Gene Summary

Gene:FOLR1; folate receptor 1
Aliases: FBP, FOLR
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the folate receptor family. Members of this gene family bind folic acid and its reduced derivatives, and transport 5-methyltetrahydrofolate into cells. This gene product is a secreted protein that either anchors to membranes via a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol linkage or exists in a soluble form. Mutations in this gene have been associated with neurodegeneration due to cerebral folate transport deficiency. Due to the presence of two promoters, multiple transcription start sites, and alternative splicing, multiple transcript variants encoding the same protein have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Oct 2009]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:folate receptor alpha
Source:NCBIAccessed: 09 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (11)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 09 March 2017 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.

  • Staging
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gene Expression
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Lung Cancer
  • DNA Methylation
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Folic Acid
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Replication Protein C
  • Chromosome 11
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Endometrioid Carcinoma
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous
  • Telomere
  • Glandular and Epithelial Cancers
  • Breast Cancer
  • Folate Receptor 1
  • ras Proteins
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Cell Surface Receptors
  • Mutation
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Folate Receptors, GPI-Anchored
  • Risk Factors
  • Transfection
  • Young Adult
Tag cloud generated 09 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

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: FOLR1 (cancer-related)

Hijaz M, Das S, Mert I, et al.
Folic acid tagged nanoceria as a novel therapeutic agent in ovarian cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:220 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nanomedicine is a very promising field and nanomedical drugs have recently been used as therapeutic agents against cancer. In a previous study, we showed that Nanoceria (NCe), nanoparticles of cerium oxide, significantly inhibited production of reactive oxygen species, cell migration and invasion of ovarian cancer cells in vitro, without affecting cell proliferation and significantly reduced tumor growth in an ovarian cancer xenograft nude model. Increased expression of folate receptor-α, an isoform of membrane-bound folate receptors, has been described in ovarian cancer. To enable NCe to specifically target ovarian cancer cells, we conjugated nanoceria to folic acid (NCe-FA). Our aim was to investigate the pre-clinical efficacy of NCe-FA alone and in combination with Cisplatin.
METHODS: Ovarian cancer cell lines were treated with NCe or NCe-FA. Cell viability was assessed by MTT and colony forming units. In vivo studies were carried in A2780 generated mouse xenografts treated with 0.1 mg/Kg NCe, 0.1 mg/Kg; NCe-FA and cisplatinum, 4 mg/Kg by intra-peritoneal injections. Tumor weights and burden scores were determined. Immunohistochemistry and toxicity assays were used to evaluate treatment effects.
RESULTS: We show that folic acid conjugation of NCe increased the cellular NCe internalization and inhibited cell proliferation. Mice treated with NCe-FA had a lower tumor burden compared to NCe, without any vital organ toxicity. Combination of NCe-FA with cisplatinum decreased the tumor burden more significantly. Moreover, NCe-FA was also effective in reducing proliferation and angiogenesis in the xenograft mouse model.
CONCLUSION: Thus, specific targeting of ovarian cancer cells by NCe-FA holds great potential as an effective therapeutic alone or in combination with standard chemotherapy.

Samarin J, Laketa V, Malz M, et al.
PI3K/AKT/mTOR-dependent stabilization of oncogenic far-upstream element binding proteins in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Hepatology. 2016; 63(3):813-26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Transcription factors of the far-upstream element-binding protein (FBP) family represent cellular pathway hubs, and their overexpression in liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC]) stimulates tumor cell proliferation and correlates with poor prognosis. Here we determine the mode of oncogenic FBP overexpression in HCC cells. Using perturbation approaches (kinase inhibitors, small interfering RNAs) and a novel system for rapalog-dependent activation of AKT isoforms, we demonstrate that activity of the phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biphosphate 3-kinase/AKT pathway is involved in the enrichment of nuclear FBP1 and FBP2 in liver cancer cells. In human HCC tissues, phospho-AKT significantly correlates with nuclear FBP1/2 accumulation and expression of the proliferation marker KI67. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition or blockade of its downstream effector eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E activity equally reduced FBP1/2 concentrations. The mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin diminishes FBP enrichment in liver tumors after hydrodynamic gene delivery of AKT plasmids. In addition, the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib significantly reduces FBP levels in HCC cells and in multidrug resistance 2-deficient mice that develop HCC due to severe inflammation. Both FBP1/2 messenger RNAs are highly stable, with FBP2 being more stable than FBP1. Importantly, inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biphosphate 3-kinase/AKT/mTOR signaling significantly diminishes FBP1/2 protein stability in a caspase-3/-7-dependent manner.
CONCLUSION: These data provide insight into a transcription-independent mechanism of FBP protein enrichment in liver cancer; further studies will have to show whether this previously unknown interaction between phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biphosphate 3-kinase/AKT/mTOR pathway activity and caspase-mediated FBP stabilization allows the establishment of interventional strategies in FBP-positive HCCs.

Song Y, Peng X, Wang M, et al.
Gene expression profiling of taxol-resistant nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells with siRNA-mediated FOLR1 downregulation.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(9):11314-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Our previous study has shown that downregulation of FOLR1 by siRNA partially reversed taxol-resistant phenotype in taxol-resistant nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines. We aim to gain further insight into the molecular mechanisms of this process and identify the differentially expressed genes after FOLR1 downregulation.
METHOD: The global gene expression profile was identified and analyzed using the Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 array.
RESULTS: There was a significant dysregulation in the global gene expression of the FOLR1-suppressed taxol-resistant nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines. There were 41 upregulated genes and 109 downregulated genes. QRT-PCR validation of the selected differentially expressed genes demonstrated there was a good correlation with the microarray analysis. There was a significant deregulation of expression in the apoptosis-related genes such as BIRC3, PRKX, TNFRSF10A and involved in Viral carcinogenesis, MAPK signaling pathways after FOLR1 was downregulated.
CONCLUSION: The suppression of FOLR1 by RNA interference altered gene expression profile of taxol-resistant nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines. The apoptosis-related genes and the gene alterations in viral carcinogenesis, MAPK signaling pathways might be important in FOLR1 siRNA-induced taxol-resistant reversal.

