Gene Summary

Gene:THRA; thyroid hormone receptor, alpha
Aliases: AR7, EAR7, ERBA, CHNG6, ERBA1, NR1A1, THRA1, THRA2, ERB-T-1, c-ERBA-1
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a nuclear hormone receptor for triiodothyronine. It is one of the several receptors for thyroid hormone, and has been shown to mediate the biological activities of thyroid hormone. Knockout studies in mice suggest that the different receptors, while having certain extent of redundancy, may mediate different functions of thyroid hormone. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been reported. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:thyroid hormone receptor alpha
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (40)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Survival Rate
  • Ukraine
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Chromosome 17
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Mutation
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Bone Marrow
  • Cyclin D1
  • Messenger RNA
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • Receptor, erbB-2
  • Signal Transduction
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • beta Catenin
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Breast Cancer
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Paraproteinemias
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • ras Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cancer DNA
  • Base Sequence
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Plasma Cells
  • Oncogenes
  • Translocation
  • Young Adult
  • Gene Amplification
  • Neoplasm Proteins
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

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: THRA (cancer-related)

Liu C, Wu HT, Zhu N, et al.
Steroid receptor RNA activator: Biologic function and role in disease.
Clin Chim Acta. 2016; 459:137-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA) is a type of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) which coordinates the functions of various transcription factors, enhances steroid receptor-dependent gene expression, and also serves as a distinct scaffold. The novel, profound and expanded roles of SRA are emerging in critical aspects of coactivation of nuclear receptors (NRs). As a nuclear receptor coactivator, SRA can coactivate androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor α (ERα), ERβ, progesterone receptor (PR), glucocorticoid receptor (GR), thyroid hormone receptor and retinoic acid receptor (RAR). Although SRA is one of the least well-understood molecules, increasing studies have revealed that SRA plays a key role in both biological processes, such as myogenesis and steroidogenesis, and pathological changes, including obesity, cardiomyopathy, and tumorigenesis. Furthermore, the SRA-related signaling pathways, such as the mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK), Notch and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) pathways, play critical roles in the pathogenesis of estrogen-dependent breast cancers. In addition, the most recent data demonstrates that SRA expression may serve as a new prognostic marker in patients with ER-positive breast cancer. Thus, elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying SRA-mediated functions is important to develop proper novel strategies to target SRA in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Achille NJ, Othus M, Phelan K, et al.
Association between early promoter-specific DNA methylation changes and outcome in older acute myeloid leukemia patients.
Leuk Res. 2016; 42:68-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Treatment options for older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) range from supportive care alone to full-dose chemotherapy. Identifying factors that predict response to therapy may help increase efficacy and avoid toxicity. The phase II SWOG S0703 study investigated the use of hydroxyurea and azacitidine with gemtuzumab ozogamicin in the elderly AML population and found survival rates similar to those expected with standard AML regimens, with less toxicity. As part of this study, global DNA methylation along with promoter DNA methylation and expression analysis of six candidate genes (CDKN2A, CDKN2B, HIC1, RARB, CDH1 and APAF1) were determined before and during therapy to investigate whether very early changes are prognostic for clinical response. Global DNA methylation was not associated with a clinical response. Samples after 3 or 4 days of treatment with azacitidine showed significantly decreased CDKN2A promoter DNA methylation in patients achieving complete remission (CR) compared to those who did not. Samples from day 7 of treatment showed significantly decreased RARB, CDKN2B and CDH1 promoter DNA methylation in responders compared to nonresponders. Gene-specific DNA methylation analysis of peripheral blood samples may help early identification of those older AML patients most likely to benefit from demethylating agent therapy.

Handkiewicz-Junak D, Swierniak M, Rusinek D, et al.
Gene signature of the post-Chernobyl papillary thyroid cancer.
Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2016; 43(7):1267-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Following the nuclear accidents in Chernobyl and later in Fukushima, the nuclear community has been faced with important issues concerning how to search for and diagnose biological consequences of low-dose internal radiation contamination. Although after the Chernobyl accident an increase in childhood papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) was observed, it is still not clear whether the molecular biology of PTCs associated with low-dose radiation exposure differs from that of sporadic PTC.
METHODS: We investigated tissue samples from 65 children/young adults with PTC using DNA microarray (Affymetrix, Human Genome U133 2.0 Plus) with the aim of identifying molecular differences between radiation-induced (exposed to Chernobyl radiation, ECR) and sporadic PTC. All participants were resident in the same region so that confounding factors related to genetics or environment were minimized.
RESULTS: There were small but significant differences in the gene expression profiles between ECR and non-ECR PTC (global test, p < 0.01), with 300 differently expressed probe sets (p < 0.001) corresponding to 239 genes. Multifactorial analysis of variance showed that besides radiation exposure history, the BRAF mutation exhibited independent effects on the PTC expression profile; the histological subset and patient age at diagnosis had negligible effects. Ten genes (PPME1, HDAC11, SOCS7, CIC, THRA, ERBB2, PPP1R9A, HDGF, RAD51AP1, and CDK1) from the 19 investigated with quantitative RT-PCR were confirmed as being associated with radiation exposure in an independent, validation set of samples.
CONCLUSION: Significant, but subtle, differences in gene expression in the post-Chernobyl PTC are associated with previous low-dose radiation exposure.

Huang QX, Cui JY, Ma H, et al.
Screening of potential biomarkers for cholangiocarcinoma by integrated analysis of microarray data sets.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2016 Feb-Mar; 23(2-3):48-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) continues to harbor a difficult prognosis and it is difficult to diagnose in its early stages. The molecular mechanisms of CCA oncogenesis and progression are poorly understood. This study aimed to identify candidate biomarkers for CCA. Integrated analysis of microarray data sets was performed to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between CCA and normal tissues. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis were then performed to identify the functions of DEGs. Furthermore, the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of DEGs was constructed. The expressions of DEGs were validated in human CCA tissues by qRT-PCR. A set of 712 DEGs were identified in CCA compared with normal tissues, including 306 upregulated and 406 downregulated DEGs. It can be shown from the KEGG pathway analysis that some pathways may have important roles in pathology of CCA, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor signaling pathway, bile secretion, cell cycle, fat digestion and absorption. PPI network indicated that the significant hub proteins were PKM, SPP1 and TPM1. The abnormally overexpression PKM, SPP1 and TPM1 were closely related to oncogenesis and progression of CCA. PKM, SPP1, TPM1, COL1A1 and COL1A2 may serve as candidate biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of CCA.

