Gene Summary

Gene:CASR; calcium-sensing receptor
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a G protein-coupled receptor that is expressed in the parathyroid hormone (PTH)-producing chief cells of the parathyroid gland, and the cells lining the kidney tubule. It senses small changes in circulating calcium concentration and couples this information to intracellular signaling pathways that modify PTH secretion or renal cation handling, thus this protein plays an essential role in maintaining mineral ion homeostasis. Mutations in this gene cause familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia, familial, isolated hypoparathyroidism, and neonatal severe primary hyperparathyroidism. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:extracellular calcium-sensing receptor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 25 June, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 25 June 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.

Tag cloud generated 25 June, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: CASR (cancer-related)

Watanabe K, Terakura S, Martens AC, et al.
Target antigen density governs the efficacy of anti-CD20-CD28-CD3 ζ chimeric antigen receptor-modified effector CD8+ T cells.
J Immunol. 2015; 194(3):911-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
The effectiveness of chimeric Ag receptor (CAR)-transduced T (CAR-T) cells has been attributed to supraphysiological signaling through CARs. Second- and later-generation CARs simultaneously transmit costimulatory signals with CD3ζ signals upon ligation, but may lead to severe adverse effects owing to the recognition of minimal Ag expression outside the target tumor. Currently, the threshold target Ag density for CAR-T cell lysis and further activation, including cytokine production, has not yet been investigated in detail. Therefore, we determined the threshold target Ag density required to induce CAR-T cell responses using novel anti-CD20 CAR-T cells with a CD28 intracellular domain and a CD20-transduced CEM cell model. The newly developed CD20CAR-T cells demonstrated Ag-specific lysis and cytokine secretion, which was a reasonable level as a second-generation CAR. For lytic activity, the threshold Ag density was determined to be ∼200 molecules per target cell, whereas the Ag density required for cytokine production of CAR-T cells was ∼10-fold higher, at a few thousand per target cell. CD20CAR-T cells responded efficiently to CD20-downregulated lymphoma and leukemia targets, including rituximab- or ofatumumab-refractory primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. Despite the potential influence of the structure, localization, and binding affinity of the CAR/Ag, the threshold determined may be used for target Ag selection. An Ag density below the threshold may not result in adverse effects, whereas that above the threshold may be sufficient for practical effectiveness. CD20CAR-T cells also demonstrated significant lytic activity against CD20-downregulated tumor cells and may exhibit effectiveness for CD20-positive lymphoid malignancies.

Kobayashi E, Kishi H, Ozawa T, et al.
A chimeric antigen receptor for TRAIL-receptor 1 induces apoptosis in various types of tumor cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 453(4):798-803 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and its associated receptors (TRAIL-R/TR) are attractive targets for cancer therapy because TRAIL induces apoptosis in tumor cells through TR while having little cytotoxicity on normal cells. Therefore, many agonistic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for TR have been produced, and these induce apoptosis in multiple tumor cell types. However, some TR-expressing tumor cells are resistant to TR-specific mAb-induced apoptosis. In this study, we constructed a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) of a TRAIL-receptor 1 (TR1)-specific single chain variable fragment (scFv) antibody (TR1-scFv-CAR) and expressed it on a Jurkat T cell line, the KHYG-1 NK cell line, and human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). We found that the TR1-scFv-CAR-expressing Jurkat cells killed target cells via TR1-mediated apoptosis, whereas TR1-scFv-CAR-expressing KHYG-1 cells and PBLs killed target cells not only via TR1-mediated apoptosis but also via CAR signal-induced cytolysis, resulting in cytotoxicity on a broader range if target cells than with TR1-scFv-CAR-expressing Jurkat cells. The results suggest that TR1-scFv-CAR could be a new candidate for cancer gene therapy.

Wang Y, Zhang WY, Han QW, et al.
Effective response and delayed toxicities of refractory advanced diffuse large B-cell lymphoma treated by CD20-directed chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells.
Clin Immunol. 2014; 155(2):160-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
We conducted a trial testing a CD20-specific CAR coupled with CD137 and the CD3ζ moiety in patients with chemotherapy refractory advanced diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCL). Seven patients were enrolled. One of the two patients with no bulky tumor obtained a 14-month durable and ongoing complete remission by cell infusion only, and another attained a 6-month tumor regression. Four of five patients with bulky tumor burden were evaluable for clinical efficacy, three of which attained 3- to 6-month tumor regression. Delayed toxicities related to cell infusion are directly correlated to tumor burden and tumor-harboring sites, and mainly included cytokine release symptoms, tumor lysis symptoms, massive hemorrhage of the alimentary tract and aggressive intrapulmonary inflammation surrounding extranodal lesions. These results show firstly that anti-CD20 CART cells can cause prolonged tumor regression in combination with debulking conditioning regimens for advanced DLBCL. This study is registered at as NCT01735604.

Yueh MF, Taniguchi K, Chen S, et al.
The commonly used antimicrobial additive triclosan is a liver tumor promoter.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(48):17200-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Triclosan [5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol; TCS] is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial chemical used in a wide range of consumer products including soaps, cosmetics, therapeutics, and plastics. The general population is exposed to TCS because of its prevalence in a variety of daily care products as well as through waterborne contamination. TCS is linked to a multitude of health and environmental effects, ranging from endocrine disruption and impaired muscle contraction to effects on aquatic ecosystems. We discovered that TCS was capable of stimulating liver cell proliferation and fibrotic responses, accompanied by signs of oxidative stress. Through a reporter screening assay with an array of nuclear xenobiotic receptors (XenoRs), we found that TCS activates the nuclear receptor constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and, contrary to previous reports, has no significant effect on mouse peroxisome proliferation activating receptor α (PPARα). Using the procarcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN) to initiate tumorigenesis in mice, we discovered that TCS substantially accelerates hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development, acting as a liver tumor promoter. TCS-treated mice exhibited a large increase in tumor multiplicity, size, and incidence compared with control mice. TCS-mediated liver regeneration and fibrosis preceded HCC development and may constitute the primary tumor-promoting mechanism through which TCS acts. These findings strongly suggest there are adverse health effects in mice with long-term TCS exposure, especially on enhancing liver fibrogenesis and tumorigenesis, and the relevance of TCS liver toxicity to humans should be evaluated.

