Research IndicatorsGraph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (4)
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).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: KRT19 (cancer-related)
Cho Y, Cho EJ, Lee JH, et al.Fucoidan-induced ID-1 suppression inhibits the in vitro and in vivo invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 83:607-616 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a fast growing tumor associated with a high tendency for vascular invasion and distant metastasis. Recently, we reported that fucoidan displays inhibitory effect on proliferation and invasion of HCC cells. In this study, we investigated the anti-metastatic effect of fucoidan on HCC cells and the key signal that modulates metastasis. The anti-metastatic effect of fucoidan was evaluated in vitro using an invasion assay with human HCC cells (Huh-7, SNU-761, and SNU-3085) under both normoxic (20% O2 and 5% CO2, at 37°C) and hypoxic (1% O2, 5% CO2, and 94% N2, at 37°C) conditions. Complementary DNA (cDNA) microarray analysis was performed to find the molecule which is significantly suppressed by fucoidan. In vivo study using a distant metastasis model by injecting SNU-761 cells into spleen via portal vein was performed to confirm the inhibitory effect by small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection. Immunoblot analyses were used to investigate the signaling pathway. Fucoidan significantly suppressed the invasion of human HCC cells (Huh-7, SNU-761, and SNU-3085). Using cDNA microarray analysis, we found the molecule, ID-1, which was significantly suppressed by fucoidan treatment. Downregulation of ID-1 by siRNA significantly decreased invasion of HCC cells, both in vitro and in vivo (both P<0.05) in a NDRG-1/CAP43-dependent manner. In immunoblot assay, downregulation of ID-1 by siRNA decreased the expressions of epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers including CK19, vimentin, MMP2, and fibronectin. Immunofluorescence study also revealed that actin rearrangement was inhibited when ID-1 was down-regulated in HCC cells. Interestingly, in SNU-761 cells, the ID-1 expressions under hypoxic conditions were lower as compared to those under normoxic conditions. Under hypoxic conditions, HIF-1α up-regulated NDRG-1/CAP43, while HIF-2α down-regulated ID-1, which might be a compensatory phenomenon against hypoxia-induced HCC invasion. In conclusion, NDRG-1/CAP43-dependent down-regulation of ID-1 suppressed HCC invasion both in vitro and in vivo, which was modulated by fucoidan treatment. Moreover, the compensatory down-regulation of ID-1 against hypoxia-induced HCC invasion was observed. ID-1 is a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of metastatic HCC.
Alizadeh Shargh S, Movafagh A, Zarghami N, et al.Detection of Superior Markers for Polymerase Chain Reaction Diagnosis of Breast Cancer Micrometastasis in Sentinel Lymph Nodes.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016; 17 Spec No.:179-83 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer among women around the world, and mortality is primarily caused by micro-metastatic disease. The complex mechanisms of breast cancer invasion and metastasis are intrinsically related to the malignant cell type so that early detection of micro-metastases can help prolongation of survival for patient. The aim of the present research work was evaluation of the expression status of mammoglobin protein as a candidate molecular marker in the negative sentinel lymph node (SLN). Fifty tumor specimens, and 50 normal adjacent breast tissue samples from the same patients were selected on the basis of having more than 10% tumor content for RNA extraction from SLNs. Tumor samples and normal adjacent breast tissue were archived in the form of frozen fresh tissue in liquid nitrogen. Real-time PCR was performed on a Bioner life express gradient thermal cycler system. Mammoglobin gene overexpression in breast cancer metastasis was investigated. Single marker results were mammaglobin 66.7% and CK19 50.0%, with 58.3% for the two in combination. Due to improved outcome with at least 3 genes (83.3%), it seems, triple marker evaluation will be most likely useful for detecting micro-metastases instead of studying separate genes.
Lu JC, Zhang YPE2F, HSF2, and miR-26 in thyroid carcinoma: bioinformatic analysis of RNA-sequencing data.
Genet Mol Res. 2016; 15(1):15017576 [PubMed
] Related Publications
In this study, we examined the molecular mechanism of thyroid carcinoma (THCA) using bioinformatics. RNA-sequencing data of THCA (N = 498) and normal thyroid tissue (N = 59) were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Next, gene expression levels were calculated using the TCC package and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified using the edgeR package. A co-expression network was constructed using the EBcoexpress package and visualized by Cytoscape, and functional and pathway enrichment of DEGs in the co-expression network was analyzed with DAVID and KOBAS 2.0. Moreover, modules in the co-expression network were identified and annotated using MCODE and BiNGO plugins. Small-molecule drugs were analyzed using the cMAP database, and miRNAs and transcription factors regulating DEGs were identified by WebGestalt. A total of 254 up-regulated and 59 down-regulated DEGs were identified between THCA samples and controls. DEGs enriched in biological process terms were related to cell adhesion, death, and growth and negatively correlated with various small-molecule drugs. The co-expression network of the DEGs consisted of hub genes (ITGA3, TIMP1, KRT19, and SERPINA1) and one module (JUN, FOSB, and EGR1). Furthermore, 5 miRNAs and 5 transcription factors were identified, including E2F, HSF2, and miR-26. miR-26 may participate in THCA by targeting CITED1 and PLA2R1; E2F may participate in THCA by regulating ITGA3, TIMP1, KRT19, EGR1, and JUN; HSF2 may be involved in THCA development by regulating SERPINA1 and FOSB; and small-molecule drugs may have anti-THCA effects. Our results provide novel directions for mechanistic studies and drug design of THCA.