Khan S, Wall D, Curran C, et al.
MicroRNA-10a is reduced in breast cancer and regulated in part through retinoic acid.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:345 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA molecules that play a critical role in mRNA cleavage and translational repression, and are known to be altered in many diseases including breast cancer. MicroRNA-10a (miR-10a) has been shown to be deregulated in various cancer types. The aim of this study was to investigate miR-10a expression in breast cancer and to further delineate the role of retinoids and thyroxine in regulation of miR-10a.
METHODS: Following informed patient consent and ethical approval, tissue samples were obtained during surgery. miR-10a was quantified in malignant (n = 103), normal (n = 30) and fibroadenoma (n = 35) tissues by RQ-PCR. Gene expression of Retinoic Acid Receptor beta (RARβ) and Thyroid Hormone receptor alpha (THRα) was also quantified in the same patient samples (n = 168). The in vitro effects of all-trans Retinoic acid (ATRA) and L-Thyroxine (T4) both individually and in combination, on miR-10a expression was investigated in breast cancer cell lines, T47D and SK-BR-3.
RESULTS: The level of miR-10a expression was significantly decreased in tissues harvested from breast cancer patients (Mean (SEM) 2.1(0.07)) Log10 Relative Quantity (RQ)) compared to both normal (3.0(0.16) Log10 RQ, p < 0.001) and benign tissues (2.6(0.17) Log10 RQ, p < 0.05). The levels of both RARβ and THRα gene expression were also found to be decreased in breast cancer patients compared to controls (p < 0.001). A significant positive correlation was determined between miR-10a and RARβ (r = 0.31, p < 0.001) and also with THRα (r = 0.32, p < 0.001). In vitro stimulation assays revealed miR-10a expression was increased in both T47D and SK-BR-3 cells following addition of ATRA (2 fold (0.7)). While T4 alone did not stimulate miR-10a expression, the combination of T4 and ATRA was found to have a positive synergistic effect.
CONCLUSION: The data presented supports a potential tumour suppressor role for miR-10a in breast cancer, and highlights retinoic acid as a positive regulator of the microRNA.

Teng X, Jin T, Brent GA, et al.
A Patient With a Thyrotropin-Secreting Microadenoma and Resistance to Thyroid Hormone (P453T).
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; 100(7):2511-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Resistance to thyroid hormone (RTH) β is due to mutations in the β-isoform of the thyroid hormone receptor (TR). TSH-secreting adenomas (TSHomas) are presumed to represent clonal expansion and have been reported to contain TRβ gene mutations. Mice with a knock-in mutation in the TRβ gene spontaneously develop TSHomas, although as yet no patient has been reported to have both a TSHoma and RTHβ.
OBJECTIVE: We investigated a 12-year-old girl with elevated serum T4 concentration, inappropriately high TSH levels, and a pituitary adenoma.
DESIGN AND INTERVENTION: Clinical, biochemical, and radiological assessments were performed at baseline and after a transsphenoidal pituitary adenomectomy.
RESULTS: The patient's laboratory results included: TSH, 21.12 mIU/L (0.35-4.94 mIU/L); free T3, 14.25 pmol/L (2.63-5.7 pmol/L); free T4, 28.79 pmol/L (9.01-19.05 pmol/L); serum glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit (α-GSU), 0.32 ng/ml (0.22-0.39 ng/ml); and α-GSU/TSH, 0.15. Thyroid radioiodine uptake was increased by 94.4% at 24 hours. A T3 suppression test showed incomplete suppression of the serum TSH concentration and blunted response of the peripheral thyroid hormone markers. The sequence of TRβ exons confirmed a P453T mutation in the TRβ gene. Pituitary magnetic resonance imaging revealed a microadenoma in the left side of the pituitary. The patient underwent transsphenoidal pituitary adenomectomy. Histologically, the tumor stained positively for TSH-β, human Chorionic Gonadotropin alpha (HCG-α), GH, prolactin, and ACTH. After removal of the tumor, the patient's thyroid function improved significantly, and she experienced the onset of menarche and an increase in linear growth as well.
CONCLUSIONS: This patient with RTHβ had a TSHoma consistent with previous findings linking somatic TRβ mutations to TSHomas.

Jerzak KJ, Cockburn J, Pond GR, et al.
Thyroid hormone receptor α in breast cancer: prognostic and therapeutic implications.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015; 149(1):293-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
We determined the expression of two transcriptional variants of thyroid hormone receptor alpha (THRα1 and THRα2) in samples from a cohort of breast cancer patients and correlated expression levels with survival. 130 women who were diagnosed with invasive breast carcinoma between 2007 and 2008 were included. Representative sections of their tumours were analyzed in triplicate on a tissue microarray for expression of THRα1 and THRα2 by immunohistochemistry. The prognostic significance of THRα1 and THRα2 expression was assessed using Kaplan-Meier survival analyses, adjusted for known prognostic factors. Seventy-four percent of tumours had high expression of THRα1 (Allred score ≥6) and 40 % had high expression of THRα2. Expression of THRα2 correlated positively with ER expression (p < 0.001) and with PR expression (p < 0.001), but negatively with HER2 expression (p = 0.018). Patients with low THRα2 expression had inferior 5-year overall survival (75.3 %) compared to those with high expression (91.7 %; p = 0.06). In a multivariate model, high THRα2 expression was a significant and independent prognosticator of improved overall survival (HR = 0.84; 95 % CI 0.71-0.98). Many breast tumours express THRα2 at high levels and these patients experience improved survival. Thyroid hormone signalling may be important in a proportion of breast cancers and THRα2 expression may be a regulator of signalling in this pathway.

