Gene Summary

Gene:GDF15; growth differentiation factor 15
Aliases: PDF, MIC1, PLAB, MIC-1, NAG-1, PTGFB, GDF-15
Summary:This gene encodes a secreted ligand of the TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta) superfamily of proteins. Ligands of this family bind various TGF-beta receptors leading to recruitment and activation of SMAD family transcription factors that regulate gene expression. The encoded preproprotein is proteolytically processed to generate each subunit of the disulfide-linked homodimer. The protein is expressed in a broad range of cell types, acts as a pleiotropic cytokine and is involved in the stress response program of cells after cellular injury. Increased protein levels are associated with disease states such as tissue hypoxia, inflammation, acute injury and oxidative stress. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2016]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:growth/differentiation factor 15
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (9)

Latest Publications: GDF15 (cancer-related)

Ricketts CJ, Crooks DR, Sourbier C, et al.
SnapShot: Renal Cell Carcinoma.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 29(4):610-610.e1 [PubMed] Related Publications
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a heterogeneous disease made up of a number of different cancer types, with distinct histologies, clinical courses, therapeutic responses, and genetic drivers. Germline mutations in 14 genes have been associated with increased risk of RCC and can result in HIF pathway activation, chromatin dysregulation, and altered metabolism. Knowledge of these pathway alterations can inform the development of targeted therapeutic approaches. To view this SnapShot, open or download the PDF.

Vila-Casadesús M, Gironella M, Lozano JJ
MiRComb: An R Package to Analyse miRNA-mRNA Interactions. Examples across Five Digestive Cancers.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0151127 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs that regulate the expression of target mRNAs by specific binding on the mRNA 3'UTR and promoting mRNA degradation in the majority of cases. It is often of interest to know the specific targets of a miRNA in order to study them in a particular disease context. In that sense, some databases have been designed to predict potential miRNA-mRNA interactions based on hybridization sequences. However, one of the main limitations is that these databases have too many false positives and do not take into account disease-specific interactions. We have developed an R package (miRComb) able to combine miRNA and mRNA expression data with hybridization information, in order to find potential miRNA-mRNA targets that are more reliable to occur in a specific physiological or disease context. This article summarizes the pipeline and the main outputs of this package by using as example TCGA data from five gastrointestinal cancers (colon cancer, rectal cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer and esophageal cancer). The obtained results can be used to develop a huge number of testable hypotheses by other authors. Globally, we show that the miRComb package is a useful tool to deal with miRNA and mRNA expression data, that helps to filter the high amount of miRNA-mRNA interactions obtained from the pre-existing miRNA target prediction databases and it presents the results in a standardised way (pdf report). Moreover, an integrative analysis of the miRComb miRNA-mRNA interactions from the five digestive cancers is presented. Therefore, miRComb is a very useful tool to start understanding miRNA gene regulation in a specific context. The package can be downloaded in

Feng Y, Yang D, Chen H, et al.
Stabilization of G-quadruplex DNA and inhibition of Bcl-2 expression by a pyridostatin analog.
Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2016; 26(7):1660-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
The G-quadruplexes located in the P1 promoter of B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) gene are implicated to regulate Bcl-2 expression. Here, we designed a new pyridostatin analog named PDF, which exhibited high specificity and stabilizing effect toward G-quadruplexes. The luciferase assay demonstrated that PDF could significantly suppress Bcl-2 transcriptional activation in human laryngeal squamous carcinoma cells (Hep-2) cells. Besides, PDF also induced cell apoptosis in vitro assays. These results provide an excellent G-quadruplex specific ligand as an efficient Bcl-2 inhibitor. These results also implicate that PDF may be a potential anticancer drug to head neck cancer.

Mengual L, Lozano JJ, Ingelmo-Torres M, et al.
Using gene expression from urine sediment to diagnose prostate cancer: development of a new multiplex mRNA urine test and validation of current biomarkers.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Additional accurate non-invasive biomarkers are needed in the clinical setting to improve prostate cancer (PCa) diagnosis. Here we have developed a new and improved multiplex mRNA urine test to detect prostate cancer (PCa). Furthermore, we have validated the PCA3 urinary transcript and some panels of urinary transcripts previously reported as useful diagnostic biomarkers for PCa in our cohort.
METHODS: Post-prostatic massage urine samples were prospectively collected from PCa patients and controls. Expression levels of 42 target genes selected from our previous studies and from the literature were studied in 224 post-prostatic massage urine sediments by quantitative PCR. Univariate logistic regression was used to identify individual PCa predictors. A variable selection method was used to develop a multiplex biomarker model. Discrimination was measured by ROC curve AUC for both, our model and the previously published biomarkers.
RESULTS: Seven of the 42 genes evaluated (PCA3, ELF3, HIST1H2BG, MYO6, GALNT3, PHF12 and GDF15) were found to be independent predictors for discriminating patients with PCa from controls. We developed a four-gene expression signature (HIST1H2BG, SPP1, ELF3 and PCA3) with a sensitivity of 77% and a specificity of 67% (AUC = 0.763) for discriminating between tumor and control urines. The accuracy of PCA3 and previously reported panels of biomarkers is roughly maintained in our cohort.
CONCLUSIONS: Our four-gene expression signature outperforms PCA3 as well as previously reported panels of biomarkers to predict PCa risk. This study suggests that a urinary biomarker panel could improve PCa detection. However, the accuracy of the panels of urinary transcripts developed to date, including our signature, is not high enough to warrant using them routinely in a clinical setting.

