Paola Muti

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (246)1125.71 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence point to a crucial role for non-coding RNAs in modulating homeostatic signaling under physiological and pathological conditions. MicroRNAs, the best-characterized non-coding RNAs to date, can exquisitely integrate spatial and temporal signals in complex networks, thereby confer specificity and sensitivity to tissue response to changes in the microenvironment. MicroRNAs appear as preferential partners for Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) in mediating signaling under stress conditions. Stress signaling can be especially relevant to disease. Here we focus on the ability of microRNAs to mediate RTK signaling in cancer, by acting as both tumor suppressors and oncogenes. We will provide a few general examples of microRNAs modulating specific tumorigenic functions downstream of RTK signaling and integrate oncogenic signals from multiple RTKs. A special focus will be devoted to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling, a system offering relatively rich information. We will explore the role of selected microRNAs as bidirectional modulators of EGFR functions in cancer cells. In addition, we will present the emerging evidence for microRNAs being specifically modulated by oncogenic EGFR mutants and we will discuss how this impinges on EGFRmut driven chemoresistance, which fits into the tumor heterogeneity-driven cancer progression. Finally, we discuss how other non-coding RNA species are emerging as important modulators of cancer progression and why the scenario depicted herein is destined to become increasingly complex in the future.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Sara Donzelli · Giovanni Blandino · Paola Muti
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs are key regulators of different biological processes and their deregulation is associated with the occurrence of many diseases among which cancer. Due to the higher stability of microRNAs and to the easiness in their detection both in organs than in biological fluids, many studies are turned toward potential use of this small molecules as biomarkers for the prediction and diagnosis of different types of cancer. Here we describe the experiment protocol that we have used for microRNA profiling analysis in buffy coat samples of women who developed breast cancer versus women who remained healthy during a 20 year follow-up period, with the aim to identify predictive microRNAs of breast cancer occurrence.
    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: The comet assay can be useful in monitoring DNA damage in single cells caused by exposure to genotoxic agents, such as those causing air, water, and soil pollution (e.g., pesticides, dioxins, electromagnetic fields) and chemo- and radiotherapy in cancer patients, or in the assessment of genoprotective effects of chemopreventive molecules. Therefore, it has particular importance in the fields of pharmacology and toxicology, and in both environmental and human biomonitoring. It allows the detection of single strand breaks as well as double-strand breaks and can be used in both normal and cancer cells. Here we describe the alkali method for comet assay, which allows to detect both single- and double-strand DNA breaks.
    No preview · Chapter · Nov 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Brain metastasis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality of lung cancer patients. We assessed whether aberrant expression of specific microRNAs could contribute to brain metastasis. Comparison of primary lung tumors and their matched metastatic brain disseminations identified shared patterns of several microRNAs, including common down-regulation of miR-145-5p. Down-regulation was attributed to methylation of miR-145's promoter and affiliated elevation of several protein targets, such as EGFR, OCT-4, MUC-1, c-MYC and, interestingly, tumor protein D52 (TPD52). In line with these observations, restored expression of miR-145-5p and selective depletion of individual targets markedly reduced in vitro and in vivo cancer cell migration. In aggregate, our results attribute to miR-145-5p and its direct targets pivotal roles in malignancy progression and in metastasis.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Oncotarget