Rumi E, Pietra D, Pascutto C, et al.
Clinical effect of driver mutations of JAK2, CALR, or MPL in primary myelofibrosis.
Blood. 2014; 124(7):1062-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We studied the impact of driver mutations of JAK2, CALR, (calreticulin gene) or MPL on clinical course, leukemic transformation, and survival of patients with primary myelofibrosis (PMF). Of the 617 subjects studied, 399 (64.7%) carried JAK2 (V617F), 140 (22.7%) had a CALR exon 9 indel, 25 (4.0%) carried an MPL (W515) mutation, and 53 (8.6%) had nonmutated JAK2, CALR, and MPL (so-called triple-negative PMF). Patients with CALR mutation had a lower risk of developing anemia, thrombocytopenia, and marked leukocytosis compared with other subtypes. They also had a lower risk of thrombosis compared with patients carrying JAK2 (V617F). At the opposite, triple-negative patients had higher incidence of leukemic transformation compared with either CALR-mutant or JAK2-mutant patients. Median overall survival was 17.7 years in CALR-mutant, 9.2 years in JAK2-mutant, 9.1 years in MPL-mutant, and 3.2 years in triple-negative patients. In multivariate analysis corrected for age, CALR-mutant patients had better overall survival than either JAK2-mutant or triple-negative patients. The impact of genetic lesions on survival was independent of current prognostic scoring systems. These observations indicate that driver mutations define distinct disease entities within PMF. Accounting for them is not only relevant to clinical decision-making, but should also be considered in designing clinical trials.

Moran C, Agostini M, Visser WE, et al.
Resistance to thyroid hormone caused by a mutation in thyroid hormone receptor (TR)α1 and TRα2: clinical, biochemical, and genetic analyses of three related patients.
Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014; 2(8):619-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The thyroid hormone receptor α gene (THRA) transcript is alternatively spliced to generate either thyroid hormone receptor (TR)α1 or a non-hormone-binding variant protein, TRα2, the function of which is unknown. Here, we describe the first patients identified with a mutation in THRA that affects both TRα1 and TRα2, and compare them with patients who have resistance to thyroid hormone owing to a mutation affecting only TRα1, to delineate the relative roles of TRα1 and TRα2.
METHODS: We did clinical, biochemical, and genetic analyses of an index case and her two sons. We assessed physical and radiological features, thyroid function, physiological and biochemical markers of thyroid hormone action, and THRA sequence.
FINDINGS: The patients presented in childhood with growth failure, developmental delay, and constipation, which improved after treatment with thyroxine, despite normal concentrations of circulating thyroid hormones. They had similar clinical (macrocephaly, broad faces, skin tags, motor dyspraxia, slow speech), biochemical (subnormal ratio of free thyroxine:free tri-iodothyronine [T3], low concentration of total reverse T3, high concentration of creatine kinase, mild anaemia), and radiological (thickened calvarium) features to patients with TRα1-mediated resistance to thyroid hormone, although our patients had a heterozygous mis-sense mutation (Ala263Val) in both TRα1 and TRα2 proteins. The Ala263Val mutant TRα1 inhibited the transcriptional function of normal receptor in a dominant-negative fashion. By contrast, function of Ala263Val mutant TRα2 matched its normal counterpart. In vitro, high concentrations of T3 restored transcriptional activity of Ala263Val mutant TRα1, and reversed the dominant-negative inhibition of its normal counterpart. High concentrations of T3 restored expression of thyroid hormone-responsive target genes in patient-derived blood cells.
INTERPRETATION: TRα1 seems to be the principal functional product of the THRA gene. Thyroxine treatment alleviates hormone resistance in patients with mutations affecting this gene, possibly ameliorating the phenotype. These findings will help the diagnosis and treatment of other patients with resistance to thyroid hormone resulting from mutations in THRA.
FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Marie Curie Actions, Foundation for Development of Internal Medicine in Europe.

Di Maro G, Orlandella FM, Bencivenga TC, et al.
Identification of targets of Twist1 transcription factor in thyroid cancer cells.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(9):E1617-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is one of the most aggressive human tumors. Twist1 is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor involved in cancer development and progression. We showed that Twist1 affects thyroid cancer cell survival and motility.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify Twist1 targets in thyroid cancer cells.
DESIGN: Transcriptional targets of Twist1 were identified by gene expression profiling the TPC-Twist1 cells in comparison with control cells. Functional studies were performed by silencing in TPC-Twist1 and in CAL62 cells the top 10 upregulated genes and by evaluating cell proliferation, survival, migration, and invasion. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was performed to verify direct binding of Twist1 to target genes. Quantitative RT-PCR was applied to study the expression level of Twist1 target genes in human thyroid carcinoma samples.
RESULTS: According to the gene expression profile, the top functions enriched in TPC-Twist1 cells were cellular movement, cellular growth and proliferation, and cell death and survival. Silencing of the top 10 upregulated genes reduced viability of TPC-Twist1 and of CAL62 cells. Silencing of COL1A1, KRT7, and PDZK1 also induced cell death. Silencing of HS6ST2, THRB, ID4, RHOB, and PDZK1IP also impaired migration and invasion of TPC-Twist1 and of CAL62 cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation showed that Twist1 directly binds the promoter of the top 10 upregulated genes. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that HS6ST2, COL1A1, F2RL1, LEPREL1, PDZK1, and PDZK1IP1 are overexpressed in thyroid carcinoma samples compared with normal thyroids.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified a set of genes that mediates Twist1 biological effects in thyroid cancer cells.

