Gene Summary

Gene:CLDN3; claudin 3
Aliases: RVP1, HRVP1, C7orf1, CPE-R2, CPETR2
Summary:Tight junctions represent one mode of cell-to-cell adhesion in epithelial or endothelial cell sheets, forming continuous seals around cells and serving as a physical barrier to prevent solutes and water from passing freely through the paracellular space. These junctions are comprised of sets of continuous networking strands in the outwardly facing cytoplasmic leaflet, with complementary grooves in the inwardly facing extracytoplasmic leaflet. The protein encoded by this intronless gene, a member of the claudin family, is an integral membrane protein and a component of tight junction strands. It is also a low-affinity receptor for Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin, and shares aa sequence similarity with a putative apoptosis-related protein found in rat. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 28 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.

  • Transfection
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Chromosome 7
  • Western Blotting
  • siRNA
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Enterotoxins
  • Down-Regulation
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Vulvar Cancer
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Claudin-1
  • Uteroglobin
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Claudin-3
  • Papillary Carcinoma
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Messenger RNA
  • DNA Methylation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Lung Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Precancerous Conditions
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Ovary
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Claudin-4
  • Claudins
  • Tight Junctions
  • Drug Resistance
  • Gene Expression Profiling
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

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: CLDN3 (cancer-related)

Liu L, Gou M, Yi T, et al.
Antitumor effects of heparin-polyethyleneimine nanogels delivering claudin-3-targeted short hairpin RNA combined with low-dose cisplatin on ovarian cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(4):1623-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cisplatin is normally administered in chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, but is accompanied by severe dose-dependent toxicity. The combination of cisplatin with other antitumor agents may be a useful alternative for achieving higher antitumor efficiency and lower toxicity. Claudin-3 (CLDN3), a commonly upregulated gene in 90% of ovarian cancers, has been identified as a novel therapeutic target of ovarian cancer. Therefore, in the present study, we constructed a recombinant plasmid carrying an shRNA targeting CLDN3 (pshCLDN3), and investigated the antitumor effects of the combination therapy of pshCLDN3 and a low-dose of cisplatin for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Heparin-polyethyleneimine (HPEI) nanogel, a novel gene carrier with superior biodegradability, excellent blood compatibility and low-toxicity, was used to deliver pshCLDN3 into ovarian cancer cells. The knockdown efficiency was determined by western blot analysis and CLDN3 immunostaining. Nude mice bearing intraperitoneal ovarian carcinomas were treated with pshCLDN3/HPEI complexes, low-dose cisplatin, pshCLDN3/HPEI plus low-dose cisplatin or control agents, respectively. The results showed that pshCLDN3/HPEI effectively suppressed the expression of CLDN3 in ovarian cancer. The combination therapy of pshCLDN3/HPEI and low-dose cisplatin exhibited enhanced antitumor activity, when compared with either agent alone, as evidenced by mean tumor weight analysis, Ki-67 immunostaining analysis and TUNEL assay, without obvious systemic toxicity. These results indicate that pshCLDN3/HPEI combined with low-dose cisplatin demonstrates apparent synergistic antitumor activity without marked toxicity. Our study offers a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Christgen M, Geffers R, Kreipe H, Lehmann U
IPH-926 lobular breast cancer cells are triple-negative but their microarray profile uncovers a luminal subtype.
Cancer Sci. 2013; 104(12):1726-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human primary breast cancers and breast cancer cell lines are classified by microarray-defined molecular subtypes, which reflect differentiation characteristics. Estrogen receptor (ER) expression is indicative of the luminal molecular subtype. We have previously established IPH-926, the first well-characterized cell line from infiltrating lobular breast cancer. IPH-926 displays an ER/PR/ErbB2 triple-negative immunophenotype, which is due to a loss of ER expression in its in vivo clonal ancestry. Loss of ER might indicate a fundamental change of cellular differentiation and it is unclear whether a luminal subtype is preserved beyond ER conversion. Using Affymetrix microarray analysis, seven different classifier gene lists (PAM305, DISC256, TN1288, PAM50, UNC1300, LAB704, INT500) and a background population of 50 common mammary carcinoma cell lines, we have now determined the molecular subtype of IPH-926. Strikingly, the IPH-926 expression profile is highly consistent with a luminal subtype. It is nearest to luminal/ER-positive breast cancer cell lines and far apart from basal breast cancer cell lines. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR confirmed enhanced expression of luminal marker genes (AGR2, CLU, CA12, EMP2, CLDN3) and low or absent expression of basal marker genes (KRT5, CD44, CAV1, VIM). Moreover, IPH-926 lacked androgen receptor (AR) expression, a transcription factor previously associated with luminal-like gene expression in a subset of triple-negative or molecular apocrine breast cancers. In conclusion, IPH-926 is triple-negative but belongs to the luminal subtype. Luminal differentiation characteristics can be preserved beyond ER conversion and might not require a compensatory expression of AR.

