[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and aims:
Trans-hepatic arterial chemo-embolization is the most commonly used treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. The prognostic impact of tumor biomarkers has not therefore been evaluated in this treatment. Imbalance between matrix metalloproteinase-2 and tissue inhibitor metalloproteinase-2 is considered to play an important role in extracellular matrix remodeling and degradation. Higher serum levels of MMP-2 have been shown to predict a poor prognosis and shorter overall survival in HCC after TACE. The objective of this study was to evaluate the serum levels of MMP-2 and TIMP-2 in HCC patients before and after TACE to evaluate their clinical significance and usefulness as prognostic biomarkers.
MMP-2 and TIMP-2 levels were measured by ELISA in 75 HCC patients and 30 healthy controls. Sera MMP-2 and TIMP-2 were correlated with clinico-pathological features.
The mean serum MMP-2 and TIMP-2 levels of HCC patients before TACE were 1700±71ng/mL and 89±45ng/mL respectively, significantly higher than that of the control group: 771±60ng/mL (p<0.0001, t-test) and 25.7±20ng/mL respectively (p<0.0001, t-test). A significant decrease of MMP-2 levels after 1 and 3months compared to baseline time was observed (p<0.0001), while with TIMP-2 a gradual increase in serum before and after TACE (p<0.01) was detected. No significant correlation between serum MMP-2 levels and other clinico-pathological features was observed. Patients with serum MMP-2 >1500ng/mL (median value) had worse overall and recurrence-free survival compared with those with serum MMP-2 levels <1500ng/mL before treatment.
Higher serum MMP-2 levels and MMP-2/TIMP-2 ratio could predict poor prognosis after TACE, suggesting prognostic role of these biomarkers in HCC.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Clinical biochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the peripheral blood is a prerequisite for the formation of distant metastases. Transforming growth factor-βeta (TGF-β) and Chemokine (C-X-C Motif) Ligand-1 (CXCL1) are cytokines involved in the colonization of distant sites by CTCs in several pre-clinical animal models. However, their role is poorly-investigated in patients with metastatic cancer. Here, we investigated whether circulating levels of TGF-β and CXCL1 are predictors of CTC seeding in preferential distant sites in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
CTCs were isolated from the peripheral blood of 61 patients with metastatic breast cancer by immunomagnetic separation. Plasma samples were collected from the same patients and assayed for TGF-β and CXCL1 by enzyme-linked immunoassay.
Patients were grouped in CK1+/- (N<10), CK2+ (N≥10<50) and CK3+ (N≥50), according to the number (N) of cytokeratin 7/8-positive CTCs: the highest number of CK7/8-positive CTCs was detected in patients with negative Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2/NEU) status (p<0.0001) antigen, identified by the monoclonal antibody Ki-67 (Ki-67) ≥15% (p=0.003), Carcinoma antigen 15-3 (CA-15.3) ≥40 U/ml (p=0.004) and those with lung metastases (p=0.01). We found that elevated plasma concentrations of TGF-β and CXCL1 are predictive for the detection of CTCs. In particular, patients with CK3+ CTCs and plasma concentrations of TGF-β and CXCL1 higher than the median value had a poor prognosis in comparison to patients with CK1+/- CTCs and TGF-β and CXCL1 concentrations below the median value.
Our study shows that elevated circulating levels of TGF-β and CXCL1 are associated with a poor prognosis, and higher detection of CTCs and propensity of these cells to seed lung metastases in patients with breast cancer.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Anticancer research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Cancer Antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) is a tumor-associated antigen used as serum marker for breast cancer surveillance in patients and for monitoring the response to treatment. Aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate CA 15-3 as a prognostic factor in early detection of breast cancer relapse as well as to analyze the statistical correlation between CA 15-3 levels and clinical-pathological parameters including staging, grading, estrogen and progesterone receptors. Methods: Sera of 726 women with breast carcinoma obtained preoperatively and postoperatively were assayed for CA 15-3 by chemoluminescent immunometric assay. Results: We found that the mean serum CA 15-3 levels in patients before surgery were significantly higher (36.59 U/ml) compared with those of CA 15-3 after surgery (27.11 U/ml). We also found that elevated preoperative serum levels of CA 15-3 were significantly correlated with the presence of metastatic disease. In particular, among 305/700 patients (43,6%) that displayed over cut-off (>40U/ml) preoperative levels of CA 15-3, 94 patients (30,8%) developed advanced disease (metastases to distant sites). By contrast, in a subgroup of 395/700 patients (56.4%) with CA 15.3 serum levels < 40U/ml, only 32/305 patients (8%) showed signs of advanced disease during follow-up. Cox regression analysis revealed that only the presence of metastasis and the increased serum levels of CA 15-3 after surgery are significant risk factors for relapse of disease. Conclusion: Elevated preoperative concentrations of CA 15-3 may be a useful predictive factor for cancer progression in postoperative patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies suggest a possible association between BMI, diagnosis and clinical-pathological breast cancer characteristics but biological bases for this relationship still remain to be ascertained. Several biological mechanisms play a role in the genesis and progression of breast cancer. This study aimed to investigate relationships between BMI and breast cancer diagnosis/progression in a Southern Italian population and to try to interpret results according to the serum proteomic profile of healthy and breast cancer patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women, and the strongest risk factor remains family history. Although screening in asymptomatic women seems able to reduce breast-cancer related mortality, it is of limited usefulness in young women and patients with familial breast cancer syndrome. New diagnostic tools useful for breast cancer management are urgently needed. The aim of the present paper is to look for new candidate tumor markers useful for diagnosis in these patients.
