Gene Summary

Gene:HNF1A; HNF1 homeobox A
Aliases: HNF1, LFB1, TCF1, MODY3, TCF-1, HNF-1A, IDDM20
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a transcription factor required for the expression of several liver-specific genes. The encoded protein functions as a homodimer and binds to the inverted palindrome 5'-GTTAATNATTAAC-3'. Defects in this gene are a cause of maturity onset diabetes of the young type 3 (MODY3) and also can result in the appearance of hepatic adenomas. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2015]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:hepatocyte nuclear factor 1-alpha
Source:NCBIAccessed: 10 March, 2017

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 10 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.

  • Missense Mutation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions
  • Portal Vein
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1
  • Tumor Burden
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Adolescents
  • Liver Cancer
  • Mutation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4
  • TGFB1
  • Phenotype
  • Sequence Deletion
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha
  • Adenoma, Liver Cell
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin
  • Chromosome 12
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Pancreas
  • beta Catenin
  • Liver
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-beta
  • Base Sequence
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Radiography
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Gene Expression
  • Adenoma
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Signal Transduction
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
Tag cloud generated 10 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: HNF1A (cancer-related)

Zhou B, Wang J, Zheng G, Qiu Z
Methylated urolithin A, the modified ellagitannin-derived metabolite, suppresses cell viability of DU145 human prostate cancer cells via targeting miR-21.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2016; 97:375-384 [PubMed] Related Publications
Urolithins are bioactive ellagic acid-derived metabolites produced by human colonic microflora. Although previous studies have demonstrated the cytotoxicity of urolithins, the effect of urolithins on miRNAs is still unclear. In this study, the suppressing effects of methylated urolithin A (mUA) on cell viability in human prostate cancer DU145 cells was investigated. mUA induced caspase-dependent cell apoptosis, mitochondrial depolarization and down-regulation of Bcl-2/Bax ratio. The results showed that upon exposure to mUA, miR-21 expression was decreased and the expression of PTEN and Pdcd4 protein was elevated. mUA could further suppress Akt phosphorylation and increase protein expression of FOXO3a, and the effects of mUA on Akt phosphorylation and protein expression of FOXO3a were blocked by PTEN silence. Moreover, mUA suppressed the Wnt/β-catenin-mediated transcriptional activation of MMP-7 and c-Myc, and this function of mUA on MMP-7 and c-Myc was attenuated by over-expression of miR-21. In conclusion, our data suggest that mUA can suppress cell viability in DU145 cells through modulating miR-21 and its downstream series-wound targets, including PTEN, Akt and Wnt/β-catenin signaling.

Xu X, Tang X, Guo W, et al.
TCF-1 participates in the occurrence of dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(10):14129-14140 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The present study demonstrated that T cell factor 1 (TCF-1) protein, a component of the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, can regulate the expression of runt-related transcription factor 2 (runx2) gene and Sry-related HMG box 9 (sox9) gene, which may participate in the differentiation of chondrosarcoma. Dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma (DDCS) is a special variant of conventional chondrosarcoma (CCS), associated with poor survival and high metastasis rate. However, little is known about the mechanism of its occurrence; thus, no effective treatment is available except surgery. Earlier, high expression of runx2 and low expression of sox9 were found in DDCS compared with CCS. Using Western blot to detect clinical tissue samples (including 8 CCS samples and 8 DDCS samples) and immunohistochemistry to detect 85 different-grade chondrosarcoma specimens, a high expression of TCF-1 in DDCS tissues was found compared with CCS tissues. This difference in expression was related to patients' prognosis. Results of luciferase, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and gel electrophoresis mobility shift assays demonstrated that TCF-1 protein could bind to the promoter of runx2 gene directly and sox9 gene indirectly. Hence, it could regulate expression of runx2 gene positively and sox9 gene negatively. Furthermore, in vitro and in vivo experiments showed that TCF-1 protein was closely related to the phenotype and aggressiveness of chondrosarcoma. In conclusion, this study proved that TCF-1 participates in the dedifferentiation of DDCS, which may be mediated by runx2 gene and sox9 gene. Also, TCF-1 can be of important prognostic value and a promising therapeutic target for DDCS patients.

Noll EM, Eisen C, Stenzinger A, et al.
CYP3A5 mediates basal and acquired therapy resistance in different subtypes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
Nat Med. 2016; 22(3):278-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although subtypes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) have been described, this malignancy is clinically still treated as a single disease. Here we present patient-derived models representing the full spectrum of previously identified quasi-mesenchymal (QM-PDA), classical and exocrine-like PDAC subtypes, and identify two markers--HNF1A and KRT81--that enable stratification of tumors into different subtypes by using immunohistochemistry. Individuals with tumors of these subtypes showed substantial differences in overall survival, and their tumors differed in drug sensitivity, with the exocrine-like subtype being resistant to tyrosine kinase inhibitors and paclitaxel. Cytochrome P450 3A5 (CYP3A5) metabolizes these compounds in tumors of the exocrine-like subtype, and pharmacological or short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated CYP3A5 inhibition sensitizes tumor cells to these drugs. Whereas hepatocyte nuclear factor 4, alpha (HNF4A) controls basal expression of CYP3A5, drug-induced CYP3A5 upregulation is mediated by the nuclear receptor NR1I2. CYP3A5 also contributes to acquired drug resistance in QM-PDA and classical PDAC, and it is highly expressed in several additional malignancies. These findings designate CYP3A5 as a predictor of therapy response and as a tumor cell-autonomous detoxification mechanism that must be overcome to prevent drug resistance.

Lee YH, Gyu Song G
Genome-wide pathway analysis in pancreatic cancer.
J BUON. 2015 Nov-Dec; 20(6):1565-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify candidate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that might play a role in susceptibility to pancreatic cancer, elucidate their potential mechanisms, and generate SNP-to-gene-to-pathway hypotheses.
METHODS: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) dataset of pancreatic cancer that included 496,959 SNPs from 3,851 pancreatic cancer patients and 3,934 control subjects of European descent was used in this study. The Identify candidate Causal SNPs and Pathways (ICSNPathway) method was applied to the GWAS dataset.
RESULTS: ICSNPathway analysis identified 18 candidate SNPs, 11 genes (including HNF1A and HNF4G), and 30 pathways, which revealed 11 hypothetical biological mechanisms. The strongest hypothetical biological mechanism was one wherein rs2230739 alters the role of ADCY9 in various pathways and processes, including cyclase activity, phosphorus oxygen lyase activity, hsa04912, hsa04540, hsa04020, and hsa00230 (0.010 ≤ p < 0.001; 0.038 ≤ false discovery rate (FDR) ≤ 0.016). The second strongest mechanism was that rs16859886 modulates ADCY10 to affect its role in pathways including cyclase activity, phosphorus oxygen lyase activity, nucleobase, nucleoside, and nucleotide metabolic processing, and hsa00230 (0.010 ≤ p < 0.001; 0.038 ≤ FDR ≤ 0.016).
CONCLUSIONS: By using the ICSNPathway to analyze pancreatic cancer GWAS data, 18 candidate SNPs, 11 genes (including ADCY9, ADCY10, HNF1A, and HNF4G), and 30 pathways were identified that might contribute to the susceptibility of patients to pancreatic cancer.

