Gene Summary

Gene:CFLAR; CASP8 and FADD-like apoptosis regulator
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a regulator of apoptosis and is structurally similar to caspase-8. However, the encoded protein lacks caspase activity and appears to be itself cleaved into two peptides by caspase-8. Several transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene, and partial evidence for several more variants exists. [provided by RefSeq, Feb 2011]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:CASP8 and FADD-like apoptosis regulator
Source:NCBIAccessed: 25 June, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 25 June 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • siRNA
  • Up-Regulation
  • bcl-X Protein
  • Caspases
  • Caspase 8
  • Chromosome 2
  • Gene Expression
  • TNF
  • Apoptosis
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Decoy Receptors
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • p53 Protein
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Survivors
  • Transfection
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Signal Transduction
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Down-Regulation
  • Messenger RNA
  • RNA Interference
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • CASP8
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Drug Resistance
  • Oral Cavity Cancer
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • FAS (CD95)
  • Drug Synergism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Cancer RNA
  • Caspase 9
Tag cloud generated 25 June, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CFLAR (cancer-related)

Ferreira AF, de Oliveira GL, Tognon R, et al.
Apoptosis-related gene expression profile in chronic myeloid leukemia patients after imatinib mesylate and dasatinib therapy.
Acta Haematol. 2015; 133(4):354-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: We investigated the effects of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) on the expression of apoptosis-related genes (BCL-2 and death receptor family members) in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients.
METHODS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 32 healthy subjects and 26 CML patients were evaluated before and after treatment with imatinib mesylate (IM) and dasatinib (DAS) by quantitative PCR.
RESULTS: Anti-apoptotic genes (c-FLIP and MCL-1) were overexpressed and the pro-apoptotic BIK was reduced in CML patients. Expression of BMF, A1, c-FLIP, MCL-1, CIAP-2 and CIAP-1 was modulated by DAS. In IM-resistant patients, expression of A1, c-FLIP, CIAP-1 and MCL-1 was upregulated, and BCL-2, CIAP-2, BAK, BAX, BIK and FASL expression was downregulated.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, our results point out that, in CML, DAS interferes with the apoptotic machinery regulation. In addition, the data suggest that apoptosis-related gene expression profiles are associated with primary resistance to IM.

Booth L, Roberts JL, Cash DR, et al.
GRP78/BiP/HSPA5/Dna K is a universal therapeutic target for human disease.
J Cell Physiol. 2015; 230(7):1661-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The chaperone GRP78/Dna K is conserved throughout evolution down to prokaryotes. The GRP78 inhibitor OSU-03012 (AR-12) interacted with sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis) to rapidly reduce GRP78 levels in eukaryotes and as a single agent reduce Dna K levels in prokaryotes. Similar data with the drug combination were obtained for: HSP70, HSP90, GRP94, GRP58, HSP27, HSP40 and HSP60. OSU-03012/sildenafil treatment killed brain cancer stem cells and decreased the expression of: NPC1 and TIM1; LAMP1; and NTCP1, receptors for Ebola/Marburg/Hepatitis A, Lassa fever, and Hepatitis B viruses, respectively. Pre-treatment with OSU-03012/sildenafil reduced expression of the coxsakie and adenovirus receptor in parallel with it also reducing the ability of a serotype 5 adenovirus or coxsakie virus B4 to infect and to reproduce. Similar data were obtained using Chikungunya, Mumps, Measles, Rubella, RSV, CMV, and Influenza viruses. OSU-03012 as a single agent at clinically relevant concentrations killed laboratory generated antibiotic resistant E. coli and clinical isolate multi-drug resistant N. gonorrhoeae and MRSE which was in bacteria associated with reduced Dna K and Rec A expression. The PDE5 inhibitors sildenafil or tadalafil enhanced OSU-03012 killing in N. gonorrhoeae and MRSE and low marginally toxic doses of OSU-03012 could restore bacterial sensitivity in N. gonorrhoeae to multiple antibiotics. Thus, Dna K and bacterial phosphodiesterases are novel antibiotic targets, and inhibition of GRP78 is of therapeutic utility for cancer and also for bacterial and viral infections.

Schlenk RF, Kayser S, Bullinger L, et al.
Differential impact of allelic ratio and insertion site in FLT3-ITD-positive AML with respect to allogeneic transplantation.
Blood. 2014; 124(23):3441-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The objective was to evaluate the prognostic and predictive impact of allelic ratio and insertion site (IS) of internal tandem duplications (ITDs), as well as concurrent gene mutations, with regard to postremission therapy in 323 patients with FLT3-ITD-positive acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Increasing FLT3-ITD allelic ratio (P = .004) and IS in the tyrosine kinase domain 1 (TKD1, P = .06) were associated with low complete remission (CR) rates. After postremission therapy including intensive chemotherapy (n = 121) or autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT, n = 17), an allelic ratio ≥ 0.51 was associated with an unfavorable relapse-free (RFS, P = .0008) and overall survival (OS, P = .004); after allogeneic HSCT (n = 93), outcome was significantly improved in patients with a high allelic ratio (RFS, P = .02; OS, P = .03), whereas no benefit was seen in patients with a low allelic ratio (RFS, P = .38; OS, P = .64). Multivariable analyses revealed a high allelic ratio as a predictive factor for the beneficial effect of allogeneic HSCT; ITD IS in TKD1 remained an unfavorable factor, whereas no prognostic impact of concurrent gene mutations was observed. The clinical trials described herein were previously published or are registered as follows: AMLHD93 and AMLHD98A, previously published; AML SG 07-04, identifier #NCT00151242.

