Gene Summary

Gene:BAD; BCL2-associated agonist of cell death
Aliases: BBC2, BCL2L8
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the BCL-2 family. BCL-2 family members are known to be regulators of programmed cell death. This protein positively regulates cell apoptosis by forming heterodimers with BCL-xL and BCL-2, and reversing their death repressor activity. Proapoptotic activity of this protein is regulated through its phosphorylation. Protein kinases AKT and MAP kinase, as well as protein phosphatase calcineurin were found to be involved in the regulation of this protein. Alternative splicing of this gene results in two transcript variants which encode the same isoform. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:bcl2-associated agonist of cell death
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (45)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (18)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 27 February 2015 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.

  • Chromosome 11
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • BCL2 protein
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Western Blotting
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Staging
  • Young Adult
  • Phosphorylation
  • Apoptosis
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Gene Expression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Cell Survival
  • bcl-X Protein
  • Breast Cancer
  • AKT1
  • siRNA
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Down-Regulation
  • Sulfonamides
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mutation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Disease Progression
  • BAD
  • Treatment, BMT & Stem Cell Transplant
  • Osteosarcoma
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3
  • Drug Resistance
  • Thymelaeaceae
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Risk Factors
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Triterpenes
  • Pharmacogenetics
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 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: BAD (cancer-related)

Tomasetti C, Vogelstein B
Cancer etiology. Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions.
Science. 2015; 347(6217):78-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Some tissue types give rise to human cancers millions of times more often than other tissue types. Although this has been recognized for more than a century, it has never been explained. Here, we show that the lifetime risk of cancers of many different types is strongly correlated (0.81) with the total number of divisions of the normal self-renewing cells maintaining that tissue's homeostasis. These results suggest that only a third of the variation in cancer risk among tissues is attributable to environmental factors or inherited predispositions. The majority is due to "bad luck," that is, random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells. This is important not only for understanding the disease but also for designing strategies to limit the mortality it causes.

Wu C, Wang Y, Xia Y, et al.
Wilms' tumor 1 enhances Cisplatin-resistance of advanced NSCLC.
FEBS Lett. 2014; 588(24):4566-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1) is an oncogene that has been correlated with tumor progression, bad prognosis and chemo-resistance in Non-Small-Cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we found that WT1 expression is significantly higher in NSCLCs than in benign controls, and that Cisplatin-resistant patients display a notable increase in WT1 expression following relapse. In vitro, WT1 levels were associated with the IC50 of NSCLC cells and increased along with treatment time and dose of Cisplatin. Furthermore, WT1 enhanced Major Vault Protein (MVP) transcription via binding to its promoter. Therefore, WT1 may be a potential therapeutic target for solving resistance.

Chinen Y, Kuroda J, Shimura Y, et al.
Phosphoinositide protein kinase PDPK1 is a crucial cell signaling mediator in multiple myeloma.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(24):7418-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multiple myeloma is a cytogenetically/molecularly heterogeneous hematologic malignancy that remains mostly incurable, and the identification of a universal and relevant therapeutic target molecule is essential for the further development of therapeutic strategy. Herein, we identified that 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1 (PDPK1), a serine threonine kinase, is expressed and active in all eleven multiple myeloma-derived cell lines examined regardless of the type of cytogenetic abnormality, the mutation state of RAS and FGFR3 genes, or the activation state of ERK and AKT. Our results revealed that PDPK1 is a pivotal regulator of molecules that are essential for myelomagenesis, such as RSK2, AKT, c-MYC, IRF4, or cyclin Ds, and that PDPK1 inhibition caused the growth inhibition and the induction of apoptosis with the activation of BIM and BAD, and augmented the in vitro cytotoxic effects of antimyeloma agents in myeloma cells. In the clinical setting, PDPK1 was active in myeloma cells of approximately 90% of symptomatic patients at diagnosis, and the smaller population of patients with multiple myeloma exhibiting myeloma cells without active PDPK1 showed a significantly less frequent proportion of the disease stage III by the International Staging System and a significantly more favorable prognosis, including the longer overall survival period and the longer progression-free survival period by bortezomib treatment, than patients with active PDPK1, suggesting that PDPK1 activation accelerates the disease progression and the resistance to treatment in multiple myeloma. Our study demonstrates that PDPK1 is a potent and a universally targetable signaling mediator in multiple myeloma regardless of the types of cytogenetic/molecular profiles.

Horn H, Staiger AM, Vöhringer M, et al.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas of immunoblastic type are a major reservoir for MYC-IGH translocations.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2015; 39(1):61-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The immunoblastic variant of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (IB-DLBCL) has recently been recognized as an aggressive lymphoma type with inferior prognosis as compared with other DLBCL variants. At the same time, the presence of MYC rearrangements in DLBCL has been shown to indicate shorter survival in R-CHOP-treated patients. In this study, we investigated the occurrence of MYC gene rearrangements in IB-DLBCL versus non-IB-DLBCL in a large series. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization with an MYC break-apart and MYC-IGH fusion probe, we found that 13/39 evaluable IB-DLBCLs (33%) harbor translocations involving MYC, in contrast with only 5/68 (7%) in the non-IB-DLBCL group (P<0.01). The immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (IGH) was the translocation partner in all rearrangements (100%) involving MYC in IB-DLBCL, which is in contrast to what has been reported for DLBCL in the literature (50% to 70%). Moreover, MYC rearrangements occurred as the sole translocation in the majority of cases (77%), whereas across all DLBCLs the majority of MYC-rearranged cases carry additional rearrangements of either BCL2 and/or BCL6 genes (between 58% and 83% of cases). Finally, MYC-rearranged IB-DLBCLs were CD10 positive in 62% (8/13), whereas this was an uncommon feature in MYC germline IB-DLBCLs (15%). In conclusion, IB-DLBCLs are genetically characterized by frequent MYC-IGH translocations that often occur without additional BCL2 and/or BCL6 translocations. The activation of MYC, therefore, may be an important pathogenetic feature in IB-DLBCL.

