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Signal Transduction

"The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway." (Source: MeSH)

An overview of major signal transduction pathways
Figure: An overview of major signal transduction pathways
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Signal_transduction_pathways.svg (License: CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Web Resources: Signal Transduction and Cancer
Latest Research Publications

Web Resources: Signal Transduction and Cancer (3 links)

Latest Research Publications

This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).

Lin X, Khalid S, Qureshi MZ, et al.
VEGF mediated signaling in oral cancer.
Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2016; 62(14):64-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
Increasingly it is being realized that oral cancer arises from genetic/epigenetic mutations, dysregulations of spatio-temporally controlled signal transduction cascades and loss of apoptosis. Epidemiological studies have provided a stronger association between tobacco use (chewed and smoked) and oral cancer. Nevertheless, alcohol has also gained attention as a significant risk factor, having a multiplicative synergistic cancer promoting effect with tobacco. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) mediated signaling has gained limelight because of its instrumental role in endothelial cell proliferation, survival, invasion, migration, chemotaxis of bone marrow (BM)-derived progenitor cells, vasodilation and vascular permeability. In this review we provide most recent updates on involvement of VEGF/VEGFR signaling axis in oral cancer. We partition this multi-component review into different sections and summarize latest advancements related to therapies against VEGF/VEGFR signaling axis and how microRNAs tactfully modulate VEGF and VEGFR in oral cancers. Data obtained through preclinical and clinical studies has revealed that therapeutic benefits associated with VEGF-targeted therapy are complicated in different cancers and involve myriad of mechanisms. A better understanding of VEGF/VEGFR mediated signaling in oral cancers and testing of novel therapeutic agents in preclinical models will prove to be helpful in effective translation of safest drugs from benchtop to the bedside.

Abe Y, Tanaka N
The Hedgehog Signaling Networks in Lung Cancer: The Mechanisms and Roles in Tumor Progression and Implications for Cancer Therapy.
Biomed Res Int. 2016; 2016:7969286 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide and is classified into small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Several gene mutations that contribute to aberrant cell proliferation have been identified in lung adenocarcinoma, a part of NSCLC. Various anticancer drugs that target these mutated molecules have been developed for NSCLC treatment. However, although molecularly targeted drugs are initially effective for patients, the 5-year survival rate remains low because of tumor relapse. Therefore, more effective drugs for lung cancer treatment should be developed. The hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway contributes to organ development and stem cell maintenance, and aberrant activation of this signaling pathway is observed in various cancers including lung cancer. In lung cancer, HH signaling pathway upregulates cancer cell proliferation and maintains cancer stem cells as well as cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Furthermore, physical contact between CAFs and NSCLC cells induces HH signaling pathway activation in NSCLC cells to enhance their metastatic potential. Therefore, HH signaling pathway inhibitors could be a useful option for lung cancer therapy.

Xie ZZ, Li MM, Deng PF, et al.
Paris saponin-induced autophagy promotes breast cancer cell apoptosis via the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway.
Chem Biol Interact. 2017; 264:1-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Paris saponins possess anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects. However, the anticancer effect of Paris saponins has not been well elucidated and the mechanisms underlying the potential function of Paris saponins in cancer therapy are needed to be further identify. In this study, we report that saponin compounds isolated from Paris polyphylla exhibited antitumor activity against breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. Paris saponin XA-2 induced apoptosis in both cell lines, as evidenced by the activation of caspases and cleavage of Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. The ability of XA-2 to induce autophagy was confirmed by acridine orange staining, accumulation of autophagosome-bound Long chain 3 (LC3)-II, and measurement of autophagic flux. XA-2-induced autophagy was observed to promote apoptosis by the combined treatment of breast cancer cell lines with XA-2 and autophagy inhibitors 3-methyladenine and bafilomycin A1, respectively. Moreover, we report a decrease in the levels of Akt/mTOR signaling pathway proteins, such as the phosphorylated forms of Akt, mTOR, P70S6K, and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4EBP1). Taken together, these results provide important insights explaining the anticancer activity of Paris saponins and the potential development of XA-2 as a new therapeutic agent.

Gao K, Ji Z, She K, et al.
Long non-coding RNA ZFAS1 is an unfavourable prognostic factor and promotes glioma cell progression by activation of the Notch signaling pathway.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 87:555-560 [PubMed] Related Publications
Survival of patients with glioma remains poor, which is largely attributed to active carcinogenesis. Accumulating evidence indicates that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play key roles in tumor initiation and progression. However, the function of lncRNA ZFAS1 in glioma is still unclear. In the current study, we found that ZFAS1 was upregulated in glioma tissues and cell lines. High ZFAS1 expression in glioma tissues was significantly correlated with advanced tumor stage and poor overall survival. Furthermore, in vitro assays demonstrated that ZFAS1 inhibition significantly suppressed glioma cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Importantly, we further confirmed that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the Notch signaling pathway was inactivated in the glioma cells after ZFAS1 knockdown. Thus, our findings indicated that ZFAS1 could exhibit a tumor oncogenic role in glioma progression by regulating EMT and Notch signaling pathway. LncRNA ZFAS1 might serve as a therapeutic target for the treatment of glioma patients.