This retrospective study was designed to investigate the correlation between a novel immunosubtyping method for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and biological behavior of tumor cells. A series of 346 patients, who received hepatectomy at two surgical centers from January 2007 to October 2010, were enrolled in this study. The expressions of cytokeratin 19 (CK19), glypican 3 (GPC3), and CD34 were detected by immunohistochemical staining. The clinical stage was assessed using the sixth edition tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) system (UICC/AJCC, 2010).Vascular invasion comprised both microscopic and macroscopic invasion. The tumor size, lymph node involvement, and metastasis were determined by pathological as well as imaging studies. Recurrence was defined as the appearance of new lesions with radiological features typical of HCC, seen by at least two imaging methods. Survival curves for the patients were plotted using the Kaplan-Meier method, and differences between the curves were assessed using the log-rank test. Significant differences in morphology, histological grading, and TNM staging were observed between groups. Based on the immunohistochemical staining, the enrolled cases were divided into CK19+/GPC3+, CK19-/GPC3+ and CK19-/GPC3- three subtypes. CK19+/GPC3+ HCC has the highest risk of multifocality, microvascular invasion, regional lymph node involvement, and distant metastasis, followed by CK19-/GPC3+ HCC, then CK19-/GPC3-HCC. CK19+/GPC3+ HCC has the shortest recurrence time compared to other immunophenotype HCCs. CK19 and GPC3 expression profiling is an independent prognostic indicator in patients with HCC, and a larger sample size is needed to further investigate the effect of this immunosubtyping model in stratifying the outcome of HCC patients.
BACKGROUND: Cytokines are involved in cancer invasion and metastasis. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) play key role in tumor dissemination and are an independent survival predictor in breast cancer patients. The aim of this study was to assess correlation between CTCs and plasma cytokines in primary breast cancer (PBC) patients.
METHODS: This study included 147 chemotherapy naïve PBC patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were depleted of hematopoetic cells using RossetteSep™ negative selection kit. RNA extracted from CD45-depleted PBMC was interrogated for expression of EMT (Twist1, Snail1, Slug, Zeb1) and epithelial (Ck19) gene transcripts by qRT-PCR. The concentrations of 51 plasma cytokines were measured using multiplex bead arrays.
RESULTS: CTCs were detected in 25.2% patients. CTCs exhibiting only epithelial markers (CTC_EP) and only EMT markers (CTC_EMT) were present evenly in 11.6% patients, while CTCs co-expressing both markers were detected in 2.0% patients. Patients with presence of CTC_EP in peripheral blood had significantly elevated levels of plasma IFN-α2, IL-3, MCP-3, β-NGF, SCF, SCGF-β, TNF-β and SDF-1 compared to patients without CTC_EP. CTC_EP exhibited overexpression of SDF-1 receptor and CXCR4, but not other corresponding cytokine receptor, and in multivariate analysis SDF-1 was independently associated with CTC_EP. There was an inverse correlation between CTC_EMT and plasma cytokines CTACK, β-NGF and TRAIL, while presence of either subtype of CTCs was associated with increased level of TGF-β2.
CONCLUSION: Using cytokine profiling, we identified cytokines associated with CTCs subpopulations in peripheral blood of PBC. Our data suggest that CXCR4-SDF-1 axis is involved in mobilization and trafficking of epithelial CTCs.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most deadly human cancers due to its ability of invasion and metastasis. Thus, the approaches to identify potential compounds that inhibit invasion and metastasis of HCC are critical for treatment of this disease. In the present study, we used HCCLM9 cells with high metastatic potential and MHCC97L with low metastatic potential as a model system to study the molecular mechanisms of HCC metastasis. By applying cell- Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential enrichment (SELEX) against living cells, we used HCCLM9 as target cells and MHCC97L cells as control to screen a group of HCC metastasis- and cell-specific DNA aptamers. One of selected aptamers, LY-1, could specifically bind to metastatic HCC with a dissociation constant (Kd) in nanomolar range. In vitro studies demonstrated that LY-1 can recognize and bind to membrane protein of metastatic HCC cells. Furthermore, QD605 labeled LY-1 aptamer could recognize HCC cells in both local liver cancer tissues and pulmonary metastatic sites in a xenograft model of HCC with pulmonary metastasis. Further biochemical and immunostaining studies showed that LY-1 could selectively bind to a subpopulation of more metastatic cells in HCCLM9 cells, which express more CK19 and vimentin. Finally, treatment of highly metastatic cells with LY-1 led to reduced migration and invasiveness of HCCLM9 cells in vitro and suppression of xenograft growth in vivo. Taken together, the present study demonstrated the tumor targeting and tumor suppressive effects of LY-1, which could be a promising molecular probe for metastatic HCC and a potential candidate of chemotherapy for metastatic HCC.
A high level of serum alpha fetoprotein (AFP) is positively associated with human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) carcinogenesis and metastasis; however, the function of AFP in HCC metastasis is unknown. This study has explored the effects of AFP on regulating metastatic and invasive capacity of human HCC cells. Forty-seven clinical patients' liver samples were collected and diagnosed; HCC cells line, Bel 7402 cells (AFP-producing) and liver cancer cell line cells (non-AFP-producing) were selected to analyse the role of AFP in the metastasis of HCC cells. The results indicated that high serum concentration of AFP was positively correlated with HCC intrahepatic, lymph nodes and lung metastasis. Repressed expression of AFP significantly inhibited the capability of migration and invasion of Bel 7402 cells, expression of keratin 19 (K19), epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), matrix metalloproteinase 2/9 (MMP2/9) and CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) were also down-regulated in Bel 7402 cells; migration and invasion, expression of K19, EpCAM, MMP2/9 and CXCR4 were significantly enhanced when HLE cells were transfected with AFP-expressed vector. The results demonstrated that AFP plays a critical role in promoting metastasis of HCC; AFP promoted HCC cell invasion and metastasis via up-regulating expression of metastasis-related proteins. Thus, AFP may be used as a novel therapeutic target for treating HCC patients.