Oren R, Hod-Marco M, Haus-Cohen M, et al.
Functional comparison of engineered T cells carrying a native TCR versus TCR-like antibody-based chimeric antigen receptors indicates affinity/avidity thresholds.
J Immunol. 2014; 193(11):5733-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of Ag-specific T lymphocytes is an attractive form of immunotherapy for cancers. However, acquiring sufficient numbers of host-derived tumor-specific T lymphocytes by selection and expansion is challenging, as these cells may be rare or anergic. Using engineered T cells can overcome this difficulty. Such engineered cells can be generated using a chimeric Ag receptor based on common formats composed from Ag-recognition elements such as αβ-TCR genes with the desired specificity, or Ab variable domain fragments fused with T cell-signaling moieties. Combining these recognition elements are Abs that recognize peptide-MHC. Such TCR-like Abs mimic the fine specificity of TCRs and exhibit both the binding properties and kinetics of high-affinity Abs. In this study, we compared the functional properties of engineered T cells expressing a native low affinity αβ-TCR chains or high affinity TCR-like Ab-based CAR targeting the same specificity. We isolated high-affinity TCR-like Abs recognizing HLA-A2-WT1Db126 complexes and constructed CAR that was transduced into T cells. Comparative analysis revealed major differences in function and specificity of such CAR-T cells or native TCR toward the same antigenic complex. Whereas the native low-affinity αβ-TCR maintained potent cytotoxic activity and specificity, the high-affinity TCR-like Ab CAR exhibited reduced activity and loss of specificity. These results suggest an upper affinity threshold for TCR-based recognition to mediate effective functional outcomes of engineered T cells. The rational design of TCRs and TCR-based constructs may need to be optimized up to a given affinity threshold to achieve optimal T cell function.

Forde HE, Hill AD, Smith D
Parathyroid adenoma in a patient with familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia.
BMJ Case Rep. 2014; 2014 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 57-year-old man with symptoms of fatigue, joint pains and insomnia was found to have hypercalcaemia secondary to hyperparathyroidism with a corrected calcium of 2.61 mmol/L (2.2-2.6 mmol/L) and a serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) of 86 pg/mL (10-65 pg/mL). Preoperative workup demonstrated a parathyroid adenoma in the right upper position and he proceeded to surgery. Postoperatively, however, his symptoms remained unchanged and the corrected calcium remained elevated at 2.87 mmol/L with a PTH of 59 pg/mL. He had no family history of hypercalcaemia. Further investigations revealed low 24 h urinary calcium level and a low urine calcium to creatinine ratio. Genetic testing revealed a mutation in exon 4 of the calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) confirming a diagnosis of familial hypocalciuric hyercalcaemia (FHH). The case is an example of a rare phenomenon when a parathyroid adenoma develops in patients with FHH.

Umezu T, Tadokoro H, Azuma K, et al.
Exosomal miR-135b shed from hypoxic multiple myeloma cells enhances angiogenesis by targeting factor-inhibiting HIF-1.
Blood. 2014; 124(25):3748-57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Exosomes are small endosome-derived vesicles containing a wide range of functional proteins, mRNA, and miRNA. Exosomal miRNA from cancer cells helps modulate the microenvironment. In multiple myeloma (MM), the massive proliferation of malignant plasma cells causes hypoxia. To date, the majority of in vitro hypoxia studies of cancer cells have used acute hypoxic exposure (3-24 hours). Thus, we attempted to clarify the role of MM-derived exosomes in hypoxic bone marrow by using MM cells grown continuously in vitro under chronic hypoxia (hypoxia-resistant MM [HR-MM] cells). The HR-MM cells produced more exosomes than the parental cells under normoxia or acute hypoxia conditions, and miR-135b was significantly upregulated in exosomes from HR-MM cells. Exosomal miR-135b directly suppressed its target factor-inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (FIH-1) in endothelial cells. Finally, exosomal miR-135b from HR-MM cells enhanced endothelial tube formation under hypoxia via the HIF-FIH signaling pathway. This in vitro HR myeloma cell model will be useful for investigating MM cell-endothelial cell interactions under hypoxic conditions, which may mimic the in vivo bone marrow microenvironment. Although tumor angiogenesis is regulated by various factors, exosomal miR-135b may be a target for controlling MM angiogenesis.

Yuan Q, Gao W, Liu B, Ye W
Upregulation of miR-184 enhances the malignant biological behavior of human glioma cell line A172 by targeting FIH-1.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2014; 34(4):1125-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In recent years, miRNAs have been suggested to play key roles in the formation and development of human glioma. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect and mechanism of miR-184 expression on the malignant behavior of human glioma cells.
METHODS: The relative quantity of miR-184 was determined in human glioma cell lines, and the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) was explored using western blotting. The effects of miR-184 inhibition on cell viability and apoptosis were explored, and the miR-184 target gene was determined using a luciferase assay and western blotting. Flow cytometry and Hoechst staining were used to evaluate cell growth and apoptosis. Matrigel invasion and scratch assays were performed to measure the ability of cell invasion and migration.
RESULTS: miR-184 and HIF-1α protein levels were significantly upregulated in human glioma cells. Downregulation of miR-184 inhibited cell viability and increased the HEB cell apoptotic rate. Luciferase and western blot assays verified that FIH-1 was the target gene of miR-184 and negatively controlled the protein level of HIF-1α. Inhibition of HIF-1α by siRNA facilitated the apoptosis of HEB cells and suppressed A172 cell invasion and migration.
CONCLUSION: miR-184 upregulation enhanced the malignant phenotype of human glioma cancer cells by reducing FIH-1 protein expression.