Zhu Y, Jiang Y, Shi L, et al.
7-O-Geranylquercetin induces apoptosis in gastric cancer cells via ROS-MAPK mediated mitochondrial signaling pathway activation.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 87:527-538 [PubMed] Related Publications
7-O-Geranylquercetin (GQ) is a novel O-alkylated derivate of quercetin. In this study, we evaluated its apoptosis induction effects in human gastric cancer cell lines SGC-7901 and MGC-803 and explored the potential molecular mechanisms. The results demonstrated that GQ lowered viability of SGC-7901 and MGC-803 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner without apparent cytotoxicity to human gastric epithelial cell line GES-1. GQ could induce apoptosis in SGC-7901 and MGC-803cells, and arrest the gastric cancer cells at G2/M phase. Mechanism study showed that GQ triggered generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), then activated p38 and JNK signaling pathways, subsequently led to mitochondrial impairment by regulating the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xl and Bax, and finally promoted the release of cytochrome c and the activation of caspases to induce apoptosis. In addition, Z-VAD-FMK (caspase inhibitor) could reverse GQ-induced apoptosis. SB203580 (p38 inhibitor) and SP600125 (JNK inhibitor) could rescue GQ-induced cell death and attenuate mitochondrial signal pathway activation. Furthermore, NAC (ROS inhibitor) could rescue GQ-induced cell death, reduce ROS generation, decrease the phosphorylation of p38 and JNK, and then attenuate the activation of mitochondrial signal pathway. Taken together, GQ induces caspase-dependent apoptosis in gastric cancer cells through activating ROS-MAPK mediated mitochondrial signal pathway. This study highlights the potential use of GQ as a gastric cancer therapeutic agent.

Chikara S, Lindsey K, Borowicz P, et al.
Enterolactone alters FAK-Src signaling and suppresses migration and invasion of lung cancer cell lines.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17(1):30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Systemic toxicity of chemotherapeutic agents and the challenges associated with targeting metastatic tumors are limiting factors for current lung cancer therapeutic approaches. To address these issues, plant-derived bioactive components have been investigated for their anti-cancer properties because many of these agents are non-toxic to healthy tissues. Enterolactone (EL) is a flaxseed-derived mammalian lignan that has demonstrated anti-migratory properties for various cancers, but EL has not been investigated in the context of lung cancer, and its anticancer mechanisms are ill-defined. We hypothesized that EL could inhibit lung cancer cell motility by affecting the FAK-Src signaling pathway.
METHODS: Non-toxic concentrations of EL were identified for A549 and H460 human lung cancer cells by conducting 3-(4, 5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-Dephenyltetrazolium Bromide (MTT) assays. The anti-migratory and anti-invasive potential of EL for lung cancer cell lines was determined by scratch wound healing and Matrigel® invasion assays. Changes in filamentous actin (F-actin) fiber density and length in EL-treated cells were determined using phalloidin-conjugated rhodamine dye and fluorescent microscopy. Vinculin expression in focal adhesions upon EL treatment was determined by immunocytochemistry. Gene and protein expression levels of FAK-Src signaling molecules in EL-treated lung cancer cells were determined using PCR arrays, qRT-PCR, and western blotting.
RESULTS: Non-toxic concentrations of EL inhibited lung cancer cell migration and invasion in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. EL treatment reduced the density and number of F-actin fibers in lung cancer cell lines, and reduced the number and size of focal adhesions. EL decreased phosphorylation of FAK and its downstream targets, Src, paxillin, and decreased mRNA expression of cell motility-related genes, RhoA, Rac1, and Cdc42 in lung cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that EL suppresses lung cancer cell motility and invasion by altering FAK activity and subsequent activation of downstream proteins needed for focal adhesion formation and cytoskeletal rearrangement. Therefore, administration of EL may serve as a safe and complementary approach for inhibiting lung tumor cell motility, invasion, and metastasis.

Chung YC, Chen CH, Tsai YT, et al.
Litchi seed extract inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor signaling and growth of Two Non-small cell lung carcinoma cells.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17(1):16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Litchi seeds possess rich amounts of phenolics and have been shown to inhibit proliferation of several types of cancer cells. However, the suppression of EGFR signaling in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by litchi seed extract (LCSE) has not been fully understood.
METHODS: In this study, the effects of LCSE on EGFR signaling, cell proliferation, the cell cycle and apoptosis in A549 adenocarcinoma cells and NCI- H661 large-cell carcinoma cells were examined.
RESULTS: The results demonstrated that LCSE potently reduced the number of cancer cells and induced growth inhibition, cell-cycle arrest in the G1 or G2/M phase, and apoptotic death in the cellular experiment. Only low cytotoxicity effect was noted in normal lung MRC-5 cells. LCSE also suppressed cyclins and Bcl-2 and elevated Kip1/p27, Bax and caspase 8, 9 and 3 activities, which are closely associated with the downregulation of EGFR and its downstream Akt and Erk-1/-2 signaling.
CONCLUSION: The results implied that LCSE suppressed EGFR signaling and inhibited NSCLC cell growth. This study provided in vitro evidence that LCSE could serve as a potential agent for the adjuvant treatment of NSCLC.

