Gene Summary

Gene:GLI3; GLI family zinc finger 3
Summary:This gene encodes a protein which belongs to the C2H2-type zinc finger proteins subclass of the Gli family. They are characterized as DNA-binding transcription factors and are mediators of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling. The protein encoded by this gene localizes in the cytoplasm and activates patched Drosophila homolog (PTCH) gene expression. It is also thought to play a role during embryogenesis. Mutations in this gene have been associated with several diseases, including Greig cephalopolysyndactyly syndrome, Pallister-Hall syndrome, preaxial polydactyly type IV, and postaxial polydactyly types A1 and B. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:transcriptional activator GLI3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


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 (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 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.

  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Adolescents
  • Smoothened Receptor
  • Hypothalamic Diseases
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Chromosome 7
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Zinc Fingers
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Transcription Factors
  • patched receptors
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptors
  • Zinc Finger Protein GLI1
  • Zinc Finger Protein Gli3
  • Cell Surface Receptors
  • Patched-1 Receptor
  • Phenotype
  • Messenger RNA
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Mutation
  • Hamartoma
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Signal Transduction
  • Promoter Regions
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) - Skin
  • Zinc Finger Protein Gli2
  • Gene Expression
  • Multiple Abnormalities
  • Trans-Activators
  • Pallister-Hall Syndrome
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Polydactyly
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

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: GLI3 (cancer-related)

Toffalori C, Zito L, Gambacorta V, et al.
Immune signature drives leukemia escape and relapse after hematopoietic cell transplantation.
Nat Med. 2019; 25(4):603-611 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transplantation of hematopoietic cells from a healthy individual (allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT)) demonstrates that adoptive immunotherapy can cure blood cancers: still, post-transplantation relapses remain frequent. To explain their drivers, we analyzed the genomic and gene expression profiles of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts purified from patients at serial time-points during their disease history. We identified a transcriptional signature specific for post-transplantation relapses and highly enriched in immune-related processes, including T cell costimulation and antigen presentation. In two independent patient cohorts we confirmed the deregulation of multiple costimulatory ligands on AML blasts at post-transplantation relapse (PD-L1, B7-H3, CD80, PVRL2), mirrored by concomitant changes in circulating donor T cells. Likewise, we documented the frequent loss of surface expression of HLA-DR, -DQ and -DP on leukemia cells, due to downregulation of the HLA class II regulator CIITA. We show that loss of HLA class II expression and upregulation of inhibitory checkpoint molecules represent alternative modalities to abolish AML recognition from donor-derived T cells, and can be counteracted by interferon-γ or checkpoint blockade, respectively. Our results demonstrate that the deregulation of pathways involved in T cell-mediated allorecognition is a distinctive feature and driver of AML relapses after allo-HCT, which can be rapidly translated into personalized therapies.

Kawachi T, Tanaka S, Fukuda A, et al.
Target Identification of the Marine Natural Products Dictyoceratin-A and -C as Selective Growth Inhibitors in Cancer Cells Adapted to Hypoxic Environments.
Mar Drugs. 2019; 17(3) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hypoxia-adapted cancer cells in tumors contribute to the pathological progression of cancer. The marine spongean sesquiterpene phenols dictyoceratin-A (

Gu Z, Churchman ML, Roberts KG, et al.
PAX5-driven subtypes of B-progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nat Genet. 2019; 51(2):296-307 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent genomic studies have identified chromosomal rearrangements defining new subtypes of B-progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), however many cases lack a known initiating genetic alteration. Using integrated genomic analysis of 1,988 childhood and adult cases, we describe a revised taxonomy of B-ALL incorporating 23 subtypes defined by chromosomal rearrangements, sequence mutations or heterogeneous genomic alterations, many of which show marked variation in prevalence according to age. Two subtypes have frequent alterations of the B lymphoid transcription-factor gene PAX5. One, PAX5alt (7.4%), has diverse PAX5 alterations (rearrangements, intragenic amplifications or mutations); a second subtype is defined by PAX5 p.Pro80Arg and biallelic PAX5 alterations. We show that p.Pro80Arg impairs B lymphoid development and promotes the development of B-ALL with biallelic Pax5 alteration in vivo. These results demonstrate the utility of transcriptome sequencing to classify B-ALL and reinforce the central role of PAX5 as a checkpoint in B lymphoid maturation and leukemogenesis.

Jiraskova K, Hughes DJ, Brezina S, et al.
Functional Polymorphisms in DNA Repair Genes Are Associated with Sporadic Colorectal Cancer Susceptibility and Clinical Outcome.
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 20(1) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA repair processes are involved in both the onset and treatment efficacy of colorectal cancer (CRC). A change of a single nucleotide causing an amino acid substitution in the corresponding protein may alter the efficiency of DNA repair, thus modifying the CRC susceptibility and clinical outcome. We performed a candidate gene approach in order to analyze the association of non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) in the genes covering the main DNA repair pathways with CRC risk and clinical outcome modifications. Our candidate polymorphisms were selected according to the foremost genomic and functional prediction databases. Sixteen nsSNPs in 12 DNA repair genes were evaluated in cohorts from the Czech Republic and Austria. Apart from the tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage, which occurred as the main prognostic factor in all of the performed analyses, we observed several significant associations of different nsSNPs with survival and clinical outcomes in both cohorts. However, only some of the genes (

Mandalà M, Rutkowski P
Rational combination of cancer immunotherapy in melanoma.
Virchows Arch. 2019; 474(4):433-447 [PubMed] Related Publications
The recent advances in cancer immunotherapy with unprecedented success in therapy of advanced melanoma represent a turning point in the landscape of melanoma treatment. Given the complexity of activation of immunological system and the physiologic multifactorial homeostatic mechanisms controlling immune responses, combinatorial strategies are eagerly needed in melanoma therapy. Nevertheless, rational selection of immunotherapy combinations should be more biomarker-guided, including not only the cancer immunogram, PD-L1 expression, interferon gene expression signature, mutational burden, and tumor infiltration by CD8+ T cells but also intratumoral T cell exhaustion and microbiota composition. In this review, we summarize the rationale to develop combination treatment strategies in melanoma and discuss biological background that could help to design new combinations in order to improve patients' outcome.