Suzuki T, Kawamura K, Li Q, et al.
Mesenchymal stem cells are efficiently transduced with adenoviruses bearing type 35-derived fibers and the transduced cells with the IL-28A gene produces cytotoxicity to lung carcinoma cells co-cultured.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:713 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Transduction of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with type 5 adenoviruses (Ad5) is limited in the efficacy because of the poor expression level of the coxsackie adenovirus receptor (CAR) molecules. We examined a possible improvement of Ad-mediated gene transfer in MSCs by substituting the fiber region of type 5 Ad with that of type 35 Ad.
METHODS: Expression levels of CAR and CD46 molecules, which are the major receptors for type 5 and type 35 Ad, respectively, were assayed with flow cytometry. We constructed vectors expressing the green fluorescent protein gene with Ad5 or modified Ad5 bearing the type 35 fiber region (AdF35), and examined the infectivity to MSCs with flow cytometry. We investigated anti-tumor effects of MSCs transduced with interleukin (IL)-28A gene on human lung carcinoma cells with a colorimetric assay. Expression of IL-28A receptors was tested with the polymerase chain reaction. A promoter activity of transcriptional regulatory regions in MSCs was determined with a luciferase assay and a tumor growth-promoting ability of MSCs was tested with co-injection of human tumor cells in nude mice.
RESULTS: MSCs expressed CD46 but scarcely CAR molecules, and subsequently were transduced with AdF35 but not with Ad5. Growth of MSCs transduced with the IL-28A gene remained the same as that of untransduced cells since MSCs were negative for the IL-28A receptors. The IL-28A-transduced MSCs however suppressed growth of lung carcinoma cells co-cultured, whereas MSCs transduced with AdF35 expressing the β-galactosidase gene did not. A regulatory region of the cyclooygenase-2 gene possessed transcriptional activities greater than other tumor promoters but less than the cytomegalovirus promoter, and MSCs themselves did not support tumor growth in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS: AdF35 is a suitable vector to transduce MSCs that are resistant to Ad5-mediated gene transfer. MSCs infected with AdF35 that activate an exogenous gene by the cytomegalovirus promoter can be a vehicle to deliver the gene product to targeted cells.

Mata M, Vera JF, Gerken C, et al.
Toward immunotherapy with redirected T cells in a large animal model: ex vivo activation, expansion, and genetic modification of canine T cells.
J Immunother. 2014; 37(8):407-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) has shown promising antitumor activity in early phase clinical studies, especially for hematological malignancies. However, most preclinical models do not reliably mimic human disease. We reasoned that developing an adoptive T-cell therapy approach for spontaneous osteosarcoma (OS) occurring in dogs would more closely reproduce the condition in human cancer. To generate CAR-expressing canine T cells, we developed expansion and transduction protocols that allow for the generation of sufficient numbers of CAR-expressing canine T cells for future clinical studies in dogs within 2 weeks of ex vivo culture. To evaluate the functionality of CAR-expressing canine T cells, we targeted HER2(+) OS. We demonstrate that canine OS is positive for HER2, and that canine T cells expressing a HER2-specific CAR with human-derived transmembrane and CD28.ζ signaling domains recognize and kill HER2(+) canine OS cell lines in an antigen-dependent manner. To reduce the potential immunogenicity of the CAR, we evaluated a CAR with canine-derived transmembrane and signaling domains, and found no functional difference between human and canine CARs. Hence, we have successfully developed a strategy to generate CAR-expressing canine T cells for future preclinical studies in dogs. Testing T-cell therapies in an immunocompetent, outbred animal model may improve our ability to predict their safety and efficacy before conducting studies in humans.

Bhaskara VK, Mohanam I, Gujrati M, Mohanam S
Intermittent hypoxia effect on osteoclastogenesis stimulated by neuroblastoma cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(8):e105555 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial pediatric solid tumor. Intermittent hypoxia, which is characterized by cyclic periods of hypoxia and reoxygenation, has been shown to positively modulate tumor development and thereby induce tumor growth, angiogenic processes, and metastasis. Bone is one of the target organs of metastasis in advanced neuroblastoma Neuroblastoma cells produce osteoclast-activating factors that increase bone resorption by the osteoclasts. The present study focuses on how intermittent hypoxia preconditioned SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells modulate osteoclastogenesis in RAW 264.7 cells compared with neuroblastoma cells grown at normoxic conditions.
METHODS: We inhibited HIF-1α and HIF-2α in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells by siRNA/shRNA approaches. Protein expression of HIF-1α, HIF-2α and MAPKs were investigated by western blotting. Expression of osteoclastogenic factors were determined by real-time RT-PCR. The influence of intermittent hypoxia and HIF-1α siRNA on migration of neuroblastoma cells and in vitro differentiation of RAW 264.7 cells were assessed. Intratibial injection was performed with SH-SY5Y stable luciferase-expressing cells and in vivo bioluminescence imaging was used in the analysis of tumor growth in bone.
RESULTS: Upregulation of mRNAs of osteoclastogenic factors VEGF and RANKL was observed in intermittent hypoxia-exposed neuroblastoma cells. Conditioned medium from the intermittent hypoxia-exposed neuroblastoma cells was found to enhance osteoclastogenesis, up-regulate the mRNAs of osteoclast marker genes including TRAP, CaSR and cathepsin K and induce the activation of ERK, JNK, and p38 in RAW 264.7 cells. Intermittent hypoxia-exposed neuroblastoma cells showed an increased migratory pattern compared with the parental cells. A significant increase of tumor volume was found in animals that received the intermittent hypoxia-exposed cells intratibially compared with parental cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Intermittent hypoxic exposure enhanced capabilities of neuroblastoma cells in induction of osteoclast differentiation in RAW 264.7 cells. Increased migration and intratibial tumor growth was observed in intermittent hypoxia-exposed neuroblastoma cells compared with parental cells.

Vacca M, D'Amore S, Graziano G, et al.
Clustering nuclear receptors in liver regeneration identifies candidate modulators of hepatocyte proliferation and hepatocarcinoma.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(8):e104449 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Liver regeneration (LR) is a valuable model for studying mechanisms modulating hepatocyte proliferation. Nuclear receptors (NRs) are key players in the control of cellular functions, being ideal modulators of hepatic proliferation and carcinogenesis.
METHODS & RESULTS: We used a previously validated RT-qPCR platform to profile modifications in the expression of all 49 members of the NR superfamily in mouse liver during LR. Twenty-nine NR transcripts were significantly modified in their expression during LR, including fatty acid (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, PPARs) and oxysterol (liver X receptors, Lxrs) sensors, circadian masters RevErbα and RevErbβ, glucocorticoid receptor (Gr) and constitutive androxane receptor (Car). In order to detect the NRs that better characterize proliferative status vs. proliferating liver, we used the novel Random Forest (RF) analysis to selected a trio of down-regulated NRs (thyroid receptor alpha, Trα; farsenoid X receptor beta, Fxrβ; Pparδ) as best discriminators of the proliferating status. To validate our approach, we further studied PPARδ role in modulating hepatic proliferation. We first confirmed the suppression of PPARδ both in LR and human hepatocellular carcinoma at protein level, and then demonstrated that PPARδ agonist GW501516 reduces the proliferative potential of hepatoma cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that NR transcriptome is modulated in proliferating liver and is a source of biomarkers and bona fide pharmacological targets for the management of liver disease affecting hepatocyte proliferation.

