Gene Summary

Gene:LIF; leukemia inhibitory factor
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a pleiotropic cytokine with roles in several different systems. It is involved in the induction of hematopoietic differentiation in normal and myeloid leukemia cells, induction of neuronal cell differentiation, regulator of mesenchymal to epithelial conversion during kidney development, and may also have a role in immune tolerance at the maternal-fetal interface. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding multiple isoforms have been observed for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Mar 2012]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:leukemia inhibitory factor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (45)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 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.

  • Mutation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
  • Lymphokines
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Breast Cancer
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Phenotype
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Receptors, OSM-LIF
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary
  • Ewing's Sarcoma
  • Interleukin-6
  • Apoptosis
  • Promoter Regions
  • Cell Division
  • Polymorphism
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130
  • Trophoblasts
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Transcription
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Oncostatin M
  • Up-Regulation
  • Cytokines
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Expression
  • LIF
  • Base Sequence
  • Receptors, Erythropoietin
  • Transcription Factors
  • Chromosome 22
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Cell Proliferation
  • MicroRNAs
  • Messenger RNA
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • RNA Interference
Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

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: LIF (cancer-related)

Besusparis J, Plancoulaine B, Rasmusson A, et al.
Impact of tissue sampling on accuracy of Ki67 immunohistochemistry evaluation in breast cancer.
Diagn Pathol. 2016; 11(1):82 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gene expression studies have identified molecular subtypes of breast cancer with implications to chemotherapy recommendations. For distinction of these types, a combination of immunohistochemistry (IHC) markers, including proliferative activity of tumor cells, estimated by Ki67 labeling index is used. Clinical studies are frequently based on IHC performed on tissue microarrays (TMA) with variable tissue sampling. This raises the need for evidence-based sampling criteria for individual IHC biomarker studies. We present a novel tissue sampling simulation model and demonstrate its application on Ki67 assessment in breast cancer tissue taking intratumoral heterogeneity into account.
METHODS: Whole slide images (WSI) of 297 breast cancer sections, immunohistochemically stained for Ki67, were subjected to digital image analysis (DIA). Percentage of tumor cells stained for Ki67 was computed for hexagonal tiles super-imposed on the WSI. From this, intratumoral Ki67 heterogeneity indicators (Haralick's entropy values) were extracted and used to dichotomize the tumors into homogeneous and heterogeneous subsets. Simulations with random selection of hexagons, equivalent to 0.75 mm circular diameter TMA cores, were performed. The tissue sampling requirements were investigated in relation to tumor heterogeneity using linear regression and extended error analysis.
RESULTS: The sampling requirements were dependent on the heterogeneity of the biomarker expression. To achieve a coefficient error of 10 %, 5-6 cores were needed for homogeneous cases, 11-12 cores for heterogeneous cases; in mixed tumor population 8 TMA cores were required. Similarly, to achieve the same accuracy, approximately 4,000 nuclei must be counted when the intratumor heterogeneity is mixed/unknown. Tumors of low proliferative activity would require larger sampling (10-12 TMA cores, or 6,250 nuclei) to achieve the same error measurement results as for highly proliferative tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that optimal tissue sampling for IHC biomarker evaluation is dependent on the heterogeneity of the tissue under study and needs to be determined on a per use basis. We propose a method that can be applied to determine the sampling strategy for specific biomarkers, tissues and study targets. In addition, our findings highlight the benefit of high-capacity computer-based IHC measurement techniques to improve accuracy of the testing.

Stålhammar G, Fuentes Martinez N, Lippert M, et al.
Digital image analysis outperforms manual biomarker assessment in breast cancer.
Mod Pathol. 2016; 29(4):318-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the spectrum of breast cancers, categorization according to the four gene expression-based subtypes 'Luminal A,' 'Luminal B,' 'HER2-enriched,' and 'Basal-like' is the method of choice for prognostic and predictive value. As gene expression assays are not yet universally available, routine immunohistochemical stains act as surrogate markers for these subtypes. Thus, congruence of surrogate markers and gene expression tests is of utmost importance. In this study, 3 cohorts of primary breast cancer specimens (total n=436) with up to 28 years of survival data were scored for Ki67, ER, PR, and HER2 status manually and by digital image analysis (DIA). The results were then compared for sensitivity and specificity for the Luminal B subtype, concordance to PAM50 assays in subtype classification and prognostic power. The DIA system used was the Visiopharm Integrator System. DIA outperformed manual scoring in terms of sensitivity and specificity for the Luminal B subtype, widely considered the most challenging distinction in surrogate subclassification, and produced slightly better concordance and Cohen's κ agreement with PAM50 gene expression assays. Manual biomarker scores and DIA essentially matched each other for Cox regression hazard ratios for all-cause mortality. When the Nottingham combined histologic grade (Elston-Ellis) was used as a prognostic surrogate, stronger Spearman's rank-order correlations were produced by DIA. Prognostic value of Ki67 scores in terms of likelihood ratio χ(2) (LR χ(2)) was higher for DIA that also added significantly more prognostic information to the manual scores (LR-Δχ(2)). In conclusion, the system for DIA evaluated here was in most aspects a superior alternative to manual biomarker scoring. It also has the potential to reduce time consumption for pathologists, as many of the steps in the workflow are either automatic or feasible to manage without pathological expertise.

Anguita A, García-Remesal M, Graf N, Maojo V
A method and software framework for enriching private biomedical sources with data from public online repositories.
J Biomed Inform. 2016; 60:177-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Modern biomedical research relies on the semantic integration of heterogeneous data sources to find data correlations. Researchers access multiple datasets of disparate origin, and identify elements-e.g. genes, compounds, pathways-that lead to interesting correlations. Normally, they must refer to additional public databases in order to enrich the information about the identified entities-e.g. scientific literature, published clinical trial results, etc. While semantic integration techniques have traditionally focused on providing homogeneous access to private datasets-thus helping automate the first part of the research, and there exist different solutions for browsing public data, there is still a need for tools that facilitate merging public repositories with private datasets. This paper presents a framework that automatically locates public data of interest to the researcher and semantically integrates it with existing private datasets. The framework has been designed as an extension of traditional data integration systems, and has been validated with an existing data integration platform from a European research project by integrating a private biological dataset with data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