Hughes DJ, Kunická T, Schomburg L, et al.
Expression of Selenoprotein Genes and Association with Selenium Status in Colorectal Adenoma and Colorectal Cancer.
Nutrients. 2018; 10(11) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Dietary selenium (Se) intake is essential for synthesizing selenoproteins that are important in countering oxidative and inflammatory processes linked to colorectal carcinogenesis. However, there is limited knowledge on the selenoprotein expression in colorectal adenoma (CRA) and colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, or the interaction with Se status levels. We studied the expression of seventeen Se pathway genes (including fifteen of the twenty-five human selenoproteins) in RNA extracted from disease-normal colorectal tissue pairs, in the discovery phase of sixty-two CRA/CRC patients from Ireland and a validation cohort of a hundred and five CRC patients from the Czech Republic. Differences in transcript levels between the disease and paired control mucosa were assessed by the Mann-Whitney U-test.

Boussadia Z, Lamberti J, Mattei F, et al.
Acidic microenvironment plays a key role in human melanoma progression through a sustained exosome mediated transfer of clinically relevant metastatic molecules.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018; 37(1):245 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Microenvironment cues involved in melanoma progression are largely unknown. Melanoma is highly influenced in its aggressive phenotype by the changes it determinates in its microenvironment, such as pH decrease, in turn influencing cancer cell invasiveness, progression and tissue remodelling through an abundant secretion of exosomes, dictating cancer strategy to the whole host. A role of exosomes in driving melanoma progression under microenvironmental acidity was never described.
METHODS: We studied four differently staged human melanoma lines, reflecting melanoma progression, under microenvironmental acidic pHs pressure ranging between pH 6.0-6.7. To estimate exosome secretion as a function of tumor stage and environmental pH, we applied a technique to generate native fluorescent exosomes characterized by vesicles integrity, size, density, markers expression, and quantifiable by direct FACS analysis. Functional roles of exosomes were tested in migration and invasion tests. Then we performed a comparative proteomic analysis of acid versus control exosomes to elucidate a specific signature involved in melanoma progression.
RESULTS: We found that metastatic melanoma secretes a higher exosome amount than primary melanoma, and that acidic pH increases exosome secretion when melanoma is in an intermediate stage, i.e. metastatic non-invasive. We were thus able to show that acidic pH influences the intercellular cross-talk mediated by exosomes. In fact when exposed to exosomes produced in an acidic medium, pH naïve melanoma cells acquire migratory and invasive capacities likely due to transfer of metastatic exosomal proteins, favoring cell motility and angiogenesis. A Prognoscan-based meta-analysis study of proteins enriched in acidic exosomes, identified 11 genes (HRAS, GANAB, CFL2, HSP90B1, HSP90AB1, GSN, HSPA1L, NRAS, HSPA5, TIMP3, HYOU1), significantly correlating with poor prognosis, whose high expression was in part confirmed in bioptic samples of lymph node metastases.
CONCLUSIONS: A crucial step of melanoma progression does occur at melanoma intermediate -stage, when extracellular acidic pH induces an abundant release and intra-tumoral uptake of exosomes. Such exosomes are endowed with pro-invasive molecules of clinical relevance, which may provide a signature of melanoma advancement.

Rodrigues MFSD, Miguita L, De Andrade NP, et al.
GLI3 knockdown decreases stemness, cell proliferation and invasion in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Int J Oncol. 2018; 53(6):2458-2472 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is an extremely aggressive disease associated with a poor prognosis. Previous studies have established that cancer stem cells (CSCs) actively participate in OSCC development, progression and resistance to conventional treatments. Furthermore, CSCs frequently exhibit a deregulated expression of normal stem cell signalling pathways, thereby acquiring their distinctive abilities, of which self-renewal is an example. In this study, we examined the effects of GLI3 knockdown in OSCC, as well as the differentially expressed genes in CSC-like cells (CSCLCs) expressing high (CD44high) or low (CD44low) levels of CD44. The prognostic value of GLI3 in OSCC was also evaluated. The OSCC cell lines were sorted based on CD44 expression; gene expression was evaluated using a PCR array. Following this, we examined the effects of GLI3 knockdown on CD44 and ESA expression, colony and sphere formation capability, stem-related gene expression, proliferation and invasion. The overexpression of genes related to the Notch, transforming growth factor (TGF)β, FGF, Hedgehog, Wnt and pluripotency maintenance pathways was observed in the CD44high cells. GLI3 knockdown was associated with a significant decrease in different CSCLC fractions, spheres and colonies in addition to the downregulation of the CD44, Octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4; also known as POU5F1) and BMI1 genes. This downregulation was accompanied by an increase in the expression of the Involucrin (IVL) and S100A9 genes. Cellular proliferation and invasion were inhibited following GLI3 knockdown. In OSCC samples, a high GLI3 expression was associated with tumour size but not with prognosis. On the whole, the findings of this study demonstrate for the first time, at least to the best of our knowledge, that GLI3 contributes to OSCC stemness and malignant behaviour. These findings suggest the potential for the development of novel therapies, either in isolation or in combination with other drugs, based on CSCs in OSCC.