Codó P, Weller M, Kaulich K, et al.
Control of glioma cell migration and invasiveness by GDF-15.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(7):7732-46 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Growth and differentiation factor (GDF)-15 is a member of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β family of proteins. GDF-15 levels are increased in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of glioblastoma patients. Using a TCGA database interrogation, we demonstrate that high GDF-15 expression levels are associated with poor survival of glioblastoma patients. To elucidate the role of GDF-15 in glioblastoma in detail, we confirmed that glioma cells express GDF-15 mRNA and protein in vitro. To allow for a detailed functional characterization, GDF-15 expression was silenced using RNA interference in LNT-229 and LN-308 glioma cells. Depletion of GDF-15 had no effect on cell viability. In contrast, GDF-15-deficient cells displayed reduced migration and invasion, in the absence of changes in Smad2 or Smad1/5/8 phosphorylation. Conversely, exogenous GDF-15 stimulated migration and invasiveness. Large-scale expression profiling revealed that GDF-15 gene silencing resulted in minor changes in the miRNA profile whereas several genes, including members of the plasminogen activator/inhibitor complex, were deregulated at the mRNA level. One of the newly identified genes induced by GDF-15 gene silencing was the serpin peptidase inhibitor, clade E nexin group 1 (serpine1) which is induced by TGF-β and known to inhibit migration and invasiveness. However, serpine1 down-regulation alone did not mediate GDF-15-induced promotion of migration and invasiveness. Our findings highlight the complex contributions of GDF-15 to the invasive phenotype of glioma cells and suggest anti-GDF-15 approaches as a promising therapeutic strategy.

Tsai VW, Lin S, Brown DA, et al.
Anorexia-cachexia and obesity treatment may be two sides of the same coin: role of the TGF-b superfamily cytokine MIC-1/GDF15.
Int J Obes (Lond). 2016; 40(2):193-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Anorexia-cachexia associated with cancer and other diseases is a common and often fatal condition representing a large area of unmet medical need. It occurs most commonly in advanced cancer and is probably a consequence of molecules released by tumour cells, or tumour-associated interstitial or immune cells. These may then act directly on muscle to cause atrophy and/or may cause anorexia, which then leads to loss of both fat and lean mass. Although the aetiological triggers for this syndrome are not well characterized, recent data suggest that MIC-1/GDF15, a transforming growth factor-beta superfamily cytokine produced in large amounts by cancer cells and as a part of other disease processes, may be an important trigger. This cytokine acts on feeding centres in the hypothalamus and brainstem to cause anorexia leading to loss of lean and fat mass and eventually cachexia. In animal studies, the circulating concentrations of MIC-1/GDF15 required to cause this syndrome are similar to those seen in patients with advanced cancer, and at least some epidemiological studies support an association between MIC-1/GDF15 serum levels and measures of nutrition. This article will discuss its mechanisms of central appetite regulation, and the available data linking this action to anorexia-cachexia syndromes that suggest it is a potential target for therapy of cancer anorexia-cachexia and conversely may also be useful for the treatment of severe obesity.

Li C, Wang J, Kong J, et al.
GDF15 promotes EMT and metastasis in colorectal cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(1):860-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metastasis is the major cause of cancer deaths, and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been considered to be a fundamental event in cancer metastasis. However, the role of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) in colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasis and EMT remains poorly understood. Here, we showed that GDF15 promoted CRC cell metastasis both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, the EMT process was enhanced by GDF15 through binding to TGF-β receptor to activate Smad2 and Smad3 pathways. Clinical data showed GDF15 level in tumor tissues, and the serum was significantly increased, in which high GDF15 level correlated with a reduced overall survival in CRC. Thus, GDF15 may promote colorectal cancer metastasis through activating EMT. Promisingly, GDF15 could be considered as a novel prognostic marker for CRC in the clinic.

Heck D, Wortmann S, Kraus L, et al.
Role of Endocrine Gland-Derived Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (EG-VEGF) and Its Receptors in Adrenocortical Tumors.
Horm Cancer. 2015; 6(5-6):225-36 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Angiogenesis is essential for tumor growth and metastasis. Endocrine gland-derived vascular endothelial growth factor (EG-VEGF) is an angiogenic factor predominantly expressed in steroidogenic organs like the adrenal gland, ovary, testes, and placenta. EG-VEGF has antiapoptotic, mitogenic, and chemoattractive properties mediated via the two G protein-coupled receptors prokineticin receptor 1 (PKR1) and prokineticin receptor 2 (PKR2). We investigated the expression of EG-VEGF and its receptors in a large number of normal adrenal glands (NAG), adrenocortical adenomas (ACA), and carcinomas (ACC) using real-time PCR (NAG, n = 12; ACA, n = 24; and ACC, n = 30) and immunohistochemistry (NAG, n = 9; ACA, n = 23; and ACC, n = 163) and evaluated its impact on patients' survival. EG-VEGF, PKR1, and PKR2 mRNA and protein are expressed in NAG and the vast majority of ACA and ACC samples. The mean EG-VEGF mRNA expression was significantly lower in ACC (606.5 ± 77.1 copies) compared to NAG (4,043 ± 1,111) and cortisol-producing adenomas (CPA) (4,433 ± 2,378) (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively). However, cytoplasmic and nuclear EG-VEGF protein expression was either significantly higher or similar in ACC (H score 2.4 ± 0.05, p < 0.05 and 1.7 ± 0.08, n.s., respectively) compared to NAG (1.8 ± 0.14 and 1.7 ± 0.2). Nuclear protein expression of either EG-VEGF or PKR1 or both is predictive for a higher mortality compared to patients without nuclear expression (hazard ratio (HR) = 5.15; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.24-21.36, n = 100, p = 0.02 independent of age, sex, and tumor stage). These findings suggest that EG-VEGF and its receptor PKR1 might play a role in the pathogenesis of adrenocortical tumors and could serve as prognostic markers for this rare malignant disease.