Yue X, Zhao Y, Zhang C, et al.
Leukemia inhibitory factor promotes EMT through STAT3-dependent miR-21 induction.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(4):3777-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is a multi-function cytokine. Its role in cancer is not well-understood. Recent studies including ours show that LIF is frequently overexpressed in many types of human tumors and promotes the progression and metastasis of tumors. However, the underlying mechanism of LIF's promoting effects on tumor progression and metastasis is poorly defined. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays an important role in tumor metastasis. This study reports that LIF promotes EMT in human tumor cells. Overexpression of LIF promotes tumor cells to acquire mesenchymal features, including morphological changes of cells from epithelial-like to mesenchymal-like, increased expression levels of mesenchymal markers and decreased expression of epithelial markers. Knockdown of endogenous LIF reverses EMT in cancer cells. We further identified that LIF induces the expression of microRNA-21 (miR-21), which in turn mediates the promoting effect of LIF on EMT. LIF induces miR-21 expression through the activation of STAT3. Importantly, blocking miR-21 function greatly abolished the promoting effect of LIF on EMT and the migration ability of cancer cells. Taken together, results from this study identified an important function and a novel underlying mechanism of LIF in EMT and tumor metastasis.

Suresh R, Ali S, Ahmad A, et al.
The Role of Cancer Stem Cells in Recurrent and Drug-Resistant Lung Cancer.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016; 890:57-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide with a 5-year overall survival rate of less than 20 %. Considering the treatments currently available, this statistics is shocking. A possible explanation for the disconnect between sophisticated treatments and the survival rate can be related to the post-treatment enrichment of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs), which is one of a sub-set of drug resistant tumor cells with abilities of self-renewal, cancer initiation, and further maintenance of tumors. Lung CSCs have been associated with resistance to radiation and chemotherapeutic treatments. CSCs have also been implicated in tumor recurrence because CSCs are not typically killed after conventional therapy. Investigation of CSCs in determining their role in tumor recurrence and drug-resistance relied heavily on the use of specific markers present in CSCs, including CD133, ALDH, ABCG2, and Nanog. Yet another cell type that is also associated with increased resistance to treatment is epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypic cells. Through the processes of EMT, epithelial cells lose their epithelial phenotype and gain mesenchymal properties, rendering EMT phenotypic cells acquire drug-resistance. In this chapter, we will further discuss the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) especially because miRNA-based therapies are becoming attractive target with respect to therapeutic resistance and CSCs. Finally, the potential role of the natural agents and synthetic derivatives of natural compounds with anti-cancer activity, e.g. curcumin, CDF, and BR-DIM is highlighted in overcoming therapeutic resistance, suggesting that the above mentioned agents could be important for better treatment of lung cancer in combination therapy.

Albrengues J, Bertero T, Grasset E, et al.
Epigenetic switch drives the conversion of fibroblasts into proinvasive cancer-associated fibroblasts.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:10204 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF) mediate the onset of a proinvasive tumour microenvironment. The proinflammatory cytokine LIF reprograms fibroblasts into a proinvasive phenotype, which promotes extracellular matrix remodelling and collective invasion of cancer cells. Here we unveil that exposure to LIF initiates an epigenetic switch leading to the constitutive activation of JAK1/STAT3 signalling, which results in sustained proinvasive activity of CAF. Mechanistically, p300-histone acetyltransferase acetylates STAT3, which, in turn, upregulates and activates the DNMT3b DNA methyltransferase. DNMT3b methylates CpG sites of the SHP-1 phosphatase promoter, which abrogates SHP-1 expression, and results in constitutive phosphorylation of JAK1. Sustained JAK1/STAT3 signalling is maintained by DNA methyltransferase DNMT1. Consistently, in human lung and head and neck carcinomas, STAT3 acetylation and phosphorylation are inversely correlated with SHP-1 expression. Combined inhibition of DNMT activities and JAK signalling, in vitro and in vivo, results in long-term reversion of CAF-associated proinvasive activity and restoration of the wild-type fibroblast phenotype.

Shwetha SD, Shastry AH, Arivazhagan A, Santosh V
Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) is a malignant astrocytoma specific biomarker and associated with adverse prognosis in p53 expressing glioblastoma.
Pathol Res Pract. 2016; 212(1):17-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Manganese super oxide dismutase (MnSOD) has been previously identified as one of the top regulated genes associated with poor survival in glioblastoma (GBM) patients. In the current study we have evaluated the protein expression of MnSOD across various grades of astrocytoma, studied its influence on survival of GBM patients and following recurrence.
METHODS: The protein expression of MnSOD was analyzed on tumor tissue sections by immunohistochemistry on 30 diffuse astrocytomas (DA), 50 anaplastic astrocytomas (AA), 30 paired (primary and recurrent) GBM samples and 30 non-tumor brain tissues. The protein expression among the different grades of diffusely infiltrating astrocytoma (DIA) was evaluated by Kruskal-Wallis one-way ANOVA followed by post hoc test. Wilcoxon matched pair test was employed to assess MnSOD protein expression across 30 paired GBM samples (primary and recurrent). The prognostic impact of MnSOD protein expression individually and following stratification with p53 expression was evaluated in a cohort of 123 GBM patients. Both over-all survival (OS) and progression free survival (PFS) analysis were performed by employing Cox regression analysis and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis on GBM patients.
RESULTS: A significantly increased protein expression of MnSOD was observed among malignant astrocytomas (GBM and AA) in comparison with either DA or non-tumor brain tissues (p<0.05). Among the GBM cases it was noted that the IDH1 immunopositive tumors (R132H mutant protein; n=17) had a low MnSOD expression as opposed to IDH1 immunonegative tumors (n=106), which had high expression of MnSOD (p=0.0307). Further, a statistically significant increase (p=0.010) in extent of MnSOD protein expression was also noted in GBM tumors following recurrence. Protein expression of MnSOD was associated with both poor OS (HR: 1.021; p=0.011) and early PFS (HR: 1.022; p=0.006) on univariate analysis. Multivariate Cox regression analysis as well as Kaplan-Meier survival analysis demonstrated similar poor prognostic association. Stratification of GBM cases based on p53 expression status revealed a strong association of MnSOD with OS (HR: 1.042; p=0.002) and PFS (HR: 1.044; p=0.001) in p53 positive tumor tissue samples. Similar findings were noted on multivariate Cox regression analysis and K-M survival analysis, while no such association was noted in tumor tissues staining negative for p53 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows an increased expression of MnSOD in anaplastic astrocytoma and GBM compared to low grade astrocytoma and control brain. An increase in MnSOD expression following GBM tumor recurrence strengthens its putative role in tumor aggressiveness. Further, MnSOD emerges as a poor prognostic biomarker in p53 expressing GBMs, rendering this molecule as a potential therapeutic target in such patients.

