[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is a less invasive therapy for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Five-year survival rate of locally advanced ESCC patients by definitive CRT were 37%. We previously reported that tumor-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) activation signatures were preferentially found in long-term survivors. However, it is unknown whether the CTL activation is actually driven by CRT. We compared gene expression profiles among pre- and post-treatment biopsy specimens of 30 ESCC patients and 121 pre-treatment ESCC biopsy specimens. In the complete response (CR) cases, 999 overexpressed genes including at least 234 tumor-specific CTL-activation associated genes such as IFNG, PRF1, and GZMB, were found in post-treatment biopsy specimens. Clustering analysis using expression profiles of these 234 genes allowed us to distinguish the immune-activated cases, designating them as I-type, from other cases. However, despite the better CR rate in the I-type, overall survival was not significantly better in both these 30 cases and another 121 cases. Further comparative study identified a series of epithelial to mesenchymal transition-related genes overexpressed in the early relapse cases. Importantly, the clinical outcome of CDH2-negative cases in the I-type was significantly better than that of the CDH2-positive cases in the I-type. Furthermore, NK cells, which were activated by neutrophils-producing S100A8/S100A9, and CTLs were suggested to cooperatively enhance the effect of CRT in the CDH2-negative I-type. These results suggested that CTL gene activation may provide a prognostic advantage in ESCCs with epithelial characteristics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: An on-chip multi-imaging flow cytometry system has been developed to obtain morphometric parameters of cell clusters such as cell number, perimeter, total cross-sectional area, number of nuclei and size of clusters as "imaging biomarkers", with simultaneous acquisition and analysis of both bright-field (BF) and fluorescent (FL) images at 200 frames per second (fps); by using this system, we examined the effectiveness of using imaging biomarkers for the identification of clustered circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Sample blood of rats in which a prostate cancer cell line (MAT-LyLu) had been pre-implanted was applied to a microchannel on a disposable microchip after staining the nuclei using fluorescent dye for their visualization, and the acquired images were measured and compared with those of healthy rats. In terms of the results, clustered cells having (1) cell area larger than 200 µm2 and (2) nucleus area larger than 90 µm2 were specifically observed in cancer cell-implanted blood, but were not observed in healthy rats. In addition, (3) clusters having more than 3 nuclei were specific for cancer-implanted blood and (4) a ratio between the actual perimeter and the perimeter calculated from the obtained area, which reflects a shape distorted from ideal roundness, of less than 0.90 was specific for all clusters having more than 3 nuclei and was also specific for cancer-implanted blood. The collected clusters larger than 300 µm2 were examined by quantitative gene copy number assay, and were identified as being CTCs. These results indicate the usefulness of the imaging biomarkers for characterizing clusters, and all of the four examined imaging biomarkers-cluster area, nuclei area, nuclei number, and ratio of perimeter-can identify clustered CTCs in blood with the same level of preciseness using multi-imaging cytometry.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Chromosomal band 11q13 seems to be one of the most frequently amplified lesions in human cancer, including esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC). The oral cancer overexpressed 1 (ORAOV1) gene has been identified within this region, but its detailed biological function in human ESCC remains largely unclear. In our clinical samples of stage III ESCC, ORAOV1 amplification was observed in 49 of 94 cases (53%). ORAOV1 amplification was significantly associated with a poorly differentiated histology and tumors located in the upper or middle esophagus. Patients with ORAOV1 amplification tended to have a shorter survival period, although the difference was not significant. To investigate the function of ORAOV1, we created ORAOV1--overexpressed ESCC cell lines that exhibited increased cellular proliferation and colony formation, compared with in vitro controls. In vivo, ORAOV1-overexpressed cells exhibited a significantly increased tumorigenicity and a significantly larger tumor volume and poorer differentiation than controls. The peptide mass fingerprinting technique demonstrated that ORAOV1 bound to pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (PYCR), which is associated with proline metabolism and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Then, ORAOV1-overexpressed cell lines were resistant to stress treatment, which was cancelled by PYCR-knockdown. In addition, the ORAOV1-overexpressed cell line had a higher intracellular proline concentration and a lower ROS level. Our findings indicate that the ORAOV1 gene is frequently amplified in ESCC, enhances tumorigenicity and tumor growth, and is associated with a poorly differentiated tumor histology via proline metabolism and ROS production. ORAOV1 could be a novel target for the treatment of ESCC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Molecular markers for predicting or monitoring the efficacy of bevacizumab in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) remain to be identified. We have now measured the serum concentrations of 25 angiogenesis-related molecules with antibody suspension bead array systems for 25 mCRC patients both before and during treatment in a previously reported phase II trial of FOLFIRI chemotherapy plus bevacizumab. The serum concentration of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) decreased after the onset of treatment (P < 0.0001), whereas that of placental growth factor increased (P < 0.0001). Significant differences in the levels of several factors (such as VEGF-A, soluble VEGF receptor-2, and interleukin-8) were apparent between responders and nonresponders during treatment. The rapid and pronounced decrease in serum VEGF-A level after treatment onset was apparent in all subjects and was independent of the baseline concentration. However, four of nine nonresponders showed a subsequent early increase in the serum VEGF-A level. Our results thus suggest that an early increase in the serum VEGF-A concentration after the initial decrease is a potential