Zhu G, Mische SE, Seigneres B
Novel treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia: As₂O₃, retinoic acid and retinoid pharmacology.
Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2013; 14(9):849-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute promyelocytic leukemia(APL), a specific characteristic of t(15;17) chromosome translocation, represents 5% to 15% of cases of acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. An alternative approach is to consider retinoic acid(all-trans RA, ATRA or 13-cis RA or 9-cis RA) plus chemotherapy or RA plus As₂O₃ regimens as now novel therapy. Molecular gene analyses are conclusive in vivo evidence that oncogenic PML/RARa plays a crucial role in APL leukemogenesis. As a novel approach to APL treatment, one possible the action of RA, A consense sequence (5'-TCAGGTCATGACCTGA-3') has been postulated for the thyroid hormone (TRE) and retinoic acid responsive element (RARE) containing half palindromes, which located in the promoter region of target genes. High dose (100-fold) of RA-RARE-PML/RARa complex in intracellular localization appears to relieve repressor from DNA binding, including corepressors N-CoR, SMRT and HDACs, release PML/RARa- mediated transcriptional repression, and release histone deacetylase activity from PMLRARa. The resulting PML/RARa oncoprotein proteolytic degradation through the autophagy-lysosome pathway and the ubiquitin SUMO-proteasome system (UPS), as well as caspase 3 (cleavage site Asp522 within a-helics region of PML component of the fusion protein) or neutrophil elastase, or lysosomal protease enzyme induction. PML protein relocalizes into the wild-type nuclear body (PML-NB) configuration or/and wild-type RARa upregulated. An effect to relieve the blockade (inhibition) of PML/RARA-mediated RA dependent promyelocytic differentiation, and retinoic acid in APL therapy (see Figure in the full text, George Zhu, 1991). Here, like v-erbA, PML/RARa is a (strong) transcriptional repressor of the RA receptor (RAR) complex, and PML/RARa fusion receptor gene act as conditional oncogenic receptor (translocated chimeric retinoic acid a signaling) or oncogenic PML/RARa may participate in leukemogenesis of APL through blocking RA-mediated promyelocytic differentiation. This is first described in eukaryotes.

Safe S, Jin UH, Hedrick E, et al.
Minireview: role of orphan nuclear receptors in cancer and potential as drug targets.
Mol Endocrinol. 2014; 28(2):157-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The nuclear orphan receptors for which endogenous ligands have not been identified include nuclear receptor (NR)0B1 (adrenal hypoplasia congenita critical region on chromosome X gene), NR0B2 (small heterodimer partner), NR1D1/2 (Rev-Erbα/β), NR2C1 (testicular receptor 2), NR2C2 (testicular receptor 4), NR2E1 (tailless), NR2E3 (photoreceptor-specific NR [PNR]), NR2F1 chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor 1 (COUP-TFI), NR2F2 (COUP-TFII), NR2F6 (v-erbA-related protein), NR4A1 (Nur77), NR4A2 (Nurr1), NR4A3 (Nor1), and NR6A1 (GCNF). These receptors play essential roles in development, cellular homeostasis, and disease including cancer where over- or underexpression of some receptors has prognostic significance for patient survival. Results of receptor knockdown or overexpression in vivo and in cancer cell lines demonstrate that orphan receptors exhibit tumor-specific pro-oncogenic or tumor suppressor-like activity. For example, COUP-TFII expression is both a positive (ovarian) and negative (prostate and breast) prognostic factor for cancer patients; in contrast, the prognostic activity of adrenal hypoplasia congenita critical region on chromosome X gene for the same tumors is the inverse of COUP-TFII. Functional studies show that Nur77 is tumor suppressor like in acute leukemia, whereas silencing Nur77 in pancreatic, colon, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, cervical, ovarian, gastric, and some breast cancer cell lines induces one or more of several responses including growth inhibition and decreased survival, migration, and invasion. Although endogenous ligands for the orphan receptors have not been identified, there is increasing evidence that different structural classes of compounds activate, inactivate, and directly bind several orphan receptors. Thus, the screening and development of selective orphan receptor modulators will have important clinical applications as novel mechanism-based agents for treating cancer patients overexpressing one or more orphan receptors and also for combined drug therapies.

Jain N, Curran E, Iyengar NM, et al.
Phase II study of the oral MEK inhibitor selumetinib in advanced acute myelogenous leukemia: a University of Chicago phase II consortium trial.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(2):490-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The clinical relevance of targeting the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway, activated in 70% to 80% of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), is unknown.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Selumetinib is an oral small-molecule inhibitor of MAP-ERK kinase (MEK)-1/2. Forty-seven patients with relapsed/refractory AML or 60 years old or more with untreated AML were enrolled on a phase II study. Patients were stratified by FLT3 ITD mutation status. The primary endpoint was response rate (complete, partial, and minor). Leukemia cells were analyzed for extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and mTOR phosphorylation.
RESULTS: Common drug-related toxicities were grade 1-2 diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and skin rash. In the FLT3 wild-type cohort, six of 36 (17%) patients had a response [one partial response, three minor responses, two unconfirmed minor responses (uMR)]. No patient with FLT3 ITD responded. NRAS and KRAS mutations were detected in 7% and 2% of patients, respectively. The sole patient with KRAS mutation had uMR with hematologic improvement in platelets. Baseline p-ERK activation was observed in 85% of patients analyzed but did not correlate with a response. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs3733542 in exon 18 of the KIT gene was detected in significantly higher number of patients with response/stable disease compared with nonresponders (60% vs. 23%; P = 0.027).
CONCLUSIONS: Selumetinib is associated with modest single-agent antileukemic activity in advanced AML. However, given its favorable toxicity profile, combination with drugs that target other signaling pathways in AML should be considered. The potential association of SNP rs3733542 in exon 18 of the KIT gene with antileukemic activity of selumetinib is intriguing, but will require validation in larger trials.

Alyusuf RH, Matouq JA, Taha S, Wazir JF
The pattern of expression and role of triiodothyronine (T3) receptors and type I 5'-deiodinase in breast carcinomas, benign breast diseases, lactational change, and normal breast epithelium.
Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2014; 22(7):518-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: : To study the pattern of expression of triiodothyronine (T3) receptors and type I 5'-deiodinase in various breast pathologies comparing malignant and nonmalignant epithelia that include lactational change.
METHODS AND RESULTS: A retrospective study was performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded archival material from 146 cases of carcinomas, normal breast tissue, breast tissue showing lactational change, and benign breast lesions. Archive tissue blocks were selected and sections were cut for immunohistochemistry to study the expression of thyroid hormone receptor α-1 (THR-α1) in the cytoplasm and nuclei of cells in tissues under study. Thick sections were cut for type I 5'-deiodinase evaluation using reverse transcriptional PCR.THR-α1 showed no nuclear expression in the carcinoma group. Combined nuclear and cytoplasmic expression was seen in 47.6%, 63.4%, 64.3%, and 58.3% in the benign, fibrocystic, fibroadenoma, and lactational change groups, respectively, compared with only 17.4% of cases in the carcinoma group. This suggests deregulation of the thyroid hormone in breast cancer. Theories for the possible role of thyroid hormone in the pathogenesis of breast cancer are discussed.Type I 5'-deiodinase was not shown to be differentially expressed in malignant versus nonmalignant groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study revealed substantial reduction in the protein expression profile of THRs in malignant versus nonmalignant mammary epithelium suggesting a possible role in breast cancer development. The presence of THRs in mammary epithelium seems to be protective against the development of breast cancer. This could serve as a potential prognostic and therapeutic target for breast cancer.