He ZY, Wei XW, Luo M, et al.
Folate-linked lipoplexes for short hairpin RNA targeting claudin-3 delivery in ovarian cancer xenografts.
J Control Release. 2013; 172(3):679-89 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ovarian cancers highly overexpress folate receptor α (FRα) and claudin3 (CLDN3), both of which are associated with tumor progression and poor prognosis of patients. Downregulation of FRα and CLDN3 in ovarian cancer may suppress tumor growth and promote benign differentiation of tumor. In this study, F-P-LP/CLDN3, a FRα targeted liposome loading with short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting CLDN3 was prepared and the pharmaceutical properties were characterized. Then, the antitumor effect of F-P-LP/CLDN3 was studied in an in vivo model of advanced ovarian cancer. Compared with Control, F-P-LP/CLDN3 promoted benign differentiation of tumor and achieved about 90% tumor growth inhibition. In the meantime, malignant ascites production was completely inhibited, and tumor nodule number and tumor weight were significantly reduced (p<0.001). FRα and CLDN3 were downregulated together in tumor tissues treated by F-P-LP/CLDN3. The antitumor mechanisms were achieved by promoting tumor cell apoptosis, inhibiting tumor cell proliferation and reducing microvessel density. Finally, safety evaluation indicated that F-P-LP/CLDN3 was a safe formulation in intraperitoneally administered cancer therapy. We come to a conclusion that F-P-LP/CLDN3 is a potential targeting formulation for ovarian cancer gene therapy.

Siar CH, Abbas SA
Claudin expression and tight junction protein localization in the lining epithelium of the keratocystic odontogenic tumors, dentigerous cysts, and radicular cysts.
Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2013; 115(5):652-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression and localization of tight junction proteins (TJPs) or claudins in the keratocystic odontogenic tumor (KCOT) and to correlate with its biological behavior.
STUDY DESIGN: Five claudins (-1, -3, -4, -5, and 7) were examined immunohistochemically in 25 KCOTs and compared with 10 dentigerous cysts (DCs) and 10 radicular cysts (RCs).
RESULTS: Marked claudin-3 loss of expression in KCOT basal layer (n=24/25; 96%) compared with DCs (n=1/10; 10%) and RCs (n=5/10; 50%) (P<.05) suggests that claudin-3 downregulation may indicate altered or loss of basal cell polarity and impaired barrier function of KCOT lining epithelium and this might contribute indirectly to its biological behavior. In contrast, claudins-1, -4, -5, and -7 distribution patterns were less distinctive in all three entities, suggesting that these TJP molecules probably play limited roles in influencing their different growth potentials.
CONCLUSION: Present findings suggest that differential claudin expressions in the lining epithelium of KCOTs, DCs, and RCs probably reflect their neoplastic or nonneoplastic nature.