Abedini MR, Wang PW, Huang YF, et al.
Cell fate regulation by gelsolin in human gynecologic cancers.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(40):14442-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chemoresistance is a major hurdle in cancer treatment. Down-regulation of apoptosis pathways is one of the key determinants for chemoresistance. Here, we report higher gelsolin (GSN) levels in chemoresistant gynecological cancer cells compared with their sensitive counterparts. cis-Diammine dichloroplatinium (II) (CDDP)-induced GSN down-regulation is associated with its cleavage and apoptosis. Although the C-terminal GSN fragment (C-GSN) sensitized chemoresistant cells to CDDP, intact GSN and its N-terminal fragment (N-GSN) attenuated this response. GSN silencing also facilitated CDDP-induced apoptosis in chemoresistant cells. In contrast, intact GSN (I-GSN) was prosurvival in the presence of CDDP through a FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP)-Itch interaction. This interaction was colocalized in the perinuclear region that could be dissociated by CDDP in sensitive cells, thereby inducing FLIP ubiquitination and degradation, followed by apoptosis. In resistant cells, GSN was highly expressed and CDDP failed to abolish the I-GSN-FLIP-Itch interaction, resulting in the dysregulation of the downstream responses. In addition, we investigated the association between GSN expression in ovarian serous adenocarcinoma and progression free survival and overall survival, as well as clinical prognosis. GSN overexpression was significantly associated with more aggressive behavior and more cancer deaths and supported our hypothesis that high GSN expression confers chemoresistance in cancer cells by altering the GSN-FLIP-Itch interaction. These findings are in agreement with the notion that GSN plays an important role in the regulation of gynecological cell fate as reflected in dysregulation in chemosensitivity.

Wang L, Yao ZQ, Moorman JP, et al.
Gene expression profiling identifies IRF4-associated molecular signatures in hematological malignancies.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e106788 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The lymphocyte-specific transcription factor Interferon (IFN) Regulatory Factor 4 (IRF4) is implicated in certain types of lymphoid and myeloid malignancies. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying its interactions with these malignancies are largely unknown. In this study, we have first profiled molecular signatures associated with IRF4 expression in associated cancers, by analyzing existing gene expression profiling datasets. Our results show that IRF4 is overexpressed in melanoma, in addition to previously reported contexts including leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma, and that IRF4 is associated with a unique gene expression pattern in each context. A pool of important genes involved in B-cell development, oncogenesis, cell cycle regulation, and cell death including BATF, LIMD1, CFLAR, PIM2, and CCND2 are common signatures associated with IRF4 in non-Hodgkin B cell lymphomas. We confirmed the correlation of IRF4 with LIMD1 and CFLAR in a panel of cell lines derived from lymphomas. Moreover, we profiled the IRF4 transcriptome in the context of EBV latent infection, and confirmed several genes including IFI27, IFI44, GBP1, and ARHGAP18, as well as CFLAR as novel targets for IRF4. These results provide valuable information for understanding the IRF4 regulatory network, and improve our knowledge of the unique roles of IRF4 in different hematological malignancies.

Starska K, Krześlak A, Forma E, et al.
The -5 A/G single-nucleotide polymorphism in the core promoter region of MT2A and its effect on allele-specific gene expression and Cd, Zn and Cu levels in laryngeal cancer.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014; 280(2):256-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metallothioneins (MTs) are low molecular weight, cysteine-rich heavy metal-binding proteins which participate in the mechanisms of Zn homeostasis, and protect against toxic metals. MTs contain metal-thiolate cluster groups and suppress metal toxicity by binding to them. The aim of this study was to determine the -5 A/G (rs28366003) single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the core promoter region of the MT2A gene and to investigate its effect on allele-specific gene expression and Cd, Zn and Cu content in squamous cell laryngeal cancer (SCC) and non-cancerous laryngeal mucosa (NCM) as a control. The MT2A promoter region -5 A/G SNP was determined by restriction fragment length polymorphism using 323 SCC and 116 NCM. MT2A gene analysis was performed by quantitative real-time PCR. The frequency of A allele carriage was 94.2% and 91.8% in SCC and NCM, respectively, while G allele carriage was detected in 5.8% and 8.2% of SCC and NCM samples, respectively. As a result, a significant association was identified between the -5 A/G SNP in the MT2A gene with mRNA expression in both groups. Metal levels were analyzed by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. The significant differences were identified between A/A and both the A/G and G/G genotypes, with regard to the concentration of the contaminating metal. The Spearman rank correlation results showed that the MT2A expression and Cd, Zn, Cu levels were negatively correlated. Results obtained in this study suggest that -5 A/G SNP in MT2A gene may have an effect on allele-specific gene expression and accumulation of metal levels in laryngeal cancer.

Xu X, Wells A, Padilla MT, et al.
A signaling pathway consisting of miR-551b, catalase and MUC1 contributes to acquired apoptosis resistance and chemoresistance.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(11):2457-66 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Acquired chemoresistance is a major challenge in cancer therapy. While the oncoprotein Mucin-1 (MUC1) performs multiple roles in the development of diverse human tumors, whether MUC1 is involved in acquired chemoresistance has not been determined. Using an acquired chemoresistance lung cancer cell model, we show that MUC1 expression was substantially increased in cells with acquired apoptosis resistance (AR). Knockdown of MUC1 expression effectively increased the sensitivity of these cells to the apoptotic cytotoxicity of anticancer therapeutics, suggesting that MUC1 contributes to acquired chemoresistance. Decreased catalase expression and increased cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation were found to be associated with MUC1 overexpression. Scavenging ROS with butylated hydroxyanisole or supplying exogenous catalase dramatically suppressed MUC1 expression through destabilizing MUC1 protein, suggesting that reduced catalase expression mediated ROS accumulation is accounted for MUC1 overexpression. Further, we found that increased miR-551b expression in the AR cells inhibited the expression of catalase and potentiated ROS accumulation and MUC1 expression. Finally, by manipulating MUC1 expression, we found that MUC1 promotes EGFR-mediated activation of the cell survival cascade involving Akt/c-FLIP/COX-2 in order to protect cancer cells from responding to anticancer agents. Thus, our results establish a pathway consisting of miR-551b/catalase/ROS that results in MUC1 overexpression, and intervention against this pathway could be exploited to overcome acquired chemoresistance.