Unlu C, Celik O, Celik N, Otlu B
Expression of Endometrial Receptivity Genes Increase After Myomectomy of Intramural Leiomyomas not Distorting the Endometrial Cavity.
Reprod Sci. 2016; 23(1):31-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study was designed to investigate whether endometrial receptivity genes are altered in infertile patients with intramural leiomyomas (IM) not distorting the endometrial cavity undergoing myomectomy. We measured endometrial HOXA-10, HOXA-11, LIF, ITGB3, and ITGAV messenger RNA (mRNA) expressions levels before and after myomectomy/metroplasty during mid-luteal phase in participants with IM, submucosal leiomyomas (SM), and septate uterus and fertile participants without fibroids. Initial endometrial sampling was obtained at the time of surgery, and second sampling was obtained 3 months after myomectomy/metroplasty. Expressions of each gene were evaluated using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A trend toward decreased endometrial HOXA-10, HOXA-11, and ITGAV mRNA expression was detected in both SM and IM groups before myomectomy when compared to both fertile group and septate uterus. However, the differences failed to show statistical significance. After myomectomy of IM, we have detected 12.8-fold increase in endometrial HOXA-10 mRNA expression and 9.0-fold increase in endometrial HOXA-11 mRNA expression. This increase in endometrial HOXA-10 and 11 mRNA expression was significant. Accordingly, 2 patients having intramural fibroids greater than 5 cm were able to remain pregnant after myomectomy. Conversely, submucosal myomectomy did not cause any significant effect on endometrial receptivity markers. Likewise, all markers of endometrial receptivity remained unchanged after metroplasty. Myomectomy of IM have favorable effect on endometrial HOXA-10 and 11 mRNA expression.

Aravindan S, Ramraj SK, Somasundaram ST, et al.
Polyphenols from marine brown algae target radiotherapy-coordinated EMT and stemness-maintenance in residual pancreatic cancer.
Stem Cell Res Ther. 2015; 6:182 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Therapy-associated onset of stemness-maintenance in surviving tumor-cells dictates tumor relapse/recurrence. Recently, we recognized the anti-pancreatic cancer (PC) potential of seaweed polyphenol manifolds and narrowed down three superior drug-deliverables that could serve as adjuvants and benefit PC cure. Utilizing the PC- cancer stem cells (PC-CSCs) grown ex vivo and mouse model of residual-PC, we investigated the benefits of seaweed polyphenols in regulating stemness-maintenance.
METHODS: ALDH(+)CD44(+)CD24(+) PC-CSCs from Panc-1, Panc-3.27, MiaPaCa-2, or BxPC-3 cells-derived xenografts grown ex vivo were either mock-irradiated, exposed to fractionated irradiation (FIR, 2Gy/D for 5 days), treated with polyphenols (100 μg/ml) of Hormophysa triquerta (HT-EA), Spatoglossum asperum (SA-EA) or Padina tetrastromatica (PT-EA) with/without FIR were examined for cell viability, transcription of 93 stem-cell-related molecules (QPCR profiling). Polyphenol-dependent regulation of FIR-transactivated Oct4, Zic3, EIF4C, Nanog, and LIF (QPCR) and functional translation of Nanog, SOX2, and OCT3/4 (immunoblotting) were examined in Panc-1/Panc-3.27/MiaPaCa-2/BxPC-3-xenografts derived PC-CSCs. Effect of seaweed-polyphenols in the regulation of EMT (N-Cadherin), pluripotency- (SOX2, OCT3/4, Nanog) and stemness-maintenance (PI3KR1, LIF, CD44) in therapy (FIR, 2Gy/D for 5D/wk for 3-weeks) resistant residual tumors were examined by tissue microarray construction and automated immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Ex vivo exposure of PC-CSCs to SA-EA, PT-EA and HT-EA exhibit dose-dependent inhibition of cell viability. FIR amplified the transcription of 69, 80, 74 and 77 stem-cell related genes in MiaPaCa-2-, Panc-1-, Panc-3.27- and BXPC3-established xenograft-derived ALDH(+)CD44(+)CD24(+)PC-CSCs. Treatment with SA-EA, PT-EA, or HT-EA completely suppressed FIR-activated stem-cell transcriptional machinery in ALDH(+)CD44(+)CD24(+)PC-CSCs established from MiaPaCa-2, Panc-1, Panc-3.27 and BXPC3 xenografts. QPCR validated EIF4C, OCT3/4, Nanog, LIF, and ZIC3 transcriptional profile outcomes. Nanog, Sox2, and OCT3/4 immunoblotting affirmed the PC-CSC radiosensitizing benefit of seaweed polyphenols. Residual-PC tissues microarrayed and immunostained after in vivo treatments recognized complete regulation of FIR-induced SOX2, OCT3/4, Nanog, LIF, CD44, PIK3R1, N-Cadherin, and E-Cadherin with SA-EA, PT-EA, and HT-EA.
CONCLUSIONS: These data, for the first time, documented the EMT/stemness-maintenance in therapy-resistant PC-CSCs. Further, the data suggest that seaweed polyphenols may inhibit PC relapse/recurrence by targeting therapy-orchestrated stem-cell signaling in residual cells.