Li J, Qiu M, An Y, et al.
miR-7-5p acts as a tumor suppressor in bladder cancer by regulating the hedgehog pathway factor Gli3.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 503(3):2101-2107 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although important progresses have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer (BCa), the overall survival for patients with advanced BCa remains poor. It is necessary to uncover the molecular mechanism underlying the initiation and progression of bladder cancer. According to previous reports, mircoRNAs (miRNAs) can regulate tumorigenesis by targeting their downstream mRNAs. This study aims to explore and analyze a novel miRNA-mRNA axis which can regulate the progression of bladder cancer. Based on the microarray analysis, 182 mRNAs were found to be upregulated in BCa tissues. Gene oncology (GO) analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis revealed that these upregulated mRNAs are related with hedgehog pathway. Gli3, an important factor of hedgehog pathway, belongs to these 182 upregulated mRNAs. Therefore, Gli3 was chosen to do further study. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that highly expressed Gli3 predicted unfavorable prognosis for patients with BCa. Results of functional experiments indicated the inhibitory effects of silenced Gli3 on cell proliferation, migration and EMT progress. Mechanically, Gli3 was the target mRNA of miR-7-5p in BCa cells. Finally, rescue assays were performed to validate the specific function of miR-7-5p/Gli3 axis in BCa progression. According to all data, we concluded that miR-7-5p acts as a tumor suppressor in BCa by downregulating Gli3.

Zhu H, Xia L, Shen Q, et al.
Differential effects of GLI2 and GLI3 in regulating cervical cancer malignancy in vitro and in vivo.
Lab Invest. 2018; 98(11):1384-1396 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Advanced, recurrent, or persistent cervical cancer is often incurable. Therefore, in-depth insights into the molecular mechanisms are needed for the development of novel therapeutic targets and the improvement of current therapeutic strategies. In this study, we investigated the role of GLI2 and GLI3 in the regulation of the malignant properties of cervical cancer. We showed that down-regulation of GLI2, but not GLI3, with an inducible GLI2 shRNA inhibited the growth and migration of cervical cancer cell lines, which could be rescued by ectopic expression of GLI2. GLI2 appeared to support cell growth by regulating the mitosis, but not the apoptosis, of the cervical cancer cells. Mechanistically, these functions of GLI2 were in part mediated by the activation of AKT pathway. Knockdown of GLI2, but not GLI3, also inhibited xenograft growth of cervical cancer cells in vivo. Finally, analysis of TCGA data showed that high levels of GLI2, but not GLI3, conferred a poor prognosis in cervical cancer patients. These observations for the first time suggest that GLI2, but not GLI3, exerts a tumor-promoting role in cervical cancer and may be targeted as a novel therapeutic strategy.

Stopsack KH, Ebot EM, Downer MK, et al.
Regular aspirin use and gene expression profiles in prostate cancer patients.
Cancer Causes Control. 2018; 29(8):775-784 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Pharmacoepidemiology studies suggest prognostic benefits of aspirin in prostate cancer. We hypothesized that aspirin induces transcriptional changes in tumors or normal prostate tissue.
METHODS: We analyzed the prostatic transcriptome from men diagnosed with prostate cancer during follow-up of the Physicians' Health Study 1 (PHS, n = 149), initially a randomized controlled trial of aspirin. Aspirin target genes were identified through systematic literature review and a drug target database. We compared target gene expression according to regular aspirin use at cancer diagnosis and used whole-transcriptome gene set enrichment analysis to identify gene sets associated with aspirin use. Results were validated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS, n = 254) and in Connectivity Map.
RESULTS: Of 12 target genes identified from prior studies and 540 genes from the drug target database, none were associated with aspirin use. Twenty-one gene sets were enriched in tumor tissue of aspirin users, 18 of which were clustered around ribosome function and translation. These gene sets were associated with exposure to cyclooxygenase inhibitors in Connectivity Map. Their association with cancer prognosis was U-shaped in both cohorts. No gene sets were enriched in normal tissue. In HPFS, neither the target genes nor the gene sets were associated with aspirin use.
CONCLUSIONS: Regular aspirin use may affect ribosome function in prostate tumors. Other putative target genes had similar expression in tumors from aspirin users and non-users. If results are corroborated by experimental studies, a potential benefit of aspirin may be limited to a subset of prostate cancer patients.

Tan IL, Wojcinski A, Rallapalli H, et al.
Lateral cerebellum is preferentially sensitive to high sonic hedgehog signaling and medulloblastoma formation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018; 115(13):3392-3397 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The main cell of origin of the Sonic hedgehog (SHH) subgroup of medulloblastoma (MB) is granule cell precursors (GCPs), a SHH-dependent transient amplifying population in the developing cerebellum. SHH-MBs can be further subdivided based on molecular and clinical parameters, as well as location because SHH-MBs occur preferentially in the lateral cerebellum (hemispheres). Our analysis of adult patient data suggests that tumors with Smoothened (

Baldoni S, Del Papa B, Dorillo E, et al.
Bepridil exhibits anti-leukemic activity associated with NOTCH1 pathway inhibition in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(4):958-970 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Dysregulated NOTCH1 signaling, by either gene mutations or microenvironment interactions, has been increasingly linked to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Thus, inhibiting NOTCH1 activity represents a potential therapeutic opportunity for this disease. Using gene expression-based screening, we identified the calcium channel modulator bepridil as a new NOTCH1 pathway inhibitor. In primary CLL cells, bepridil induced selective apoptosis even in the presence of the protective stroma. Cytotoxic effects of bepridil were independent of NOTCH1 mutation and other prognostic markers. The antitumor efficacy of bepridil was associated with inhibition of NOTCH1 activity through a decrement in trans-membrane and activated NOTCH1 protein levels with unchanged NOTCH2 protein levels. In a CLL xenotransplant model, bepridil significantly reduced the percentage of leukemic cells infiltrating the spleen via enhanced apoptosis and decreased NOTCH1 activation. In conclusion, we report in vitro and in vivo anti-leukemic activity of bepridil associated with inhibition of the NOTCH1 pathway in CLL. These data provide a rationale for the clinical development of bepridil as anti-NOTCH1 targeted therapy for CLL patients.