Fu LL, Xie T, Zhang SY, Liu B
Eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF2K): a potential therapeutic target in cancer.
Apoptosis. 2014; 19(10):1527-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF2K), encoded by the EEF2K gene, is well-known to be a Ca(2+)/calmodulin (CaM)-dependent kinase which can negatively modulate protein synthesis. It is highly conserved among eukaryotes from mammals to invertebrates, of which human and mouse may have 99 % overall amino acid identity. This kinase can phosphorylate eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF2) or undergo the process of autophosphorylation at multiple sites to inhibit its function in translation elongation. Due to the fact that regulation of eEF2 by eEF2K is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism, eEF2K activity may confer tumor cell adaption to metabolic stress under acute nutrient depletion, and the high expressed level of eEF2K has been found in several types of malignancies. eEF2K may modulate the expression of some apoptotic proteins such as XIAP, c-FLIPL, Bcl-XL, PI3KCI and p70(S6K) to inhibit apoptotic process in cancer. On the other hand, it plays a regulatory role in autophagy involved in mTORC1, AMPK and Atg8, thereby promoting cancer cell survival. Additionally, eEF2K may play a crucial role in the crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy in cancer. Collectively, these findings have led to the conclusions that eEF2K may contribute to carcinogenesis, and thus being utilized as a potential target for future cancer therapy.

Hassan M, Watari H, AbuAlmaaty A, et al.
Apoptosis and molecular targeting therapy in cancer.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:150845 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Apoptosis is the programmed cell death which maintains the healthy survival/death balance in metazoan cells. Defect in apoptosis can cause cancer or autoimmunity, while enhanced apoptosis may cause degenerative diseases. The apoptotic signals contribute into safeguarding the genomic integrity while defective apoptosis may promote carcinogenesis. The apoptotic signals are complicated and they are regulated at several levels. The signals of carcinogenesis modulate the central control points of the apoptotic pathways, including inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins and FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP). The tumor cells may use some of several molecular mechanisms to suppress apoptosis and acquire resistance to apoptotic agents, for example, by the expression of antiapoptotic proteins such as Bcl-2 or by the downregulation or mutation of proapoptotic proteins such as BAX. In this review, we provide the main regulatory molecules that govern the main basic mechanisms, extrinsic and intrinsic, of apoptosis in normal cells. We discuss how carcinogenesis could be developed via defective apoptotic pathways or their convergence. We listed some molecules which could be targeted to stimulate apoptosis in different cancers. Together, we briefly discuss the development of some promising cancer treatment strategies which target apoptotic inhibitors including Bcl-2 family proteins, IAPs, and c-FLIP for apoptosis induction.

Jang JH, Cho YC, Kim KH, et al.
BAI, a novel Cdk inhibitor, enhances farnesyltransferase inhibitor LB42708-mediated apoptosis in renal carcinoma cells through the downregulation of Bcl-2 and c-FLIP (L).
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(4):1680-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previously, we reported the potential of a novel Cdk inhibitor, 2-[1,1'-biphenyl]-4-yl-N-[5-(1,1-dioxo-1λ6-isothiazolidin-2-yl)-1H-indazol-3-yl]acetamide (BAI) as a cancer chemotherapeutic agent. In this study, we investigated mechanisms by which BAI modulates FTI-mediated apoptosis in human renal carcinoma Caki cells. BAI synergizes with FTI to activate DEVDase, cleavage of poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP), and degradation of various anti-apoptotic proteins in Caki cells. BAI plus LB42708-induced apoptosis was inhibited by pretreatment with pan-caspase inhibitor, z-VAD-fmk, but not by overexpression of CrmA. The ROS scavenger, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) did not reduce BAI plus LB4270-induced apoptosis. Co-treatment of BAI and LB42708 reduced the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP, ∆Ψm) in a time-dependent manner, and induced release of AIF and cytochrome c from mitochondria in Caki cells. Furthermore, BAL plus LB42708 induced downregulation of anti-apoptotic proteins [c-FLIP (L), c-FLIP (s), Bcl-2, XIAP, and Mcl-1 (L)]. Especially, we found that BAI plus LB42708-induced apoptosis was significantly attenuated by overexpression of Bcl-2 and partially blocked by overexpression of c-FLIP (L). Taken together, our results show that the activity of BAI plus LB42708 modulate multiple components in apoptotic response of human renal Caki cells, and indicate a potential as combinational therapeutic agents for preventing cancer such as renal carcinoma.

Dória ML, Ribeiro AS, Wang J, et al.
Fatty acid and phospholipid biosynthetic pathways are regulated throughout mammary epithelial cell differentiation and correlate to breast cancer survival.
FASEB J. 2014; 28(10):4247-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
This work combined gene and protein expression, gas chromatography-flame ionization detector, and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to compare lipid metabolism changes in undifferentiated/proliferating vs. functionally differentiated mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and to study their correlation to breast cancer survival. Sixty-eight genes involved in lipid metabolism were changed in MEC differentiation. Differentiated cells showed induction of Elovl6 (2-fold), Scd1 (4-fold), and Fads2 (2-fold), which correlated with increased levels of C16:1 n-7 and C18:1 n-9 (1.5-fold), C20:3 n-6 (2.5-fold), and C20:4 n-6 (6-fold) fatty acids (FAs) and more phospholipids (PLs) containing these species. Further, increased expression (2- to 3-fold) of genes in phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) de novo biosynthesis resulted in a 20% PE increase. Proliferating/undifferentiated cells showed higher C16:0 (1.7-fold) and C18:2 n-6 (4.2-fold) levels and more PLs containing C16:0 FAs [PC(16:0/16:1), PG(16:0/18:2), PG(16:0/18:1), and SM(16:0/18:0)]. Kaplan-Meier analysis of data from 3455 patients with breast cancer disclosed a positive correlation for 59% of genes expressed in differentiated MECs with better survival. PE biosynthesis and FA oxidation correlated with better prognosis in patients with breast cancer, including the basal-like subtype. Therefore, genes involved in mammary gland FA and PL metabolism and their resulting molecular species reflect the cellular proliferative ability and differentiation state and deserve further studies as potential markers of breast cancer progression