Design and methods:
In this prospective study 292 serum samples (100 from healthy people, 100 from sporadic breast cancer patients and 92 from familial breast cancer patients) were analyzed by SELDI-TOF-MS. All samples both from cancer patients and healthy subjects were run in duplicate and randomly spotted on CM10 and IMAC30 protein chip array. Data were analyzed using the expression differential mapping (EDM) tool, decisional tree and multivariate analysis. A further in silico investigation was performed in order to hypothesize the identity of evidenced peptides.
EDM highlighted thirteen and sixteen significant differentially expressed peaks by CM10 and IMAC30 protein chip respectively. Subsequent analysis showed that two peaks at m/z 11730 and 5066 were differentially expressed in sporadic and familial breast cancer patients respectively, while a peak at m/z 8127 was overexpressed only in familial breast cancer patients. The diagnostic power of protein peaks was tested by decisional tree; sensitivity and specificity ranged from 17% to 91.67%.
We show that the serum profile of familial breast cancer patients was different when compared with that of sporadic breast cancer patients. We hypothesized the identity of the most significant peaks, and further studies are now planned in order to definitively establish the identity.
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Clinical biochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The combination of pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) and ribavirin is currently the gold standard therapy in patients with HCV chronic infection. The duration of therapy, as well as the therapeutic dosage, depend on the genotype. Identification of the genotype and rapid virological response (RVR) are widely accepted as the most important predictors of clinical outcome during antiviral therapy but to optimize cost-benefits and to reduce possible side effects, further prognostic factors are needed. Squamous cell carcinoma antigens immunocomplex (SCCA-IC) has been reported to be increased in the serum of patients with liver cancer. In this multicentric prospective study, we investigated the serum levels of SCCA-IC in 103 patients with HCV chronic infection. Serum HCV-RNA was detected before the beginning of treatment, after 4, 12, 24 or 48 weeks, and at week 24 during follow-up. RVR, early virological response and sustained virological response (SVR) were assessed following the international guidelines. SCCA-IC levels were higher in responders (238 AU, interquartile difference 130-556 AU) and decreased significantly to 125 AU (70-290 AU). The mean baseline value in nonresponders was 149 AU (86.5-306.5 AU), but after 4 weeks of treatment the serum levels decreased to 115 AU (80-280 AU): the profile of reduction was different between patients with or without a positive SVR. Logistic regression with SVR as dependent variable identified as significant independent variables: the reduction in SCCA-IC after 1 month (OR = 4.82; 95% CI 1.39-16.67; P = 0.131) and a genotype other than 1 (OR = 0.094; 95% CI 0.21-0.42; P = 0.002); sex and age were also significant factors influencing SVR. SCCA-IC seems to be a reliable independent prognostic marker of therapeutic effectiveness in anti-HCV positive patients undergoing antiviral therapy.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Journal of Viral Hepatitis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocarcinogenesis is heavily influenced by chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) infection. Elevated levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (SERPINE1/PAI-1) have been reported in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) associated with viral infection. The gene encoding SERPINE1 is highly polymorphic and the frequently associated 4/5 guanosine (4G/5G) polymorphism in the gene promoter may influence its expression. Here, we investigated the distribution of genotypes and the frequency of alleles of the 4G/5G polymorphism in patients with HCC, the influence of the 4G/5G polymorphism on plasma SERPINE1 levels and its association with viral infection. A total of 75 patients with HCC were enrolled: 32 (42.6%) were HBV(+)/HCV(+), 11 (14.6%) were only HCV(+), and 32 (42.6%) were negative for both viruses. A control group of healthy donors was also enrolled (n=50). SERPINE1 plasma concentrations were determined by ELISA and the detection of the promoter 4G/5G polymorphism was performed by an allele-specific PCR analysis. We found that the frequency of both the 4G/4G genotype (p=0.02) and the 4G allele (p=0.006) were significantly higher in patients with HCC compared to the control group, and particularly higher in patients with HCC co-infected with HBV(+)/HCV(+) than in those with no viral infection. We also found that patients with the 4G/4G genotype had significantly higher plasma SERPINE1 protein levels when compared with patients with the 4G/5G or 5G/5G genotype (p<0.001). Differences in frequency of 4G allele and genetic variability of 4G/5G SERPINE1 polymorphism with a higher level of SERPINE1 protein in patients with HCC with HBV(+)/HCV(+) than those without infection, suggest the presence of two distinct pathogenic mechanisms in hepatocarcinogenesis, depending on the etiology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of our study was to improve the detection of HCC by measuring alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in addition to other molecular markers by estimating the plasma concentration of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In particular, the role of hepatitis C and B viruses (HCV and HBV) infection was evaluated with relation to TGF-β and EGFR plasma concentration.