Knower KC, Chand AL, Eriksson N, et al.
Distinct nuclear receptor expression in stroma adjacent to breast tumors.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013; 142(1):211-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
The interaction between breast tumor epithelial and stromal cells is vital for initial and recurrent tumor growth. While breast cancer-associated stromal cells provide a favorable environment for proliferation and metastasis, the molecular mechanisms contributing to this process are not fully understood. Nuclear receptors (NRs) are intracellular transcription factors that directly regulate gene expression. Little is known about the status of NRs in cancer-associated stroma. Nuclear Receptor Low-Density Taqman Arrays were used to compare the gene expression profiles of all 48 NR family members in a collection of primary cultured cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) obtained from estrogen receptor (ER)α positive breast cancers (n = 9) and normal breast adipose fibroblasts (NAFs) (n = 7). Thirty-three of 48 NRs were expressed in both the groups, while 11 NRs were not detected in either. Three NRs (dosage-sensitive sex reversal, adrenal hypoplasia critical region, on chromosome X, gene 1 (DAX-1); estrogen-related receptor beta (ERR-β); and RAR-related orphan receptor beta (ROR-β)) were only detected in NAFs, while one NR (liver receptor homolog-1 (LRH-1)) was unique to CAFs. Of the NRs co-expressed, four were significantly down-regulated in CAFs compared with NAFs (RAR-related orphan receptor-α (ROR-α); Thyroid hormone receptor-β (TR-β); vitamin D receptor (VDR); and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ)). Quantitative immunohistochemistry for LRH-1, TR-β, and PPAR-γ proteins in stromal fibroblasts from an independent panel of breast cancers (ER-positive (n = 15), ER-negative (n = 15), normal (n = 14)) positively correlated with mRNA expression profiles. The differentially expressed NRs identified in tumor stroma are key mediators in aromatase regulation and subsequent estrogen production. Our findings reveal a distinct pattern of NR expression that therefore fits with a sustained and increased local estrogen microenvironment in ER-positive tumors. NRs in CAFs may provide a new avenue for the development of intratumoral-targeted therapies in breast cancer.

Lin YH, Liao CJ, Huang YH, et al.
Thyroid hormone receptor represses miR-17 expression to enhance tumor metastasis in human hepatoma cells.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(38):4509-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are thought to control tumor metastasis through direct interactions with target genes. Thyroid hormone (T3) and its receptor (TR) are involved in cell growth and cancer progression. However, the issue of whether miRNAs participate in T3/TR-mediated tumor migration is yet to be established. In the current study, we demonstrated that T3/TR negatively regulates mature miR-17 transcript expression, both in vitro and in vivo. Luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays localized the regions responding to TR-mediated repression to positions -2234/-2000 of the miR-17 promoter sequence. Overexpression of miR-17 markedly inhibited cell migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo, mediated via suppression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-3. Moreover, p-AKT expression was increased in miR-17-knockdown cells that led to enhanced cell invasion, which was blocked by LY294002. Notably, low miR-17 expression was evident in highly metastatic cells. The cell migration ability was increased by T3, but partially reduced upon miR-17 overexpression. Notably, TRα1 was frequently upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples and associated with low overall survival (P=0.023). miR-17 expression was significantly negatively associated with TRα1 (P=0.033) and MMP3 (P=0.043) in HCC specimens. Data from our study suggest that T3/TR, miR-17, p-AKT and MMP3 activities are interlinked in the regulation of cancer cell metastasis.

Li L, Lee KJ, Choi BC, Baek KH
Relationship between leptin receptor and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Gene. 2013; 527(1):71-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders, which is involved in the multi-system disease, and its etiology is still not clearly understood. It is currently considered that not only the genetic factors but also the environment factors play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of PCOS. Obesity plays an important role through the insulin, leptin and endocannabinoid system in the pathological process of PCOS, leading to more severe clinical manifestations. The aim of our present study is to investigate whether there is association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of Gln223Arg and Pro1019Pro in the leptin receptor gene (LEPR) and PCOS in a Korean population. Interestingly, a significant association was found between the Pro1019Pro in LEPR gene and PCOS, and a highly significant association was found between the Gln223Arg in LEPR gene and PCOS (P=0.033, OR=1.523, 95% confidence interval and P<0.0001, OR=0.446, 95% confidence interval). Moreover, genotype combination and haplotype analyses indicate that Gln223Arg and Pro1019Pro polymorphisms of LEPR are significantly associated with the risk of PCOS.

Jacot W, Fiche M, Zaman K, et al.
The HER2 amplicon in breast cancer: Topoisomerase IIA and beyond.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1836(1):146-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
HER2 gene amplification is observed in about 15% of breast cancers. The subgroup of HER2-positive breast cancers appears to be heterogeneous and presents complex patterns of gene amplification at the locus on chromosome 17q12-21. The molecular variations within the chromosome 17q amplicon and their clinical implications remain largely unknown. Besides the well-known TOP2A gene encoding Topoisomerase IIA, other genes might also be amplified and could play functional roles in breast cancer development and progression. This review will focus on the current knowledge concerning the HER2 amplicon heterogeneity, its clinical and biological impact and the pitfalls associated with the evaluation of gene amplifications at this locus, with particular attention to TOP2A and the link between TOP2A and anthracycline benefit. In addition it will discuss the clinical and biological implications of the amplification of ten other genes at this locus (MED1, STARD3, GRB7, THRA, RARA, IGFPB4, CCR7, KRT20, KRT19 and GAST) in breast cancer.