Chen L, Zhang X, Chen J, et al.
NF-κB plays a key role in microcystin-RR-induced HeLa cell proliferation and apoptosis.
Toxicon. 2014; 87:120-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Microcystins (MCs) are well-known cyanobacterial toxins produced in eutrophic waters and can act as potential carcinogens and have caused serious risk to human health. However, pleiotropic even paradoxical actions of cells exposure to MCs have been reported, and the mechanisms of MC-induced tumorigenesis and apoptosis are still unknown. In this study, we performed the first comprehensive in vitro investigation on carcinogenesis associated with nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and its downstream genes in HeLa cells (Human cervix adenocarcinoma cell line from epithelial cells) exposure to MC-RR. HeLa cells were treated with 0, 20, 40, 60, and 80 µg/mL MC-RR for 4, 8, 12, and 24 h. HeLa cells presented dualistic responses to different doses of MCs. CCK8 assay showed that MC-RR exposure evidently enhanced cell viability of HeLa cells at lower MCs doses. Cell cycle and apoptosis analysis revealed that lower MCs doses promoted G1/S transition and cell proliferation while higher doses of MCs induced apoptosis, with a dose-dependent manner. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) revealed that MC-RR could increase/decrease NF-κB activity at lower/higher MC-RR doses, respectively. Furthermore, the expression of NF-κB downstream target genes including c-FLIP, cyclinD1, c-myc, and c-IAP2 showed the same variation trend as NF-κB activity both at mRNA and protein levels, which were induced by lower doses of MC-RR and suppressed by higher doses. Our data verified for the first time that NF-κB pathway may mediate MC-induced cell proliferation and apoptosis and provided a better understanding of the molecular mechanism for potential carcinogenicity of MC-RR.

Holubova M, Axmanova M, Gumulec J, et al.
KRAS NF-κB is involved in the development of zinc resistance and reduced curability in prostate cancer.
Metallomics. 2014; 6(7):1240-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Zinc(II) ions are important components of many proteins and are involved in numerous cellular processes such as apoptosis or drug resistance. Prostate cancer has a unique relationship with zinc(II) ions. However, the relationship was examined only in short-term zinc(II) treatments. Therefore, the aim of this study was to create zinc-resistant prostatic cell lines at various stages of the disease (22Rv1 and PC-3) and a normal prostate epithelium (PNT1A) using a long-term zinc exposure. Consequently, the expression profile of the following genes was analyzed: BAX, Bcl-2, Beclin-1, CFLAR, HIF1α, KRAS, mTOR, MT1A, MT2A, NF-κB1, p53, survivin, ZIP1, ZnT-1. The resistance was verified using the MTT test; on average a 1.35-fold lower zinc(II) toxicity (higher IC50) was determined in zinc(II)-resistant cells. The associated resistance to cisplatin was also determined; IC50 for cisplatin was 1.52-fold higher. With regard to the gene expression profiles, our results indicate that differential mechanisms participate in the short-term zinc toxicity regulation and long-term resistance; the short-term treatment was associated with MT2A (p < 0.001), ZnT-1 (p < 0.001), and MT1A (p < 0.03) and the long-term resistance was associated particularly with NF-κB1 (p < 0.001), CFLAR (p < 0.001), KRAS (p < 0.001), p53 (p < 0.002), survivin (p = 0.02), ZIP1 (p = 0.002), BAX (p = 0.005), and HIF1α (p = 0.05). Therefore, the KRAS-PI3K-NF-κB pathway is expected to play a crucial role in the regulation of zinc resistance. In summary, compared to previous studies, identical mechanisms of resistance were demonstrated on multiple cell lines, both non-tumor and tumorous, derived both from primary and advanced secondary sites.

Kim J, Kim Y, Lee KA
Ethnic differences in gastric cancer genetic susceptibility: allele flips of interleukin gene.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(16):4558-65 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Polymorphisms in promoter regions of inflammatory cytokines have been widely studied, and potentially functional polymorphisms have been discovered. Conflicting results from meta-analyses of interleukin (IL)-1B and IL-10 polymorphisms show differences in gastric cancer susceptibilities between Caucasian and Asian populations. In particular, we note the suggestion of an allele flip in IL-1B and IL-10 gene polymorphisms. In Asian populations, the IL-1B-1464G/-511C/-31T haplotype indicates risk for gastric cancer, while the opposite haplotype, IL-1B-1464C/-511T/-31C is the risk-related allele in Caucasians. Furthermore, while IL-10-1082G/-819C/-592C is associated with gastric cancer in Asians, IL-10-1082A/-819T/-592T is linked to gastric cancer risk in Caucasians. These seemingly contradictory results may be attributed to distinct carcinogenic mechanisms underlying the different gastric cancer subtypes. The allele flip observed in IL-10 and gastric cancer appears to reflect allelic heterogeneity, similar to that observed in IL-1B. In this review, we focus on the allele flip phenomenon observed between different ethnic groups in an effort to resolve certain controversial results from recent studies on interleukin polymorphism. In addition, we re-emphasize the importance of stratifying gastric cancer subtypes based on anatomical site and Lauren classification to prevent false associations arising through dilution of true ones.

Hyland PL, Hu N, Rotunno M, et al.
Global changes in gene expression of Barrett's esophagus compared to normal squamous esophagus and gastric cardia tissues.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e93219 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Barrett's esophagus (BE) is a metaplastic precursor lesion of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA), the most rapidly increasing cancer in western societies. While the prevalence of BE is increasing, the vast majority of EA occurs in patients with undiagnosed BE. Thus, we sought to identify genes that are altered in BE compared to the normal mucosa of the esophagus, and which may be potential biomarkers for the development or diagnosis of BE.
DESIGN: We performed gene expression analysis using HG-U133A Affymetrix chips on fresh frozen tissue samples of Barrett's metaplasia and matched normal mucosa from squamous esophagus (NE) and gastric cardia (NC) in 40 BE patients.
RESULTS: Using a cut off of 2-fold and P<1.12E-06 (0.05 with Bonferroni correction), we identified 1324 differentially-expressed genes comparing BE vs NE and 649 differentially-expressed genes comparing BE vs NC. Except for individual genes such as the SOXs and PROM1 that were dysregulated only in BE vs NE, we found a subset of genes (n = 205) whose expression was significantly altered in both BE vs NE and BE vs NC. These genes were overrepresented in different pathways, including TGF-β and Notch.
CONCLUSION: Our findings provide additional data on the global transcriptome in BE tissues compared to matched NE and NC tissues which should promote further understanding of the functions and regulatory mechanisms of genes involved in BE development, as well as insight into novel genes that may be useful as potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of BE in the future.