Menyhárt O, Santarpia L, Győrffy B
A Comprehensive Outline of Trastuzumab Resistance Biomarkers in HER2 Overexpressing Breast Cancer.
Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2015; 15(8):665-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
The introduction of trastuzumab for anti-HER2 therapy dramatically changed the clinical outcome for HER2 (ERBB2, neu) positive breast cancer patients. Today, patients eligible for trastuzumab are selected using HER2 expression/amplification status of the primary tumor. However, acquired and inherent resistance to anti-HER2 therapy in these patients poses a significant challenge, and better patient stratification will be needed to improve clinical response. Here, we provide a wide-ranging overview of potential biomarkers capable of stratifying patients regarding their response to trastuzumab. These include HER2 amplification, impaired access to the binding site (p95HER2, Δ16HER-2, MUC4), augmented signaling through other ERBB family receptors (HER1, HER3, HER4) and their ligands, activation of HER2 targets by alternate heterodimers (EphA2, IGF-1R, GDF15, MUC1*), signaling triggered by downstream members (PIK3CA, PTEN, SRC, mTOR), altered expression of cell cycle and apoptotic regulators (CDKs, p27(kip1), Bcl-2), hormone receptor status, resistance to antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (FcγR), and altered miRNA expression signatures. Multigenic molecular profile analyses have revealed further genes not directly associated with classical oncogenic pathways. Although numerous biomarkers have shown promise in pre-clinical studies, many have delivered controversial results when evaluated in clinical trials. One of the keys for targeting ERBB2 will be to consider the entire ERBB family and downstream associated pathways responsible for the malignant transformation. The heterogeneity of the disease is likely to represent a significant obstacle to accurately predicting the course of resistance. The future most probably involves the incorporation of multiple biomarkers into a unified predictor enabling selection of patients for superior targeted drug administration.

Li YL, Cui W, Gao F, et al.
Downregulation of growth differentiation factor-15 in trichostatin A-induced apoptosis could play a role in progression of gastric cancer.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(7):8136-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the effect of trichostatin A (TSA) on gastric cancer cell line BGC-823, and identify the differentially expressed genes induced by TSA, which might participate in the progression of gastric cancer.
METHODS: MTT, fluorescence microscopy, and flow cytometry were used to detect the effect of TSA on growth inhibition and apoptosis of BGC-823 cells. Using gene microarray, we analyzed the changes in gene expression. Change in growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15) was verified by qRT-PCR and Western blotting. The expression of GDF-15 in gastric cancer and adjacent normal tissues was detected by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Apoptosis of BGC-823 cells induced by TSA (75 ng/mL for 48 h) was demonstrated by flow cytometry. There were significant variations between TSA treated groups and control groups (P = 0.02). Nuclear chromatin condensation and fluorescence intensity were observed by fluorescence microscopy. GDF-15 gene expression and protein level were significantly reduced in the TSA treated group (75 ng/mL for 48 h). Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the expression of GDF-15 in gastric adenocarcinoma was significantly higher than in the surrounding normal tissues (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Lower GDF-15 gene expression due to TSA-induced apoptosis was found in gastric cancer cell line BGC-823. Higher GDF-15 gene expression was seen in gastric adenocarcinoma tissues.

Tsui KH, Hsu SY, Chung LC, et al.
Growth differentiation factor-15: a p53- and demethylation-upregulating gene represses cell proliferation, invasion, and tumorigenesis in bladder carcinoma cells.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:12870 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF15), a member of the TGF-β superfamily, affects tumor biology of certain cancers, but remains poorly understood in bladder cancer cells. This study determined the expression, regulation, function, and potential downstream target genes of GDF15 in bladder carcinoma cells. The transitional papilloma carcionoma cells (RT4) expressed higher levels of GDF15 as compared with the bladder carcinoma cells (HT1376 and T24). Treatments of recombinant human GDF15 (rhGDF15) reduced the proliferations of HT1376 and T24 cells. Expression of GDF15 was upregulated via DNA demethylation and p53. The cell proliferation, invasion, and tumorigenesis were reduced in ectopic overexpression of GDF15, while enhanced in GDF15 knockdown. The expressions of mammary serine protease inhibitor (MASPIN) and N-myc downstream-regulated family genes (NDRG1, NDRG2, and NDRG3) were upregulated by GDF15 overexpressions and rhGDF15 treatments in bladder carcinoma cells. GDF15 knockdown induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and F-actin polarization in HT1376 cells. Our results suggest that enhanced expressions of MASPIN and N-myc downstream-regulated family genes and the modulation of EMT may account for the inhibitory functions of GDF15 in the cell proliferation, invasion, and tumorigenesis of bladder carcinoma cells. The GDF15 should be considered as a tumor suppressor in human bladder carcinoma cells.

Shinderman-Maman E, Cohen K, Weingarten C, et al.
The thyroid hormone-αvβ3 integrin axis in ovarian cancer: regulation of gene transcription and MAPK-dependent proliferation.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(15):1977-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ovarian carcinoma is the fifth common cause of cancer death in women, despite advanced therapeutic approaches. αvβ3 integrin, a plasma membrane receptor, binds thyroid hormones (L-thyroxine, T4; 3,5,3'-triiodo-L-thyronine, T3) and is overexpressed in ovarian cancer. We have demonstrated selective binding of fluorescently labeled hormones to αvβ3-positive ovarian cancer cells but not to integrin-negative cells. Physiologically relevant T3 (1 nM) and T4 (100 nM) concentrations in OVCAR-3 (high αvβ3) and A2780 (low αvβ3) cells promoted αv and β3 transcription in association with basal integrin levels. This transcription was effectively blocked by RGD (Arg-Gly-Asp) peptide and neutralizing αvβ3 antibodies, excluding T3-induced β3 messenger RNA, suggesting subspecialization of T3 and T4 binding to the integrin receptor pocket. We have provided support for extracellular regulated kinase (ERK)-mediated transcriptional regulation of the αv monomer by T3 and of β3 monomer by both hormones and documented a rapid (30-120 min) and dose-dependent (0.1-1000 nM) ERK activation. OVCAR-3 cells and αvβ3-deficient HEK293 cells treated with αvβ3 blockers confirmed the requirement for an intact thyroid hormone-integrin interaction in ERK activation. In addition, novel data indicated that T4, but not T3, controls integrin's outside-in signaling by phosphorylating tyrosine 759 in the β3 subunit. Both hormones induced cell proliferation (cell counts), survival (Annexin-PI), viability (WST-1) and significantly reduced the expression of genes that inhibit cell cycle (p21, p16), promote mitochondrial apoptosis (Nix, PUMA) and tumor suppression (GDF-15, IGFBP-6), particularly in cells with high integrin expression. At last, we have confirmed that hypothyroid environment attenuated ovarian cancer growth using a novel experimental platform that exploited paired euthyroid and severe hypothyroid serum samples from human subjects. To conclude, our data define a critical role for thyroid hormones as potent αvβ3-ligands, driving ovarian cancer cell proliferation and suggest that disruption of this axis may present a novel treatment strategy in this aggressive disease.