Nguyen-Lefebvre AT, Leprun G, Morin V, et al.
V-erbA generates ribosomes devoid of RPL11 and regulates translational activity in avian erythroid progenitors.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(12):1581-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The v-erbA oncogene transforms chicken erythrocytic progenitors (T2EC) by blocking their differentiation and freezing them in a state of self-renewal. Transcriptomes of T2EC, expressing either v-erbA or a non-transforming form of v-erbA (S61G), were compared using serial analysis of gene expression and some, but not all, mRNA-encoding ribosomal proteins were seen to be affected by v-erbA. These results suggest that this oncogene could modulate the composition of ribosomes. In the present study, we demonstrate, using two-dimensional difference in gel electrophoresis, that v-erbA-expressing cells have a lower amount of RPL11 associated with the ribosomes. The presence of ribosomes devoid of RPL11 in v-erbA-expressing cells was further confirmed by immunoprecipitation. In order to assess the possible impact of these specialized ribosomes on the translational activity, we analyzed proteomes of either v-erbA or S61G-expressing cells using 2D/mass spectrometry, and identified nine proteins present in differing amounts within these cells. Among these proteins, we focused on HSP70 because of its involvement in erythroid differentiation. Our results indicate that, in v-erbA-expressing cells, hsp70 is not only transcribed but also translated more efficiently, as shown by polyribosome fractionation experiments. We demonstrate here, for the first time, the existence of ribosomes with different protein components, notably ribosomes devoid of RPL11, and a regulation of mRNA translation depending on v-erbA oncogene expression.

Vacca M, Murzilli S, Salvatore L, et al.
Neuron-derived orphan receptor 1 promotes proliferation of quiescent hepatocytes.
Gastroenterology. 2013; 144(7):1518-1529.e3 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Studies of the transcriptional networks that regulate nuclear receptor-mediated proliferation of quiescent hepatocytes could lead to new information about liver growth and hepatoprotective strategies.
METHODS: We used quantitative real-time PCR to analyze expression of neuron-derived orphan receptor 1 (Nor-1) and its target genes during liver regeneration after hepatectomy in mice, and in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples from patients. We used adenoviral vectors to express Nor-1 in normal liver (Ad/CMV/V5-Nor-1), or reduce its level with small hairpin RNAs (Ad/BLOCK-iT/Nor-1(small hairpin RNA)) after partial hepatectomy.
RESULTS: Levels of Nor-1 messenger RNA and protein, and transcription of Nor-1 target genes (Ccnd1 and Vcam-1), increased during the late priming and proliferative phases of liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. Levels of NOR-1 messenger RNA and transcription of its target gene CCND1 and of the NOR-1 subfamily member NUR-77 also increased in human HCC samples compared with paired HCC-free tissue. Ad-Nor-1(small hairpin RNA) reduced the hepatocyte proliferation after hepatectomy. Overexpression of Nor-1 in normal livers of mice induced proliferation of quiescent hepatocytes independently of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α signaling. In gene expression profile analysis, Nor-1 altered expression of genes involved in the cell cycle, proliferation, and tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: In mice, the orphan nuclear receptor Nor-1 activates proliferation of quiescent hepatocytes and is required for hepatocyte proliferation after partial hepatectomy. Nor-1 and its gene targets are also up-regulated in human HCC samples. Nor-1 activates a transcriptional program that induces hepatocyte proliferation independently of inflammatory signaling pathways.

Jiao B, Ren ZH, Liu P, et al.
8-CPT-cAMP/all-trans retinoic acid targets t(11;17) acute promyelocytic leukemia through enhanced cell differentiation and PLZF/RARα degradation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(9):3495-500 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The refractoriness of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) with t(11;17)(q23;q21) to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-based therapy concerns clinicians and intrigues basic researchers. By using a murine leukemic model carrying both promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger/retinoic acid receptor-α (PLZF/RARα) and RARα/PLZF fusion genes, we discovered that 8-chlorophenylthio adenosine-3', 5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-CPT-cAMP) enhances cellular differentiation and improves gene trans-activation by ATRA in leukemic blasts. Mechanistically, in combination with ATRA, 8-CPT-cAMP activates PKA, causing phosphorylation of PLZF/RARα at Ser765 and resulting in increased dissociation of the silencing mediator for retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptors/nuclear receptor corepressor from PLZF/RARα. This process results in changes of local chromatin and transcriptional reactivation of the retinoic acid pathway in leukemic cells. Meanwhile, 8-CPT-cAMP also potentiated ATRA-induced degradation of PLZF/RARα through its Ser765 phosphorylation. In vivo treatment of the t(11;17) APL mouse model demonstrated that 8-CPT-cAMP could significantly improve the therapeutic effect of ATRA by targeting a leukemia-initiating cell activity. This combined therapy, which induces enhanced differentiation and oncoprotein degradation, may benefit t(11;17) APL patients.

Muscat GE, Eriksson NA, Byth K, et al.
Research resource: nuclear receptors as transcriptome: discriminant and prognostic value in breast cancer.
Mol Endocrinol. 2013; 27(2):350-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
To identify biologically relevant groupings or clusters of nuclear receptors (NR) that are associated with breast neoplasia, with potentially diagnostic, discriminant or prognostic value, we quantitated mRNA expression levels of all 48 members of the human NR superfamily by TaqMan low-density array analysis in 116 curated breast tissue samples, including pre- and postmenopausal normal breast and both ERα(+) and ERα(-) tumor tissue. In addition, we have determined NR levels in independent cohorts of tamoxifen-treated ERα(+) and ERα(-) tissue samples. There were differences in relative NR mRNA expression between neoplastic and normal breast, and between ER(+) and ER(-) tumors. First, there is overexpression of the NUR77 subgroup and EAR2 in neoplastic breast. Second, we identify a signature of five NR (ERα, EAR2, NUR77, TRα, and RARγ) that classifies breast samples with more than 97% cross-validated accuracy into normal or cancer classes. Third, we find a novel negative association between five NR (TRβ, NUR77, RORγ, COUP-TFII, and LRH1) and histological grade. Finally, four NR (COUP-TFII, TRβ, PPARγ, and MR) are significant predictors of metastasis-free survival in tamoxifen-treated breast cancers, independent of ER expression. The present study highlights the discriminant and prognostic value of NR in breast cancer; identifies novel, clinically relevant, NR signatures; and highlights NR signaling pathways with potential roles in breast cancer pathophysiology and as new therapeutic targets.