Zhang T, Wang X, He D, et al.
Metformin sensitizes human bladder cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis through mTOR/S6K1-mediated downregulation of c-FLIP.
Anticancer Drugs. 2014; 25(8):887-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metformin, an oral antidiabetic agent, has been reported to potentiate chemotherapeutic-induced cytotoxicity. In this study, we investigated the effects and molecular mechanisms of metformin in sensitizing tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis in human bladder cancer cells. Metformin alone did not induce apoptosis, but markedly potentiated TRAIL-induced apoptosis in 253J and RT4 bladder cancer cells. To elucidate the underlying mechanism, we examined the modulatory effects of metformin on the key components of the TRAIL signaling pathway and found that metformin did not alter the expression levels of death receptor 4 (DR4) and death receptor 5 (DR5), but significantly reduced the cellular Fas-associated death domain (FADD)-like interleukin-1β-converting enzyme (FLICE) inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) levels, contributing toward the sensitization to TRAIL. Further experiments showed that metformin did not affect the mRNA level, proteasomal degradation, and protein stability of c-FLIPL. However, metformin inhibited the mTOR/S6K1 pathway in 253J and RT4 cells, which usually regulates protein translation; moreover, knockdown of S6K1 effectively reduced the levels of c-FLIPL, indicating that metformin downregulates c-FLIP through inhibition of the mTOR/S6K1 pathway. In addition, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) inhibitor compound C did not prevent the inhibitory effects of metformin on the mTOR/S6K1 pathway and metformin-mediated sensitization to TRAIL. Taken together, our results indicate that metformin sensitizes human bladder cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis through downregulation of c-FLIP, which is mediated by the mTOR/S6K1 pathway, but independent of AMPK; furthermore, these findings provide a rationale for the combined application of metformin with TRAIL in the treatment of bladder cancer.

Matte I, Lane D, Boivin M, et al.
MUC16 mucin (CA125) attenuates TRAIL-induced apoptosis by decreasing TRAIL receptor R2 expression and increasing c-FLIP expression.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:234 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MUC16 (CA125) is a large transmembrane mucin protein (> 200 kDa) aberrantly expressed in approximately 80% of human epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC). MUC16 expression in EOC cells is associated with increased tumorigenesis and inhibiton of genotoxic drug-induced apoptosis. However, the mechanism by which MUC16 mediates these effects is unknown. In the present study, we investigated the mechanisms by which MUC16 attenuates TRAIL-induced apoptosis.
METHODS: MUC16 expression was down-regulated by stably expressing an anti-MUC16 single-chain antibody (scFv) targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which prevents cell surface localization of MUC16 in OVCAR3 cells. We also generated a MUC16 C-terminal domain (MUC16CTD) construct that was stably expressed in MUC16 negative SKOV3 cells.
RESULTS: We show that MUC16 attenuates apoptosis, activation of caspase-8 and mitochondria activation in EOC cells in response to TRAIL. MUC16 decreases TRAIL receptor R2 (DR5) expression and inhibits pro-caspase-8 activation at the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC). MUC16CTD expression is sufficient to attenuate the TRAIL signaling cascade. MUC16 knockdown decreases caspase-8 inhibitor cFLIP mRNA levels, increases cFLIP degradation, and consequently increases TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Down-regulation of cFLIP following treatment of MUC16-expressing OVCAR3 cells with cFLIP siRNA also increases TRAIL-induced apoptosis.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that MUC16 protects EOC cells against TRAIL-induced apoptosis through multiple mechanisms including the blockade of TRAIL R2 expression and the regulation of cFLIP expression at both the transcriptional and the protein level.

Adams AK, Hallenbeck GE, Casper KA, et al.
DEK promotes HPV-positive and -negative head and neck cancer cell proliferation.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(7):868-77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common malignancy worldwide, and patient outcomes using current treatments remain poor. Tumor development is etiologically associated with tobacco or alcohol use and/or human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV-positive HNSCCs, which frequently harbor wild-type p53, carry a more favorable prognosis and are a biologically distinct subgroup when compared with their HPV-negative counterparts. HPV E7 induces expression of the human DEK gene, both in vitro and in vivo. In keratinocytes, DEK overexpression is sufficient for causing oncogenic phenotypes in the absence of E7. Conversely, DEK loss results in cell death in HPV-positive cervical cancer cells at least in part through p53 activation, and Dek knockout mice are relatively resistant to the development of chemically induced skin papillomas. Despite the established oncogenic role of DEK in HPV-associated cervical cancer cell lines and keratinocytes, a functional role of DEK has not yet been explored in HNSCC. Using an established transgenic mouse model of HPV16 E7-induced HNSCC, we demonstrate that Dek is required for optimal proliferation of E7-transgenic epidermal cells and for the growth of HNSCC tumors. Importantly, these studies also demonstrate that DEK protein is universally upregulated in both HPV-positive and -negative human HNSCC tumors relative to adjacent normal tissue. Furthermore, DEK knockdown inhibited the proliferation of HPV-positive and -negative HNSCC cells, establishing a functional role for DEK in human disease. Mechanistic studies reveal that attenuated HNSCC cell growth in response to DEK loss was associated with reduced expression of the oncogenic p53 family member, ΔNp63. Exogenous ΔNp63 expression rescued the proliferative defect in the absence of DEK, thereby establishing a functional DEK-ΔNp63 oncogenic pathway that promotes HNSCC. Taken together, our data demonstrate that DEK stimulates HNSCC cellular growth and identify ΔNp63 as a novel DEK effector.

Gunda V, Bucur O, Varnau J, et al.
Blocks to thyroid cancer cell apoptosis can be overcome by inhibition of the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1104 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
Current treatment for recurrent and aggressive/anaplastic thyroid cancers is ineffective. Novel targeted therapies aimed at the inhibition of the mutated oncoprotein BRAF(V600E) have shown promise in vivo and in vitro but do not result in cellular apoptosis. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis in a tumor-selective manner by activating the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. Here, we show that a TRAIL-R2 agonist antibody, lexatumumab, induces apoptosis effectively in some thyroid cancer cell lines (HTh-7, TPC-1 and BCPAP), while more aggressive anaplastic cell lines (8505c and SW1736) show resistance. Treatment of the most resistant cell line, 8505c, using lexatumumab in combination with the BRAF(V600E) inhibitor, PLX4720, and the PI3K inhibitor, LY294002, (triple-drug combination) sensitizes the cells by triggering both the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways in vitro as well as 8505c orthotopic thyroid tumors in vivo. A decrease in anti-apoptotic proteins, pAkt, Bcl-xL, Mcl-1 and c-FLIP, coupled with an increase in the activator proteins, Bax and Bim, results in an increase in the Bax to Bcl-xL ratio that appears to be critical for sensitization and subsequent apoptosis of these resistant cells. Our results suggest that targeting the death receptor pathway in thyroid cancer can be a promising strategy for inducing apoptosis in thyroid cancer cells, although combination with other kinase inhibitors may be needed in some of the more aggressive tumors initially resistant to apoptosis.