Saito S, Nakazawa Y, Sueki A, et al.
Anti-leukemic potency of piggyBac-mediated CD19-specific T cells against refractory Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cytotherapy. 2014; 16(9):1257-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AIMS: To develop a treatment option for Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph(+)ALL) resistant to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), we evaluated the anti-leukemic activity of T cells non-virally engineered to express a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR).
METHODS: A CD19.CAR gene was delivered into mononuclear cells from 10 mL of blood of healthy donors through the use of piggyBac-transposons and the 4-D Nucleofector System. Nucleofected cells were stimulated with CD3/CD28 antibodies, magnetically selected for the CD19.CAR, and cultured in interleukin-15-containing serum-free medium with autologous feeder cells for 21 days. To evaluate their cytotoxic potency, we co-cultured CAR T cells with seven Ph(+)ALL cell lines including three TKI-resistant (T315I-mutated) lines at an effector-to-target ratio of 1:5 or lower without cytokines.
RESULTS: We obtained ∼1.3 × 10(8) CAR T cells (CD4(+), 25.4%; CD8(+), 71.3%), co-expressing CD45RA and CCR7 up to ∼80%. After 7-day co-culture, CAR T cells eradicated all tumor cells at the 1:5 and 1:10 ratios and substantially reduced tumor cell numbers at the 1:50 ratio. Kinetic analysis revealed up to 37-fold proliferation of CAR T cells during a 20-day culture period in the presence of tumor cells. On exposure to tumor cells, CAR T cells transiently and reproducibly upregulated the expression of transgene as well as tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand and interleukin-2.
CONCLUSIONS: We generated a clinically relevant number of CAR T cells from 10 mL of blood through the use of piggyBac-transposons, a 4D-Nulcleofector, and serum/xeno/tumor cell/virus-free culture system. CAR T cells exhibited marked cytotoxicity against Ph(+)ALL regardless of T315I mutation. PiggyBac-mediated CD19-specific T-cell therapy may provide an effective, inexpensive and safe option for drug-resistant Ph(+)ALL.

Hummel D, Aggarwal A, Borka K, et al.
The vitamin D system is deregulated in pancreatic diseases.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014; 144 Pt B:402-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
The vitamin D system is deregulated during development and progression of several cancer types. Data on the expression of the vitamin D system in the diseased pancreas are missing. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of the vitamin D receptor (VDR), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1), and the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR), a vitamin D target gene, in the different regions of the pancreas in patients with chronic pancreatitis (n=6) and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC) (n=17). We analyzed the expression of these genes at mRNA and protein level with quantitative real-time RT-PCR and immunostaining. mRNA expression of CYP24A1 and VDR was significantly increased in tumors compared with the adjacent non-tumorous tissue (p<0.01), while CaSR mRNA expression decreased. Both the VDR and the CaSR protein were highly expressed in the endocrine compared with the exocrine pancreas. In CP the CYP24A1 expression was highest in the endocrine pancreas, while in PDACs in the transformed ducts. In the PDAC patients CYP24A1 expression in the islets was significantly lower than in CP patients. Our data suggest that during ductal adenocarcinoma development the vitamin D system in the pancreas becomes deregulated on two levels: in the islets CYP24A1 expression decreases weakening the negative feedback regulation of the vitamin D-dependent insulin synthesis/secretion. In the transformed ducts CYP24A1 expression increases, impairing the antiproliferative effect of vitamin D in these cells.

Wu P, Sokoll LJ, Kudrolli TA, et al.
A novel approach for detecting viable and tissue-specific circulating tumor cells through an adenovirus-based reporter vector.
Prostate. 2014; 74(13):1286-96 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) hold great promise as biomarkers and are a direct source of tumor cells through a simple blood draw. However, CTCs are rare and their detection requires sensitive and specific methods to overcome the overwhelming hematocyte population. Therefore, CTC detection remains technically challenging.
METHODS: An assay was developed for detecting viable and tissue-specific CTCs using a tropism-enhanced and conditionally replicating reporter adenovirus (CTC-RV). Adenoviral replication was made prostate-specific by placing the E1A gene under the control of the probasin promoter and prostate-specific antigen enhancer (PSE-PBN). Viral tropism was expanded through capsid-displayed integrin targeting peptides. A secreted reporter, humanized Metridia Luciferase (hMLuc), was engineered for expression during the major late phase of viral replication. The assay involves red blood cell lysis, cell collection, viral infection, and subsequent quantification of reporter activity from cellular media. Assay and reporter stability, cell specificity and sensitivity were evaluated in cell dilution models in human blood.
RESULTS: A conditionally replicating prostate-selective adenovirus reporter and CTC assay system were generated. The secreted reporter, MLuc, was found to be stable for at least 3 days under assay conditions. CTC detection, modeled by cell dilution in blood, was selective for androgen receptor positive prostate cancer (PCa) cells. Serial dilution demonstrated assay linearity and sensitivity to as few as three cells. Prostate cancer cell viability declined after several hours in anticoagulated blood at ambient temperatures.
CONCLUSIONS: Conditionally replicative adenoviral vectors and secreted reporters offer a functional method to detect viable CTCs with cell specificity and high sensitivity.