Eighty-five patients with liver disease, 54 with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), 16 with liver metastasis (LM), 15 with liver cirrhosis (LC) and 30 healthy volunteers were evaluated. AFP, TGF-β and EGFR were detected with enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) in plasma of all study participants.
The mean values of TGF-β and EGFR in all patients were much higher than in control group, p<0.0001. In HCC patients the levels of TGF-β and EGFR were much higher than in LM and LC patients. Moreover, TGF-β and EGFR were significantly higher in the presence of both viruses or only in the presence of HCV, p=0.002. No decrease or increase of AFP was noted in these patients.
Our data suggest the reliability of TGF-β and EGFR in detecting HCC, in particular when the carcinogenesis is affected by virus infection.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Anticancer research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the 5-hidroxytryptamine transporter gene (5-HTTLPR), alters its transcription. Short allele (SS) variation decreases the transcriptional efficacy of serotonin, causing psychiatric disorders, major depressive disorder (MDD) and major depression in response to stressful life events. The aim of this study was to determine the current understanding of the role of 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the development of depressive episodes and its response to treatment. Twenty-five articles were identified from PubMed, utilizing the following keyword, 5-HTT transporter gene, polymorphism, depression, stressful condition, psychiatric disorder. All articles were read and notes were made regarding study participant, measures, data analysis and results, and were used to write this review. The distribution of the SS allele in patients is associated with an increased risk of MDD following exposure to stressful events of life. Additionally, this genetic variant is closely associated with several psychiatric conditions such as suicidal behaviour, psychoses, personality disorders, and aggressive-impulsive traits.
No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · In vivo (Athens, Greece)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurs in fibrotic liver as a consequence of underlying cirrhosis. The goal of this study was to investigate how the interaction between HCC cells and stromal fibroblasts affects tumor progression. We isolated and characterized carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and paired peritumoral tissue fibroblasts (PTFs) from 10 different patients with HCC and performed coculture experiments. We demonstrated a paracrine mechanism whereby HCC cells secrete lysophostatidic acid (LPA), which promotes transdifferentiation of PTFs to a CAF-like myofibroblastic phenotype. This effect is mediated by up-regulation of specific genes related to a myo/contractile phenotype. After transdifferentiation, PTFs expressed α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and enhanced proliferation, migration, and invasion of HCC cells occur. A pan-LPA inhibitor (α-bromomethylene phosphonate [BrP]-LPA), or autotaxin gene silencing, inhibited this PTF transdifferentiation and the consequent enhanced proliferation, migration, and invasion of HCC cells. In vivo, PTFs coinjected with HCC cells underwent transdifferentiation and promoted tumor progression. Treatment with BrP-LPA blocked transdifferentiation of PTFs, down-regulated myofibroblast-related genes, and slowed HCC growth and progression. Patients with larger and metastatic HCC and shorter survival displayed higher serum levels of LPA. Analysis of microdissected tissues indicated that stroma is the main target of the LPA paracrine loop in HCC. As a consequence, α-SMA-positive cells were more widespread in tumoral compared with paired peritumoral stroma. Conclusion: Our data indicate that LPA accelerates HCC progression by recruiting PTFs and promoting their transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts. Inhibition of LPA could prove effective in blocking transdifferentiation of myofibroblasts and tumor progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a protein-based pattern in serum previously determined by MALDI-TOF-MS (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight) and considered potentially useful for prediction of clinical outcome of EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) TKIs (tyrosine kinase inhibitors) treated patients.
