GFAP

Gene Summary

Gene:GFAP; glial fibrillary acidic protein
Aliases: ALXDRD
Location:17q21.31
Summary:This gene encodes one of the major intermediate filament proteins of mature astrocytes. It is used as a marker to distinguish astrocytes from other glial cells during development. Mutations in this gene cause Alexander disease, a rare disorder of astrocytes in the central nervous system. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Oct 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:glial fibrillary acidic protein
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017

Ontology:

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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 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.

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

Specific Cancers (5)

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: GFAP (cancer-related)

Oliveira C, Lourenço GJ, Rinck-Junior JA, et al.
Polymorphisms in apoptosis-related genes in cutaneous melanoma prognosis: sex disparity.
Med Oncol. 2017; 34(2):19 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cutaneous melanoma (CM) cells are resistant to apoptosis, and steroid hormones are involved in this process through regulation of TP53, MDM2, BAX, and BCL2 expression. We analyzed herein sex differences in outcomes of CM patients associated with TP53 c.215G>C, MDM2 c.309T>G, BAX c.-248G>A, and BCL2 c.-717C>A polymorphisms. DNA from 121 men and 116 women patients was analyzed by polymerase chain reaction and enzymatic digestion assays. At 60 months of follow-up, shorter progression-free survival (PFS) was seen in males with MDM2 GG + BCL2 AA (20.0 vs. 62.6%, P = 0.0008) genotype. Men carriers of the genotype had poor PFS (HR 3.78, 95% CI 1.30-11.0) than others. For women, shorter PFS was associated with TP53 GC or CC (61.4 vs. 80.8%, P = 0.01) and TP53 GC or CC + MDM2 TG or GG (59.1 vs. 85.4%, P = 0.01) genotypes at the same time. Women carriers of the genotypes had poor PFS (HR 2.46, 95% CI 1.19-5.09; HR 9.49, 95% CI 1.14-78.50) than others, respectively. Our data present, for the first time, preliminary evidence that inherited abnormalities on TP53, MDM2 and BCL2 genes, enrolled in apoptosis pathways, have a pivotal role in differences of outcomes in women and men with CM.

Merten L, Agaimy A, Moskalev EA, et al.
Inactivating Mutations of RB1 and TP53 Correlate With Sarcomatous Histomorphology and Metastasis/Recurrence in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors.
Am J Clin Pathol. 2016; 146(6):718-726 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Loss-of-function mutations in TP53 and CDKN2A have been found at varying frequencies in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), while no mutations of RB1 have been reported to date. The aim of the current study was to determine the mutation frequency of TP53, RB1, and CDKN2A in GISTs.
METHODS: A cohort of 83 primary untreated GISTs was analyzed for mutations in TP53, RB1, and CDKN2A by massive parallel sequencing. Tumors with mutations in TP53 and RB1 were analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization for the corresponding gene loci.
RESULTS: Two GISTs harbored inactivating mutations in RB1, and two other GISTs displayed inactivating mutations in TP53 All four tumors were KIT mutant high-risk tumors with highly cellular sarcomatous histomorphology and variable combinations of plump spindle cells to epithelioid highly atypical cells and high mitotic activity. Three of these patients developed recurrent or metastatic disease, while the fourth patient showed tumor rupture intraoperatively. The combined overall frequency of TP53 and RB1 mutations was 13% considering high-risk or malignant GISTs.
CONCLUSIONS: TP53 and RB1 mutations seem to be restricted to high-risk/malignant GISTs and occur at an equal although relatively low frequency.

Chekhonin IV, Gurina OI, Cherepanov SA, et al.
Pulsed Dendritic Cells for the Therapy of Experimental Glioma.
Bull Exp Biol Med. 2016; 161(6):792-796 [PubMed] Related Publications
We obtained the morphologically, cytofluorometrically, and functionally mature dendritic cells from rats that were pulsed with antigens of the C6 glioma tissue extract. The concentrations of angiogenesis antigens (VEGF, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-2) and periglioma zone proteins (GFAP, connexin 43, and BSAT1) in the pulsing extract were measured by ELISA. Our results drove us to a conclusion that despite mature phenotype of pulsed dendritic cell, the antigenic composition of glioma tissue extracts should be modified.