Vjetrovic J, Shankaranarayanan P, Mendoza-Parra MA, Gronemeyer H
Senescence-secreted factors activate Myc and sensitize pretransformed cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.
Aging Cell. 2014; 13(3):487-96 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
Senescent cells secrete a plethora of factors with potent paracrine signaling capacity. Strikingly, senescence, which acts as defense against cell transformation, exerts pro-tumorigenic activities through its secretome by promoting tumor-specific features, such as cellular proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasiveness. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has the unique activity of activating cell death exclusively in tumor cells. Given that the senescence-associated secretome (SAS) supports cell transformation, we asked whether SAS factor(s) would establish a program required for the acquisition of TRAIL sensitivity. We found that conditioned media from several types of senescent cells (CMS) efficiently sensitized pretransformed cells to TRAIL, while the same was not observed with normal or immortalized cells. Dynamic transcription profiling of CMS-exposed pretransformed cells indicated a paracrine autoregulatory loop of SAS factors and a dominant role of CMS-induced MYC. Sensitization to TRAIL coincided with and depended on MYC upregulation and massive changes in gene regulation. Senescent cell-induced MYC silenced its target gene CFLAR, encoding the apoptosis inhibitor FLIPL , thus leading to the acquisition of TRAIL sensitivity. Altogether, our results reveal that senescent cell-secreted factors exert a TRAIL-sensitizing effect on pretransformed cells by modulating the expression of MYC and CFLAR. Notably, CMS dose-dependent sensitization to TRAIL was observed with TRAIL-insensitive cancer cells and confirmed in co-culture experiments. Dissection and characterization of TRAIL-sensitizing CMS factors and the associated signaling pathway(s) will not only provide a mechanistic insight into the acquisition of TRAIL sensitivity but may lead to novel concepts for apoptogenic therapies of premalignant and TRAIL-resistant tumors.

Yang YI, Ahn JH, Lee KT, et al.
RSF1 is a positive regulator of NF-κB-induced gene expression required for ovarian cancer chemoresistance.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(8):2258-69 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
Overexpression or amplification of the RSF1 gene has been associated with poor prognosis in various human cancers, including ovarian cancer. In previous work, RSF1 was identified as an amplified gene that facilitated the development of paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer. In the present study, we further demonstrated that RSF1 expression inversely correlated with paclitaxel response in patients with ovarian cancer and the mouse xenograft model. In addition, RSF1-overexpressing paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer cell lines were found to express elevated levels of genes regulated by NF-κB, including some involved with the evasion of apoptosis (CFLAR, XIAP, BCL2, and BCL2L1) and inflammation (PTGS2). In addition, ectopic expression of RSF1 using Tet-off inducible SKOV3 cells significantly enhanced NF-κB-dependent gene expression and transcriptional activation of NF-κB. An RSF1 knockdown using short hairpin RNAs suppressed these same pathways. Moreover, pretreatment with NF-κB inhibitors or downregulation of NF-κB-regulated gene expression considerably enhanced paclitaxel sensitivity in RSF1-overexpressing OVCAR3 and/or RSF1-induced SKOV3 cells. A coimmunoprecipitation assay revealed that RSF1 interacts with NF-κB and CREB-binding protein, a ubiquitous coactivator for NF-κB. Recruitment of RSF1 to the NF-κB binding element in the PTGS2 and XIAP promoters was demonstrated by the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Furthermore, hSNF2H, a well-known binding partner of RSF1, was partially involved in the interaction between RSF1 and NF-κB. Taken together, these data suggest that RSF1 may function as a coactivator for NF-κB, consequently augmenting expression of genes necessary for the development of chemoresistance in ovarian cancer cells.

Min KJ, Seo BR, Bae YC, et al.
Antipsychotic agent thioridazine sensitizes renal carcinoma Caki cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis through reactive oxygen species-mediated inhibition of Akt signaling and downregulation of Mcl-1 and c-FLIP(L).
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1063 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
Thioridazine has been known as an antipsychotic agent, but it also has anticancer activity. However, the effect of thioridazine on tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) sensitization has not yet been studied. Here, we investigated the ability of thioridazine to sensitize TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. Combined treatment with thioridazine and TRAIL markedly induced apoptosis in various human carcinoma cells, including renal carcinoma (Caki, ACHN, and A498), breast carcinoma (MDA-MB231), and glioma (U251MG) cells, but not in normal mouse kidney cells (TMCK-1) and human normal mesangial cells. We found that thioridazine downregulated c-FLIP(L) and Mcl-1 expression at the post-translational level via an increase in proteasome activity. The overexpression of c-FLIP(L) and Mcl-1 overcame thioridazine plus TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We further observed that thioridazine inhibited the Akt signaling pathway. In contrast, although other phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt inhibitors (LY294002 and wortmannin) sensitized TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, c-FLIP(L) and Mcl-1 expressions were not altered. Furthermore, thioridazine increased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in Caki cells, and ROS scavengers (N-acetylcysteine, glutathione ethyl ester, and trolox) inhibited thioridazine plus TRAIL-induced apoptosis, as well as Akt inhibition and the downregulation of c-FLIP(L) and Mcl-1. Collectively, our study demonstrates that thioridazine enhances TRAIL-mediated apoptosis via the ROS-mediated inhibition of Akt signaling and the downregulation of c-FLIP(L) and Mcl-1 at the post-translational level.