Raja Singh P, Sugantha Priya E, Balakrishnan S, et al.
Inhibition of cell survival and proliferation by nimbolide in human androgen-independent prostate cancer (PC-3) cells: involvement of the PI3K/Akt pathway.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2017; 427(1-2):69-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer is most common malignancy among men in the world. PI3K-Akt signaling appears to be critical to prostate cancer cell proliferation and survival. Our earlier study reveals that nimbolide (2 µM) prevents cell survival via IGF signaling pathway through PI3K/Akt and induces apoptosis in PC-3 cell line. Akt mediates the phosphorylation and activation of mTOR that plays a critical role in the regulation of protein translation and synthesis, angiogenesis, and cell cycle progression. The present study was aimed to investigate the effect of nimbolide on tPI3K, tAkt, pAkt, tmTOR, GSK3β, pGSK3β, PCNA, c-Myc, Cyclin D1, and Survivin protein levels by western blot analysis. Apoptosis was visualized by Ao/EtBr dual staining (20×), and protein expression of PCNA by immunocytochemistry was performed. Molecular docking was performed to understand the possible interaction between nimbolide and Akt, PCNA, and Cyclin D1. Nimbolide altered the PI3K-Akt-mediated cell survival and proliferative molecules. Thus, nimbolide exerted anticancer effects in vitro by representing the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway in PC-3 cells. Thereby, it acts as a potent anticancer drug for prostate cancer.

Sun X, Deng Q, Liang Z, et al.
Cigarette smoke extract induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition of human bladder cancer T24 cells through activation of ERK1/2 pathway.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 86:457-465 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bladder cancer is a common genitourinary malignant disease worldwide. Abundant evidence has shown that cigarette smoke (CS) is a crucial risk factor for bladder cancer. Nevertheless, the mechanism underlying the relationship between cigarette smoking and bladder cancer remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the effects of cigarette smoke extract (CSE) on mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway activation and EMT alterations in human bladder cancer T24 cells, and the preventive effect of extracellular regulated protein kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) inhibitor U0126 was further examined. Our results illustrated that CSE exposure induced morphological change of human bladder cancer T24 cells, enhanced migratory and invasive capacities, reduced epithelial marker expression and elevated mesenchymal marker expression. Meanwhile, exposure of T24 cells to CSE resulted in activation of ERK1/2 pathway as well as activator protein 1 (AP-1) proteins. Interestingly, treatment with ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126 effectively abrogated CSE-triggered EMT and ERK1/2/AP-1 activation. These findings provide novel insight into the molecular mechanisms of CS-associated bladder cancer and may open up new avenues in the search for potential target of bladder cancer intervention.

Chiang IT, Chen WT, Tseng CW, et al.
Hyperforin Inhibits Cell Growth by Inducing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Apoptotic Pathways in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(1):161-167 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of the present study was to investigate the antitumor effect and mechanism of action of hyperforin in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) SK-Hep1 cells in vitro. Cells were treated with different concentrations of hyperforin for different periods of time. Effects of hyperforin on cell viability, apoptosis signaling, and expression of anti-apoptotic and proliferative proteins [cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (c-FLIP), X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), myeloid cell leukemia 1(MCL1), and cyclin-D1] were investigated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, flow cytometry, and western blotting. Hyperforin significantly inhibited cell viability and expression of anti-apoptotic and proliferative proteins. We also found that hyperforin significantly induced accumulation of cells in sub-G1 phase, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, and increased levels of active caspase-3, and caspase-8. Taken together, our findings indicate that hyperforin triggers inhibition of tumor cell growth by inducing intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways in HCC SK-Hep1 cells.

Dondoo TO, Fukumori T, Daizumoto K, et al.
Galectin-3 Is Implicated in Tumor Progression and Resistance to Anti-androgen Drug Through Regulation of Androgen Receptor Signaling in Prostate Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(1):125-134 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)-related deaths are increasing worldwide. Therefore, clarification of the mechanisms of hormone-related tumor progression and resistance to anti-androgen drugs is useful in order to develop strategies for appropriate treatment of CRPC. Galectin-3 has been shown to be correlated with tumor progression in a variety of cancer types through the regulation of tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, and apoptosis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined tumor cell invasion and migration using the xCELLigence system. Control LNCaP and galectin-3-expressing LNCaP (LNCaP-Gal-3) cells were cultured with androgen-depleted medium with 5% charcoal-stripped serum. Cells were treated for 24 h with or without dihydrotestosterone alone or combined with MDV3100 and bicalutamide; gene profile was then analyzed by microarray analysis and mRNA expression was confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We evaluated tumor growth using spheroids and xenograft tumor growth in a mouse model.
RESULTS: In vitro, LNCaP-Gal-3 cells promoted both cell migration and invasion in an androgen-independent manner compared to control LNCaP cells. Galectin-3 also enhanced anchorage-independent growth and xenograft tumor growth even after castration. Importantly, galectin-3 greatly enhanced transcriptional activity of the androgen receptor (AR), especially on treatment with dihydrotestosterone. In microarray and qRT-PCR analyses, galectin-3 increased the expression of several AR-target genes, such as kallikrein-related peptidase 3 (KLK3), and transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2). These AR-target genes were not fully suppressed by anti-androgen drugs such as bicalutamide or MDV3100. Galectin-3 significantly inhibited the effect induced by anti-androgen drugs MDV3100 and bicalutamide, suggesting that galectin-3 may be involved in resistance to anti-androgen drug through enhancement of transcriptional activity of AR and expression of AR-related genes.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that galectin-3 is a potential target molecule for future treatment of anti-androgen drug-resistant prostate cancer.