Driver BR, Barrios R, Ge Y, et al.
Folate Receptor α Expression Level Correlates With Histologic Grade in Lung Adenocarcinoma.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2016; 140(7):682-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: -Folate receptor α (FRA) is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored high-affinity folate receptor that localizes to the apical surface of epithelia when it is expressed in normal tissue. Unlike normal tissues, FRA may localize to the basolateral side in tumors. These features make FRA an attractive drug target, and several FRA-targeted drugs have been developed and are in phases of clinical testing. Folate receptor α protein expression shows intertumoral variability that may correlate with response to therapy and to clinicopathologic parameters. Using immunohistochemistry, a recent study of breast carcinomas found FRA protein expression was associated with triple-negative status and high histologic grade in breast cancer. Although a prior study of lung adenocarcinomas found the expression level of the gene encoding FRA, FOLR1, was significantly increased in low-histologic-grade tumors compared to high-histologic-grade tumors, the relationship between FRA protein expression and histologic grade has not been reported for lung adenocarcinomas.
OBJECTIVE: -To investigate the relationship between FRA protein expression level and clinicopathologic parameters in lung adenocarcinomas, including histologic grade, by performing immunohistochemistry for FRA on a cohort of non-small cell lung carcinomas.
DESIGN: -High-density tissue microarrays constructed from 188 non-small cell lung carcinomas and used in prior studies were immunostained with FRA-specific antibody clone 26B3. Folate receptor α membranous staining intensity was given a semiquantitative score from 0 to 3+ for triplicate cores of tumor and averaged for each tumor. An average semiquantitative score from 0 to 1.4 was considered low expression, and an average semiquantitative score greater than 1.4 was considered high expression.
RESULTS: -The majority (60 of 78; 77%) of lung adenocarcinomas and a minority (4 of 41; 10%) of lung squamous cell carcinomas were positive for FRA. Folate receptor α expression in lung adenocarcinomas compared with squamous cell carcinomas was statistically different (P < .001, χ(2) test). In lung adenocarcinomas, FRA expression level correlated with histologic grade (P = .005, χ(2) test for trend), but no other clinicopathologic parameter. The majority (23 of 27; 85%) of grade 1 adenocarcinomas had high FRA protein expression, whereas approximately half of grade 2 (10 of 19; 53%) and grade 3 (12 of 25; 48%) adenocarcinomas had high FRA protein expression. Out of adenocarcinomas with lepidic growth pattern, 16 of 20 (80%) showed high FRA protein expression. Out of adenocarcinomas with solid growth pattern, 2 of 6 (33%) showed high FRA protein expression. In lung adenocarcinomas, FRA expression level did not correlate with thyroid transcription factor 1, napsin A, or survival.
CONCLUSIONS: -Folate receptor α protein was expressed in the majority of lung adenocarcinomas and a minority of lung squamous cell carcinomas. Folate receptor α protein expression correlated with histologic grade for lung adenocarcinomas, and the greatest difference was observed between grade 1 and grade 3. Our results indicate that poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas or focuses of poor differentiation in a heterogeneous tumor may lack FRA protein expression and be more likely to be resistant to FRA-targeting drugs.

Kurosaki A, Hasegawa K, Kato T, et al.
Serum folate receptor alpha as a biomarker for ovarian cancer: Implications for diagnosis, prognosis and predicting its local tumor expression.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 138(8):1994-2002 [PubMed] Related Publications
Folate receptor alpha (FRA) is a GPI-anchored glycoprotein and encoded by the FOLR1 gene. High expression of FRA is observed in specific malignant tumors of epithelial origin, including ovarian cancer, but exhibits very limited normal tissue expression, making it as an attractive target for the ovarian cancer therapy. FRA is known to shed from the cell surface into the circulation which allows for its measurement in the serum of patients. Recently, methods to detect the soluble form of FRA have been developed and serum FRA (sFRA) is considered a highly promising biomarker for ovarian cancer. We prospectively investigated the levels of sFRA in patients clinically suspected of having malignant ovarian tumors. A total of 231 patients were enrolled in this study and analyzed for sFRA as well as tumor expression of FRA by immunohistochemistry. High sFRA was predominantly observed in epithelial ovarian cancer patients, but not in patients with benign or borderline gynecological disease or metastatic ovarian tumors from advanced colorectal cancers. Levels of sFRA were highly correlated to clinical stage, tumor grade and histological type and demonstrated superior accuracy for the detection of ovarian cancer than did serum CA125. High sFRA was significantly associated with shorter progression-free survival in both early and advanced ovarian cancer patients. Finally, tumor FRA expression status was strongly correlated with sFRA levels. Taken together, these data suggest that sFRA might be a useful noninvasive serum biomarkers for future clinical trials assessing FRA-targeted therapy.

Randle SJ, Laman H
F-box protein interactions with the hallmark pathways in cancer.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2016; 36:3-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
F-box proteins (FBP) are the substrate specifying subunit of Skp1-Cul1-FBP (SCF)-type E3 ubiquitin ligases and are responsible for directing the ubiquitination of numerous proteins essential for cellular function. Due to their ability to regulate the expression and activity of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes, FBPs themselves play important roles in cancer development and progression. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of FBPs and their targets in relation to their interaction with the hallmarks of cancer cell biology, including the regulation of proliferation, epigenetics, migration and invasion, metabolism, angiogenesis, cell death and DNA damage responses. Each cancer hallmark is revealed to have multiple FBPs which converge on common signalling hubs or response pathways. We also highlight the complex regulatory interplay between SCF-type ligases and other ubiquitin ligases. We suggest six highly interconnected FBPs affecting multiple cancer hallmarks, which may prove sensible candidates for therapeutic intervention.

Uddin S, Bhat AA, Krishnankutty R, et al.
Involvement of F-BOX proteins in progression and development of human malignancies.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2016; 36:18-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS) is a core regulator with various protein components (ubiquitin-activating E1 enzymes, ubiquitin-conjugating E2 enzymes, ubiquitin-protein E3 ligases, and the 26S proteasome) which work together in a coordinated fashion to ensure the appropriate and efficient proteolysis of target substrates. E3 ubiquitin ligases are essential components of the UPS machinery, working with E1 and E2 enzymes to bind substrates and assist the transport of ubiquitin molecules onto the target protein. As the UPS controls the degradation of several oncogenes and tumor suppressors, dysregulation of this pathway leads to several human malignancies. A major category of E3 Ub ligases, the SCF (Skp-Cullin-F-box) complex, is composed of four principal components: Skp1, Cul1/Cdc53, Roc1/Rbx1/Hrt1, and an F-box protein (FBP). FBPs are the substrate recognition components of SCF complexes and function as adaptors that bring substrates into physical proximity with the rest of the SCF. Besides acting as a component of SCF complexes, FBPs are involved in DNA replication, transcription, cell differentiation and cell death. This review will highlight the recent literature on three well characterized FBPs SKP2, Fbw7, and beta-TRCP. In particular, we will focus on the involvement of these deregulated FBPs in the progression and development of various human cancers. We will also highlight some novel substrates recently identified for these FBPs.