Paiva TF, de Jesus VH, Marques RA, et al.
Angiogenesis-related protein expression in bevacizumab-treated metastatic colorectal cancer: NOTCH1 detrimental to overall survival.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:643 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The development of targeted therapies has undoubtedly broadened therapeutic options for patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The use of bevacizumab to reduce angiogenesis has been associated with improved clinical outcomes. However, an urgent need for prognostic/predictive biomarkers for anti-angiogenic therapies still exists.
METHODS: Clinical data of 105 CRC patients treated with bevacizumab in conjunction with chemotherapy were analyzed. The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors, NOTCH1 receptor and its ligand DLL4 were determined by immunohistochemistry. Tumor samples were arranged on a tissue microarray. The association between protein expression and clinicopathological characteristics and outcomes was determined.
RESULTS: Bevacizumab was administered as a first-line of treatment in 70.5 % of our cases. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 10.2 months. The median overall survival (OS) of the total cohort was 24.4 months. Bevacizumab, as the first-line of treatment, and the presence of liver metastasis were independently associated with objective response rate. Membrane VEGFR1 and VEGFR3 expressions were associated with the presence of lung metastasis; interestingly, VEGFR3 was associated with less liver metastasis. NOTCH1 expression was associated with lymph node metastasis. There was a trend toward association between improved PFS and lower NOTCH1 expression (p = 0.06). Improved OS was significantly associated with lower NOTCH1 expression (p = 0.01). In a multivariate analysis, ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) performance status, liver metastasis, histological grade, and NOTCH1 expression were independently associated with OS.
CONCLUSION: Our findings illustrated the expression profile of angiogenesis-related proteins and their association with clinicopathological characteristics and outcomes. NOTCH1 expression is a detrimental prognostic factor in metastatic CRC patients treated with chemotherapy plus bevacizumab.

Goedecke S, Mühlisch J, Hempel G, et al.
Quantitative analysis of DNA methylation in the promoter region of the methylguanine-O(6) -DNA-methyltransferase gene by COBRA and subsequent native capillary gel electrophoresis.
Electrophoresis. 2015; 36(23):2939-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Along with histone modifications, RNA interference and delayed replication timing, DNA methylation belongs to the key processes in epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Therefore, reliable information about the methylation level of particular DNA fragments is of major interest. Herein the methylation level at two positions of the promoter region of the gene methylguanine-O(6) -DNA-Methyltransferase (MGMT) was investigated. Previously, it was demonstrated that the epigenetic status of this DNA region correlates with response to alkylating anticancer agents. An automated CGE method with LIF detection was established to separate the six DNA fragments resulting from combined bisulfite restriction analysis of the methylated and non-methylated MGMT promoter. In COBRA, the DNA was treated with bisulfite converting cytosine into uracil. During PCR uracil pairs with adenine, which changes the original recognition site of the restriction enzyme Taql. Artificial probes generated by mixing appropriate amounts of DNA after bisulfite treatment and PCR amplification were used for validation of the method. The methylation levels of these samples could be determined with high accuracy and precision. DNA samples prepared by mixing the corresponding clones first and then performing PCR amplification led to non-linear correlation between the corrected peak areas and the methylation levels. This effect is explained by slightly different PCR amplification of DNA with different sequences present in the mixture. The superiority of CGE over PAGE was clearly demonstrated. Finally, the established method was used to analyze the methylation levels of human brain tumor tissue samples.

Guo H, Cheng Y, Martinka M, McElwee K
High LIFr expression stimulates melanoma cell migration and is associated with unfavorable prognosis in melanoma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(28):25484-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Increased or decreased expression of LIF receptor (LIFr) has been reported in several human cancers, including skin cancer, but its role in melanoma is unknown. In this study, we investigated the expression pattern of LIFr in melanoma and assessed its prognostic value. Using tissue microarrays consisting of 441 melanomas and 96 nevi, we found that no normal nevi showed high LIFr expression. LIFr staining was significantly increased in primary melanoma compared to dysplastic nevi (P = 0.0003) and further increased in metastatic melanoma (P = 0.0000). Kaplan-Meier survival curve and univariate Cox regression analyses showed that increased expression of LIFr was correlated with poorer 5-year patient survival (overall survival, P = 0.0000; disease-specific survival, P = 0.0000). Multivariate Cox regression analyses indicated that increased LIFr expression was an independent prognostic marker for primary melanoma (P = 0.036). LIFr knockdown inhibited melanoma cell migration in wound healing assays and reduced stress fiber formation. LIFr knockdown correlated with STAT3 suppression, but not YAP, suggesting that LIFr activation might stimulate melanoma cell migration through the STAT3 pathway. Our data indicate that strong LIFr expression identifies potentially highly malignant melanocytic lesions at an early stage and LIFr may be a potential target for the development of early intervention therapeutics.

Gu W, Prasadam I, Yu M, et al.
Gamma tocotrienol targets tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 in mammospheres resulting in cell death through RAS/ERK pathway.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:609 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence supporting the concept of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are responsible for the initiation, growth and metastasis of tumors. CSCs are thus considered the target for future cancer therapies. To achieve this goal, identifying potential therapeutic targets for CSCs is essential.
METHODS: We used a natural product of vitamin E, gamma tocotrienol (gamma-T3), to treat mammospheres and spheres from colon and cervical cancers. Western blotting and real-time RT-PCR were employed to identify the gene and protein targets of gamma-T3 in mammospheres.
RESULTS: We found that mammosphere growth was inhibited in a dose dependent manner, with total inhibition at high doses. Gamma-T3 also inhibited sphere growth in two other human epithelial cancers, colon and cervix. Our results suggested that both Src homology 2 domain-containing phosphatase 1 (SHP1) and 2 (SHP2) were affected by gamma-T3 which was accompanied by a decrease in K- and H-Ras gene expression and phosphorylated ERK protein levels in a dose dependent way. In contrast, expression of self-renewal genes TGF-beta and LIF, as well as ESR signal pathways were not affected by the treatment. These results suggest that gamma-T3 specifically targets SHP2 and the RAS/ERK signaling pathway.
CONCLUSIONS: SHP1 and SHP2 are potential therapeutic targets for breast CSCs and gamma-T3 is a promising natural drug for future breast cancer therapy.