Neemat K, Rania K, Tarek M, Hamdy AA
Effect of 13q deletion on IL-6 production in patients with multiple myeloma: a hypothesis may hold true.
Clin Lab. 2014; 60(8):1393-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have shown a correlation between 13q deletion and poor prognosis in multiple myeloma (MM), but the mechanisms are not fully understood. Earlier studies suggest that this lesion involves large segments or the entire long arm involving the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene. In myeloma, Rb gene is believed to down regulate interleukin-6 (IL-6) which plays a central role in the pathogenesis of MM. Therefore, it has been hypothesized that loss of the Rb gene might be associated with very high expression of IL-6 and subsequent bad prognosis. Hence this study evaluates IL-6 production in MM patients with and without 13q deletions and assesses their response to conventional and new therapeutic regimens.
METHODS: Forty MM patients and 20 matched controls were included in this study. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis was performed using LSI 13q14-specific probe. Serum levels of IL-6 were determined by ELISA. All patients received conventional chemotherapy. Refractory patients received other therapeutic regimens of Thalidomide or Bortezomib.
RESULTS: Significant increase (p < 0.001) of IL-6 production was recorded in patients with a 13q deletion compared to patients with normal chromosome 13q status. These patients were also refractory to conventional chemotherapy but showed striking response to Thalidomide or Bortezomib.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that 13q deletions are associated with increased production of IL-6 in MM and this could be a possible cause of the associated bad prognosis. In addition, the results also show the potential to improve responses in patients with refractory MM with the introduction of novel therapies.

Kaemmerer D, Posorski N, von Eggeling F, et al.
The search for the primary tumor in metastasized gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasm.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2014; 31(7):817-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) often present as liver metastasis from a carcinoma of unknown primary. We recently showed that primary NETs from the pancreas, small intestine and stomach as well as their respective liver metastases differ from each other by the expression profile of the three genes CD302, PPWD1 and ABHB14B. The gene and protein expression of CD302, PPWD1, and ABHB14B was studied in abdominal NET metastases to identify the site of the respective primary tumors. Cryopreserved tissue from NET metastases collected in different institutions (group A: 29, group B: 50, group C: 132 specimens) were examined by comparative genomic hybridization (Agilent 105 K), gene expression analysis (Agilent 44 K) (groups A and B) and immunohistochemistry (group C). The data were blindly evaluated, i.e. without knowing the site of the primary. Gene expression analysis correctly revealed the primary in the ileum in 94 % of the cases of group A and in 58 % of group B. A pancreatic primary was predicted in 83 % (group A) and 20 % (group B), respectively. The combined sensitivity of group A and B was 75 % for ileal NETs and 38 % for pancreatic NETs. Immunohistochemical analysis of group C revealed an overall sensitivity of 80 %. Gene and protein expression analysis of CD302 and PPWD1 in NET metastases correctly identifies the primary in the pancreas or the ileum in 80 % of the cases, provided that the tissue is well preserved. Immunohistochemical profiling revealed CD302 as the best marker for ileal and PPWD1 for pancreatic detection.

Giannelli G, Rani B, Dituri F, et al.
Moving towards personalised therapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: the role of the microenvironment.
Gut. 2014; 63(10):1668-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
The goal of personalised therapy based on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) molecular characteristics is still beyond our grasp. Systemic treatments show poor efficacy, mainly because of the great heterogeneity of the tumour. Indeed, differences in aetiology, disease stage and biochemical composition of the fibrotic liver make cirrhosis itself a highly dyshomogeneous disease. Cancer cells grow in a cirrhotic microenvironment, interacting with stromal cells and engaging matrix components that differ from patient to patient, hampering the development of drugs to treat all patients. Growing evidence suggests a role for the cross-talk between HCC and the host stroma in driving disease progression and hence prognosis and survival. Many efforts have been devoted to identifying genes responsible for good or bad prognosis, but no study has yet proven helpful in guiding therapeutic choices and management over time, also taking into account the development of drug resistance. The questions of what to target and in which patient are still unsolved. In the personalised therapy scenario, the patient rather than the disease becomes the target of the therapy. However, this still requires an evidence-based medical approach. Herein, we will discuss how individual differences in terms of quality and quantity of the tissue microenvironment components affect progression of HCC. Then, we will highlight potential druggable pathways, also considering ongoing clinical trials. The development of biomarkers will be discussed in the light of new experimental research conducted with the aim of moving towards personalised therapy in patients with HCC.

Mirzaei MR, Najafi A, Arababadi MK, et al.
Altered expression of apoptotic genes in response to OCT4B1 suppression in human tumor cell lines.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(10):9999-10009 [PubMed] Related Publications
OCT4B1 is a newly discovered spliced variant of OCT4 which is primarily expressed in pluripotent and tumor cells. Based on our previous studies, OCT4B1 is significantly overexpressed in tumors, where it endows an anti-apoptotic property to tumor cells. However, the mechanism by which OCT4B1 regulates the apoptotic pathway is not yet elucidated. Here, we investigated the effects of OCT4B1 suppression on the expression alteration of 84 genes involved in apoptotic pathway. The AGS (gastric adenocarcinoma), 5637 (bladder tumor), and U-87MG (brain tumor) cell lines were transfected with OCT4B1 or irrelevant siRNAs. The expression level of apoptotic genes was then quantified using a human apoptosis panel-PCR kit. Our data revealed an almost similar pattern of alteration in the expression profile of apoptotic genes in all three studied cell lines, following OCT4B1 suppression. In general, the expression of more than 54 apoptotic genes (64 % of arrayed genes) showed significant changes. Among these, some up-regulated (CIDEA, CIDEB, TNFRSF1A, TNFRSF21, TNFRSF11B, TNFRSF10B, and CASP7) and down-regulated (BCL2, BCL2L11, TP73, TP53, BAD, TRAF3, TRAF2, BRAF, BNIP3L, BFAR, and BAX) genes had on average more than tenfold gene expression alteration in all three examined cell lines. With some minor exceptions, suppression of OCT4B1 caused upregulation of pro-apoptotic and down-regulation of anti-apoptotic genes in transfected tumor cells. Uncovering OCT4B1 down-stream targets could further elucidate its part in tumorigenesis, and could lead to finding a new approach to combat cancer, based on targeting OCT4B1.