Li N, Truong S, Nouri M, et al.
Non-canonical activation of hedgehog in prostate cancer cells mediated by the interaction of transcriptionally active androgen receptor proteins with Gli3.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(17):2313-2325 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hedgehog (Hh) is an oncogenic signaling pathway that regulates the activity of Gli transcription factors. Canonical Hh is a Smoothened- (Smo-) driven process that alters the post-translational processing of Gli2/Gli3 proteins. Though evidence supports a role for Gli action in prostate cancer (PCa) cell growth and progression, there is little indication that Smo is involved. Here we describe a non-canonical means for activation of Gli transcription in PCa cells mediated by the binding of transcriptionally-active androgen receptors (ARs) to Gli3. Androgens stimulated reporter expression from a Gli-dependent promoter in a variety of AR + PCa cells and this activity was suppressed by an anti-androgen, Enz, or by AR knockdown. Androgens also upregulated expression of endogenous Gli-dependent genes. This activity was associated with increased intranuclear binding of Gli3 to AR that was antagonized by Enz. Fine mapping of the AR binding domain on Gli2 showed that AR recognizes the Gli protein processing domain (PPD) in the C-terminus. Mutations in the arginine-/serine repeat elements of the Gli2 PPD involved in phosphorylation and ubiquitinylation blocked the binding to AR. β-TrCP, a ubiquitin ligase that recognizes the Gli PPD, competed with AR for binding to this site. AR binding to Gli3 suppressed its proteolytic processing to the Gli3 repressor form (Gli3R) whereas AR knockdown increased Gli3R. Both full-length and truncated ARs were able to activate Gli transcription. Finally, we found that an ARbinding decoy polypeptide derived from the Gli2 C-terminus can compete with Gli3 for binding to AR. Exogenous overexpression of this decoy suppressed Gli transcriptional activity in PCa cells. Collectively, this work identifies a novel pathway for non-canonical activation of Hh signaling in PCa cells and identifies a means for interference that may have clinical relevance for PCa patients.

Manka P, Coombes JD, Boosman R, et al.
Thyroid hormone in the regulation of hepatocellular carcinoma and its microenvironment.
Cancer Lett. 2018; 419:175-186 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) commonly arises from a liver damaged by extensive inflammation and fibrosis. Various factors including cytokines, morphogens, and growth factors are involved in the crosstalk between HCC cells and the stromal microenvironment. Increasing our understanding of how stromal components interact with HCC and the signaling pathways involved could help identify new therapeutic and/or chemopreventive targets. It has become increasingly clear that the cross-talk between tumor cells and host stroma plays a key role in modulating tumor growth. Emerging reports suggest a relationship between HCC and thyroid hormone signaling (dysfunction), raising the possibility that perturbed thyroid hormone (TH) regulation influences the cancer microenvironment and cancer phenotype. This review provides an overview of the role of thyroid hormone and its related pathways in HCC and, specifically, its role in regulating the tumor microenvironment.

Ito S, Kitazawa R, Haraguchi R, et al.
Novel GLI3 variant causing overlapped Greig cephalopolysyndactyly syndrome (GCPS) and Pallister-Hall syndrome (PHS) phenotype with agenesis of gallbladder and pancreas.
Diagn Pathol. 2018; 13(1):1 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A proper balance between the activator and the repressor form of GLI3, a zinc-finger transcription factor downstream of hedgehog signaling, is essential for proper development of various organs during development. Mutations in different domains of the GLI3 gene underlie several congenital diseases including Greig cephalopolysyndactyly syndrome (GCPS) and Pallister-Hall syndrome (PHS).
CASE PRESENTATION: Here, we describe the case of an overlapped phenotype of these syndromes with agenesis of the gallbladder and the pancreas, bearing a c.2155 C > T novel likely pathogenic variant of GLI3 gene by missense point mutation causing p.P719S at the proteolytic cleavage site.
CONCLUSIONS: Although agenesis of the gallbladder and the pancreas is uncommon in GLI3 morphopathy, a slight difference in the gradient or the balance between activator and repressor in this case may hinder sophisticated spatial and sequential hedgehog signaling that is essential for proper development of gallbladder and pancreas from endodermal buds.