Diamandis P, Ferrer-Luna R, Huang RY, et al.
Case Report: Next generation sequencing identifies a NAB2-STAT6 fusion in Glioblastoma.
Diagn Pathol. 2016; 11:13 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular profiling has uncovered genetic subtypes of glioblastoma (GBM), including tumors with IDH1 mutations that confer increase survival and improved response to standard-of-care therapies.  By mapping the genetic landscape of brain tumors in routine clinical practice, we enable rapid identification of targetable genetic alterations.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 29-year-old male presented with new onset seizures prompting neuroimaging studies, which revealed an enhancing 5 cm intra-axial lesion involving the right parietal lobe. He underwent a subtotal resection and pathologic examination revealed glioblastoma with mitoses, microvascular proliferation and necrosis. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis showed diffuse expression of GFAP, OLIG2 and SOX2 consistent with a tumor of glial lineage. Tumor cells were positive for IDH1(R132H) and negative for ATRX. Clinical targeted-exome sequencing (DFBWCC Oncopanel) identified multiple functional variants including IDH1 (p.R132H), TP53 (p.Y126_splice), ATRX (p.R1302fs*), HNF1A (p.R263H) and NF1 (p.H2592del) variants and a NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion event involving NAB2 exon 3 and STAT6 exon 18. Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) further revealed a focal amplification of NAB2 and STAT6.  IHC analysis demonstrated strong heterogenous STAT6 nuclear localization (in 20 % of tumor cells).
CONCLUSIONS: While NAB2:STAT6 fusions are common in solitary fibrous tumors (SFT), we report this event for the first time in a newly diagnosed, secondary-type GBM or any other non-SFT. Our study further highlights the value of comprehensive genomic analyses in identifying patient-specific targetable mutations and rearrangements.

Zhuang K, Wu Q, Jin CS, et al.
Long non-coding RNA HNF1A-AS is upregulated and promotes cell proliferation and metastasis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Cancer Biomark. 2016; 16(2):291-300 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a common head and neck cancer with an incidence of 10-30 cases per 100,000 in southern China. Although primary treatment includes radiation therapy, prognosis is still unsatisfactory.
OBJECTIVE: In this study, we examined the role of HNF1A-AS in NPC progression in vitro and in vivo.
METHODS: Relative levels of long non-coding RNA (LncRNA), HNF1A-AS, were evaluated in tumor tissues from 20 patients with NPC as well as from cultured NPC cell lines. Lentivirus-mediated HNF1A-AS knockdown was conducted in NPC cell lines, CNE-2 and SUNE-1. Cell migration and invasion abilities were estimated in vitro by colony-formation, wound-healing, and transwell assays. Cell cycle analysis was used to further examine the role of HNF1A-AS in cell proliferation. The tumor size of 24 male mice with or without HNF1A-AS knockdown was monitored once a week. The underlying mechanism of HNF1A-AS-mediated cell proliferation was studied by western blot analysis.
RESULTS: Lentivirus-mediated HNF1A-AS knockdown suppressed cell proliferation and migration abilities. In mice injected with CNE-2 and SUNE-1, depletion of HNF1A-AS caused inhibition of tumor growth, whereas cell cycle analysis showed that HNF1A-AS-knockdown resulted in cell accumulation in the G0/G1 phase. Moreover, HNF1A-AS was found to be associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our results suggest that LncRNA, HNF1A-AS potentially regulates NPC tumorigenesis. This could help in development of new strategies for NPC diagnosis and treatment.

Vollbrecht C, Werner R, Walter RF, et al.
Mutational analysis of pulmonary tumours with neuroendocrine features using targeted massive parallel sequencing: a comparison of a neglected tumour group.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 113(12):1704-11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The typical and atypical carcinoid (TC and AC), the large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) and the small-cell lung cancers (SCLC) are subgroups of pulmonary tumours that show neuroendocrine differentiations. With the rising impact of molecular pathology in routine diagnostics the interest for reliable biomarkers, which can help to differentiate these subgroups and may enable a more personalised treatment of patients, grows.
METHODS: A collective of 70 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) pulmonary neuroendocrine tumours (17 TCs, 17 ACs, 19 LCNECs and 17 SCLCs) was used to identify biomarkers by high-throughput sequencing. Using the Illumina TruSeq Amplicon-Cancer Panel on the MiSeq instrument, the samples were screened for alterations in 221 mutation hot spots of 48 tumour-relevant genes.
RESULTS: After filtering >26 000 detected variants by applying strict algorithms, a total of 130 mutations were found in 29 genes and 49 patients. Mutations in JAK3, NRAS, RB1 and VHL1 were exclusively found in SCLCs, whereas the FGFR2 mutation was detected in LCNEC only. KIT, PTEN, HNF1A and SMO were altered in ACs. The SMAD4 mutation corresponded to the TC subtype. We prove that the frequency of mutations increased with the malignancy of tumour type. Interestingly, four out of five ATM-mutated patients showed an additional alteration in TP53, which was by far the most frequently altered gene (28 out of 130; 22%). We found correlations between tumour type and IASLC grade for ATM- (P=0.022; P=0.008) and TP53-mutated patients (P<0.001). Both mutated genes were also associated with lymph node invasion and distant metastasis (P⩽0.005). Furthermore, PIK3CA-mutated patients with high-grade tumours showed a reduced overall survival (P=0.040) and the mutation frequency of APC and ATM in high-grade neuroendocrine lung cancer patients was associated with progression-free survival (PFS) (P=0.020).
CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of high-throughput sequencing for the analysis of the neuroendocrine lung tumours has revealed that, even if these tumours encompass several subtypes with varying clinical aggressiveness, they share a number of molecular features. An improved understanding of the biology of neuroendocrine tumours will offer the opportunity for novel approaches in clinical management, resulting in a better prognosis and prediction of therapeutic response.