Othman RT, Kimishi I, Bradshaw TD, et al.
Overcoming multiple drug resistance mechanisms in medulloblastoma.
Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2014; 2:57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant paediatric brain tumour. Recurrence and progression of disease occurs in 15-20% of standard risk and 30-40% of high risk patients. We analysed whether circumvention of chemoresistance pathways (drug export, DNA repair and apoptotic inhibition) can restore chemotherapeutic efficacy in a panel of MB cell lines.
RESULTS: We demonstrate, by immunohistochemistry in patient tissue microarrays, that ABCB1 is expressed in 43% of tumours and is significantly associated with high-risk. We show that ABCB1, O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) and BCL2 family members are differentially expressed (by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting and flow cytometry) in MB cell lines. Based on these findings, each pathway was then inhibited or circumvented and cell survival assessed using clonogenic assays. Inhibition of ABCB1 using vardenafil or verapamil resulted in a significant increase in sensitivity to etoposide in ABCB1-expressing MB cell lines. Sensitivity to temozolomide (TMZ) was MGMT-dependent, but two novel imidazotetrazine derivatives (N-3 sulfoxide and N-3 propargyl TMZ analogues) demonstrated ≥7 fold and ≥3 fold more potent cytotoxicity respectively compared to TMZ in MGMT-expressing MB cell lines. Activity of the BAD mimetic ABT-737 was BCL2A1 and ABCB1 dependent, whereas the pan-BCL2 inhibitor obatoclax was effective as a single cytotoxic agent irrespective of MCL1, BCL2, BCL2A1, or ABCB1 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: ABCB1 is associated with high-risk MB; hence, inhibition of ABCB1 by vardenafil may represent a valid approach in these patients. Imidazotetrazine analogues of TMZ and the BH3 mimetic obatoclax are promising clinical candidates in drug resistant MB tumours expressing MGMT and BCL2 anti-apoptotic members respectively.

Wang J, Jenkins S, Lamartiniere CA
Cell proliferation and apoptosis in rat mammary glands following combinational exposure to bisphenol A and genistein.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:379 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Humans are exposed to an array of both harmful and beneficial hormonally active compounds in the environment and through diet. Two such chemicals are Bisphenol A (BPA), a plasticizer, and genistein, a component of soy. Prepubertal exposure to BPA increased mammary carcinogenesis, while genistein suppressed cancer in a chemically-induced model of rodent mammary cancer. The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of combinational exposure to genistein and BPA on cell proliferation, apoptosis, and associated proteins as markers of cancer in mammary glands of rats exposed prepubertally to these environmental chemicals.
METHODS: Prepubertal rats (postpartum days (PND) 2-20) were exposed through lactation via nursing dams treated orally with sesame oil (SO), BPA, genistein, or a combination of BPA and genistein (BPA + Gen). Cell proliferation, apoptosis and protein expressions were investigated for mechanistic studies in mammary glands of rats exposed to these environmental chemicals.
RESULTS: Prepubertal exposure to genistein increased cell proliferation in mammary glands of PND21 rats, while BPA increased cell proliferation in adult (PND50) rats. Prepubertal combinational exposure to BPA + Gen increased cell proliferation and reduced apoptosis in PND21 rats, but reduced cell proliferation and increased apoptosis in PND50 rats. The altered mechanisms behind these cellular responses appear to be centered on differential protein expression of caspases, PARP, Bad, p21, Akts, PTEN, ER-β and SRCs 1-3, in the rat mammary gland.
CONCLUSION: Prepubertal BPA exposure resulted in increased cell proliferation in mammary glands of PND50 rats, a process associated with increased risk of cancer development in a chemically-induced mammary cancer. On the other hand, genistein stimulated cell proliferation at PND21, a process that correlates with mammary gland maturation and chemoprevention. In contrast to single chemical exposure, combinational exposure to BPA + Gen performed most similarly to genistein exposure alone. BPA + Gen increased cell proliferation at PND21, suggesting mammary gland maturation, and decreased cell proliferation while increasing apoptosis in PND50 rats, suggesting mammary chemoprevention. Differential expression of proteins involved in regulating cell proliferation and apoptosis lend support to these chemicals, both alone and in combination, altering mammary gland cancer susceptibility.

Jeong JW, Park S, Park C, et al.
N-benzyl-N-methyldecan-1-amine, a phenylamine derivative isolated from garlic cloves, induces G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis in U937 human leukemia cells.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(1):373-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidemiological studies indicate that components of garlic (Allium sativum) have anti-proliferative effects against various types of cancer. In the present study, we investigated the effect of newly isolated phenylamine derivative N-benzyl-N-methyldecan-1-amine (NBNMA) from garlic cloves on the inhibition of the growth and apoptosis of human leukemia U937 cells and its potential anticancer mechanism. NBNMA exhibited an antiproliferative effect in U937 cells by inducing cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and apoptotic cell death. Western blot analyses revealed that NBNMA decreased the expression of the regulator genes of G2/M phase progression, cyclin dependent kinase (Cdk) 2 and Cdc2 and elevated the expression of the Cdk inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1 in a p53-independent manner. In addition, NBNMA activated caspase-8 and caspase-9, initiator caspases of the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways of apoptosis, respectively, which led to activation of executioner caspase-3 along with degradation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. NBNMA-induced apoptosis was observed in parallel with an increased ratio of pro-apoptotic Bax and Bad/anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and inhibition of inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family members XIAP and cIAP-1. Furthermore, NBNMA-treated cells displayed enhanced release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria into the cytosol concomitant with a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and downregulation of Bid, suggesting that NBNMA-induced apoptosis occurred via the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways with a possible link to Bid protein activity between the two pathways. These results indicate that NBNMA has promising potential to become a novel anticancer agent for the treatment of leukemia. We provide new insight into the mechanisms underlying the anticancer effect of NBNMA.