Cervical lymph node metastasis is an important prognostic factor in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), but its accurate assessment after sentinel node biopsy or neck dissection is often limited to the histopathological examination of only one or two sections. Previous our study showed the usefulness of the reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) targeting keratin 19 (KRT19) mRNA for the genetic detection of lymph node metastasis, but the sensitivity was insufficient. Here, we have attempted to identify novel molecular markers for OSCC cells in lymph nodes. We performed microarray analysis to identify genes overexpressed in 7 metastatic lymph nodes from OSCC patients, compared to 1 normal lymph node and 5 salivary glands from non-cancer patients. We then used real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and RT-LAMP to compare the expression of these genes in newly resected metastatic and normal lymph nodes. Of 4 genes identified by microarray analysis, annexin A8 (ANXA8) and desmoglein 3 mRNA were detected by qRT-PCR in metastatic lymph nodes but not in normal lymph nodes. Furthermore, ANXA8 mRNA expression was detected in all KRT19-negative metastatic lymph nodes. Both KRT19 and ANXA8 mRNA may be useful markers for detecting lymph node metastases in OSCC patients.
Uawisetwathana U, Rodpai E, Moongkarndi PGene expression of cytokeratin 19 and its molecular detection in human breast cancer cell lines.
J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2016; 120:25-31 [PubMed
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Cytokeratins have been identified as useful tools in oncology diagnostics. In this study, cytokeratin19 (CK19) expression was studied in three human breast cancer cell lines, SKBR3, BT549, and BT474 using RT-PCR. CK19 was expressed in tumor cell of different origin, showing higher expression in invasive breast cancer with ER(+) (BT474) than invasive breast cancer with ER(-) (BT549) and breast adenocarcinoma with ER(-) (SKBR3). Two primer sets were used to evaluate CK19 expression. Primer set I (hCK19/1) and primer set II (hCK19/2) were used to amplify the CK19 human gene at a 215bp and 384bp, respectively, whereas PBMC and RAW264.7 (mouse macrophage) no detectable PCR products were obtained. The sensitivity for detection was determined by two methods, i.e., cDNA dilution (the dilution of cDNA from RNA of breast cancer cells) and cell dilution (the dilution of breast cancer cells in PBMC). hCK19/2 was more sensitive than hCK19/1. In cDNA dilution, the lower limits of primer set II for detection were 400, 40 and 40 cells for SKBR3, BT549 and BT474 cells, respectively. While in cell dilution all of the 3 breast cancer cells could be detected at 1 cancer cell in 10(4), 10(6) and 10(5) PBMC, respectively. The data supported the possibility that CK19 could be detected and be the marker for breast cancer in patient blood.
Mu X, Pradere JP, Affò S, et al.Epithelial Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling Does Not Contribute to Liver Fibrosis but Protects Mice From Cholangiocarcinoma.
Gastroenterology. 2016; 150(3):720-33 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) exerts key functions in fibrogenic cells, promoting fibrosis development in the liver and other organs. In contrast, the functions of TGFβ in liver epithelial cells are not well understood, despite their high level of responsiveness to TGFβ. We sought to determine the contribution of epithelial TGFβ signaling to hepatic fibrogenesis and carcinogenesis.
METHODS: TGFβ signaling in liver epithelial cells was inhibited by albumin-Cre-, K19-CreERT-, Prom1-CreERT2-, or AAV8-TBG-Cre-mediated deletion of the floxed TGFβ receptor II gene (Tgfbr2). Liver fibrosis was induced by carbon tetrachloride, bile duct ligation, or disruption of the multidrug-resistance transporter 2 gene (Mdr2). Hepatocarcinogenesis was induced by diethylnitrosamine or hepatic deletion of PTEN.
RESULTS: Deletion of Tgfbr2 from liver epithelial cells did not alter liver injury, toxin-induced or biliary fibrosis, or diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. In contrast, epithelial deletion of Tgfbr2 promoted tumorigenesis and reduced survival of mice with concomitant hepatic deletion of Pten, accompanied by an increase in tumor number and a shift from hepatocellular carcinoma to cholangiocarcinoma. Surprisingly, both hepatocyte- and cholangiocyte-specific deletion of Pten and Tgfbr2 promoted the development of cholangiocarcinoma, but with different latencies. The prolonged latency and the presence of hepatocyte-derived cholangiocytes after AAV8-TBG-Cre-mediated deletion of Tgfbr2 and Pten indicated that cholangiocarcinoma might arise from hepatocyte-derived cholangiocytes in this model. Pten deletion resulted in up-regulation of Tgfbr2, and deletion of Tgfbr2 increased cholangiocyte but not hepatocyte proliferation, indicating that the main function of epithelial TGFBR2 is to restrict cholangiocyte proliferation.
CONCLUSIONS: Epithelial TGFβ signaling does not contribute to the development of liver fibrosis or formation of hepatocellular carcinomas in mice, but restricts cholangiocyte proliferation to prevent cholangiocarcinoma development, regardless of its cellular origin.
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) may be responsible for tumour recurrence and resistance to chemotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study was carried out to evaluate the association between histological parameters and liver CSCs (LCSC) in HCC, and to compare distribution of liver CSCs in HCC associated with and without hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
METHODS: Seventy nine tumours (49 surgical resections from 46 patients, and 30 from autopsy) were reviewed. Immunohistochemical staining for the LCSC marker EpCAM (epithelial cell adhesion molecule), liver progenitor cell (LPC) markers CK19 (cytokeratin 19) and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) were performed and were associated with histological features of tumour behaviour.
RESULTS: Thirty three tumours (41.8%) showed positive staining for EpCAM. CK19 and NCAM expression were seen in 26 (32.9%) and four (5.1%) tumours, respectively. The expression of EpCAM and CK19 was significantly associated with each other ( P<0.001). EpCAM expression was significantly associated with clinical and histological features indicating aggressive tumour behaviour, including younger age of onset, higher serum alpha foetoprotein (AFP) levels, tumour cell dedifferentiation, increased mitotic activity, and vascular invasiveness. There was no significant difference in expression of EpCAM, CK19 and NCAM between HBV positive and negative HCC.
INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSIONS: The LCSC marker EpCAM was expressed in less than half of HCC, was independent of HBV aetiology, and was strongly associated with clinical and histological features of aggressive tumour behaviour. Positive staining for CK19 suggests a possible LPC origin of the EpCAM positive HCCs.
Govaere O, Wouters J, Petz M, et al.Laminin-332 sustains chemoresistance and quiescence as part of the human hepatic cancer stem cell niche.