Chang YS, Huang HD, Yeh KT, Chang JG
Genetic alterations in endometrial cancer by targeted next-generation sequencing.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2016; 100(1):8-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many genetic factors play important roles in the development of endometrial cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate genetic alterations in the Taiwanese population with endometrial cancer. DNA was extracted from 10 cases of fresh-frozen endometrial cancer tissue. The exomes of cancer-related genes were captured using the NimbleGen Comprehensive Cancer Panel (578 cancer-related genes) and sequenced using the Illumina Genomic Sequencing Platform. Our results revealed 120 variants in 99 genes, 21 of which were included in the Oncomine Cancer Research Panel used in the National Cancer Institute Match Trial. The 21 genes comprised 8 tumor suppressor candidates (ATM, MSH2, PIK3R1, PTCH1, PTEN, TET2, TP53, and TSC1) and 13 oncogene candidates (ALK, BCL9, CTNNB1, ERBB2, FGFR2, FLT3, HNF1A, KIT, MTOR, PDGFRA, PPP2R1A, PTPN11, and SF3B1). We identified a high frequency of mutations in PTEN (50%) and genes involved in the endometrial cancer-related molecular pathway, which involves the IL-7 signaling pathway (PIK3R1, n=1; AKT2, n=1; FOXO1, n=1). We report the mutational landscape of endometrial cancer in the Taiwanese population. We believe that this study will shed new light on fundamental aspects for understanding the molecular pathogenesis of endometrial cancer and may aid in the development of new targeted therapies.

Liu HP, Zhao Q, Jin GZ, et al.
Unique genetic alterations and clinicopathological features of hepatocellular adenoma in Chinese population.
Pathol Res Pract. 2015; 211(12):918-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular adenoma (HCA) is a benign hepatocyte-derived tumor commonly seen in reproductive-aged women with long-term use of oral contraceptives (OCs) in European and North American countries. Accordingly, HCA is currently classified into four molecular subtypes as adopted by the World Health Organization. The present study was firstly to characterize and determine the genetic alterations and clinicopathological features of the largest series of HCAs in China. We reviewed 189 patients with HCA who underwent hepatectomies at our liver center from January 1984 to January 2012, among which 36 HCAs were randomly selected for the sequencing of HNF1α, β-catenin and gp130 genes, and 60 HCAs were randomly selected for detecting microsatellite instability (MSI). Compared with Western studies, our data showed distinctive findings including male (69.8%) and overweight/obese (50.3%) predominance. Only 3.5% of female patients had a documented history of OCs use for 2-4 years. All 36 sequenced HCAs showed HNF1α mutations (72% missense, 28% synonymous), 2 hotspot polymorphisms of HNF1α (I27L: rs1169288 and S487N: rs2464196) were seen in 17 (47%) and 10 (27.8%) cases, respectively, and a novel single nucleotide polymorphism site (rs1169304) in intron 9 of HNF1α was detected in 32 (88%) cases, but no β-catenin or gp130 gene mutation was detected, and no nuclear β-catenin staining was detected by immunohistochemistry. The frequency of MSI was 75% for D12S1398 (HNF1α inactivated pathway) and 78.5% for D6S1064 (HIPPO signaling pathway) in 34 overweight/obese patients with HCA. Our results firstly indicate that patients with HCA in China frequently occur in male overweigh and obese adult population, lack an association with OCs use and exhibit unique genetic alterations. Taken together, these observations suggest that alternative pathogenetic pathways involve in HCA tumorigenesis in Chinese patients.

Kim YI, Lee J, Choi YJ, et al.
Proteogenomic Study beyond Chromosome 9: New Insight into Expressed Variant Proteome and Transcriptome in Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Tissues.
J Proteome Res. 2015; 14(12):5007-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
This is a report of a human proteome project (HPP) related to chromosome 9 (Chr 9). To reveal missing proteins and undiscovered features in proteogenomes, both LC-MS/MS analysis and next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq)-based identification and characterization were conducted on five pairs of lung adenocarcinoma tumors and adjacent nontumor tissues. Before our previous Chromosome-Centric Human Proteome Project (C-HPP) special issue, there were 170 remaining missing proteins on Chr 9 (neXtProt 2013.09.26 rel.); 133 remain at present (neXtProt 2015.04.28 rel.). In the proteomics study, we found two missing protein candidates that require follow-up work and one unrevealed protein across all chromosomes. RNA-seq analysis detected RNA expression for four nonsynonymous (NS) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (in CDH17, HIST1H1T, SAPCD2, and ZNF695) and three synonymous SNPs (in CDH17, CST1, and HNF1A) in all five tumor tissues but not in any of the adjacent normal tissues. By constructing a cancer patient sample-specific protein database based on individual RNA-seq data and by searching the proteomics data from the same sample, we identified four missense mutations in four genes (LTF, HDLBP, TF, and HBD). Two of these mutations were found in tumor samples but not in paired normal tissues. In summary, our proteogenomic study of human primary lung tumor tissues detected additional and revealed novel missense mutations and synonymous SNP signatures, some of which are specific to lung cancers. Data from mass spectrometry have been deposited in the ProteomeXchange with the identifier PXD002523.

Calderaro J, Nault JC, Balabaud C, et al.
Inflammatory hepatocellular adenomas developed in the setting of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
Mod Pathol. 2016; 29(1):43-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular adenoma is considered to occur exclusively in non-fibrotic livers. It is a heterogeneous entity and a molecular classification is now widely accepted. The most frequent hepatocellular adenoma subtype, namely inflammatory adenoma, harbor somatic activating mutations of genes involved in the interleukin-6 pathway that lead to high C-reactive protein and serum amyloid A expression. The aim of our study was to investigate a series of benign hepatocellular neoplasms developed on cirrhotic livers and characterized by an unequivocal histological diagnosis. We performed a clinical, pathological, and molecular study of 10 benign hepatocellular neoplasms developed in three patients with cirrhosis. Markers allowing hepatocellular adenoma classification were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. Samples were sequenced for CTNNB1, HNF1A, IL6ST, GNAS, STAT3, and TERT (promoter) mutations. A control series of 32 classical macronodules developed in cirrhosis related to various etiologies was screened by immunohistochemistry and gene sequencing. The three patients had cirrhosis related to metabolic syndrome and/or alcohol intake; two had a single tumor, while the third developed more than 30 lesions. Microscopic examination showed well-differentiated neoplasms sharing features with inflammatory adenoma including inflammatory infiltrates, sinusoidal dilatation, and dystrophic vessels. Sequencing revealed classical hotspot somatic mutations (IL6ST, n=8; STAT3, n=1; and GNAS, n=1) known to be responsible for IL-6/JAK/STAT pathway activation. Two classical high-grade macronodules demonstrated high serum amyloid A and/or C-reactive protein expression, without gene mutations. Altogether, our findings support the existence of rare inflammatory adenoma developed in cirrhosis.