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism are hypothesized to influence breast cancer (BC) risk. However, epidemiologic studies that examined associations between B vitamin intake and BC risk have provided inconsistent results. We prospectively examined, in the Italian ORDET cohort, whether B vitamin consumption was associated with risk of BC and BC subtypes. Methods: After a mean follow-up of 16.5 years, 391 BCs were diagnosed among 10,786 cohort women. B vitamin intakes were estimated from food frequency questionnaires. Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for energy intake and confounders, estimated hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for BC according to intake. Results: RRs were 0.61 (95% CI 0.38-0.97 highest vs. lowest quartile; P trend 0.025) for thiamine; 0.48 (95% CI 0.32-0.71; P trend <0.001) for riboflavin; 0.59 (95% CI 0.39-0.90; P trend 0.008) for vitamin B6, and 0.65 (95% CI 0.44-0.95; P trend 0.021) for folate. As regards risk of BC subtypes, high riboflavin and folate were significantly associated with lower risk of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and progesterone receptor positive (PR+) cancers, and high thiamine was associated with lower risk of ER-PR- cancers. High riboflavin was associated with lower risk of both HER2+ and HER2- cancers, high folate with lower risk of HER2- disease, and high thiamine with HER2+ disease. Conclusions: These findings support protective effects of thiamine and one-carbon metabolism vitamins (folate, riboflavin, and vitamin B6) against BC in general; while folate may also protect against ER+PR+ and HER2- disease; and thiamine against ER-PR-, and HER2+ disease.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Aging
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a poorly treated neoplasia arising from the pleural mesothelial lining. Here we document that the leaf extract of Cynara scolymus exerts broad antitumoral effects both in vitro and in vivo on mesothelioma cell lines. We found that Cynara scolymus treatment affects strongly cell growth, migration and tumor engraftment of mesothelioma cell lines. Strikingly, dietary feeding with Cynara scolymus leaf extract reduces the growth of mesothelioma xenografted tumors similarly to pemetrexed, a commonly employed drug in the treatment of mesothelioma. In aggregate our findings suggest that leaf extract of Cynara scolymus holds therapeutic potential for the treatment of mesothelioma.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Oncotarget
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    ABSTRACT: Aspirin, the pro-drug of salicylate, is associated with reduced incidence of death from cancers of the colon, lung and prostate and is commonly prescribed in combination with metformin in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Salicylate activates the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by binding at the A-769662 drug binding site on the AMPK β1subunit, a mechanism, that is distinct from metformin which disrupts the adenylate charge of the cell. A hallmark of many cancers is high rates of fatty acid synthesis and AMPK inhibits this pathway through phosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). It is currently unknown whether targeting the AMPK-ACC-lipogenic pathway using salicylate and/or metformin may be effective for inhibiting cancer cell survival. Salicylate suppresses clonogenic survival of prostate and lung cancer cells at therapeutic concentrations achievable following the ingestion of aspirin (<1.0mM); effects not observed in prostate (PNT1A) and lung (MRC-5) epithelial cell lines. Salicylate concentrations of 1mM increased the phosphorylation of ACC and suppressed de novo lipogenesis and these effects were enhanced with the addition of clinical concentrations of metformin (100 mM) and eliminated in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) deficient in AMPK b1. Supplementation of media with fatty acids and/or cholesterol reverses the suppressive effects of salicylate and metformin on cell survival indicating the inhibition of de novo lipogenesis is likely important. Pre-clinical studies evaluating the use of salicylate based drugs alone and in combination with metformin to inhibit de novo lipogenesis and the survival of prostate and lung cancers are warranted.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Biochemical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D plays a role in cancer development and acts through the vitamin D receptor (VDR). It regulates the action of hormone responsive genes and is involved in cell cycle regulation, differentiation and apoptosis. VDR is a critical component of the vitamin D pathway and different common single nucleotide polymorphisms have been identified. Cdx2 VDR polymorphism can play an important role in breast cancer, modulating the activity of VDR. The objective of this study is to assess the relationship between the Cdx2 VDR polymorphism and the activities of VDR in human breast cancer cell lines and carcinomas breast patients. Cdx2 VDR polymorphism and antiproliferative effects of vitamin D treatment were investigated in a panel of estrogen receptor-positive (MCF7 and T-47D) and estrogen receptor-negative (MDA-MB-231, SUM 159PT, SK-BR-3, BT549, MDA-MB-468, HCC1143, BT20 and HCC1954) human breast cancer cell lines. Furthermore, the potential relationship among Cdx2 VDR polymorphism and a number of biomarkers used in clinical management of breast cancer was assessed in an ad hoc set of breast cancer cases. Vitamin D treatment efficacy was found to be strongly dependent on the Cdx2 VDR status in ER-negative breast cancer cell lines tested. In our series of breast cancer cases, the results indicated that patients with variant homozygote AA were associated with bio-pathological characteristics typical of more aggressive tumours, such as ER negative, HER2 positive and G3. Our results may suggest a potential effect of Cdx2 VDR polymorphism on the efficacy of vitamin D treatment in aggressive breast cancer cells (estrogen receptor negative). These results suggest that Cdx2 polymorphism may be a potential biomarker for vitamin D treatment in breast cancer, independently of the VDR receptor expression.