Gene Summary

Gene:PYCARD; PYD and CARD domain containing
Aliases: ASC, TMS, TMS1, CARD5, TMS-1
Summary:This gene encodes an adaptor protein that is composed of two protein-protein interaction domains: a N-terminal PYRIN-PAAD-DAPIN domain (PYD) and a C-terminal caspase-recruitment domain (CARD). The PYD and CARD domains are members of the six-helix bundle death domain-fold superfamily that mediates assembly of large signaling complexes in the inflammatory and apoptotic signaling pathways via the activation of caspase. In normal cells, this protein is localized to the cytoplasm; however, in cells undergoing apoptosis, it forms ball-like aggregates near the nuclear periphery. Two transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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: PYCARD (cancer-related)

Dusek J, Skoda J, Holas O, et al.
Stilbene compound trans-3,4,5,4´-tetramethoxystilbene, a potential anticancer drug, regulates constitutive androstane receptor (Car) target genes, but does not possess proliferative activity in mouse liver.
Toxicol Lett. 2019; 313:1-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
The constitutive androstane receptor(CAR) activation is connected with mitogenic effects leading to liver hyperplasia and tumorigenesis in rodents. CAR activators, including phenobarbital, are considered rodent non-genotoxic carcinogens. Recently, trans-3,4,5,4´-tetramethoxystilbene(TMS), a potential anticancer drug (DMU-212), have been shown to alleviate N-nitrosodiethylamine/phenobarbital-induced liver carcinogenesis. We studied whether TMS inhibits mouse Car to protect from the PB-induced tumorigenesis. Unexpectedly, we identified TMS as a murine CAR agonist in reporter gene experiments, in mouse hepatocytes, and in C57BL/6 mice in vivo. TMS up-regulated Car target genes Cyp2b10, Cyp2c29 and Cyp2c55 mRNAs, but down-regulated expression of genes involved in gluconeogenesis and lipogenesis. TMS did not change or down-regulate genes involved in liver proliferation or apoptosis such as Mki67, Foxm1, Myc, Mcl1, Pcna, Bcl2, or Mdm2, which were up-regulated by another Car ligand TCPOBOP. TMS did not increase liver weight and had no significant effect on Ki67 and Pcna labeling indices in mouse liver in vivo. In murine hepatic AML12 cells, we confirmed a Car-independent proapoptotic effect of TMS. We conclude that TMS is a Car ligand with limited effects on hepatocyte proliferation, likely due to promoting apoptosis in mouse hepatic cells, while controlling Car target genes involved in xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism.

Schumacher D, Andrieux G, Boehnke K, et al.
Heterogeneous pathway activation and drug response modelled in colorectal-tumor-derived 3D cultures.
PLoS Genet. 2019; 15(3):e1008076 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Organoid cultures derived from colorectal cancer (CRC) samples are increasingly used as preclinical models for studying tumor biology and the effects of targeted therapies under conditions capturing in vitro the genetic make-up of heterogeneous and even individual neoplasms. While 3D cultures are initiated from surgical specimens comprising multiple cell populations, the impact of tumor heterogeneity on drug effects in organoid cultures has not been addressed systematically. Here we have used a cohort of well-characterized CRC organoids to study the influence of tumor heterogeneity on the activity of the KRAS/MAPK-signaling pathway and the consequences of treatment by inhibitors targeting EGFR and downstream effectors. MAPK signaling, analyzed by targeted proteomics, shows unexpected heterogeneity irrespective of RAS mutations and is associated with variable responses to EGFR inhibition. In addition, we obtained evidence for intratumoral heterogeneity in drug response among parallel "sibling" 3D cultures established from a single KRAS-mutant CRC. Our results imply that separate testing of drug effects in multiple subpopulations may help to elucidate molecular correlates of tumor heterogeneity and to improve therapy response prediction in patients.

Chou FJ, Chen Y, Chen D, et al.
Preclinical study using androgen receptor (AR) degradation enhancer to increase radiotherapy efficacy via targeting radiation-increased AR to better suppress prostate cancer progression.
EBioMedicine. 2019; 40:504-516 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: While androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and radiotherapy (RT) are currently used together to treat locally advanced prostate cancer (PCa), RT might have the adverse effect of increasing the PCa androgen receptor (AR) protein expression, which might then increase the resistance to continued RT.
METHODS: We used multiple assays for RT sensitivity, protein and RNA expression of AR and related DDR genes, ROS level, DNA damage/repair level, cell cycle and apoptosis. All statistical comparisons were analyzed with t-test or one-way ANOVA.
FINDINGS: We demonstrated that RT induced AR expression in C4-2 and CWR22Rv-1 cells. We found that combining RT and ASC-J9
INTERPRETATION: Targeting ionizing radiation (IR)-increased AR with the AR degradation enhancer, ASC-J9