Sun Y, Du C, Wang B, et al.
Up-regulation of eEF1A2 promotes proliferation and inhibits apoptosis in prostate cancer.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 450(1):1-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: eEF1A2 is a protein translation factor involved in protein synthesis, which possesses important function roles in cancer development. This study aims at investigating the expression pattern of eEF1A2 in prostate cancer and its potential role in prostate cancer development.
METHODS: We examined the expression level of eEF1A2 in 30 pairs of prostate cancer tissues by using RT-PCR and immunohistochemical staining (IHC). Then we applied siRNA specifically targeting eEF1A2 to down-regulate its expression in DU-145 and PC-3 cells. Flow cytometer was used to explore apoptosis and Western-blot was used to detect the pathway proteins of apoptosis.
RESULTS: Our results showed that the expression level of eEF1A2 in prostate cancer tissues was significantly higher compared to their corresponding normal tissues. Reduction of eEF1A2 expression in DU-145 and PC-3 cells led to a dramatic inhibition of proliferation accompanied with enhanced apoptosis rate. Western blot revealed that apoptosis pathway proteins (caspase3, BAD, BAX, PUMA) were significantly up-regulated after suppression of eEF1A2. More importantly, the levels of eEF1A2 and caspase3 were inversely correlated in prostate cancer tissues.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggests that eEF1A2 plays an important role in prostate cancer development, especially in inhibiting apoptosis. So eEF1A2 might serve as a potential therapeutic target in prostate cancer.

Kassambara A, Gourzones-Dmitriev C, Sahota S, et al.
A DNA repair pathway score predicts survival in human multiple myeloma: the potential for therapeutic strategy.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(9):2487-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA repair is critical to resolve extrinsic or intrinsic DNA damage to ensure regulated gene transcription and DNA replication. These pathways control repair of double strand breaks, interstrand crosslinks, and nucleotide lesions occurring on single strands. Distinct DNA repair pathways are highly inter-linked for the fast and optimal DNA repair. A deregulation of DNA repair pathways may maintain and promote genetic instability and drug resistance to genotoxic agents in tumor cells by specific mechanisms that tolerate or rapidly bypass lesions to drive proliferation and abrogate cell death. Multiple Myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell disorder characterized by genetic instability and poor outcome for some patients, in which the compendium of DNA repair pathways has as yet not been assessed for a disease-specific prognostic relevance. We design a DNA repair risk score based on the expression of genes coding for proteins involved in DNA repair in MM cells. From a consensus list of 84 DNA repair genes, 17 had a bad prognostic value and 5 a good prognostic value for both event-free and overall survival of previously-untreated MM patients. The prognostic information provided by these 22 prognostic genes was summed within a global DNA repair score (DRScore) to take into account the tight linkage of repair pathways. DRscore was strongly predictive for both patients' event free and overall survivals. Also, DRscore has the potential to identify MM patients whose tumor cells are dependent on specific DNA repair pathways to design treatments that induce synthetic lethality by exploiting addiction to deregulated DNA repair pathways.

Liu B, Wang Z, Li HY, et al.
Pim-3 promotes human pancreatic cancer growth by regulating tumor vasculogenesis.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(6):2625-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pim-3, a proto-oncogene with serine/threonine kinase activity, is aberrantly expressed in malignant lesions, but not in normal pancreatic tissues. To assess the role of Pim-3 in human pancreatic carcinogenesis in vivo and to determine the underlying Pim-3 signaling regulatory mechanisms, we established MiaPaca-2 cells overexpressing wild-type Pim-3 or Pim-3 kinase dead mutants (K69M-Pim-3) as well as PCI55 cells stably expressing Pim-3 shRNA or scrambled shRNA in a tetracycline-inducible manner. In addition, we conducted studies utilizing a nude mouse tumor xenograft model. Our results demonstrated that cells stably overexpressing wild-type Pim-3 exhibited functionally enhanced phosphorylation of Bad at Ser112 and increased proliferation. In contrast, the stable inactivation of Pim-3 by K69M-Pim-3 or silencing of Pim-3 expression by Pim-3 shRNA resulted in functionally decreased phosphorylation of Bad at Ser112 and higher apoptotic cells. Following subcutaneous injection of these stable cell lines, nude mice injected with Pim-3 overexpressing cells developed 100% subcutaneous tumors, together with increased PCNA-positive cells and enhanced intratumoral CD31-positive vascular areas. On the other hand, intratumoral neovascularization and tumor cell proliferation was attenuated in mice injected with Pim-3 kinase inactive cells, eventually reducing tumorigenicity in these mice to 46.6%. Moreover, Pim-3 overexpression upregulated the intratumoral levels of pSTAT3Try705, pSurvivinThr34, HGF, EGF, FGF-2 and VEGF, while the increases were markedly diminished on Pim-3 kinase inactivation. Collectively, the Pim-3 kinase emerges as being involved in accelerating human pancreatic cancer development and in promoting tumor neovascularization and subsequent tumor growth. Targeting Pim-3 may play a dual role in halting tumor progression, by promoting tumor cell death and blocking angiogenesis.

Banzhaf-Strathmann J, Edbauer D
Good guy or bad guy: the opposing roles of microRNA 125b in cancer.
Cell Commun Signal. 2014; 12:30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally silence target mRNAs. Dysregulation of miRNAs is a frequent event in several diseases, including cancer. One miRNA that has gained special interest in the field of cancer research is miRNA-125b (miR-125b). MiR-125b is a ubiquitously expressed miRNA that is aberrantly expressed in a great variety of tumors. In some tumor types, e.g. colon cancer and hematopoietic tumors, miR-125b is upregulated and displays oncogenic potential, as it induces cell growth and proliferation, while blocking the apoptotic machinery. In contrast, in other tumor entities, e.g. mammary tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma, miR-125b is heavily downregulated. This downregulation is accompanied by de-repression of cellular proliferation and anti-apoptotic programs, contributing to malignant transformation. The reasons for these opposing roles are poorly understood. We summarize the current knowledge of miR-125b and its relevant targets in different tumor types and offer several hypotheses for the opposing roles of miR-125b: miR-125b targets multiple mRNAs, which have diverse functions in individual tissues. These target mRNAs are tissue and tumor specifically expressed, suggesting that misregulation by miR-125b depends on the levels of target gene expression. Moreover, we provide several examples that miR-125b upregulation dictates oncogenic characteristics, while downregulation of miR-125b corresponds to the loss of tumor suppressive functions. Thus, in different tumor entities increased or decreased miR-125b expression may contribute to carcinogenesis.