Casper M, Petek E, Henn W, et al.
Multidisciplinary treatment of desmoid tumours in Gardner's syndrome due to a large interstitial deletion of chromosome 5q.
QJM. 2014; 107(7):521-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Classic autosomal-dominant familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is clinically defined by the development of hundreds to thousands of colorectal adenomas beginning in childhood and adolescence. A variant of FAP characterized by polyposis in combination with osteomas or soft tissue tumours is called Gardner's syndrome. FAP is caused by germline inactivation of the APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) tumour-suppressor gene located on the long arm of chromosome 5 (5q21-5q22). Cytogenetically visible deletions of chromosome 5q encompassing APC have very rarely been reported. Here, we aimed to phenotypically and genetically characterize a patient with a heterozygous 5q deletion resulting in Gardner's syndrome.
METHODS AND RESULTS: A 26-year-old female patient with mild mental handicap and dysmorphic features due to a cytogenetically visible deletion on chromosome 5q (microscopically estimated region 5q14-5q23) presented at our tertiary referral centre because of mild adenomatous polyposis (<500 polyps). Twenty months after prophylactic proctocolectomy with definitive ileostomy, three rapidly growing desmoids were observed. Tumour-associated complications necessitated a multidisciplinary approach including medical treatment, surgery and radiation therapy. The characterization of the deletion by comparative genomic hybridization identified a large 5q deletion expanding over a 20-Mb region (5q21.3-5q23.3) including the APC gene.
CONCLUSION: Chromosome deletions must be suspected in patients presenting with FAP together with mental handicap and dysmorphic features. This case also impressively shows that FAP-associated desmoids need multimodal treatment taking into account the patient's individual symptoms, disease progression and tumour location.

Fares F, Azzam N, Fares B, et al.
Benzene-poly-carboxylic acid complex, a novel anti-cancer agent induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e85156 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
Some cases of breast cancer are composed of clones of hormonal-independent growing cells, which do not respond to therapy. In the present study, the effect of Benzene-Poly-Carboxylic Acid Complex (BP-C1) on growth of human breast-cancer cells was tested. BP-C1 is a novel anti-cancer complex of benzene-poly-carboxylic acids with a very low concentration of cis-diammineplatinum (II) dichloride. Human breast cancer cells, MCF-7 and T47D, were used. Cell viability was detected by XTT assay and apoptosis was detected by Flow Cytometry and by annexin V/FITC/PI assay. Caspases were detected by western blot analysis and gene expression was measured by using the Applied Biosystems® TaqMan® Array Plates. The results showed that exposure of the cells to BP-C1 for 48 h, significantly (P<0.001) reduced cell viability, induced apoptosis and activated caspase 8 and caspace 9. Moreover, gene expression experiments indicated that BP-C1 increased the expression of pro-apoptotic genes (CASP8AP1, TNFRSF21, NFkB2, FADD, BCL10 and CASP8) and lowered the level of mRNA transcripts of inhibitory apoptotic genes (BCL2L11, BCL2L2 and XIAP. These findings may lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies for treatment of human cancer using BP-C1 analog.

Sánchez-Pérez T, Medema RH, López-Rivas A
Delaying mitotic exit downregulates FLIP expression and strongly sensitizes tumor cells to TRAIL.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(5):661-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many of the current antitumor therapeutic strategies are based on the perturbation of the cell cycle, especially during mitosis. Antimitotic drugs trigger mitotic checkpoint activation, mitotic arrest and eventually cell death. However, mitotic slippage represents a major mechanism of resistance to these treatments. In an attempt to circumvent the process of slippage, targeting mitotic exit has been proposed as a better strategy to kill tumor cells. In this study, we show that treatments that induce mitotic checkpoint activation and mitotic arrest downregulate FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP) levels and sensitize several tumor cell lines to TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand)-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, we also demonstrate that in absence of mitotic checkpoint activation, mitotic arrest induced either by Cdc20 knockdown or overexpression of nondegradable cyclin B is sufficient to induce both FLIP downregulation and sensitivity to TRAIL. In summary, our data suggest that a combination of antimitotic drugs targeting cyclin B degradation and TRAIL might prevent mitotic slippage and allow tumor cells to reach the threshold for apoptosis induction, thereby facilitating tumor suppression.

Schempp CM, von Schwarzenberg K, Schreiner L, et al.
V-ATPase inhibition regulates anoikis resistance and metastasis of cancer cells.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(4):926-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fighting metastasis is a major challenge in cancer therapy and novel therapeutic targets and drugs are highly appreciated. Resistance of invasive cells to anoikis, a particular type of apoptosis induced by loss of cell-matrix contact, is a major prerequisite for their metastatic spread. Inducing anoikis in metastatic cancer cells is therefore a promising therapeutic approach. The vacuolar-ATPase (V-ATPase), a proton pump located at the membrane of acidic organelles, has recently come to focus as an antimetastatic cancer target. As V-ATPase inhibitors have shown to prevent invasion of tumor cells and are able to induce apoptosis, we proposed that V-ATPase inhibition induces anoikis-related pathways in invasive cancer cells. We used the V-ATPase inhibitor archazolid to investigate the mechanism of anoikis induction in various metastatic cancer cells (T24, MDA-MB-231, 4T1, 5637) in vitro. Anoikis induction by archazolid was characterized by decreased c-FLIP expression and caspase-8 activation as well as reduction of active integrin-β1 and an early increase of the proapoptotic protein BIM. However, we observed that archazolid also induces mechanisms opposing anoikis such as degradation of BIM mediated by extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), Akt and Src kinases at later time points and induction of reactive oxygen species. Still, intravenous injection of archazolid-treated 4T1-Luc2 mouse breast cancer cells resulted in reduced metastasis in mouse lungs. Thus, V-ATPase inhibition is not only an interesting option to reduce cancer metastasis, but also to better understand anoikis resistance and to find choices to fight against it.

