Emily Hua

National Cancer Institute (USA), 베서스다, Maryland, United States

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Publications (8)45.05 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Most cancer patients with brain metastases are treated with radiation therapy, yet this modality has not yet been meaningfully incorporated into preclinical experimental brain metastasis models. We applied two forms of whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) to the brain-tropic 231-BR experimental brain metastasis model of triple-negative breast cancer. When compared to sham controls, WBRT as 3 Gy × 10 fractions (3 × 10) reduced the number of micrometastases and large metastases by 87.7 and 54.5 %, respectively (both p < 0.01); whereas a single radiation dose of 15 Gy × 1 (15 × 1) was less effective, reducing metastases by 58.4 % (p < 0.01) and 47.1 % (p = 0.41), respectively. Neuroinflammation in the adjacent brain parenchyma was due solely to a reaction from metastases, and not radiotherapy, while adult neurogenesis in brains was adversely affected following both radiation regimens. The nature of radiation resistance was investigated by ex vivo culture of tumor cells that survived initial WBRT ("Surviving" cultures). The Surviving cultures surprisingly demonstrated increased radiosensitivity ex vivo. In contrast, re-injection of Surviving cultures and re-treatment with a 3 × 10 WBRT regimen significantly reduced the number of large and micrometastases that developed in vivo, suggesting a role for the microenvironment. Micrometastases derived from tumor cells surviving initial 3 × 10 WBRT demonstrated a trend toward radioresistance upon repeat treatment (p = 0.09). The data confirm the potency of a fractionated 3 × 10 WBRT regimen and identify the brain microenvironment as a potential determinant of radiation efficacy. The data also nominate the Surviving cultures as a potential new translational model for radiotherapy.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Clinical and Experimental Metastasis
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    ABSTRACT: Brain metastases of breast cancer cause neurocognitive damage and are incurable. We evaluated a role for temozolomide in the prevention of brain metastases of breast cancer in experimental brain metastasis models. Temozolomide was administered in mice following earlier injection of brain-tropic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive Jimt1- BR3 and triple negative 231-BR-EGFP sublines, the latter with and without expression of 06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT). Additionally, the percentage of MGMT-positive tumor cells in 62 patient-matched sets of breast cancer primary tumors and resected brain metastases was determined immunohistochemically. Temozolomide, when dosed at 50, 25, 10 or 5 mg/kg, 5 days/week, beginning 3 days after inoculation, completely prevented the formation of experimental brain metastases from MGMT-negative 231-BR-EGFP cells. At a 1 mg/kg dose, temozolomide prevented 68% of large brain metastases, and was ineffective at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg. When the 50 mg/kg dose was administered beginning on days 18 or 24, temozolomide efficacy was reduced or absent. Temozolomide was ineffective at preventing brain metastases in MGMT-transduced 231-BR-EGFP and MGMT-expressing Jimt-1-BR3 sublines. In 62 patient-matched sets of primary breast tumors and resected brain metastases, 43.5% of the specimens had concordant low MGMT expression, while in another 14.5% of sets high MGMT staining in the primary tumor corresponded with low staining in the brain metastasis. Temozolomide profoundly prevented the outgrowth of experimental brain metastases of breast cancer in an MGMT-dependent manner. These data provide compelling rationale for investigating the preventive efficacy of temozolomide in a clinical setting.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Clinical Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Lapatinib, a small molecule EGFR/HER2 inhibitor, partially inhibits the outgrowth of HER2+ brain metastases in preclinical models and in a subset of CNS lesions in clinical trials of HER2+ breast cancer. We investigated the ability of lapatinib to reach therapeutic concentrations in the CNS following (14)C-lapatinib administration (100 mg/kg p.o. or 10 mg/kg, i.v.) to mice with MDA-MD-231-BR-HER2 brain metastases of breast cancer. Drug concentrations were determined at differing times after administration by quantitative autoradiography and chromatography. (14)C-Lapatinib concentration varied among brain metastases and correlated with altered blood-tumor barrier permeability. On average, brain metastasis concentration was 7-9-fold greater than surrounding brain tissue at 2 and 12 h after oral administration. However, average lapatinib concentration in brain metastases was still only 10-20% of those in peripheral metastases. Only in a subset of brain lesions (17%) did lapatinib concentration approach that of systemic metastases. No evidence was found of lapatinib resistance in tumor cells cultured ex vivo from treated brains. Results show that lapatinib distribution to brain metastases of breast cancer is partially restricted and blood-tumor barrier permeability is a key component of lapatinib therapeutic efficacy which varies between tumors.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Pharmaceutical Research