J Hepatol. 2016; 64(3):609-17 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are thought to be persistent in tumours due to their chemoresistance and to cause relapse and metastasis. Hepatic carcinomas displaying hepatic progenitor cell (HPC) features have been associated with a poor prognosis, though it remains unclear how CSCs relate to these different histological subtypes.
METHODS: Candidate CSCs were isolated using the side population (SP) technique from primary tissue samples diagnosed as keratin(K)19-negative or -positive hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or as combined hepatocellular/cholangiocarcinoma and analysed for gene and protein expression. The effect of laminin-332 was analysed in vitro by using HCC cell lines and in vivo using a xenograft mouse model.
RESULTS: The size of the SP correlated with the degree of HPC features found in human hepatic cancer, and also showed an elevated mRNA expression of biliary/HPC markers and the extracellular matrix marker LAMC2, the gene encoding the laminin γ2-chain. Immunopositivity for the γ2-chain of laminin-332 was seen in the extracellular matrix surrounding small HPC-like tumour cells with a low proliferation rate. In vitro, laminin-332 increased K19 expression, phosphorylated mTOR and decreased phospho-histone H3 expression, indicating reduced cell mitosis. The effect of laminin-332 was enhanced upon mTORC1 inhibition and diminished when inhibiting mTORC1+C2. Resistance to doxorubicin and sorafenib treatment, and the SP fraction increased in the coated condition. In vivo, laminin-332 reduced tumour growth and sustained K19 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study we identified a prominent role for laminin-332 as part of the specialised CSC niche in maintaining and supporting cell 'stemness', which leads to chemoresistance and quiescence.
Pang YB, Zhong JH, Luo XL, et al.Clinicopathological characteristics and liver stem cell marker expression in hepatocellular carcinoma involving bile duct tumor thrombi.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):5879-84 [PubMed
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The aim of this study was to analyze the clinicopathological characteristics and expression of liver stem cell markers of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) involving bile duct tumor thrombi (BDTT). A total of 35 patients with HCC and BDTT in a consecutive series of HCC patients who underwent surgical treatment were studied retrospectively and compared with 916 patients without BDTT from the same series. Clinicopathological characteristics, overall survival (OS), and tumor expression of liver stem cell markers CD133, CD90, EpCAM, CK19, VEGF, and C-kit were compared between the two patient groups. Analysis was performed for the entire patient groups as well as for 35 pairs of patients with or without BDTT matched by propensity score. HCC patients with BDTT tended to have smaller tumors than those without BDTT, as well as a higher probability of having poorly differentiated tumor, Child-Pugh class B, liver cirrhosis, and microvascular invasion. Tumor tissue in patients with BDTT showed significantly higher expression rates of all liver stem cell markers examined. OS was significantly lower for patients with BDTT at 1 year (69 vs 84 %), 3 years (37 vs 64 %), and 5 years (20 vs 55 %) (P < 0.001). Patients with HCC and BDTT show lower OS than patients without BDTT. The higher frequency of liver stem cell marker expression in the presence of BDTT suggests that such stem cells may play a role in the pathogenesis of this form of HCC.
BACKGROUND: Although some molecularly targeted drugs for colorectal cancer are used clinically and contribute to a better prognosis, the current median survival of advanced colorectal cancer patients is not sufficient. Autophagy, a basic cell survival mechanism mediated by recycling of cellular amino acids, plays an important role in cancer. Recently, autophagy has been highlighted as a promising new molecular target. The unfolded protein response (UPR) reportedly act in complementary fashion with autophagy in intestinal homeostasis. However, the roles of UPR in colon cancer under autophagic inhibition remain to be elucidated. We aim to clarify the inhibitory effect of autophagy on colon cancer.
METHODS: We crossed K19 (CreERT) and Atg5 (flox/flox) mice to generate Atg5 (flox/flox)/K19 (CreERT) mice. Atg5 (flox/flox)/K19 (CreERT) mice were first treated with azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate and then injected with tamoxifen to inhibit autophagy in CK19-positive epithelial cells. To examine the anti-cancer mechanisms of autophagic inhibition, we used colon cancer cell lines harboring different p53 gene statuses, as well as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting Atg5 and immunoglobulin heavy-chain binding protein (BiP), a chaperone to aid folding of unfolded proteins.
RESULTS: Colon tumors in Atg5 (flox/flox)/K19 (CreERT) mice showed loss of autophagic activity and decreased tumor size (the total tumor diameter was 28.1 mm in the control and 20.7 mm in Atg5 (flox/flox)/K19 (CreERT) mice, p = 0.036). We found that p53 and UPR/endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-related proteins, such as cleaved caspase 3, and CAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein, are up-regulated in colon tumors of Atg5 (flox/flox)/K19 (CreERT) mice. Although Atg5 and BiP silencing, respectively, increased apoptosis in p53 wild type cells, Atg5 silencing alone did not show the same effect on apoptosis in p53 mutant cells. However, co-transfection of Atg5 and BiP siRNAs led to increased apoptosis in p53 mutant cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Blocking autophagy has potential in the treatment of colon cancer by inducing apoptosis via p53 and ER stress, and suppressing the UPR pathway is a valid strategy to overcome resistance to autophagic inhibition.
Biliary tract carcinoma is a rare malignancy with multiple causes, which underlie the different genetic and molecular profiles. Cancer cell lines are affordable models, reflecting the characteristics of the tumor of origin. They represent useful tools to identify molecular targets for treatment. Here, we established and characterized from biological, molecular, and genetic point of view, an Italian intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cell line (ICC), the MT-CHC01. MT-CHC01 cells were isolated from a tumor-derived xenograft. Immunophenotypical characterization was evaluated both at early and after stabilization passages. In vitro biological, genetic, and molecular features were also investigated. In vivo tumorigenicity was assessed in NOD/SCID mice. MT-CHC01cells retain epithelial cell markers, EPCAM, CK7, and CK19, and some stemness and pluripotency markers, i.e., SOX2, Nanog, CD49f/integrin-α6, CD24, PDX1, FOXA2, and CD133. They grow as a monolayer, with a population double time of about 40 h; they show a low migration and invasion potential. In low attachment conditions, they are able to form spheres and to growth in anchorage-independent manner. After subcutaneous injection, they retain in vivo tumorigenicity; the expression of biliary markers as CA19-9 and CEA were maintained from primary tumor. The karyotype is highly complex, with a hypotriploid to hypertriploid modal number (3n+/-) (52 to 77 chromosomes); low level of HER2 gene amplification, TP53 deletion, gain of AURKA were identified; K-RAS G12D mutation were maintained from primary tumor to MT-CHC01 cells. We established the first ICC cell line derived from an Italian patient. It will help to study either the biology of this tumor or to test drugs both in vitro and in vivo.
Metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) are malignant neuroendocrine tumors frequently associated with germline mutations in the SDHB gene. SDHB-mutated PPGL display a hypermethylator phenotype associated with hallmarks of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). In the present study, we report the characterization of a unique model of Sdhb knockout in mouse chromaffin cells. Sdhb deficient cells exhibit a metastatic phenotype as highlighted by increased individual cell migration (characterized by faster motility and increased persistence) as well as high invasive and adhesion abilities. This phenotype is associated with the modulation of Twist1, Twist2, Tcf3, Snai1, N-cadherin or Krt19 expression, reflecting an EMT-like reprogramming of cells. Krt19 is epigenetically silenced in Sdhb-deficient cells and re-expressed after treatment by the demethylating agent decitabine. Krt19 rescue by lentiviral transduction in Sdhb-deficient cells and Krt19 inhibition by RNA interference in wild-type cells were performed. Both studies revealed the involvement of KRT19 in the invasive phenotype by modulating collective and individual migration and cell/extra-cellular matrix adhesion properties. These findings underline the role of hypermethylation and EMT in the in vitro acquisition of metastatic properties, following SDHB loss of function.
Kubisch I, de Albuquerque A, Schuppan D, et al.Prognostic Role of a Multimarker Analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells in Advanced Gastric and Gastroesophageal Adenocarcinomas.
Oncology. 2015; 89(5):294-303 [PubMed
] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to assess the prognostic value of circulating tumor cells (CTC) in patients with advanced gastric and gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas.
METHODS: The presence of CTC was evaluated in 62 patients with advanced gastric and gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas before systemic therapy and at follow-up through immunomagnetic enrichment for mucin 1- and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-positive cells, followed by real-time RT-PCR of the tumor-associated genes KRT19, MUC1, EPCAM, CEACAM5 and BIRC5.
RESULTS: The patients were stratified into groups according to CTC detection (CTC negative: with all marker genes negative; CTC positive: with at least 1 of the marker genes positive). Patients who were CTC positive at baseline had a significantly shorter median progression-free survival (PFS; 3.5 months, 95% CI: 2.9-4.2) and overall survival (OS; 5.8 months, 95% CI: 4.5-7.0) than patients lacking CTC (PFS 10.7 months, 95% CI: 6.9-14.4, p<0.001; OS 13.3 months, 95% CI: 8.0-18.6, p=0.003). Alterations in the marker profile during the course of chemotherapy were not predictive of clinical outcome or response to therapy. Yet, a favorable clinical response depended significantly on CTC negativity (p=0.03).
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that the presence of CTC is a major predictor of outcome in patients with gastric and gastroesophageal malignancies.
Miltiadous O, Sia D, Hoshida Y, et al.Progenitor cell markers predict outcome of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma beyond Milan criteria undergoing liver transplantation.
J Hepatol. 2015; 63(6):1368-77 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: In patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver transplantation (LT) is an excellent therapy if tumor characteristics are within the Milan criteria. We aimed to define genomic features enabling to identify HCC patients beyond Milan criteria who have acceptable transplant outcomes.
METHODS: Among 770 consecutive HCC patients transplanted between 1990 and 2013, 132 had tumors exceeding Milan criteria on pathology and were enrolled in the study; 44% of the patients satisfied the 'up-to-7 rule' [7=sum of the size of the largest tumor and the number of tumors]. Explant tumors were assessed for genomic signatures and immunohistochemical markers associated with poor outcome.
RESULTS: At a median follow-up of 88months, 64 patients had died and 45 recurred; the 5-year overall survival (OS) and recurrence rates were 57% and 35%, respectively. Cytokeratin 19 (CK19) gene signature was independently associated with recurrence [Hazard ratio (HR)=2.95, p<0.001], along with tumor size (HR=3.37, p=0.023) and presence of satellites (HR=2.98, p=0.001). S2 subclass signature was independently associated with poor OS (HR=3.18, p=0.001), along with tumor size (HR=5.06, p<0.001) and up-to-7 rule (HR=2.50, p=0.002). Using the presence of progenitor cell markers (either CK19 or S2 signatures) patients were classified into poor prognosis (n=58; 5-year recurrence 53%, survival 45%) and good prognosis (n=74; 5-year recurrence 19%, survival 67%) (HR=3.16, p<0.001 for recurrence, and HR=1.72, p=0.04 for OS).
CONCLUSIONS: HCC patients transplanted beyond Milan criteria without gene signatures of progenitor markers (CK19 and S2) achieved survival rates similar as those within Milan criteria. Once prospectively validated, these markers may support a limited expansion of LT indications.