Morton SD, Cadamuro M, Brivio S, et al.
Leukemia inhibitory factor protects cholangiocarcinoma cells from drug-induced apoptosis via a PI3K/AKT-dependent Mcl-1 activation.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(28):26052-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cholangiocarcinoma is an aggressive, strongly chemoresistant liver malignancy. Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), an IL-6 family cytokine, promotes progression of various carcinomas. To investigate the role of LIF in cholangiocarcinoma, we evaluated the expression of LIF and its receptor (LIFR) in human samples. LIF secretion and LIFR expression were assessed in established and primary human cholangiocarcinoma cell lines. In cholangiocarcinoma cells, we tested LIF effects on proliferation, invasion, stem cell-like phenotype, chemotherapy-induced apoptosis (gemcitabine+cisplatin), expression levels of pro-apoptotic (Bax) and anti-apoptotic (Mcl-1) proteins, with/without PI3K inhibition, and of pSTAT3, pERK1/2, pAKT. LIF effect on chemotherapy-induced apoptosis was evaluated after LIFR silencing and Mcl-1 inactivation.Results show that LIF and LIFR expression were higher in neoplastic than in control cholangiocytes; LIF was also expressed by tumor stromal cells. LIF had no effects on cholangiocarcinoma cell proliferation, invasion, and stemness signatures, whilst it counteracted drug-induced apoptosis. Upon LIF stimulation, decreased apoptosis was associated with Mcl-1 and pAKT up-regulation and abolished by PI3K inhibition. LIFR silencing and Mcl-1 blockade restored drug-induced apoptosis.In conclusion, autocrine and paracrine LIF signaling promote chemoresistance in cholangiocarcinoma by up-regulating Mcl-1 via a novel STAT3- and MAPK-independent, PI3K/AKT-dependent pathway. Targeting LIF signaling may increase CCA responsiveness to chemotherapy.

Basak SK, Zinabadi A, Wu AW, et al.
Liposome encapsulated curcumin-difluorinated (CDF) inhibits the growth of cisplatin resistant head and neck cancer stem cells.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(21):18504-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer, with 600,000 new cases every year worldwide. Although chemotherapeutics exist, five-year survival is only 50%. New strategies to overcome drug resistance are required to improve HNSCC treatment. Curcumin-difluorinated (CDF), a synthetic analog of curcumin, was packaged in liposomes and used to evaluate growth inhibition of cisplatin resistant HNSCC cell lines CCL-23R and UM-SCC-1R generated from the parental cell lines CCL-23 and UM-SCC-1 respectively. Growth inhibition in vitro and expression levels of the CD44 (cancer stem cell marker), cytokines, and growth factors were investigated after liposomal CDF treatment. The in vivo growth inhibitory effect of liposomal CDF was evaluated in the nude mice xenograft tumor model of UM-SCC-1R and the inhibition of CD44 was measured. Treatment of the resistant cell lines in vitro with liposomal CDF resulted in a statistically significant growth inhibition (p < 0.05). The nude mice xenograft study showed a statistically significant tumor growth inhibition of UM-SCC-1R cells and a reduction in the expression of CD44 (p < 0.05), indicating an inhibitory effect of liposomal CDF on CSCs. Our results demonstrate that delivery of CDF through liposomes may be an effective method for the treatment of cisplatin resistant HNSCC.

Viollet C, Davis DA, Reczko M, et al.
Next-Generation Sequencing Analysis Reveals Differential Expression Profiles of MiRNA-mRNA Target Pairs in KSHV-Infected Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(5):e0126439 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) causes several tumors, including primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Cellular and viral microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play important roles in regulating gene expression. A better knowledge of the miRNA-mediated pathways affected by KSHV infection is therefore important for understanding viral infection and tumor pathogenesis. In this study, we used deep sequencing to analyze miRNA and cellular mRNA expression in a cell line with latent KSHV infection (SLKK) as compared to the uninfected SLK line. This approach revealed 153 differentially expressed human miRNAs, eight of which were independently confirmed by qRT-PCR. KSHV infection led to the dysregulation of ~15% of the human miRNA pool and most of these cellular miRNAs were down-regulated, including nearly all members of the 14q32 miRNA cluster, a genomic locus linked to cancer and that is deleted in a number of PEL cell lines. Furthermore, we identified 48 miRNAs that were associated with a total of 1,117 predicted or experimentally validated target mRNAs; of these mRNAs, a majority (73%) were inversely correlated to expression changes of their respective miRNAs, suggesting miRNA-mediated silencing mechanisms were involved in a number of these alterations. Several dysregulated miRNA-mRNA pairs may facilitate KSHV infection or tumor formation, such as up-regulated miR-708-5p, associated with a decrease in pro-apoptotic caspase-2 and leukemia inhibitory factor LIF, or down-regulated miR-409-5p, associated with an increase in the p53-inhibitor MDM2. Transfection of miRNA mimics provided further evidence that changes in miRNAs are driving some observed mRNA changes. Using filtered datasets, we also identified several canonical pathways that were significantly enriched in differentially expressed miRNA-mRNA pairs, such as the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and the interleukin-8 signaling pathways. Overall, our data provide a more detailed understanding of KSHV latency and guide further studies of the biological significance of these changes.

Salm F, Dimitrova V, von Bueren AO, et al.
The Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase p110α Isoform Regulates Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor Expression via c-Myc and miR-125b to Promote Cell Proliferation in Medulloblastoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0123958 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in childhood and represents the main cause of cancer-related death in this age group. The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway has been shown to play an important role in the regulation of medulloblastoma cell survival and proliferation, but the molecular mechanisms and downstream effectors underlying PI3K signaling still remain elusive. The impact of RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated silencing of PI3K isoforms p110α and p110δ on global gene expression was investigated by DNA microarray analysis in medulloblastoma cell lines. A subset of genes with selectively altered expression upon p110α silencing in comparison to silencing of the closely related p110δ isoform was revealed. Among these genes, the leukemia inhibitory factor receptor α (LIFR α) was validated as a novel p110α target in medulloblastoma. A network involving c-Myc and miR-125b was shown to be involved in the control of LIFRα expression downstream of p110α. Targeting the LIFRα by RNAi, or by using neutralizing reagents impaired medulloblastoma cell proliferation in vitro and induced a tumor volume reduction in vivo. An analysis of primary tumors revealed that LIFRα and p110α expression were elevated in the sonic hedgehog (SHH) subgroup of medulloblastoma, indicating its clinical relevance. Together, these data reveal a novel molecular signaling network, in which PI3K isoform p110α controls the expression of LIFRα via c-Myc and miR-125b to promote MB cell proliferation.