Wang L, Liu Y, Zhao TL, et al.
Topotecan induces apoptosis via ASCT2 mediated oxidative stress in gastric cancer.
Phytomedicine. 2019; 57:117-128 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Topotecan (TPT) is a Topo I inhibitor and shows obvious anti-cancer effects on gastric cancer. Cancer cells reprogram their metabolic pathways to increase nutrients uptake, which has already been a hallmark of cancer. But the effect of TPT on metabolism in gastric cancer remains unknown.
PURPOSE: To investigate the effect of TPT on metabolism in gastric cancer.
METHODS: ATP production was measured by ATP Assay kit. Glucose and glutamine uptake were measured by Glucose (HK) Assay Kit and Glutamine/Glutamate Determination Kit respectively. To detect glutathione (GSH) concentration and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, GSH and GSSG Assay Kit and ROS Assay Kit were adopted. Apoptosis rates, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were determined by flow cytometry and protein levels were analyzed by immumohistochemical staining and western blotting.
RESULTS: TPT increased ATP production. TPT promoted glucose uptake possibly via up-regulation of hexokinase 2 (HK2) or glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) expression, while decreased glutamine uptake by down-regulation of ASCT2 expression. ASCT2 inhibitor GPNA and ASCT2 knockdown significantly suppressed the growth of gastric cancer cells. Inhibition of ASCT2 reduced glutamine uptake which led to decreased production of GSH and increased ROS level. ASCT2 knockdown induced apoptosis via the mitochondrial pathway and weakened anti-cancer effect of TPT.
CONCLUSION: TPT inhibits glutamine uptake via down-regulation of ASCT2 which causes oxidative stress and induces apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. Moreover, TPT inhibits proliferation partially via ASCT2. These observations reveal a previously undescribed mechanism of ASCT2 regulated gastric cancer proliferation and demonstrate ASCT2 is a potential anti-cancer target of TPT.

Bröer A, Gauthier-Coles G, Rahimi F, et al.
Ablation of the
J Biol Chem. 2019; 294(11):4012-4026 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2020 Related Publications
The neutral amino acid transporter solute carrier family 1 member 5 (SLC1A5 or ASCT2) is overexpressed in many cancers. To identify its roles in tumors, we employed 143B osteosarcoma cells and HCC1806 triple-negative breast cancer cells with or without ASCT2 deletion. ASCT2ko 143B cells grew well in standard culture media, but ASCT2 was required for optimal growth at <0.5 mm glutamine, with tumor spheroid growth and monolayer migration of 143B ASCT2ko cells being strongly impaired at lower glutamine concentrations. However, the ASCT2 deletion did not affect matrix-dependent invasion. ASCT2ko 143B xenografts in nude mice exhibited a slower onset of growth and a higher number of small tumors than ASCT2wt 143B xenografts, but did not differ in average tumor size 25 days after xenotransplantation. ASCT2 deficiency was compensated by increased levels of sodium neutral amino acid transporter 1 (SNAT1 or SLC38A1) and SNAT2 (SLC38A2) in ASCT2ko 143B cells, mediated by a GCN2 EIF2α kinase (GCN2)-dependent pathway, but this compensation was not observed in ASCT2ko HCC1806 cells. Combined SNAT1 silencing and GCN2 inhibition significantly inhibited growth of ASCT2ko HCC1806 cells, but not of ASCT2ko 143B cells. Similarly, pharmacological inhibition of l-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) and GCN2 significantly inhibited growth of ASCT2ko HCC1806 cells, but not of ASCT2ko 143B cells. We conclude that cancer cells with reduced transporter plasticity are more vulnerable to disruption of amino acid homeostasis than cells with a full capacity to up-regulate redundant transporters by an integrated stress response.

Fisch SC, Nikou AF, Wright EA, et al.
Precocious subcutaneous abdominal stem cell development to adipocytes in normal-weight women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Fertil Steril. 2018; 110(7):1367-1376 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To examine whether abnormal subcutaneous (SC) abdominal adipose stem cell (ASC) development to adipocytes in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) correlates with hyperandrogenism.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.
SETTING: Academic medical center.
PATIENT(S): Eight normal-weight women with PCOS and eight normoandrogenic ovulatory (control) women matched for age and body mass index.
INTERVENTION(S): Circulating hormone and metabolic measurements, intravenous glucose tolerance testing, total body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and SC abdominal fat biopsy.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): In vitro ASC commitment to preadipocytes (ZFP423 protein expression, day 0.5), preadipocyte differentiation to adipocytes (PPARγ gene expression, day 3) and adipocyte lipid content (Oil-Red-O fluorescence, day 12) comparisons correlated with clinical outcomes.
RESULT(S): In women with PCOS, SC abdominal ASCs compared with those of control women showed exaggerated commitment to preadipocytes and had greater lipid content in newly formed adipocytes after in vitro maturation. In all women combined, ZFP423 protein expression negatively correlated with fasting plasma glucose levels whereas the lipid content of newly formed adipocytes positively correlated with both PPARγ gene expression and serum free testosterone levels.
CONCLUSION(S): In normal-weight women with PCOS compared with the control group, exaggerated SC abdominal ASC commitment to preadipocytes and enhanced adipocyte lipid content during maturation in vitro negatively and positively correlate with circulating fasting glucose and androgen levels, respectively, as a possible mechanism to maintain glucose-insulin homeostasis when fat accretion is accelerated.