Nahm JH, Kim H, Lee H, et al.Transforming acidic coiled-coil-containing protein 3 (TACC3) overexpression in hepatocellular carcinomas is associated with "stemness" and epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related marker expression and a poor prognosis.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(1):393-403 [PubMed
] Related Publications
There is accumulating evidence that hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) expressing "stemness"-related markers, e.g., keratin 19 (K19) and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), are associated with aggressive biological behavior. In order to further investigate the molecular characteristics of this subgroup of HCCs, we examined copy number alterations of K19-positive and K19-negative HCCs and found frequent amplifications of the 4p16.3 locus containing the TACC3 gene, which has previously not been described in HCCs. We performed an immunohistochemical analysis of transforming acidic coiled-coil-containing protein 3 (TACC3) expression in HCCs in whole tissue sections and tissue microarrays and examined the clinicopathological characteristics of TACC3-overexpressing HCCs in relation to stemness-related marker (K19, EpCAM) expression, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins, and survival. Cytoplasmic TACC3 protein expression was seen in 7/7 whole tissue sections of K19-positive HCCs, while TACC3 expression was negative or patchy in K19-negative cases. In the tissue microarray cohort, TACC3 was overexpressed in 105/188 (55.9 %) HCCs and was associated with poor differentiation (p = 0.028), major vascular invasion (p = 0.039), higher tumor stages (p = 0.015), younger age (p = 0.003), higher proliferative activity (p < 0.001), and more frequent multipolar mitoses (p < 0.001). TACC3 expression was significantly correlated with K19 (p = 0.010) and EpCAM (p < 0.001) positivity. In addition, TACC3 overexpression was associated with frequent expression of S100A4, uPAR, and ezrin (p < 0.001, all) and loss of E-cadherin expression (p = 0.014), and overall survival was significantly decreased in patients with TACC3-positive HCCs (p = 0.014). In conclusion, TACC3 overexpression was associated with clinicopathological features of aggressiveness, increased EMT-related protein expression, and poor survival, suggesting a potential role for TACC3 as a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target in HCC.
Gong SC, Cho MY, Lee SW, et al.The meaning of gross tumor type in the aspects of cytokeratin 19 expression and resection margin in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016; 31(1):206-12 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND: There is no consensus on the safe resection margin in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Surgeons decide the extent of resection according to residual liver function and tumor location. We investigated the influence of resection margin on early recurrence with respect to gross tumor type and expression of cytokeratin 19 (CK19).
METHODS: We divided the patients into two groups based on the classification of The Korean Liver Cancer Study group as follows: group 1 included expanding and vaguely nodular types whereas group 2 included nodular with perinodular extension, multinodular confluent, and infiltrative types. We classified the resection margin as narrow (0.1-0.9 cm) or wide (greater than 1 cm). We compared clinicopathological features and CK19 positivity between the groups.
RESULTS: Group 2 had a higher prevalence of gross portal vein invasion, microscopic portal vein invasion, microvessel invasion, satellite nodules, intrahepatic metastasis, multicentric occurrence, and positivity for CK19. Group 1 showed no difference in recurrence according to the resection margin; however, group 2 showed a higher recurrence rate in patients with a narrow resection margin compared with those with a wide resection margin (P = 0.047). Patients in group 2 with CK19 positivity showed a higher prevalence of microvessel invasion than those without CK19 (P = 0.026).
CONCLUSIONS: Although our study has the limitation of a small number of cases, the data suggest that patients with hepatocellular carcinoma of expanding and vaguely nodular gross types may safely undergo surgical resection with a narrow resection margin and a low risk of early recurrence.
Rampisela D, Zreik R, Donner LRThymic Tumor With Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma-Like Features: A Study of a Clinically Favorable Case Followed for 9 Years.
Int J Surg Pathol. 2015; 23(7):557-60 [PubMed
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Thymic tumors with adenoid cystic carcinoma-like features are true rarities, with only 6 cases reported. Our knowledge of their clinical behavior is insufficient. We present a case of a noninvasive cribriform tumor that was followed, including a 4-year period after tumor resection and radiation therapy, for a total of 9 years. The tumor was purely epithelial. It was positive for keratins (AE-1/AE-3, CK19, 34βE12,CK5/6), MOC-31, P63, P40, CD10, and MYB, and was negative for myoepithelial or neuroendocrine markers. Presence of cell processes, desmosome-like junctions with tonofilaments and multifocally reduplicated basal lamina was noted on ultrastructural examination. Two signals of the MYB gene per cell were detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization. No monosomy or translocations of the gene were found. Although additional clinical studies are necessary, it seems that indolent behavior of cribriform noninvasive subset of these tumors may be anticipated.
BACKGROUND: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) play a crucial role in tumor dissemination and are an independent survival predictor in breast cancer (BC) patients. Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is involved in cancer invasion and metastasis. The aim of this study was to assess correlation between CTCs and expression of EMT transcription factors TWIST1 and SLUG in breast tumor tissue.
METHODS: This study included 102 early BC patients treated by primary surgery. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were depleted of hematopoietic cells using RossetteSep™ negative selection kit. RNA extracted from CD45-depleted PBMC was interrogated for expression of EMT (TWIST1, SNAIL1, SLUG, FOXC2 and ZEB1) and epithelial (KRT19) gene transcripts by qRT-PCR. Expression of TWIST1 and SLUG in surgical specimens was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and quantified by multiplicative score.
RESULTS: CTCs were detected in 24.5 % patients. CTCs exhibiting only epithelial markers were present in 8.8 % patients, whereas CTCs with only EMT markers were observed in 12.8 % of pts and CTCs co-expressing both markers were detected in 2.9 % pts. We observed lack of correlation between CTCs and expression of TWIST1 and SLUG in breast cancer cells or cancer associated stroma. Lack of correlation was observed for epithelial CTCs as well as for CTCs with EMT.
CONCLUSIONS: In this translational study, we showed a lack of association between CTCs and expression of EMT-inducing transcription factors, TWIST1 and SLUG, in breast tumor tissue. Despite the fact that EMT is involved in cancer invasion and metastasis our results suggest, that expression of EMT proteins in unselected tumor tissue is not surrogate marker of CTCs with either mesenchymal or epithelial features.
Benzoubir N, Mussini C, Lejamtel C, et al.Gamma-smooth muscle actin expression is associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition and stem-like properties in hepatocellular carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(6):e0130559 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is hampered by frequent tumour recurrence and metastases. Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) is now recognized as a key process in tumour invasion, metastasis and the generation of cancer initiating cells. The morphological identification of EMT in tumour samples from the expression of novel mesenchymal markers could provide relevant prognostic information and aid in understanding the metastatic process.
