GREM1

Gene Summary

Gene:GREM1; gremlin 1, DAN family BMP antagonist
Aliases: DRM, HMPS, MPSH, PIG2, CRAC1, CRCS4, DAND2, HMPS1, IHG-2, DUP15q, C15DUPq, GREMLIN, CKTSF1B1
Location:15q13.3
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the BMP (bone morphogenic protein) antagonist family. Like BMPs, BMP antagonists contain cystine knots and typically form homo- and heterodimers. The CAN (cerberus and dan) subfamily of BMP antagonists, to which this gene belongs, is characterized by a C-terminal cystine knot with an eight-membered ring. The antagonistic effect of the secreted glycosylated protein encoded by this gene is likely due to its direct binding to BMP proteins. As an antagonist of BMP, this gene may play a role in regulating organogenesis, body patterning, and tissue differentiation. In mouse, this protein has been shown to relay the sonic hedgehog (SHH) signal from the polarizing region to the apical ectodermal ridge during limb bud outgrowth. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2010]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:gremlin-1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (48)

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.

  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • RTPCR
  • RT-PCR
  • DNA Methylation
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Transcription Factor 7-Like 2 Protein
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Chromosome 15
  • Tumor Burden
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Messenger RNA
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Young Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Signal Transduction
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Cancer RNA
  • Smad7 Protein
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Cancer
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Skin Cancer
  • Promoter Regions
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Transfection
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: GREM1 (cancer-related)

Li Z, Guo X, Tang L, et al.
Methylation analysis of plasma cell-free DNA for breast cancer early detection using bisulfite next-generation sequencing.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(10):13111-13119 [PubMed] Related Publications
Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has been considered as a potential biomarker for non-invasive cancer detection. To evaluate the methylation levels of six candidate genes (EGFR, GREM1, PDGFRB, PPM1E, SOX17, and WRN) in plasma cfDNA as biomarkers for breast cancer early detection, quantitative analysis of the promoter methylation of these genes from 86 breast cancer patients and 67 healthy controls was performed by using microfluidic-PCR-based target enrichment and next-generation bisulfite sequencing technology. The predictive performance of different logistic models based on methylation status of candidate genes was investigated by means of the area under the ROC curve (AUC) and odds ratio (OR) analysis. Results revealed that EGFR, PPM1E, and 8 gene-specific CpG sites showed significantly hypermethylation in cancer patients' plasma and significantly associated with breast cancer (OR ranging from 2.51 to 9.88). The AUC values for these biomarkers were ranging from 0.66 to 0.75. Combinations of multiple hypermethylated genes or CpG sites substantially improved the predictive performance for breast cancer detection. Our study demonstrated the feasibility of quantitative measurement of candidate gene methylation in cfDNA by using microfluidic-PCR-based target enrichment and bisulfite next-generation sequencing, which is worthy of further validation and potentially benefits a broad range of applications in clinical oncology practice. Quantitative analysis of methylation pattern of plasma cfDNA by next-generation sequencing might be a valuable non-invasive tool for early detection of breast cancer.

Ziai J, Matloff E, Choi J, et al.
Defining the polyposis/colorectal cancer phenotype associated with the Ashkenazi GREM1 duplication: counselling and management recommendations.
Genet Res (Camb). 2016; 98:e5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hereditary mixed polyposis is a genetically heterogeneous, autosomal dominant condition with adenomatous, hyperplastic and juvenile polyps. We conducted a comprehensive clinical evaluation of a large Ashkenazi Jewish family with this phenotype and performed extensive genetic testing. As seen in one previous report, a 40 kb duplication upstream of GREM1 segregated with the polyposis/colon cancer phenotype in this kindred. Our study confirms the association of GREM1 with mixed polyposis and further defines the phenotype seen with this mutation. This gene should be included in the test panel for all Jewish patients with mixed polyposis and may be considered in any Ashkenazi patient with unexplained hereditary colon cancer when mutations in other hereditary colon cancer genes have been ruled out.

Tsubamoto H, Sakata K, Sakane R, et al.
Gremlin 2 is Repressed in Invasive Endometrial Cancer and Inhibits Cell Growth In Vitro.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(1):199-203 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There exist limited therapeutic opportunities regarding the treatment of endometrial cancer (EC), and novel therapies based on the molecular profiling of EC cells are required.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used microarray analysis of EC tumour samples in order to identify tumour-specific changes regarding gene expression.
RESULTS: It was found that gremlin 2, an inhibitor of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, was repressed in EC samples, and that gremlin 2 inhibited tumour cell growth.
CONCLUSION: Down-regulation of gremlin 2 may lead to carcinogenesis and progression of EC. We suggest that re-activation of gremlin 2-associated pathways could suppress EC progression and should thus be explored as a potential novel therapeutic approach.

Sato M, Kawana K, Fujimoto A, et al.
Clinical significance of Gremlin 1 in cervical cancer and its effects on cancer stem cell maintenance.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(1):391-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gremlin 1 is one of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonists and is also related to differentiation in combination with BMPs and is associated with various types of diseases. Gremlin 1 is overexpressed in various types of human cancers and has been reported to play a role in cervical cancer oncogenesis. However, there is no report concerning the relationship between Gremlin 1 and cervical cancer stem cells (CSCs). The objective of the present study was to identify the clinical significance of Gremlin 1 in cervical cancer and its effects on CSC-like properties in vitro. Clinical samples were obtained. Gremlin 1 mRNA expression levels in the cervical cancer tissues were measured by RT-qPCR and assessed for correlation with their clinical prognosis [overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS)] and with other prognostic factors. In vitro, cervical cancer, CaSki cells, exposed to Gremlin 1 (1,000 ng/ml) for 24 h were evaluated for expression of undifferentiated-cell markers (Nanog, Oct3/4, Sox2) by RT-qPCR, the population of ALDH-positive cells by flow cytometry and sphere-forming ability on a ultra-low attachment culture dish. Cervical cancer tissues from 104 patients were collected. A high mRNA expression level of Gremlin 1 was an independent poor prognostic factor of PFS but not of OS. A high mRNA expression level of Gremlin 1 was correlated with bulky (>4 cm) tumors. The Nanog mRNA expression level was significantly increased in the CaSki cells exposed to Gremlin 1 (P=0.0008) but not Oct3/4 and Sox2 mRNA expression levels. The population of ALDH-positive cells in the Gremlin 1-exposed cells was 1.41-fold higher compared with the control (P=0.0184). Sphere-forming ability was increased when 1,000 Gremlin 1-exposed cells were seeded (P=0.0379). In cervical cancer, it is suggested that Gremlin 1 may have a role in clinical recurrence and maintaining CSC-like properties.