Shih A, Lauwers GY, Balabaud C, et al.
Simultaneous occurrence of focal nodular hyperplasia and HNF1A-inactivated hepatocellular adenoma: a collision tumor simulating a composite FNH-HCA.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2015; 39(9):1296-300 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mixed focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) and hepatocellular adenoma (HCA) within a single tumor mass is rarely reported, and most of these cases are examples of tumors with features intermediate between FNH and HCA. Although a few reported cases are probably examples of true mixed tumors, none was evaluated immunohistochemically or confirmed by molecular analysis. We report a mixed FNH and HCA arising in a woman with several HNF1A-inactivated adenomas. Our case is the first case of mixed FNH and HNF1A-inactivated HCA documented by immunohistochemistry.

Vuong LM, Chellappa K, Dhahbi JM, et al.
Differential Effects of Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4α Isoforms on Tumor Growth and T-Cell Factor 4/AP-1 Interactions in Human Colorectal Cancer Cells.
Mol Cell Biol. 2015; 35(20):3471-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The nuclear receptor hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) is tumor suppressive in the liver but amplified in colon cancer, suggesting that it also might be oncogenic. To investigate whether this discrepancy is due to different HNF4α isoforms derived from its two promoters (P1 and P2), we generated Tet-On-inducible human colon cancer (HCT116) cell lines that express either the P1-driven (HNF4α2) or P2-driven (HNF4α8) isoform and analyzed them for tumor growth and global changes in gene expression (transcriptome sequencing [RNA-seq] and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing [ChIP-seq]). The results show that while HNF4α2 acts as a tumor suppressor in the HCT116 tumor xenograft model, HNF4α8 does not. Each isoform regulates the expression of distinct sets of genes and recruits, colocalizes, and competes in a distinct fashion with the Wnt/β-catenin mediator T-cell factor 4 (TCF4) at CTTTG motifs as well as at AP-1 motifs (TGAXTCA). Protein binding microarrays (PBMs) show that HNF4α and TCF4 share some but not all binding motifs and that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in sites bound by both HNF4α and TCF4 can alter binding affinity in vitro, suggesting that they could play a role in cancer susceptibility in vivo. Thus, the HNF4α isoforms play distinct roles in colon cancer, which could be due to differential interactions with the Wnt/β-catenin/TCF4 and AP-1 pathways.

Bao C, Li Y, Huan L, et al.
NF-κB signaling relieves negative regulation by miR-194 in hepatocellular carcinoma by suppressing the transcription factor HNF-1α.
Sci Signal. 2015; 8(387):ra75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Constitutive activation of the proinflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) plays an important role in progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Emerging modulators of NF-κB signaling are noncoding RNAs, especially microRNAs (miRNAs). We previously identified miRNAs that reduced the induction of NF-κB activity upon addition of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) to HCC cells. We found that among these miRNAs, the abundance of liver-enriched miR-194 was decreased in HCC tissue and that low abundance of miR-194 correlated with a high occurrence of vascular invasion. Overexpressing miR-194 suppressed HCC cell migration and invasiveness in culture and metastatic seeding in mice. Transcripts encoding tripartite motif containing 23 (TRIM23), a ubiquitin ligase involved in NF-κB activation, and chromosome 21 open reading frame 91 (C21ORF91), a protein of unknown function, were identified as direct targets of miR-194 in HCC cells; knocking down either protein decreased the activity of a luciferase NF-κB reporter. Furthermore, the NF-κB pathway activator TNFα, an inflammatory cytokine, inhibited the transcription of miR-194 by decreasing the abundance of hepatocyte nuclear factor-1α (HNF-1α). The abundance of miR-194 positively correlated with that of HNF-1α and inversely correlated with that of TNFα in human HCC tissue. Thus, we identified a pathway in which TNFα-NF-κB signaling switches off negative regulation by suppressing HNF-1α-mediated expression of miR-194, revealing insight into the mechanisms linking inflammatory pathways, miRNA, and HCC metastasis.

Maby P, Tougeron D, Hamieh M, et al.
Correlation between Density of CD8+ T-cell Infiltrate in Microsatellite Unstable Colorectal Cancers and Frameshift Mutations: A Rationale for Personalized Immunotherapy.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(17):3446-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability (MSI) represent 15% of all colorectal cancers, including Lynch syndrome as the most frequent hereditary form of this disease. Notably, MSI colorectal cancers have a higher density of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) than other colorectal cancers. This feature is thought to reflect the accumulation of frameshift mutations in sequences that are repeated within gene coding regions, thereby leading to the synthesis of neoantigens recognized by CD8(+) T cells. However, there has yet to be a clear link established between CD8(+) TIL density and frameshift mutations in colorectal cancer. In this study, we examined this link in 103 MSI colorectal cancers from two independent cohorts where frameshift mutations in 19 genes were analyzed and CD3(+), CD8(+), and FOXP3(+) TIL densities were quantitated. We found that CD8(+) TIL density correlated positively with the total number of frameshift mutations. TIL densities increased when frameshift mutations were present within the ASTE1, HNF1A, or TCF7L2 genes, increasing even further when at least one of these frameshift mutations was present in all tumor cells. Through in vitro assays using engineered antigen-presenting cells, we were able to stimulate peripheral cytotoxic T cells obtained from colorectal cancer patients with peptides derived from frameshift mutations found in their tumors. Taken together, our results highlight the importance of a CD8(+) T cell immune response against MSI colorectal cancer-specific neoantigens, establishing a preclinical rationale to target them as a personalized cellular immunotherapy strategy, an especially appealing goal for patients with Lynch syndrome.

