Burkhard Helmke

Universität Heidelberg, Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (108)317.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Deleted in malignant brain tumor 1 (DMBT1) is involved in innate immunity and epithelial differentiation. Previous studies in adults indicated a strong intestinal expression of DMBT1 and an important role in inflammatory bowel diseases. Here, we analyzed the DMBT1 expression in the fetal gastrointestinal system depending on gestational age and in patients with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), volvulus, intestinal perforation (IP), or herniation, representing typical diseases of preterm and term infants. We used immunohistochemistry and RNA in situ hybridization to detect DMBT1 protein and mRNA in fetal tissues, supplemented by postmortem analysis of DMBT1 expression in died newborns and analysis of surgically removed tissues. DMBT1 expression is detectable in the early developmental stages of the gastrointestinal system. In NEC, volvulus, IP, or herniation, characterized by high systemic inflammatory responses, DMBT1 expression is strongly increased. High DMBT1 expression was also found in the bile ducts of older infants with sepsis or cholestasis. The study shows that DMBT1 expression is observed in the developing gastrointestinal system and up-regulated in infants with NEC, volvulus, IP, and herniation. DMBT1 may play a role in epithelial differentiation and local innate immunity during neonatal inflammatory bowel processes.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Histochemie
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations of mediator subcomplex 12 (MED12) and of high mobility group protein AT-hook 2 (HMGA2) are driver mutations in uterine leiomyomas (UL) that have not been observed to coexist in one tumor and even rarely coexist in different UL tumors of one patient. Here we describe a patient who underwent hysterectomy because of multiple leiomyomas which were studied by cytogenetics, MED12 hotspot sequencing, and copy number variation arrays. Two of the UL tumors had different HMGA2 rearrangements not detected by G-banding. Two UL tumors had deletions of the long arm of chromosome 3, in one case associated with a MED12 mutation. Both deletions lead to the loss of MED12L showing strong similarity with MED12. It remains to be determined if this gene can play a role in leiomyomagenesis independent of MED12. In summary, the patient presented exhibits an unusual coincidence of different driver mutations among her leiomyomas. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13039-015-0177-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Molecular Cytogenetics
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    ABSTRACT: The group of post-pubertal testicular germ cell tumours encompasses lesions with highly diverse differentiation – seminomas, embryonal carcinomas, yolk sac tumours, teratomas, and choriocarcinomas. Heterogeneous differentiation is often present within individual tumours and the correct identification of the components is of clinical relevance. HMGA2 re-expression has been reported in many tumours, including testicular germ cell tumours. This is the first study investigating HMGA2 expression in a representative group of testicular germ cell tumours with the highly sensitive method of quantitative real-time PCR as well as with immunohistochemistry. The expression of HMGA2 and HPRT was measured using quantitative real-time PCR in 59 post-pubertal testicular germ cell tumours. Thirty specimens contained only one type of tumour and 29 were mixed neoplasms. With the exception of choriocarcinomas, at least two pure specimens from each subgroup of testicular germ cell tumour were included. In order to validate the quantitative real-time PCR data and gather information about the localisation of the protein, additional immunohistochemical analysis with an antibody specific for HMGA2 was performed in 23 cases. Expression of HMGA2 in testicular germ cell tumours depended on the histological differentiation. Seminomas and embryonal carcinomas showed no or very little expression, whereas yolk sac tumours strongly expressed HMGA2 at the transcriptome as well as the protein level. In teratomas, the expression varied and in choriocarcinomas the expression was moderate. In part, these results contradict data from previous studies but HMGA2 seems to represent a novel marker to assist pathological subtyping of testicular germ cell tumours. The results indicate a critical role in yolk sac tumours and some forms of teratoma. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Recent findings on genetic changes in uterine leiomyomas suggest these benign tumors being a heterogeneous group of diseases in terms of molecular pathogenesis with those showing karyotype alterations as well as those characterized only by cytogenetically invisible mutations of mediator subcomplex 12 (MED12). Herein, five uterine leiomyomas (UL) with an apparently normal karyotype that lacked MED12-mutations were investigated by copy number variation arrays along with their matching myometrium to search for small genomic imbalances. Of five tumors one showed chromothripsis-like phenomena with numerous gains and losses of small segments mainly clustered to five chromosomal regions i.e. 2p14-2pter, 2q33.1-2q37.3, 5q31.3-5qter,11q14.1-11qter, and 18p11.21-18q2.3. Apparently, these cells had escaped detection by classical cytogenetics. Histologically, the tumor presented as a cellular leiomyoma with extended hyalinization. Of the remaining four tumors, one had a small intragenic deletion of the HMGA2 gene