Liu J, Keisling MP, Samkari A, et al.
Malignant glioma with primitive neuroectodermal tumor-like component (MG-PNET): novel microarray findings in a pediatric patient.
Clin Neuropathol. 2016 Nov/Dec; 35(6):353-367 [PubMed] Related Publications
Central nervous system (CNS) tumors exhibiting dual features of malignant glioma (MG) and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) are rare and diagnostically challenging. Previous studies have shown that MG-PNET carry MYCN or MYC gene amplifications within the PNET component concomitant with glioma-associated alterations, most commonly 10q loss, in both components [9]. Here we confirm and extend the profile of molecular genetic findings in a MG-PNET involving the left frontal lobe of a 12-year-old male. Histologically, the PNET-like component showed morphological features akin to anaplastic medulloblastoma highlighted by widespread immunoreactivity for βIII-tubulin (TUBB3) and nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein, and to a lesser degree, Neu-N, synaptophysin, and CD99, whereas the gliomatous component was demarcated by glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) labeling. Immunohistochemical labeling with an anti-H3K27M mutant-specific antibody was not detectable in either gliomatous and/or PNET-like areas. Interphase fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) study on touch preparations from frozen tumor and formaldehyde-fixed, paraffin-embedded histological sections showed amplification of MYC in both PNET-like and gliomatous areas. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarray analysis revealed that the tumor carried gains of multiple chromosomes and chromosome arms, losses of multiple chromosomes and chromosome arms, gains of multiple chromosomal segments (not limited to amplification of chromosomal segments 4q12 including PDGFRA, and 8q24.21 including MYC), and a hitherto unreported chromothripsis-like abnormality on chromosome 8. No mutations were identified for IDH1, IDH2, or BRAF genes by sequence analysis. The molecular genetic findings support the presence of a CNS-PNET as an integral part of the tumor coupled with overlapping genetic alterations found in both adult and pediatric high-grade gliomas/glioblastoma. Collectively, microarray data point to a complex underpinning of genetic alterations associated with the MG-PNET tumor phenotype.
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Su X, Liu X, Ni L, et al.
GFAP expression is regulated by Pax3 in brain glioma stem cells.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(3):1277-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastomas are understood to evolve from brain glioma stem cells (BGSCs), and yet the biology underlying this model of tumorigenesis is largely unknown. Paired box 3 protein (Pax3) is a member of the paired box (Pax) family of transcription factors that is normally expressed during embryonic development, but has recently been implicated in tumorigenesis. The present study demonstrated that Pax3 is differentially expressed in U87MG human glioma cell, BGSC and normal 1800 human astrocyte lines. Herein, we identified that the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a major intermediate filament protein of mature astrocytes, is directly downregulated during the differentiation of BGSCs via the binding of Pax3 to the promoter region of GFAP. Moreover, siRNA silencing of Pax3 arrested BGSC differentiation, while overexpression of Pax3 promoted the differentiation in BGSCs. Furthermore, we studied the cell proliferation, invasion, apoptosis, differentiation and expression of Pax3 and GFAP in Pax3 siRNA-knockdown and Pax3-overexpressing BGSC models by CCK-8, Transwell migration, flow cytometry and western blot assays. The results indicate that Pax3 regulates GFAP expression, and that Pax3 may contribute to the evolution of BGSCs towards malignancy.

Hyun J, Wang S, Kim J, et al.
MicroRNA-378 limits activation of hepatic stellate cells and liver fibrosis by suppressing Gli3 expression.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:10993 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hedgehog (Hh) signalling regulates hepatic fibrogenesis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) mediate various cellular processes; however, their role in liver fibrosis is unclear. Here we investigate regulation of miRNAs in chronically damaged fibrotic liver. MiRNA profiling shows that expression of miR-378 family members (miR-378a-3p, miR-378b and miR-378d) declines in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-treated compared with corn-oil-treated mice. Overexpression of miR-378a-3p, directly targeting Gli3 in activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), reduces expression of Gli3 and profibrotic genes but induces gfap, the inactivation marker of HSCs, in CCl4-treated liver. Smo blocks transcriptional expression of miR-378a-3p by activating the p65 subunit of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). The hepatic level of miR-378a-3p is inversely correlated with the expression of Gli3 in tumour and non-tumour tissues in human hepatocellular carcinoma. Our results demonstrate that miR-378a-3p suppresses activation of HSCs by targeting Gli3 and its expression is regulated by Smo-dependent NF-κB signalling, suggesting miR-378a-3p has therapeutic potential for liver fibrosis.

Guichet PO, Guelfi S, Ripoll C, et al.
Asymmetric Distribution of GFAP in Glioma Multipotent Cells.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0151274 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Asymmetric division (AD) is a fundamental mechanism whereby unequal inheritance of various cellular compounds during mitosis generates unequal fate in the two daughter cells. Unequal repartitions of transcription factors, receptors as well as mRNA have been abundantly described in AD. In contrast, the involvement of intermediate filaments in this process is still largely unknown. AD occurs in stem cells during development but was also recently observed in cancer stem cells. Here, we demonstrate the asymmetric distribution of the main astrocytic intermediate filament, namely the glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP), in mitotic glioma multipotent cells isolated from glioblastoma (GBM), the most frequent type of brain tumor. Unequal mitotic repartition of GFAP was also observed in mice non-tumoral neural stem cells indicating that this process occurs across species and is not restricted to cancerous cells. Immunofluorescence and videomicroscopy were used to capture these rare and transient events. Considering the role of intermediate filaments in cytoplasm organization and cell signaling, we propose that asymmetric distribution of GFAP could possibly participate in the regulation of normal and cancerous neural stem cell fate.

Fassan M, Salmaso R, Saraggi D, et al.
Plexiform fibromyxoma of the gallbladder.
Pathologica. 2015 Sep-Dec; 107(3-4):181-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
We report the unusual case of a plexiform fibromyxoma, occasionally assessed in a lithiasic gallbladder. The full thickness assessment of the gallbladder wall revealed an intra-mural, well demarked multi-nodular tumor (1 cm), consisting of a plexiform growth of spindle cells, included within a fibromyxoid stroma with a rich micro-vascular network. The tumor cells featured no nuclear atypia, nor mitotic activity. At the immunohistochemical profiling, the spindle shaped cells unequivocally featured vimentin, SMA, HHF35, collagen IV, and CD34; no cells expressed CD117, PDGFRA, CD10, desmin, GFAP, EMA, and S-100. Faint STAT6 nuclear expression was observed in isolated tumor cells. The molecular profiling did not revealed any CKIT and PDGFRA genes mutations. The uncommon site of the tumor presentation and its aberrant CD34 expression both confer to the reported case a unique place among the myxoid tumors of the gastrointestinal tract.