Ma Y, Li G, Hu J, et al.
MicroRNA-494 regulates Gli3 expression and inhibits pancreatic cancer cells growth and migration.
J Cell Biochem. 2018; 119(7):5324-5331 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA (miR)-494 has been identified as a predictor and inhibitor in pancreatic cancer. This study aimed to explore the role of miR-494 in pancreatic cancer cells, and the regulation of glioma-associated oncogene 3 (Gli3) by miR-494. The mRNA level of Gli3 in 99 pairs of pancreatic cancer and correspondingly adjacent tissues was monitored by qRT-PCR. Correlation of Gli3 expression with miR-494 level was assessed by Pearson χ2 test. Dual-luciferase reporter assay was used to detect whether Gli3 was a target of miR-494. Following miR-494 mimics and miR-494 inhibitor transfection, the changes in cell viability and migration were detected by using CCK-8 and Transwell chamber. Furthermore, Gli3 siRNA was co-transfected with miR-494 inhibitor, and then cell viability and migration were redetected. Result showed that, the mRNA level of Gli3 in tumor tissues was higher than in the adjacent tissues (P < 0.01). There were 45 in 99 patients with pancreatic cancer expressed Gli3, and significant correlations were observed between the Gli3 level and vascular invasion (P = 0.04), distant metastasis (P = 0.001), and histologic grade (P = 0.03). Gli3 was a direct target of miR-494 (P < 0.01) and it was negatively related by miR-494 (P < 0.01). Overexpression of miR-494 suppressed PANC-1 cells viability (P < 0.05, P < 0.01, or P < 0.001) and migration (P < 0.01). Additionally, Gli3 silence suppresses miR-494 suppression-induced cell viability and migration (P < 0.01). In conclusion, these data demonstrate miR-494 exhibits tumor-suppressive effects on pancreatic cancer, possibly via targeting Gli3.

Audrito V, Managò A, La Vecchia S, et al.
Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) as a Therapeutic Target in BRAF-Mutated Metastatic Melanoma.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018; 110(3) [PubMed] Related Publications
Background: One of the effects of oncogenic signaling is metabolic reprogramming of tumor cells to support anabolic growth, opening the way to therapeutic targeting of metabolic pathways.
Methods: We studied NAD biosynthesis in BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi)-resistant (BiR) melanoma cell lines. Data in cell lines were confirmed by immunohistochemistry in biopsies from 17 patients with metastatic melanoma (MM) before and after the acquisition of resistance to BRAFi. Therapeutic potential of NAD biosynthesis inhibitors was determined by invitro monitoring cell growth and death and in mouse xenograft models. Mice (n = 6-10 mice/group) were treated with nicotinamide phosphoribosyltranferase inhibitor (NAMPTi), BRAFi, or their combination, and tumor growth and survival were analyzed. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Results: BiR cells had higher NAD levels compared with their BRAFi-sensitive counterparts (P < .001 and P = .001 for M14 and A375, respectively) and with normal melanocytes (P < .001), achieved through transcriptional upregulation of the enzyme NAMPT, which became the master regulator of NAD synthesis. Conversely, treatment with BRAFi or MEK inhibitors decreased NAMPT expression and cellular NAD levels. Robust NAMPT upregulation was documented in tissue biopsies from MM patients after development of resistance to BRAFi (P < .001). Treatment of melanoma cells with NAMPTi depleted NAD and ATP, depolarized mitochondrial membrane, and led to reactive oxygen species production, blocking cells in the G2/M phase and inducing apoptosis. Treatment of BiR xenografts with NAMPTi improved mouse survival (median survival of vehicle-treated mice was 52 days vs 100 days for NAMPTi-treated ones in M14/BiR, while in A375/BiR median survival of vehicle-treated mice was 23.5 days vs 43 days for NAMPTi-treated ones, P < .001).
Conclusions: BiR melanoma cells overexpress NAMPT, which acts as a connecting element between BRAF oncogenic signaling and metabolism, becoming an actionable target for this subset of MM patients.

Niida Y, Inoue M, Ozaki M, Takase E
Human Malformation Syndromes of Defective GLI: Opposite Phenotypes of 2q14.2 (GLI2) and 7p14.2 (GLI3) Microdeletions and a GLIA/R Balance Model.
Cytogenet Genome Res. 2017; 153(2):56-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
GLI family zinc finger proteins are transcriptional effectors of the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway. GLI regulates gene expression and repression at various phases of embryonic morphogenesis. In humans, 4 GLI genes are known, and GLI2 (2q14.2) and GLI3 (7p14.1) mutations cause different syndromes. Here, we present 2 distinctive cases with a chromosomal microdeletion in one of these genes. Patient 1 is a 14-year-old girl with Culler-Jones syndrome. She manifested short stature, cleft palate, and mild intellectual/social disability caused by a 6.6-Mb deletion of 2q14.1q14.3. Patient 2 is a 2-year-old girl with Greig cephalopolysyndactyly contiguous gene deletion syndrome. She manifested macrocephaly, preaxial polysyndactyly, psychomotor developmental delay, cerebral cavernous malformations, and glucose intolerance due to a 6.2-Mb deletion of 7p14.1p12.3 which included GLI3, GCK, and CCM2. Each patient manifests a different phenotype which is associated with different functions of each GLI gene and different effects of the chromosomal contiguous gene deletion. We summarize the phenotypic extent of GLI2/3 syndromes in the literature and determine that these 2 syndromes manifest opposite features to a certain extent, such as midface hypoplasia or macrocephaly, and anterior or posterior side of polydactyly. We propose a GLIA/R balance model that may explain these findings.

Papa E, Weller M, Weiss T, et al.
Negative control of the HGF/c-MET pathway by TGF-β: a new look at the regulation of stemness in glioblastoma.
Cell Death Dis. 2017; 8(12):3210 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple target inhibition has gained considerable interest in combating drug resistance in glioblastoma, however, understanding the molecular mechanisms of crosstalk between signaling pathways and predicting responses of cancer cells to targeted interventions has remained challenging. Despite the significant role attributed to transforming growth factor (TGF)-β family and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-MET signaling in glioblastoma pathogenesis, their functional interactions have not been well characterized. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches to stimulate or antagonize the TGF-β pathway in human glioma-initiating cells (GIC), we observed that TGF-β exerts an inhibitory effect on c-MET phosphorylation. Inhibition of either mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/ extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (PKB/AKT) signaling pathway attenuated this effect. A comparison of c-MET-driven and c-MET independent GIC models revealed that TGF-β inhibits stemness in GIC at least in part via its negative regulation of c-MET activity, suggesting that stem cell (SC) maintenance may be controlled by the balance between these two oncogenic pathways. Importantly, immunohistochemical analyses of human glioblastoma and ex vivo single-cell gene expression profiling of TGF-β and HGF confirm the negative interaction between both pathways. These novel insights into the crosstalk of two major pathogenic pathways in glioblastoma may explain some of the disappointing results when targeting either pathway alone in human glioblastoma patients and inform on potential future designs on targeted pharmacological or genetic intervention.