Heczey A, Liu D, Tian G, et al.
Invariant NKT cells with chimeric antigen receptor provide a novel platform for safe and effective cancer immunotherapy.
Blood. 2014; 124(18):2824-33 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
Advances in the design of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have improved the antitumor efficacy of redirected T cells. However, functional heterogeneity of CAR T cells limits their therapeutic potential and is associated with toxicity. We proposed that CAR expression in Vα24-invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells can build on the natural antitumor properties of these cells while their restriction by monomorphic CD1d limits toxicity. Primary human NKT cells were engineered to express a CAR against the GD2 ganglioside (CAR.GD2), which is highly expressed by neuroblastoma (NB). We compared CAR.GD2 constructs that encoded the CD3ζ chain alone, with CD28, 4-1BB, or CD28 and 4-1BB costimulatory endodomains. CAR.GD2 expression rendered NKT cells highly cytotoxic against NB cells without affecting their CD1d-dependent reactivity. We observed a striking T helper 1-like polarization of NKT cells by 4-1BB-containing CARs. Importantly, expression of both CD28 and 4-1BB endodomains in the CAR.GD2 enhanced in vivo persistence of NKT cells. These CAR.GD2 NKT cells effectively localized to the tumor site had potent antitumor activity, and repeat injections significantly improved the long-term survival of mice with metastatic NB. Unlike T cells, CAR.GD2 NKT cells did not induce graft-versus-host disease. These results establish the potential of NKT cells to serve as a safe and effective platform for CAR-directed cancer immunotherapy.

Zhan Y, Yu B, Wang Z, et al.
A fiber-modified adenovirus co-expressing HSV-TK and Coli.NTR enhances antitumor activities in breast cancer cells.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(6):2850-60 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
Breast cancers especially in late and metastatic stages remain refractory to treatment despite advances in surgical techniques and chemotherapy. Suicide gene therapy based on adenoviral technology will be promising strategies for such advanced diseases. We previously showed that co-expression of herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) and Escherichia coli nitroreductase (Coli.NTR) by an hTERT-driven adenovirus vector resulted in additive anti-tumor effects in breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. As many tumor tissue and cancer cells express low level of coxsackie-adenovirus receptor (CAR), which is the functional receptor for the fiber protein of human adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5), novel Ad5 vectors containing genetically modifi ed fiber are attractive vehicles for achieving targeted gene transfer and improving suicide gene expression in these cancer cells. In the present study, we first built a simplified Ad5 vector platform for fiber modification and quick detection for gene transfer. Then a fiber-modified adenovirus vector containing an RGD motif in the HI loop of the fiber knob was constructed. After recombined with HSV-TK and Coli.NTR gene, this fiber-modified Ad5 vector (Ad-RGD-hT-TK/NTR) was compared with that of our previously constructed Ad5 vector (Ad-hT-TK/NTR) for its therapeutic effects in human breast cancer cell lines. The anti-tumor activity of Ad-RGD-hT-TK/NTR was significantly enhanced compared with Ad-hT-TK/NTR both in vitro and in vivo. This new vector platform provided a robust and simplified approach for capsid modification, and the fiber-modified Ad5 with double suicide genes under the control of hTERT promoter would be a useful gene therapy strategy for breast cancer.

Chen H, Shen ZY, Xu W, et al.
Expression of P450 and nuclear receptors in normal and end-stage Chinese livers.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(26):8681-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the expression of P450 enzyme genes by using end-stage liver disease samples and trimmed normal Chinese donor livers.
METHODS: The end-stage liver disease samples [n = 93, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), peri-HCC tissue, hepatitis B virus cirrhosis, alcoholic cirrhosis, and severe cirrhosis] and trimmed normal Chinese donor livers (n = 35) from The Institute of Organ Transplantation in Beijing, China. Total RNA was extracted, purified, and subjected to real-time RT-PCR analysis.
RESULTS: For cytochrome P450 enzymes 1 (CYP1) family, the expression of CYP1A2 was decreased 90% in HCC, 80% in alcoholic cirrhosis, and 65% in severe cirrhosis. For CYP2 family, the expression of CAR was decreased 50% in HCC, but increased 50% in peri-HCC tissues. Similar decreases (about 50%) of CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6 and CYP2E1 were observed in HCC, as compared to peri-HCC tissues and normal livers. CYP2C19 were decreased in all end-stage liver diseases and CYP2E1 also decreased in alcoholic cirrhosis and severe cirrhosis. For CYP3 family, the expression of PXR was decreased 60% in HCC, together with decreases in CYP3A4, CYP3A5, and CYP3A7. In contrast, the expression of CYP3A7 was slightly increased in HBV cirrhosis. The expression of CYP4A11 was decreased 85% in HCC, 7% in alcoholic cirrhosis and severe liver cirrhosis, along with decreases in PPARα. The 93 end-stage livers had much higher inter-individual variations in gene expression than 35 normal livers.
CONCLUSION: The expression of CYP enzyme genes and corresponding nuclear receptors was generally decreased in end-stage liver diseases, and significant differences in gene expression were evident between peri-HCC and HCC.

Pegram HJ, Purdon TJ, van Leeuwen DG, et al.
IL-12-secreting CD19-targeted cord blood-derived T cells for the immunotherapy of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(2):415-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Disease relapse or progression is a major cause of death following umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation (UCBT) in patients with high-risk, relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Adoptive transfer of donor-derived T cells modified to express a tumor-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) may eradicate persistent disease after transplantation. Such therapy has not been available to UCBT recipients, however, due to the low numbers of available UCB T cells and the limited capacity for ex vivo expansion of cytolytic cells. We have developed a novel strategy to expand UCB T cells to clinically relevant numbers in the context of exogenous cytokines. UCB-derived T cells cultured with interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-15 generated >150-fold expansion with a unique central memory/effector phenotype. Moreover, UCB T cells were modified to both express the CD19-specific CAR, 1928z, and secrete IL-12. 1928z/IL-12 UCB T cells retained a central memory-effector phenotype and had increased antitumor efficacy in vitro. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of 1928z/IL-12 UCB T cells resulted in significantly enhanced survival of CD19(+) tumor-bearing SCID-Beige mice. Clinical translation of CAR-modified UCB T cells could augment the graft-versus-leukemia effect after UCBT and thus further improve disease-free survival of transplant patients with B-cell ALL.