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide with a high rate of recurrence. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are gene regulators playing an important role in oral carcinogenesis. The purpose of this study was for us to identify and functionally characterize miRNAs that predict recurrence in OSCC. Methods: We collected 92 OSCC with their normal tissue counterparts and we performed miRNAs expression profiling on 74 OSCC and 38 normal tissues. The association between the expression of miRNAs and clinical outcome was evaluated in the follow-up of 69 patients. Results: Four of the miRNAs deregulated between OSCC and normal tissues are prognostic for recurrence either when considered individually or as a group. Depletion of the expression of prognostic miRNAs inhibit the proliferation of OSCC cells CONCLUSION: MiRNAs are differentially expressed in OSCC versus normal samples. The expression of 4 prognostic miRNA signatures is able to predict recurrence risk independently from other clinical factors in OSCC. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2015.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Head & Neck

  • No preview · Chapter · Nov 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have examined breast cancer risk in relation to sex hormone concentrations measured by different methods: "extraction" immunoassays (with prior purification by organic solvent extraction, with or without column chromatography), "direct" immunoassays (no prior extraction or column chromatography), and more recently with mass spectrometry-based assays. We describe the associations of estradiol, estrone and testosterone with both body mass index and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women according to assay method, using data from a collaborative pooled analysis of 18 prospective studies. In general, hormone concentrations were highest in studies that used direct assays and lowest in studies that used mass spectrometry-based assays. Estradiol and estrone were strongly positively associated with body mass index, regardless of the assay method; testosterone was positively associated with body mass index for direct assays, but less clearly for extraction assays, and there were few data for mass spectrometry assays. The correlations of estradiol with body mass index, estrone and testosterone were lower for direct assays than for extraction and mass spectrometry assays, suggesting that the estimates from the direct assays were less precise. For breast cancer risk, all three hormones were strongly positively associated with risk regardless of assay method (except for testosterone by mass spectrometry where there were few data), with no statistically significant differences in the trends, but differences may emerge as new data accumulate. Future epidemiological and clinical research studies should continue to use the most accurate assays that are feasible within the design characteristics of each study.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Steroids
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    ABSTRACT: Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the regulation of key metabolic, inflammatory and malignant pathways, hence they might be considered both predictors and players of cancer development. Methods: Using a case-control study design nested in the ORDET prospective cohort study, we addressed the possibility that specific microRNAs can serve as early predictors of breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women. We compared leucocyte miRNA profiles of 133 incident postmenopausal breast cancer cases and profiles of 133 women who remained healthy over a follow-up period of twenty years. Results: The analysis identified 20 differentially expressed miRNAs, 15 of them were down-regulated. Among the 20 miRNAs, miRNA-145-5p and miRNA-145-3p, each derived from another arm of the respective pre-miRNA, were consistently and significantly down-regulated in all databases we surveyed. For example, analysis of more than 1,500 patients (the UK Metabric cohort) indicated that high abundance of miRNA 145-3p and miRNA-145-5p was associated with longer, and for miRNA-145-3p also statistically significant, survival. The experimental data attributed different roles to the identified microRNAs: while the 5p isoform was associated with invasion and metastasis the other isoform appears related to cell proliferation. Conclusions: These observations and the prospective design of our study lend support to the hypothesis that down-regulation of specific microRNAs constitutes an early event in cancer development. This finding might be utilized for breast cancer prevention. Impact: The identification of the miRNAs as long-term biomarkers of breast cancer may have an impact of breast cancer prevention and early detection.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention
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    ABSTRACT: Chemoresistance is one of the main problems in the therapy of cancer. There are a number of different molecular mechanisms through which a cancer cell acquires resistance to a specific treatment, such as alterations in drug uptake, drug metabolism and drug targets. There are several lines of evidence showing that miRNAs are involved in drug sensitivity of cancer cells in different tumor types and by different treatments. In this review, we provide an overview of the more recent and significant findings on the role of miRNAs in cancer cell drug resistance. In particular, we focus on specific miRNA mechanisms of action that in various steps lead from drug cell sensitivity to drug cell resistance. We also provide evidence on how miRNA profiling may unveil relevant predictive biomarkers for therapy outcomes.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence witnesses that cancer metabolism alterations represent a critical hallmark for many types of human tumors. There is a strong need to understand and dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer metabolism to envisage specific biomarkers and underpin critical molecular components that might represent novel therapeutic targets. One challenge, that is the focus of this review, is the reprogramming of the altered metabolism of a cancer cell toward that of un-transformed cell. The anti-hyperglicemic agent, metformin has proven to be effective in reprogramming the metabolism of cancer cells even from those subpopulations endowed with cancer stem like features and very high chemoresistenace to conventional anticancer treatments. A functional interplay involving selective modulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) takes place along the anticancer metabolic effects exerted by metformin. The implications of this interplay will be also discussed in this review.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014
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    Preview · Article · May 2014 · Value in Health
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    ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence that 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25(OH)2D3) plays a role in breast cancer prevention and survival. It elicits a variety of antitumor activities like controlling cellular differentiation, proliferation and angiogenesis. Most of its biological effects are exerted via its nuclear receptor which acts as a transcriptional regulator. Here, we carried out a genome-wide investigation of the primary transcriptional targets of 1α,25(OH)2D3 in breast epithelial cancer cells using RNA-Seq technology. We identified early transcriptional targets of 1α,25(OH)2D3 involved in adhesion, growth regulation, angiogenesis, actin cytoskeleton regulation, hexose transport, inflammation and immunomodulation, apoptosis, endocytosis and signaling. Furthermore, we found several transcription factors to be regulated by 1α,25(OH)2D3 that subsequently amplify and diversify the transcriptional output driven by 1α,25(OH)2D3 leading finally to a growth arrest of the cells. Moreover, we could show that 1α,25(OH)2D3 elevates the trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 4 at several target gene promoters. Our present transcriptomic analysis of differential expression after 1α,25(OH)2D3 treatment provides a resource of primary 1α,25(OH)2D3 targets that might drive the antiproliferative action in breast cancer epithelial cells.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor initiation and progression are the outcomes of a stepwise accumulation of genetic alterations. Among these, gene amplification and aberrant expression of oncogenic proteins, as well as deletion or inactivation of tumor suppressor genes, represent hallmark steps. Mounting evidence collected over the last few years has identified different populations of non-coding RNAs as major players in tumor suppression in almost all cancer types. Elucidating the diverse molecular mechanisms underlying the roles of non-coding RNAs in tumor progression might provide illuminating insights, potentially able to assist improved diagnosis, better staging and effective treatments of human cancers. Here we focus on several groups of tumor suppressor microRNAs, whose downregulation exerts a profound oncologic impact and might be harnessed for the benefit of cancer patients.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · FEBS letters