that was lacking in the corresponding myometrium. The other three tumors did not show relevant copy number alterations at all. Overall, the results suggest that leiomyomas with an apparently normal karyotype based on classical cytogenetics and lacking MED12 mutations represent a heterogeneous group of diseases. While the HMGA2 deletion detected in one of the tumors likely represents the driver mutation and, due to its size, has escaped detection by classical cytogenetics, the extended genomic imbalances detected in one of the other cases cannot be overlooked by this method suggesting an inability of the affected cells to divide in vitro. Of particular interest in that case is the occurrence of so-called "chromothripsis" or "firestorms" without involvement of the loci of common chromosomal rearrangements in UL, as e.g. 12q14 ~ 15 and 6p21. While chromothripsis was initially described as a hallmark of malignancy, the etiology and significance of this phenomenon in benign tumors still remain obscure. In uterine smooth muscle tumors, these changes per se do not indicate malignancy.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Molecular Cytogenetics
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    ABSTRACT: Uterine fibroids rank among the most frequent symptomatic human tumors at all. Recent data suggest that mutations of the mediator subcomplex 12 gene (MED12) and rearrangements of the gene-encoding high-mobility group protein AT-hook 2 (HMGA2) characterize major genetic subtypes of these tumors, which, for example, differ by their average size. Herein, we have investigated a total of 289 fibroids from 120 patients. Of these fibroids, 256 were fully genetically analyzed. Of the latter group, 20 (7.8%) fibroids had a chromosomal rearrangement of 12q14-15 reflecting a rearranged allele of HMGA2 and 179 (69.9%) fibroids had a mutation of MED12. The remaining tumors had either another genetic abnormality or no detectable abnormality at all. We were able to demonstrate that tumors of both groups also display striking differences of their frequency in individual patients. Whereas 70.0% (14/20) HMGA2-mutated fibroids made their appearance as solitary nodules, 85.5% (153/179) MED12-mutated fibroids occurred as multiple nodules as a rule of independent clonal origin, as reflected by different MED12 mutations. These findings are likely to point to a different pathogenesis of both types of fibroids. In the predominant of these groups so far, an unknown "mutator" may cause independent mutations of MED12, resulting in an independent clonal outgrowth of nodules. Furthermore, the low but existing risk of MED12-mutated fibroids to undergo malignant transformation after a leiomyoma-STUMP (smooth muscle tumors of uncertain malignant potential)-leiomyosarcoma sequence excludes the latter mutation as a suitable stand-alone marker for benign growth.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · International Journal of Gynecological Pathology
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    Full-text · Dataset · Sep 2014
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    Full-text · Dataset · Apr 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Uterine leiomyomas (UL) are the most frequent symptomatic human tumors. Nevertheless, their molecular pathogenesis is not yet fully understood. To learn more about the biology of these common neoplasms and their response to treatment, cell cultures derived from UL are a frequently used model system, but until recently appropriate genetic markers confirming their origin from the tumor cell population were lacking for most UL, i.e., those not displaying karyotypic abnormalities. The identification of MED12 mutations in the majority of UL makes it possible to trace the tumor cell population during in vitro passaging in the absence of cytogenetic abnormalities. The present study is addressing the in vitro survival of cells carrying MED12 mutations and its association with karyotypic alterations. The results challenge numerous in vitro studies into the biology and behavior of leiomyomas. Cells of one genetic subtype of UL, i.e., those with rearrangements of the high mobility AT-hook 2 protein gene (HMGA2), seem to be able to proliferate in vitro for many passages whereas tumor cells from the much more frequent MED12-mutated lesions barely survive even the first passages. Apparently, for the most frequent type of human UL no good in vitro model seems to exist because cells do not survive culturing. On the other hand, this inability may point to an Achilles' heel of this type of UL. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Genes Chromosomes and Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Epitheloid leiomyoma is a rare subtype of benign smooth muscle tumors. Herein, we present the results of classical cytogenetics, MED12 mutation analysis, and copy number variation array evaluation in one such case. Whereas cytogenetic did not show evidence for clonal chromosome abnormalities and no MED12 mutation in the "fibroid hot spot" region was detected, array hybridization revealed multiple abnormalities. Most noteworthy, almost all chromosomes showed copy-number neutral loss of heterozygosity. As examples of further abnormalities, trisomies of chromosomes 8, 12, 20, and X were noted. The data presented suggest a near-haploid karyotype of the tumor as the initial genetic alteration followed by secondary duplications of large parts of the genome. The absence of any clonal karyotypic alterations after performing classical cytogenetics is likely explained by a reduced ability of the tumor cells to proliferate in vitro. However, to the best of our knowledge this is the first report of an uterine leiomyoma showing extended uniparental disomy. It remains to be determined if this is a more common phenomenon in epithelioid leiomyomas or even subsets of "ordinary" leiomyomas.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Molecular Cytogenetics