Tymoszuk P, Charoentong P, Hackl H, et al.
High STAT1 mRNA levels but not its tyrosine phosphorylation are associated with macrophage infiltration and bad prognosis in breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:257 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: STAT1 has been attributed a function as tumor suppressor. However, in breast cancer data from microarray analysis indicated a predictive value of high mRNA expression levels of STAT1 and STAT1 target genes belonging to the interferon-related signature for a poor response to therapy. To clarify this issue we have determined STAT1 expression levels and activation by different methods, and investigated their association with tumor infiltration by immune cells. Additionally, we evaluated the interrelationship of these parameters and their significance for predicting disease outcome.
METHODS: Expression of STAT1, its target genes SOCS1, IRF1, CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, IFIT1, IFITM1, MX1 and genes characteristic for immune cell infiltration (CD68, CD163, PD-L1, PD-L2, PD-1, CD45, IFN-γ, FOXP3) was determined by RT-PCR in two independent cohorts comprising 132 breast cancer patients. For a subset of patients, protein levels of total as well as serine and tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT1 were ascertained by immunohistochemistry or immunoblotting and protein levels of CXCL10 by ELISA.
RESULTS: mRNA expression levels of STAT1 and STAT1 target genes, as well as protein levels of total and serine-phosphorylated STAT1 correlated with each other in neoplastic tissue. However, there was no association between tumor levels of STAT1 mRNA and tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT1 and between CXCL10 serum levels and CXCL10 expression in the tumor. Tumors with increased STAT1 mRNA amounts exhibited elevated expression of genes characteristic for tumor-associated macrophages and immunosuppressive T lymphocytes. Survival analysis revealed an association of high STAT1 mRNA levels and bad prognosis in both cohorts. A similar prognostically relevant correlation with unfavorable outcome was evident for CXCL10, MX1, CD68, CD163, IFN-γ, and PD-L2 expression in at least one collective. By contrast, activation of STAT1 as assessed by the level of STAT1-Y701 phosphorylation was linked to positive outcome. In multivariate Cox regression, the predictive power of STAT1 mRNA expression was lost when including expression of CXCL10, MX1 and CD68 as confounders.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms distinct prognostic relevance of STAT1 expression levels and STAT1 tyrosine phosphorylation in breast cancer patients and identifies an association of high STAT1 levels with elevated expression of STAT1 target genes and markers for infiltrating immune cells.

Guo Q, Lan P, Yu X, et al.
Immunotherapy for hepatoma using a dual-function vector with both immunostimulatory and pim-3-silencing effects.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(6):1503-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumorigenesis is an immortalization process in which the growth of normal cells is uncontrolled and programmed cell death is suppressed. Molecular biologic and immunologic studies have revealed that the aberrant expression of some proto-oncogenes boosts proliferation and inhibits apoptosis, which is vital for tumor development. The hypofunction of the host immune system also drives the development and metastasis of malignant tumors. Pim-3, a member of the Pim family, is aberrantly expressed in several cancers. Data suggest that Pim-3 inhibits apoptosis by phosphorylating the proapoptotic BH3-only protein Bad. Here, we constructed a dual-function small hairpin RNA (shRNA) vector containing an shRNA targeting Pim-3 and a TLR7-stimulating ssRNA. Stimulation with this bi-functional vector in vitro promoted significant apoptosis of Hepa1-6 cells by regulating the expression of apoptosis-related proteins and induced secretion of type I IFNs. Most importantly, this bi-functional vector more effectively inhibited subcutaneous Hepa1-6 cell growth than did single shRNA and ssRNA treatment in vivo. Natural killer (NK), CD4(+) T, and CD8(+) T cells and macrophages were required for effective tumor suppression, and CD4(+) T cells were shown to play a helper role in the activation of NK cells, possibly by regulating the secretion of Th1 or Th2 cytokines. This ssRNA-shRNA bi-functional vector may represent a promising approach for tumor therapy.

Lenders JW, Eisenhofer G
Pathophysiology and diagnosis of disorders of the adrenal medulla: focus on pheochromocytoma.
Compr Physiol. 2014; 4(2):691-713 [PubMed] Related Publications
The principal function of the adrenal medulla is the production and secretion of catecholamines. During stressful challenging conditions, catecholamines exert a pivotal homeostatic role. Although the main adrenomedullary catecholamine, epinephrine, has a wide array of adrenoreceptor-mediated effects, its absence does not cause life-threatening problems. In contrast, excess production of catecholamines due to an adrenomedullary tumor, specifically pheochromocytoma, results in significant morbidity and mortality. Despite being rare, pheochromocytoma has a notoriously bad reputation because of its potential devastating effects if undetected and untreated. The paroxysmal signs and symptoms and the risks of missing or delaying the diagnosis are well known for most physicians. Nevertheless, even today the diagnosis is still overlooked in a considerable number of patients. Prevention and complete cure are however possible by early diagnosis and appropriate treatment but these patients remain a challenge for physicians. Yet, biochemical proof of presence or absence of catecholamine excess has become more easy and straightforward due to developments in assay methodology. This also applies to radiological and functional imaging techniques for locating the tumor. The importance of genetic testing for underlying germline mutations in susceptibility genes for patients and relatives is increasingly recognized. Yet, the effectiveness of genetic testing, in terms of costs and benefits to health, has not been definitively established. Further improvement in knowledge of genotype-phenotype relationships in pheochromocytoma will open new avenues to a more rationalized and personalized diagnostic approach of affected patients.