Saengboonmee C, Seubwai W, Cha'on U, et al.
Metformin Exerts Antiproliferative and Anti-metastatic Effects Against Cholangiocarcinoma Cells by Targeting STAT3 and NF-ĸB.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(1):115-123 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is an aggressive cancer for which standard treatments are still ineffective. This study demonstrated the antiproliferative and anti-metastatic activity of metformin, an anti-diabetic drug, in CCA cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cell proliferation, migration/invasion and anoikis resistance were determined. The underlying mechanisms were identified using western blotting and immunocytofluorescence.
RESULTS: Metformin significantly suppressed proliferation of CCA cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, regardless of glucose present in the medium. A low dose of metformin significantly increased anoikis and inhibited migration/ invasion of CCA cells that was in concert with the decrease of vimentin, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -7. Activation of 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by phosphorylation together with suppression of nuclear translocation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-ĸB) were the underlying mechanisms for these effects.
CONCLUSION: Metformin is a potent antiproliferative and anti-metastatic agent against human CCA cells. These findings encourage the repurposing of metformin in clinical trials to improve CCA treatment.

Liu JF, Nie XC, Shao YC, et al.
Bleomycin Suppresses the Proliferation and the Mobility of Human Gastric Cancer Cells Through the Smad Signaling Pathway.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016; 40(6):1401-1409 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Extensive studies have demonstrated that Bleomycin (BLM) is a glycopeptide antibiotic that has been used as an anticancer chemotherapeutic reagent. It can induce both single- and double-strand DNA damage, inhibit synthesis of DNA, suppress proliferation, and induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Smad signaling transducers are considered as important molecules in tumor development and progression, and may closely be related to the biological behaviors of some malignant carcinomas, including gastric cancer.
METHODS: The effects of different concentrations of BLM on the proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, migration, and invasion on gastric cancer cell lines MKN45 and AGS were assayed by using CCK-8 assay, Annexin V/PI double staining, PI staining, and transwell assay. Western blot and Immunohistochemistry were applied to analyze the potential mechanism(s).
RESULTS: BLM treatment resulted in a low proliferation, high apoptosis, low migration and invasion in MKN45 and AGS cells. Furthermore, the possible mechanisms underlying that Smad3 activity could be changed after binding with BLM, and subsequently the Smad signaling pathway had a cascade response.
CONCLUSION: These results highlight BLM as an exciting theme for gastric cancer treatment, which may represent an effective clinical therapeutic reagent for gastric cancer patients.

Zhou ZL, Ma J, Tong MH, et al.
Nanomechanical measurement of adhesion and migration of leukemia cells with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate treatment.
Int J Nanomedicine. 2016; 11:6533-6545 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The adhesion and traction behavior of leukemia cells in their microenvironment is directly linked to their migration, which is a prime issue affecting the release of cancer cells from the bone marrow and hence metastasis. In assessing the effectiveness of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) treatment, the conventional batch-cell transwell-migration assay may not indicate the intrinsic effect of the treatment on migration, since the treatment may also affect other cellular behavior, such as proliferation or death. In this study, the pN-level adhesion and traction forces between single leukemia cells and their microenvironment were directly measured using optical tweezers and traction-force microscopy. The effects of PMA on K562 and THP1 leukemia cells were studied, and the results showed that PMA treatment significantly increased cell adhesion with extracellular matrix proteins, bone marrow stromal cells, and human fibroblasts. PMA treatment also significantly increased the traction of THP1 cells on bovine serum albumin proteins, although the effect on K562 cells was insignificant. Western blots showed an increased expression of E-cadherin and vimentin proteins after the leukemia cells were treated with PMA. The study suggests that PMA upregulates adhesion and thus suppresses the migration of both K562 and THP1 cells in their microenvironment. The ability of optical tweezers and traction-force microscopy to measure directly pN-level cell-protein or cell-cell contact was also demonstrated.

Paschke L, Jopek K, Szyszka M, et al.
ZFP91: A Noncanonical NF-κB Signaling Pathway Regulator with Oncogenic Properties Is Overexpressed in Prostate Cancer.
Biomed Res Int. 2016; 2016:6963582 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Novel molecular targets are being searched to aid in prostate cancer diagnosis and therapy. Recently, ZFP91 zinc finger protein has been found to be upregulated in prostate cancer cell lines. It is a potentially important oncogenic protein; however only limited data regarding its biological function and expression patterns are available. To date, ZFP91 has been shown to be a key factor in activation of noncanonical NF-κB signaling pathway as well as to be involved in HIF-1α signaling in cancer cells. The present study aimed to characterize ZFP91 expression in prostate cancer specimens. Furthermore, since our earlier reports showed discrepancies between ZFP91 mRNA and protein levels, we studied this interrelationship in LNCaP and PC-3 prostate cancer cell lines using siRNA mediated knockdown. QPCR analysis revealed marked upregulation of ZFP91 mRNA in the majority of prostate cancer specimens. Transfection of prostate cancer cells with ZFP91 siRNA resulted in a 10-fold decrease in mRNA levels. On a protein level, however, no inhibitory effect was observed over the time of the cell culture. We conclude that ZFP91 is overexpressed in prostate cancer and that potential accumulation of the ZFP91 protein in studied cells may be of importance in prostate cancer biology.