Talsania M, Sharma R, Sughrue ME, et al.
Familial Pallister-Hall in adulthood.
Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2017; 38(5):329-331 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pallister Hall syndrome is autosomal dominant disorder usually diagnosed in infants and children. Current diagnostic criteria include presence of hypothalamic hamartoma, post axial polydactyly and positive family history, but the disease has variable manifestations. Herein we report Pallister Hall syndrome diagnosed in a family where both patients were adults. A 59 year old man developed seizures 4 years prior to our evaluation of him, at which time imaging showed a hypothalamic hamartoma. The seizures were controlled medically. He did well until he had visual changes after a traumatic head injury. Repeat MRI showed slight expansion of the mass with formal visual field testing demonstrating bitemporal hemianopsia. There was no evidence of pituitary dysfunction except for large urine volume. He underwent surgery to debulk the hamartoma and the visual field defects improved. There was no hypopituitarism post-operatively, and the polydyspia resolved. His 29 year old daughter also had seizures and hypothalamic hamartoma. Both patients had had polydactyly with prior surgical correction in childhood. The daughter underwent genetic testing, which revealed a previously undescribed heterozygous single base pair deletion in exon 13 of the GLI3 gene causing a frameshift mutation. Further investigation into family history revealed multiple members in previous generations with polydactyly and/or seizures. Pallister-Hall syndrome is caused by an inherited autosomal dominant or de novo mutation in GLI3 gene. This rare syndrome has not had prevalence defined, however. Generally, diagnoses are made in the pediatric population. Our report adds to the few cases detected in adulthood.

Hasegawa D, Ochiai-Shino H, Onodera S, et al.
Gorlin syndrome-derived induced pluripotent stem cells are hypersensitive to hedgehog-mediated osteogenic induction.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(10):e0186879 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gorlin syndrome is an autosomal dominant inherited syndrome that predisposes a patient to the formation of basal cell carcinomas, odontogenic keratocysts, and skeletal anomalies. Causative mutations in several genes associated with the sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway, including PTCH1, have been identified in Gorlin syndrome patients. However, no definitive genotype-phenotype correlations are evident in these patients, and their clinical presentation varies greatly, often leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. We generated iPSCs from four unrelated Gorlin syndrome patients with loss-of-function mutations in PTCH1 using the Sendai virus vector (SeVdp(KOSM)302). The patient-derived iPSCs exhibited basic iPSC features, including stem cell marker expression, totipotency, and the ability to form teratomas. GLI1 expression levels were greater in fibroblasts and patient-derived iPSCs than in the corresponding control cells. Patient-derived iPSCs expressed lower basal levels than control iPSCs of the genes encoding the Hh ligands Indian Hedgehog (IHH) and SHH, the Hh acetyltransferase HHAT, Wnt proteins, BMP4, and BMP6. Most of these genes were upregulated in patient-derived iPSCs grown in osteoblast differentiation medium (OBM) and downregulated in control iPSCs cultured in OBM. The expression of GLI1 and GLI2 substantially decreased in both control and patient-derived iPSCs cultured in OBM, whereas GLI3, SHH, and IHH were upregulated in patient-derived iPSCs and downregulated in control iPSCs grown in OBM. Activation of Smoothened by SAG in cells grown in OBM significantly enhanced alkaline phosphatase activity in patient-derived iPSCs compared with control iPSC lines. In summary, patient-derived iPSCs expressed lower basal levels than the control iPSCs of the genes encoding Hh, Wnt, and bone morphogenetic proteins, but their expression of these genes strongly increased under osteogenic conditions. These findings indicate that patient-derived iPSCs are hypersensitive to osteogenic induction. We propose that Hh signaling is constituently active in iPSCs from Gorlin syndrome patients, enhancing their response to osteogenic induction and contributing to disease-associated abnormalities.

Ruzzo A, Graziano F, Galli F, et al.
Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase pharmacogenetics for predicting fluoropyrimidine-related toxicity in the randomised, phase III adjuvant TOSCA trial in high-risk colon cancer patients.
Br J Cancer. 2017; 117(9):1269-1277 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) catabolises ∼85% of the administered dose of fluoropyrimidines. Functional DPYD gene variants cause reduced/abrogated DPD activity. DPYD variants analysis may help for defining individual patients' risk of fluoropyrimidine-related severe toxicity.
METHODS: The TOSCA Italian randomised trial enrolled colon cancer patients for 3 or 6 months of either FOLFOX-4 or XELOX adjuvant chemotherapy. In an ancillary pharmacogenetic study, 10 DPYD variants (*2A rs3918290 G>A, *13 rs55886062 T>G, rs67376798 A>T, *4 rs1801158 G>A, *5 rs1801159 A>G, *6 rs1801160 G>A, *9A rs1801265 T>C, rs2297595 A>G, rs17376848 T>C, and rs75017182 C>G), were retrospectively tested for associations with ⩾grade 3 fluoropyrimidine-related adverse events (FAEs). An association analysis and a time-to-toxicity (TTT) analysis were planned. To adjust for multiple testing, the Benjamini and Hochberg's False Discovery Rate (FDR) procedure was used.
RESULTS: FAEs occurred in 194 out of 508 assessable patients (38.2%). In the association analysis, FAEs occurred more frequently in *6 rs1801160 A allele carriers (FDR=0.0083). At multivariate TTT analysis, significant associations were found for *6 rs1801160 A allele carriers (FDR<0.0001), *2A rs3918290 A allele carriers (FDR<0.0001), and rs2297595 GG genotype carriers (FDR=0.0014). Neutropenia was the most common FAEs (28.5%). *6 rs1801160 (FDR<0.0001), and *2A rs3918290 (FDR=0.0004) variant alleles were significantly associated with time to neutropenia.
CONCLUSIONS: This study adds evidence on the role of DPYD pharmacogenetics for safety of patients undergoing fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy.