Humbert L, Ghozlan M, Canaff L, et al.
The leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and p21 mediate the TGFβ tumor suppressive effects in human cutaneous melanoma.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:200 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cutaneous melanoma is the most lethal skin cancer and its incidence in developed countries has dramatically increased over the past decades. Localized tumors are easily treated by surgery, but advanced melanomas lack efficient treatment and are associated with very poor outcomes. Thus, understanding the processes underlying melanoma development and progression is critical. The Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGFβ) acts as a potent tumor suppressor in human melanoma, by inhibiting cell growth and preventing cellular migration and invasion.
METHODS: In this study, we aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying TGFβ-mediated tumor suppression. Human cutaneous melanoma cell lines, derived from different patients, were used to assess for cell cycle analysis, apoptosis/caspase activity and cell migration. Techniques involved immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry, real time PCR and luciferase reporter assays.
RESULTS: We found the leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) to be strongly up-regulated by TGFβ in melanoma cells, defining LIF as a novel TGFβ downstream target gene in cutaneous melanoma. Interestingly, we also showed that TGFβ-mediated LIF expression is required for TGFβ-induced cell cycle arrest and caspase-mediated apoptosis, as well as for TGFβ-mediated inhibition of cell migration. Moreover, we found that TGFβ-mediated LIF expression leads to activation of transcription of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 in a STAT3-dependent manner, and further showed that p21 is required for TGFβ/LIF-mediated cell cycle arrest and TGFβ-induced gene activation of several pro-apoptotic genes.
CONCLUSIONS: Together, our results define the LIF/p21 signaling cascade as a novel tumor suppressive-like pathway in melanoma, acting downstream of TGFβ to regulate cell cycle arrest and cell death, further highlight new potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cutaneous melanoma.

Luo Q, Zhang Y, Wang N, et al.
Leukemia inhibitory factor receptor is a novel immunomarker in distinction of well-differentiated HCC from dysplastic nodules.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(9):6989-99 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Differential diagnosis of well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma (WD-HCC) and high-grade dysplastic nodules (HGDNs) represents a challenge for pathologists. Several immunohistochemistry markers have been identified to distinguish hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from HGDNs. However, sensitivity or specificity of the individual marker is still limited. In this study, we analyzed dynamic alteration of leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIFR) and CD34 during hepatocarcinogenesis from dysplastic nodules to small HCC. The diagnostic performance of LIFR and CD34 combination in WD-HCC and HGDNs was investigated by logistic regression models and validated in an independent validation cohort. LIFR was decreased and CD34 was increased along with stepwise progression of hepatocarcinogenesis from low-grade dysplastic nodules (LGDNs) to small HCC. The sensitivity and specificity of the LIFR and CD34 combination for WD-HCC detection were 93.5% and 90.5%, respectively. In addition, colony formation assay was used to explore the role of LIFR in tumorigenesis. Silencing of LIFR could significantly promote colony formation of HCC cells, whereas ectopic overexpression of LIFR resulted in impaired ability of colony formation of HCC cells. These findings indicate that LIFR and CD34 combination may be used as an available differential diagnostic model for WD-HCC from HGDNs in clinical practice.

Wu L, Yu H, Zhao Y, et al.
HIF-2α mediates hypoxia-induced LIF expression in human colorectal cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(6):4406-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), a multi-functional cytokine, has a complex role in cancer. While LIF induces the differentiation of several myeloid leukemia cells and inhibits their growth, it also promotes tumor progression, metastasis and chemoresistance in many solid tumors. LIF is frequently overexpressed in a variety of human tumors and its overexpression is often associated with poor prognosis of patients. Currently, the mechanism for LIF overexpression in tumor cells is not well-understood. Here, we report that hypoxia, a hallmark of solid tumors, induced LIF mRNA expression in human colorectal cancer cells. Analysis of LIF promoter revealed several hypoxia-responsive elements (HREs) that can specifically interact with and be transactivated by HIF-2α but not HIF-1α. Consistently, ectopic expression of HIF-2α but not HIF-1α transcriptionally induced LIF expression levels in cells. Knockdown of endogenous HIF-2α but not HIF-1α by siRNA largely abolished the induction of LIF by hypoxia in cells. Furthermore, there is a strong association of HIF-2α overexpression with LIF overexpression in human colorectal cancer specimens. In summary, results from this study demonstrate that hypoxia induces LIF expression in human cancer cells mainly through HIF-2α, which could be an important underlying mechanism for LIF overexpression in human cancers.

Kraya AA, Piao S, Xu X, et al.
Identification of secreted proteins that reflect autophagy dynamics within tumor cells.
Autophagy. 2015; 11(1):60-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Macroautophagy, a catabolic process of cellular self-digestion, is an important tumor cell survival mechanism and a potential target in antineoplastic therapies. Recent discoveries have implicated autophagy in the cellular secretory process, but potential roles of autophagy-mediated secretion in modifying the tumor microenvironment are poorly understood. Furthermore, efforts to inhibit autophagy in clinical trials have been hampered by suboptimal methods to quantitatively measure tumor autophagy levels. Here, we leveraged the autophagy-based involvement in cellular secretion to identify shed proteins associated with autophagy levels in melanoma. The secretome of low-autophagy WM793 melanoma cells was compared to its highly autophagic metastatic derivative, 1205Lu in physiological 3-dimensional cell culture using quantitative proteomics. These comparisons identified candidate autophagy biomarkers IL1B (interleukin 1, β), CXCL8 (chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 8), LIF (leukemia inhibitory factor), FAM3C (family with sequence similarity 3, member C), and DKK3 (dickkopf WNT signaling pathway inhibitor 3) with known roles in inflammation and tumorigenesis, and these proteins were subsequently shown to be elevated in supernatants of an independent panel of high-autophagy melanoma cell lines. Secretion levels of these proteins increased when low-autophagy melanoma cells were treated with the autophagy-inducing tat-BECN1 (Beclin 1) peptide and decreased when ATG7 (autophagy-related 7) was silenced in high-autophagy cells, thereby supporting a mechanistic link between these secreted proteins and autophagy. In addition, serum from metastatic melanoma patients with high tumor autophagy levels exhibited higher levels of these proteins than serum from patients with low-autophagy tumors. These results suggest that autophagy-related secretion affects the tumor microenvironment and measurement of autophagy-associated secreted proteins in plasma and possibly in tumors can serve as surrogates for intracellular autophagy dynamics in tumor cells.