We generated SELDI-TOF (Surface Enhanced Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight) spectra in sera of 11 advanced NSCLC treated with Gefitinib. We detected the clusters with m/z 5843, 11445, 11529, 11685, 11759 and 11903 which were previously reported to be potential predictors of response to Gefitinib treatment.
Four cluster peaks with m/z 5843, 11445, 11529, 11685 corresponded to SAA (serum amyloid A) protein on the basis on their calculated molecular weight, peptide fingerprinting and antibodies recognition.
We confirm that several proteins already reported were isoforms of SAA but further studies are in development in order to evaluate the predictive value of such algorithm.
No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Clinical biochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activated HSCs (hepatic stellate cells) are the main source of extracellular matrix proteins present in cirrhotic liver on which HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma) commonly develops. HCC cells behave differently according to differences in the surrounding microenvironment. In the present study, we have investigated a mechanism whereby HSCs modulate the migratory activity of HCC cells. We used primary cultures of human HSCs to investigate their effect on Hep3B, Alexander, HLE and HLF HCC cells. The expression of Ln-5 (laminin-5) was documented at transcript and protein levels both in vitro and in vivo. HCC cells strongly adhere, migrate and spread in the presence of HSC-conditioned medium and of co-culture. HSCs produce and secrete Ln-5 in the CM (conditioned medium). The electrophoretic pattern of secreted Ln-5 is consistent with that of a migratory substrate, showing the presence of the γ2x fragment. Blocking antibodies against Ln-5 inhibit HCC migration in the presence of HSC-CM. HCC cells migrate very poorly in the presence of Ln-5 immunodepleted HSC-CM. HCC migration in the presence of HSCs is dependent on the MEK [MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)/ERK (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase) kinase]/ERK pathway, but not the PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase)/Akt pathway. HSC-CM, as well as Ln-5, activates the MEK/ERK but not the PI3K/Akt pathway. In human HCC tissues, Ln-5 is mainly distributed along α-SMA (smooth muscle actin)-positive cells, whereas in peritumoural tissues, Ln-5 is absent. HSCs stimulate HCC migration via the production and secretion of Ln-5.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to evaluate the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in sentinel lymph node and serum of breast cancer patients in order to evaluate their clinical significance and usefulness as diagnostic tumour markers. Expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 was performed on sentinel lymph node by immunohistochemistry while gelatine zymography was used to determinate the serum expression. The association of gelatinases with clinicopathological features, were analysed. Metastatic and non-metastatic breast cancer patients and 34 healthy women were involved. Gelatinases expression were significantly higher in metastatic breast cancer in comparison to non-metastatic cancer and the control group both in the sentinel lymph node and serum. Results showed a statistically significant correlation between MMP-2 or MMP-9 and cancer familiality, MMP-9 and CA 15.3 levels, and MMP-9 and grading. This study suggests a clinical utility of these proteolytic markers in malignant tumour, growth, invasion and metastasis in breast cancer.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2010 · Anticancer research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) has been implicated in the recruitment of monocytes to atheroma and of monocytes
and macrophages to adipose tissue. The aim of the study was to examine whether MCP-1 levels are associated independently with
the main thermogenetic hormones (serum TSH and thyroid hormones and 24-h urinary catecholamines) and insulin resistance in
a population mainly represented by overweight and obese women. A cohort of 100 consecutive euthyroid women, aged 18–65years,
and with a wide range of BMI, was examined. Central fat accumulation (indirectly measured by waist circumference), fasting
MCP-1 plasma levels, and TSH, FT3, FT4, insulin, glucose, and lipid (cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride) serum concentrations, and 24-h urinary catecholamines
were measured. Insulin resistance was estimated by homeostasis model assessment (HOMAIR). MCP-1 levels were directly associated with BMI (p<0.001), waist circumference (p<0.001), insulin (p<0.001), HOMAIR (p<0.001), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (p<0.001), systolic blood pressure (SBP) (p<0.001), triglycerides (TG) (p<0.05), and 24-h urinary noradrenaline (p<0.05), and negatively correlated with HDL-cholesterol (p<0.01). When a multiple regression analysis was performed with MCP-1 as the dependent variable, and only parameters showing
a significant univariate association with MCP-1 were considered as the independent variables, MCP-1 maintained an independent
positive association with insulin (p<0.01), and DBP (p<0.05). When insulin was replaced by HOMAIR in the regression analysis, MCP-1 maintained an independent positive association with HOMAIR (p<0.05), DBP (p<0.05), and BMI (p<0.05). In conclusion, this study suggests that insulin, BMI, and diastolic blood pressure cooperate independently in increasing
MCP-1 levels, whereas thyroid hormones and catecholamines have no apparent influence on this chemokine.