Dunning AM, Michailidou K, Kuchenbaecker KB, et al.
Breast cancer risk variants at 6q25 display different phenotype associations and regulate ESR1, RMND1 and CCDC170.
Nat Genet. 2016; 48(4):374-86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We analyzed 3,872 common genetic variants across the ESR1 locus (encoding estrogen receptor α) in 118,816 subjects from three international consortia. We found evidence for at least five independent causal variants, each associated with different phenotype sets, including estrogen receptor (ER(+) or ER(-)) and human ERBB2 (HER2(+) or HER2(-)) tumor subtypes, mammographic density and tumor grade. The best candidate causal variants for ER(-) tumors lie in four separate enhancer elements, and their risk alleles reduce expression of ESR1, RMND1 and CCDC170, whereas the risk alleles of the strongest candidates for the remaining independent causal variant disrupt a silencer element and putatively increase ESR1 and RMND1 expression.

Liu RZ, Li S, Garcia E, et al.
Association between cytoplasmic CRABP2, altered retinoic acid signaling, and poor prognosis in glioblastoma.
Glia. 2016; 64(6):963-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
Retinoic acid (RA), a metabolite of vitamin A, is required for the regulation of growth and development. Aberrant expression of molecules involved in RA signaling has been reported in various cancer types including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 2 (CRABP2) has previously been shown to play a key role in the transport of RA to retinoic acid receptors (RARs) to activate their transcription regulatory activity. Here, we demonstrate that CRABP2 is predominantly located in the cytoplasm of GBM tumors. Cytoplasmic, but not nuclear, CRABP2 levels in GBM tumors are associated with poor patient survival. Treatment of malignant glioma cell lines with RA results in a dose-dependent increase in accumulation of CRABP2 in the cytoplasm. CRABP2 knockdown reduces proliferation rates of malignant glioma cells, and enhances RA-induced RAR activation. Levels of CRYAB, a small heat shock protein with anti-apoptotic activity, and GFAP, an astrocyte-specific intermediate filament protein, are greatly reduced in CRABP2-depleted cells. Restoration of CRYAB expression partially but significantly reversed the effect of CRABP2 depletion on RAR activation. Our combined in vivo and in vitro data indicate that: (i) CRABP2 is an important determinant of clinical outcome in GBM patients, and (ii) the mechanism of action of CRABP2 in GBM involves sequestration of RA in the cytoplasm and activation of an anti-apoptotic pathway, thereby enhancing proliferation and preventing RA-mediated cell death and differentiation. We propose that reducing CRABP2 levels may enhance the therapeutic index of RA in GBM patients.

Haller F, Knopf J, Ackermann A, et al.
Paediatric and adult soft tissue sarcomas with NTRK1 gene fusions: a subset of spindle cell sarcomas unified by a prominent myopericytic/haemangiopericytic pattern.
J Pathol. 2016; 238(5):700-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neoplasms with a myopericytomatous pattern represent a morphological spectrum of lesions encompassing myopericytoma of the skin and soft tissue, angioleiomyoma, myofibromatosis/infantile haemangiopericytoma and putative neoplasms reported as malignant myopericytoma. Lack of reproducible phenotypic and genetic features of malignant myopericytic neoplasms have prevented the establishment of myopericytic sarcoma as an acceptable diagnostic category. Following detection of a LMNA-NTRK1 gene fusion in an index case of paediatric haemangiopericytoma-like sarcoma by combined whole-genome and RNA sequencing, we identified three additional sarcomas harbouring NTRK1 gene fusions, termed 'spindle cell sarcoma, NOS with myo/haemangiopericytic growth pattern'. The patients were two children aged 11 months and 2 years and two adults aged 51 and 80 years. While the tumours of the adults were strikingly myopericytoma-like, but with clear-cut atypical features, the paediatric cases were more akin to infantile myofibromatosis/haemangiopericytoma. All cases contained numerous thick-walled dysplastic-like vessels with segmental or diffuse nodular myxohyaline myo-intimal proliferations of smooth muscle actin-positive cells, occasionally associated with thrombosis. Immunohistochemistry showed variable expression of smooth muscle actin and CD34, but other mesenchymal markers, including STAT6, were negative. This study showed a novel variant of myo/haemangiopericytic sarcoma with recurrent NTRK1 gene fusions. Given the recent introduction of a novel therapeutic approach targeting NTRK fusion-positive neoplasms, recognition of this rare but likely under-reported sarcoma variant is strongly encouraged.

Thierauf J, Veit JA, Grünow J, et al.
Expression of Submaxillary Gland Androgen-regulated Protein 3A (SMR3A) in Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Head and Neck.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(2):611-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the head and neck (ACC) is a rare tumor entity which originates from the salivary glands. The prognosis remains poor, as the tumor tends to exhibit perineural invasion and frequently develops distant metastases. The submaxillary gland androgen-regulated protein 3A (SMR3A) belongs to a gene family producing opiorphin homologs and is physiologically secreted by salivary glands. Expression of SMR3A has been identified as an unfavorable risk factor in survival of patients with squamous cell carcinoma in the head and neck, but its value as a prognostic biomarker for ACC has not been addressed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Tissue sections from primary ACC (n=86) and healthy glandular tissue as reference, were stained by immunohistochemistry. SMR3A expression levels were correlated with clinical and pathological features, including overall survival.
RESULTS: All patients had undergone surgery and 67 received adjuvant radiotherapy. The median disease-free survival (DFS) was 37 months and the median overall survival (OS) was 75 months. Prominent SMR3A expression in tumor cells was found in 24 of 86 patients (27,9%), and was inversely correlated with a male gender (p=0.009). There was no significant correlation between SMR3A expression and DFS, metastasis-free survival or OS.
CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrate for the first time decreased levels of SMR3A in ACC compared to normal glandular tissue. These data suggest a context-dependent regulation of SMR3A expression in the pathogenesis of distinct subtypes of head and neck tumors, and support the assumption that detection of SMR3A expression serves as a surrogate for aberrant differentiation into mucosal- or glandular-like cells in ACC and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Høie AH, Svendsen C, Rasmussen T, et al.
Intestinal Tumor Development in C57BL/6J-ApcMin/+ Mice Expressing Human Sulphotransferases 1A1 and 1A2 After Oral Exposure to 2,5-Dimethylfuran.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(2):545-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) is formed during heating of foods. Following side chain hydroxylation, DMF could be a substrate for human sulphotransferases (SULTs), which may lead to formation of a DNA reactive electrophile. Only few conflicting in vitro and no in vivo studies on DMF currently exist.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The tumorigenic potential of DMF was studied in multiple intestinal neoplasia Apc(Min/+) (Min) mice that are sensitive to intestinal carcinogenesis and express hSULTs 1A1 and 1A2 (Min/hSULT). Min and Min/hSULT mice were orally exposed to DMF for six weeks.
RESULTS: The intestinal tumor development of untreated female Min/hSULT mice was significantly lower compared to that of untreated Min females. No such effects of hSULTs were seen in males. DMF had a weak tumorigenic potential in the colon of female Min/hSULT mice, but not in males. Tumor development in Min mice was not affected.
CONCLUSION: Overall, the tumorigenic potential of DMF in a metabolically competent mouse model was not convincing.