Rohlin A, Eiengård F, Lundstam U, et al.
GREM1 and POLE variants in hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2016; 55(1):95-106 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hereditary factors are thought to play a role in at least one third of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) but only a limited proportion of these have mutations in known high-penetrant genes. In a relatively large part of patients with a few or multiple colorectal polyps the underlying genetic cause of the disease is still unknown. Using exome sequencing in combination with linkage analyses together with detection of copy-number variations (CNV), we have identified a duplication in the regulatory region of the GREM1 gene in a family with an attenuated/atypical polyposis syndrome. In addition, 107 patients with colorectal cancer and/or polyposis were analyzed for mutations in the candidate genes identified. We also performed screening of the exonuclease domain of the POLE gene in a subset of these patients. The duplication of 16 kb in the regulatory region of GREM1 was found to be disease-causing in the family. Functional analyses revealed a higher expression of the GREM1 gene in colorectal tissue in duplication carriers. Screening of the exonuclease domain of POLE in additional CRC patients identified a probable causative novel variant c.1274A>G, p.Lys425Arg. In conclusion a high penetrant duplication in the regulatory region of GREM1, predisposing to CRC, was identified in a family with attenuated/atypical polyposis. A POLE variant was identified in a patient with early onset CRC and a microsatellite stable (MSS) tumor. Mutations leading to increased expression of genes can constitute disease-causing mutations in hereditary CRC syndromes.

Chew MH, Tan WS, Liu Y, et al.
Genomics of Hereditary Colorectal Cancer: Lessons Learnt from 25 Years of the Singapore Polyposis Registry.
Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2015; 44(8):290-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The Singapore Polyposis Registry (SPR) was established in 1989 in Singapore General Hospital (SGH). The aims were to provide a central registry service to facilitate identification, surveillance and management of families and individuals at high risk of colorectal cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a review of published literature in the department.
RESULTS: The registry currently has 253 families with several genetic conditions-93 familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) families, 138 Amsterdam-criteria positive presumed Lynch syndrome (LS) families, 12 families with Peutz Jeghers syndrome, 2 families with Cowden's syndrome, and 8 families with hereditary mixed polyposis syndrome (HMPS). There are also 169 families with a strong family history of colorectal cancer but no abnormal genes yet identified. In FAP, a diagnostic tool developed has allowed a 94% local APC germline detection rate in FAP families. Knowledge obtained studying the phenotype of FAP patients has allowed better choice of surgery between ileal pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA) against an ileal-rectal anastomosis (IRA). In LS, our review has noted a highly heterogenous mutational spectrum and novel variants made up 46.7% (28/60) of all variants identified in this cohort. This may suggest that our Southeast Asian ethnic groups have distinct mutational variants from Western populations. Pathogenic mutations were only confined to MLH1 and MSH2, and identified in 28.8% of families.
CONCLUSION: The impact of predictive gene testing for hereditary cancer risk in clinical practice has allowed evolution of care. Risk-reducing surgery and aggressive surveillance allows reduction in morbidity and mortality of patients. The SPR will continue to grow and improve outcomes in hereditary colorectal cancer patients and families.

Liu X, Liao W, Yuan Q, et al.
TTK activates Akt and promotes proliferation and migration of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(33):34309-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most malignant cancers with poor clinical outcome. The protein kinase human monopolar spindle 1 (hMps1/TTK) gene expression is significantly increased in HCCs. However, its contributions to hepatocarcinogenesis remain unclear. In this study, we found that TTK was overexpressed in 77.63% (118/152) HCC specimens. Elevated TTK expression positively correlated with large tumor size and presence of the portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT). Demethylation in its promoter increased TTK expression in HCC. In vitro assays revealed that TTK not only promoted cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth, but also cell migration. Subsequent investigations revealed that TTK activated Akt/mTOR pathway in a p53 dependent manner. We also found that TTK specific kinase inhibitor AZ3146 could decrease HCC cell growth. In conclusion, TTK contributes to HCC tumorigenesis via promoting cell proliferation and migration. It may serve as a novel biomarker and a potential target in HCC cancer therapy.

Yin Y, Yang Y, Yang L, et al.
Overexpression of Gremlin promotes non-small cell lung cancer progression.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(2):2597-602 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is the major cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and 80 % of them are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases. Gremlin, a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist, is overexpressed in various cancerous tissues; however, little is known about the roles of Gremlin in lung carcinogenesis, and it remains unclear whether Gremlin expression may associate with EGFR-TKI resistance. In this study, expression of Gremlin mRNA and protein in matched tumor and normal lung specimens are quantified by quantitative real-time PCR and western blot. The functional role of Gremlin in NSCLC cells was evaluated by interference RNA (siRNA). The effects of Silenced Gremlin on the resistant PC-9/GR cell line were investigated by proliferation and apoptosis analysis compared with control PC-9 cells. Our results found that Gremlin expression levels were higher in NSCLC tissues, and Gremlin was more highly expressed in PC-9/GR cells compared to PC-9 cells. Knocking down of Gremlin in PC-9/GR cells decreased cell proliferation and increased the expression of BMP7 protein. In addition, Gremlin silencing significantly potentiated apoptosis induced by gefitinib in PC-9/GR with Gremlin knockdown compared to PC-9 transfected with control shRNA, suggesting Gremlin contributes to gefitinib resistance in NSCLC. Gremlin might be explored as a candidate of therapeutic target for modulating EGFR-TKI sensitivity in NSCLC.