Yin H, Wang S, Zhang YH, et al.
Analysis of Important Gene Ontology Terms and Biological Pathways Related to Pancreatic Cancer.
Biomed Res Int. 2016; 2016:7861274 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer is a serious disease that results in more than thirty thousand deaths around the world per year. To design effective treatments, many investigators have devoted themselves to the study of biological processes and mechanisms underlying this disease. However, it is far from complete. In this study, we tried to extract important gene ontology (GO) terms and KEGG pathways for pancreatic cancer by adopting some existing computational methods. Genes that have been validated to be related to pancreatic cancer and have not been validated were represented by features derived from GO terms and KEGG pathways using the enrichment theory. A popular feature selection method, minimum redundancy maximum relevance, was employed to analyze these features and extract important GO terms and KEGG pathways. An extensive analysis of the obtained GO terms and KEGG pathways was provided to confirm the correlations between them and pancreatic cancer.

Ji Y, Chen S, Xiang B, et al.
Jagged1/Notch3 Signaling Modulates Hemangioma-Derived Pericyte Proliferation and Maturation.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016; 40(5):895-907 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Notch signaling pathway has been implicated in the pericyte phenotype, but its exact roles in hemangioma-derived pericytes (Hem-pericytes) remain ill defined.
METHODS: Hem-pericytes were stimulated by immobilized recombinant Jagged1. The potential mechanisms of Notch-induced Hem-pericytes growth arrest were investigated by cell cycle assay, and the role of the Notch in promoting Hem-pericyte maturation was also analyzed by real-time PCR and western blot.
RESULTS: Activation of Notch3 in Hem-pericytes significantly reduced cell proliferation and inhibited cell cycle transition. This event was associated with an increase in the levels of p21Cip1. Knockdown of p21Cip1 resulted in a significant rescue of Notch-induced cell growth arrest and an entry into the cell cycle. We showed that Jagged1 activation of Notch3 signaling upregulated the expression of the pericyte contractile markers smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (smMHC) and α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA), concomitant with an increase in the expression of myocardin in Hem-pericytes. We further revealed that the endothelial-derived Jagged1 modulated the Hem-pericyte phenotype via a contact-dependent mechanism.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated that Jagged1 activation of Notch3 resulted in a significant decrease in cell proliferation while concomitantly promoting Hem-pericyte maturation. These data provide initial evidence that Notch induces a quiescent phenotype in Hem-pericytes.

Kalbe B, Schulz VM, Schlimm M, et al.
Helional-induced activation of human olfactory receptor 2J3 promotes apoptosis and inhibits proliferation in a non-small-cell lung cancer cell line.
Eur J Cell Biol. 2017; 96(1):34-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Studies within the last decade have localized the functional expression of olfactory receptors (ORs) to cells outside of the olfactory epithelium. In human hepatocarcinoma and prostate cancer cells, the activation of ORs by odors modulates elementary physiological processes and leads to an inhibitory effect on proliferation. Cells of the respiratory tract are in direct contact with the surrounding air, in which a myriad of volatile molecules, especially odors, are present. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has a high prevalence, a high mortality rate and is difficult to treat. NSCLC cells are nearly resistant to common chemotherapeutic approaches, and surgical resection provides the only possible chance of a cure for most patients. New approaches for the treatment of NSCLC are the focus of many current studies. Thus, it is of interest to characterize the functional expression of ORs in cancer cells of the lung and to investigate the impact of ORs on pathophysiological processes. In the present study, we demonstrate that the expression of OR2J3 and cytosolic Ca(2+) increase via the activation of the agonist helional in the NSCLC cell line A549. We further investigated the underlying pathway. Helional triggers phoshoinositol-3 kinase (PI3K), signaling the release of intracellular Ca(2+) and phosphorylation of ERK. We observed that OR2J3 activation induces apoptosis and inhibits cell proliferation and migration in long-term stimulus experiments with helional. Our study provides the first evidence of the functional expression of an OR in NSCLC cells and its putative therapeutic impact.

Guo Y, Han B, Luo K, et al.
NOX2-ROS-HIF-1α signaling is critical for the inhibitory effect of oleanolic acid on rectal cancer cell proliferation.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:733-739 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the western countries and accounts for 10% incidence and mortality of cancer in the whole world. Drug resistance and severe toxicity severely limited the efficiency of chemotherapy of rectal cancer. Oleanolic acid (OA) is a natural triterpenoid and an aglycone of many saponins. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effect of OA on rectal cancer cell proliferation and its possible mechanism. We showed that OA concentration-dependently inhibited cell proliferation in HCT-15, HT-29, HCT-8 and Colo 205 human rectal cancer cell lines. OA significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) expression in a concentration-dependent manner. In HCT-15 and HT-29 cells, siNOX2 notably suppressed OA-induced ROS generation, inhibition of cell proliferation, increase of S phase cell population and decrease of cyclin D1 and CDK2 expression. OA markedly decreased hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) expression in HCT-15 and HT-29 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Overexpression of HIF-1α significantly suppressed OA-induced inhibition of cell proliferation, increase of S phase cell population and decrease of cyclin D1 and CDK2 expression. Inhibition of NOX2 by siRNA notably blocked OA-induced suppression of HIF-1α expression. Our findings provide novel insights into OA-induced inhibition of rectal cancer cell proliferation and highlight NOX2/ROS/HIF-1α axis as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of rectal cancer.