Nordfors K, Haapasalo J, Sallinen PK, et al.
Expression of claudins relates to tumour aggressivity, location and recurrence in ependymomas.
Histol Histopathol. 2013; 28(9):1137-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of our study was to assess the nature and importance of claudin expression in grade I-III ependymomas. The expression of claudins 2-5, 7, 10, TWIST, and ZEB1 were investigated in a series of 61 ependymomas using immunohistochemistry. All the claudins were expressed in ependymomas, except for CLDN4. CLDN5 positive tumours were associated with higher grade (p=0.049), whereas CLDN10 was lower in higher grade tumours (p=0.039). CLDN5 and CLDN3 were overexpressed in ependymomas of cerebral location (p=0.036, p=0.007, respectively). CLDN5 positive tumours showed more nuclear atypia, endothelial proliferation, mitosis, and hypercellularity (p=0.007, p=0.018, p=0.041, p=0.010, respectively). CLDN5 positivity correlated to higher proliferation (p=0.015). CLDN7 was more often positive in primary tumours (p=0.041). Positive ZEB1 expression was associated with CLDN2 negativity (p=0.031). TWIST-negative tumours were more often also CLDN5 and 10 negative (p=0.013, p=0.017, respectively). CLDN5 was related to more aggressive tumours compared to CLDN2 and 10, which tended to display a better degree of differentiation and a better prognosis. CLDN2 and CLDN5 were expressed commonly in ependymomas, while the parental ependymal cells in the central nervous system were usually negative. Evidently, claudins influence growth and differentiation in ependymomas.

Shang X, Lin X, Alvarez E, et al.
Tight junction proteins claudin-3 and claudin-4 control tumor growth and metastases.
Neoplasia. 2012; 14(10):974-85 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The extent of tight junction (TJ) formation is one of many factors that regulate motility, invasion, and metastasis. Claudins are required for the formation and maintenance of TJs. Claudin-3 (CLDN3) and claudin-4 (CLDN4) are highly expressed in the majority of ovarian cancers. We report here that CLDN3 and CLDN4 each serve to constrain the growth of human 2008 cancer xenografts and limit metastatic potential. Knockdown of CLDN3 increased in vivo growth rate by 2.3-fold and knockdown of CLDN4 by 3.7-fold in the absence of significant change in in vitro growth rate. Both types of tumors exhibited increase in birth rate as measured by Ki67 staining and decrease in death rate as reflected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. Knockdown of either claudin did not alter expression of other TJ protein but did reduce TJ formation as measured by transepithelial resistance and paracellular flux of dextran, enhance migration and invasion in in vitro assays, and increase lung colonization following intravenous injection. Knockdown of CLDN3 and CLDN4 increased total lung metastatic burden by 1.7-fold and 2.4-fold, respectively. Loss of either CLDN3 or CLDN4 resulted in down-regulation of E-cadherin mRNA and protein, increased inhibitory phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), and activation of β-catenin pathway signaling as evidenced by increases in nuclear β-catenin, the dephosphorylated form of the protein, and transcriptional activity of β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF). We conclude that both CLDN3 and CLDN4 mediate interactions with other cells in vivo that restrain growth and metastatic potential by sustaining expression of E-cadherin and limiting β-catenin signaling.

Shang X, Lin X, Manorek G, Howell SB
Claudin-3 and claudin-4 regulate sensitivity to cisplatin by controlling expression of the copper and cisplatin influx transporter CTR1.
Mol Pharmacol. 2013; 83(1):85-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Claudin-3 (CLDN3) and claudin-4 (CLDN4) are the major structural molecules that form tight junctions (TJs) between epithelial cells. We found that knockdown of the expression of either CLDN3 or CLDN4 produced marked changes in the phenotype of ovarian cancer cells, including an increase in resistance to cisplatin (cDDP). The effect of CLND3 and CLDN4 on cDDP cytotoxicity, cDDP cellular accumulation, and DNA adduct formation was compared in the CLDN3- and CLDN4-expressing parental human ovarian carcinoma 2008 cells and CLDN3 and CLDN4 knockdown sublines (CLDN3KD and CLDN4KD, respectively). Knockdown of CLDN3 or CLDN4 rendered human ovarian carcinoma 2008 cells resistant to cDDP in both in vitro culture and in vivo xenograft model. The net accumulation of platinum (Pt) and the Pt-DNA adduct levels were reduced in CLDN3KD and CLDN4KD cells. The endogenous mRNA levels of copper influx transporter CTR1 were found to be significantly reduced in the knockdown cells, and exogenous expression of CTR1 restored their sensitivity to cDDP. Reexpression of an shRNAi-resistant CLDN3 or CLDN4 up-regulated CTR1 levels, reversed the cDDP resistance, and enhanced TJ formation in the knockdown cells. Baseline copper (Cu) level, Cu uptake, and Cu cytotoxicity were also reduced in CLDN3KD and CLDN4KD cells. Cu-dependent tyrosinase activity was also markedly reduced in both types of CLDN knockdown cells when incubated with the substrate l-DOPA. These results indicate that CLDN3 and CLDN4 affect sensitivity of the ovarian cancer cells to the cytotoxic effect of cDDP by regulating expression of the Cu transporter CTR1.