Kalmár A, Wichmann B, Galamb O, et al.
Gene-expression analysis of a colorectal cancer-specific discriminatory transcript set on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples.
Diagn Pathol. 2015; 10:126 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A recently published transcript set is suitable for gene expression-based discrimination of normal colonic and colorectal cancer (CRC) biopsy samples. Our aim was to test the discriminatory power of the CRC-specific transcript set on independent biopsies and on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples.
METHODS: Total RNA isolations were performed with the automated MagNA Pure 96 Cellular RNA Large Volume Kit (Roche) from fresh frozen biopsies stored in RNALater (CRC (n = 15) and healthy colonic (n = 15)), furthermore from FFPE specimens including CRC (n = 15) and normal adjacent tissue (NAT) (n = 15) specimens next to the tumor. After quality and quantity measurements, gene expression analysis of a colorectal cancer-specific marker set with 11 genes (CA7, COL12A1, CXCL1, CXCL2, CHI3L1, GREM1, IL1B, IL1RN, IL8, MMP3, SLC5A7) was performed with array real-time PCR using Transcriptor First Strand cDNA Synthesis Kit (Roche) and RealTime ready assays on LightCycler480 System (Roche). In situ hybridization for two selected transcripts (CA7, CXCL1) was performed on NAT (n = 3), adenoma (n = 3) and CRC (n = 3) FFPE samples.
RESULTS: Although analytical parameters of automatically isolated RNA samples showed differences between fresh frozen biopsy and FFPE samples, both quantity and the quality enabled their application in gene expression analyses. CRC and normal fresh frozen biopsy samples could be distinguished with 93.3% sensitivity and 86.7% specificity and FFPE samples with 96.7 and 70.0%, respectively. In situ hybridization could confirm the upregulation of CXCL1 and downregulation of CA7 in colorectal adenomas and tumors compared to healthy controls.
CONCLUSION: According to our results, gene expression analysis of the analyzed colorectal cancer-specific marker set can also be performed from FFPE tissue material. With the addition of an automated workflow, this marker set may enhance the objective classification of colorectal neoplasias in the routine procedure in the future.

Tomlinson I
The Mendelian colorectal cancer syndromes.
Ann Clin Biochem. 2015; 52(Pt 6):690-2 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A small minority of colorectal cancers (CRCs) (≤5%) are caused by a single, inherited faulty gene. These diseases, the Mendelian colorectal cancer (CRC) syndromes, have been central to our understanding of colorectal carcinogenesis in general. Most of the approximately 13 high-penetrance genes that predispose to CRC primarily predispose to colorectal polyps, and each gene is associated with a specific type of polyp, whether conventional adenomas (APC, MUTYH, POLE, POLD1, NTHL1), juvenile polyps (SMAD4, BMPR1A), Peutz-Jeghers hamartomas (LKB1/STK11) and mixed polyps of serrated and juvenile types (GREM1). Lynch syndrome (MSH2, MLH1, MSH6, PMS2), by contrast, is associated primarily with cancer risk. Major functional pathways are consistently inactivated in the Mendelian CRC syndromes: certain types of DNA repair (proofreading of DNA replication errors, mismatch repair and base excision repair) and signalling (bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), Wnt signalling and mTOR). The inheritance of the CRC syndromes also varies: most are dominant but some of the DNA repair deficiencies are recessive. Some of the Mendelian CRC genes are especially important because they play a role through somatic inactivation in sporadic CRC (APC, MLH1, SMAD4, POLE). Additional Mendelian CRC genes may remain to be discovered and searches for these genes are ongoing, especially in patients with multiple adenomas and hyperplastic polyps.

Liu Z, Ren YA, Pangas SA, et al.
FOXO1/3 and PTEN Depletion in Granulosa Cells Promotes Ovarian Granulosa Cell Tumor Development.
Mol Endocrinol. 2015; 29(7):1006-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The forkhead box (FOX), FOXO1 and FOXO3, transcription factors regulate multiple functions in mammalian cells. Selective inactivation of the Foxo1 and Foxo3 genes in murine ovarian granulosa cells severely impairs follicular development and apoptosis causing infertility, and as shown here, granulosa cell tumor (GCT) formation. Coordinate depletion of the tumor suppressor Pten gene in the Foxo1/3 strain enhanced the penetrance and onset of GCT formation. Immunostaining and Western blot analyses confirmed FOXO1 and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) depletion, maintenance of globin transcription factor (GATA) 4 and nuclear localization of FOXL2 and phosphorylated small mothers against decapentaplegic (SMAD) 2/3 in the tumor cells, recapitulating results we observed in human adult GCTs. Microarray and quantitative PCR analyses of mouse GCTs further confirmed expression of specific genes (Foxl2, Gata4, and Wnt4) controlling granulosa cell fate specification and proliferation, whereas others (Emx2, Nr0b1, Rspo1, and Wt1) were suppressed. Key genes (Amh, Bmp2, and Fshr) controlling follicle growth, apoptosis, and differentiation were also suppressed. Inhbb and Grem1 were selectively elevated, whereas reduction of Inha provided additional evidence that activin signaling and small mothers against decapentaplegic (SMAD) 2/3 phosphorylation impact GCT formation. Unexpectedly, markers of Sertoli/epithelial cells (SRY [sex determining region Y]-box 9/keratin 8) and alternatively activated macrophages (chitinase 3-like 3) were elevated in discrete subpopulations within the mouse GCTs, indicating that Foxo1/3/Pten depletion not only leads to GCTs but also to altered granulosa cell fate decisions and immune responses. Thus, analyses of the Foxo1/3/Pten mouse GCTs and human adult GCTs provide strong evidence that impaired functions of the FOXO1/3/PTEN pathways lead to dramatic changes in the molecular program within granulosa cells, chronic activin signaling in the presence of FOXL2 and GATA4, and tumor formation.