Chau D, Ng K, Chan TS, et al.
Azacytidine sensitizes acute myeloid leukemia cells to arsenic trioxide by up-regulating the arsenic transporter aquaglyceroporin 9.
J Hematol Oncol. 2015; 8:46 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The therapeutic efficacy of arsenic trioxide (As2O3) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is modest, which is partly related to its limited intracellular uptake into the leukemic cells. As2O3 enters cells via the transmembrane protein aquaglyceroporin 9 (AQP9). Azacytidine, a demethylating agent that is approved for the treatment of AML, has been shown to have synergistic effect with As2O3. We tested the hypothesis that azacytidine might up-regulate AQP9 and enhances As2O3-mediated cytotoxicity in AML.
METHODS: Arsenic-induced cytotoxicity, the expression of AQP9, and the intracellular uptake of As2O3 were determined in AML cell lines and primary AML cells with or without azacytidine pre-treatment. The mechanism of AQP9 up-regulation was then investigated by examining the expression of transcription factors for AQP9 gene and the methylation status of their gene promoters.
RESULTS: As2O3-induced cytotoxicity in AML cell lines was significantly enhanced after azacytidine pre-treatment as a result of AQP9 up-regulation, leading to increased arsenic uptake and hence intracellular concentration. Blocking AQP9-mediated As2O3 uptake with mercury chloride abrogated the sensitization effect of azacytidine. AQP9 promoter does not contain CpG islands. Instead, azacytidine pre-treatment led to increased expression of HNF1A, a transcription activator of AQP9, through demethylation of HNF1A promoter. HNF1 knockdown abrogated azacytidine-induced AQP9 up-regulation and almost completely blocked intracellular As2O3 entry, confirming that azacytidine enhanced As2O3-mediated cell death via up-regulation of HNF1A and hence increased AQP9 and As2O3 intracellular concentration. Azacytidine sensitization to As2O3 treatment was re-capitulated also in primary AML samples. Finally, azacytidine did not enhance arsenic toxicity in a liver cell line, where HNF1A was largely unmethylated.
CONCLUSIONS: Azacytidine sensitizes AML cells to As2O3 treatment, and our results provide proof-of-principle evidence that pharmacological up-regulation of AQP9 potentially expands the therapeutic spectrum of As2O3. Further clinical trial should evaluate the efficacy of azacytidine in combination with As2O3 in the treatment of AML.

Müller S, Raulefs S, Bruns P, et al.
Next-generation sequencing reveals novel differentially regulated mRNAs, lncRNAs, miRNAs, sdRNAs and a piRNA in pancreatic cancer.
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Previous studies identified microRNAs (miRNAs) and messenger RNAs with significantly different expression between normal pancreas and pancreatic cancer (PDAC) tissues. Due to technological limitations of microarrays and real-time PCR systems these studies focused on a fixed set of targets. Expression of other RNA classes such as long intergenic non-coding RNAs or sno-derived RNAs has rarely been examined in pancreatic cancer. Here, we analysed the coding and non-coding transcriptome of six PDAC and five control tissues using next-generation sequencing.
RESULTS: Besides the confirmation of several deregulated mRNAs and miRNAs, miRNAs without previous implication in PDAC were detected: miR-802, miR-2114 or miR-561. SnoRNA-derived RNAs (e.g. sno-HBII-296B) and piR-017061, a piwi-interacting RNA, were found to be differentially expressed between PDAC and control tissues. In silico target analysis of miR-802 revealed potential binding sites in the 3' UTR of TCF4, encoding a transcription factor that controls Wnt signalling genes. Overexpression of miR-802 in MiaPaCa pancreatic cancer cells reduced TCF4 protein levels. Using Massive Analysis of cDNA Ends (MACE) we identified differential expression of 43 lincRNAs, long intergenic non-coding RNAs, e.g. LINC00261 and LINC00152 as well as several natural antisense transcripts like HNF1A-AS1 and AFAP1-AS1. Differential expression was confirmed by qPCR on the mRNA/miRNA/lincRNA level and by immunohistochemistry on the protein level.
CONCLUSIONS: Here, we report a novel lncRNA, sncRNA and mRNA signature of PDAC. In silico prediction of ncRNA targets allowed for assigning potential functions to differentially regulated RNAs.

Wu Y, Liu H, Shi X, et al.
The long non-coding RNA HNF1A-AS1 regulates proliferation and metastasis in lung adenocarcinoma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(11):9160-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of tumor development and progression. The lncRNA HNF1A-antisense 1 (HNF1A-AS1) is a 2455-bp transcript on chromosome 12 with a potential oncogenic role in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Nevertheless, current understanding of the involvement of HNF1A-AS1 in lung adenocarcinoma tumorigenesis remains limited. In this study, we analyzed the roles of HNF1A-AS1 in 40 lung adenocarcinoma tissues and five lung cancer cell lines. Our results showed that HNF1A-AS1 was significantly up-regulated in lung adenocarcinoma tissues compared with corresponding non-tumor tissues, and its expression level was significantly correlated with TNM stage, tumor size, and lymph node metastasis. The UCSC Cancer Genomics Browser's Kaplan-Meier plot suggested that patients in the high HNF1A-AS1 expression subgroup experienced worse overall survival compared to the low expression subgroup. Moreover, HNF1A-AS1 was determined to promote tumor proliferation and metastasis, both in vitro and in vivo, by regulating cyclin D1, E-cadherin, N-cadherin and β-catenin expression. In addition, the binding of HNF1A-AS1 to DNMT1 may explain its regulation of E-cadherin. In conclusions, we demonstrated that increased HNF1A-AS1 expression could regulate cell proliferation and metastasis and identified it as a poor prognostic biomarker in lung adenocarcinoma.

Luo Z, Li Y, Wang H, et al.
Hepatocyte nuclear factor 1A (HNF1A) as a possible tumor suppressor in pancreatic cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0121082 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: HNF1A (Hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 alpha) is a transcription factor that is known to regulate pancreatic differentiation and maintain homeostasis of endocrine pancreas. Recently, genome-wide association studies have implicated HNF1A as a susceptibility gene for pancreatic cancer. However, the functional significance and molecular mechanism of HNF1A in pancreatic carcinogenesis remains unclear.
METHODS: Using RT-PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry methods, we examined HNF1A gene expression in eight pancreatic carcinoma cell lines and in paired tumor and normal tissue samples from patients with resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. We knocked down the HNF1A gene expression in two cancer cell lines using three siRNA sequences. The impacts on cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cell cycle as well as the phosphorylation of Akt signaling transduction proteins were examined using ATP assay, flow cytometry and Western blot.
RESULTS: HNF1A was expressed in three out of eight pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines and the level of HNF1A mRNA and protein expression was significantly lower in tumors than in normal adjacent tissues by both RT-PCR and Western Blot analyses. Immunohistochemistry revealed that the level of HNF1A expression was significantly lower in tumor tissues than in non-tumor tissues. Selective blocking of HNF1A by specific siRNA conferred a 2-fold higher rate of cell proliferation, 20% increased S phase and G2 phase cells, and 30-40% reduced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cell lines. We further demonstrated that HNF1A knockdown activated Akt and its downstream target, the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in pancreatic cancer cells.
CONCLUSION: These observations provide experimental evidence supporting a possible tumor suppressor role of HNF1A in pancreatic cancer.