Lee J, Fricke F, Warnken U, et al.
Reconstitution of TGFBR2-Mediated Signaling Causes Upregulation of GDF-15 in HCT116 Colorectal Cancer Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(6):e0131506 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although inactivating frameshift mutations in the Transforming growth factor beta receptor type 2 (TGFBR2) gene are considered as drivers of microsatellite unstable (MSI) colorectal tumorigenesis, consequential alterations of the downstream target proteome are not resolved completely. Applying a click-it chemistry protein labeling approach combined with mass spectrometry in a MSI colorectal cancer model cell line, we identified 21 de novo synthesized proteins differentially expressed upon reconstituted TGFBR2 expression. One candidate gene, the TGF-ß family member Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15), exhibited TGFBR2-dependent transcriptional upregulation causing increased intracellular and extracellular protein levels. As a new TGFBR2 target gene it may provide a link between the TGF-ß branch and the BMP/GDF branch of SMAD-mediated signaling.

Ji H, Lu HW, Li YM, et al.
Twist promotes invasion and cisplatin resistance in pancreatic cancer cells through growth differentiation factor 15.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(3):3841-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer (PC) is an aggressive and devastating disease with a poor prognosis. Cisplatin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent for solid tumors, is effective as a single agent or in combination with other drugs for the treatment of PC. Previous studies have suggested that Twist and growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) are involved in the progression of PC. However, the role of Twist and GDF15 in PC remains to be elucidated. In the present study, the individual effect of and interaction between Twist and GDF15 in PC cell invasion and chemoresistance to cisplatin was examined. Twist and/or GDF15 were stably overexpressed or knocked down in ASPC‑1 and BXPC‑3 human PC cells. Overexpression of Twist in the two cell lines markedly increased GDF15 expression, cell invasion, matrix metalloproteinase‑2 expression/activity and the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of cisplatin, which was eradicated by GDF15 knockdown or the selective p38 mitogen‑activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor SB203580 (10 µM). By contrast, Twist knockdown significantly decreased GDF15 expression, cell invasion, matrix metalloproteinase‑2 expression/activity and the IC50 values of cisplatin, which was completely reversed by overexpression of GDF15. In addition, while overexpression and knockdown of Twist increased and decreased p38 MAPK activity, respectively, GDF15 demonstrated no significant effect on p38 MAPK activity in PC cells. In conclusion, the present study, for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, demonstrated that Twist promotes PC cell invasion and cisplatin chemoresistance through inducing GDF15 expression via a p38 MAPK‑dependent mechanism. The present study provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying PC progression and chemoresistance.

Geron L, Borges KS, Andrade AF, et al.
Antitumour activity of AMG 900 alone or in combination with histone deacetylase inhibitor SaHa on medulloblastoma cell lines.
Neurol Res. 2015; 37(8):703-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant childhood brain tumour. Aurora kinases are essential for cell division and are primarily active during mitosis. Recently, the combination of aurora kinases inhibitors (iAURK) and histone deacetylase inhibitors (iHDAC) has shown potential antitumour effects and had significant biological effects in preclinical cancer models. In this study, we analysed the effects of the pan-aurora kinases inhibitor AMG 900 alone or in combination with the iHDAC SaHa (Vorinostat) on paediatric MB cell lines (UW402, UW473 and ONS-76).
METHODS: Cell proliferation was measured by XTT assay, apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry and clonogenic capacity was studied. qRT-PCR assays were used to determine the mRNA expression in MB cell lines after treatment. Drug combination analyses were made based on Chou-Talalay method.
RESULTS: AMG 900 caused the inhibition of cell proliferation, diminution of clonogenic capacity and increased the apoptosis rate in cell lines (P < 0.05). A synergistic effect in the AMG900-SaHa combination was evidenced on the inhibition of cell proliferation in all cell lines, especially in sequential drug treatment. Moreover, the combination of these drugs reached 100% of the inhibition in colony formation (synergistic effect). The treatment with AMG 900 increased the p21 and GDF15 expression, but did not alter the TP53 in one of the cell lines.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that AMG 900 may be a promising drug for the adjuvant treatment of MB, mainly when combined with iHDAC.

Meißner T, Fisch KM, Gioia L, Su AI
OncoRep: an n-of-1 reporting tool to support genome-guided treatment for breast cancer patients using RNA-sequencing.
BMC Med Genomics. 2015; 8:24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer comprises multiple tumor entities associated with different biological features and clinical behaviors, making individualized medicine a powerful tool to bring the right drug to the right patient. Next generation sequencing of RNA (RNA-Seq) is a suitable method to detect targets for individualized treatment. Challenges that arise are i) preprocessing and analyzing RNA-Seq data in the n-of-1 setting, ii) extracting clinically relevant and actionable targets from complex data, iii) integrating drug databases, and iv) reporting results to clinicians in a timely and understandable manner.
RESULTS: To address these challenges, we present OncoRep, an RNA-Seq based n-of-1 reporting tool for breast cancer patients. It reports molecular classification, altered genes and pathways, gene fusions, clinically actionable mutations and drug recommendations. It visualizes the data in an approachable html-based interactive report and a PDF clinical report, providing the clinician and tumor board with a tool to guide the treatment decision making process.
CONCLUSIONS: OncoRep is free and open-source ( ), thereby offering a platform for future development and innovation by the community.