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    ABSTRACT: Metabolic remodeling is a hallmark of cancer progression and may affect tumor chemoresistance. Here we investigated by 1H-NMR/PCA analysis the metabolic profile of chemoresistant breast cancer cell subpopulations (ALDHbright cells) and their response to metformin, a promising anticancer metabolic modulator. The purified ALDHbright cells exhibited a different metabolic profile as compared to their chemosensitive ALDHlow counterparts. Metformin treatment strongly affected the metabolism of the ALDHbright cells thereby affecting, among the others, the glutathione metabolism, whose upregulation is a feature of progenitor-like, chemoresistant cell subpopulations. Globally, metformin treatment reduced the differences between ALDHbright and ALDHlow cells, making the former more similar to the latter. Metformin broadly modulated microRNAs in the ALDHbright cells, with a large fraction of them predicted to target the same metabolic pathways experimentally identified by 1H-NMR. Additionally, metformin modulated the levels of c-MYC and IRS-2, and this correlated with changes of the microRNA-33a levels. In summary, we observed, both by 1H-NMR and microRNA expression studies, that metformin treatment reduced the differences between the chemoresistant ALDHbright cells and the chemosensitive ALDHlow cells. This works adds on the potential therapeutic relevance of metformin and shows the potential for metabolic reprogramming to modulate cancer chemoresistance.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Oncotarget
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery (MINS) was defined as prognostically relevant myocardial injury due to ischemia that occurs during or within 30 days after noncardiac surgery. The study's four objectives were to determine the diagnostic criteria, characteristics, predictors, and 30-day outcomes of MINS. METHODS: In this international, prospective cohort study of 15,065 patients aged 45 yr or older who underwent in-patient noncardiac surgery, troponin T was measured during the first 3 postoperative days. Patients with a troponin T level of 0.04 ng/ml or greater (elevated "abnormal" laboratory threshold) were assessed for ischemic features (i.e., ischemic symptoms and electrocardiography findings). Patients adjudicated as having a nonischemic troponin elevation (e.g., sepsis) were excluded. To establish diagnostic criteria for MINS, the authors used Cox regression analyses in which the dependent variable was 30-day mortality (260 deaths) and independent variables included preoperative variables, perioperative complications, and potential MINS diagnostic criteria. RESULTS: An elevated troponin after noncardiac surgery, irrespective of the presence of an ischemic feature, independently predicted 30-day mortality. Therefore, the authors' diagnostic criterion for MINS was a peak troponin T level of 0.03 ng/ml or greater judged due to myocardial ischemia. MINS was an independent predictor of 30-day mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.87; 95% CI, 2.96-5.08) and had the highest population-attributable risk (34.0%, 95% CI, 26.6-41.5) of the perioperative complications. Twelve hundred patients (8.0%) suffered MINS, and 58.2% of these patients would not have fulfilled the universal definition of myocardial infarction. Only 15.8% of patients with MINS experienced an ischemic symptom. CONCLUSION: Among adults undergoing noncardiac surgery, MINS is common and associated with substantial mortality.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Anesthesiology

Publication Stats

8k Citations
1,125.71 Total Impact Points


  • 2010-2016
    • McMaster University
      • Department of Oncology
      Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 2014
    • University of Massachusetts Boston
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2008-2013
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2005-2013
    • Istituto Regina Elena - Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri
      • S.C. Laboratorio "C" Oncogenesi Molecolare
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2012
    • Italian National Institute of Statistics
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2011
    • American University of Beirut
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Beyrouth, Beyrouth, Lebanon
  • 1994-2011
    • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Social and Preventive Medicine
      • • School of Public Health and Health Professions
      • • School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
      Buffalo, NY, United States
  • 1990-2011
    • Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1990-2006
    • CRO Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano
      Aviano, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2003-2005
    • State University of New York
      New York, New York, United States
  • 1988-2003
    • Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori
      Meldola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2002
    • University of Vermont
      Burlington, Vermont, United States
  • 2001
    • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
      • Department of Cancer Prevention, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
      Buffalo, New York, United States
  • 1996
    • Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Fondazione Pascale"
      Napoli, Campania, Italy