Kong B, Wu W, Valkovska N, et al.
A common genetic variation of melanoma inhibitory activity-2 labels a subtype of pancreatic adenocarcinoma with high endoplasmic reticulum stress levels.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:8109 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
HNF1 homeobox A (HNF1A)-mediated gene expression constitutes an essential component of the secretory pathway in the exocrine pancreas. Melanoma inhibitory activity 2 (MIA2), a protein facilitating protein secretion, is an HNF1A target. Protein secretion is precisely coordinated by the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress/unfolded protein response (UPR) system. Here, we demonstrate that HNFA and MIA2 are expressed in a subset of human PDAC tissues and that HNF1A induced MIA2 in vitro. We identified a common germline variant of MIA2 (c.A617G: p.I141M) associated with a secretory defect of the MIA2 protein in PDAC cells. Patients carrying MIA2(I141M) survived longer after tumor resection but the survival benefit was restricted to those patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy. The MIA2(I141M) variant was associated with high expression of ER stress/UPR genes--in particular those of the ERN1/XBP arm--in human PDAC samples. Accordingly, PDAC cell lines expressing the MIA2(I141M) variant expressed high levels of ERN1 and were more sensitive to gemcitabine. These findings define an interaction between the common MIA2(I141M) variant and the ER stress/UPR system and specify a subgroup of PDAC patients who are more likely to benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.

Tong YS, Wang XW, Zhou XL, et al.
Identification of the long non-coding RNA POU3F3 in plasma as a novel biomarker for diagnosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:3 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have demonstrated that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) were present in the blood of cancer patients and have shown great potential as powerful and non-invasive tumor markers. However, little is known about the value of lncRNAs in the diagnosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We hypothesized that ESCC-related lncRNAs might be released into the circulation during tumor initiation and could be utilized to detect and monitor ESCC.
METHODS: Ten lncRNAs (HOTAIR, AFAP1-AS1, POU3F3, HNF1A-AS1, 91H, PlncRNA1, SPRY4-IT1, ENST00000435885.1, XLOC_013104 and ENST00000547963.1) which previously found to be differently expressed in esophageal cancer were selected as candidate targets for subsequent circulating lncRNA assay. A four-stage exploratory study was conducted to test the hypothesis: (1) optimization of detected method to accurately and reproducibly measure ESCC-related lncRNAs in plasma and serum; (2) evaluation of the stability of circulating lncRNAs in human plasma or serum; (3) exploration the origin of ESCC-related lncRNAs in vitro and in vivo; (4) evaluation the diagnostic power of circulating lncRNAs for ESCC.
RESULTS: ESCC-related lncRNAs were detectable and stable in plasma of cancer patients, and derived largely from ESCC tumor cells. Furthermore, plasma levels of POU3F3, HNF1A-AS1 and SPRY4-IT1 were significantly higher in ESCC patients compared with normal controls. By receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis, among the three lncRNAs investigated, plasma POU3F3 provided the highest diagnostic performance for detection of ESCC (the area under the ROC curve (AUC), 0.842; p < 0.001; sensitivity, 72.8%; specificity, 89.4%). Moreover, use of POU3F3 and SCCA in combination could provide a more effective diagnosis performance (AUC, 0.926, p < 0.001, sensitivity, 85.7%; specificity, 81.4%). Most importantly, this combination was effective to detect ESCC at an early stage (80.8%).
CONCLUSIONS: Plasma POU3F3 could serve as a potential biomarker for diagnosis of ESCC, and the combination of POU3F3 and SCCA was more efficient for ESCC detection, in particular for early tumor screening.

Ritter DI, Haines K, Cheung H, et al.
Identifying gene disruptions in novel balanced de novo constitutional translocations in childhood cancer patients by whole-genome sequencing.
Genet Med. 2015; 17(10):831-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: We applied whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to children diagnosed with neoplasms and found to carry apparently balanced constitutional translocations to discover novel genic disruptions.
METHODS: We applied the structural variation (SV) calling programs CREST, BreakDancer, SV-STAT, and CGAP-CNV, and we developed an annotative filtering strategy to achieve nucleotide resolution at the translocations.
RESULTS: We identified the breakpoints for t(6;12)(p21.1;q24.31), disrupting HNF1A in a patient diagnosed with hepatic adenomas and maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY). Translocation as the disruptive event of HNF1A, a gene known to be involved in MODY3, has not been previously reported. In a subject with Hodgkin lymphoma and subsequent low-grade glioma, we identified t(5;18)(q35.1;q21.2), disrupting both SLIT3 and DCC, genes previously implicated in both glioma and lymphoma.
CONCLUSION: These examples suggest that implementing clinical WGS in the diagnostic workup of patients with novel but apparently balanced translocations may reveal unanticipated disruption of disease-associated genes and aid in prediction of the clinical phenotype.