Pharoah PD, Song H, Dicks E, et al.
PPM1D Mosaic Truncating Variants in Ovarian Cancer Cases May Be Treatment-Related Somatic Mutations.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016; 108(3) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mosaic truncating mutations in the protein phosphatase, Mg(2+)/Mn(2+)-dependent, 1D (PPM1D) gene have recently been reported with a statistically significantly greater frequency in lymphocyte DNA from ovarian cancer case patients compared with unaffected control patients. Using massively parallel sequencing (MPS) we identified truncating PPM1D mutations in 12 of 3236 epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) case patients (0.37%) but in only one of 3431 unaffected control patients (0.03%) (P = .001). All statistical tests were two-sided. A combination of Sanger sequencing, pyrosequencing, and MPS data suggested that 12 of the 13 mutations were mosaic. All mutations were identified in post-chemotherapy treatment blood samples from case patients (n = 1827) (average 1234 days post-treatment in carriers) rather than from cases collected pretreatment (less than 14 days after diagnosis, n = 1384) (P = .002). These data suggest that PPM1D variants in EOC cases are primarily somatic mosaic mutations caused by treatment and are not associated with germline predisposition to EOC.

Diamandis P, Ferrer-Luna R, Huang RY, et al.
Case Report: Next generation sequencing identifies a NAB2-STAT6 fusion in Glioblastoma.
Diagn Pathol. 2016; 11:13 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular profiling has uncovered genetic subtypes of glioblastoma (GBM), including tumors with IDH1 mutations that confer increase survival and improved response to standard-of-care therapies.  By mapping the genetic landscape of brain tumors in routine clinical practice, we enable rapid identification of targetable genetic alterations.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 29-year-old male presented with new onset seizures prompting neuroimaging studies, which revealed an enhancing 5 cm intra-axial lesion involving the right parietal lobe. He underwent a subtotal resection and pathologic examination revealed glioblastoma with mitoses, microvascular proliferation and necrosis. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis showed diffuse expression of GFAP, OLIG2 and SOX2 consistent with a tumor of glial lineage. Tumor cells were positive for IDH1(R132H) and negative for ATRX. Clinical targeted-exome sequencing (DFBWCC Oncopanel) identified multiple functional variants including IDH1 (p.R132H), TP53 (p.Y126_splice), ATRX (p.R1302fs*), HNF1A (p.R263H) and NF1 (p.H2592del) variants and a NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion event involving NAB2 exon 3 and STAT6 exon 18. Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) further revealed a focal amplification of NAB2 and STAT6.  IHC analysis demonstrated strong heterogenous STAT6 nuclear localization (in 20 % of tumor cells).
CONCLUSIONS: While NAB2:STAT6 fusions are common in solitary fibrous tumors (SFT), we report this event for the first time in a newly diagnosed, secondary-type GBM or any other non-SFT. Our study further highlights the value of comprehensive genomic analyses in identifying patient-specific targetable mutations and rearrangements.

Yasumoto Y, Miyazaki H, Vaidyan LK, et al.
Inhibition of Fatty Acid Synthase Decreases Expression of Stemness Markers in Glioma Stem Cells.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(1):e0147717 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cellular metabolic changes, especially to lipid metabolism, have recently been recognized as a hallmark of various cancer cells. However, little is known about the significance of cellular lipid metabolism in the regulation of biological activity of glioma stem cells (GSCs). In this study, we examined the expression and role of fatty acid synthase (FASN), a key lipogenic enzyme, in GSCs. In the de novo lipid synthesis assay, GSCs exhibited higher lipogenesis than differentiated non-GSCs. Western blot and immunocytochemical analyses revealed that FASN is strongly expressed in multiple lines of patient-derived GSCs (G144 and Y10), but its expression was markedly reduced upon differentiation. When GSCs were treated with 20 μM cerulenin, a pharmacological inhibitor of FASN, their proliferation and migration were significantly suppressed and de novo lipogenesis decreased. Furthermore, following cerulenin treatment, expression of the GSC markers nestin, Sox2 and fatty acid binding protein (FABP7), markers of GCSs, decreased while that of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression increased. Taken together, our results indicate that FASN plays a pivotal role in the maintenance of GSC stemness, and FASN-mediated de novo lipid biosynthesis is closely associated with tumor growth and invasion in glioblastoma.