Rozera C, Cappellini GA, D'Agostino G, et al.
Intratumoral injection of IFN-alpha dendritic cells after dacarbazine activates anti-tumor immunity: results from a phase I trial in advanced melanoma.
J Transl Med. 2015; 13:139 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Advanced melanoma patients have an extremely poor long term prognosis and are in strong need of new therapies. The recently developed targeted therapies have resulted in a marked antitumor effect, but most responses are partial and some degree of toxicity remain the major concerns. Dendritic cells play a key role in the activation of the immune system and have been typically used as ex vivo antigen-loaded cell drugs for cancer immunotherapy. Another approach consists in intratumoral injection of unloaded DCs that can exploit the uptake of a wider array of tumor-specific and individual unique antigens. However, intratumoral immunization requires DCs endowed at the same time with properties typically belonging to both immature and mature DCs (i.e. antigen uptake and T cell priming). DCs generated in presence of interferon-alpha (IFN-DCs), due to their features of partially mature DCs, capable of efficiently up-taking, processing and cross-presenting antigens to T cells, could successfully carry out this task. Combining intratumoral immunization with tumor-destructing therapies can induce antigen release in situ, facilitating the injected DCs in triggering an antitumor immune response.
METHODS: We tested in a phase I clinical study in advanced melanoma a chemo-immunotherapy approach based on unloaded IFN-DCs injected intratumorally one day after administration of dacarbazine. Primary endpoint of the study was treatment safety and tolerability. Secondary endpoints were immune and clinical responses of patients.
RESULTS: Six patients were enrolled, and only three completed the treatment. The chemo-immunotherapy was well tolerated with no major side effects. Three patients showed temporary disease stabilization and two of them showed induction of T cells specific for tyrosinase, NY-ESO-1 and gp100. Of interest, one patient showing a remarkable long-term disease stabilization kept showing presence of tyrosinase specific T cells in PBMC and high infiltration of memory T cells in the tumor lesion at 21 months.
CONCLUSION: We tested a chemo-immunotherapeutic approach based on IFN-DCs injected intratumorally one day after DTIC in advanced melanoma. The treatment was well tolerated, and clinical and immunological responses, including development of vitiligo, were observed, therefore warranting additional clinical studies aimed at evaluating efficacy of this approach.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Trial Registration Number not publicly available due to EudraCT regulations:

Schiegnitz E, Kämmerer PW, Rode K, et al.
Growth differentiation factor 15 as a radiation-induced marker in oral carcinoma increasing radiation resistance.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2016; 45(1):63-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is involved in tumor pathogenesis of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The aim of this study was an investigation of the potential influence of GDF15 on radioresistance of OSCC cells in vitro.
METHODS: Oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines were irradiated with 0, 2, or 6 Gy, and GDF15 expression in the supernatant per survived cell colony was examined with ELISA. Non-irradiated and OSCC cell lines irradiated with 6 Gy were evaluated for GDF15 expression using immunofluorescent staining. For further investigation of GDF15 effects on radioresistance, a GDF15 knockdown model in a human OSCC cell line was established, and apoptotic activity after radiation was measured using the Caspase-Glo 3/7 system.
RESULTS: ELISA and immunofluorescent staining indicated an increased GDF15 expression in 5 OSCC cell lines compared with human gingival epithelial cells. Irradiation with two and six gray resulted in a significant elevation of GDF15 expression per survived cell colony in the irradiated OSCC cell lines (P < 0.001). Furthermore, a dose-dependent expression of GDF15 was seen. Immunofluorescent staining confirmed an elevated GDF15 expression in irradiated OSCC cell lines (n = 10; P ≤ 0.001). Apoptotic activity was significantly increased after irradiation in the GDF15 knockdown group compared with control cells (n = 24; P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: This study describes for the first time the vital role of GDF15 both in tumorigenesis and in radioresistance of OSCC cells. With its anti-apoptotic effects, GDF15 possibly promotes tumor progression and might protect carcinoma cells against irradiation effects. Consequently, GDF15 may be a promising therapeutic target in oral cancer.

Phelps D, Bondra K, Seum S, et al.
Inhibition of MDM2 by RG7388 confers hypersensitivity to X-radiation in xenograft models of childhood sarcoma.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015; 62(8):1345-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Curative therapy for childhood sarcoma presents challenges when complete resection is not possible. Ionizing radiation (XRT) is used as a standard modality at diagnosis or recurrence for childhood sarcoma; however, local recurrence is still problematic. Most childhood sarcomas are TP53 wild type at diagnosis, although approximately 5-10% have MDM2 amplification or overexpression.
PROCEDURES: The MDM2 inhibitor, RG7388, was examined alone or in combination with XRT (20Gy given in 2 Gy daily fractions) to immune-deficient mice bearing Rh18 (embryonal) or a total of 30 Gy in 2 Gy fractions to mice bearing Rh30 (alveolar) rhabdomyosarcoma xenografts. RG7388 was administered by oral gavage using two schedules (daily ×5; schedule 1 or once weekly; schedule 2). TP53-responsive gene products (p21, PUMA, DDB2, and MIC1) as well as markers of apoptosis were analyzed.
RESULTS: RG7388 showed no significant single agent antitumor activity. Twenty Grays XRT induced complete regressions (CR) of Rh18 with 100 percent tumor regrowth by week 7, but no tumor regrowth at 20 weeks when combined with RG7388. RG7388 enhanced time to recurrence combined with XRT in Rh30 xenografts compared to 30 Gy XRT alone. RG7388 did not enhance XRT-induced local skin toxicity. Combination treatments induced TP53 responsive genes more rapidly and to a greater magnitude than single agent treatments.
CONCLUSIONS: RG7388 enhanced the activity of XRT in both rhabdomyosarcoma models without increasing local XRT-induced skin toxicity. Changes in TP53-responsive genes were consistent with the synergistic activity of RG7388 and XRT in the Rh18 model.