Yu H, Yue X, Zhao Y, et al.
LIF negatively regulates tumour-suppressor p53 through Stat3/ID1/MDM2 in colorectal cancers.
Nat Commun. 2014; 5:5218 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) has been recently identified as a p53 target gene, which mediates the role of p53 in maternal implantation under normal physiological conditions. Here we report that LIF is a negative regulator of p53; LIF downregulates p53 protein levels and function in human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. The downregulation of p53 by LIF is mediated by the activation of Stat3, which transcriptionally induces inhibitor of DNA-binding 1 (ID1). ID1 upregulates MDM2, a key negative regulator of p53, and promotes p53 protein degradation. LIF is overexpressed in a large percentage of CRCs. LIF overexpression promotes cellular resistance towards chemotherapeutic agents in cultured CRC cells and colorectal xenograft tumours in a largely p53-dependent manner. Overexpression of LIF is associated with a poor prognosis in CRC patients. Taken together, LIF is a novel negative regulator of p53, overexpression of LIF is an important mechanism for the attenuation of p53, which promotes chemoresistance in CRCs.

Guran T, Guran O, Paketci C, et al.
Effects of leukemia inhibitory receptor gene mutations on human hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal function.
Pituitary. 2015; 18(4):456-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Stuve-Wiedemann syndrome (STWS) (MIM #601559) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIFR) gene. STWS has a diverse range of clinical features involving hematopoietic, skeletal, neuronal and immune systems. STWS manifests a high mortality due to increased risk of sudden death. Heterodimerization of the LIFR mediates leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) signalling through the intracellular Janus kinase (JAK)/STAT3 signalling cascade. The LIF/LIFR system is highly expressed in and regulates the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
OBJECTIVES: HPA function was investigated in three STWS patients to characterise consequences of impaired LIF/LIFR signalling on adrenal function.
DESIGN: Six genetically proven STWS patients from four unrelated Turkish families were included in the study. Sudden death occurred in three before 2 years of age. Basal adrenal function tests were performed by measurement of early morning serum cortisol and plasma ACTH concentrations on at least two different occasions. Low dose synacthen stimulation test and glucagon stimulation tests were performed to explore adrenal function in three patients who survived.
RESULTS: All patients carried the same LIFR (p.Arg692X) mutation. Our oldest patient had attenuated morning serum cortisol and plasma ACTH levels at repeated measurements. Two of three patients had attenuated cortisol response (<18 μg/dl) to glucagon, one of whom also had borderline cortisol response to low dose (1 μg) ACTH stimulation consistent with central adrenal insufficiency.
CONCLUSIONS: STWS patients may develop central adrenal insufficiency due to impaired LIF/LIFR signalling. LIF/LIFR system plays a role in human HPA axis regulation.

Watanabe Y, Yoshimura K, Yoshikawa K, et al.
A stem cell medium containing neural stimulating factor induces a pancreatic cancer stem-like cell-enriched population.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(5):1857-66 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been studied for their self-renewal capacity and pluripotency, as well as their resistance to anticancer therapy and their ability to metastasize to distant organs. CSCs are difficult to study because their population is quite low in tumor specimens. To overcome this problem, we established a culture method to induce a pancreatic cancer stem-like cell (P-CSLC)-enriched population from human pancreatic cancer cell lines. Human pancreatic cancer cell lines established at our department were cultured in CSC-inducing media containing epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), neural cell survivor factor-1 (NSF-1), and N-acetylcysteine. Sphere cells were obtained and then transferred to a laminin-coated dish and cultured for approximately two months. The surface markers, gene expression, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity, cell cycle, and tumorigenicity of these induced cells were examined for their stem cell-like characteristics. The population of these induced cells expanded within a few months. The ratio of CD24high, CD44high, epithelial specific antigen (ESA) high, and CD44variant (CD44v) high cells in the induced cells was greatly enriched. The induced cells stayed in the G0/G1 phase and demonstrated mesenchymal and stemness properties. The induced cells had high tumorigenic potential. Thus, we established a culture method to induce a P-CSLC-enriched population from human pancreatic cancer cell lines. The CSLC population was enriched approximately 100-fold with this method. Our culture method may contribute to the precise analysis of CSCs and thus support the establishment of CSC-targeting therapy.

Xu S, Xu Z, Liu B, et al.
LIFRα-CT3 induces differentiation of a human acute myelogenous leukemia cell line HL-60 by suppressing miR-155 expression through the JAK/STAT pathway.
Leuk Res. 2014; 38(10):1237-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
The distal cytoplasmic motifs of the leukemia inhibitory factor receptor α-chain (LIFRα-CT3) and its TAT fusion protein (TAT-CT3) can independently suppress cell viability and induce myeloid differentiation in human leukemia HL-60 cells in our previous studies. But its underlying mechanism remains undefined. Herein, we show that a prokaryotic expressed TAT-CT3 induced a rapid elevation of STAT3 phosphorylation (pSTAT3), and then suppress the transcription of miR-155 and induce the elevation of SOCS-1, which further inhibited STAT3 phosphorylation for a long-term period. Our result indicated a novel mechanism of TAT-CT3 to promote HL60 cells differentiation, which provides some potential therapeutic targets for future acute myelogenous leukemia therapy.

Ali S, Ahmad A, Aboukameel A, et al.
Deregulation of miR-146a expression in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer affecting EGFR signaling.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 351(1):134-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) plays important roles in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer (PC). Expression analysis of miR-146a in human PC tissues showed decreased expression in about 80% of samples compared to corresponding non-cancerous tissue. Moreover, expression of miR-146a in eight PC cell lines, and in pancreatic tissues obtained from transgenic mouse models of K-Ras (K), Pdx1-Cre (C), K-Ras;Pdx1-Cre (KC) and K-Ras;Pdx1-Cre;INK4a/Arf (KCI), showed down-regulation of miR-146a expression in KCI mice which was in part led to over-expression of its target gene, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Treatment of PC cells with CDF, a novel synthetic compound, led to re-expression of miR-146a, resulting in the down-regulation of EGFR expression. Moreover, re-expression of miR-146a by stable transfection or treatment with CDF in vivo (xenograft animal model) resulted in decreased tumor growth which was consistent with reduced EGFR, ERK1, ERK2, and K-Ras expression. Further knock-down of miR-146a in AsPC-1 cells led to the up-regulation of EGFR expression and showed increased clonogenic growth. In addition, knock-down of EGFR by EGFR siRNA transfection of parental AsPC-1 cells and AsPC-1 cells stably transfected with pre-miR-146a resulted in decreased invasive capacity, which was further confirmed by reduced luciferase activity in cells transfected with pMIR-Luc reporter vector containing miR-146a binding site. Collectively, these results suggest that the loss of expression of miR-146a is a fundamental mechanism for over-expression of EGFR signaling and that re-expression of miR-146a by CDF treatment could be useful in designing personalized strategy for the treatment of human PC.