Fève M, Saliou JM, Zeniou M, et al.
Comparative expression study of the endo-G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) repertoire in human glioblastoma cancer stem-like cells, U87-MG cells and non malignant cells of neural origin unveils new potential therapeutic targets.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e91519 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly aggressive, invasive brain tumors with bad prognosis and unmet medical need. These tumors are heterogeneous being constituted by a variety of cells in different states of differentiation. Among these, cells endowed with stem properties, tumor initiating/propagating properties and particularly resistant to chemo- and radiotherapies are designed as the real culprits for tumor maintenance and relapse after treatment. These cells, termed cancer stem-like cells, have been designed as prominent targets for new and more efficient cancer therapies. G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), a family of membrane receptors, play a prominent role in cell signaling, cell communication and crosstalk with the microenvironment. Their role in cancer has been highlighted but remains largely unexplored. Here, we report a descriptive study of the differential expression of the endo-GPCR repertoire in human glioblastoma cancer stem-like cells (GSCs), U-87 MG cells, human astrocytes and fetal neural stem cells (f-NSCs). The endo-GPCR transcriptome has been studied using Taqman Low Density Arrays. Of the 356 GPCRs investigated, 138 were retained for comparative studies between the different cell types. At the transcriptomic level, eight GPCRs were specifically expressed/overexpressed in GSCs. Seventeen GPCRs appeared specifically expressed in cells with stem properties (GSCs and f-NSCs). Results of GPCR expression at the protein level using mass spectrometry and proteomic analysis are also presented. The comparative GPCR expression study presented here gives clues for new pathways specifically used by GSCs and unveils novel potential therapeutic targets.

Sakamoto LH, Andrade RV, Felipe MS, et al.
SMYD2 is highly expressed in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and constitutes a bad prognostic factor.
Leuk Res. 2014; 38(4):496-502 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood malignancy. Although several clinical characteristics can be associated with worse prognosis, more robust biological markers still remains uncovered. SMYD2, a member of SMYD protein family, regulates the activity of several proteins through methylation. In this study, we performed quantitative real time PCR to compare the expression of SMYD2 in 83 pediatric ALL patients and non-neoplastic bone marrow samples (BMS). The study revealed that SMYD2 expression is altered in ALL BMS and its high expression was correlated with a bad prognosis. Moreover, we also revealed that SMYD2 expression level significantly decreases in patients that respond to chemotherapy treatment.

Yao CC, Tu YR, Jiang J, et al.
β-elemene reverses the drug resistance of lung cancer A549/DDP cells via the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(5):2131-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
β-elemene (β-ELE) is a new anticancer drug extracted from Curcuma zedoaria Roscoe and has been widely used to treat malignant tumors. Recent studies have demonstrated that β-ELE reverses the drug resistance of tumor cells. To explore the possible mechanisms of action of β-ELE, we investigated its effects on cisplatin-resistant human lung adenocarcinoma A549/DDP cells. The effects of β-ELE on the growth of A549/DDP cells in vitro were determined by MTT assay. Apoptosis was assessed by fluorescence microscopy with Hoechst 33258 staining and flow cytometry with Annexin V-FITC/PI double staining. Mitochondrial membrane potential was assessed using JC-1 fluorescence probe and laser confocal scanning microscopy, and intracellular reactive oxygen species levels were measured by 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein-diacetate staining and flow cytometry. Cytosolic glutathione content was determined using GSH kits. The expression of cytochrome c, caspase-3, procaspase-3 and the Bcl-2 family proteins was assessed by western blotting. The results demonstrated that β-ELE inhibited the proliferation of A549/DDP cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, β-ELE enhanced the sensitivity of A549/DDP cells to cisplatin and reversed the drug resistance of A549/DDP cells. Consistent with a role in activating apoptosis, β-ELE decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, increased intracellular reactive oxygen species concentration and decreased the cytoplasmic glutathione levels in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The combination of β-ELE and cisplatin enhanced the protein expression of cytochrome c, caspase-3 and Bad, and reduced protein levels of Bcl-2 and procaspase-3 in the A549/DDP lung cancer cells. These results define a pathway of procaspase‑3-β-ELE function that involves decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, leading to apoptosis triggered by the release of cytochrome c into the cytoplasm and the modulation of apoptosis-related genes. The reversal of drug resistance of the A549/DDP cell line by β-ELE may be derived from its effect in inducing apoptosis.

Wu X, Chen Y, Li G, et al.
Her3 is associated with poor survival of gastric adenocarcinoma: Her3 promotes proliferation, survival and migration of human gastric cancer mediated by PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(4):903 [PubMed] Related Publications
ErbB3 (Her3) is a membrane-bound protein which can form heterodimers with other EGF receptor family members with kinase activity. Previous reports identified Her3 as a significant predictor of poor survival in human gastric cancer (GC), but its mechanism has remained unclear. We sought to investigate the mechanism of Her3 in GC and its association with clinical characteristics. Her3 was detected by both real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 161 GC patients, and its related downstream signaling PI3K/AKT activity and clinical characteristics were accessed by statistical analysis. Her3 siRNA was used in both in vitro and in vivo assay to investigate the mechanism. Her3 expression was significantly increased in human GC compared with adjacent normal gastric tissues as observed by both real-time PCR and IHC. Her3 expression was associated with downstream AKT activation and increased tumor size, metastasis and poor survival in GC patients. Knockdown of Her3 in human GC cell line can inhibit cell proliferation and tumor growth both in vitro and in vivo by inactivation of AKT. Her3 knockdown had no observed impact on Her2 expression or activity. G2/M arrest was investigated due to decreased CyclinB1 and p27(kip1) at T157. Increased apoptosis occurred in Her3 silenced GC cell treated with cisplatin due to decreased BAD at S112. Moreover, Her3 silence can inhibit cell migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo by down-regulating MMPs via PI3K/AKT signaling. Her3 is a new prognostic factor associated with tumor growth and metastasis via PI3K/AKT signaling.