Rebaï M, Kallel I, Rebaï A
Genetic features of thyroid hormone receptors.
J Genet. 2012; 91(3):367-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thyroid hormone receptors (TR) are prototypes of nuclear transcription factors that regulate the expression of target genes. These receptors play an important role in many physiological processes. Moreover, a dysfunction of these proteins is often implicated in several human diseases and malignancies. Here we report genetic variations and alterations of the TRs that have been described in the literature as well as their potential role in the development of some human diseases including cancers. The functional effects of some mutations and polymorphisms in TRs on disease susceptibility, especially on cancer risk, are now established. Therefore, further investigations are needed in order to use these receptors as therapeutic targets or as biological markers to decide on appropriate forms of treatment.

Kanamori M, Sano A, Yasuda T, et al.
Array-based comparative genomic hybridization for genomic-wide screening of DNA copy number alterations in aggressive bone tumors.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 31:100 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The genetic pathways of aggressive changes of bone tumors are still poorly understood. It is very important to analyze DNA copy number alterations (DCNAs), to identify the molecular events in the step of progression to the aggressive change of bone tissue.
METHODS: Genome-wide array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) was used to investigate DCNAs of 14 samples from 13 aggressive bone tumors, such as giant cell tumors (GCTs) and osteosarcoma (OS), etc.
RESULTS: Primary aggressive bone tumors had copy number gains of 17.8±12.7% in the genome, and losses of 17.3±11.4% in 287 target clones (threshold for each DCNA: ≦085, 1.15≦). Genetic unstable cases, which were defined by the total DCNAs aberration ≧30%, were identified in 9 of 13 patients (3 of 7 GCTs and all malignant tumors). High-level amplification of TGFβ2, CCND3, WI-6509, SHGC-5557, TCL1A, CREBBP, HIC1, THRA, AFM217YD10, LAMA3, RUNX1 and D22S543, were commonly observed in aggressive bone tumors. On the other hand, NRAS, D2S447, RAF1, ROBO1, MYB, MOS, FGFR2, HRAS, D13S319, D13S327, D18S552, YES1 and DCC, were commonly low. We compared genetic instability between a primary OS and its metastatic site in Case #13. Metastatic lesion showed increased 9 DCNAs of remarkable change (m/p ratio ≧1.3 folds), compared to a primary lesion. D1S214, D1S1635, EXT1, AFM137XA11, 8 M16/SP6, CCND2, IGH, 282 M15/SP6, HIC1 and LAMA3, were overexpressed. We gave attention to HIC1 (17p13.3), which was common high amplification in this series.
CONCLUSION: Our results may provide several entry points for the identification of candidate genes associated with aggressive change of bone tumors. Especially, the locus 17p11-13 including HIC1 close to p53 was common high amplification in this series and review of the literature.

Borate U, Absher D, Erba HP, Pasche B
Potential of whole-genome sequencing for determining risk and personalizing therapy: focus on AML.
Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2012; 12(10):1289-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In spite of recent advances in molecular diagnostic techniques and expanded indications for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains a major challenge. In the last decade, several recurrent genetic abnormalities and gene mutations with prognostic implications have been identified. This has led to improved informed treatment decisions. However, there has been limited change in the use of nonspecific cytotoxic chemotherapy and mortality rates continue to be unacceptably high, with 5 year overall survival rates of older AML patients at 30% or less. Whole-genome sequencing offers hope for greater diagnostic accuracy and is likely to lead to further characterization of disease subsets with differential outcome and response to treatment. The holy grail of personalized targeted therapy for the individual AML patient, while minimizing toxicity and prolonging survival, appears closer than ever.

Kim YW, Kwon C, Liu JL, et al.
Cancer association study of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase signaling network in glioblastoma.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(8):e40960 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) and ARS-interacting multifunctional proteins (AIMPs) exhibit remarkable functional versatility beyond their catalytic activities in protein synthesis. Their non-canonical functions have been pathologically linked to cancers. Here we described our integrative genome-wide analysis of ARSs to show cancer-associated activities in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor. We first selected 23 ARS/AIMPs (together referred to as ARSN), 124 cancer-associated druggable target genes (DTGs) and 404 protein-protein interactors (PPIs) of ARSs using NCI's cancer gene index. 254 GBM affymetrix microarray data in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were used to identify the probe sets whose expression were most strongly correlated with survival (Kaplan-Meier plots versus survival times, log-rank t-test <0.05). The analysis identified 122 probe sets as survival signatures, including 5 of ARSN (VARS, QARS, CARS, NARS, FARS), and 115 of DTGs and PPIs (PARD3, RXRB, ATP5C1, HSP90AA1, CD44, THRA, TRAF2, KRT10, MED12, etc). Of note, 61 survival-related probes were differentially expressed in three different prognosis subgroups in GBM patients and showed correlation with established prognosis markers such as age and phenotypic molecular signatures. CARS and FARS also showed significantly higher association with different molecular networks in GBM patients. Taken together, our findings demonstrate evidence for an ARSN biology-dominant contribution in the biology of GBM.