Guo H, Xu Y, Wang F, et al.
Clinical associations between ASCT2 and p‑mTOR in the pathogenesis and prognosis of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2018; 40(6):3725-3733 [PubMed] Related Publications
Alanine serine cysteine‑preferring transporter 2 (ASCT2; also known as SLC1A5) is an important glutamine transporter, and it serves a crucial role in tumor growth and progression. ASCT2 is highly expressed in numerous types of cancer, but the pathological significance of its expression in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains unclear. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) level is hyperelevated in a number of tumor types, including ovarian cancer. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the prognostic role of ASCT2 and phosphorylated (p)‑mTOR in EOC. The levels of ASCT2 and p‑mTOR/mTOR were detected in normal ovarian tissues, benign ovarian tumors, borderline ovarian tumors and EOC tissues by reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT‑qPCR) and western blot assays. The protein levels of ASCT2 and p‑mTOR in EOC patients were then detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Furthermore, EOC tumor sections were stained for Ki‑67 and cluster of differentiation 34 (CD34) to assess proliferation and microvessel density by IHC. The results of RT‑qPCR and western blot analysis demonstrated that ASCT2 and p‑mTOR protein levels were significantly higher in EOC tissues compared with those in other groups. IHC analysis of 104 EOC tissues suggested that ASCT2 expression was associated with clinicopathological parameters, including International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage, pathological grade, serum cancer antigen 125 level, Ki‑67 status and CD34 status. Kaplan‑Meier survival curve analysis indicated that high expression of ASCT2 and p‑mTOR were important factors predicting a poor prognosis for patients with EOC. The expression levels of ASCT2 and p‑mTOR in EOC were positively correlated (r=0.385, P<0.001). This positive correlation between ASCT2 and p‑mTOR indicates that they have a synergistic effect on the growth and development of early EOC. The combined detection of ASCT2 and p‑mTOR may serve as a potential marker to inform diagnosis, postoperative follow‑up requirements and targeted therapy options for patients with early‑stage EOC, but not for terminal‑stage patients.

Fajka-Boja R, Marton A, Tóth A, et al.
Increased insulin-like growth factor 1 production by polyploid adipose stem cells promotes growth of breast cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):872 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adipose-tissue stem cells (ASCs) are subject of intensive research since their successful use in regenerative therapy. The drawback of ASCs is that they may serve as stroma for cancer cells and assist tumor progression. It is disquieting that ASCs frequently undergo genetic and epigenetic changes during their in vitro propagation. In this study, we describe the polyploidization of murine ASCs and the accompanying phenotypical, gene expressional and functional changes under long term culturing.
METHODS: ASCs were isolated from visceral fat of C57BL/6 J mice, and cultured in vitro for prolonged time. The phenotypical changes were followed by microscopy and flow cytometry. Gene expressional changes were determined by differential transcriptome analysis and changes in protein expression were shown by Western blotting. The tumor growth promoting effect of ASCs was examined by co-culturing them with 4 T1 murine breast cancer cells.
RESULTS: After five passages, the proliferation of ASCs decreases and cells enter a senescence-like state, from which a proportion of cells escape by polyploidization. The resulting ASC line is susceptible to adipogenic, osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation, and expresses the stem cell markers CD29 and Sca-1 on an upregulated level. Differential transcriptome analysis of ASCs with normal and polyploid karyotype shows altered expression of genes that are involved in regulation of cancer, cellular growth and proliferation. We verified the increased expression of Klf4 and loss of Nestin on protein level. We found that elevated production of insulin-like growth factor 1 by polyploid ASCs rendered them more potent in tumor growth promotion in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: Our model indicates how ASCs with altered genetic background may support tumor progression.

Hlaing AM, Furusato B, Udo E, et al.
Expression of phosphatase and tensin homolog and programmed cell death ligand 1 in adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 503(4):2764-2769 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lung adenosquamous carcinoma (ASC) is a rare variant of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with poor prognosis. Certain biological differences may exist between these tumors and other common histological types of NSCLC, including adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, which links oncogenes and multiple receptor classes to essential cellular functions, is activated by phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) loss. The PTEN loss has been suggested to induce programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in various cancer types.
OBJECTIVE: Here, we sought to determine the relationships between the expression of PTEN and PD-L1 in each component of ASC with ADC and SCC, and clinical parameters.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Tissue microarrays of 148 cases of surgically resected lung ADC and 102 cases of SCC, as well as full sections from 28 ASC cases, were analyzed immunohistochemically for the expression of PTEN and PD-L1.
RESULTS: PD-L1 expression was similar between the adenocarcinoma component of ASC vs. lung ADC and between the squamous component of ASC vs. lung SCC. PTEN loss was higher in lung ADC than in the adenocarcinoma component of ASC and significantly higher in lung SCC than in the squamous component of ASC. PD-L1 expression was higher in the squamous component than in the glandular component of the 28 ASC cases, but PTEN loss was similar. Overall, PTEN loss was higher in lung SCC than in lung ADC and both components of ASC. In lung SCC and glandular portions of ASC, PD-L1 expression levels were significantly associated with those of PTEN. The loss of PTEN correlated with smoking status in patients with lung ADC.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results implied that both squamous and glandular components of ASC may share the same oncogenic driver pathway for carcinogenesis. However, the squamous cell components of ASC likely escape the immune surveillance better than the glandular components due to higher PD-L1 expression.