Jones AC, Antillon KS, Jenkins SM, et al.
Prostate field cancerization: deregulated expression of macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC-1) and platelet derived growth factor A (PDGF-A) in tumor adjacent tissue.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0119314 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Prostate field cancerization denotes molecular alterations in histologically normal tissues adjacent to tumors. Such alterations include deregulated protein expression, as we have previously shown for the key transcription factor early growth response 1 (EGR-1) and the lipogenic enzyme fatty acid synthase (FAS). Here we add the two secreted factors macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC-1) and platelet derived growth factor A (PDGF-A) to the growing list of protein markers of prostate field cancerization. Expression of MIC-1 and PDGF-A was measured quantitatively by immunofluorescence and comprehensively analyzed using two methods of signal capture and several groupings of data generated in human cancerous (n = 25), histologically normal adjacent (n = 22), and disease-free (n = 6) prostate tissues. A total of 208 digitized images were analyzed. MIC-1 and PDGF-A expression in tumor tissues were elevated 7.1x to 23.4x and 1.7x to 3.7x compared to disease-free tissues, respectively (p<0.0001 to p = 0.08 and p<0.01 to p = 0.23, respectively). In support of field cancerization, MIC-1 and PDGF-A expression in adjacent tissues were elevated 7.4x to 38.4x and 1.4x to 2.7x, respectively (p<0.0001 to p<0.05 and p<0.05 to p = 0.51, respectively). Also, MIC-1 and PDGF-A expression were similar in tumor and adjacent tissues (0.3x to 1.0x; p<0.001 to p = 0.98 for MIC-1; 0.9x to 2.6x; p<0.01 to p = 1.00 for PDGF-A). All analyses indicated a high level of inter- and intra-tissue heterogeneity across all types of tissues (mean coefficient of variation of 86.0%). Our data shows that MIC-1 and PDGF-A expression is elevated in both prostate tumors and structurally intact adjacent tissues when compared to disease-free specimens, defining field cancerization. These secreted factors could promote tumorigenesis in histologically normal tissues and lead to tumor multifocality. Among several clinical applications, they could also be exploited as indicators of disease in false negative biopsies, identify areas of repeat biopsy, and add molecular information to surgical margins.

Amin AR, Karpowicz PA, Carey TE, et al.
Evasion of anti-growth signaling: A key step in tumorigenesis and potential target for treatment and prophylaxis by natural compounds.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2015; 35 Suppl:S55-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The evasion of anti-growth signaling is an important characteristic of cancer cells. In order to continue to proliferate, cancer cells must somehow uncouple themselves from the many signals that exist to slow down cell growth. Here, we define the anti-growth signaling process, and review several important pathways involved in growth signaling: p53, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), retinoblastoma protein (Rb), Hippo, growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), AT-rich interactive domain 1A (ARID1A), Notch, insulin-like growth factor (IGF), and Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) pathways. Aberrations in these processes in cancer cells involve mutations and thus the suppression of genes that prevent growth, as well as mutation and activation of genes involved in driving cell growth. Using these pathways as examples, we prioritize molecular targets that might be leveraged to promote anti-growth signaling in cancer cells. Interestingly, naturally occurring phytochemicals found in human diets (either singly or as mixtures) may promote anti-growth signaling, and do so without the potentially adverse effects associated with synthetic chemicals. We review examples of naturally occurring phytochemicals that may be applied to prevent cancer by antagonizing growth signaling, and propose one phytochemical for each pathway. These are: epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) for the Rb pathway, luteolin for p53, curcumin for PTEN, porphyrins for Hippo, genistein for GDF15, resveratrol for ARID1A, withaferin A for Notch and diguelin for the IGF1-receptor pathway. The coordination of anti-growth signaling and natural compound studies will provide insight into the future application of these compounds in the clinical setting.

Urakawa N, Utsunomiya S, Nishio M, et al.
GDF15 derived from both tumor-associated macrophages and esophageal squamous cell carcinomas contributes to tumor progression via Akt and Erk pathways.
Lab Invest. 2015; 95(5):491-503 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are known to be involved in the progression, angiogenesis, and motility of various cancers. We previously reported the association between an increased number of infiltrating TAMs with tumor progression and poor prognosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs). To study the roles of TAMs in ESCC, we first exposed peripheral blood monocyte (PBMo)-derived macrophages from healthy volunteers to conditioned media of TE series human ESCC cell line (TECM) and confirmed the induction of the expression of the M2 macrophage marker CD204 and the protumorigenic factors interleukin (IL)-10, VEGFA, and MMPs. Next, we compared gene expression profiles between PBMo-derived macrophages stimulated with or without TECM by cDNA microarray and focused on growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) among the highly expressed genes including IL-6, IL-8, and CXCL1. Our immunohistochemical study of 70 surgically resected ESCCs revealed that GDF15 was present not only in cancer cells but also in macrophages. The high expression of GDF15 in the ESCCs was significantly correlated with several more malignant phenotypes including vessel invasion, lymph node metastasis, and clinical stages. Patients with high GDF15 expression showed significantly poorer disease-free survival (P=0.011) and overall survival (P=0.041). We also found that recombinant human GDF15 promotes cell proliferation and the phosphorylation of both Akt and Erk1/2 in ESCC cell lines in vitro. These results indicate that GDF15 is secreted by both TAMs and cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment and is associated with aberrant growth and a poor prognosis in human ESCC.

von der Heyde S, Wagner S, Czerny A, et al.
mRNA profiling reveals determinants of trastuzumab efficiency in HER2-positive breast cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(2):e0117818 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Intrinsic and acquired resistance to the monoclonal antibody drug trastuzumab is a major problem in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. A deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms could help to develop new agents. Our intention was to detect genes and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) affecting trastuzumab efficiency in cell culture. Three HER2-positive breast cancer cell lines with different resistance phenotypes were analyzed. We chose BT474 as model of trastuzumab sensitivity, HCC1954 as model of intrinsic resistance, and BTR50, derived from BT474, as model of acquired resistance. Based on RNA-Seq data, we performed differential expression analyses on these cell lines with and without trastuzumab treatment. Differentially expressed genes between the resistant cell lines and BT474 are expected to contribute to resistance. Differentially expressed genes between untreated and trastuzumab treated BT474 are expected to contribute to drug efficacy. To exclude false positives from the candidate gene set, we removed genes that were also differentially expressed between untreated and trastuzumab treated BTR50. We further searched for SNPs in the untreated cell lines which could contribute to trastuzumab resistance. The analysis resulted in 54 differentially expressed candidate genes that might be connected to trastuzumab efficiency. 90% of 40 selected candidates were validated by RT-qPCR. ALPP, CALCOCO1, CAV1, CYP1A2 and IGFBP3 were significantly higher expressed in the trastuzumab treated than in the untreated BT474 cell line. GDF15, IL8, LCN2, PTGS2 and 20 other genes were significantly higher expressed in HCC1954 than in BT474, while NCAM2, COLEC12, AFF3, TFF3, NRCAM, GREB1 and TFF1 were significantly lower expressed. Additionally, we inferred SNPs in HCC1954 for CAV1, PTGS2, IL8 and IGFBP3. The latter also had a variation in BTR50. 20% of the validated subset have already been mentioned in literature. For half of them we called and analyzed SNPs. These results contribute to a better understanding of trastuzumab action and resistance mechanisms.