Inoue M, Takahashi Y, Fujii T, et al.
Significance of downregulation of liver fatty acid-binding protein in hepatocellular carcinoma.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(46):17541-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the significance of downregulation of liver fatty acid-binding protein (L-FABP) expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Tissue microarrays of 146 cases of HCC were used to perform immunohistochemical staining for L-FABP. For each L-FABP-negative HCC, further immunohistochemical staining was performed using a representative whole-tissue section to confirm the downregulation of L-FABP expression and to assess the intratumoral heterogeneity of the staining pattern. Clinical data were retrieved from the clinical files, and histological slides were reviewed. Immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratin (CK) 7, CK 19, β-catenin, glutamine synthetase (GS), and serum amyloid A were also performed on the tissue microarrays. Clinicopathological features of the L-FABP-negative and L-FABP-positive HCC cases were compared. Furthermore, L-FABP and GS gene expression in HCC and cholangiocarcinoma cell lines were analyzed using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Mutation analysis of HNF1A [encoding hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 (HNF1)α] was performed for L-FABP-negative HCC cases.
RESULTS: Sixteen (10.9%) of the 146 cases of HCC stained negative for L-FABP. When we examined the correlation between the downregulation pattern of L-FABP and tumor size, most cases of smaller HCC (≤ 2 cm in diameter) exhibited focal downregulation, while most cases of larger HCC (> 2 cm in diameter) exhibited diffuse downregulation. The correlation was statistically significant (P = 0.036). When the HCC was smaller, the L-FABP-negative area often corresponded to a "nodule-in-nodule" appearance. Among the small HCC cases, tumor differentiation was significantly lower, and the frequency of intratumoral inflammation was significantly lower in L-FABP-negative cases than in L-FABP-positive cases (P = 0.032 and P = 0.009, respectively). The frequency of positivity for β-catenin and GS staining was significantly higher in L-FABP-negative cases of small HCC than in L-FABP-positive cases of small HCC (P = 0.009 and P = 0.000, respectively). Among six HCC cell lines examined, four showed higher expression of L-FABP, and the remaining two cell lines showed lower or no expression of L-FABP. Two of the 16 L-FABP-negative HCC cases possessed a mutation in exon 4 of HNF1A.
CONCLUSION: In smaller HCC, L-FABP downregulation probably occurs because of phenotypic changes during tumor progression. Moreover, this downregulation correlated with tumor differentiation and intratumoral inflammation.

Hoskins JW, Jia J, Flandez M, et al.
Transcriptome analysis of pancreatic cancer reveals a tumor suppressor function for HNF1A.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(12):2670-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is driven by the accumulation of somatic mutations, epigenetic modifications and changes in the micro-environment. New approaches to investigating disruptions of gene expression networks promise to uncover key regulators and pathways in carcinogenesis. We performed messenger RNA-sequencing in pancreatic normal (n = 10) and tumor (n = 8) derived tissue samples, as well as in pancreatic cancer cell lines (n = 9), to determine differential gene expression (DE) patterns. Sub-network enrichment analyses identified HNF1A as the regulator of the most significantly and consistently dysregulated expression sub-network in pancreatic tumor tissues and cells (median P = 7.56×10(-7), median rank = 1, range = 1-25). To explore the effects of HNF1A expression in pancreatic tumor-derived cells, we generated stable HNF1A-inducible clones in two pancreatic cancer cell lines (PANC-1 and MIA PaCa-2) and observed growth inhibition (5.3-fold, P = 4.5×10(-5) for MIA PaCa-2 clones; 7.2-fold, P = 2.2×10(-5) for PANC-1 clones), and a G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis upon induction. These effects correlated with HNF1A-induced down-regulation of 51 of 84 cell cycle genes (e.g. E2F1, CDK2, CDK4, MCM2/3/4/5, SKP2 and CCND1), decreased expression of anti-apoptotic genes (e.g. BIRC2/5/6 and AKT) and increased expression of pro-apoptotic genes (e.g. CASP4/9/10 and APAF1). In light of the established role of HNF1A in the regulation of pancreatic development and homeostasis, our data suggest that it also functions as an important tumor suppressor in the pancreas.

Choi SH, Chung AR, Kang W, et al.
Silencing of hypoxia-inducible factor-1β induces anti-tumor effects in hepatoma cell lines under tumor hypoxia.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(7):e103304 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Dimerization of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 beta (HIF-1β) [aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT)] with HIF-1α is involved in various aspects of cancer biology, including proliferation and survival under hypoxic conditions. We investigated the in vitro mechanism by which silencing of HIF-1β leads to the suppression of tumor cell growth and cellular functions. Various hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines (Huh-7, Hep3B, and HepG2) were transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNA) against HIF-1β (siHIF-1β) and cultured under hypoxic conditions (1% O2 for 24 h). The expression levels of HIF-1β, HIF-1α, and growth factors were examined by immunoblotting. Tumor growth was measured using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, and tumor activity was measured by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling, tumor cell invasion, and migration assays. Under hypoxic conditions, silencing of HIF-1β expression suppressed tumor cell growth and regulated the expression of tumor growth-related factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, epidermal growth factor, and hepatocyte growth factor. Suppression of tumor cell invasion and migration was also demonstrated in HIF-1β-silenced HCC cell lines. Silencing of HIF-1β expression may induce anti-tumor effects under hypoxic conditions in HCC cell lines.

Li J, Zhang Y, Gao Y, et al.
Downregulation of HNF1 homeobox B is associated with drug resistance in ovarian cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(3):979-88 [PubMed] Related Publications
The expression of HNF1 homeobox B (HNF1B) is associated with cancer risk in several tumors, including ovarian cancer, and its decreased expression play roles in cancer development. However, the study of HNF1B and cancer is limited, and its association with drug resistance in cancer has never been reported. On the basis of array data retrieved from Oncomine and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) online database, we found that the mRNA expression of HNF1B in 586 ovarian serous cystadenocarcinomas and in platinum-resistant A2780 epithelial ovarian cancer cells was significantly decreased, indicating a potential role of HNF1B in drug resistance in ovarian cancer. Based on this finding, comprehensive bioinformatics analyses, including protein/gene interaction, protein-small molecule/chemical interaction, biological process annotation, gene co-occurrence and pathway enrichment analysis and microRNA-mRNA interaction, were performed to illustrate the association of HNF1B with drug resistance in ovarian cancer. We found that among the proteins/genes, small molecules/chemicals and microRNAs which directly interacted with HNF1B, the majority was associated with drug resistance in cancer, particularly in ovarian cancer. Biological process annotation revealed that HNF1B closely related to 24 biological processes which were all notably associated with ovarian cancer and drug resistance. These results indicated that the downregulation of HNF1B may contribute to drug resistance in ovarian cancer, via its direct interactions with these drug resistance-related proteins/genes, small molecules/chemicals and microRNAs, and via its regulations on the drug resistance-related biological processes. Pathway enrichment analysis of 36 genes which co-occurred with HNF1B, ovarian cancer and drug resistance indicated that the HNF1B may perform its drug resistance-related functions through 4 pathways including ErbB signaling, focal adhesion, apoptosis and p53 signaling. Collectively, in this study, we illustrated for the first time that HNF1B may contribute to drug resistance in ovarian cancer, potentially through the 4 pathways. The present study may pave the way for further investigation of the drug resistance-related functions of HNF1B in ovarian cancer.