Schutsky K, Song DG, Lynn R, et al.
Rigorous optimization and validation of potent RNA CAR T cell therapy for the treatment of common epithelial cancers expressing folate receptor.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(30):28911-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Using lentiviral technology, we recently demonstrated that incorporation of CD27 costimulation into CARs greatly improves antitumor activity and T cell persistence. Still, virus-mediated gene transfer is expensive, laborious and enables long-term persistence, creating therapies which cannot be easily discontinued if toxic. To address these concerns, we utilized a non-integrating RNA platform to engineer human T cells to express FRα-specific, CD27 CARs and tested their capacity to eliminate human FRα(+) cancer. Novel CARs comprised of human components were constructed, C4-27z and C4opt-27z, a codon-optimized variant created for efficient expression. Following RNA electroporation, C4-27z and C4opt-27z CAR expression is initially ubiquitous but progressively declines across T cell populations. In addition, C4-27z and C4opt-27z RNA CAR T cells secrete high levels of Th-1 cytokines and display strong cytolytic function against human FRα(+) cancers in a time- and antigen-dependent manner. Further, C4-27z and C4opt-27z CAR T cells exhibit significant proliferation in vivo, facilitate the complete regression of fully disseminated human ovarian cancer xenografts in mice and reduce the progression of solid ovarian cancer. These results advocate for rapid progression of C4opt-27z RNA CAR to the clinic and establish a new paradigm for preclinical optimization and validation of RNA CAR candidates destined for clinical translation.

Kano M, Matsushita K, Rahmutulla B, et al.
Adenovirus-mediated FIR demonstrated TP53-independent cell-killing effect and enhanced antitumor activity of carbon-ion beams.
Gene Ther. 2016; 23(1):50-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Combination therapy of carbon-ion beam with the far upstream element-binding protein (FBP)-interacting repressor, FIR, which interferes with DNA damage repair proteins, was proposed as an approach for esophageal cancer treatment with low side effects regardless of TP53 status. In vivo therapeutic antitumor efficacy of replication-defective adenovirus (E1 and E3 deleted adenovirus serotype 5) encoding human FIR cDNA (Ad-FIR) was demonstrated in the tumor xenograft model of human esophageal squamous cancer cells, TE-2. Bleomycin (BLM) is an anticancer agent that introduces DNA breaks. The authors reported that Ad-FIR involved in the BLM-induced DNA damage repair response and thus applicable for other DNA damaging agents. To examine the effect of Ad-FIR on DNA damage repair, BLM, X-ray and carbon-ion irradiation were used as DNA damaging agents. The biological effects of high linear energy transfer (LET) radiotherapy used with carbon-ion irradiation are more expansive than low-LET conventional radiotherapy, such as X-rays or γ rays. High LET radiotherapy is suitable for the local control of tumors because of its high relative biological effectiveness. Ad-FIR enhanced BLM-induced DNA damage indicated by γH2AX in vitro. BLM treatment increased endogenous nuclear FIR expression in TE-2 cells, and P27Kip1 expression was suppressed by TP53 siRNA and BLM treatment. Further, Ad-FIRΔexon2, a dominant-negative form of FIR that lacks exon2 transcriptional repression domain, decreased Ku86 expression. The combination of Ad-FIR and BLM in TP53 siRNA increased DNA damage. Additionally, Ad-FIR showed synergistic cell toxicity with X-ray in vitro and significantly increased the antitumor efficacy of carbon-ion irradiation in the xenograft mouse model of TE-2 cells (P=0.03, Mann-Whitney's U-test) and was synergistic with the sensitization enhancement ratio (SER) value of 1.15. Therefore, Ad-FIR increased the cell-killing activity of the carbon-ion beam that avoids late-phase severe adverse effects independently of the TP53 status in vitro. Our findings indicated the feasibility of the combination of Ad-FIR with DNA damaging agents for future esophageal cancer treatment.

Müller B, Bovet M, Yin Y, et al.
Concomitant expression of far upstream element (FUSE) binding protein (FBP) interacting repressor (FIR) and its splice variants induce migration and invasion of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells.
J Pathol. 2015; 237(3):390-401 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transcription factors integrate a variety of oncogenic input information, facilitate tumour growth and cell dissemination, and therefore represent promising therapeutic target structures. Because over-expression of DNA-interacting far upstream element binding protein (FBP) supports non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) migration, we asked whether its repressor, FBP-interacting repressor (FIR) is functionally inactivated and how FIR might affect NSCLC cell biology. Different FIR splice variants were highly expressed in the majority of NSCLCs, with the highest levels in tumours carrying genomic gains of chromosome 8q24.3, which contained the FIR gene locus. Nuclear FIR expression was significantly enriched at the invasion front of primary NSCLCs, but this did not correlate with tumour cell proliferation. FIR accumulation was associated with worse patient survival and tumour recurrence; in addition, FIR over-expression significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). In vitro, we applied newly developed methods and modelling approaches for the quantitative and time-resolved description of the pro-migratory and pro-invasive capacities of SCC cells. siRNA-mediated silencing of all FIR variants significantly reduced the speed and directional movement of tumour cells in all phases of migration. Furthermore, sprouting efficiency and single cell invasiveness were diminished following FIR inhibition. Interestingly, the silencing of FIR isoforms lacking exon 2 (FIR(Δexon2)) alone was sufficient to reduce lateral migration and invasion. In summary, by using scale-spanning data derived from primary human tissues, quantitative cellular analyses and mathematical modelling, we have demonstrated that concomitant over-expression of FIR and its splice variants drives NSCLC migration and dissemination.

O'Shannessy DJ, Somers EB, Wang LC, et al.
Expression of folate receptors alpha and beta in normal and cancerous gynecologic tissues: correlation of expression of the beta isoform with macrophage markers.
J Ovarian Res. 2015; 8:29 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Folate receptor alpha (FOLR1/FRA) is expressed in a number of epithelial cancers and in particular epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), especially of the serous histotype. Recent studies have shown that EOC originates from the fallopian tube fimbriae rather than from epithelial cells lining the ovary. We have previously shown by immunohistochemistry a strong correlation between FRA expression in EOC and normal and fallopian adenocarcinoma. Folate receptor beta (FOLR2/FRB) has been described to be expressed by macrophages both in inflammatory disorders and certain epithelial cancers. Given the high sequence identity of these two folate receptor family members we sought to investigate the architectural and cell-specific expression of these two receptors in gynecologic tissues.
METHODS: RNA scope, a novel chromogenic in situ hybridization assay tool, was used to examine expression of the alpha (FOLR1) and beta (FOLR2) isoforms of folate receptor relative to each other as well as to the macrophage markers CD11b and CD68, in samples of normal fallopian tube and fallopian adenocarcinoma as well as normal ovary and EOC.
RESULTS: We demonstrated expression of both FOLR1 and FOLR2 in EOC, normal fallopian tube and fallopian adenocarcinoma tissue while very little expression of either marker was observed in normal ovary. Furthermore, FOLR2 was shown to be expressed almost exclusively in macrophages, of both the M1 and M2 lineages, as determined by co-expression of CD11b and/or CD68, with little or no expression in epithelial cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings further substantiate the hypothesis that the cell of origin of EOC is tubal epithelium and that the beta isoform of folate receptor is primarily restricted to macrophages. Further, macrophages expressing FOLR2 may represent tumor associated or infiltrating macrophages (TAMs) in epithelial cancers.