Linkov F, Goughnour SL, Adambekov S, et al.
Inflammatory biomarker in adipose stem cells of women with endometrial cancer.
Biomark Med. 2018; 12(9):945-952 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
AIM: To explore inflammatory biomarkers secreted by adipose stem cells (ASCs) in omental, retroperitoneal and subcutaneous adipose tissues of women with endometrial cancer.
PATIENTS & METHODS: ASCs were collected from 22 women, aged 35-83 years, undergoing hysterectomy for endometrial cancer. Angiopoietin-2, EGF, IL-8, leptin, VEGFA, VEGFC and VEFGD levels in the ASC-conditioned media were analyzed by Luminex.
RESULTS: We found a significant difference between the three depots for IL-8 (p < 0.0001), with the highest levels of IL-8 in the omental depot. VEGFA levels were highest in the retroperitoneal depot.
CONCLUSION: This is one of the first studies to explore biomarker expression in ASC-conditioned media in adipose tissue. ASC characteristics may be important to evaluate in relation to cancer risk.

Trezise S, Karnowski A, Fedele PL, et al.
Mining the Plasma Cell Transcriptome for Novel Cell Surface Proteins.
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(8) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
Antibody Secreting Cells (ASCs) are a fundamental component of humoral immunity, however, deregulated or excessive antibody production contributes to the pathology of autoimmune diseases, while transformation of ASCs results in the malignancy Multiple Myeloma (MM). Despite substantial recent improvements in treating these conditions, there is as yet no widely used ASC-specific therapeutic approach, highlighting a critical need to identify novel methods of targeting normal and malignant ASCs. Surface molecules specifically expressed by the target cell population represent ideal candidates for a monoclonal antibody-based therapy. By interrogating the ASC gene signature that we previously defined we identified three surface proteins, Plpp5, Clptm1l and Itm2c, which represent potential targets for novel MM treatments.

Bothwell PJ, Kron CD, Wittke EF, et al.
Targeted Suppression and Knockout of ASCT2 or LAT1 in Epithelial and Mesenchymal Human Liver Cancer Cells Fail to Inhibit Growth.
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(7) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
Amino acid transporters alanine-serine-cysteine transporter 2 (ASCT2) and L-Type Amino Acid Transporter 1 (LAT1) are coordinately enhanced in human cancers where among other roles, they are thought to drive mechanistic target-of-rapamycin (mTOR) growth signaling. To assess ASCT2 and LAT1 as therapeutic targets, nine unique short hairpin RNA (shRNA) vectors were used to stably suppress transporter expression in human epithelial (Hep3B) and mesenchymal (SK-Hep1) hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines. In addition, six unique CRISPR-Cas9 vectors were used to edit the ASCT2 (

Liu Y, Zhao T, Li Z, et al.
The role of ASCT2 in cancer: A review.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2018; 837:81-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Reorganization of cellular metabolism is one of the hallmarks of cancer and many tumors show high glucose uptake and glutamine addiction. Glutamine is imported by the SLC family transporters from the microenvironment, and ASCT2 (encoded by the SLC1A5 gene) is recognized as a primary transporter. Of note, ASCT2 is overexpressed in different cancers and is closely related to poor prognosis. Nonetheless, the mechanisms regulating ASCT2 activity has not been elucidated. Moreover, several inhibitors of ASCT2 have emerged and shown a surprising antitumor effect. In conclusion, this review describes the function, regulatory mechanism, and inhibitors of ASCT2 in cancer, suggesting that high expression of ASCT2 is a promising prognostic marker and a potential drug target.

Yin XF, Zhang Q, Chen ZY, et al.
NLRP3 in human glioma is correlated with increased WHO grade, and regulates cellular proliferation, apoptosis and metastasis via epithelial-mesenchymal transition and the PTEN/AKT signaling pathway.
Int J Oncol. 2018; 53(3):973-986 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
Glioma is the most prevalent and fatal primary tumor of the central nervous system in adults, while the development of effective therapeutic strategies in clinical practice remain a challenge. Nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich family pyrin-containing 3 (NLRP3) has been reported to be associated with tumorigenesis and progression; however, its expression and function in human glioma remain unclear. The present study was designed to explore the biological role and potential mechanism of NLRP3 in human glioma. The results demonstrated that overexpression of NLRP3, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase-recruitment domain (ASC), caspase‑1 and interleukin (IL)‑1β protein in human glioma tissues were significantly correlated with higher World Health Organization grades. The in vitro biological experiments demonstrated that NLRP3 downregulation significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion, and promoted the apoptosis of SHG44 and A172 glioma cell lines. Furthermore, western blot assays revealed that the downregulation of NLRP3 significantly reduced the expression of ASC, caspase‑1 and IL‑1β protein. Furthermore, NLRP3 knockdown caused the inhibition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and inhibited the phosphorylation of AKT serine/threonine kinase (AKT) and phosphorylation of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). Consistently, the upregulation of NLRP3 significantly increased the expression of ASC, caspase‑1, IL‑1β and phosphorylated-PTEN, promoted proliferation, migration, invasion and EMT, inhibited apoptosis, and activated the AKT signaling pathway. The data of the present study indicate that NLRP3 affects human glioma progression and metastasis through multiple pathways, including EMT and PTEN/AKT signaling pathway regulation, enhanced inflammasome activation, and undefined inflammasome-independent mechanisms. Understanding the biological effects of NLRP3 in human glioma and the underlying mechanisms may offer novel insights for the development of glioma clinical therapeutic strategies.