predictive marker of a poor response and reactive resistance to bevacizumab plus chemotherapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: POU5F1B (POU domain class 5 transcription factor 1B), a processed pseudogene that is highly homologous to OCT4, was recently shown to be transcribed in cancer cells, but its clinical relevance and biological function have remained unclear. We now show that POU5F1B, which is located adjacent to MYC on human chromosome 8q24, is frequently amplified in gastric cancer (GC) cell lines. POU5F1B, but not OCT4, was also found to be expressed at a high level in GC cell lines and clinical specimens. In addition, the DNA copy number and mRNA abundance for POU5F1B showed a positive correlation in both cancer cell lines and GC specimens. Overexpression of POU5F1B in GC cells promoted colony formation in vitro as well as both tumorigenicity and tumor growth in vivo, and these effects were enhanced in the additional presence of MYC overexpression. Furthermore, knockdown of POU5F1B expression with a short hairpin RNA confirmed a role for the endogenous pseudogene in the promotion of cancer cell growth in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. POU5F1B overexpression induced upregulation of various growth factors in GC cells as well as exhibited mitogenic, angiogenic and antiapoptotic effects in GC xenografts. Finally, amplification of POU5F1B was detected in 17 (12%) of 145 cases of GC and was a significant predictor of poor prognosis in patients with stage IV disease. In conclusion, we found that the POU5F1B pseudogene is amplified and expressed at a high level in, as well as confers an aggressive phenotype on, GC, and that POU5F1B amplification is associated with a poor prognosis in GC patients.Oncogene advance online publication, 23 December 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.547.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The heparan sulfate sulfotransferase gene family catalyzes the transfer of sulfate groups to heparan sulfate and regulates various growth factor-receptor signaling pathways. However, the involvement of this gene family in cancer biology has not been elucidated. It was demonstrated that the heparan sulfate D-glucosaminyl 6-O-sulfotransferase-2 (HS6ST2) gene is overexpressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) and its clinical significance in patients with CRC was investigated. The mRNA levels of HS6ST2 in clinical CRC samples and various cancer cell lines were assessed using a microarray analysis and quantitative RT-PCR, respectively. An immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of the HS6ST2 protein was performed using 102 surgical specimens of CRC. The correlations between the HS6ST2 expression status and clinicopathological characteristics were then evaluated. HS6ST2 mRNA was significantly overexpressed by 37-fold in CRC samples compared to paired colonic mucosa. High levels of HS6ST2 mRNA expression were also observed in colorectal, esophageal and lung cancer cell lines. The IHC analysis demonstrated that HS6ST2 was expressed in the cytoplasmic region of CRC cells, but not in normal colonic mucosal cells. Positive staining for HS6ST2 was detected in 40 patients (39.2%). There was no significant association between the clinicopathological characteristics and HS6ST2 expression. However, positive staining for HS6ST2 was associated with a poor survival (P=0.074, log-rank test). In conclusion, HS6ST2 was found to be overexpressed in CRC and its expression tended to be a poor prognostic factor, although the correlation was not significant. These findings indicate that HS6ST2 may be a novel cancer-related marker that may provide insight into the glycobiology of CRC.
Full-text Article · Sep 2013 · Molecular and Clinical Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The biological basis for cancer of unknown primary (CUP) at the molecular level remains largely unknown, with no evidence of whether a common biological entity exists. Here, we assessed the possibility of identifying a common diagnostic biomarker for CUP using a microarray gene expression analysis.
Tumor mRNA samples from 60 patients with CUP were analyzed using the Affymetrix U133A Plus 2.0 GeneChip and were normalized by asinh (hyperbolic arc sine) transformation to construct a mean gene-expression profile specific to CUP. A gene-expression profile specific to non-CUP group was constructed using publicly available raw microarray datasets. The t-tests were performed to compare the CUP with non-CUP groups and the top 59 CUP specific genes with the highest fold change were selected (p-value<0.001).
Among the 44 genes that were up-regulated in the CUP group, 6 genes for ribosomal proteins were identified. Two of these genes (RPS7 and RPL11) are known to be involved in the Mdm2-p53 pathway. We also identified several genes related to metastasis and apoptosis, suggesting a biological attribute of CUP.
The protein products of the up-regulated and down-regulated genes identified in this study may be clinically useful as unique biomarkers for CUP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Molecular targeted therapy is expected to be a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC); however, the gene amplification status of molecular targeted genes in ESCC remains largely unclear. The gene amplification of EGFR, HER2, FGFR2 and MET was examined using a real-time PCR-based copy number assay of 245 ESCC surgical specimens of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and comparative genomic hybridization analyses verified the results of the copy number assay. EGFR mutation was detected using the Scorpions-ARMS method. The EGFR status and drug sensitivity to an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor was then evaluated in vitro. Gene amplification of EGFR and HER2 was observed in 7% (16/244) and 11% (27/245) of the ESCC specimens. A multivariate analysis revealed that HER2 amplification was a significant predictor of a poor prognosis in patients with stage III post-operative ESCC. The L861Q type of EGFR mutation with hypersensitivity to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor was found in one of the eight ESCC cell lines and one del745 type of EGFR mutation was identified in 107 clinical samples. In addition, we demonstrated for the first time that FGFR2 amplification was observed in 4% (8/196) of the ESCC specimens. MET amplification was observed in 1% (2/196). In conclusion, the frequent gene amplification of EGFR, HER2 and FGFR2 and the presence of active EGFR mutations were observed in ESCC specimens. Our results strongly encourage the development of molecular targeted therapy for ESCC.