METHODS: The expression of Smooth Muscle Actins was studied using immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry assays in cultured liver cells during an induced EMT process and in liver specimens from adult and paediatric HCC series.
RESULTS: We report here that in HCC cell lines treated with TGF-β and in HCC specimens, the expression of αSMA, a known mesenchymal marker of EMT, could never be detected. In addition, our in vitro studies identified the enteric form of SMA, γSMA, as being a marker of EMT. Moreover, this SMA isoform was expressed in 46% of 58 tumours from 42 adult HCC patients and in 90% of 16 tumours from 12 paediatric HCC patients. Interestingly, this expression was significantly correlated with poor tumour differentiation and progenitor cell features characterized by the expression of EpCAM and K19.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, our results support the conclusion that γSMA expression in HCC is strongly correlated with the EMT process, HCC aggressiveness and the identification of cancer stem cells. This correlation suggests that γSMA represents a novel and powerful marker to predict HCC progression.
Tian Q, Xue Y, Zheng W, et al.Overexpression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α induces migration and invasion through Notch signaling.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 47(2):728-38 [PubMed
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Choriocarcinoma (CC) is the highest malignant gestational trophoblastic tumor which causes high mortality without timely treatment. HIF-1α is a very important molecule promoting neoplasm aggressiveness, metastasis through the induction of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Several researches have shown that Notch signaling is necessary for coupling hypoxia to the EMT. However, the pathway in choriocarcinoma remains undetermined. In this study, overexpression of HIF-1α inhibited epithelial index E-cadherin, cytokeratin 18 (CK18) and cytokeratin 19 (CK19) in two choriocarcinoma cell lines (JAR and JEG-3, respectively). The reciprocal changes associated with the EMT phenotypic transformation. The migration and invasive capability was significantly enhanced. HIF-1α overexpression was positively correlated with Notch1 and Hes1 (P<0.01; respectively). Using DAPT (Notch1 inhibitor) to knock down Notch1 expression, morphological and molecular typical changes of the EMT were detected in vitro. Knockdown of Notch1 prominently reduced MMP2 and MMP9 activities, and increased E-cadherin, CK18 and CK19 expression in JAR and JEG-3 cells (P<0.01). In vivo, serum-free suspension containing 5x106 JAR cells (lv-HIF-1α and lv-NC, respecticely) were implanted subcutaneously or injected intravenously into female NOD SCID mice, which were injected with DAPT or DMSO six times at 3-day intervals. Mice with subcutaneous nodules were injected i.v. fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) and then scanned in small animal PET/CT (SA-PET/CT), and mice with lung metastasis were monitored by using the in vivo imaging system (IVIS). The in vivo data showed that inhibition of Notch signaling by DAPT treatment effectively suppressed metastatic tumor growth, metabolic activity and invasion. In summary, overexpression of HIF-1α promotes choriocarcinoma cell aggressiveness and metastasis through the regulation of the EMT dependenting on Notch signaling pathway.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second most lethal cancer caused by lack of effective therapies. Although promising, HCC molecular classification, which enriches potential responders to specific therapies, has not yet been assessed in clinical trials of anti-HCC drugs. We aimed to overcome these challenges by developing clinicopathological surrogate indices of HCC molecular classification.
METHODS: Hepatocellular carcinoma classification defined in our previous transcriptome meta-analysis (S1, S2 and S3 subclasses) was implemented in an FDA-approved diagnostic platform (Elements assay, NanoString). Ninety-six HCC tumours (training set) were assayed to develop molecular subclass-predictive indices based on clinicopathological features, which were independently validated in 99 HCC tumours (validation set). Molecular deregulations associated with the histopathological features were determined by pathway analysis. Sample sizes for HCC clinical trials enriched with specific molecular subclasses were determined.
RESULTS: Hepatocellular carcinoma subclass-predictive indices were steatohepatitic (SH)-HCC variant and immune cell infiltrate for S1 subclass, macrotrabecular/compact pattern, lack of pseudoglandular pattern, and high serum alpha-foetoprotein (>400 ng/ml) for S2 subclass, and microtrabecular pattern, lack of SH-HCC and clear cell variants, and lower histological grade for S3 subclass. Macrotrabecular/compact pattern, a predictor of S2 subclass, was associated with the activation of therapeutically targetable oncogene YAP and stemness markers EPCAM/KRT19. BMP4 was associated with pseudoglandular pattern. Subclass-predictive indices-based patient enrichment reduced clinical trial sample sizes from 121, 184 and 53 to 30, 43 and 22 for S1, S2 and S3 subclass-targeting therapies respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Hepatocellular carcinoma molecular subclasses can be enriched by clinicopathological indices tightly associated with deregulation of therapeutically targetable molecular pathways.
Gao J, Lv F, Wang J, et al.Postoperative dynamic changes in the concentration of CK19-2G2 in lung cancer patients and the clinical value of this marker.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(11):8295-9 [PubMed
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CK19-2G2, a newly identified fragment of cytokeratin 19, is a candidate marker for the diagnosis of lung cancer and for monitoring a patient's response to lung cancer treatment. This study investigated the postoperative dynamic changes in serum CK19-2G2 concentration and the clinical value of this marker in lung cancer patients. Preoperative and postoperative concentrations of CK19-2G2 were measured in 352 lung cancer patients who had undergone pulmonary resection. Stratified analyses based on pathologic types and lymph node involvement were performed to determine their possible impacts on postoperative CK19-2G2 concentration. CK19-2G2 concentration was significantly lower after tumor resection than before tumor resection. For squamous cell carcinoma patients, the postoperative CK19-2G2 concentration had decreased significantly at 1 week after surgery and had decreased further at 1 month after surgery. For adenocarcinoma patients, there were little changes in the CK19-2G2 concentration during 1 week to 1 month after surgery. At 1 week after surgery, the CK19-2G2 concentration was slightly higher in patients with N2 stage disease than in those with N0 and N1 stage disease, and this difference increased at 1 month after surgery. Postoperative CK19-2G2 concentration may be an indicator of prognosis. An increase after the initial drop in CK19-2G2 concentration after surgery may indicate a poor prognosis.