Torres-García W, Domenech M
Hedgehog-mesenchyme gene signature identifies bi-modal prognosis in luminal and basal breast cancer sub-types.
Mol Biosyst. 2017; 13(12):2615-2624 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hedgehog signaling (Hh) has been shown to be hyper-activated in several cancers. However, active Hh signaling can promote or inhibit tumor growth; thus identification of markers beyond main canonical Hh target genes is needed to improve patient selection and clinical outcome in response to Hh inhibitors. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have been linked with tumor progression and beneficial response to Hh inhibitors. Thus, we hypothesized that genes associated with Hh-activated CAFs can be used for stratification of tumors that will benefit from Hh inhibitors. In this work, we evaluated a 15-gene fingerprint that combines Hh and mesenchymal genes associated with CAF phenotype to profile breast cancer sub-types based on gene expression patterns among clustered groups. About 3800 cancer samples were evaluated using random forest models and linear discriminant analysis to sort breast cancer by subtypes and therapeutic approach. The results showed that the Hh-mesenchyme gene fingerprint has a highly sensitive and differential expression pattern among basal and luminal A sub-groups. Basal samples with high levels of Hh target genes had better prognosis than luminal A samples. Luminal A samples with a tendency towards Hh signaling suppression had higher overall and disease-free survival rates particularly if deprived of hormone therapy. Hh transcriptional repressor GLI3 and signaling activator SMO were the top 2 genes for discriminating among samples with active Hh signaling in human breast cancer subtypes and Hh-inhibitor resistant tumors. Caveolin-1 (CAV1), a gene with low expression in CAFs, shows strong correlation with active Hh signaling and discrimination among survival curves in luminal A patients with active or inactive Hh signaling. Our data suggest that CAV1 is an important gene for monitoring Hh inhibition in tumors and support further stratification by hormone therapy status prior to use of Hh inhibitors.

Fang C, Wang W, Feng X, et al.
Nomogram individually predicts the overall survival of patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms.
Br J Cancer. 2017; 117(10):1544-1550 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The current study aimed to establish a novel nomogram to predict the overall survival of individual Chinese patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (GEP-NENs). Furthermore, this study sought to externally validate this nomogram using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.
METHODS: The records of 1183 patients with GEP-NENs treated at five high-capacity institutions in China between 2005 and 2015 were retrospectively analysed. In addition, 10 236 GEP-NEN cases from the SEER database were included as an external validation set.
RESULTS: A multivariate analysis using Cox proportional hazards (PHs) regression was performed, and a nomogram was constructed. Discrimination, calibration, and external validation were performed using the SEER data set. The multivariate Cox model indicated that age, tumour size, differentiation, lymph node metastases, and distant metastases were independent covariates associated with survival. With respect to the training set, the nomogram exhibited better discrimination power than TNM classification (Harrell's concordance index (C-index): 0.837 vs 0.784, P=0.006). Discrimination was also excellent and superior to that of TNM classification for the SEER-based validation set (C-index: 0.808 vs 0.717, P<0.001). The calibrated nomogram predicted a survival rate that closely corresponded to the actual survival rate.
CONCLUSIONS: We developed a nomogram that predicted the 3- and 5-year overall survival rates of patients with GEP-NENs. Validation revealed excellent discrimination and calibration for this nomogram, suggesting that it exhibits satisfactory clinical utility that might improve individualised predictions of survival risks and lead to the creation of additional clinical therapies.

Kiss M, Czimmerer Z, Nagy G, et al.
Retinoid X receptor suppresses a metastasis-promoting transcriptional program in myeloid cells via a ligand-insensitive mechanism.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017; 114(40):10725-10730 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoid X receptor (RXR) regulates several key functions in myeloid cells, including inflammatory responses, phagocytosis, chemokine secretion, and proangiogenic activity. Its importance, however, in tumor-associated myeloid cells is unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that deletion of RXR in myeloid cells enhances lung metastasis formation while not affecting primary tumor growth. We show that RXR deficiency leads to transcriptomic changes in the lung myeloid compartment characterized by increased expression of prometastatic genes, including important determinants of premetastatic niche formation. Accordingly, RXR-deficient myeloid cells are more efficient in promoting cancer cell migration and invasion. Our results suggest that the repressive activity of RXR on prometastatic genes is mediated primarily through direct DNA binding of the receptor along with nuclear receptor corepressor (NCoR) and silencing mediator of retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptor (SMRT) corepressors and is largely unresponsive to ligand activation. In addition, we found that expression and transcriptional activity of RXRα is down-modulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with lung cancer, particularly in advanced and metastatic disease. Overall, our results identify RXR as a regulator in the myeloid cell-assisted metastatic process and establish lipid-sensing nuclear receptors in the microenvironmental regulation of tumor progression.