Kang MJ, Kim J, Jang JY, et al.
22q11-q13 as a hot spot for prediction of disease-free survival in bile duct cancer: integrative analysis of copy number variations.
Cancer Genet. 2014; 207(3):57-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cytogenetic pathogenesis of bile duct cancer is poorly understood. Array comparative genomic hybridization was performed on samples obtained from 24 patients with bile duct cancer and 10 normal healthy controls. Bile duct cancer patients had means of 21.8 gains and 19.2 losses of genes. We identified 20 novel copy number variation (CNV) regions that differed significantly between bile duct cancer patients and normal controls. Significant gains of copy number were observed at 2p11.2, 5p15.33, 22q11.21, 22q11.22, 22q11.23, 22q12.2, 22q12.3, 22q13.1, 22q13.31, and 22q13.33 and significant losses of copy number were observed at 8q11.21, 10q26.3, 11p15.4, 18q21.31, and 18q23. These loci included 153 genes, with 65% located at 22q11-q13. Oncostatin M signaling via the JAK/STAT pathway was the most relevant pathway, with immunohistochemical staining showing that OSM and LIF, both included in this pathway, were overexpressed in tumors. Copy number gains at 5p15.33 and 22q13.33 were correlated with early systemic recurrence in the bile duct cancer patients. In conclusion, copy number gains at 22q11-q13 were the most frequent and were correlated with poor disease-free survival. In-depth investigations are required to determine whether chromosomal aberrations at this locus are genetic markers of patient prognosis.

Callari M, Lembo A, Bianchini G, et al.
Accurate data processing improves the reliability of Affymetrix gene expression profiles from FFPE samples.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e86511 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Formalin fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor specimens are the conventionally archived material in clinical practice, representing an invaluable tissue source for biomarkers development, validation and routine implementation. For many prospective clinical trials, this material has been collected allowing for a prospective-retrospective study design which represents a successful strategy to define clinical utility for candidate markers. Gene expression data can be obtained even from FFPE specimens with the broadly used Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 microarray platform. Nevertheless, important major discrepancies remain in expression data obtained from FFPE compared to fresh-frozen samples, prompting the need for appropriate data processing which could help to obtain more consistent results in downstream analyses. In a publicly available dataset of matched frozen and FFPE expression data, the performances of different normalization methods and specifically designed Chip Description Files (CDFs) were compared. The use of an alternative CDFs together with fRMA normalization significantly improved frozen-FFPE sample correlations, frozen-FFPE probeset correlations and agreement of differential analysis between different tumor subtypes. The relevance of our optimized data processing was assessed and validated using two independent datasets. In this study we demonstrated that an appropriate data processing can significantly improve the reliability of gene expression data derived from FFPE tissues using the standard Affymetrix platform. Tools for the implementation of our data processing algorithm are made publicly available at

Zhao X, Qu Z, Tickner J, et al.
The role of SATB2 in skeletogenesis and human disease.
Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2014; 25(1):35-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Since the discovery of SATB2 (special AT-rich sequence binding protein 2) a decade ago, its pivotal roles in development and tissue regeneration have emerged, particularly in craniofacial patterning and development, palate formation, and osteoblast differentiation and maturation. As a member of the special AT-rich binding proteins family that bind to nuclear matrix-attachment regions (MAR), it also displays functional versatility in central nervous development, especially corpus callosum and pons formation, cancer development and prognosis, as well as in immune regulation. At the molecular level, Satb2 gene expression appears to be tissue and stage-specific, and is regulated by several cytokines and growth factors, such as BMP2/4/7, insulin, CNTF, and LIF via ligand receptor signaling pathways. SATB2 mainly performs a twofold role as a transcription regulator by directly binding to AT-rich sequences in MARs to modulate chromatin remodeling, or through association with other transcription factors to modulate the cis-regulation elements and thus to regulate the expression of down-stream target genes and a wide range of biological processes. This contemporary review provides an exploration of the molecular characteristics and function of SATB2; including its expression and cytokine regulation, its involvement in human disease, and its potential roles in skeletogenesis.

Lin ZH, Chen JC, Wang YS, et al.
DNA repair gene XRCC4 codon 247 polymorphism modified diffusely infiltrating astrocytoma risk and prognosis.
Int J Mol Sci. 2013; 15(1):250-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The DNA repair gene X-ray cross-complementary group 4 (XRCC4), an important caretaker of the overall genome stability, is thought to play a major role in human tumorigenesis. We investigated the association between an important polymorphic variant of this gene at codon 247 (rs373409) and diffusely infiltrating astrocytoma (DIA) risk and prognosis. This hospital-based case-control study investigated this association in the Guangxi population. In total, 242 cases with DIA and 358 age-, sex-, and race-matched healthy controls were genotyped using TaqMan-PCR technique. We found a significant difference in the frequency of XRCC4 genotypes between cases and controls. Compared with the homozygote of XRCC4 codon 247 Ala alleles (XRCC4-AA), the genotypes of XRCC4 codon 247 Ser alleles (namely XRCC4-AS or -SS) increased DIA risk (odds ratios [OR], 1.82 and 2.89, respectively). Furthermore, XRCC4 polymorphism was correlated with tumor dedifferentiation of DIA (r = 0.261, p < 0.01). Additionally, this polymorphism modified the overall survival of DIA patients (the median survival times were 26, 14, and 8 months for patients with XRCC4-AA, -AS, and -SS, respectively). Like tumor grade, XRCC4 codon 247 polymorphism was an independent prognostic factor influencing the survival of DIA. These results suggest that XRCC4 codon 247 polymorphism may be associated with DIA risk and prognosis among the Guangxi population.

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