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    ABSTRACT: In pleomorphic adenomas of the salivary glands (PASG) recurrent chromosomal rearrangements affecting either 8q12 or 12q14∼15 lead to an overexpression of the genes of the genuine transcription factor PLAG1 or the architectural transcription factor HMGA2, respectively. Both genes are also affected by recurrent chromosomal rearrangements in benign adipocytic tumors as e. g. lipomas and lipoblastomas. Herein, we observed a strong correlation between the expression of HMGA2 and PLAG1 in 14 benign and 23 malignant thyroid tumors. To address the question if PLAG1 can be activated by HMGA2, the expression of both genes was quantified in 32 uterine leiomyomas 17 of which exhibited an overexpression of HMGA2. All leiomyomas with HMGA2 overexpression also revealed an activation of PLAG1 in the absence of detectable chromosome 8 abnormalities affecting the PLAG1 locus. To further investigate if the overexpression of PLAG1 is inducible by HMGA2 alone, HMGA2 was transiently overexpressed in MCF-7 cells. An increased PLAG1 expression was observed 24 and 48 h after transfection. Likewise, stimulation of HMGA2 by FGF1 in adipose tissue-derived stem cells led to a simultaneous increase of PLAG1 mRNA. Altogether, these data suggest that HMGA2 is an upstream activator of PLAG1. Accordingly, this may explain the formation of tumors as similar as lipomas and lipoblastomas resulting from an activation of either of both genes by chromosomal rearrangements.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor, has a poor prognosis and a high risk of recurrence. An improved chemotherapeutic approach is required to complement radiation therapy. Gold(I) complexes bearing phosphole ligands are promising agents in the treatment of cancer and disturb the redox balance and proliferation of cancer cells by inhibiting disulfide reductases. Here, we report on the antitumor properties of the gold(I) complex 1-phenyl-bis(2-pyridyl)phosphole gold chloride thio-β-D-glucose tetraacetate (GoPI-sugar), which exhibits antiproliferative effects on human (NCH82, NCH89) and rat (C6) glioma cell lines. Compared to carmustine (BCNU), an established nitrosourea compound for the treatment of glioblastomas that inhibits the proliferation of these glioma cell lines with an IC50 of 430μM, GoPI-sugar is more effective by two orders of magnitude. Moreover, GoPI-sugar inhibits malignant glioma growth in vivo in a C6 glioma rat model and significantly reduces tumor volume while being well tolerated. Both the gold(I) chloro- and thiosugar-substituted phospholes interact with DNA albeit more weakly for the latter. Furthermore, GoPI-sugar irreversibly and potently inhibits thioredoxin reductase (IC50 4.3 nM) and human glutathione reductase (IC50 88.5 nM). However, treatment with GoPI-sugar did not significantly alter redox parameters in the brain tissue of treated animals. This might be due to compensatory upregulation of redox-related enzymes but might also indicate that the antiproliferative effects of GoPI-sugar in vivo are rather based on DNA interaction and inhibition of topoisomerase I than on the disturbance of redox equilibrium. Since GoPI-sugar is highly effective against glioblastomas and well tolerated, it represents a most promising lead for drug development. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Thiol-Based Redox Processes.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
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    ABSTRACT: Background Deletions of the gene encoding mediator subcomplex 12 (MED12) in human smooth muscle tumors rank among the most frequent genomic alterations in human tumors at all. In a minority of these cases, small deletions are found. In an attempt to delineate key features of the deletions aimed at a better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of uterine smooth muscle tumors we have analyzed 70 MED12 deletions including 46 cases from the literature and 24 own unpublished cases. Results The average length of the deletions was 18.7 bp ranging between 2 bp and 43 bp. While in general multitudes of 3 clearly dominated leaving the transcript in frame, deletions of 21, 24, 30, and 33 nucleotides were clearly underrepresented. Within the DNA segment affected deletion breakpoints were not randomly distributed. Most breakpoints clustered within the center of the segment where two peaks of breakpoint clusters could be distinguished. Interestingly, one of these clusters coincides with the loop of a putative folded non-B DNA structure whereas a much lower number of breaks noted in the 5′ and 3′ stem of the structure forming an intramolecular B-helix. The second cluster mainly consisting of 3′ breaks was located in a region downstream adjacent to the stem. Conclusion The present study describes for the first time main characteristics of MED12 deletions occurring in smooth muscle tumors. Interestingly, the non-random distribution of breakpoints within the deletion hotspot region may point to a role of non-canonical DNA structures for the occurrence of these mutations and the molecular pathogenesis of uterine smooth muscle tumors, respectively.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Molecular Cytogenetics