Park JW, Kim SC, Kim WK, et al.
Expression of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase linked to chemoradiation susceptibility of human colon cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:160 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Resistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in patients with colorectal cancer prevents effective treatment and leads to unnecessary and burdensome chemotherapy. Therefore, prediction of 5-FU resistance is imperative.
METHODS: To identify the proteins linked to 5-FU resistance, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis-based proteomics was performed using the human colon cancer cell line SNU-C4R with induced 5-FU resistance. Proteins showing altered expression in SNU-C4R were identified by matrix-associated laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight analysis, and their roles in susceptibility to 5-FU or radiation were evaluated in various cell lines by transfection of specific siRNA or creation of overexpression constructs. Changes in cellular signaling and expression of mitochondrial apoptotic factors were investigated by Western Blot analysis. A mitochondrial membrane potential probe (JC-1 dye) and a flow cytometry system were employed to determine the mitochondrial membrane potential. Finally, protein levels were determined by Western Blot analysis in tissues from 122 patients with rectal cancer to clarify whether each identified protein is a useful predictor of a chemoradiation response.
RESULTS: We identified mitochondrial phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (mPEPCK) as a candidate predictor of 5-FU resistance. PEPCK was downregulated in SNU-C4R compared with its parent cell line SNU-C4. Overexpression of mPEPCK did not significantly alter the susceptibility to either 5-FU or radiation. Suppression of mPEPCK led to a decrease in both the cellular level of phosphoenolpyruvate and the susceptibility to 5-FU and radiation. Furthermore, the cellular levels of phosphoenolpyruvate (an end product of PEPCK and a substrate of pyruvate kinase), phosphorylated AKT, and phosphorylated 4EBP1 were decreased significantly secondary to the mPEPCK suppression in SNU-C4. However, mPEPCK siRNA transfection induced changes in neither the mitochondrial membrane potential nor the expression levels of mitochondrial apoptotic factors such as Bax, Bcl-2, and Bad. Downregulation of total PEPCK was observed in tissues from patients with rectal cancer who displayed poor responses to preoperative 5-FU-based radiation therapy.
CONCLUSION: Our overall results demonstrate that mPEPCK is a useful predictor of a response to chemoradiotherapy in patients with rectal cancer.

Ascolani G, Liò P
Modeling TGF-β in early stages of cancer tissue dynamics.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e88533 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent works have highlighted a double role for the Transforming Growth Factor β (TGF-β): it inhibits cancer in healthy cells and potentiates tumor progression during late stage of tumorigenicity, respectively; therefore it has been termed the "Jekyll and Hyde" of cancer or, alternatively, an "excellent servant but a bad master". It remains unclear how this molecule could have the two opposite behaviours. In this work, we propose a TGF-β multi scale mathematical model at molecular, cellular and tissue scales. The multi scalar behaviours of the TGF-β are described by three coupled models built up together which can approximatively be related to distinct microscopic, mesoscopic, and macroscopic scales, respectively. We first model the dynamics of TGF-β at the single-cell level by taking into account the intracellular and extracellular balance and the autocrine and paracrine behaviour of TGF-β. Then we use the average estimates of the TGF-β from the first model to understand its dynamics in a model of duct breast tissue. Although the cellular model and the tissue model describe phenomena at different time scales, their cumulative dynamics explain the changes in the role of TGF-β in the progression from healthy to pre-tumoral to cancer. We estimate various parameters by using available gene expression datasets. Despite the fact that our model does not describe an explicit tissue geometry, it provides quantitative inference on the stage and progression of breast cancer tissue invasion that could be compared with epidemiological data in literature. Finally in the last model, we investigated the invasion of breast cancer cells in the bone niches and the subsequent disregulation of bone remodeling processes. The bone model provides an effective description of the bone dynamics in healthy and early stages cancer conditions and offers an evolutionary ecological perspective of the dynamics of the competition between cancer and healthy cells.

Ahmed M, Hussain AR, Bavi P, et al.
High prevalence of mTOR complex activity can be targeted using Torin2 in papillary thyroid carcinoma.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(7):1564-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling cascade is a key regulatory pathway controlling initiation of messenger RNA in mammalian cells. Although dysregulation of mTOR signaling has been reported earlier in cancers, there is paucity of data about mTOR expression in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Therefore, in this study, we investigated the presence of mTORC2 and mTORC1 complexes in a large cohort of >500 PTC samples. Our clinical data showed the presence of active mTORC1 and mTORC2 in 81 and 39% of PTC samples, respectively. Interestingly, coexpression of mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity was seen in a 32.5% (164/504) of the PTC studied and this association was statistically significant (P = 0.0244). mTOR signaling complex was also found to be associated with activated AKT and 4E-BP1. In vitro, using Torin2, a second-generation mTOR inhibitor or gene silencing of mTOR expression prevented mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity leading to inactivation of P70S6, 4E-BP1, AKT and Bad. Inhibition of mTOR activity led to downregulation of cyclin D1, a gene regulated by messenger RNA translation via phosphorylation of 4E-BP1. Torin2 treatment also inhibited cell viability and induced caspase-dependent apoptosis via activation of mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in PTC cells. Finally, Torin2 treatment induces anticancer effect on PTC xenograft tumor growth in nude mice via inhibition of mTORC1 and mTORC2 and its associated pathways. Our results suggest that coexpression of mTORC1 and mTORC2 is seen frequently in the clinical PTC samples and dual targeting of mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity may be an attractive therapeutic target for treatment of PTC.

Wachtel M, Rakic J, Okoniewski M, et al.
FGFR4 signaling couples to Bim and not Bmf to discriminate subsets of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma cells.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(7):1543-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Biological heterogeneity represents a major obstacle for cancer treatment. Therefore, characterization of treatment-relevant tumor heterogeneity is necessary to develop more effective therapies in the future. Here, we uncovered population heterogeneity among PAX/FOXO1-positive alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma by characterizing prosurvival networks initiated by FGFR4 signaling. We found that FGFR4 signaling rescues only subgroups of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma cells from apoptosis induced by compounds targeting the IGF1R-PI3K-mTOR pathway. Differences in both proapoptotic machinery and FGFR4-activated signaling are involved in the different behavior of the phenotypes. Proapoptotic stress induced by the kinase inhibitors is sensed by Bim/Bad in rescue cells and by Bmf in nonrescue cells. Anti-apoptotic ERK1/2 signaling downstream of FGFR4 is long-lasting in rescue and short-termed in most non-rescue cells. Gene expression analysis detected signatures specific for these two groups also in biopsy samples. The different cell phenotypes are present in different ratios in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma tumors and can be identified by AP2β expression levels. Hence, inhibiting FGFR signaling might represent an important strategy to enhance efficacy of current RMS treatments.