Farkas SA, Befekadu R, Hahn-Strömberg V, Nilsson TK
DNA methylation and expression of the folate transporter genes in colorectal cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(7):5581-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Folate has a central role in the cell metabolism. This study aims to explore the DNA methylation pattern of the folate transporter genes FOLR1, PCFT, and RFC1 as well as the corresponding protein expressions in colorectal cancer (CRC) tissue and adjacent non-cancerous mucosa (ANCM). Our results showed statistically significant differences in the DNA-methylated fraction of all three genes at several gene regions; we identified three differentially methylated CpG sites in the FOLR1 gene, five CpG sites in the PCFT gene, and six CpG sites in the RFC1 gene. There was a pronounced expression of the FRα and RFC proteins in both the CRC and ANCM tissues, though the expression was attenuated in cancer compared to the paired ANCM tissues. The PCFT protein was undetectable or expressed at a very low level in both tissue types. Higher methylated fractions of the CpG sites 3-5 in the RFC1 gene were associated with a lower protein expression, suggestive of epigenetic regulation by DNA methylation of the RFC1 gene in the colorectal cancer. Our results did not show any association between the RFC and FRα protein expression and tumor stage, TNM classification, or tumor location. In conclusion, this is the first study to simultaneously evaluate both DNA methylation and protein expression of all three folate transporter genes, FOLR1, PCFT, and RFC1, in colorectal cancer. The results encourage further investigation into the possible prognostic implications of folate transporter expression and DNA methylation.

Wang P, Sun C, Zhu T, Xu Y
Structural insight into mechanisms for dynamic regulation of PKM2.
Protein Cell. 2015; 6(4):275-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pyruvate kinase isoform M2 (PKM2) converts phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) to pyruvate and plays an important role in cancer metabolism. Here, we show that post-translational modifications and a patient-derived mutation regulate pyruvate kinase activity of PKM2 through modulating the conformation of the PKM2 tetramer. We determined crystal structures of human PKM2 mutants and proposed a "seesaw" model to illustrate conformational changes between an inactive T-state and an active R-state tetramers of PKM2. Biochemical and structural analyses demonstrate that PKM2(Y105E) (phosphorylation mimic of Y105) decreases pyruvate kinase activity by inhibiting FBP (fructose 1,6-bisphosphate)-induced R-state formation, and PKM2(K305Q) (acetylation mimic of K305) abolishes the activity by hindering tetramer formation. K422R, a patient-derived mutation of PKM2, favors a stable, inactive T-state tetramer because of strong intermolecular interactions. Our study reveals the mechanism for dynamic regulation of PKM2 by post-translational modifications and a patient-derived mutation and provides a structural basis for further investigation of other modifications and mutations of PKM2 yet to be discovered.

Chen J, Lee HJ, Wu X, et al.
Gain of glucose-independent growth upon metastasis of breast cancer cells to the brain.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(3):554-65 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancer brain metastasis is resistant to therapy and a particularly poor prognostic feature in patient survival. Altered metabolism is a common feature of cancer cells, but little is known as to what metabolic changes benefit breast cancer brain metastases. We found that brain metastatic breast cancer cells evolved the ability to survive and proliferate independent of glucose due to enhanced gluconeogenesis and oxidations of glutamine and branched chain amino acids, which together sustain the nonoxidative pentose pathway for purine synthesis. Silencing expression of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatases (FBP) in brain metastatic cells reduced their viability and improved the survival of metastasis-bearing immunocompetent hosts. Clinically, we showed that brain metastases from human breast cancer patients expressed higher levels of FBP and glycogen than the corresponding primary tumors. Together, our findings identify a critical metabolic condition required to sustain brain metastasis and suggest that targeting gluconeogenesis may help eradicate this deadly feature in advanced breast cancer patients.

Dixit U, Liu Z, Pandey AK, et al.
Fuse binding protein antagonizes the transcription activity of tumor suppressor protein p53.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:925 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: FUSE binding protein1 (FBP1) is a transactivator of transcription of human c-myc proto-oncogene and expressed mainly in undifferentiated cells. It is also present in differentiated normal cells albeit with very low background. FBP1 is abundantly expressed in the majority of hepatocellular carcinoma tumors and has been implicated in tumor development. Although it down-regulates the expression of proapoptotic p21 protein, it is not known whether FBP1 also interacts and antagonizes the function of tumor suppressor protein p53.
METHODS: Western blotting was carried out to detect the expression level of FBP1, p21 and p53, and also p53 regulatory factors, BCCIP and TCTP; real-time quantitative PCR was done to determine the fold change in mRNA levels of target proteins; immunoprecipitation was carried out to determine the interaction of FBP1 with p53, BCCIP and TCTP. Cells stably knockdown for either FBP1; p53 or BCCIP were examined for p53 reporter activity under normal and radiation-induced stress.
RESULTS: FBP1 physically interacted with p53, impairing its transcription activity and reducing p53-mediated sensitivity to cellular stress. Knockdown of FBP1 expression activated p53-mediated response to cellular stress while transient expression of FBP1 in FBP-knockdown cells restored the inhibition of p53 activity. FBP1 not only interacted with both BCCIP and TCTP, which, respectively, function as positive and negative regulators of p53, but also regulated their expression under cellular stress. In FBP knockdown cells, TCTP expression was down-regulated under radiation-induced stress whereas expression of BCCIP and p21 were significantly up-regulated suggesting FBP1 as a potential regulator of these proteins. We hypothesize that the FBP1-mediated suppression of p53 activity may occur via preventing the interaction of p53 with BCCIP as well as by FBP1-mediated regulation of p53 regulatory proteins, TCTP and BCCIP. Since FBP1 suppresses p53 activity and is overexpressed in most HCC tumors, it may have a possible role in tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSION: FBP1 physically interacts with p53, functions as a regulator of p53-regulatory proteins (TCTP and BCCIP), and suppresses p53 transactivation activity under radiation-induced cellular stress. Since it is abundantly expressed in most HCC tumors, it may have implication in tumorigenesis and thus may be a possible target for drug development.