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Amyloidosis is a life-threatening protein misfolding disease and affects cardiac tissue, leading to heart failure, myocardial ischemia and arrhythmia. Amyloid deposits result in oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of innate defense components, i.e., Deleted in Malignant Brain Tumors 1 (DMBT1) and the complement system, in different types of cardiac amyloidosis. Methods: Expression of DMBT1 and of the complement proteins C1q, C3d and C4d in cardiac specimens of patients with different types of amyloidosis were determined by immunohistochemistry and correlated with amyloid deposits stained by Congo red dye. Results: Strong DMBT1 staining adjacent to amyloid deposits was detected in different amyloidosis types, depending on the extent of the deposits. DMBT1 is localized in the endomysium and perimysium, in the endocardium, in the myocytes and in endothelial cells of affected transmural vessels. C1q, C3d and C4d were detected in the amyloid deposits but also in the endomysium and perimysium, in some myocytes, in endothelial cells, in the endocardium, and around the amyloid deposits. Conclusions: Up-regulated DMBT1 and complement activation in cardiac amyloidosis may be part of the activated pathways induced by protein aggregation and the consecutive inflammatory reaction.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Cardiovascular pathology: the official journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology
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    ABSTRACT: Recurrent chromosomal alterations are found in roughly 20% of all uterine fibroids but in the majority cytogenetic changes are lacking. Recently, mutations of the gene mediator subcomplex 12 (MED12) have been detected in a majority of fibroids but no information is available whether or not they co-occur with cytogenetic subtypes as, e.g., rearrangements of the genes encoding high mobility group AT-hook (HMGA) proteins. In a total of 80 cytogenetically characterized fibroids from 50 patients, we were not only able to confirm the frequent occurrence of MED12 mutations but also to stratify two mutually exclusive pathways of leiomyomagenesis with either rearrangements of HMGA2 reflected by clonal chromosome abnormalities affecting 12q14~15 or by mutations affecting exon 2 of MED12. On average the latter mutations were associated with a significantly smaller tumor size. However, G>A transitions of nucleotides c.130 or c.131 correlate with a significantly larger size of the fibroids compared to other MED12 mutations thus explaining the high prevalence of the former mutations among clinically detectable fibroids. Interestingly, fibroids with MED12 mutations expressed significantly higher levels of the gene encoding wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 4 (WNT4). Based on these findings and data from the literature, we hypothesize that estrogen and the mutated MED12 cooperate in activating the Wnt pathway which in turn activates β-catenin known to cause leiomyoma-like lesions in a mouse model. The occurrence of a "fibroid-type mutation" in a rare histologic subtype of endometrial polyps suggests that this mechanism is not confined to uterine leiomyomas.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · International Journal of Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs of the chromosome 19 microRNA cluster (C19MC) are known to be abundantly expressed in the placenta. Their genes are located on the long arm of chromosome 19 and seem to be part of a large imprinted region. Although the data available so far suggest important functions in the placenta, no data are available on their general expression patterns in cultures of placenta-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (PDMSC). Surprisingly, qRT-PCR on tissue cultures from first-trimester and term placenta mesenchymal stromal cells showed an abundant expression of the cluster members miR-517a-3p, miR-519a-3p, and miR-520c-3p. Accordingly, analyses of methylation patterns suggested that these cells had escaped methylation and epigenetic silencing, respectively, of the paternal allele. This was confirmed by the results of treatment of chorionic villous stromal cells by the demethylating agent 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Our results offer clear evidence that, in contrast to what is suggested in previous papers, members of C19MC are highly expressed in PDMSC indicating that their placenta-specific functions are not restricted to the trophoblast.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
  • Burkhard Maria Helmke · Dominique Nadine Markowski · Anke Meyer · Jörn Bullerdiek
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    ABSTRACT: The expression of high mobility group protein AT-hook2 (HMGA2) indicates a worse prognosis in many epithelial malignancies, such as colon cancer. The present study addresses methodological aspects, as well as the genetic background, of the HMGA2 expression in colon cancer. Samples of 38 colon carcinomas were studied for the expression of HMGA2 by quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR). In selected cases, immunohistochemistry (IHC) was also performed. The overexpression of HMGA2, compared to adjacent mucosa, is not consistent among colon carcinomas: Only a minority of carcinomas strongly overexpressed HMGA2, but in no more than 50% of the tumors did the expression exceed the average value in mucosa samples. qRT-PCR clearly reveals a continuum between cases with high and low expression. For HMGA2-based risk assessment, continuous rather than discontinuous models seem to be most appropriate. However, in daily practice, IHC seems to be a suitable method to stratify for high-risk patients.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Anticancer research