Parker Kerrigan BC, Hossain A, Yamashita S, Lang FF
Stem Cell Therapy of Gliomas.
Prog Neurol Surg. 2018; 32:124-151 [PubMed] Related Publications
Stem cells (SC) are the seeds of tissue repair and regeneration that have been extensively investigated as tumor-tropic vectors for gene delivery to solid cancers. SC have an inherent glioma tropism that supports their use as reliable vehicles to deliver therapeutic gene products to brain neoplasms. Several types of adult SC (ASC) have been used to carry antiglioma agents, and neural SC (NSC) and mesenchymal SC (MSC) are the most studied. The therapeutic cargoes that have been tested include secreted proteins, converting enzyme/prodrug suicide combinations, oncolytic viruses, antibodies, and nanoparticles. Some of these preclinical studies have advanced to phase I clinical trials. Use of SC as carriers to deliver various antitumor agents could become a valuable therapeutic option for glioma patients in the future.

Hariharan N, Ashcraft KA, Svatek RS, et al.
Adipose Tissue-Secreted Factors Alter Bladder Cancer Cell Migration.
J Obes. 2018; 2018:9247864 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
Background: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer recurrence. This study investigated the role of adipose tissue in bladder cancer progression.
Methods: Gene expression profiling was performed on adipose tissues collected from normal weight (
Results: Expression profiling demonstrated depot-specific or body mass index-specific differences. Increased T24 cell migration was observed using CM harvested from all ASCs. ASC CM from an obese patient significantly increased T24 cell migration and invasion compared to ASC CM collected from normal weight and overweight patients. We identified abundant expression of CXCL1, PAI1, IL6, CX3CL1, and CCL2 in all CM. Exogenous treatment of T24 cells with PAI1, IL6, and CXCL1 enhanced migration. Depletion of CXCL1, PAI1, and IL6 in an obese patient ASC CM abrogated T24 migration.
Conclusion: Factors secreted by adipose tissue influence the migration of bladder tumor cells and could play an active role in tumor progression.

Sen N, Cross AM, Lorenzi PL, et al.
EWS-FLI1 reprograms the metabolism of Ewing sarcoma cells via positive regulation of glutamine import and serine-glycine biosynthesis.
Mol Carcinog. 2018; 57(10):1342-1357 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
Ewing sarcoma (EWS) is a soft tissue and bone tumor that occurs primarily in adolescents and young adults. In most cases of EWS, the chimeric transcription factor, EWS-FLI1 is the primary oncogenic driver. The epigenome of EWS cells reflects EWS-FLI1 binding and activation or repression of transcription. Here, we demonstrate that EWS-FLI1 positively regulates the expression of proteins required for serine-glycine biosynthesis and uptake of the alternative nutrient source glutamine. Specifically, we show that EWS-FLI1 activates expression of PHGDH, PSAT1, PSPH, and SHMT2. Using cell-based studies, we also establish that EWS cells are dependent on glutamine for cell survival and that EWS-FLI1 positively regulates expression of the glutamine transporter, SLC1A5 and two enzymes involved in the one-carbon cycle, MTHFD2 and MTHFD1L. Inhibition of serine-glycine biosynthesis in EWS cells impacts their redox state leading to an accumulation of reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, and apoptosis. Importantly, analysis of EWS primary tumor transcriptome data confirmed that the aforementioned genes we identified as regulated by EWS-FLI1 exhibit increased expression compared with normal tissues. Furthermore, retrospective analysis of an independent data set generated a significant stratification of the overall survival of EWS patients into low- and high-risk groups based on the expression of PHGDH, PSAT1, PSPH, SHMT2, SLC1A5, MTHFD2, and MTHFD1L. In summary, our study demonstrates that EWS-FLI1 reprograms the metabolism of EWS cells and that serine-glycine metabolism or glutamine uptake are potential targetable vulnerabilities in this tumor type.

Liu M, Bamodu OA, Kuo KT, et al.
Downregulation of Cancer Stemness by Novel Diterpenoid Ovatodiolide Inhibits Hepatic Cancer Stem Cell-Like Traits by Repressing Wnt/[Formula: see text]-Catenin Signaling.
Am J Chin Med. 2018; 46(4):891-910 [PubMed] Related Publications
The hierarchical tumor propagation or cancer stem cells (CSCs) model of carcinogenesis postulates that like physiologic adult stem cell (ASC), the CSCs positioned at the apex of any tumor population form the crux of tumor evolution with a constitutive regenerative capacity and differentiation potential. The propagation and recurrence of the characteristically heterogeneous and therapy-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), adds to accumulating evidence to support this CSCs model. Based on the multi-etiologic basis of HCC formation which among others, focuses on the disruption of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, this study evaluated the role of cembrane-type phytochemical, Ovatodiolide, in the modulation of the Wnt/[Formula: see text]-catenin pathway, and its subsequent effect on liver CSCs' activities. Our fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and quantitative RT-PCR analyses of side population (SP) indicated that CD133+ cells were [Formula: see text]-catenin-overexpressing, more aggressive, and resistant to the conventional anticancer agents, Cisplatin and Doxorubicin, when compared to [Formula: see text]-catenin-downregulated group. We demonstrated that marked upregulation of [Formula: see text]-catenin and its downstream targets effectively enhanced hepatosphere formation, with an associated induction of CD133, OCT4 and Sox2 expression and also caused an significant enhancement of HCC proliferation. However, treatment with Ovatodiolide induced downregulation of [Formula: see text]-catenin and its downstream effector genes, abolished hepatosphere formation and reversed the [Formula: see text]-catenin-associated enhancement of HCC growth. In summary, we demonstrated for the first time that Ovatodiolide suppressed the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, and inhibited the generation of liver CSCs; Thus, projecting Ovatodiolide as a putatively effective therapeutic agent for anti-HCC target therapy.