Wen Y, Graybill WS, Previs RA, et al.
Immunotherapy targeting folate receptor induces cell death associated with autophagy in ovarian cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(2):448-59 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Cancer cells are highly dependent on folate metabolism, making them susceptible to drugs that inhibit folate receptor activities. Targeting overexpressed folate receptor alpha (FRα) in cancer cells offers a therapeutic opportunity. We investigated the functional mechanisms of MORAB-003 (farletuzumab), a humanized mAb against FRα, in ovarian cancer models.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We first examined FRα expression in an array of human ovarian cancer cell lines and then assessed the in vivo effect of MORAB-003 on tumor growth and progression in several orthotopic mouse models of ovarian cancer derived from these cell lines. Molecular mechanisms of tumor cell death induced by MORAB-003 were investigated by cDNA and protein expression profiling analysis. Mechanistic studies were performed to determine the role of autophagy in MORAB-003-induced cell death.
RESULTS: MORAB-003 significantly decreased tumor growth in the high-FRα IGROV1 and SKOV3ip1 models but not in the low-FRα A2780 model. MORAB-003 reduced proliferation, but had no significant effect on apoptosis. Protein expression and cDNA microarray analyses showed that MORAB-003 regulated an array of autophagy-related genes. It also significantly increased expression of LC3 isoform II and enriched autophagic vacuolization. Blocking autophagy with hydroxychloroquine or bafilomycin A1 reversed the growth inhibition induced by MORAB-003. In addition, alteration of FOLR1 gene copy number significantly correlated with shorter disease-free survival in patients with ovarian serous cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: MORAB-003 displays prominent antitumor activity in ovarian cancer models expressing FRα at high levels. Blockade of folate receptor by MORAB-003 induced sustained autophagy and suppressed cell proliferation.

Köbel M, Madore J, Ramus SJ, et al.
Evidence for a time-dependent association between FOLR1 expression and survival from ovarian carcinoma: implications for clinical testing. An Ovarian Tumour Tissue Analysis consortium study.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 111(12):2297-307 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Folate receptor 1 (FOLR1) is expressed in the majority of ovarian carcinomas (OvCa), making it an attractive target for therapy. However, clinical trials testing anti-FOLR1 therapies in OvCa show mixed results and require better understanding of the prognostic relevance of FOLR1 expression. We conducted a large study evaluating FOLR1 expression with survival in different histological types of OvCa.
METHODS: Tissue microarrays composed of tumour samples from 2801 patients in the Ovarian Tumour Tissue Analysis (OTTA) consortium were assessed for FOLR1 expression by centralised immunohistochemistry. We estimated associations for overall (OS) and progression-free (PFS) survival using adjusted Cox regression models. High-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (HGSC) from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were evaluated independently for association between FOLR1 mRNA upregulation and survival.
RESULTS: FOLR1 expression ranged from 76% in HGSC to 11% in mucinous carcinomas in OTTA. For HGSC, the association between FOLR1 expression and OS changed significantly during the years following diagnosis in OTTA (Pinteraction=0.01, N=1422) and TCGA (Pinteraction=0.01, N=485). In OTTA, particularly for FIGO stage I/II tumours, patients with FOLR1-positive HGSC showed increased OS during the first 2 years only (hazard ratio=0.44, 95% confidence interval=0.20-0.96) and patients with FOLR1-positive clear cell carcinomas (CCC) showed decreased PFS independent of follow-up time (HR=1.89, 95% CI=1.10-3.25, N=259). In TCGA, FOLR1 mRNA upregulation in HGSC was also associated with increased OS during the first 2 years following diagnosis irrespective of tumour stage (HR: 0.48, 95% CI: 0.25-0.94).
CONCLUSIONS: FOLR1-positive HGSC tumours were associated with an increased OS in the first 2 years following diagnosis. Patients with FOLR1-negative, poor prognosis HGSC would be unlikely to benefit from anti-FOLR1 therapies. In contrast, a decreased PFS interval was observed for FOLR1-positive CCC. The clinical efficacy of FOLR1-targeted interventions should therefore be evaluated according to histology, stage and time following diagnosis.

Malz M, Bovet M, Samarin J, et al.
Overexpression of far upstream element (FUSE) binding protein (FBP)-interacting repressor (FIR) supports growth of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatology. 2014; 60(4):1241-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The far upstream element binding protein (FBP) and the FBP-interacting repressor (FIR) represent molecular tools for transcriptional fine tuning of target genes. Strong overexpression of FBP in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) supports tumor growth and correlates with poor patient prognosis. However, the role of the transcriptional repressor FIR in hepatocarcinogenesis remains poorly delineated. We show that overexpression of FIR correlates with tumor dedifferentiation and tumor cell proliferation in about 60% of primary HCCs. Elevated FIR levels are associated with genomic gains of the FIR gene locus at chromosome 8q24.3 in human HCC specimens. In vitro, nuclear enrichment of FIR supports HCC cell proliferation and migration. Expression profiling of HCC cells after small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated silencing of FIR identified the transcription factor DP-1 (TFDP1) as a transcriptional target of FIR. Surprisingly, FIR stimulates the expression of FBP in a TFDP1/E2F1-dependent manner. FIR splice variants lacking or containing exon 2 and/or exon 5 are expressed in the majority of HCCs but not in normal hepatocytes. Specific inhibition of FIR isoforms with and without exon 2 revealed that both groups of FIR splice variants facilitate tumor-supporting effects. This finding was confirmed in xenograft transplantation experiments with lentiviral-infected short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting all FIR variants as well as FIR with and without exon 2.
CONCLUSION: High-level nuclear FIR does not facilitate repressor properties but supports tumor growth in HCC cells. Thus, the pharmacological inhibition of FIR might represent a promising therapeutic strategy for HCC patients with elevated FIR expression.