Laitman Y, Jaeger E, Katz L, et al.
GREM1 germline mutation screening in Ashkenazi Jewish patients with familial colorectal cancer.
Genet Res (Camb). 2015; 97:e11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A 40 kb ancestral germline duplication upstream of the GREM1 gene was reported in Ashkenazi families with hereditary mixed polyposis syndrome (HMPS).
OBJECTIVE: Assess the contribution of the GREM1 mutation to familial colorectal cancer (CRC) in Ashkenazim.
METHODS: Jewish Ashkenazi individuals (n = 472 155 males, 317 females) were genotyped for the GREM1 duplication, 194 with CRC, 131 had other cancer types (endometrial, pancreatic and ovarian) that show a syndromic association with CRC, and 147 were cancer-free with a suggestive family history of CRC.
RESULTS: One mutation carrier was found who fulfills the Amsterdam criteria for Lynch Syndrome (LS). The prevalence of this mutation amongst LS Ashkenazim is 0·7%.
CONCLUSION: If validated in additional studies it seems rational to recommend to look for the GREM1 founder mutation in Ashkenazi individuals with multiple colorectal polyps and/or fulfill the criteria for LS.

Rajski M, Saaf A, Buess M
BMP2 response pattern in human lung fibroblasts predicts outcome in lung adenocarcinomas.
BMC Med Genomics. 2015; 8:16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Bone morphogenetic proteins play important roles in development, morphogenesis and cancer. With this study we aimed to characterize the response of lung stromal fibroblasts to BMPs and their antagonists on a genome wide level and investigate its potential role in human lung adenocarcinomas.
METHODS: We used an ex vivo culture model and measured gene expression changes in human lung fibroblasts after stimulation with BMPs and their antagonists using HEEBO microarrays. The in vitro data were correlated with in vivo observations in published expression datasets of human lung adenocarcinomas.
RESULTS: We have systematically analyzed the response to BMP2, BMP4, BMP7 and their antagonists, Gremlin and Noggin, to define common and specific gene expression patterns. A BMP2 induced gene expression signature was defined, which is specific for stromal fibroblasts. Gene expression profiles from lung adenocarcinoma biopsies were analyzed to determine the prognostic significance of the "Fibroblast specific BMP2 induced gene list". This gene list successfully segregated patients with different prognostic outcome in 3 datasets. In a small dataset (Garber et al.) there was a strong trend for a worse prognosis of patients with adenocarcinomas of all stages over-expressing the "Fibroblast specific BMP2 induced gene list". In two larger datasets with stage I adenocarcinomas we observed a significantly worse disease-free (p = 0.002, Lee et al. and p = 0.002, Bhattacharjee et al.) and overall survival (p = 0.0002).
CONCLUSIONS: The effects of BMPs and their antagonists are heterogeneous in different cell types. The gene expression pattern induced by BMP2 in primary lung fibroblasts may predict outcomes of patients with lung adenocarcinomas.

Dragon J, Thompson J, MacPherson M, Shukla A
Differential Susceptibility of Human Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelial Cells to Asbestos Exposure.
J Cell Biochem. 2015; 116(8):1540-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive cancer of mesothelial cells of pleural and peritoneal cavities. In 85% of cases both pleural and peritoneal MM is caused by asbestos exposure. Although both are asbestos-induced cancers, the incidence of pleural MM is significantly higher (85%) than peritoneal MM (15%). It has been proposed that carcinogenesis is a result of asbestos-induced inflammation but it is not clear what contributes to the differences observed between incidences of these two cancers. We hypothesize that the observed differences in incidences of pleural and peritoneal MM are the result of differences in the direct response of these cell types to asbestos rather than to differences mediated by the in vivo microenvironment. To test this hypothesis we characterized cellular responses to asbestos in a controlled environment. We found significantly greater changes in genome-wide expression in response to asbestos exposure in pleural mesothelial cells as compared to peritoneal mesothelial cells. In particular, a greater response in many common genes (IL-8, ATF3, CXCL2, CXCL3, IL-6, GOS2) was seen in pleural mesothelial cells as compared to peritoneal mesothelial cells. Unique genes expressed in pleural mesothelial cells were mainly pro-inflammatory (G-CSF, IL-1β, IL-1α, GREM1) and have previously been shown to be involved in development of MM. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that differences in incidences of pleural and peritoneal MM upon exposure to asbestos are the result of differences in mesothelial cell physiology that lead to differences in the inflammatory response, which leads to cancer.

Li Z, Guo X, Wu Y, et al.
Methylation profiling of 48 candidate genes in tumor and matched normal tissues from breast cancer patients.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015; 149(3):767-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene-specific methylation alterations in breast cancer have been suggested to occur early in tumorigenesis and have the potential to be used for early detection and prevention. The continuous increase in worldwide breast cancer incidences emphasizes the urgent need for identification of methylation biomarkers for early cancer detection and patient stratification. Using microfluidic PCR-based target enrichment and next-generation bisulfite sequencing technology, we analyzed methylation status of 48 candidate genes in paired tumor and normal tissues from 180 Chinese breast cancer patients. Analysis of the sequencing results showed 37 genes differentially methylated between tumor and matched normal tissues. Breast cancer samples with different clinicopathologic characteristics demonstrated distinct profiles of gene methylation. The methylation levels were significantly different between breast cancer subtypes, with basal-like and luminal B tumors having the lowest and the highest methylation levels, respectively. Six genes (ACADL, ADAMTSL1, CAV1, NPY, PTGS2, and RUNX3) showed significant differential methylation among the 4 breast cancer subtypes and also between the ER +/ER- tumors. Using unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis, we identified a panel of 13 hypermethylated genes as candidate biomarkers that performed a high level of efficiency for cancer prediction. These 13 genes included CST6, DBC1, EGFR, GREM1, GSTP1, IGFBP3, PDGFRB, PPM1E, SFRP1, SFRP2, SOX17, TNFRSF10D, and WRN. Our results provide evidence that well-defined DNA methylation profiles enable breast cancer prediction and patient stratification. The novel gene panel might be a valuable biomarker for early detection of breast cancer.