Baghbani E, Baradaran B, Pak F, et al.
Suppression of protein tyrosine phosphatase PTPN22 gene induces apoptosis in T-cell leukemia cell line (Jurkat) through the AKT and ERK pathways.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 86:41-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of specific PTPN22 small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) on the viability and induction of apoptosis in Jurkat cells and to evaluate apoptosis signaling pathways. In this study, Jurkat cells were transfected with specific PTPN22 siRNA. Relative PTPN22 mRNA expression was measured by Quantitative Real-time PCR. Western blotting was performed to determine the protein levels of PTPN22, AKT, P-AKT, ERK, and P-ERK. The cytotoxic effects of PTPN22 siRNA were determined using the MTT assay. Apoptosis was quantified using TUNEL assay and flow cytometry. Results showed that in Jurkat cells after transfection with PTPN22 siRNA, the expression of PTPN22 in both mRNA and protein levels was effectively reduced. Moreover, siRNA transfection induced apoptosis on the viability of T-cell acute leukemia cells. More importantly, PTPN22 positively regulated the anti-apoptotic AKT kinase, which provides a powerful survival signal to T-ALL cells as well as the suppression of PTPN22 down regulated ERK activity. Our results suggest that the PTPN22 specific siRNA effectively decreases the viability of T-cell acute leukemia cells, induces apoptosis in this cell line, and therefore could be considered as a potent adjuvant in T-ALL therapy.

McCaw L, Shi Y, Wang G, et al.
Low Density Lipoproteins Amplify Cytokine-signaling in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells.
EBioMedicine. 2017; 15:24-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent studies suggest there is a high incidence of elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) patients and a survival benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. The mechanisms of these observations and the kinds of patients they apply to are unclear. Using an in vitro model of the pseudofollicles where CLL cells originate, LDLs were found to increase plasma membrane cholesterol, signaling molecules such as tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT3, and activated CLL cell numbers. The signaling effects of LDLs were not seen in normal lymphocytes or glycolytic lymphoma cell-lines but were restored by transduction with the nuclear receptor PPARδ, which mediates metabolic activity in CLL cells. Breakdown of LDLs in lysosomes was required for the amplification effect, which correlated with down-regulation of HMGCR expression and long lymphocyte doubling times (LDTs) of 53.6±10.4months. Cholesterol content of circulating CLL cells correlated directly with blood LDL levels in a subgroup of patients. These observations suggest LDLs may enhance proliferative responses of CLL cells to inflammatory signals. Prospective clinical trials are needed to confirm the therapeutic potential of lowering LDL concentrations in CLL, particularly in patients with indolent disease in the "watch-and-wait" phase of management.

Kassem L, Abdel-Rahman O
Targeting mTOR pathway in gynecological malignancies: Biological rationale and systematic review of published data.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016; 108:1-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: mTOR inhibitors are widely used in different malignancies with several trials testing their efficacy and safety in gynecological malignancies. We aimed to review the current evidence that support the expansion of using such drugs in the treatment of advanced gynecological cancers.
METHODS: A comprehensive systematic review of literature has been conducted to include prospective trials that used everolimus, temsirolimus or ridaforolimus in the management of gynecological cancers and have available efficacy and toxicity results.
RESULTS: A total of 23 studies including 980 patients were considered eligible for our review. Our review included 16 phase II and 7 phase I studies with the majority of patients having uterine cancers. Regarding Endometrial cancer, the CBR ranged from 21% to 60% and median PFS from 2.8 months to 7.3 months. In Ovarian cancers, CBR ranged from 24% to 50% and median PFS from 3.2 months to 5.9 months. In the single phase II study in cervical cancer the CBR was 61% and median PFS was 3.5 months. The toxicity profile was consistent with what was observed previously in other malignancies with fatigue, mucositis, and hematological toxicities being the most common adverse events observed.
CONCLUSION: mTOR inhibitors seem to be a promising option in the second line management of advanced gynecological cancers with best safety and efficacy outcomes when given as a single agent or in combination with hormonal treatment. More research is needed for better patient selection.

Xie Q, Wen H, Zhang Q, et al.
Inhibiting PI3K-AKt signaling pathway is involved in antitumor effects of ginsenoside Rg3 in lung cancer cell.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:16-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is recognized as the most prevalent type of cancer with high death rate. Ginsenoside Rg3 isolated from Traditional Chinese Medicine Panax Ginseng has significant anticancer effects on many tumors. In this study, the effects of ginsenoside Rg3 on cells viability, apoptosis and PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in lung cancer cells were investigated in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, the viability of lung cancer cell lines A549,H23 was examined by CCK-8 kits; The proportion of cell apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry. The expression of p-PI3K/PI3K and p-Akt/Akt was evaluated with Western blot. In vivo, A549,H23 cells were subcutaneously injected into the nude mice. Histopathological analysis was stained with HE, and TUNEL assay was used to detect cell apoptosis. The results showed that Rg3 obviously inhibited cell viability, induced apoptosis and inhibited PI3K/Akt signalling pathway on A549, H23 cells in vitro and in vivo. Rg3 effectively inhibited the volume and weight of tumor in xenografts model, which may be related with inhibiting PI3K/Akt signaling pathways.