Fuentes-Mattei E, Velazquez-Torres G, Phan L, et al.
Effects of obesity on transcriptomic changes and cancer hallmarks in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106(7) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Obesity increases the risk of cancer death among postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, but the direct evidence for the mechanisms is lacking. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate direct evidence for the mechanisms mediating this epidemiologic phenomenon.
METHODS: We analyzed transcriptomic profiles of pretreatment biopsies from a prospective cohort of 137 ER+ breast cancer patients. We generated transgenic (MMTV-TGFα;A (y) /a) and orthotopic/syngeneic (A (y) /a) obese mouse models to investigate the effect of obesity on tumorigenesis and tumor progression and to determine biological mechanisms using whole-genome transcriptome microarrays and protein analyses. We used a coculture system to examine the impact of adipocytes/adipokines on breast cancer cell proliferation. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: Functional transcriptomic analysis of patients revealed the association of obesity with 59 biological functional changes (P < .05) linked to cancer hallmarks. Gene enrichment analysis revealed enrichment of AKT-target genes (P = .04) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition genes (P = .03) in patients. Our obese mouse models demonstrated activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway in obesity-accelerated mammary tumor growth (3.7- to 7.0-fold; P < .001; n = 6-7 mice per group). Metformin or everolimus can suppress obesity-induced secretion of adipokines and breast tumor formation and growth (0.5-fold, P = .04; 0.3-fold, P < .001, respectively; n = 6-8 mice per group). The coculture model revealed that adipocyte-secreted adipokines (eg, TIMP-1) regulate adipocyte-induced breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. Metformin suppress adipocyte-induced cell proliferation and adipocyte-secreted adipokines in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: Adipokine secretion and AKT/mTOR activation play important roles in obesity-accelerated breast cancer aggressiveness in addition to hyperinsulinemia, estrogen signaling, and inflammation. Metformin and everolimus have potential for therapeutic interventions of ER+ breast cancer patients with obesity.

Wang Y, Masuyama H, Nobumoto E, et al.
The inhibition of constitutive androstane receptor-mediated pathway enhances the effects of anticancer agents in ovarian cancer cells.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2014; 90(4):356-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer is commonly treated with anticancer agents; however, many tumors become resistant. Resistance is regulated, in part, by P-glycoprotein, which is encoded by the gene multiple drug resistance 1 (MDR1) and functions as a transmembrane efflux pump for the elimination of anticancer agents. Constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) is a nuclear receptor that regulates drug metabolism through control of MDR1 and other genes.
PURPOSE: We examined whether the inhibition of CAR-mediated pathway could influence the cytotoxicity of three anticancer drugs, cisplatin, paclitaxel, and arsenic trioxide, in ovarian cancer cells.
RESULTS: We observed that the cell proliferation of several ovarian cell lines expressing CAR significantly increased when CITCO was combined with anticancer agents compared with any anticancer agent alone. The up-regulation of MDR1 and UGT1A1 by anticancer agents was further enhanced in the presence of CITCO. We confirmed that combining CITCO with anticancer agents induced significantly lower levels of apoptosis than those achieved with any single anticancer drug. CAR down-regulation by RNA interference caused a significant increase in cell growth inhibition and enhancement of apoptosis in the presence of anticancer agents. Combination of CITCO with any anticancer agents significantly enhanced CAR-mediated transcription compared with any anticancer agents alone and CAR down-regulation completely inhibited the transcription in the presence of CITCO and/or anticancer agents.
CONCLUSION: Inhibition of CAR pathway could be a novel therapeutic approach for the augmentation of sensitivity to anticancer agents, or to overcome resistance, in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Sun M, Shi H, Liu C, et al.
Construction and evaluation of a novel humanized HER2-specific chimeric receptor.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(3):R61 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) represents one of the most studied tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) for cancer immunotherapy. The monoclonal antibody (mAb) trastuzumab has improved the outcomes of patients with HER2+ breast cancer. However, a large number of HER2+ tumors are not responsive to, or become resistant to, trastuzumab-based therapy, and thus more effective therapies targeting HER2 are needed.
METHODS: HER2-specific T cells were generated by the transfer of genes that encode chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Using a multistep overlap extension PCR method, we constructed a novel, humanized HER2 CAR-containing, chA21 single-chain variable fragment (scFv) region of antigen-specific mAb and T-cell intracellular signaling chains made up of CD28 and CD3ζ. An interferon γ and interleukin 2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a chromium-51 release assay were used to evaluate the antitumor immune response of CAR T cells in coculture with tumor cells. Furthermore, SKBR3 tumor-bearing nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) mice were treated with HER2 CAR T cells to evaluate antitumor activity. Human CD3+ T cell accumulation in tumor xenograft was detected by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: chA21-28z CAR was successfully constructed, and both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were transduced. The expanded HER2 CAR T cells expressed a central memory phenotype and specifically reacted against HER2+ tumor cell lines. Furthermore, the SKBR3 tumor xenograft model revealed that HER2 CAR T cells significantly inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Immunohistochemical analysis showed robust accumulation of human CD3+ T cells in regressing SKBR3 lesions.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study show that novel chA21 scFv-based, HER2-specific CAR T cells not only recognized and killed HER2+ breast and ovarian cancer cells ex vivo but also induced regression of experimental breast cancer in vivo. Our data support further exploration of the HER2 CAR T-cell therapy for HER2-expressing cancers.

Liu W, Xu C, Wan H, et al.
MicroRNA-206 overexpression promotes apoptosis, induces cell cycle arrest and inhibits the migration of human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2014; 34(2):420-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
MicroRNA-206 (miR-206) is known to regulate cell proliferation and migration and is involved in various types of cancer. However, the role of miR-206 in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HHC) has not been previously reported. In the present study, the expression of Notch3 in HCC and adjacent non-neoplastic tissue was immunohistochemically assessed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections. miR-206 mimics were transiently transfected into HepG2 cells using Lipofectamine™ 2000. Subsequently, we evaluated the role of miR-206 in cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle arrest and migration by MTS assay, Hoechst 33342 staining, Annexin V-FITC/PI assay, flow cytometry and wound healing assay. Using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT‑PCR) and western blot analysis, we detected the expression of Notch3, Bax, Bcl-2, Hes1, p57 and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 at the mRNA and protein level, respectively. In addition, we measured the expression of miR-206 at the mRNA level and that of caspase-3 at the protein level. After miR-206 was upregulated in HepG2 cells, Notch3, Hes1, Bcl-2 and MMP-9 were downregulated both at the mRNA and protein level, whereas p57 and Bax were upregulated. Cleaved caspase-3 protein expression was also markedly increased. Cell proliferation was significantly attenuated and apoptosis was markedly increased. Furthermore, miR-206 overexpression induced cell cycle arrest and inhibited the migration of HepG2 cells. Taken together, our results uggest that miR-206 is a potential regulator of apoptosis, the cell cycle and migration in HepG2 cells and that it has the potential for use in the targeted therapy of HCC and is a novel tumor suppressor.