Davis H, Irshad S, Bansal M, et al.
Aberrant epithelial GREM1 expression initiates colonic tumorigenesis from cells outside the stem cell niche.
Nat Med. 2015; 21(1):62-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hereditary mixed polyposis syndrome (HMPS) is characterized by the development of mixed-morphology colorectal tumors and is caused by a 40-kb genetic duplication that results in aberrant epithelial expression of the gene encoding mesenchymal bone morphogenetic protein antagonist, GREM1. Here we use HMPS tissue and a mouse model of the disease to show that epithelial GREM1 disrupts homeostatic intestinal morphogen gradients, altering cell fate that is normally determined by position along the vertical epithelial axis. This promotes the persistence and/or reacquisition of stem cell properties in Lgr5-negative progenitor cells that have exited the stem cell niche. These cells form ectopic crypts, proliferate, accumulate somatic mutations and can initiate intestinal neoplasia, indicating that the crypt base stem cell is not the sole cell of origin of colorectal cancer. Furthermore, we show that epithelial expression of GREM1 also occurs in traditional serrated adenomas, sporadic premalignant lesions with a hitherto unknown pathogenesis, and these lesions can be considered the sporadic equivalents of HMPS polyps.

Lewis A, Freeman-Mills L, de la Calle-Mustienes E, et al.
A polymorphic enhancer near GREM1 influences bowel cancer risk through differential CDX2 and TCF7L2 binding.
Cell Rep. 2014; 8(4):983-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A rare germline duplication upstream of the bone morphogenetic protein antagonist GREM1 causes a Mendelian-dominant predisposition to colorectal cancer (CRC). The underlying disease mechanism is strong, ectopic GREM1 overexpression in the intestinal epithelium. Here, we confirm that a common GREM1 polymorphism, rs16969681, is also associated with CRC susceptibility, conferring ∼20% differential risk in the general population. We hypothesized the underlying cause to be moderate differences in GREM1 expression. We showed that rs16969681 lies in a region of active chromatin with allele- and tissue-specific enhancer activity. The CRC high-risk allele was associated with stronger gene expression, and higher Grem1 mRNA levels increased the intestinal tumor burden in Apc(Min) mice. The intestine-specific transcription factor CDX2 and Wnt effector TCF7L2 bound near rs16969681, with significantly higher affinity for the risk allele, and CDX2 overexpression in CDX2/GREM1-negative cells caused re-expression of GREM1. rs16969681 influences CRC risk through effects on Wnt-driven GREM1 expression in colorectal tumors.

de Groot JS, Pan X, Meeldijk J, et al.
Validation of DNA promoter hypermethylation biomarkers in breast cancer--a short report.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2014; 37(4):297-303 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: DNA promoter hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes is known to occur early in cancer development, including breast cancer. To improve early breast cancer detection, we aimed to investigate whether the identification of DNA promoter hypermethylation might be of added value.
METHODS: The methylation status of a panel of 19 candidate genes (AKR1B1, ALX1, ARHGEF7, FZD10, GHSR, GPX7, GREM1, GSTP1, HOXD1, KL, LHX2, MAL, MGMT, NDRG2, RASGRF2, SFRP1, SFRP2, TM6SF1 and TMEFF2) was determined in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded normal breast and breast cancer tissue samples using gel-based methylation-specific PCR (MSP).
RESULTS: The promoters of the AKR1B1, ALX1, GHSR, GREM1, RASGRF2, SFRP2, TM6SF1 and TMEFF2 genes were found to be significantly differentially methylated in normal versus malignant breast tissues. Based on sensitivity, specificity and logistic regression analyses the best performing genes for detecting breast cancer were identified. Through multivariate analyses, we found that AKR1B1 and TM6SF1 could detect breast cancer with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.986 in a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) assessment.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on our data, we conclude that AKR1B1 and TM6SF1 may serve as candidate methylation biomarkers for early breast cancer detection. Further studies are underway to evaluate the methylation status of these genes in body fluids, including nipple aspirates and blood.

Yan K, Wu Q, Yan DH, et al.
Glioma cancer stem cells secrete Gremlin1 to promote their maintenance within the tumor hierarchy.
Genes Dev. 2014; 28(10):1085-100 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastomas are the most prevalent and lethal primary brain tumor and are comprised of hierarchies with self-renewing cancer stem cells (CSCs) at the apex. Like neural stem cells (NSCs), CSCs reside in functional niches that provide essential cues to maintain the cellular hierarchy. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) instruct NSCs to adopt an astrocyte fate and are proposed as anti-CSC therapies to induce differentiation, but, paradoxically, tumors express high levels of BMPs. Here we demonstrate that the BMP antagonist Gremlin1 is specifically expressed by CSCs as protection from endogenous BMPs. Gremlin1 colocalizes with CSCs in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, Gremlin1 blocks prodifferentiation effects of BMPs, and overexpression of Gremlin1 in non-CSCs decreases their endogenous BMP signaling to promote stem-like features. Consequently, Gremlin1-overexpressing cells display increased growth and tumor formation abilities. Targeting Gremlin1 in CSCs results in impaired growth and self-renewal. Transcriptional profiling demonstrated that Gremlin1 effects were associated with inhibition of p21(WAF1/CIP1), a key CSC signaling node. This study establishes CSC-derived Gremlin1 as a driving force in maintaining glioblastoma tumor proliferation and glioblastoma hierarchies through the modulation of endogenous prodifferentiation signals.