Choi YJ, Choi YK, Lee KM, et al.
SH003 induces apoptosis of DU145 prostate cancer cells by inhibiting ERK-involved pathway.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016; 16(1):507 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Herbal medicines have been used in cancer treatment, with many exhibiting favorable side effect and toxicity profiles compared with conventional chemotherapeutic agents. SH003 is a novel extract from Astragalus membranaceus, Angelica gigas, and Trichosanthes Kirilowii Maximowicz combined at a 1:1:1 ratio that impairs the growth of breast cancer cells. This study investigates anti-cancer effects of SH003 in prostate cancer cells.
METHODS: SH003 extract in 30% ethanol was used to treat the prostate cancer cell lines DU145, LNCaP, and PC-3. Cell viability was determined by MTT and BrdU incorporation assays. Next, apoptotic cell death was determined by Annexin V and 7-AAD double staining methods. Western blotting was conducted to measure protein expression levels of components of cell death and signaling pathways. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were measured using H2DCF-DA. Plasmid-mediated ERK2 overexpression in DU145 cells was used to examine the effect of rescuing ERK2 function. Results were analyzed using the Student's t-test and P-values < 0.05 were considered to indicate statistically-significant differences.
RESULTS: Our data demonstrate that SH003 induced apoptosis in DU145 prostate cancer cells by inhibiting ERK signaling. SH003 induced apoptosis of prostate cancer cells in dose-dependent manner, which was independent of androgen dependency. SH003 also increased intracellular ROS levels but this is not associated with its pro-apoptotic effects. SH003 inhibited phosphorylation of Ras/Raf1/MEK/ERK/p90RSK in androgen-independent DU145 cells, but not androgen-dependent LNCaP and PC-3 cells. Moreover, ERK2 overexpression rescued SH003-induced apoptosis in DU145 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: SH003 induces apoptotic cell death of DU145 prostate cancer cells by inhibiting ERK2-mediated signaling.

Shany S, Sigal-Batikoff I, Lamprecht S
Vitamin D and Myofibroblasts in Fibrosis and Cancer: At Cross-purposes with TGF-β/SMAD Signaling.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(12):6225-6234 [PubMed] Related Publications
The multifaceted involvement of the active vitamin D metabolite 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (henceforth referred to by the synonyms 1,25(OH)2D3, calcitriol or vitamin D) in blunting the growth of cancer cells is amply recognized. In this review we focused our attention on the cross-talk between 1,25 (OH)2D3 and the tumor microenvironment (TME), signaling out stromal cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), the most abundant TME population, as a target for calcitriol anticancer action. In view of the commonality of the phenotypic signature in myofibroblasts, resident in the cancer stroma and in non-neoplastic fibrotic loci, we examined modes of action of vitamin D in non-neoplastic chronic diseases and in cancer to assess mechanistic similarities and divergences. A constant observation was that 1,25(OH)2D3 or synthetic ligands via the active vitamin D receptor (VDR) impede transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/mothers against decapentaplegic homologs (SMADs) signaling in myofibroblasts regardless of the initiating insult. The translational impact of 1,25(OH)2D3 in targetting stromal CAFs is discussed.

Teng Y, Wang L, Liu H, et al.
3'-Geranyl-mono-substituted chalcone Xanthoangelovl induces apoptosis in human leukemia K562 cells via activation of mitochondrial pathway.
Chem Biol Interact. 2017; 261:103-107 [PubMed] Related Publications
3'-Geranyl-mono-substituted chalcone Xanthoangelol (1b), a chalcone derivative, was previously reported to show selective cytotoxicity against human chronic myelogenous leukemia K562 cells with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 3.98 μM. In the present study, we investigated the molecular mechanism underlying the cytotoxicity of 1b in K562 cells. Treatment with compound 1b caused K562 cells to adopt a typical apoptotic morphology. Flow cytometric analysis also confirmed the presence of an apoptotic cell population following treatment of Annexin-V-FITC and propidium iodide (PI) double-labeled K562 cells with 1b. Furthermore, we observed dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, caspase-3 activation, and a reduction of the Bcl-2/Bax ratio in these cells, which suggest that the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway is induced by 1b in K562 cells. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that compound 1b notably induces mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in K562 cells, which might have a potential anticancer activity.