Misuraca KL, Hu G, Barton KL, et al.
A Novel Mouse Model of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Initiated in Pax3-Expressing Cells.
Neoplasia. 2016; 18(1):60-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare and incurable brain tumor that arises predominately in children and involves the pons, a structure that along with the midbrain and medulla makes up the brainstem. We have previously developed genetically engineered mouse models of brainstem glioma using the RCAS/Tv-a system by targeting PDGF-B overexpression, p53 loss, and H3.3K27M mutation to Nestin-expressing brainstem progenitor cells of the neonatal mouse. Here we describe a novel mouse model targeting these same genetic alterations to Pax3-expressing cells, which in the neonatal mouse pons consist of a Pax3+/Nestin+/Sox2+ population lining the fourth ventricle and a Pax3+/NeuN+ parenchymal population. Injection of RCAS-PDGF-B into the brainstem of Pax3-Tv-a mice at postnatal day 3 results in 40% of mice developing asymptomatic low-grade glioma. A mixture of low- and high-grade glioma results from injection of Pax3-Tv-a;p53(fl/fl) mice with RCAS-PDGF-B and RCAS-Cre, with or without RCAS-H3.3K27M. These tumors are Ki67+, Nestin+, Olig2+, and largely GFAP- and can arise anywhere within the brainstem, including the classic DIPG location of the ventral pons. Expression of the H3.3K27M mutation reduces overall H3K27me3 as compared with tumors without the mutation, similar to what has been previously shown in human and mouse tumors. Thus, we have generated a novel genetically engineered mouse model of DIPG, which faithfully recapitulates the human disease and represents a novel platform with which to study the biology and treatment of this deadly disease.

Rekhi B, Joshi S, Panchwagh Y, et al.
Clinicopathological features of five unusual cases of intraosseous myoepithelial carcinomas, mimicking conventional primary bone tumours, including EWSR1 rearrangement in one case.
APMIS. 2016; 124(4):278-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary intraosseous myoepithelial tumours, including carcinomas are rare tumours. The concept of histopathological spectrum of these tumours is evolving. We describe clinicopathological and immunohistochemical features of five myoepithelial carcinomas, including molecular cytogenetic results in one case. There were five male patients within age-range of 8-40 years (median = 26). Four tumours occurred in the long bones, including two tumours, each, in the femur and fibula, respectively, while a single tumour occurred in the proximal phalanges. Tumour size (n = 3 cases) varied from 5.6 to 8.6 cm. On radiological imaging, most tumours appeared as expansile, lytic and destructive lesions. Two tumours appeared as sclerotic lesions. Two cases were referred with diagnoses of chondrosarcomas and a single case was referred with two different diagnoses, including an adamantinoma and an osteosarcoma. Histopathological examination in all these cases showed multinodular tumours comprising mostly polygonal cells, exhibiting moderate nuclear atypia and interspersed mitotic figures within a stroma containing variable amount of myxoid, chondroid, hyalinised and osteoid-like material. Three tumours revealed prominent squamous differentiation. By immunohistochemistry, tumour cells were positive for EMA (5/5), pan CK (AE1/AE3) (3/3), CK5/6 (4/4), CK MNF116 (1/1), S100 protein (5/5) and GFAP (3/5). The first tumour revealed EWSR1 rearrangement. The first patient, 10 months after tumour resection and a simultaneous lung metastatectomy, is free-of-disease (FOD). The second patient, 11 months after tumour resection is FOD. The third and fourth patients underwent wide resections and are on follow-up. The fifth patient underwent resections, including a lung metastatectomy. Primary intraosseous myoepithelial carcinomas are rare and mimic conventional primary bone tumours. Some primary intraosseous myoepithelial carcinomas display EWSR1 rearrangement. Squamous differentiation may be considered as an addition to their evolving histopathological spectrum. Immunohistochemical stains constitute as a necessary tool for arriving at the correct diagnosis in such cases, which has treatment implications. Surgical resection remains the treatment mainstay.

Winter J, Basilicata MF, Stemmler MP, Krauss S
The MID1 protein is a central player during development and in disease.
Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2016; 21:664-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Loss-of-function mutations in the MID1 gene cause a rare monogenic disorder, Opitz BBB/G syndrome (OS), which is characterized by malformations of the ventral midline. The MID1 gene encodes the MID1 protein, which assembles a large microtubule-associated protein complex. Intensive research over the past several years has shed light on the function of the MID1 protein as a ubiquitin ligase and regulator of mTOR signalling and translational activator. As a central player in the cell MID1 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of various other disorders in addition to OS including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Influencing the activity of the MID1 protein complex is a promising new strategy for the treatment of these diseases. In this review we will summarize the current knowledge about MID1, its involvement in the pathogenesis of OS and other diseases and possible strategies for therapy development.