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    ABSTRACT: Spontaneous cessation of growth is a frequent finding in uterine fibroids. Increasing evidence suggests an important role of cellular senescence in this growth control. Deciphering the underlying mechanisms of growth control that can be expected not only to shed light on the biology of the tumors but also to identify novel therapeutic targets. We have analyzed uterine leiomyomas and matching normal tissue for the expression of p14Arf and used explants to see if reducing the MDM2 activity using the small-molecule inhibitor nutlin-3 can induce p53 and activate genes involved in senescence and/or apoptosis. For these studies quantitative real-time RT-PCR, Western blots, and immunohistochemistry were used. Statistical analyses were performed using the student's t test. An in depth analysis of 52 fibroids along with matching myometrium from 31 patients revealed in almost all cases a higher expression of p14Arf in the tumors than in the matching normal tissue. In tissue explants, treatment with the MDM2 inhibitor nutlin-3 induced apoptosis as well as senescence as revealed by a dose-dependent increase of the expression of BAX as well as of p21, respectively. Simultaneously, the expression of the proliferation marker Ki-67 drastically decreased. Western-blot analysis identified an increase of the p53 level as the most likely reason for the increased activity of its downstream markers BAX and p21. Because as a rule fibroids express much higher levels of p14Arf, a major negative regulator of MDM2, than matching myometrium it was then analyzed if fibroids are more sensitive against nutlin-3 treatment than matching myometrium. We were able to show that in most fibroids analyzed a higher sensibility than that of matching myometrium was noted with a corresponding increase of the p53 immunopositivity of the fibroid samples compared to those from myometrium. The results show that uterine fibroids represent a cell population of advanced cellular age compared to matching myometrium. Moreover, the data point to members of the p53-network as to potential novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of uterine fibroids.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · BMC Women's Health
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    ABSTRACT: BMP4 has been linked to early steps of adipocyte lineage differentiation but only little is known about its corresponding downstream pathways. Herein, we have investigated whether or not the expression of high mobility group protein HMGA2, another protein linked to proliferation and differentiation within the process of adipogenesis, may be influenced by BMP4 signaling in adipose tissue derived stem cells. Compared to FGF1, a strong inducer of HMGA2 in immortalized pre-adipocytes, BMP4 was found moderately to induce the HMGA2 mRNA expression in serum starved adipose tissue derived stem cells and myometrial cells. In contrast, no such activity was noted in canine bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells. As to adipocyte lineage differentiation the functions of BMP4 and HMGA2 mechanistically overlap. Thus, we propose that in adipose tissue BMP4 acts in part by activating HMGA2 making this architectural transcription factor one of the major downstream players in that system.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Cytokine

  • No preview · Article · May 2011
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular expression of heparanase, a degrading enzyme of the extracellular matrix, is associated with poorer prognosis in several cancers. The present analysis, has studied the role of heparanase in tumour growth and clinical outcome in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). We analysed the cellular expression of the active form of heparanase in 71 human HNSCCs, using immunohistochemistry. The results were compared with clinicopathological data and, in 65 cases with immunoreactivity for the proliferation marker, MIB1. Cellular heparanase expression was detected in 41 of 71 (57.74%) cases; in particular, UICC IV-stage tumours showed high heparanase levels. Heparanase was localized mainly in the cytoplasm and, to a lesser extent, at the cell membrane. High levels of heparanase were significantly correlated with an almost four-fold decrease in MIB1 labelling (P = 0.006). Comparison with clinical outcome by multivariate analysis revealed that patients with high-level heparanase expression had prolonged overall survival (P = 0.029). Although heparanase was mainly found in late-stage HNSCCs, cellular heparanase expression in HNSCCs was associated with prolonged overall survival. We propose that the proliferation-reducing effect of high heparanase levels might outweigh the tumour-promoting effects of heparanase, especially in advanced tumours.
    Preview · Article · May 2011 · Histopathology

Publication Stats

2k Citations
317.26 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002-2015
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • • Institute of Papyrology
      • • Department of Pathology
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2010
    • Elbe Kliniken
      Stade, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 2008
    • University of Bonn
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1998
    • German Cancer Research Center
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1996
    • Gesundheit Nord - Bremen Hospital Group
      Bremen, Bremen, Germany