10(-6)). We found that of the 21 genes that contained at least one block larger than 60 kb, nine (ATM, ATR, BRCA1, ERCC6, FANCC, RAD17, RAD50, RAD54B and XRCC4) belonged to the GO category "DNA repair". Haplotype frequencies per gene were also highly correlated (mean R=0.93), as was haplotype diversity (R=0.91, P<1x10(-6)). "Yin yang" haplotypes were observed for 43% of the genes analysed and 18% of those were identical to the ancestral haplotype (identified in Chimpazee). Finally, the portability of tagSNPs identified in the HapMap CEU data using pairwise r (2) thresholds of 0.8 and 0.5 was assessed by applying these to the Spanish and current HapMap data for 66 genes. In general, the HapMap tagSNPs performed very well. Our results show generally high concordance with HapMap data in allele frequencies and haplotype distributions and confirm the applicability of HapMap SNP data to the study of complex diseases among the Spanish population.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2006 · Human Genetics