Lin RX, Gong LL, Fan LM, et al.Role of ursolic acid chalcone, a synthetic analogue of ursolic acid, in inhibiting the properties of CD133(+) sphere-forming cells in liver stem cells.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(2):1427-34 [PubMed
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The expression of CD133 decreases with differentiation of tumor cell, indicating that CD133 is a specific marker for isolation and identification of CSCs. In the present study the effect of Ursolic acid chalcone (UAC) on CD133(+) hepatocellular carcinoma cell (HCC CSCs) differentiation, their self-renewal, tumorigenic capacity and sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs was studied. The results demonstrated that UAC inhibits the expression of CD133(+) in a dose and time-dependent manner in PLC/PRF/5 and Huh7 HCC cells. The inhibition was significant at 50 μM and on day 8. The percentage of CD133(+) cells decreased from an initial 59.3% in PLC/PRF/5 to 37.1% and 78.2% in Huh7 to 59.2% on treatment with UAC. There was inhibition of Oct4, Tert, Bmi1, β-catenin, ABCG2, and tumor sphere-related gene Ep300. In addition it also decreased number of CK19-positive cells and increased number of CK8/18-positive cells. UAC treatment caused a decrease in self-renewal capability and increase in sensitivity to doxorubicin and vincristine drugs in CD133(+) HCC CSCs. Therefore, UAC can be a potent therapeutic agent to target differentiation of CSC in HCC.
Resistance to radiation therapy constitutes a significant challenge in the treatment of head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC). Alteration in DNA methylation is thought to play a role in this resistance. Here, we analyzed DNA methylation changes in a matched model of radiation resistance for HNSCC using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Our results show that compared to radiation-sensitive cells (SCC-61), radiation-resistant cells (rSCC-61) had a significant increase in DNA methylation. After combining these results with microarray gene expression data, we identified 84 differentially methylated and expressed genes between these 2 cell lines. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis revealed ILK signaling, glucocorticoid receptor signaling, fatty acid α-oxidation, and cell cycle regulation as top canonical pathways associated with radiation resistance. Validation studies focused on CCND2, a protein involved in cell cycle regulation, which was identified as hypermethylated in the promoter region and downregulated in rSCC-61 relative to SCC-61 cells. Treatment of rSCC-61 and SCC-61 with the DNA hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2'deoxycitidine increased CCND2 levels only in rSCC-61 cells, while treatment with the control reagent cytosine arabinoside did not influence the expression of this gene. Further analysis of HNSCC data from The Cancer Genome Atlas found increased methylation in radiation-resistant tumors, consistent with the cell culture data. Our findings point to global DNA methylation status as a biomarker of radiation resistance in HNSCC, and suggest a need for targeted manipulation of DNA methylation to increase radiation response in HNSCC.
Breast cancer is classified into different subtypes that are associated with different patient survival outcomes, underscoring the importance of understanding the role of precursor cell and genetic alterations in determining tumor subtypes. In this study, we evaluated the oncogenic phenotype of two distinct mammary stem/progenitor cell types designated as K5+/K19- or K5+/K19+ upon introduction of identical combinations of oncogenes-mutant H-Ras (mRas) and mutant p53 (mp53), together with either wild-type ErbB2(wtErbB2) or wild-type EGFR (wtEGFR). We examined their tumor forming and metastasis potential, using both in-vitro and in-vivo assays. Both the combinations efficiently transformed K5+/K19- or K5+/K19+ cells. Xenograft tumors formed by these cells were histologically heterogeneous, with variable proportions of luminal, basal-like and claudin-low type components depending on the cell types and oncogene combinations. Notably, K5+/K19- cells transformed with mRas/mp53/wtEGFR combination had a significantly longer latency for primary tumor development than other cell lines but more lung metastasis incidence than same cells expressing mRas/mp53/wtErbB2. K5+/K19+ cells exhibit shorter overall tumor latency, and high metastatic potential than K5+/K19- cells, suggesting that these K19+ progenitors are more susceptible to oncogenesis and metastasis. Our results suggest that both genetic alterations and cell type of origin contribute to oncogenic phenotype of breast tumors.
Yang Q, Mas A, Diamond MP, Al-Hendy AThe Mechanism and Function of Epigenetics in Uterine Leiomyoma Development.
Reprod Sci. 2016; 23(2):163-75 [PubMed
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Uterine leiomyomas, also known as uterine fibroids, are the most common pelvic tumors, occurring in nearly 70% of all reproductive-aged women and are the leading indication for hysterectomy worldwide. The development of uterine leiomyomas involve a complex and heterogeneous constellation of hormones, growth factors, stem cells, genetic, and epigenetic abnormalities. An increasing body of evidence emphasizes the important contribution of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of leiomyomas. Genome-wide methylation analysis demonstrates that a subset of estrogen receptor (ER) response genes exhibit abnormal hypermethylation levels that are inversely correlated with their RNA expression. Several tumor suppressor genes, including Kruppel-like factor 11 (KLF11), deleted in lung and esophageal cancer 1 (DLEC1), keratin 19 (KRT19), and death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) also display higher hypermethylation levels in leiomyomas when compared to adjacent normal tissues. The important role of active DNA demethylation was recently identified with regard to the ten-eleven translocation protein 1 and ten-eleven translocation protein 3-mediated elevated levels of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in leiomyoma. In addition, both histone deacetylase and histone methyltransferase are reported to be involved in the biology of leiomyomas. A number of deregulated microRNAs have been identified in leiomyomas, leading to an altered expression of their targets. More recently, the existence of side population (SP) cells with characteristics of tumor-initiating cells have been characterized in leiomyomas. These SP cells exhibit a tumorigenic capacity in immunodeficient mice when exposed to 17β-estradiol and progesterone, giving rise to fibroid-like tissue in vivo. These new findings will likely enhance our understanding of the crucial role epigenetics plays in the pathogenesis of uterine leiomyomas as well as point the way to novel therapeutic options.