Kupfer SS, Skol AD, Hong E, et al.
Shared and independent colorectal cancer risk alleles in TGFβ-related genes in African and European Americans.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(9):2025-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in colorectal cancer (CRC) identified five regions near transforming growth factor β-related genes BMP4, GREM1, CDH1, SMAD7 and RPHN2. The true risk alleles remain to be identified in these regions, and their role in CRC risk in non-European populations has been understudied. Our previous work noted significant genetic heterogeneity between African Americans (AAs) and European Americans (EAs) for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified in GWAS. We hypothesized that associations may not have been replicated in AAs due to differential or independent genetic structures. In order to test this hypothesis, we genotyped 195 tagging SNPs across these five gene regions in 1194 CRC cases (795 AAs and 399 EAs) and 1352 controls (985 AAs and 367 EAs). Imputation was performed, and association testing of genotyped and imputed SNPs included ancestry, age and sex as covariates. In two of the five genes originally associated with CRC, we found evidence for association in AAs including rs1862748 in CDH1 (OR(Add) = 0.82, P = 0.02) and in GREM1 the SNPs rs10318 (OR(Rec) = 60.1, P = 0.01), rs11632715 (OR(Rec) = 2.36; P = 0.004) and rs12902616 (OR(Rec) = 1.28, P = 0.005), the latter which is in linkage disequilibrium with the previously identified SNP rs4779584. Testing more broadly for associations in these gene regions in AAs, we noted three statistically significant association peaks in GREM1 and RHPN2 that were not identified in EAs. We conclude that some CRC risk alleles are shared between EAs and AAs and others are population specific.

Yang H, Gao Y, Feng T, et al.
Meta-analysis of the rs4779584 polymorphism and colorectal cancer risk.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e89736 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Several researchers have suggested that the rs4779584 (15q13.3) polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC). However, past results remain inconclusive. We addressed this controversy by performing a meta-analysis of the relationship between rs4779584 of GREM1-SCG5 and colorectal cancer.
METHODS: We selected 12 case-control studies involving 11,769 cases of CRC and 14,328 healthy controls. The association between the rs4779584 polymorphism and CRC was examined by the overall odds ratio (OR) with a 95% confidence interval (CI). We used different genetic model analyses, sensitivity analyses, and assessments of bias in our meta-analysis.
RESULTS: GREM1-SCG5 rs4779584 polymorphisms were associated with CRC in all of the genetic models that were examined in this meta-analysis of 12 case-control studies.
CONCLUSION: GREM1-SCG5 rs4779584 polymorphisms may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Lazar V, Suo C, Orear C, et al.
Integrated molecular portrait of non-small cell lung cancers.
BMC Med Genomics. 2013; 6:53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a leading cause of cancer deaths, represents a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, mostly comprising squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), adenocarcinoma (AC) and large-cell carcinoma (LCC). The objectives of this study were to utilize integrated genomic data including copy-number alteration, mRNA, microRNA expression and candidate-gene full sequencing data to characterize the molecular distinctions between AC and SCC.
METHODS: Comparative genomic hybridization followed by mutational analysis, gene expression and miRNA microarray profiling were performed on 123 paired tumor and non-tumor tissue samples from patients with NSCLC.
RESULTS: At DNA, mRNA and miRNA levels we could identify molecular markers that discriminated significantly between the various histopathological entities of NSCLC. We identified 34 genomic clusters using aCGH data; several genes exhibited a different profile of aberrations between AC and SCC, including PIK3CA, SOX2, THPO, TP63, PDGFB genes. Gene expression profiling analysis identified SPP1, CTHRC1 and GREM1 as potential biomarkers for early diagnosis of the cancer, and SPINK1 and BMP7 to distinguish between AC and SCC in small biopsies or in blood samples. Using integrated genomics approach we found in recurrently altered regions a list of three potential driver genes, MRPS22, NDRG1 and RNF7, which were consistently over-expressed in amplified regions, had wide-spread correlation with an average of ~800 genes throughout the genome and highly associated with histological types. Using a network enrichment analysis, the targets of these potential drivers were seen to be involved in DNA replication, cell cycle, mismatch repair, p53 signalling pathway and other lung cancer related signalling pathways, and many immunological pathways. Furthermore, we also identified one potential driver miRNA hsa-miR-944.
CONCLUSIONS: Integrated molecular characterization of AC and SCC helped identify clinically relevant markers and potential drivers, which are recurrent and stable changes at DNA level that have functional implications at RNA level and have strong association with histological subtypes.

Chen IC, Chiang WF, Liu SY, et al.
Role of SIRT3 in the regulation of redox balance during oral carcinogenesis.
Mol Cancer. 2013; 12:68 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sirtuins (SIRT1-7) are a family of NAD-dependent deacetylases, which play an important role in regulating cancer tumorigenesis; however, their role in oral cancer has been controversial. SIRT3 is localized in the mitochondria, where it deacetylates and activates several enzymes involved in cellular redox balance and defense against oxidative damage.
RESULTS: We found that compared with normal human oral keratinocytes (HOK), SIRT3 is highly expressed in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cell lines, but the enzymatic deacetylation is significantly reduced. We also sequenced the entire coding region of SIRT3 and found the same mutation in 2 different OSCC cell lines. This point mutation is located in close proximity to the active site of deacetylase in the SIRT3 protein, and reduces the overall enzymatic efficiency of deacetylation. Furthermore, up-regulation of SIRT3 inhibited the cell growth of OSCCs and decreased the levels of basal reactive oxygen species (ROS) in both OSCC lines. To verify that the SIRT3 sequence variation was associated with oral carcinogenesis, we sequenced the SIRT3 gene from 21 OSCC patients, and 5 of the 21 patients (23.8%) carried the heterozygous missense mutation, p.Val208Ile. The heterozygous missense mutation in these patients was present in gremlin DNA isolated from both normal and tumor tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide a valuable insight into the potential role of SIRT3 in the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma, by showing that a non-synonymous point mutation in SIRT3 contributes to reduced catalytic activity of the protein and affects redox balance in OSCCs.