Mishra S, Husain N, Awasthi NP, et al.
Liquid-based cytology: do ancillary techniques enhance detection of epithelial abnormalities?
Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2018; 298(1):159-169 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide with very high incidence in India. Liquid-based cytology (LBC) provides the use of ancillary techniques in addition to a good morphology and detection of cytologic abnormalities. The current study was designed to assess the diagnostics of P16INK4a immunoexpression, p16 promoter hypermethylation, human papilloma virus (HPV), and DNA ploidy in LBC samples with cervical precancer and cancer.
METHODS: A series of LBC samples categorised by Bethesda system including 22 atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US), 21 low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), 41 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), 54 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and 26 controls with normal cytology were included. Ancillary techniques evaluated included P16INK4a immunoexpression, p16 promoter methylation DNA ploidy by flow cytometry, and HPV was detected using PGMY09/PGMY11 primers.
RESULTS: The test positivity rate of p16 expression in women with ASC-US, LSIL, HSIL, and SCC was 21.1, 39.0, 67.7, and 85.4%. For the p16 methylation the corresponding test positivity rate was 36.4, 76.2, 92.7, and 92.6%. The test positive rate of HPV in women with ASC-US, LSIL, HSIL, and SCC was 45.5, 76.2, 87.8, and 92.6%. Diploid G1 and diploid S values significantly (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01) discriminate LSIL versus HSIL and LSIL versus. SCC.
CONCLUSIONS: P16 gene promoter methylation and HPV seem more sensitive in detection of ASC-US and LSIL cytology with higher specificity. Diploid G1 and diploid S phase study provides progressive change in parameters with progression from LSIL to HSIL and SCC.

Bidaux G, Gordienko D, Shapovalov G, et al.
4TM-TRPM8 channels are new gatekeepers of the ER-mitochondria Ca
Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2018; 1865(7):981-994 [PubMed] Related Publications
Calcium (Ca

Zejnullahu VA, Zejnullahu VA, Josifovska S, et al.
Correlation of hTERT Expression with Cervical Cytological Abnormalities and Human Papillomavirus Infection.
Pril (Makedon Akad Nauk Umet Odd Med Nauki). 2017; 38(3):143-151 [PubMed] Related Publications
Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT) is the main catalytic sub-unit of telomerase, a reverse transcriptase enzyme. Telomerase expression is regulated at many levels, with numerous studies suggesting that up-regulation of human TERT gene (hTERT) at transcriptional level results in immortal cell phenotype associated with cancer. The aim of this study is to determine the correlation between hTERT expression and different cervical precursor lesions, as well as with cervical cancer in patients with confirmed Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The study included molecular analyzes on cervical samples from 214 women and matched Papanicolaou (Pap) test results. HPV detection and genotyping was performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and genotyping. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed using TaqMan probes and were calculated relative to the reference gene. Results showed significantly increased hTERT mRNA expression levels in high-grade and low-grade lesions compared to normal control samples (p<0.01) associated with 6.31 fold higher risk for developing ASC-US and 9.20 for LSIL. Strong correlation between HPV infection and hTERT expression in the high-grade lesions and cervical cancer was also observed. hTERT relative expression values showed 98% specificity and 100 % sensitivity as indicator of cervical lesions particularly for the ACS-H, HSIL and cervical cancer. In conclusion, hTERT expression correlate with the cytological grade of the cervical lesions and HPV infection and has a potential to be used as a diagnostic and prognostic marker.

Hamadneh L, Al-Majawleh M, Jarrar Y, et al.
Culturing conditions highly affect DNA methylation and gene expression levels in MCF7 breast cancer cell line.
In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2018; 54(5):331-334 [PubMed] Related Publications
The levels of DNA methylation and their role in gene expression are key factors that could affect diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options of different diseases. In this study, the methylation levels of 22 genes that are mostly correlated to breast cancer were determined using EpiTect methyl II PCR array. This analysis was performed to determine the effect of cells' passage number and the use of antibiotics in the culturing media on gene methylation levels in MCF7 cell line. DNA methylation levels of PTGS2, ADAM23, HIC1, and PYCARD were found to be significantly different among different passages. While the DNA methylation levels of CCNA1, RASSF1, and THBS1 were found to be affected by the use of 1% of penicillin/streptomycin in the culture media. Gene expression analysis after demethylation using 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine showed that the gene expression levels of the hypermethylated genes varied between different passage numbers. This study shows that the presence of antibiotic within cultured media and cell line's passage number could greatly affect the methylation levels that need to be considered in future studies on cell lines.