Marchini S, Poynor E, Barakat RR, et al.
The zinc finger gene ZIC2 has features of an oncogene and its overexpression correlates strongly with the clinical course of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(16):4313-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Epithelial ovarian tumors (EOT) are among the most lethal of malignancies in women. We have previously identified ZIC2 as expressed at a higher level in samples of a malignant form (MAL) of EOT than in samples of a form with low malignant potential (LMP). We have now investigated the role of ZIC2 in driving tumor growth and its association with clinical outcomes.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: ZIC2 expression levels were analyzed in two independent tumor tissue collections of LMP and MAL. In vitro experiments aimed to test the role of ZIC2 as a transforming gene. Cox models were used to correlate ZIC2 expression with clinical endpoints.
RESULTS: ZIC2 expression was about 40-fold in terms of mRNA and about 17-fold in terms of protein in MAL (n = 193) versus LMP (n = 39) tumors. ZIC2 mRNA levels were high in MAL cell lines but undetectable in LMP cell lines. Overexpression of ZIC2 was localized to the nucleus. ZIC2 overexpression increases the growth rate and foci formation of NIH3T3 cells and stimulates anchorage-independent colony formation; downregulation of ZIC2 decreases the growth rate of MAL cell lines. Zinc finger domains 1 and 2 are required for transforming activity. In stage I MAL, ZIC2 expression was significantly associated with overall survival in both univariate (P = 0.046) and multivariate model (P = 0.049).
CONCLUSIONS: ZIC2, a transcription factor related to the sonic hedgehog pathway, is a strong discriminant between MAL and LMP tumors: it may be a major determinant of outcome of EOTs.

Flucke U, Tops BB, Verdijk MA, et al.
NR4A3 rearrangement reliably distinguishes between the clinicopathologically overlapping entities myoepithelial carcinoma of soft tissue and cellular extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.
Virchows Arch. 2012; 460(6):621-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Myoepithelial carcinoma of soft tissue (MEC) and cellular extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (cEMC) share striking similarities. In this paper, we compare ten MECs with five cEMCs. MEC patients had an equal gender distribution. The age range was 15-76 years (mean, 42 years). Tumours were located on extremities, pelvic girdle, vulva and neck. Follow-up, available for nine patients, ranged from 4 to 85 months (mean, 35 months). Five patients were alive without evidence of disease, two were alive with disease and two died 8 months after the initial diagnosis. cEMCs were from three males and two females with an age range of 37-82 years (mean, 57 years); they presented in extremities, shoulder and paravertebral/cervical. Follow-up, available for four patients, ranged from 6 to 220 months (mean, 61 months). All patients were alive, two with recurrences and/or metastases and two without evidence of disease. Morphologically, the distinction between these two entities was difficult since all cases exhibited features typically seen in myoepithelial tumours. Immunohistochemically, MECs expressed pan-keratin (80 %), epithelial membrane antigen (EMA; 57 %), S100 (50 %), alpha-smooth muscle actin (ASMA; 75 %), calponin (67 %) and p63 (25 %). S100 and EMA were expressed in 40 % of cEMC cases respectively with additional immunoreactivity for p63, ASMA and glial fibrillary acidic protein in one case. Pan-keratin was negative in all neoplasms. NR4A3 rearrangement was present in four of four cEMCs and in none of the MECs. In contrast, three of nine (33 %) MECs and four of five (80 %) cEMCs showed an EWSR1 rearrangement. In summary, MECs and cEMCs share clinical, morphological, immunohistochemical and genetic characteristics. The pathognomic rearrangement of NR4A3 is a useful diagnostic feature in identifying cEMCs.

Kollara A, Brown TJ
Expression and function of nuclear receptor co-activator 4: evidence of a potential role independent of co-activator activity.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012; 69(23):3895-909 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Nuclear receptor coactivator 4 (NcoA4), also known as androgen receptor-associated protein 70 (ARA70), was initially discovered as a component of Ret-Fused Gene expressed in a subset of papillary thyroid carcinomas. Subsequent studies have established NcoA4 as a coactivator for a variety of nuclear receptors, including peroxisome proliferator activated receptors α and γ, and receptors for steroid hormones, vitamins D and A, thyroid hormone, and aryl hydrocarbons. While human NcoA4 has both LXXLL and FXXLF motifs that mediate p160 coactivator nuclear receptor interactions, this ubiquitously expressed protein lacks clearly defined functional domains. Several studies indicate that NcoA4 localizes predominantly to the cytoplasm and affects ligand-binding specificity of the androgen receptor, which has important implications for androgen-independent prostate cancer. Two NcoA4 variants, which may exert differential activities, have been identified in humans. Recent studies suggest that NcoA4 may play a role in development, carcinogenesis, inflammation, erythrogenesis, and cell cycle progression that may be independent of its role as a receptor coactivator. This review summarizes what is currently known of the structure, expression, regulation, and potential functions of this unique protein in cancerous and non-cancerous pathologies.

Uboldi S, Calura E, Beltrame L, et al.
A systems biology approach to characterize the regulatory networks leading to trabectedin resistance in an in vitro model of myxoid liposarcoma.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(4):e35423 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Trabectedin, a new antitumor compound originally derived from a marine tunicate, is clinically effective in soft tissue sarcoma. The drug has shown a high selectivity for myxoid liposarcoma, characterized by the translocation t(12;16)(q13; p11) leading to the expression of FUS-CHOP fusion gene. Trabectedin appears to act interfering with mechanisms of transcription regulation. In particular, the transactivating activity of FUS-CHOP was found to be impaired by trabectedin treatment. Even after prolonged response resistance occurs and thus it is important to elucidate the mechanisms of resistance to trabectedin. To this end we developed and characterized a myxoid liposarcoma cell line resistant to trabectedin (402-91/ET), obtained by exposing the parental 402-91 cell line to stepwise increases in drug concentration. The aim of this study was to compare mRNAs, miRNAs and proteins profiles of 402-91 and 402-91/ET cells through a systems biology approach. We identified 3,083 genes, 47 miRNAs and 336 proteins differentially expressed between 402-91 and 402-91/ET cell lines. Interestingly three miRNAs among those differentially expressed, miR-130a, miR-21 and miR-7, harbored CHOP binding sites in their promoter region. We used computational approaches to integrate the three regulatory layers and to generate a molecular map describing the altered circuits in sensitive and resistant cell lines. By combining transcriptomic and proteomic data, we reconstructed two different networks, i.e. apoptosis and cell cycle regulation, that could play a key role in modulating trabectedin resistance. This approach highlights the central role of genes such as CCDN1, RB1, E2F4, TNF, CDKN1C and ABL1 in both pre- and post-transcriptional regulatory network. The validation of these results in in vivo models might be clinically relevant to stratify myxoid liposarcoma patients with different sensitivity to trabectedin treatment.

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