Milczarek M, Filip-Psurska B, Swiętnicki W, et al.
Vitamin D analogs combined with 5-fluorouracil in human HT-29 colon cancer treatment.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(2):491-504 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
In the present study, we evaluated the antitumor effect of two synthetic analogs of vitamin D, namely PRI-2191 [(24R)-1,24-dihydroxyvitamin D3] and PRI-2205 (5,6-trans calcipotriol), in combined human colon HT-29 cancer treatment with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Mice bearing HT-29 tumors transplanted subcutaneously or orthotopically were injected with vitamin D analogs and 5-FU in various schedules. A statistically significant inhibition of subcutaneous or orthotopic tumor growth was observed as a result of combined therapy. In HT-29 tumors and in cells from in vitro culture, we observed increased vitamin D receptor (VDR) expression after treatment with either PRI-2205 or 5-FU alone, or in combination. Moreover, PRI-2205 decreased the percentage of cells from intestinal tumors in G2/M and S stages and increased sub-G1. Increased VDR expression was also observed after combined treatment of mice with 5-FU and PRI-2191. Moreover, our docking studies showed that PRI-2205 has stronger affinity for VDR, DBP and CAR/RXR ligand binding domains than PRI-2191. PRI-2191 analog, used with 5-FU, increased the percentage of subcutaneous tumor cells in G0/G1 and decreased the percentage in G2/M, S and sub-G1 populations as compared to 5-FU alone. In in vitro studies, we observed increased expression of p21 and p-ERK1/2 diminution via use of both analogs as compared to use of 5-FU alone. Simultaneously, PRI-2191 antagonizes some pro-apoptotic activities of 5-FU in vitro. However, in spite of these disadvantageous effects in terms of apoptosis, the therapeutic effect expressed as tumor growth retardation by PRI-2191 is significant. Our results suggest that the mechanism of potentiation of 5-FU antitumor action by both analogs is realized via increased p21 expression and decreased p-ERK1/2 level which may lead to diminution of thymidylate synthase expression. Higher binding affinity for VDR, DBP, but also for CAR\RXR ligand binding domain of PRI-2205 may, in part, explain its very low toxicity with sustained anticancer activity.

Hsieh MT, Chen HP, Lu CC, et al.
The novel pterostilbene derivative ANK-199 induces autophagic cell death through regulating PI3 kinase class III/beclin 1/Atg‑related proteins in cisplatin‑resistant CAR human oral cancer cells.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(2):782-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pterostilbene is an effective chemopreventive agent against multiple types of cancer cells. A novel pterostilbene derivative, ANK-199, was designed and synthesized by our group. Its antitumor activity and mechanism in cisplatin-resistant CAR human oral cancer cells were investigated in this study. Our results show that ANK-199 has an extremely low toxicity in normal oral cell lines. The formation of autophagic vacuoles and acidic vesicular organelles (AVOs) was observed in the ANK-199-treated CAR cells by monodansylcadaverine (MDC) and acridine orange (AO) staining, suggesting that ANK-199 is able to induce autophagic cell death in CAR cells. Neither DNA fragmentation nor DNA condensation was observed, which means that ANK-199-induced cell death is not triggered by apoptosis. In accordance with morphological observation, 3-MA, a specific inhibitor of PI3K kinase class III, can inhibit the autophagic vesicle formation induced by ANK-199. In addition, ANK-199 is also able to enhance the protein levels of autophagic proteins, Atg complex, beclin 1, PI3K class III and LC3-II, and mRNA expression of autophagic genes Atg7, Atg12, beclin 1 and LC3-II in the ANK-199-treated CAR cells. A molecular signaling pathway induced by ANK-199 was therefore summarized. Results presented in this study show that ANK-199 may become a novel therapeutic reagent for the treatment of oral cancer in the near future (patent pending).

Krebs S, Chow KK, Yi Z, et al.
T cells redirected to interleukin-13Rα2 with interleukin-13 mutein--chimeric antigen receptors have anti-glioma activity but also recognize interleukin-13Rα1.
Cytotherapy. 2014; 16(8):1121-31 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND AIMS: Outcomes for patients with glioblastoma remain poor despite aggressive multimodal therapy. Immunotherapy with genetically modified T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) targeting interleukin (IL) 13Rα2, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, epidermal growth factor variant III or erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma A2 has shown promise for the treatment of glioma in preclinical models. On the basis of IL13Rα2 immunotoxins that contain IL13 molecules with one or two amino acid substitutions (IL13 muteins) to confer specificity to IL13Rα2, investigators have constructed CARS with IL13 muteins as antigen-binding domains. Whereas the specificity of IL13 muteins in the context of immunotoxins is well characterized, limited information is available for CAR T cells.
METHODS: We constructed four second-generation CARs with IL13 muteins with one or two amino acid substitutions, and evaluated the effector function of IL13-mutein CAR T cells in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: T cells expressing all four CARs recognized IL13Rα1 or IL13Rα2 recombinant protein in contrast to control protein (IL4R) as judged by interferon-γ production. IL13 protein produced significantly more IL2, indicating that IL13 mutein-CAR T cells have a higher affinity to IL13Rα2 than to IL13Rα1. In cytotoxicity assays, CAR T cells killed IL13Rα1- and/or IL13Rα2-positive cells in contrast to IL13Rα1- and IL13Rα2-negative controls. Although we observed no significant differences between IL13 mutein-CAR T cells in vitro, only T cells expressing IL13 mutein-CARs with an E13K amino acid substitution had anti-tumor activity in vivo that resulted in a survival advantage of treated animals.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights that the specificity/avidity of ligands is context-dependent and that evaluating CAR T cells in preclinical animal model is critical to assess their potential benefit.