Holzapfel BM, Wagner F, Loessner D, et al.
Species-specific homing mechanisms of human prostate cancer metastasis in tissue engineered bone.
Biomaterials. 2014; 35(13):4108-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
The development of effective therapeutic strategies against prostate cancer bone metastases has been impeded by the lack of adequate animal models that are able to recapitulate the biology of the disease in humans. Bioengineered approaches allow researchers to create sophisticated experimentally and physiologically relevant in vivo models to study interactions between cancer cells and their microenvironment under reproducible conditions. The aim of this study was to engineer a morphologically and functionally intact humanized organ bone which can serve as a homing site for human prostate cancer cells. Transplantation of biodegradable tubular composite scaffolds seeded with human mesenchymal progenitor cells and loaded with rhBMP-7 resulted in the development of a chimeric bone construct including a large number of human mesenchymal cells which were shown to be metabolically active and capable of producing extracellular matrix components. Micro-CT analysis demonstrated that the newly formed ossicle recapitulated the morphological features of a physiological organ bone with a trabecular network surrounded by a cortex-like outer structure. This microenvironment was supportive of the lodgement and maintenance of murine haematopoietic cell clusters, thus mimicking a functional organ bone. Bioluminescence imaging demonstrated that luciferase-transduced human PC3 cells reproducibly homed to the humanized tissue engineered bone constructs, proliferated, and developed macro-metastases. This model allows the analysis of interactions between human prostate cancer cells and a functional humanized bone organ within an immuno-incompetent murine host. The system can serve as a reproducible platform to study effects of therapeutics against prostate cancer bone metastases within a humanized microenvironment.

Schweighofer N, Lerchbaum E, Trummer O, et al.
Metformin resistance alleles in polycystic ovary syndrome: pattern and association with glucose metabolism.
Pharmacogenomics. 2014; 15(3):305-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
Insulin-sensitizer treatment with metformin is common in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). OCT alleles were investigated in PCOS patients to identify genetic 'bad responders' and 'nonresponders' to metformin including their possible effects on glucose metabolism without treatment. We genotyped eight SNPs in OCT1, OCT2 and ATM genes in 676 women with PCOS and 90 control women, we also measured oral glucose tolerance tests prior to treatment. Nonfunctional alleles were present in 29.8% and low-functional alleles in 57.9% of our PCOS cohort. OCT variants were significantly associated with elevated baseline and glucose-induced C-peptide levels in PCOS. Metformin bad responders or nonresponders based on OCT genotypes might be relevant in clinical practice - their modulation of metformin pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and metformin-independent glucose effects remain to be elucidated.

Culig Z
Distinguishing indolent from aggressive prostate cancer.
Recent Results Cancer Res. 2014; 202:141-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer natural course is variable and it is difficult to determine prognosis on the basis of limited clinical information. In order to distinguish between aggressive and indolent tumors, genomic analysis, proteomic studies, and biomarker measurement were applied. Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms may help to assess prostate cancer risk, however, it is questionable whether single nucleotide polymorphisms may predict a good or bad prognosis. Results of genomic and proteomic analyses between different laboratories may be difficult to compare because of non-standardized procedures which may be responsible for variant results. One of the early changes in prostate tumor tissues which may indicate a bad prognosis is high phosphorylation of Akt. A biomarker which is specific for prostate cancer is the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion which occurs in about 50% of tumors. Experimental studies indicate that this gene fusion may promote malignant phenotype. Biomarkers which could distinguish between latent and aggressive tumors may be detected in prostate tissue, serum, and urine. In summary, there is a limited progress in the field of prognostic biomarkers because of prostate cancer heterogeneity and missing unification of diagnostic procedures.

Li T, Zhang Q, Zhang J, et al.
Fenofibrate induces apoptosis of triple-negative breast cancer cells via activation of NF-κB pathway.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:96 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There are a lot of unmet needs in patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Fenofibrate, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α) agonist, has been used for decades to treat hypertriglyceridaemia and mixed dyslipidaemia. Recent studies show that it might have anti-tumor effects, however, the mechanism remains unclear. Here, we assessed the ability of fenofibrate to induce apoptosis of TNBC in vitro and in vivo and explored involved mechanisms.
METHODS: MTT method was used to evaluate the anti-proliferation effect of fenofibrate, and invert microscope to observe the apoptotic morphological changes. The percentage of apoptotic cells and distribution ratios of cell cycle were determined by flow cytometric analysis. The related protein levels were measured by Western blot method. The changes of genes and pathways were detected by gene expression profiling. The tumor growth in vivo was assessed by MDA-MB-231 xenograft mouse model. Terminal deoxytransferase-catalyzed DNA nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay was employed to estimate the percentage of apoptotic cells in vivo. In order to evaluate the safety of fenofibrate, blood sampled from rat eyes was detected.
RESULTS: We found that fenofibrate had anti-proliferation effects on breast cancer cell lines, of which the first five most sensitive ones were all TNBC cell lines. Its induction of apoptosis was independent on PPAR-α status with the highest apoptosis percentage of 41.8 ± 8.8%, and it occurred in a time- and dose-dependent manner accompanied by up-regulation of Bad, down-regulation of Bcl-xl, Survivin and activation of caspase-3. Interestingly, activation of NF-κB pathway played an important role in the induction of apoptosis by fenofibtate and the effect could be almost totally blocked by a NF-κB specific inhibitor, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC). In addition, fenofibrate led to cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase accompanied by down-regulation of Cyclin D1, Cdk4 and up-regulation of p21, p27/Kip1. In vivo, fenofibrate slowed down tumor growth and induced apoptosis with a good safety profile in the MDA-MB-231 xengograft mouse model.
CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that fenofibrate induces apoptosis of TNBC via activation of NF-κB pathway in a PPAR-α independent way, and may serve as a novel therapeutic drug for TNBC therapy.

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