Ahn EH, Mercado GE, Laé M, Ladanyi M
Identification of target genes of PAX3-FOXO1 in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 30(2):968-78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a soft tissue sarcoma categorized into two major subtypes: alveolar RMS (ARMS) and embryonal RMS (ERMS). Most ARMS express the PAX3-FOXO1 (P3F) fusion oncoprotein generated by the 2;13 chromosomal translocation. In the present study, the downstream target genes of P3F were identified by analyzing two independent sets of gene expression profiles: primary RMS tumors and RD ERMS cells transduced with inducible P3F constructs. We found 34 potential target genes (27 upregulated and 7 downregulated) that were significantly and differentially expressed between P3F-positive and P3F-negative categories, both in primary RMS tumors and in the inducible P3F cell culture system. Gene ontology analysis of microarray data of the inducible P3F cell culture system employed indicated apoptosis, cell death, development, and signal transduction as overrepresented significant functional categories found in both upregulated and downregulated genes. Therefore, among the 34 potential target genes, the expression of cell death‑related [Gremlin1, cysteine knot superfamily 1, BMP antagonist 1 (GREM1) and death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1)] and development‑related [myogenic differentiation 1 (MYOD1) and hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif 1 (HEY1)] genes were further investigated. The differential expression of GREM1, DAPK1, MYOD1 and HEY1 was confirmed in independent tumors and inducible cell culture systems. The expression of GREM1, DAPK1 and MYOD1 were significantly upregulated; HEY1 was significantly downregulated in independent P3F-positive ARMS tumors and transcriptionally active P3F cells, compared to those in ERMS tumors and transcriptionally inactive P3F cells. This study identified target genes of P3F and suggested that four downstream targets (GREM1, DAPK1, MYOD1 and HEY1) can contribute to the biological activities of P3F involved in growth suppression or cell death and myogenic differentiation.

Maire V, Baldeyron C, Richardson M, et al.
TTK/hMPS1 is an attractive therapeutic target for triple-negative breast cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(5):e63712 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents a subgroup of breast cancers (BC) associated with the most aggressive clinical behavior. No targeted therapy is currently available for the treatment of patients with TNBC. In order to discover potential therapeutic targets, we searched for protein kinases that are overexpressed in human TNBC biopsies and whose silencing in TNBC cell lines causes cell death. A cohort including human BC biopsies obtained at Institut Curie as well as normal tissues has been analyzed at a gene-expression level. The data revealed that the human protein kinase monopolar spindle 1 (hMPS1), also known as TTK and involved in mitotic checkpoint, is specifically overexpressed in TNBC, compared to the other BC subgroups and healthy tissues. We confirmed by immunohistochemistry and reverse phase protein array that TNBC expressed higher levels of TTK protein compared to the other BC subgroups. We then determined the biological effects of TTK depletion by RNA interference, through analyses of tumorigenic capacity and cell viability in different human TNBC cell lines. We found that RNAi-mediated depletion of TTK in various TNBC cell lines severely compromised their viability and their ability to form colonies in an anchorage-independent manner. Moreover, we observed that TTK silencing led to an increase in H2AX phosphorylation, activation of caspases 3/7, sub-G1 cell population accumulation and high annexin V staining, as well as to a decrease in G1 phase cell population and an increased aneuploidy. Altogether, these data indicate that TTK depletion in TNBC cells induces apoptosis. These results point out TTK as a protein kinase overexpressed in TNBC that may represent an attractive therapeutic target specifically for this poor prognosis associated subgroup of breast cancer.

Karagiannis GS, Berk A, Dimitromanolakis A, Diamandis EP
Enrichment map profiling of the cancer invasion front suggests regulation of colorectal cancer progression by the bone morphogenetic protein antagonist, gremlin-1.
Mol Oncol. 2013; 7(4):826-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cancer invasion front (CIF), a spatially-recognized area due to the frequent presence of peritumoral desmoplastic reaction, represents a cancer site where many hallmarks of cancer metastasis occur. It is now strongly suggested that the desmoplastic microenvironment holds crucial information for determining tumor development and progression. Despite extensive research on tumor-host cell interactions at CIFs, the exact paracrine molecular network that is hardwired into the proteome of the stromal and cancer subpopulations remains partially understood. Here, we interrogated the signaling pathways and the molecular functional signatures across the proteome of a desmoplastic coculture model system of colorectal cancer progression. We discovered a group of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonists that coordinates major biological programs in CIFs, including cell proliferation, invasion, migration and differentiation processes. Using a mathematical model of cancer cell progression, coupled to in vitro cell migration assays, we demonstrated that the prominent BMP antagonist gremlin-1 (GREM1) may trigger motility of cancer cell cohorts. Our data collectively demonstrate that the desmoplastic CIFs deploy a microenvironmental signature, based on BMP antagonism, in order to regulate the motogenic fates of cancer cell cohorts invading the adjacent stroma.

Ahn EH
Regulation of target genes of PAX3-FOXO1 in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(5):2029-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The majority of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) are distinguished through the paired box 3-forkhead box protein O1 (PAX3-FOXO1) fusion oncoprotein, being generated by a 2;13 chromosomal translocation. This fusion-positive ARMS is the most clinically difficult type of rhabdomyosarcoma. The present study characterized four genes [gremlin 1 (GREM1), death-associated protein kinase-1 (DAPK1), myogenic differentiation-1 (MYOD1), and hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif-1 (HEY1)] as targets of PAX3-FOXO1.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expression of the four genes, PAX3-FOXO1, and v-myc myelocytomatosis viral-related oncogene, neuroblastoma-derived (avian) (MYCN) was determined in various ARMS cell models and primary tumors. The roles of PAX3-FOXO1 and MYCN expression were examined.
RESULTS: Pulse-chase and cycloheximide experiments suggest that GREM1, DAPK1, and MYOD1 are directly regulated by PAX3-FOXO1. PAX3-FOXO1 appears to indirectly down-regulate HEY1 by up-regulating MYCN. Data reveal that the growth-suppressive activity of high PAX3-FOXO1 expression is closely-associated with up-regulation of the GREM1 and DAPK1 tumor-suppressor genes.
CONCLUSION: This study characterized four downstream targets of PAX3-FOXO1 that contribute to the biological activities of growth suppression and myogenic differentiation.