Jia Y, Viswakarma N, Reddy JK
Med1 subunit of the mediator complex in nuclear receptor-regulated energy metabolism, liver regeneration, and hepatocarcinogenesis.
Gene Expr. 2014; 16(2):63-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Several nuclear receptors regulate diverse metabolic functions that impact on critical biological processes, such as development, differentiation, cellular regeneration, and neoplastic conversion. In the liver, some members of the nuclear receptor family, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), farnesoid X receptor (FXR), liver X receptor (LXR), pregnane X receptor (PXR), glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and others, regulate energy homeostasis, the formation and excretion of bile acids, and detoxification of xenobiotics. Excess energy burning resulting from increases in fatty acid oxidation systems in liver generates reactive oxygen species, and the resulting oxidative damage influences liver regeneration and liver tumor development. These nuclear receptors are important sensors of exogenous activators as well as receptor-specific endogenous ligands. In this regard, gene knockout mouse models revealed that some lipid-metabolizing enzymes generate PPARα-activating ligands, while others such as ACOX1 (fatty acyl-CoA oxidase1) inactivate these endogenous PPARα activators. In the absence of ACOX1, the unmetabolized ACOX1 substrates cause sustained activation of PPARα, and the resulting increase in energy burning leads to hepatocarcinogenesis. Ligand-activated nuclear receptors recruit the multisubunit Mediator complex for RNA polymerase II-dependent gene transcription. Evidence indicates that the Med1 subunit of the Mediator is essential for PPARα, PPARγ, CAR, and GR signaling in liver. Med1 null hepatocytes fail to respond to PPARα activators in that these cells do not show induction of peroxisome proliferation and increases in fatty acid oxidation enzymes. Med1-deficient hepatocytes show no increase in cell proliferation and do not give rise to liver tumors. Identification of nuclear receptor-specific coactivators and Mediator subunits should further our understanding of the complexities of metabolic diseases associated with increased energy combustion in liver.

Xu Y, Zhang M, Ramos CA, et al.
Closely related T-memory stem cells correlate with in vivo expansion of CAR.CD19-T cells and are preserved by IL-7 and IL-15.
Blood. 2014; 123(24):3750-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of T lymphocytes expressing a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR.CD19) induces complete tumor regression in patients with lymphoid malignancies. Although in vivo persistence of CAR-T cells correlates with clinical responses, it remains unknown whether specific cell subsets within the CAR-T-cell product correlate with their subsequent in vivo expansion and persistence. We analyzed 14 patients with B-cell malignancies infused with autologous CAR.CD19-redirected T cells expanded ex vivo using IL-2, and found that their in vivo expansion only correlated with the frequency within the infused product of a CD8(+)CD45RA(+)CCR7(+) subset, whose phenotype is closest to "T-memory stem cells." Preclinical models showed that increasing the frequency of CD8(+)CD45RA(+)CCR7(+) CAR-T cells in the infused line by culturing the cells with IL-7 and IL-15 produced greater antitumor activity of CAR-T cells mediated by increased resistance to cell death, following repetitive encounters with the antigen, while preserving their migration to secondary lymphoid organs. This trial was registered at as #NCT00586391 and #NCT00709033.

Behr M, Kaufmann JK, Ketzer P, et al.
Adenoviruses using the cancer marker EphA2 as a receptor in vitro and in vivo by genetic ligand insertion into different capsid scaffolds.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e95723 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Adenoviral gene therapy and oncolysis would critically benefit from targeted cell entry by genetically modified capsids. This requires both the ablation of native adenovirus tropism and the identification of ligands that remain functional in virus context. Here, we establish cell type-specific entry of HAdV-5-based vectors by genetic ligand insertion into a chimeric fiber with shaft and knob domains of the short HAdV-41 fiber (Ad5T/41sSK). This fiber format was reported to ablate transduction in vitro and biodistribution to the liver in vivo. We show that the YSA peptide, binding to the pan-cancer marker EphA2, can be inserted into three positions of the chimeric fiber, resulting in strong transduction of EphA2-positive but not EphA2-negative cells of human melanoma biopsies and of tumor xenografts after intratumoral injection. Transduction was blocked by soluble YSA peptide and restored for EphA2-negative cells after recombinant EphA2 expression. The YSA peptide could also be inserted into three positions of a CAR binding-ablated HAdV-5 fiber enabling specific transduction; however, the Ad5T/41sSK format was superior in vivo. In conclusion, we establish an adenovirus capsid facilitating functional insertion of targeting peptides and a novel adenovirus using the tumor marker EphA2 as receptor with high potential for cancer gene therapy and viral oncolysis.

Kong J, Wang O, Nie M, et al.
Familial isolated primary hyperparathyroidism/hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumour syndrome caused by germline gross deletion or point mutations of CDC73 gene in Chinese.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014; 81(2):222-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumour syndrome (HPT-JT) and familial isolated primary hyperparathyroidism (FIHP) are two subtypes of familial primary hyperparathyroidism, which are rarely reported in Chinese population. Here, we reported three FIHP families and one HPT-JT family with long-term follow-up and genetic analysis.
DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 22 patients, from four FIHP/HPT-JT families of Chinese descent, were recruited and genomic DNA was extracted from their peripheral blood lymphocytes. Direct sequencing for MEN1, CDC73, CASR gene was conducted. Reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) were used to study the effect of splice site mutations and gross deletion mutations. Immunohistochemistry was performed to analyse parafibromin expression in parathyroid tumours. Genotype-phenotype correlations were assessed through clinical characteristics and long-term follow-up data.
RESULTS: Genetic analysis revealed four CDC73 germline mutations that were responsible for the four kindreds, including two novel point mutation (c.157 G>T and IVS3+1 G>A), one recurrent point mutation (c.664 C>T) and one deletion mutation (c.307+?_513-?del exons 4, 5, 6). RT-PCR confirmed that IVS3+1 G>A generated an aberrant transcript with exon3 deletion. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated reduced nuclear parafibromin expression in tumours supporting the pathogenic effects of these mutations.
CONCLUSIONS: This study supplies information on mutations and phenotypes of HPT-JT/FIHP syndrome in Chinese. Screening for gross deletion and point mutations of the CDC73 gene is necessary in susceptible subjects.

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