Jeansonne D, DeLuca M, Marrero L, et al.
Anti-tumoral effects of miR-3189-3p in glioblastoma.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(13):8067-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain tumors. We have previously found up-regulation of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) in glioblastoma cells treated with the anticancer agent fenofibrate. Sequence analysis of GDF15 revealed the presence of a microRNA, miR-3189, in the single intron. We then asked whether miR-3189 was expressed in clinical samples and whether it was functional in glioblastoma cells. We found that expression of miR-3189-3p was down-regulated in astrocytoma and glioblastoma clinical samples compared with control brain tissue. In vitro, the functionality of miR-3189-3p was tested by RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation, and miR-3189-3p coimmunoprecipitated with Argonaute 2 together with two of its major predicted gene targets, the SF3B2 splicing factor and the guanine nucleotide exchange factor p63RhoGEF. Overexpression of miR-3189-3p resulted in a significant inhibition of cell proliferation and migration through direct targeting of SF3B2 and p63RhoGEF, respectively. Interestingly, miR-3189-3p levels were increased by treatment of glioblastoma cells with fenofibrate, a lipid-lowering drug with multiple anticancer activities. The attenuated expression of miR-3189-3p in clinical samples paralleled the elevated expression of SF3B2, which could contribute to the activation of SF3B2 growth-promoting pathways in these tumors. Finally, miR-3189-3p-mediated inhibition of tumor growth in vivo further supported the function of this microRNA as a tumor suppressor.

Altena R, Fehrmann RS, Boer H, et al.
Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) plasma levels increase during bleomycin- and cisplatin-based treatment of testicular cancer patients and relate to endothelial damage.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(1):e0115372 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Chemotherapy-related endothelial damage contributes to the early development of cardiovascular morbidity in testicular cancer patients. We aimed to identify relevant mechanisms of and search for candidate biomarkers for this endothelial damage.
METHODS: Human micro-vascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1) were exposed to bleomycin or cisplatin with untreated samples as control. 18k cDNA microarrays were used. Gene expression differences were analysed at single gene level and in gene sets clustered in biological pathways and validated by qRT-PCR. Protein levels of a candidate biomarker were measured in testicular cancer patient plasma before, during and after bleomycin-etoposide-cisplatin chemotherapy, and related to endothelial damage biomarkers (von Willebrand Factor (vWF), high-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP)).
RESULTS: Microarray data identified several genes with highly differential expression; e.g. Growth Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF-15), Activating Transcription Factor 3 (ATF3) and Amphiregulin (AREG). Pathway analysis revealed strong associations with 'p53' and 'Diabetes Mellitus' gene sets. Based on known function, we measured GDF-15 protein levels in 41 testicular patients during clinical follow-up. Pre-chemotherapy GDF-15 levels equalled controls. Throughout chemotherapy GDF-15, vWF and hsCRP levels increased, and were correlated at different time-points.
CONCLUSION: An unbiased approach in a preclinical model revealed genes related to chemotherapy-induced endothelial damage, like GDF-15. The increases in plasma GDF-15 levels in testicular cancer patients during chemotherapy and its association with vWF and hsCRP suggest that GDF-15 is a potentially useful biomarker related to endothelial damage.

Meier JC, Haendler B, Seidel H, et al.
Knockdown of platinum-induced growth differentiation factor 15 abrogates p27-mediated tumor growth delay in the chemoresistant ovarian cancer model A2780cis.
Cancer Med. 2015; 4(2):253-67 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Molecular mechanisms underlying the development of resistance to platinum-based treatment in patients with ovarian cancer remain poorly understood. This is mainly due to the lack of appropriate in vivo models allowing the identification of resistance-related factors. In this study, we used human whole-genome microarrays and linear model analysis to identify potential resistance-related genes by comparing the expression profiles of the parental human ovarian cancer model A2780 and its platinum-resistant variant A2780cis before and after carboplatin treatment in vivo. Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) was identified as one of five potential resistance-related genes in the A2780cis tumor model. Although A2780-bearing mice showed a strong carboplatin-induced increase of GDF15 plasma levels, the basal higher GDF15 plasma levels of A2780cis-bearing mice showed no further increase after short-term or long-term carboplatin treatment. This correlated with a decreased DNA damage response, enhanced AKT survival signaling and abrogated cell cycle arrest in the carboplatin-treated A2780cis tumors. Furthermore, knockdown of GDF15 in A2780cis cells did not alter cell proliferation but enhanced cell migration and colony size in vitro. Interestingly, in vivo knockdown of GDF15 in the A2780cis model led to a basal-enhanced tumor growth, but increased sensitivity to carboplatin treatment as compared to the control-transduced A2780cis tumors. This was associated with larger necrotic areas, a lobular tumor structure and increased p53 and p16 expression of the carboplatin-treated shGDF15-A2780cis tumors. Furthermore, shRNA-mediated GDF15 knockdown abrogated p27 expression as compared to control-transduced A2780cis tumors. In conclusion, these data show that GDF15 may contribute to carboplatin resistance by suppressing tumor growth through p27. These data show that GDF15 might serve as a novel treatment target in women with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