Rachidi SM, Qin T, Sun S, et al.
Molecular profiling of multiple human cancers defines an inflammatory cancer-associated molecular pattern and uncovers KPNA2 as a uniform poor prognostic cancer marker.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(3):e57911 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Immune evasion is one of the recognized hallmarks of cancer. Inflammatory responses to cancer can also contribute directly to oncogenesis. Since the immune system is hardwired to protect the host, there is a possibility that cancers, regardless of their histological origins, endow themselves with a common and shared inflammatory cancer-associated molecular pattern (iCAMP) to promote oncoinflammation. However, the definition of iCAMP has not been conceptually and experimentally investigated.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: Genome-wide cDNA expression data was analyzed for 221 normal and 324 cancer specimens from 7 cancer types: breast, prostate, lung, colon, gastric, oral and pancreatic. A total of 96 inflammatory genes with consistent dysregulation were identified, including 44 up-regulated and 52 down-regulated genes. Protein expression was confirmed by immunohistochemistry for some of these genes. The iCAMP contains proteins whose roles in cancer have been implicated and others which are yet to be appreciated. The clinical significance of many iCAMP genes was confirmed in multiple independent cohorts of colon and ovarian cancer patients. In both cases, better prognosis correlated strongly with high CXCL13 and low level of GREM1, LOX, TNFAIP6, CD36, and EDNRA. An "Inflammatory Gene Integrated Score" was further developed from the combination of 18 iCAMP genes in ovarian cancer, which predicted overall survival. Noticeably, as a selective nuclear import protein whose immuno-regulatory function just begins to emerge, karyopherin alpha 2 (KPNA2) is uniformly up-regulated across cancer types. For the first time, the cancer-specific up-regulation of KPNA2 and its clinical significance were verified by tissue microarray analysis in colon and head-neck cancers.
CONCLUSION: This work defines an inflammatory signature shared by seven epithelial cancer types and KPNA2 as a consistently up-regulated protein in cancer. Identification of iCAMP may not only serve as a novel biomarker for prognostication and individualized treatment of cancer, but also have significant biological implications.

Galamb O, Wichmann B, Sipos F, et al.
Dysplasia-carcinoma transition specific transcripts in colonic biopsy samples.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(11):e48547 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The early molecular detection of the dysplasia-carcinoma transition may enhance the strength of diagnosis in the case of colonic biopsies. Our aims were to identify characteristic transcript sets in order to develop diagnostic mRNA expression patterns for objective classification of benign and malignant colorectal diseases and to test the classificatory power of these markers on an independent sample set.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Colorectal cancer (CRC) and adenoma specific transcript sets were identified using HGU133plus2 microarrays and 53 biopsies (22 CRC, 20 adenoma and 11 normal). Ninety-four independent biopsies (27 CRC, 29 adenoma and 38 normal) were analyzed on microarrays for testing the classificatory power of the discriminatory genes. Array real-time PCR validation was done on 68 independent samples (24 CRC, 24 adenoma and 20 normal). A set of 11 transcripts (including CXCL1, CHI3L1 and GREM1) was determined which could correctly discriminate between high-grade dysplastic adenoma and CRC samples by 100% sensitivity and 88.9% specificity. The discriminatory power of the marker set was proved to be high on independent samples in both microarray and RT-PCR analyses. 95.6% of original and 94.1% of cross-validated samples was correctly classified in discriminant analysis.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The identified transcripts could correctly characterize the dysplasia-carcinoma transition in biopsy samples, also on a large independent sample set. These markers can establish the basis of gene expression based diagnostic classification of colorectal cancer. Diagnostic RT-PCR cards can become part of the automated routine procedure.

Kalmar A, Wichmann B, Galamb O, et al.
Gene expression analysis of normal and colorectal cancer tissue samples from fresh frozen and matched formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens after manual and automated RNA isolation.
Methods. 2013; 59(1):S16-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although RNA isolation is a routine process in gene expression analysis studies, the applicability of most widely available formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples is still limited compared to fresh frozen tissue samples due to the lower quality of the isolated RNA. Recently, novel automated isolation methods were developed in order to reduce manual sample handling and increase RNA quality and quantity. Here we present a comparison of the performance of fresh frozen and matched FFPE tissue samples obtained from the same surgically removed colonic specimens (10 normal, 10 CRC) in RT-PCR experiments. RNA isolations were performed with the automated MagNA Pure 96 Cellular RNA Large Volume Kit (Roche) compared to the manual RNeasy FFPE Mini Kit (Qiagen). Gene expression analysis of a colorectal cancer-specific marker set (with 7 genes: COL12A1, CXCL1, CXCL2, GREM1, IL1B, IL8, SLC7A5) was performed with array real-time PCR using Transcriptor First Strand cDNA Synthesis Kit (Roche) and RealTime ready assays on LightCycler® 480 System (Roche). On the basis of the gene expression of the analyzed markers, fresh frozen tumorous and normal samples could be distinguished with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity after both isolation methods. The FFPE samples could be distinguished by similarly high specificity and sensitivity with the MagNA Pure 96 isolated samples (sensitivity: 90,0%; specificity: 90,0%) and the samples isolated with manual Qiagen method (sensitivity: 85,0%; specificity: 70,0%). According to these results, FFPE samples isolated by automated methods can serve as valuable source for retrospective gene expression studies in the field of biomarker discovery and development.

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