Introna M
CIK as therapeutic agents against tumors.
J Autoimmun. 2017; 85:32-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cytokine Induced Killer (CIK) cells are ex vivo expanded and activated T lymphocytes obtained by sequential incubation of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear cells (PBMNC) with Interferon γ (IFNG), anti CD3 monoclonal antibody OKT3 and IL2. These cells, while retaining few characteristics of the Effector memory T cells subpopulation, acquired during culture CD56 expression, as well as non specific, Natural Killer like, anti tumoral cytotoxicity. CIK cells from human are equivalent to expanded NKT cells in mouse. More interestingly, CIK cells show a potent intratumoral homing in several experimental models, followed by anti tumoral clinical activity in mice and humans. In spite of extensive in vivo permanence and proliferation, CIK cells do not show cytotoxicity against normal targets and, particularly important, do not show Graft versus host disease when tested in allogeneic combinations (donor versus host) even in the haploidentical matching. For the easiness of the laboratory preparations, the availability of clinical grade reagents, the production of Good Manufacturing Practice compliant methods, CIK cells have been extensively used for the treatment of cancer patients, in both hematologic and solid tumors, in both autologous and allogeneic combinations. Several clinical protocol will be here discussed and summarised to show the feasibility of these passive transfer approaches, and also their very limited toxicity. Finally, preliminary indications on clinical efficacy, particularly in hematologic malignancies and against minimal residual disease, will be shown and discussed, as well as the future perspectives to optimize this adoptive passive cell immunotherapy strategy by gene transfer technology or bispecific monoclonal antibodies addition.

Salmoiraghi S, Rambaldi A, Spinelli O
TP53 in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2018; 59(4):778-789 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is characterized by a great biological and clinical heterogeneity. Despite most adult patients enter complete hematologic remission after induction therapy only 40% survive five or more years. Over the last 20 years, the definition of an accurate biologic leukemia profile and the minimal residual disease evaluation in addition to conventional risk criteria led to a significant improvement for the risk stratification. The alterations of the oncosuppressor gene TP53, including deletions, sequence mutations and defect in its expression due to regulatory defects, define a new important predictor of adverse outcome. More recently, new drugs have been developed with the aim of targeting p53 protein itself or its regulatory molecules, such as Mdm2, and restoring the pathway functionality. Therefore, TP53 alterations should be considered in the diagnostic work-up to identify high risk ALL patients in need of intensive treatment strategies or eligible for new innovative targeted therapies.

Lucchetti D, Calapà F, Palmieri V, et al.
Differentiation Affects the Release of Exosomes from Colon Cancer Cells and Their Ability to Modulate the Behavior of Recipient Cells.
Am J Pathol. 2017; 187(7):1633-1647 [PubMed] Related Publications
Exosomes are involved in intercellular communication. We previously reported that sodium butyrate-induced differentiation of HT29 colon cancer cells is associated with a reduced CD133 expression. Herein, we analyzed the role of exosomes in the differentiation of HT29 cells. Exosomes were prepared using ultracentrifugation. Gene expression levels were evaluated by real-time PCR. The cell proliferation rate was assessed by MTT assay and with the electric cell-substrate impedance sensing system, whereas cell motility was assessed using the scratch test and confocal microscopy. Sodium butyrate-induced differentiation of HT29 and Caco-2 cells increased the levels of released exosomes and their expression of CD133. Cell differentiation and the decrease of cellular CD133 expression levels were prevented by blocking multivesicular body maturation. Exosomes released by HT29 differentiating cells carried increased levels of miRNAs, induced an increased proliferation and motility of both colon cancer cells and normal fibroblasts, increased the colony-forming efficiency of cancer cells, and reduced the sodium butyrate-induced differentiation of HT29 cells. Such effects were associated with an increased phosphorylation level of both Src and extracellular signal regulated kinase proteins and with an increased expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-related genes. Release of exosomes is affected by differentiation of colon cancer cells; exosomes might be used by differentiating cells to get rid of components that are no longer necessary but might continue to exert their effects on recipient cells.

Kuromi T, Matsushita M, Iwasaki T, et al.
Association of expression of the hedgehog signal with Merkel cell polyomavirus infection and prognosis of Merkel cell carcinoma.
Hum Pathol. 2017; 69:8-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine skin cancer that mostly occurs in the elderly. Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is detected in approximately 80% of MCCs and is associated with carcinogenesis. Hedgehog signaling pathway plays a role in human embryogenesis and organogenesis. In addition, reactivation of this pathway later in life can cause tumors. Twenty-nineMCPyV-positive and 21 MCPyV-negative MCCs were immunohistochemically stained with primary antibodies for hedgehog signaling (SHH, IHH, PTCH1, SMO, GLI1, GLI2, and GLI3) and evaluated using H-score. Polymerase chain reaction and sequence analysis for SHH and GLI1 exons were also performed. Expression of SHH was higher in MCPyV-positive MCCs than in MCPyV-negative MCCs (P<.001). Higher expression of GLI1, MCPyV infection, male sex, and Japanese ethnicity were associated with better overall survival (P=.034, P=.001, P=.042, and P=.036, respectively). Higher expression of SHH and MCPyV infection were associated with improved MCC-specific survival (P=.037 and P=.002, respectively). The mutation analysis of prognosis-related GLI1 and SHH genes in our study revealed a low frequency of mutations in the 10 exons examined, except GLI1 exon 5 (18/22 cases), all having the same silent mutation of c.576G>A. Only 2 mutations with amino acid changes were detected in MCPyV-negative MCCs only: 1 missense mutation in GLI1 exon 4 and 1 nonsense mutation in SHH-3B. Expression of SHH and GLI1 may be useful prognostic markers of MCC because increased expression was associated with better prognosis. The high rate of c.576G>A silent mutation in GLI1 exon 5 was a feature of MCC.

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