Matsushita K, Shimada H, Ueda Y, et al.
Non-transmissible Sendai virus vector encoding c-myc suppressor FBP-interacting repressor for cancer therapy.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(15):4316-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To investigate a novel therapeutic strategy to target and suppress c-myc in human cancers using far up stream element (FUSE)-binding protein-interacting repressor (FIR).
METHODS: Endogenous c-Myc suppression and apoptosis induction by a transient FIR-expressing vector was examined in vivo via a HA-tagged FIR (HA-FIR) expression vector. A fusion gene-deficient, non-transmissible, Sendai virus (SeV) vector encoding FIR cDNA, SeV/dF/FIR, was prepared. SeV/dF/FIR was examined for its gene transduction efficiency, viral dose dependency of antitumor effect and apoptosis induction in HeLa (cervical squamous cell carcinoma) cells and SW480 (colon adenocarcinoma) cells. Antitumor efficacy in a mouse xenograft model was also examined. The molecular mechanism of the anti-tumor effect and c-Myc suppression by SeV/dF/FIR was examined using Spliceostatin A (SSA), a SAP155 inhibitor, or SAP155 siRNA which induce c-Myc by increasing FIR∆exon2 in HeLa cells.
RESULTS: FIR was found to repress c-myc transcription and in turn the overexpression of FIR drove apoptosis through c-myc suppression. Thus, FIR expressing vectors are potentially applicable for cancer therapy. FIR is alternatively spliced by SAP155 in cancer cells lacking the transcriptional repression domain within exon 2 (FIR∆exon2), counteracting FIR for c-Myc protein expression. Furthermore, FIR forms a complex with SAP155 and inhibits mutual well-established functions. Thus, both the valuable effects and side effects of exogenous FIR stimuli should be tested for future clinical application. SeV/dF/FIR, a cytoplasmic RNA virus, was successfully prepared and showed highly efficient gene transduction in in vivo experiments. Furthermore, in nude mouse tumor xenograft models, SeV/dF/FIR displayed high antitumor efficiency against human cancer cells. SeV/dF/FIR suppressed SSA-activated c-Myc. SAP155 siRNA, potentially produces FIR∆exon2, and led to c-Myc overexpression with phosphorylation at Ser62. HA-FIR suppressed endogenous c-Myc expression and induced apoptosis in HeLa and SW480 cells. A c-myc transcriptional suppressor FIR expressing SeV/dF/FIR showed high gene transduction efficiency with significant antitumor effects and apoptosis induction in HeLa and SW480 cells.
CONCLUSION: SeV/dF/FIR showed strong tumor growth suppression with no significant side effects in an animal xenograft model, thus SeV/dF/FIR is potentially applicable for future clinical cancer treatment.

Weber CJ, Müller S, Safley SA, et al.
Expression of functional folate receptors by human parathyroid cells.
Surgery. 2013; 154(6):1385-93; discussion 1393 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Human pituitary adenomas express folate receptors (FR); therefore, we hypothesized that parathyroid (PT) tumors also might express FR, whereas normal human thyroids might not. The purpose of our study was to characterize the functionality of FRs on human PT tumors, with the goal of developing an imaging tool that would concentrate in PT more than in the thyroid.
METHODS: Human PTs and thyroids were evaluated for FR expression by immunohistochemistry. Expression of genes for FRα and FRβ was measured with the Illumina Human HT-12 Expression Bead Chips and verified by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Folate incorporation by PT cells versus normal thyroid cells was determined by incubation with (99m)Technetium ((99m)Tc)(CO)3-folate and (99m)Tc-Etarfolatide, and uptake was determined by gamma counting. Specific targeting of FRs was demonstrated by blocking with cold folate. A549 cells and Jurkat cells served as FR-negative controls, and KB cells and HeLa cells were FR-positive controls.
RESULTS: On immunohistochemistry and Western blotting, human PT cells expressed FRs, whereas human thyroid cells did not. The FRα gene was expressed in all PTs analyzed, and the FRβ gene was expressed by most. Uptake of (99m)Tc(CO)3-folate was increased in PT cells versus thyroid cells. There was dose-dependent uptake of (99m)Tc-etarfolatide, and uptake was inhibited by preincubation with cold folate, confirming FR-mediated binding.
CONCLUSION: This is the first report of the expression and functionality of FRs on human PT cells. These findings suggest that (99m)Tc-folate holds potential for localization of PT tumors preoperatively and their treatment.

Lv L, Xu YP, Zhao D, et al.
Mitogenic and oncogenic stimulation of K433 acetylation promotes PKM2 protein kinase activity and nuclear localization.
Mol Cell. 2013; 52(3):340-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alternative splicing of the PKM2 gene produces two isoforms, M1 and M2, which are preferentially expressed in adult and embryonic tissues, respectively. The M2 isoform is reexpressed in human cancer and has nonmetabolic functions in the nucleus as a protein kinase. Here, we report that PKM2 is acetylated by p300 acetyltransferase at K433, which is unique to PKM2 and directly contacts its allosteric activator, fructose 1,6-bisphosphate (FBP). Acetylation prevents PKM2 activation by interfering with FBP binding and promotes the nuclear accumulation and protein kinase activity of PKM2. Acetylation-mimetic PKM2(K433) mutant promotes cell proliferation and tumorigenesis. K433 acetylation is decreased by serum starvation and cell-cell contact, increased by cell cycle stimulation, epidermal growth factor (EGF), and oncoprotein E7, and enriched in breast cancers. Hence, K433 acetylation links cell proliferation and transformation to the switch of PKM2 from a cytoplasmic metabolite kinase to a nuclear protein kinase.

O'Shannessy DJ, Jackson SM, Twine NC, et al.
Gene expression analyses support fallopian tube epithelium as the cell of origin of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Int J Mol Sci. 2013; 14(7):13687-703 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Folate receptor alpha (FOLR1/FRA) is reported to be overexpressed in epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC), especially the serous histotype. Further, while dysregulation of the folate-dependent 1-carbon cycle has been implicated in tumorogenesis, little is known relative to the potential mechanism of action of FOLR1 expression in these processes. We therefore investigated the expression of FOLR1, other folate receptors, and genes within the 1-carbon cycle in samples of EOC, normal ovary and fallopian tube on a custom TaqMan Low Density Array. Also included on this array were known markers of EOC such as MSLN, MUC16 and HE4. While few differences were observed in the expression profiles of genes in the 1-carbon cycle, genes previously considered to be overexpressed in EOC (e.g., FOLR1, MSLN, MUC16 and HE4) showed significantly increased expression when comparing EOC to normal ovary. However, when the comparator was changed to normal fallopian tube, these differences were abolished, supporting the hypothesis that EOC derives from fallopian fimbriae and, further, that markers previously considered to be upregulated or overexpressed in EOC are most likely not of ovarian origin, but fallopian in derivation. Our findings therefore support the hypothesis that the cell of origin of EOC is tubal epithelium.