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    ABSTRACT: Few therapeutic strategies exist for the treatment of metastatic tumor cells in the brain because the blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits drug access. Thus the identification of molecular targets and accompanying BBB permeable drugs will significantly benefit brain metastasis patients. Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is an attractive molecular target because it is only expressed in dividing cells and its expression is upregulated in many tumors. Analysis of a publicly available database of human breast cancer metastases revealed Plk1 mRNA expression was significantly increased in brain metastases compared to systemic metastases (P = 0.0018). The selective Plk1 inhibitor, GSK461364A, showed substantial uptake in normal rodent brain. Using a breast cancer brain metastatic xenograft model (231-BR), we tested the efficacy of GSK461364A to prevent brain metastatic colonization. When treatment was started 3 days post-injection, GSK461364A at 50 mg/kg inhibited the development of large brain metastases 62% (P = 0.0001) and prolonged survival by 17%. GSK461364A sensitized tumor cells to radiation induced cell death in vitro. Previously, it was reported that mutations in p53 might render tumor cells more sensitive to Plk1 inhibition; however, p53 mutations are uncommon in breast cancer. In a cohort of 41 primary breast tumors and matched brain metastases, p53 immunostaining was increased in 61% of metastases; 44% of which were associated with primary tumors with low p53. The data suggest that p53 overexpression occurs frequently in brain metastases and may facilitate sensitivity to Plk1 inhibition. These data indicate Plk1 may be a new druggable target for the prevention of breast cancer brain metastases.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2011 · Clinical and Experimental Metastasis
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    ABSTRACT: Brain metastases of breast cancer seem to be increasingin incidence as systemic therapy improves. Metastatic disease in the brain is associated with high morbidity and mortality. We present the first gene expression analysis of laser-captured epithelial cells from resected human brain metastases of breast cancer compared with unlinked primary breast tumors. The tumors were matched for histology, tumor-node-metastasis stage, and hormone receptor status. Most differentially expressed genes were down-regulated in the brain metastases, which included, surprisingly, many genes associated with metastasis. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis confirmed statistically significant differences or strong trends in the expression of six genes: BMP1, PEDF, LAMgamma3, SIAH, STHMN3, and TSPD2. Hexokinase 2 (HK2) was also of interest because of its increased expression in brain metastases. HK2 is important in glucose metabolism and apoptosis. In agreement with our microarray results, HK2 levels (both mRNA and protein) were elevated in a brain metastatic derivative (231-BR) of the human breast carcinoma cell line MDA-MB-231 relative to the parental cell line (231-P) in vitro. Knockdown of HK2 expression in 231-BR cells using short hairpin RNA reduced cell proliferation when cultures were maintained in glucose-limiting conditions. Finally, HK2 expression was analyzed in a cohort of 123 resected brain metastases of breast cancer. High HK2 expression was significantly associated with poor patient survival after craniotomy (P = 0.028). The data suggest that HK2 overexpression is associated with metastasis to the brain in breast cancer and it may be a therapeutic target.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · Molecular Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: As chemotherapy and molecular therapy improve the systemic survival of breast cancer patients, the incidence of brain metastases increases. Few therapeutic strategies exist for the treatment of brain metastases because the blood-brain barrier severely limits drug access. We report the pharmacokinetic, efficacy, and mechanism of action studies for the histone deactylase inhibitor vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid) in a preclinical model of brain metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer. The 231-BR brain trophic subline of the MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell line was injected into immunocompromised mice for pharmacokinetic and metastasis studies. Pharmacodynamic studies compared histone acetylation, apoptosis, proliferation, and DNA damage in vitro