Wang D, Wang D, Wang N, et al.
Long Non-Coding RNA BANCR Promotes Endometrial Cancer Cell Proliferation and Invasion by Regulating MMP2 and MMP1 via ERK/MAPK Signaling Pathway.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016; 40(3-4):644-656 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Microarray screening had found BRAF-activated non-coding RNA (BANCR) was significantly upregulated in type 1 endometrial cancer (EC). This study aimed to assess the potential role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) BANCR in the pathogenesis and progression of type 1 EC.
METHODS: Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to confirm the expression of BANCR in type 1 EC tissue, and analyze its clinical significance. In vitro, RNA interference (siRNA) was used to investigate the biological role of BANCR in type 1 EC.
RESULTS: qRT-PCR revealed that the expression of lncRNA BANCR was higher in type 1 EC (P<0.01). BANCR expression was significantly correlated with FIGO stage, pathological grade, myometrial invasion, and lymph node metastasis. The expression of BANCR was significantly correlated with that of MMP2/MMP1. In vitro, knockdown of BANCR significantly suppressed proliferation, migration, and invasion of Ishikawa and HEC-1A cells, and significantly inhibited the ERK/MAPK signaling pathway that decreased MMP2 and MMP1 expression.
CONCLUSION: BANCR is highly expressed in type 1 EC tissue and promotes EC-cell proliferation, migration, and invasion by activating ERK/MAPK signaling pathway that regulates MMP2/MMP1 expression. BANCR is expected to become a prognostic marker and therapeutic target in type 1 EC.

Singh PR, Priya ES, Balakrishnan S, et al.
Nimbolide inhibits androgen independent prostate cancer cells survival and proliferation by modulating multiple pro-survival signaling pathways.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 84:1623-1634 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer is the most prominent cancer in men, experiencing a relapse in disease often express high serum TNF-α levels. It has been correlated with increased cell survival and proliferation of prostate cancer cells. Previous studies reported that nimbolide, a terpenoid derived from the leaves and flowers of neem tree inhibits cancer growth through selective modulation of cell signaling pathways linked to inflammation, survival, proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis.
METHODS: The present study aimed to examine the effect of nimbolide at 1 and 2μM concentrations on TNF-α/TNFR1 mediated signaling molecules involved in cell survival and proliferation in PC-3 cell line via NF-κB and MAPK pathways by real time PCR and western blot. Protein and compound interaction were performed by Molecular docking analysis.
RESULTS: Our results indicate that nimbolide treatment suppressed expression of TNF-α, SODD, Grb2, SOS mRNA and modulated TNF-α/TNFR1 regulated NF-κB and MAPK signaling molecules in PC-3 cells. Additional molecular dynamics simulation studies confirmed the stability of nimbolide and signaling molecules binding interactions. Binding pose analysis revealed the significance of hydrogen bond interactions for effective stabilization of virtual ligand protein complexes.
CONCLUSION: Nimbolide inhibited prostate cancer cell survival and proliferation via NF-κB and MAPK pathways.

Sun J, Jiang J, Lu K, et al.
Therapeutic potential of ADAM17 modulation in gastric cancer through regulation of the EGFR and TNF-α signalling pathways.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2017; 426(1-2):17-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17) is highly expressed in various tumours and affects tumour progression. In this study, ADAM17 expression in 60 gastric cancer and 20 normal gastric mucosal tissues was assessed using immunohistochemistry. ADAM17 expression was higher in gastric cancer tissues than in normal gastric mucosal tissues (P < 0.0005). A significant relationship was identified between ADAM17 expression and the depth of tumour invasion, metastasis, and carcinoma stage. Furthermore, the effects of ADAM17 knockdown on the proliferation, cell invasion, and apoptosis of human gastric carcinoma cells (SGC-7901) were determined. SGC-7901 cells were transfected with ADAM17-shRNA, and cell proliferation and migration were assessed using CCK-8 and transwell assays, respectively, to evaluate the role of ADAM17 in tumour proliferation and invasion. Furthermore, the EGFR signalling pathway, the cell membrane receptor-bound TNF-α level, and apoptosis were evaluated by western blotting and flow cytometry. The inhibition of cell proliferation and invasion was observed in the ADAM17 knockdown cells, which was associated with modulation of the EGFR signalling pathway. Apoptosis was increased, and TNF-α signalling was attenuated in the ADAM17 knockdown cells. Our study demonstrated that ADAM17 over-expression in gastric cancer tissues was closely associated with tumour proliferation, invasion, and apoptosis.

Kim YW, Jang EJ, Kim CH, Lee JH
Sauchinone exerts anticancer effects by targeting AMPK signaling in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Chem Biol Interact. 2017; 261:108-117 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sauchinone is a pharmacologically active compound isolated from Saururus chinensis, which has been used as a traditional Oriental medicine to treat fever, jaundice, and various inflammatory diseases. In this study, we investigated the effect of sauchinone against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and sought to elucidate the mechanism involved. Cell viability was measured by an MTT assay. Cell cycle distributions and the mitochondrial membrane potential were analyzed using flow cytometry. Cell death was analyzed by annexin V assay, 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling assay. Protein and mRNA levels were assessed by western blot and real-time PCR, respectively. Malignant properties were investigated by a wound healing migration assay and invasion assay. Sauchinone suppressed the proliferation of human HCC cells in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, it induced the G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest and mitochondrial dysfunction and then triggered the apoptosis by activating the JNK/p38 pathway in Huh-7 cells. In addition, sauchinone induced the activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway, and compound C (an AMPK inhibitor) blocked the sauchinone-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. The AMPK activation by sauchinone inhibited the phosphorylation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and its downstream targets, such as ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 and eIF4E-binding protein 1. Furthermore, sauchinone attenuated key proangiogenic factors, including hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, resulting in decreased migration and invasion of HCC cells. These results provide evidence for sauchinone to be considered as a potent anticancer agent by targeting of the AMPK-mTOR pathway in HCC.

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