He Z, Yu Y, Zhang Y, et al.
Gene delivery with active targeting to ovarian cancer cells mediated by folate receptor alpha.
J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2013; 9(5):833-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Folate receptor alpha (FRalpha) is overexpressed on ovarian cancer cells and is a promising molecular target for ovarian cancer gene therapy, but there was still no related report. In this study, folate modified cationic liposomes (F-PEG-CLPs) for ovarian cancer gene delivery were developed for the first time. Folate-poly(ethylene glycol)-succinate-cholesterol (F-PEG-suc-Chol) was firstly synthesized and then used to prepare folate-targeted cationic liposomes/plasmid DNA complexes (F-targeted lipoplexes). F-targeted lipoplexes were prepared by post-insertion method, and displayed membrane structure by transmission electron microscopy observation with the diameter of 193 nm-200 nm and the zeta potential of 35 mV-38 mV. DNase degradation experiments showed that plasmid DNA could be effectively shielded by F-targeted lipoplexes in vitro. F-targeted lipoplexes could transfer gene into human ovarian carcinoma cell line SKOV-3, and 0.1% F-PEG-CLPs composed by DOTAP/Chol/mPEG-Chol/F-PEG-suc-Chol (50:45:5:0.1, molar ratio) had the highest transfection efficiency. The transfection activity of F-targeted lipoplexes could be competitively inhibited by free folic acid, demonstrating that folate-FRalpha interaction caused high transfection efficiency of F-targeted lipoplexes. The uptake mechanism of F-targeted lipoplexes was further validated on human oral carcinoma cell line KB and human liver carcinoma cell line HepG2. The concentration-dependent and time-dependent cytotoxicity of targeted material F-PEG-suc-Chol was observed by MTT assay on SKOV-3 cell and its application would not increase the cytotoxicity of F-targeted lipoplexes in SKOV-3 cells. All the data indicated that F-PEG-CLPs would be a promising gene vector targeting for ovarian cancer therapy.

Leung F, Dimitromanolakis A, Kobayashi H, et al.
Folate-receptor 1 (FOLR1) protein is elevated in the serum of ovarian cancer patients.
Clin Biochem. 2013; 46(15):1462-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy in North America. Although survival rates are high when the disease is diagnosed at an early stage, this decreases exponentially in late-stage diagnoses. As such, there is a need for novel early detection biomarkers. Through an integrated approach to ovarian cancer biomarker discovery that combines proteomics with transcriptomics and bioinformatics, our laboratory has identified folate-receptor 1 (FOLR1) and Dickkopf-related protein 3 (Dkk-3) as putative biomarkers. The objective of this study was to measure the levels of FOLR1 and Dkk-3 in the serum of patients with ovarian cancer, benign gynecological conditions and healthy women.
DESIGN AND METHODS: FOLR1 and Dkk-3 were analyzed in serum of 100 ovarian cancer patients, 100 patients with benign gynecological conditions, and 100 healthy women using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). All specimens were analyzed in triplicate.
RESULTS: FOLR1 was significantly elevated in the serum of ovarian cancer patients compared to serum of both healthy controls (P<0.0001) and patients with benign gynecological conditions (P<0.0001). Furthermore, FOLR1 was strongly correlated with CA125 as both were elevated in the serous histotype and in late-stage disease. FOLR1 did not outperform CA125 in receiver operating characteristic curve analysis and there was no significant complementarity between the two markers. Dkk-3 was not significantly different between the three serum cohorts and was not correlated with CA125.
CONCLUSIONS: FOLR1 is a new biomarker for ovarian cancer which correlates closely with CA125. The role of FOLR1 in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer warrants further investigation.

Zee RY, Rose L, Chasman DI, Ridker PM
Genetic variation of fifteen folate metabolic pathway associated gene loci and the risk of incident head and neck carcinoma: the Women's Genome Health Study.
Clin Chim Acta. 2013; 418:33-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of folate metabolic pathway (FMP) in the pathogenesis of head and neck carcinoma (HNC). Whether the genetic variation within the FMP associated genes modulates HNC remains elusive. To date, prospective, epidemiological data on the relationship of FMP gene variation with the risk of HNC are sparse.
METHODS: The association between 203 tag-SNPs (tSNPs) of 15 FMP associated genes (CBS, BHMT, DHFR, FOLR1, FOLR2, FOLR3, MTHFR, MTR, MTRR, MTHFD1, RFC1, SHMT1, SLC19A1, TCN2, and TYMS) and incident HNC was investigated in 23,294 Caucasian female participants of the prospective Women's Genome Health Study. All were free of known cancer at baseline. During a 15-year follow-up period, 55 participants developed a first ever HNC. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was performed to investigate the relationship between genotypes and HNC risk assuming an additive genetic model. Haplotype-block analysis was also performed.
RESULTS: A total of 11 tSNPs within DHFR, MTHFR, RFC1, and TYMS were associated with HNC risk (all p-uncorrected <0.050). Further investigation using the haplotype-block analysis revealed an association of several prespecified haplotypes of RFC1 with HNC risk (all p-uncorrected <0.050).
CONCLUSION: If corroborated in other large prospective studies, the present findings suggest that genetic variation within the folate metabolic pathway gene loci examined, in particular, the replication factor C-1 (RFC1) gene variation may influence HNC risk.

Kajiwara T, Matsushita K, Itoga S, et al.
SAP155-mediated c-myc suppressor far-upstream element-binding protein-interacting repressor splicing variants are activated in colon cancer tissues.
Cancer Sci. 2013; 104(2):149-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
The c-myc transcriptional suppressor, far-upstream element (FUSE)-binding protein (FBP)-interacting repressor (FIR), is alternatively spliced in colorectal cancer tissue (Matsushita et al., Cancer Res 2006). Recently, the knockdown of SAP155 pre-mRNA-splicing factor, a subunit of SF3b, was reported to disturb FIR pre-mRNA splicing and yield FIRΔexon2, an exon 2-spliced variant of FIR, which lacks c-myc repression activity. In the present study, novel splicing variants of FIR, Δ3 and Δ4, were also generated by SAP155 siRNA, and these variants were found to be activated in human colorectal cancer tissue. Furthermore, the expression levels of FIR variant mRNA were examined in the peripheral blood of colorectal cancer patients and healthy volunteers to assess its potency for tumor detection. As expected, circulating FIR variant mRNA in the peripheral blood of cancer patients were significantly overexpressed compared to that in healthy volunteers. In particular, the area under the receiving operating characteristic curve of FIR, FIRΔexon2 or FIRΔexon2/FIR, was greater than those of conventional carcinoembryonic antigen or carbohydrate antigen 19-9. In addition, FIRΔexon2 or FIR mRNA expression in the peripheral blood was significantly reduced after operative removal of colorectal tumors. Thus, circulating FIR and FIRΔexon2 mRNA are potential novel screening markers for colorectal cancer testing with conventional carcinoembryonic antigen and or carbohydrate antigen 19-9. Taken together, our results indicate that overexpression of FIR and its splicing variants in colorectal cancer directs feed-forward or addicted circuit c-myc transcriptional activation. Clinical implications for colorectal cancers of novel FIR splicing variants are also discussed in the present paper.