Full-text Article · Apr 2013 · International Journal of Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Transcription factor Slug/SNAI2 (snail homolog 2) plays a key role in the induction of the epithelial mesenchymal transition in cancer cells; however, whether the overexpression of Slug mediates the malignant phenotype and alters drug sensitivity in lung cancer cells remains largely unclear. We investigated Slug focusing on its biological function and involvement in drug sensitivity in lung cancer cells. Stable Slug transfectants showed typical morphological changes compared with control cells. Slug overexpression did not change the cellular proliferations; however, migration activity and anchorage-independent growth activity with an antiapoptotic effect were increased. Interestingly, stable Slug overexpression increased drug sensitivity to tubulin-binding agents including vinorelbine, vincristine, and paclitaxel (5.8- to 8.9-fold increase) in several lung cancer cell lines but did not increase sensitivity to agents other than tubulin-binding agents. Real-time RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and western blotting revealed that Slug overexpression downregulated the expression of βIII and βIVa-tubulin, which is considered to be a major factor determining sensitivity to tubulin-binding agents. A luciferase reporter assay confirmed that Slug suppressed the promoter activity of βIVa-tubulin at a transcriptional level. Slug overexpression enhanced tumor growth, whereas Slug overexpression increased drug sensitivity to vinorelbine with the downregulation of βIII and βIV-tubulin in vivo. Immunohistochemistry of Slug with clinical lung cancer samples showed that Slug overexpression tended to be involved in response to tubulin-binding agents. In conclusion, our data indicate that Slug mediates an aggressive phenotype including enhanced migration activity, anoikis suppression, and tumor growth, but increases sensitivity to tubulin-binding agents via the downregulation of βIII and βIVa-tubulin in lung cancer cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
The response rate to sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is relatively low (0.7%-3%), however, rapid and drastic tumor regression is occasionally observed. The molecular backgrounds and clinico-pathological features of these responders remain largely unclear. We analyzed the clinical and molecular backgrounds of 13 responders to sorafenib with significant tumor shrinkage in a retrospective study. A comparative genomic hybridization analysis using one frozen HCC sample from a responder demonstrated that the 11q13 region, a rare amplicon in HCC including the loci for FGF3 and FGF4, was highly amplified. A real-time polymerase chain reaction-based copy number assay revealed that FGF3/FGF4 amplification was observed in three of the 10 HCC samples from responders in which DNA was evaluable, whereas amplification was not observed in 38 patients with stable or progressive disease (P = 0.006). Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis confirmed FGF3 amplification. In addition, the clinico-pathological features showed that multiple lung metastases (5/13, P = 0.006) and a poorly differentiated histological type (5/13, P = 0.13) were frequently observed in responders. A growth inhibitory assay showed that only one FGF3/FGF4-amplified and three FGFR2-amplified cancer cell lines exhibited hypersensitivity to sorafenib in vitro. Finally, an in vivo study revealed that treatment with a low dose of sorafenib was partially effective for stably and exogenously expressed FGF4 tumors, while being less effective in tumors expressing EGFP or FGF3.
FGF3/FGF4 amplification was observed in around 2% of HCCs. Although the sample size was relatively small, FGF3/FGF4 amplification, a poorly differentiated histological type, and multiple lung metastases were frequently observed in responders to sorafenib. Our findings may provide a novel insight into the molecular background of HCC and sorafenib responders, warranting further prospective biomarker studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Previously, we have shown that an AP-1 family member, FRA-2, is constitutively expressed in adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) and, together with JUND, upregulates CCR4 and promotes ATL cell growth. Among the identified potential target genes of FRA-2/JUND was SOX4. Here, we examine the expression and function of SOX4 in ATL. SOX4 was indeed consistently expressed in primary ATL cells. FRA-2/JUND efficiently activated the SOX4 promoter via an AP-1 site. Knockdown of SOX4 expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) strongly suppressed cell growth of ATL cell lines. Microarray analyses revealed that SOX4 knockdown reduced the expression of genes such as germinal center kinase related (GCKR), NAK-associated protein 1 (NAP1), and histone deacetylase 8 (HDAC8). We confirmed consistent expression of GCKR, NAP1, and HDAC8 in primary ATL cells. We also showed direct activation of the HDAC8 promoter by SOX4. Furthermore, siRNA knockdown of GCKR, NAP1, and HDAC8 each significantly suppressed cell growth of ATL cell lines. Taken together, we have revealed an important oncogenic cascade involving FRA-2/JUND and SOX4 in ATL, which leads to the expression of genes such as GCKR, NAP1, and HDAC8.