Alonso-Alconada L, Muinelo-Romay L, Madissoo K, et al.
Molecular profiling of circulating tumor cells links plasticity to the metastatic process in endometrial cancer.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:223 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: About 20% of patients diagnosed with endometrial cancer (EC) are considered high-risk with unfavorable prognosis. In the framework of the European Network for Individualized Treatment in EC (ENITEC), we investigated the presence and phenotypic features of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) in high-risk EC patients.
METHODS: CTC isolation was carried out in peripheral blood samples from 34 patients, ranging from Grade 3 Stage IB to Stage IV carcinomas and recurrences, and 27 healthy controls using two methodologies. Samples were subjected to EpCAM-based immunoisolation using the CELLection™ Epithelial Enrich kit (Invitrogen, Dynal) followed by RTqPCR analysis. The phenotypic determinants of endometrial CTC in terms of pathogenesis, hormone receptor pathways, stem cell markers and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) drivers were asked. Kruskal-Wallis analysis followed by Dunn's post-test was used for comparisons between groups. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.
RESULTS: EpCAM-based immunoisolation positively detected CTC in high-risk endometrial cancer patients. CTC characterization indicated a remarkable plasticity phenotype defined by the expression of the EMT markers ETV5, NOTCH1, SNAI1, TGFB1, ZEB1 and ZEB2. In addition, the expression of ALDH and CD44 pointed to an association with stemness, while the expression of CTNNB1, STS, GDF15, RELA, RUNX1, BRAF and PIK3CA suggested potential therapeutic targets. We further recapitulated the EMT phenotype found in endometrial CTC through the up-regulation of ETV5 in an EC cell line, and validated in an animal model of systemic dissemination the propensity of these CTC in the accomplishment of metastasis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results associate the presence of CTC with high-risk EC. Gene-expression profiling characterized a CTC-plasticity phenotype with stemness and EMT features. We finally recapitulated this CTC-phenotype by over-expressing ETV5 in the EC cell line Hec1A and demonstrated an advantage in the promotion of metastasis in an in vivo mouse model of CTC dissemination and homing.

Harn HJ, Chuang HM, Chang LF, et al.
Taiwanin A targets non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-activated gene-1 in human lung carcinoma.
Fitoterapia. 2014; 99:227-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Taiwanin A (α,β-bis(piperonylidene)-γ-butyrolactone) is extracted from Taiwania cryptomerioides. Taiwanin A is extracted from tree bark and exhibits antitumor activity in breast, liver, and lung cancer cell lines. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the cytotoxicity of Taiwanin A against tumor cells by increasing the expression of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-activated gene-1 (NAG-1). NAG-1 has been reported to exhibit antitumor and proapoptotic activities, suggesting potential use in cancer therapy. Inhibiting NAG-1 mRNA expression in A549 reduced the cytotoxicity caused by Taiwanin A. Furthermore, the c-Jun-N-terminal kinase/Ste20-related protein proline/alanine-rich kinase (JNK/SPAK) pathway played a key role in the influence of NAG-1 on cell viability, whereas the addition of the JNK pathway inhibitor SP600125 resulted in an inhibitory effect on NAG-1 and recovery of Taiwanin-A-treated cells. A xenograft tumor model demonstrated that Taiwanin A dose-dependently significantly decreases tumor-mediated growth in nude mice by increasing the NAG-1 expression accompanying tumor apoptosis. These data supported the hypothesis that Taiwanin A inhibits lung carcinoma growth by increasing NAG-1 expression through the JNK pathway both in vivo and in vitro. This result can contribute to a compound design for increasing cytotoxicity activity in the future.

Thapa D, Meng P, Bedolla RG, et al.
NQO1 suppresses NF-κB-p300 interaction to regulate inflammatory mediators associated with prostate tumorigenesis.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(19):5644-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) is needed to maintain a cellular pool of antioxidants, and this enzyme may contribute to tumorigenesis on the basis of studies in NQO1-deficient mice. In this work, we sought deeper insights into how NQO1 contributes to prostate carcinogenesis, a setting in which oxidative stress and inflammation are established contributors to disease development and progression. In the TRAMP mouse model of prostate cancer, NQO1 was highly expressed in tumor cells. NQO1 silencing in prostate cancer cells increased levels of nuclear IKKα and NF-κB while decreasing the levels of p53, leading to interactions between NF-κB and p300 that reinforce survival signaling. Gene expression analysis revealed upregulation of a set of immune-associated transcripts associated with inflammation and tumorigenesis in cells in which NQO1 was attenuated, with IL8 confirmed functionally in cell culture as one key NQO1-supported cytokine. Notably, NQO1-silenced prostate cancer cells were more resistant to androgen deprivation. Furthermore, NQO1 inhibition increased migration, including under conditions of androgen deprivation. These results reveal a molecular link between NQO1 expression and proinflammatory cytokine signaling in prostate cancer. Furthermore, our results suggest that altering redox homeostasis through NQO1 inhibition might promote androgen-independent cell survival via opposing effects on NF-κB and p53 function.

Mei S, Wang H, Fu R, et al.
Hepcidin and GDF15 in anemia of multiple myeloma.
Int J Hematol. 2014; 100(3):266-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant disease of plasma cells and is often accompanied by anemia which may influence its progression and survival. The mechanism of anemia of chronic disease (ACD) in which iron homeostasis is impaired underlies that of MM-related anemia. In this study, we analyzed the role of hepcidin which is the main mediator of ACD and ACD-related cytokines in peripheral blood of MM patients. We showed that HAMP mRNA and growth differentiation factors 15 (GDF15) mRNA expressions in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and plasma hepcidin, GDF15, interleukin-6 and erythropoietin in MM patients all increased significantly as compared to those in controls. In MM patients, the expression of HAMP mRNA showed a positive correlation with serum ferritin level, and a negative correlation with hemoglobin level. The levels of plasma hepcidin and GDF15 were significantly decreased in MM patients who achieved complete remission after six cycles VD (bortezomib + dexamethasone) regimen chemotherapy. These data indicated that overexpression of HAMP mRNA in PBMCs significantly correlated with increased plasma hepcidin level and may be involved in the pathogenesis of MM-related anemia. Furthermore, the levels of plasma hepcidin and GDF15 may be valuable in assessing the progress of MM.

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