Otani K, Dong Y, Li X, et al.
Odd-skipped related 1 is a novel tumour suppressor gene and a potential prognostic biomarker in gastric cancer.
J Pathol. 2014; 234(3):302-15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We report that the odd-skipped related 1 (OSR1) gene encoding a zinc-finger transcription factor was preferentially methylated in gastric cancer by genome-wide methylation screening. OSR1 expression was frequently silenced or down-regulated in gastric cancer cell lines. OSR1 expression was also significantly down-regulated at both mRNA and protein levels in primary gastric cancer tissues compared with adjacent normal tissues. The silencing or down-regulation of OSR1 was closely associated with promoter hypermethylation. Overexpression of OSR1 significantly inhibited cell growth, arrested the cell cycle, and induced apoptosis in the gastric cancer cell lines AGS, MKN28, and MGC803. Conversely, knockdown of OSR1 by OSR1-short hairpin RNA significantly enhanced cell growth, promoted the cell cycle, and inhibited apoptosis in the normal gastric epithelial cell line GES1. The dual-luciferase reporter assay revealed that OSR1 activated p53 transcription and repressed the T-cell factor (TCF)/lymphoid enhancer factor (LEF). Complementary DNA expression array and western blotting showed that OSR1 increased the expression of nuclear p53, p21, Fas, and death receptor-5, and suppressed the expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 in the p53 signalling pathway. In addition, OSR1 suppressed the expression of cytoplasmic β-catenin, TCF-1, and LEF1 in the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway. OSR1 methylation was detected in 51.8% of primary gastric cancer patients (85 of 164) by bisulphite genomic sequencing. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that OSR1 methylation was an independent predictor of poor survival. Kaplan-Meier survival curves revealed that OSR1 methylation was associated with shortened survival in TNM stage I-III patients. In conclusion, OSR1 acts as a functional tumour suppressor through the transcriptional activation of p53 and repression of TCF/LEF in gastric cancer. Detection of OSR1 methylation may serve as a potential biomarker of the early stage of gastric cancer.

Keerthivasan S, Aghajani K, Dose M, et al.
β-Catenin promotes colitis and colon cancer through imprinting of proinflammatory properties in T cells.
Sci Transl Med. 2014; 6(225):225ra28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The density and type of lymphocytes that infiltrate colon tumors are predictive of the clinical outcome of colon cancer. High densities of T helper 17 (T(H)17) cells and inflammation predict poor outcome, whereas infiltration by T regulatory cells (Tregs) that naturally suppress inflammation is associated with longer patient survival. However, the role of Tregs in cancer remains controversial. We recently reported that Tregs in colon cancer patients can become proinflammatory and tumor-promoting. These properties were directly linked with their expression of RORγt (retinoic acid-related orphan receptor-γt), the signature transcription factor of T(H)17 cells. We report that Wnt/β-catenin signaling in T cells promotes expression of RORγt. Expression of β-catenin was elevated in T cells, including Tregs, of patients with colon cancer. Genetically engineered activation of β-catenin in mouse T cells resulted in enhanced chromatin accessibility in the proximity of T cell factor-1 (Tcf-1) binding sites genome-wide, induced expression of T(H)17 signature genes including RORγt, and promoted T(H)17-mediated inflammation. Strikingly, the mice had inflammation of small intestine and colon and developed lesions indistinguishable from colitis-induced cancer. Activation of β-catenin only in Tregs was sufficient to produce inflammation and initiate cancer. On the basis of these findings, we conclude that activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in effector T cells and/or Tregs is causatively linked with the imprinting of proinflammatory properties and the promotion of colon cancer.

Lv C, Kong H, Dong G, et al.
Antitumor efficacy of α-solanine against pancreatic cancer in vitro and in vivo.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e87868 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
α-solanine, a steroidal glycoalkaloid in potato, was found to have proliferation-inhibiting and apoptosis-promoting effect on multiple cancer cells, such as clone, liver, melanoma cancer cells. However, the antitumor efficacy of α-solanine on pancreatic cancer has not been fully evaluated. In this study, we inquired into the anti-carcinogenic effect of α-solanine against human pancreatic cancer cells. In the present study, we investigated the anti-carcinogenic effect of α-solanine against human pancreatic cancer cells. In vitro, α-solanine inhibited proliferation of PANC-1, sw1990, MIA PaCa-2 cells in a dose-dependent manner, as well as cell migration and invasion with atoxic doses. The expression of MMP-2/9, extracellular inducer of matrix metalloproteinase (EMMPRIN), CD44, eNOS and E-cadherin were suppressed by α-solanine in PANC-1 cells. Moreover, significantly decreased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and tube formation of endothelial cells were discerned following α-solanine treatment. Suppressed phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, and Stat3, and strengthen phosphorylation of β-catenin was found, along with markedly decreased tran-nuclear of NF-κB, β-catenin and TCF-1. Following the administration of α-solanine (6 µg/g for 2 weeks) in xenograft model, tumor volume and weight were decreased by 61% and 43% (p<0.05) respectively, showing decreased MMP-2/9, PCNA and VEGF expression. In conclusion, α-solanine showed beneficial effects on pancreatic cancer in vitro and in vivo, which may via suppressing the pathway proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis.

Fifis T, Nguyen L, Malcontenti-Wilson C, et al.
Treatment with the vascular disruptive agent OXi4503 induces an immediate and widespread epithelial to mesenchymal transition in the surviving tumor.
Cancer Med. 2013; 2(5):595-610 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is considered an important mechanism in tumor resistance to drug treatments; however, in vivo observation of this process has been limited. In this study we demonstrated an immediate and widespread EMT involving all surviving tumor cells following treatment of a mouse model of colorectal liver metastases with the vascular disruptive agent OXi4503. EMT was characterized by significant downregulation of E-cadherin, relocation and nuclear accumulation of β-catenin as well as significant upregulation of ZEB1 and vimentin. Concomitantly, significant temporal upregulation in hypoxia and the pro-angiogenic growth factors hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha, hepatocyte growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor and transforming growth factor-beta were seen within the surviving tumor. The process of EMT was transient and by 5 days after treatment tumor cell reversion to epithelial morphology was evident. This reversal, termed mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) is a process implicated in the development of new metastases but has not been observed in vivo histologically. Similar EMT changes were observed in response to other antitumor treatments including chemotherapy, thermal ablation, and antiangiogenic treatments in our mouse colorectal metastasis model and in a murine orthotopic breast cancer model after OXi4503 treatment. These results suggest that EMT may be an early mechanism adopted by tumors in response to injury and hypoxic stress, such that inhibition of EMT in combination with other therapies could play a significant role in future cancer therapy.

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