Larysz D, Zebracka-Gala J, Rudnik A, et al.
Expression of genes FOLR1, BAG1 and LAPTM4B in functioning and non-functioning pituitary adenomas.
Folia Neuropathol. 2012; 50(3):277-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The mechanism of pathogenesis of adenomas pituitary is still unknown; differences between pituitary cells of different origin are observed. Identification of genes specific to pituitary adenomas should give better understanding of differences in their response to therapy, especially to radiotherapy. The aim of our study was to independently validate differences in the expression of FOLR1, BAG1, LAPTM4B between functioning (FA) and non-functioning (NFA) pituitary adenomas reported by microarray-based studies.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Analysis of gene expression was performed by real-time quantitative PCR (QPCR) in 76 pituitary adenomas, 25 functioning and 51 non-functioning ones. The expression of the examined genes was normalized to the reference index, obtained by calculation of the geometric mean of reference genes expression: GUS-B, B2M, ACTB, EIF3S10, UBE2D2 and ATP6V1E.
RESULTS: Two genes showed significant differences in expression between non-functioning adenomas and functioning ones (FA) (FOLR1 32.4 x greater p = 0.022, BAG1 2.2 x lower p = 0.0002). The expression of LAPTM4B (1.1 x lower) was only insignificantly changed. The expression of FOLR1 in all tumours (functioning and non-functioning) was higher in older patients (over 50 years of age) (p = 0.018). Expression of BAG1 was significantly lower in older patients (p = 0.015). In a subgroup of pure non-functioning adenomas there was a higher expression of FOLR1 in older patients (p = 0.006). Analysis of expression profiles and invasiveness of tumours did not reveal any significant differences both in non-functioning and functioning tumours.
CONCLUSIONS: Among pituitary adenomas, the highest level of expression FOLR1 is seen in NFA which are negative by immunohistochemistry to all pituitary hormones while GH-producing adenomas are the only class of pituitary tumours where FOLR1 expression is virtually absent. For BAG1 we confirm a significantly higher expression in functioning (both PRL and GH producing) adenomas than non-functioning ones, while LAPTM4B does not exhibit any expression changes between different classes of pituitary tumours.

Stordal B, Hamon M, McEneaney V, et al.
Resistance to paclitaxel in a cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cell line is mediated by P-glycoprotein.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e40717 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The IGROVCDDP cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cell line is also resistant to paclitaxel and models the resistance phenotype of relapsed ovarian cancer patients after first-line platinum/taxane chemotherapy. A TaqMan low-density array (TLDA) was used to characterise the expression of 380 genes associated with chemotherapy resistance in IGROVCDDP cells. Paclitaxel resistance in IGROVCDDP is mediated by gene and protein overexpression of P-glycoprotein and the protein is functionally active. Cisplatin resistance was not reversed by elacridar, confirming that cisplatin is not a P-glycoprotein substrate. Cisplatin resistance in IGROVCDDP is multifactorial and is mediated in part by the glutathione pathway and decreased accumulation of drug. Total cellular glutathione was not increased. However, the enzyme activity of GSR and GGT1 were up-regulated. The cellular localisation of copper transporter CTR1 changed from membrane associated in IGROV-1 to cytoplasmic in IGROVCDDP. This may mediate the previously reported accumulation defect. There was decreased expression of the sodium potassium pump (ATP1A), MRP1 and FBP which all have been previously associated with platinum accumulation defects in platinum-resistant cell lines. Cellular localisation of MRP1 was also altered in IGROVCDDP shifting basolaterally, compared to IGROV-1. BRCA1 was also up-regulated at the gene and protein level. The overexpression of P-glycoprotein in a resistant model developed with cisplatin is unusual. This demonstrates that P-glycoprotein can be up-regulated as a generalised stress response rather than as a specific response to a substrate. Mechanisms characterised in IGROVCDDP cells may be applicable to relapsed ovarian cancer patients treated with frontline platinum/taxane chemotherapy.

Nunez MI, Behrens C, Woods DM, et al.
High expression of folate receptor alpha in lung cancer correlates with adenocarcinoma histology and EGFR [corrected] mutation.
J Thorac Oncol. 2012; 7(5):833-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Folate receptor alpha (FRα) and reduced folate carrier-1 (RFC1) regulate uptake of folate molecules inside the cell. FRα is a potential biomarker of tumors response to antifolate chemotherapy, and a target for therapies using humanized monocloncal antibody. Information on the protein expression of these receptors in non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is limited.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Expressions of FRα and RFC1 were examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 320 surgically resected NSCLC (202 adenocarcinomas and 118 squamous cell carcinomas) tissue specimens and correlated with patients' clinico-pathologic characteristics. Folate receptor α gene (FOLR1) mRNA expression was examined using publicly available microarray datasets. FRα expression was correlated with thymidylate synthase and p53 expression in NSCLCs, and with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and V-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral (KRAS) gene mutations in adenocarcinomas.
RESULTS: NSCLC overexpressed FRα and RFC1. In a multivariate analysis, lung adenocarcinomas were more likely to express FRα in the cytoplasm (OR = 4.39; p < 0.0001) and membrane (OR = 5.34; p < 0.0001) of malignant cells than squamous cell carcinomas. Tumors from never-smokers were more likely to express cytoplasmic (OR = 3.35; p<0.03) and membrane (OR = 3.60; p=0.0005) FRα than those from smokers. In adenocarcinoma, EGFR mutations correlated with higher expression of membrane FRα and FOLR1 gene expressions. High levels of FRα expression was detected in 42 NSCLC advanced metastatic tumor tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: FRα and RFC1 proteins are overexpressed in NSCLC tumor tissues. The high levels of FRα in lung adenocarcinomas may be associated to these tumors' better responses to antifolate chemotherapy and represents a potential novel target for this tumor type.

Ayala-Breton C, Barber GN, Russell SJ, Peng KW
Retargeting vesicular stomatitis virus using measles virus envelope glycoproteins.
Hum Gene Ther. 2012; 23(5):484-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has potent antitumor activity, but infects a broad range of cell types. Here, we used the measles virus (MV) hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) envelope glycoproteins to redirect VSV entry and infection specifically to tumor-associated receptors. Replication-defective VSV, deleted of its glycoprotein gene (VSVΔG), was pseudotyped with MV-F and MV-H displaying single-chain antibodies (scFv) specific for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), folate receptor (FR), or prostate membrane-specific antigen (PSMA). Viral titers were ∼10(5) PFU/ml, but could be concentrated to 10(7) PFU/ml. Immunoblotting confirmed incorporation of the MV-H-scFv and MV-F into functional VSV virions. Although VSV-G was able to infect all tumor cell lines tested, the retargeted VSV infected only cells that expressed the targeted receptor. In vivo specificities of the EGFR-, FR-, and PSMA-retargeted VSV were assessed by intratumoral injection into human tumor xenografts. Analysis of green fluorescent protein reporter gene expression indicated that VSV infection was restricted to receptor-positive tumors. In summary, we have demonstrated for the first time that VSV can be efficiently retargeted to different cellular receptors using the measles display technology, yielding retargeted VSV vectors that are highly specific for tumors that express the relevant receptor.

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