Maschauer S, Gahr S, Gandesiri M, et al.
In vivo monitoring of the anti-angiogenic therapeutic effect of the pan-deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat by small animal PET in a mouse model of gastrointestinal cancers.
Nucl Med Biol. 2016; 43(1):27-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Deacetylase inhibitors have recently been established as a novel therapeutic approach to solid and hematologic cancers and have also been demonstrated to possess anti-angiogenic properties. Although these compounds show a good efficacy in vitro and in vivo, no data on monitoring and predicting treatment response are currently available. We therefore investigated the effect of the pan-deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat (LBH589) on gastrointestinal cancer models and the suitability of 2-[(18)F]FGlc-RGD as a specific agent for imaging integrin αvβ3 expression during tumor angiogenesis using small animal positron emission tomography (PET).
METHODS: The effect of panobinostat on cell viability in vitro was assessed with a label-free impedance based real-time analysis. Nude mice bearing HT29 and HepG2 tumors were treated with daily i.p. injections of 10mg/kg panobinostat for 4 weeks. During this time, tumor size was determined with a calliper and mice were repeatedly subjected to PET imaging. Tumor tissues were analyzed immunohistochemically with a focus on proliferation and endothelial cell markers (Ki-67, Meca-32) and by Western blot applying specific markers of apoptosis.
RESULTS: In vitro, panobinostat inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 and HT29 cells. Contrary to the situation in HepG2 tumors in vivo, where panobinostat treatment is known to reduce proliferation and vascularization resulting in a decreased tumor growth, HT29 tumors did not show any effect on these parameters. We demonstrated by Western blotting, that panobinostat induced apoptosis in HT29 tumors in vivo. Longitudinal PET imaging studies in HepG2 tumor-bearing mice using 2-[(18)F]FGlc-RGD demonstrated that the standard uptake value (SUVmax) in HepG2 tumors was significantly decreased by 39% at day 7 after treatment. The comparative PET study using HT29 tumor-bearing animals did not reveal any response of the tumors to panobinostat treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Small-animal PET imaging using 2-[(18)F]FGlc-RGD was successfully applied to the non-invasive monitoring of the HepG2-tumor response to panobinostat in nude mice early after begin of treatment. Thus, PET imaging of angiogenesis using 2-[(18)F]FGlc-RGD could be a valuable tool to monitor panobinostat therapy in further preclinical studies.
ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PATIENT CARE: When successfully translated to the clinical surrounding, PET imaging of angiogenesis could therefore facilitate therapy planning and monitoring of therapy success with panobinostat in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Cheng TH, Thompson D, Painter J, et al.
Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies common susceptibility polymorphisms for colorectal and endometrial cancer near SH2B3 and TSHZ1.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:17369 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
High-risk mutations in several genes predispose to both colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer (EC). We therefore hypothesised that some lower-risk genetic variants might also predispose to both CRC and EC. Using CRC and EC genome-wide association series, totalling 13,265 cancer cases and 40,245 controls, we found that the protective allele [G] at one previously-identified CRC polymorphism, rs2736100 near TERT, was associated with EC risk (odds ratio (OR) = 1.08, P = 0.000167); this polymorphism influences the risk of several other cancers. A further CRC polymorphism near TERC also showed evidence of association with EC (OR = 0.92; P = 0.03). Overall, however, there was no good evidence that the set of CRC polymorphisms was associated with EC risk, and neither of two previously-reported EC polymorphisms was associated with CRC risk. A combined analysis revealed one genome-wide significant polymorphism, rs3184504, on chromosome 12q24 (OR = 1.10, P = 7.23 × 10(-9)) with shared effects on CRC and EC risk. This polymorphism, a missense variant in the gene SH2B3, is also associated with haematological and autoimmune disorders, suggesting that it influences cancer risk through the immune response. Another polymorphism, rs12970291 near gene TSHZ1, was associated with both CRC and EC (OR = 1.26, P = 4.82 × 10(-8)), with the alleles showing opposite effects on the risks of the two cancers.

Lei J, Rudolph A, Moysich KB, et al.
Genetic variation in the immunosuppression pathway genes and breast cancer susceptibility: a pooled analysis of 42,510 cases and 40,577 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.
Hum Genet. 2016; 135(1):137-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Immunosuppression plays a pivotal role in assisting tumors to evade immune destruction and promoting tumor development. We hypothesized that genetic variation in the immunosuppression pathway genes may be implicated in breast cancer tumorigenesis. We included 42,510 female breast cancer cases and 40,577 controls of European ancestry from 37 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (2015) with available genotype data for 3595 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 133 candidate genes. Associations between genotyped SNPs and overall breast cancer risk, and secondarily according to estrogen receptor (ER) status, were assessed using multiple logistic regression models. Gene-level associations were assessed based on principal component analysis. Gene expression analyses were conducted using RNA sequencing level 3 data from The Cancer Genome Atlas for 989 breast tumor samples and 113 matched normal tissue samples. SNP rs1905339 (A>G) in the STAT3 region was associated with an increased breast cancer risk (per allele odds ratio 1.05, 95 % confidence interval 1.03-1.08; p value = 1.4 × 10(-6)). The association did not differ significantly by ER status. On the gene level, in addition to TGFBR2 and CCND1, IL5 and GM-CSF showed the strongest associations with overall breast cancer risk (p value = 1.0 × 10(-3) and 7.0 × 10(-3), respectively). Furthermore, STAT3 and IL5 but not GM-CSF were differentially expressed between breast tumor tissue and normal tissue (p value = 2.5 × 10(-3), 4.5 × 10(-4) and 0.63, respectively). Our data provide evidence that the immunosuppression pathway genes STAT3, IL5, and GM-CSF may be novel susceptibility loci for breast cancer in women of European ancestry.