Vakrakou AG, Boiu S, Ziakas PD, et al.
Systemic activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in patients with severe primary Sjögren's syndrome fueled by inflammagenic DNA accumulations.
J Autoimmun. 2018; 91:23-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sjögren's syndrome (SS) patients manifest high cell-free DNA (cf-DNA) levels in serum, associated with impaired DNaseI activity. Undegraded DNA may accumulate in tissues and act as an inflammasome-activating signal. Herein, we investigated the occurrence of aberrant DNA build-up in various biologic compartments of SS patients and its correlation with the activity of NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes. For this purpose, we evaluated sera, PBMC, circulating monocytes and salivary glands (SG) from different SS patient subgroups and controls. We found that SS patients at high risk for lymphoma and those with established lymphoma display high serum cf-DNA levels, substantial extranuclear DNA accumulations in PBMC and SG tissues, a unique NLRP3 inflammasome gene signature in PBMC, and significantly increased serum IL-18 and ASC levels. In these patients, the circulating monocytes manifested NLRP3 inflammasome activation and increased response to NLRP3 stimuli, whereas SG-infiltrating macrophages exhibited signs of NLRP3 activation and pyroptosis. Cell-free nucleic acids isolated from patients' sera competently primed the activation of both NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes in healthy monocytes. SS patients also manifested diminished DNaseI activity in serum and DNaseII expression in PBMC, which inversely correlated with indices of inflammasome activation. DNaseII gene-silencing in healthy monocytes led to cytoplasmic DNA deposition and activation of inflammasome-related genes and of caspase1. Our data reveal the occurrence of systemic NLRP3 inflammasome activation in severe SS, which is associated with widespread extranuclear accumulations of inflammagenic DNA and impaired DNA degradation. These findings can provide novel biomarkers and new therapeutic targets for the management of SS patients with adverse outcomes.

Sakaizawa T, Matsumura T, Fujii C, et al.
Potential Role of ASC, a Proapoptotic Protein, for Determining the Cisplatin Susceptibility of Lung Cancer Cells.
Tohoku J Exp Med. 2018; 244(2):133-144 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary lung cancer is the most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Cisplatin has been used as a key drug in the treatment for patients with lung cancer; however, most of the patients failed to respond to cisplatin within several months, and the mechanisms underlying the cisplatin resistance have not been fully elucidated. Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (ASC) is a key adaptor protein in the formation of inflammasomes. ASC is also involved in apoptotic signaling. Importantly, ASC expression is decreased in lung cancer and various cancers, but its precise function in tumor progression remains unknown. To explore the hitherto unknown role of ASC in lung cancer, we initially searched for lung cancer cell lines with higher expression levels of ASC using Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE) database, thereby identifying the A549 human non-small cell lung cancer cell line. Accordingly, with retroviral shRNA, the expression of ASC was forced to decrease in A549 cells. Stable ASC-knockdown cells, thus established, showed the increased activities of proliferation, motility, and invasion, compared with control cells. Importantly, ASC-knockdown cells also became resistant to cisplatin, but not to other anti-cancer agents, 5-fluorouracil and paclitaxel. Bcl-2 and phospho-Src levels were increased in ASC-knockdown cells. A Bcl-2 inhibitor, ABT-199, induced an apoptotic response in ASC-knockdown cells, and dasatinib, a Src inhibitor, blocked cell invasiveness. Thus, ASC may be involved in tumor suppression and cell death via Bcl-2 and pSrc. Targeting Bcl-2 and Src in ASC-downregulated populations of lung cancer may improve treatment outcome.

Spalinger MR, Manzini R, Hering L, et al.
PTPN2 Regulates Inflammasome Activation and Controls Onset of Intestinal Inflammation and Colon Cancer.
Cell Rep. 2018; 22(7):1835-1848 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
Variants in the gene locus encoding protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 2 (PTPN2) are associated with inflammatory disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. The anti-inflammatory role of PTPN2 is highlighted by the fact that PTPN2-deficient mice die a few weeks after birth because of systemic inflammation and severe colitis. However, the tissues, cells, and molecular mechanisms that contribute to this phenotype remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that myeloid cell-specific deletion of PTPN2 in mice (PTPN2-LysMCre) promotes intestinal inflammation but protects from colitis-associated tumor formation in an IL-1β-dependent manner. Elevated levels of mature IL-1β production in PTPN2-LysMCre mice are a consequence of increased inflammasome assembly due to elevated phosphorylation of the inflammasome adaptor molecule ASC. Thus, we have identified a dual role for myeloid PTPN2 in directly regulating inflammasome activation and IL-1β production to suppress pro-inflammatory responses during colitis but promote intestinal tumor development.