and in vivo. Following systemic administration, uptake of [(14)C]vorinostat was significant into normal rodent brain and accumulation was up to 3-fold higher in a proportion of metastases formed by 231-BR cells. Vorinostat prevented the development of 231-BR micrometastases by 28% (P = 0.017) and large metastases by 62% (P < 0.0001) compared with vehicle-treated mice when treatment was initiated on day 3 post-injection. The inhibitory activity of vorinostat as a single agent was linked to a novel function in vivo: induction of DNA double-strand breaks associated with the down-regulation of the DNA repair gene Rad52. We report the first preclinical data for the prevention of brain metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer. Vorinostat is brain permeable and can prevent the formation of brain metastases by 62%. Its mechanism of action involves the induction of DNA double-strand breaks, suggesting rational combinations with DNA active drugs or radiation.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · Clinical Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Interactions between tumor cells and the microenvironment are crucial to tumor formation and metastasis. The central nervous system serves as a "sanctuary" site for metastasis, resulting in poor prognosis in diagnosed patients. The incidence of brain metastasis is increasing; however, little is known about interactions between the brain and metastatic cells. Brain pathology was examined in an experimental model system of brain metastasis, using a subline of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. The results were compared with an analysis of sixteen resected human brain metastases of breast cancer. Experimental metastases formed preferentially in specific brain regions, with a distribution similar to clinical cases. In both the 231-BR model, and in human specimens, Ki67 expression indicated that metastases were highly proliferative (approximately 50%). Little apoptosis was observed in either set of tumors. In the model system, metastases elicited a brain inflammatory response, with extensive reactive gliosis surrounding metastases. Similarly, large numbers of glial cells were found within the inner tumor mass of human brain metastases. In vitro co-cultures demonstrated that glia induced a approximately 5-fold increase in metastatic cell proliferation (P<0.001), suggesting that brain tissue secretes factors conducive to tumor cell growth. Molecules used to signal between tumor cells and the surrounding glia could provide a new avenue of therapeutic targets for brain metastases.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2008 · Clinical and Experimental Metastasis
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    ABSTRACT: Nm23-H1 transcriptionally down-regulates expression of the lysophosphatidic acid receptor EDG2 and this down-regulation is critical for Nm23-H1-mediated motility suppression in vitro. We investigated the effect of altered EDG2 expression on Nm23-H1-mediated metastasis suppression in vivo. Clonal MDA-MB-435-derived tumor cell lines transfected with Nm23-H1 together with either a vector control or EDG2 had similar anchorage-dependent and anchorage-independent growth rates in vitro. However, a 45- and 300-fold inhibition of motility and invasion (P < 0.0001), respectively, was observed in Nm23-H1/vector lines, whereas coexpression of EDG2 restored activity to levels observed in the parental line. Using fluorescently labeled cells and ex vivo microscopy, the capacity of these cells to adhere, arrest, extravasate, and survive in the murine lung over a 24-h time course was measured. Only 5% of Nm23-H1/vector-transfected cells were retained in the murine lung 6 h following tail vein injection; coexpression of EDG2 enhanced retention 8- to 13-fold (P < 0.01). In a spontaneous metastasis assay, the primary tumor size of Nm23-H1/vector and Nm23-H1/EDG2 clones was not significantly different. However, restoration of EDG2 expression augmented the incidence of pulmonary metastasis from 51.9% to 90.4% (P = 2.4 x 10(-5)), comparable with parental MDA-MB-435 cells. To determine the relevance of this model system to human breast cancer, a cohort of breast carcinomas was stained for Nm23-H1 and EDG2 and a statistically significant inverse correlation between these two proteins was revealed (r = -0.73; P = 0.004). The data indicate that Nm23-H1 down-regulation of EDG2 is functionally important to suppression of tumor metastasis.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2007 · Cancer Research

Publication Stats

364 Citations
45.05 Total Impact Points


  • 2007-2015
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • • Center for Cancer Research
      • • Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology
      베서스다, Maryland, United States
  • 2009-2014
    • NCI-Frederick
      • Laboratory of Pathology
      Фредерик, Maryland, United States
  • 2008-2012
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology
      Maryland, United States