Spina R, Voss DM, Asnaghi L, et al.
Atracurium Besylate and other neuromuscular blocking agents promote astroglial differentiation and deplete glioblastoma stem cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(1):459-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults, with a median survival of about one year. This poor prognosis is attributed primarily to therapeutic resistance and tumor recurrence after surgical removal, with the root cause suggested to be found in glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Using glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) as a reporter of astrocytic differentiation, we isolated multiple clones from three independent GSC lines which express GFAP in a remarkably stable fashion. We next show that elevated expression of GFAP is associated with reduced clonogenicity in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. Utilizing this in vitro cell-based differentiation reporter system we screened chemical libraries and identified the non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocker (NNMB), Atracurium Besylate, as a small molecule which effectively induces astroglial but not neuronal differentiation of GSCs. Functionally, Atracurium Besylate treatment significantly inhibited the clonogenic capacity of several independent patient-derived GSC neurosphere lines, a phenomenon which was largely irreversible. A second NNMB, Vecuronium, also induced GSC astrocytic differentiation while Dimethylphenylpiperazinium (DMPP), a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonist, significantly blocked Atracurium Besylate pro-differentiation activity. To investigate the clinical importance of nAChRs in gliomas, we examined clinical outcomes and found that glioma patients with tumors overexpressing CHRNA1 or CHRNA9 (encoding for the AChR-α1 or AChR-α9) exhibit significant shorter overall survival. Finally, we found that ex-vivo pre-treatment of GSCs, expressing CHRNA1 and CHRNA9, with Atracurium Besylate significantly increased the survival of mice xenotransplanted with these cells, therefore suggesting that tumor initiating subpopulations have been reduced.

Thompson DJ, O'Mara TA, Glubb DM, et al.
CYP19A1 fine-mapping and Mendelian randomization: estradiol is causal for endometrial cancer.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2016; 23(2):77-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Candidate gene studies have reported CYP19A1 variants to be associated with endometrial cancer and with estradiol (E2) concentrations. We analyzed 2937 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 6608 endometrial cancer cases and 37 925 controls and report the first genome wide-significant association between endometrial cancer and a CYP19A1 SNP (rs727479 in intron 2, P=4.8×10(-11)). SNP rs727479 was also among those most strongly associated with circulating E2 concentrations in 2767 post-menopausal controls (P=7.4×10(-8)). The observed endometrial cancer odds ratio per rs727479 A-allele (1.15, CI=1.11-1.21) is compatible with that predicted by the observed effect on E2 concentrations (1.09, CI=1.03-1.21), consistent with the hypothesis that endometrial cancer risk is driven by E2. From 28 candidate-causal SNPs, 12 co-located with three putative gene-regulatory elements and their risk alleles associated with higher CYP19A1 expression in bioinformatical analyses. For both phenotypes, the associations with rs727479 were stronger among women with a higher BMI (Pinteraction=0.034 and 0.066 respectively), suggesting a biologically plausible gene-environment interaction.

Shan C, Wei J, Hou R, et al.
Schwann cells promote EMT and the Schwann-like differentiation of salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma cells via the BDNF/TrkB axis.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(1):427-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Perineural invasion (PNI) is a striking biological behavior observed in salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC). The present study was designed to establish a co-culture model of SACC cells with Schwann cells (SCs), and then study epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the Schwann-like differentiation of SACC cells to investigate the likely molecular mechanism of PNI. The co-culture models of SCs with tumor cells (SACC-83, SACC-LM and MEC-1) were established using a Transwell system. An elevated concentration of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was detected by ELISA assay in the co-cultured medium of the SACC-83 group and SACC-LM group rather than the MEC-1 group. The EMT process and Schwann-like differentiation in SACC-83 cells were analyzed by RT-PCR, western blotting, immunofluorescence, photography, and migration and perineural invasion assays. The SACC-83 cells under the co-culture condition with SCs changed to a mesenchymal morphology and had higher migration and invasion capabilities compared with the solely cultured SACC-83 cells, accompanied by the downregulation of E-cadherin and upregulation of N-cadherin and vimentin. The co-cultured SACC-83 cells also developed Schwann-like differentiation with increased expression of SC markers, S100A4 and GFAP. However, inhibition of tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) by K252a markedly blocked these effects. Additionally, the expression and correlation of TrkB, E-cadherin and S100A4 were analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 187 primary SACC cases. The levels of TrkB and S100A4 expression were both positively associated with PNI in the SACC cases, while E-cadherin expression was negatively associated with PNI. Elevated expression of TrkB was significantly correlated with the downregulated expression of E-cadherin and the upregulated expression of S100A4 in the SACC cases. Our results suggest that SCs play a pivotal role in the PNI process by inducing the EMT process and the Schwann-like differentiation of SACC cells via the BDNF/TrkB axis. Interruption of the interreaction between SACC cells and SCs by targeting the BDNF/TrkB axis may be a potential strategy for anti-PNI therapy in SACC.

Wenzl K, Hofer S, Troppan K, et al.
Higher incidence of the SNP Met 788 Ile in the coding region of A20 in diffuse large B cell lymphomas.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):4785-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetic alterations causing constitutive activation of the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway has been associated with the development of lymphomas. A20 (TNFAIP3) is a key regulator of NF-κB signaling. Its suppressor functions are often inactivated by deletions and/or mutations in various hematologic malignancies. Since we recently found the rs143002189 polymorphism in the A20 loci in our multiple myeloma samples, we further investigated this polymorphism in different lymphoid neoplasias. For this purpose, we tested 479 cases of the most common B cell malignancies for the presence of the rs143002189 polymorphism. We found a significant higher occurrence of the rs143002189 polymorphism in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) compared to non-neoplastic controls and other types of B cell malignancies. Furthermore, structure analyses of the mutated A20 protein led to the assumption that the new steric interaction within the protein is responsible for a reduced or inactivated A20 protein. Our data indicates that in a significant fraction of patients, rs143002189 might contribute to the development of DLBCL.