No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the most specific and critical regulators of angiogenesis is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which regulates endothelial proliferation, permeability, and survival. Vascular endothelial growth factor is an angiogenic mediator in tumors and has been implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of cancer. Adipose tissue is a major endocrine and it secretes hormones termed adipokines. These factors are derived from adipocytes and include proteins and metabolites such as adiponectin. Recently, adiponectin was also shown to modulate angiogenesis. This study was designed to determine the serum VEGF and adiponectin levels in patients with benign and malignant gynecological diseases and if there was a correlation between serum VEGF and adiponectin.
Serum samples, collected fasting before surgery or intervention, were available for total of 114 female patients recorded between October 2006 and December 2008. Diagnosis of benign and malignant gynaecological diseases was established by biopsy. Serum levels VEGF and adiponectin were using commercially available enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (R&D Systems Inc, Minneapolis, MN), respectively. Statistical analysis was performed by using the SPSS 9.0 software package (SPSS, Inc, Chicago, IL). The correlation between serum VEGF and serum Adiponectin was calculated using the Pearson correlation coefficient. P values of < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Our results were analyzed on the basis of 2 different parameters: age and benign and malignant gynecological diseases of the patient. Only for serum VEGF levels was a significant difference observed (P = 0.004) between patients with benign and malignant gynecological diseases. A significantly inverse correlation between serum VEGF and adiponectin levels among patients with benign and malignant gynecological diseases was found. Adiponectin level is not correlated with body mass index.
This is one of the first report on adiponectin in benign and malignant gynecological diseases. Future studies are needed to address the clinical potential role of adiponectin in cancer.
No preview · Article · May 2010 · International Journal of Gynecological Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the association between mode of breast cancer (Bca) detection and diagnosis delay in a case-series of primary, histologically confirmed Bca patients from Southern Italy. Nine hundred and fifty nine women diagnosed with incident, primary Bca were recruited in two southern Italian regions. We grouped the mode of detection into two categories: Self-Detection (S-D) and Mammography (MG). Diagnosis delay was defined as the time between detection and a histologically confirmed diagnosis of invasive Bca. 20.9% detected Bca with MG while 79.1% had S-D Bca. Women who detected Bca themselves (S-D) were more likely to delay breast cancer diagnosis than women who were diagnosed by a mammography (MG) (OR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.39-2.87); when considering the model adjusted for health system-related characteristics, the risk increased (OR: 2.13; 95% CI: 1.47-3.09). Our study indicates a disadvantage in terms of diagnostic delay for women who were admitted and treated in community hospitals compared to women admitted and treated in breast health services.
No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · Breast (Edinburgh, Scotland)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of the study was to quantify the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene in the circulating DNA of patients with primary breast cancer (BC) and to test its correlation with clinical parameters of the disease.
One hundred and twenty-one BC patients, 30 patients with fibroadenoma (NBC) and 50 healthy women were enrolled.
The level of hTERT in the plasma was significantly different in BC, NBC and controls (p<0.01), showing a sensitivity of 50% and specificity of 90% in the ability to detect malignancy. The circulating hTERT DNA was significantly different in the estrogen receptor (ER)(+)/progesterone receptor (PgR)(+) compared to the ER(-)/PgR(-) patients (p=0.03). Higher hTERT levels were associated with higher human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2/Neu expression: score 0-1 vs. score 2+ (p=0.01) and vs. score 3+ (p=0.02). Finally, hTERT was significantly inversely correlated with the carbohydrate antigen (CA) 15.3 serum level (p=0.001).
Circulating hTERT DNA has a better diagnostic value than CA 15.3 in early breast cancer disease and could be a possible candidate as a tumor marker in patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma positive to steroid hormonal receptor and with amplification of HER-2/Neu.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Anticancer research