Ye J, Huang Q, Xu J, et al.
Targeting of glutamine transporter ASCT2 and glutamine synthetase suppresses gastric cancer cell growth.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2018; 144(5):821-833 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Glutamine (Gln) is essential for the proliferation of most cancer cells, making it an appealing target for cancer therapy. However, the role of Gln in gastric cancer (GC) metabolism is unknown and Gln-targeted therapy against GC remains scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the relevance of Gln in GC growth and targeting.
METHODS: Expression of Gln transporter ASCT2 and glutamine synthetase (GS) in the parental and molecularly engineered GC cells or in human GC specimens was determined by RT-PCR and western blot analysis or immunohistochemistry. Cell proliferation and survival was assessed by CCK-8 assay and colony formation assay. Intracellular Gln content was measured by a HPLC system. Effects of ASCT2 and/or GS inhibitor on tumor growth were investigated in xenograft models.
RESULTS: A significant heterogeneity of GC cells was observed with respect to their response to the treatment of ASCT2 inhibitor benzylserine (BenSer). Gln deprivation did not affect the BenSer-resistant cell growth due to endogenous GS expression, whose inhibition remarkably reduced cell proliferation. The differential in vitro sensitivity correlated with overall intracellular Gln content. Combined therapy with both ASCT2 and GS inhibitors produced a greater therapeutic efficacy than the treatment of either inhibitor alone. Furthermore, 77% human GC tissues were found to express moderate and high levels of ASCT2, 12% of which also co-expressed relatively high levels of GS.
CONCLUSION: Gln mediates GC growth and the therapeutic efficacy of Gln-targeted treatment relies on distinct ASCT2 and GS expression pattern in specific gastric cancer groups.

Tiwari R, Sahu I, Soni BL, et al.
Depletion of keratin 8/18 modulates oncogenic potential by governing multiple signaling pathways.
FEBS J. 2018; 285(7):1251-1276 [PubMed] Related Publications
Keratin 8/18, the predominant keratin pair of simple epithelia, is often aberrantly expressed in various squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) including skin SCC. Its aberrant expression is correlated with increased invasiveness and poor prognosis of the same, although the underlying mechanism is still unclear. A previous report from our laboratory has shown K8-mediated regulation of α6β4 integrin signaling and thereby tumorigenic potential of oral SCC-derived cells. Another study on transgenic mouse model has shown that during skin carcinogenesis, K8 favors conversion of papillomas toward malignancy. In order to understand the role of K8 and allied mechanism in skin SCC, K8 was stably knocked down in a skin epidermoid carcinoma-derived A431 cells. K8 downregulation significantly reduced the tumorigenic potential of these cells. In agreement with our phenotypic data, differential quantitative proteomics followed by IPA analysis showed altered expression of many proteins associated with biological functions including 'Cancer', 'Cellular movement', 'Cell death and survival', and 'Cellular morphology'. Some of these proteins were TMS1, MARCKSL1, RanBP1, 14-3-3γ, Rho-GDI2, etc. Furthermore, to our surprise, there was a significant reduction in K17 protein stability upon loss of K8, probably due to its caspase-mediated degradation. This was supported by altered TMS1-NF-κB signaling, leading to increased apoptotic sensitivity of A431 cells which in turn affected 'Cell death and survival'. Moreover, MARCKSL1-Paxillin1-Rac axis was found to be deregulated bestowing a possible mechanism behind altered 'Cellular movement' pathway. Altogether our study unravels a much broader regulatory role of K8, governing multiple signaling pathways and consequently regulating oncogenic potential of skin SCC-derived cells.
DATABASE: Proteome Xchange Consortium via PRIDE database (dataset identifier PXD007206).

Ma H, Wu Z, Peng J, et al.
Inhibition of SLC1A5 sensitizes colorectal cancer to cetuximab.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 142(12):2578-2588 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cetuximab resistance is a key barrier in treating metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Targeting of metabolic resources import could resensitize drug-resistant cancer cells to anticancer treatments. Here we showed that the expression of the glutamine transporter solute carrier 1 family member 5 (SLC1A5) in clinical CRC samples of patients resisted to cetuximab was significantly higher than in those of patients responded to cetuximab. Inhibition of SLC1A5 by shRNA-mediated gene silencing or pharmacological inhibitor significantly suppressed the growth of CRC. Moreover, inhibition of SLC1A5 significantly enhanced the inhibitory efficacy of cetuximab on CRC proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, SLC1A5 inhibition facilitated EGFR degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, and decreased the expression of nuclear EGFR, both of which might have contribution to the improved response to cetuximab. This study provides the metabolic molecule SLC1A5 as a potential therapeutic target to increase the efficacy of cetuximab on CRC.

Cormerais Y, Massard PA, Vucetic M, et al.
The glutamine transporter ASCT2 (SLC1A5) promotes tumor growth independently of the amino acid transporter LAT1 (SLC7A5).
J Biol Chem. 2018; 293(8):2877-2887 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2019 Related Publications
The transporters for glutamine and essential amino acids, ASCT2 (solute carrier family 1 member 5, SLC1A5) and LAT1 (solute carrier family 7 member 5, SLC7A5), respectively, are overexpressed in aggressive cancers and have been identified as cancer-promoting targets. Moreover, previous work has suggested that glutamine influx via ASCT2 triggers essential amino acids entry

Deswaerte V, Nguyen P, West A, et al.
Inflammasome Adaptor ASC Suppresses Apoptosis of Gastric Cancer Cells by an IL18-Mediated Inflammation-Independent Mechanism.
Cancer Res. 2018; 78(5):1293-1307 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inflammasomes are key regulators of innate immunity in chronic inflammatory disorders and autoimmune diseases, but their role in inflammation-associated tumorigenesis remains ill-defined. Here we reveal a protumorigenic role in gastric cancer for the key inflammasome adaptor apoptosis-related speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) and its effector cytokine IL18. Genetic ablation of ASC in the

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