Krug C, Birkholz K, Paulus A, et al.
Stability and activity of MCSP-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) depend on the scFv antigen-binding domain and the protein backbone.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2015; 64(12):1623-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells emerged as effective tools in the immunotherapy of cancer but can produce severe on-target off-tissue toxicities. This risk can conceivably be overcome, at least partially, by transient transfection. The design of CARs, however, has so far not been optimized for use in non-permanent T cell modification. Here we compared the performance of T cells modified with three different first- and second-generation CARs, each specific for MCSP (HMW-MAA) which is commonly expressed by melanoma cells. Upon RNA transfer, the expression of all receptors was limited in time. The second-generation CARs, which combined CD28-CD3ζ signaling, were expressed at higher levels and more prolonged than first-generation CARs with CD3ζ only. The CD28 domain increased the cytokine production, but had only an indirect effect on the lytic capacity, by prolonging the CAR expression. Especially for the second-generation CARs, the scFv clearly impacted the level and duration of CAR expression and the T cell performance. Thus, we identified a CAR high in both expression and anti-tumor cell reactivity. T cells transfected with this CAR increased the mean survival time of mice after challenge with melanoma cells. To facilitate clinical application, this CAR was used to redirect T cells from late-stage melanoma patients by RNA transfection. These T cells mediated effective antigen-specific tumor cell lysis and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, even after cryoconservation of the transfected T cells. Taken together, the analysis identified a CAR with superior anti-melanoma performance after RNA transfer which is a promising candidate for clinical exploration.

Lambertz N, El Hindy N, Kreitschmann-Andermahr I, et al.
Downregulation of programmed cell death 10 is associated with tumor cell proliferation, hyperangiogenesis and peritumoral edema in human glioblastoma.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:759 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neovascularization and peritumoral edema are hallmarks of glioblastoma (GBM). Programmed cell death 10 (PDCD10) plays a pivotal role in regulating apoptosis, neoangiogenesis and vessel permeability and is implicated in certain tumor signaling pathways. However, little is known about PDCD10 in GBM. We aimed to investigate the expression pattern of PDCD10 and to identify the association of its expression with some molecular and clinical parameters in human GBM.
METHODS: mRNA and protein expression of PDCD10 were examined respectively by real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting in GBM (n = 27), astrocytoma grade II (n = 13) and control (n = 11). The protein level of p-Akt and GFAP was detected by Western blot. Double-imunofluorecent staining was performed to reveal the cellular expression profile of PDCD10. Brain edema and microvascular density (MVD) were respectively analyzed based on pre-operative MRI and after laminin immnostaining. MGMT promoter methylation was detected by methylation specific PCR.
RESULTS: mRNA and protein levels of PDCD10 were significantly downregulated in GBM, concomitantly accompanied by the activation of Akt. PDCD10 immunoreactivity was absent in proliferating tumor cells, endothelial cells and GFAP-positive cells, but exclusively present in the hypoxic pseudopalisading cells which underwent apoptosis. Moreover, loss of PDCD10 was associated with a higher MVD and a more severe peritumoral edema but not with MGMT promoter methylation in GBM.
CONCLUSION: We report for the first time that PDCD10 expression is downregulated in GBM, which is associated with the activation of Akt signaling protein. PDCD10 is potentially implicated in tumor proliferation and apoptosis, hyperangiogenesis and peritumoral edema in GBM.

Lawrenson K, Iversen ES, Tyrer J, et al.
Common variants at the CHEK2 gene locus and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(11):1341-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies have identified 20 genomic regions associated with risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), but many additional risk variants may exist. Here, we evaluated associations between common genetic variants [single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and indels] in DNA repair genes and EOC risk. We genotyped 2896 common variants at 143 gene loci in DNA samples from 15 397 patients with invasive EOC and controls. We found evidence of associations with EOC risk for variants at FANCA, EXO1, E2F4, E2F2, CREB5 and CHEK2 genes (P ≤ 0.001). The strongest risk association was for CHEK2 SNP rs17507066 with serous EOC (P = 4.74 x 10(-7)). Additional genotyping and imputation of genotypes from the 1000 genomes project identified a slightly more significant association for CHEK2 SNP rs6005807 (r (2) with rs17507066 = 0.84, odds ratio (OR) 1.17, 95% CI 1.11-1.24, P = 1.1×10(-7)). We identified 293 variants in the region with likelihood ratios of less than 1:100 for representing the causal variant. Functional annotation identified 25 candidate SNPs that alter transcription factor binding sites within regulatory elements active in EOC precursor tissues. In The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset, CHEK2 gene expression was significantly higher in primary EOCs compared to normal fallopian tube tissues (P = 3.72×10(-8)). We also identified an association between genotypes of the candidate causal SNP rs12166475 (r (2) = 0.99 with rs6005807) and CHEK2 expression (P = 2.70×10(-8)). These data suggest that common variants at 22q12.1 are associated with risk of serous EOC and CHEK2 as a plausible target susceptibility gene.

Day FR, Ruth KS, Thompson DJ, et al.
Large-scale genomic analyses link reproductive aging to hypothalamic signaling, breast cancer susceptibility and BRCA1-mediated DNA repair.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(11):1294-303 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Menopause timing has a substantial impact on infertility and risk of disease, including breast cancer, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We report a dual strategy in ∼70,000 women to identify common and low-frequency protein-coding variation associated with age at natural menopause (ANM). We identified 44 regions with common variants, including two regions harboring additional rare missense alleles of large effect. We found enrichment of signals in or near genes involved in delayed puberty, highlighting the first molecular links between the onset and end of reproductive lifespan. Pathway analyses identified major association with DNA damage response (DDR) genes, including the first common coding variant in BRCA1 associated with any complex trait. Mendelian randomization analyses supported a causal effect of later ANM on breast cancer risk (∼6% increase in risk per year; P = 3 × 10(-14)), likely mediated by prolonged sex hormone exposure rather than DDR mechanisms.

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