Casper M, Acalovschi M, Lammert F, Zimmer V
The MUTYH hotspot mutations p.G396D and p.Y179C do not cause substantial genetic susceptibility to biliary cancer.
Fam Cancer. 2014; 13(2):243-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inflammation-associated oxidative stress and DNA damage are involved in malignant transformation of cholangiocytes. Defective DNA repair mechanisms may predispose to cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) formation, and an elevated CCA risk for MutY human homologue (MUTYH) germline mutation carriers has been proposed previously. The aim of this study was to re-evaluate the MUTYH hotspot mutations p.Y179C (rs34612342) and p.G396D (rs36053993) as genetic susceptibility factors in a large CCA cohort. The study population consisted of 219 Caucasian CCA patients (66.2 ± 11.9 years, 130 males, 89 females; 43 intrahepatic and 176 extrahepatic tumours; tissue diagnosis in 77.6 %) and 355 healthy controls (61.0 ± 11.0 years; 158 males, 197 females). MUTYH hotspot variants were genotyped using TaqMan assays. Four CCA patients were monoallelic mutation carriers (3 p.G396D; 1 p.Y179C) whereas 6 control subjects were heterozygotes (5 p.G396D; 1 p.Y179C). None of the patients carried a biallelic hotspot mutation. The observed allele frequencies did not differ significantly between cases and controls (p > 0.05) and association tests did not provide evidence for an involvement of p.Y179C (OR 1.6 [95 % CI 0.1-26.0]) or p.G396D (OR 1.0 [95 % CI 0.2-4.1]) in the susceptibility to CCA. Power analysis identified a sufficient power only for large effect sizes (>90 % for OR > 5.8 for p.G396D and OR > 18.5 for p.Y179C). Monoallelic MUTYH hotspot mutations do not act as major genetic susceptibility factors causing a substantial CCA risk in the Caucasian population. Due to the low statistical power for the identification of small effect sizes, much larger studies will be needed to detect such effects of minor clinical significance.

Zhao X, Liu X, Su L
Parthenolide induces apoptosis via TNFRSF10B and PMAIP1 pathways in human lung cancer cells.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 33:3 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Parthenolide (PTL) is a sesquiterpene lactone which can induce apoptosis in cancer cells and eradicate cancer stem cells such as leukemia stem cells, prostate tumor-initiating cells and so on. However, the mechanism remains largely unclear.
METHODS: Lung cancer cells were treated with parthenolide and the cell lysates were prepared to detect the given proteins by Western Blot analysis, and the cell survival was assayed by SRB and MTT assay. Cell cycle was evaluated by DNA flow cytometry analysis. TNFRSF10B, PMAIP1, ATF4 and DDIT3 genes were knocked down by siRNA technique. Apoptosis was evaluated by using Annexin V-FITC/PI staining and flow cytometry analysis.
RESULTS: Parthenolide (PTL) induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human lung cancer cells. Moreover, PTL treatment in NSCLC cells increases expression of TNFRSF10B/DR5 and PMAIP1/NOXA. Silencing of TNFRSF10B or PMAIP1 or overexpression of CFLAR /c-FLIP (long form) could protect cells from PTL-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, PTL could increase the levels of endoplasmic reticulum stress hallmarks such as ERN1, HSPA5, p-EIF2A, ATF4 and DDIT3. Knockdown of ATF4 and DDIT3 abrogated PTL-induced apoptosis, which suggested that PTL induced apoptosis in NSCLC cells through activation of endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway. More importantly, we found that ATF4, DDIT3, TNFRSF10B and PMAIP1 were up-regulated more intensively, while CFLAR and MCL1 were down-regulated more dramatically by PTL in A549/shCDH1 cells than that in control cells, suggesting that PTL preferred to kill cancer stem cell-like cells by activating more intensive ER stress response in cancer stem cell-like cells.
CONCLUSION: We showed that parthenolide not only triggered extrinsic apoptosis by up-regulating TNFRSF10B and down-regulating CFLAR, but also induced intrinsic apoptosis through increasing the expression of PMAIP1 and decreasing the level of MCL1 in NSCLC cells. In addition, parthenolide triggered stronger ER stress response in cancer stem cell-like cells which leads to its preference in apoptotic induction. In summary, PTL induces apoptosis in NSCLC cells by activating endoplasmic reticulum stress response.

Belt EJ, Stockmann HB, Delis-van Diemen PM, et al.
Expression of apoptosis regulating proteins identifies stage II and III colon cancer patients with high risk of recurrence.
J Surg Oncol. 2014; 109(3):255-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Deregulation of apoptosis related genes may be associated with poor outcome in cancer. Aim of the present study was to investigate the prognostic role of expression levels of apoptosis related proteins in stage II and III colon cancer.
METHODS: From tumor samples of 386 stage II and III colon cancer patients, DNA was isolated and tissue microarrays were constructed. Expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-X, BAX, XIAP, Fas, FasL and c-FLIP was evaluated and PCR-based microsatellite instability analysis was performed.
RESULTS: High FasL expressing tumors were associated with high disease recurrence rates in stage II colon cancer patients overall, as was low Bcl-X expression in microsatellite stable stage II patients. In stage II patients, a multivariable model based on FasL and Bcl-XL expression revealed a significant association with disease free survival (DFS). In stage III colon cancer patients, low Bcl-2, low BAX and low Fas expression levels were associated with worse outcome. In these patients a multivariable model based on angioinvasion and Bcl-2, Fas and FasL expression was significantly associated with DFS.
CONCLUSIONS: Stage II patients with low Bcl-X and high FasL protein expression levels and stage III patients with low Fas, high FasL and low Bcl-2 expression could be considered as high risk for disease recurrence.

Kim HS, Mendiratta S, Kim J, et al.
Systematic identification of molecular subtype-selective vulnerabilities in non-small-cell lung cancer.
Cell. 2013; 155(3):552-66 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/08/2015 Related Publications
Context-specific molecular vulnerabilities that arise during tumor evolution represent an attractive intervention target class. However, the frequency and diversity of somatic lesions detected among lung tumors can confound efforts to identify these targets. To confront this challenge, we have applied parallel screening of chemical and genetic perturbations within a panel of molecularly annotated NSCLC lines to identify intervention opportunities tightly linked to molecular response indicators predictive of target sensitivity. Anchoring this analysis on a matched tumor/normal cell model from a lung adenocarcinoma patient identified three distinct target/response-indicator pairings that are represented with significant frequencies (6%-16%) in the patient population. These include NLRP3 mutation/inflammasome activation-dependent FLIP addiction, co-occurring KRAS and LKB1 mutation-driven COPI addiction, and selective sensitivity to a synthetic indolotriazine that is specified by a seven-gene expression signature. Target efficacies were validated in vivo, and mechanism-of-action studies informed generalizable principles underpinning cancer cell biology.

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