Hung SW, Chiu CF, Chen TA, et al.
Recombinant viral protein VP1 suppresses HER-2 expression and migration/metastasis of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012; 136(1):89-105 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide and metastasis is the major cause of breast cancer death. Development of new therapeutic agents for inhibiting breast cancer metastasis is therefore an urgent need. We previously demonstrated that recombinant DNA-derived viral capsid protein VP1 (rVP1) of foot-and-mouth disease virus-induced apoptosis of MCF-7 breast cancer cells in vitro. Here, we investigated whether rVP1 exhibits any inhibitory effects on migration/metastasis and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), a well-known biomarker for poor prognosis of breast cancer. The effects of rVP1 on cancer cell migration/invasion and metastasis were evaluated using Transwell migration assay and animal cancer models of metastasis. Western blotting, RT-PCR, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence staining techniques were used to investigate the effects of rVP1 on HER-2 and signal transduction mediators. Non-cytotoxic concentrations of rVP1-induced mesenchymal-epithelial transition and significantly suppressed AP-2α and HER-2 expression as well as the migration and invasion of a variety of breast cancer cell lines in a β1-integrin-dependent manner in vitro. Gross and histopathologic examinations showed that rVP1 also suppressed metastasis of several breast cancer cell lines, including HER-2-overexpressing SK-BR-3 and BT-474 cells to lung, liver, or peripheral lymph node in orthotopic allograft/xenograft murine models. In addition, rVP1 significantly prolonged survival in breast cancer-bearing mice. Notably, no apparent side effects of rVP1 were detected, as shown by normal complete blood count levels and serum biochemistry profiles, including AST, ALT, BUN, and creatine. This study demonstrates that rVP1 suppresses the migration, invasion, and metastasis of breast cancer cells via binding to β1 integrin receptor and down-regulation of AP-2α and HER-2 expression. The effectiveness of rVP1 on inhibiting migration/metastasis of breast cancer and HER-2 expression suggests that it may be suitable for serving as potential therapeutics for metastatic breast cancer particularly HER-2-overexpressing cancer.

Ricardo S, Gerhard R, Cameselle-Teijeiro JF, et al.
Claudin expression in breast cancer: high or low, what to expect?
Histol Histopathol. 2012; 27(10):1283-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
The evaluation of claudins (CLDNs) expression pattern in tumours can be important to understand breast carcinogenesis. The study of CLDNs became more appealing since it was found that CLDN3 and CLDN4 are putative therapeutic targets for Clostridium perfrigens enterotoxin (CPE), as well as for monoclonal antibody-based therapy. Moreover, the recently characterized CLDN-low molecular subgroup of breast tumours increased the interest in these molecules. Based on these facts, our aim was to explore the pattern of expression of CLDNs among a large series of invasive breast carcinomas. We also analysed the correlation between the combinatorial expression of CLDN3/CLDN4 and classical prognostic factors and biological markers. In addition, we also compared the characteristics of tumours with low expression of CLDN3, CLDN4 and CLDN7, assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), and the ones from CLDN-low subgroup of tumours previously defined by genomic assays. The combinatorial analysis of the expression of CLDN3/CLDN4 showed a significant association between high CLDN3/CLDN4 levels and triple-negative tumours, as well as with worse patient outcome. This combined analysis may provide useful information for breast carcinomas, since these two CLDN members are putative therapeutic targets. Comparing tumours with low expression of CLDN3, CLDN4 and CLDN7 with tumours previously referred to as CLDN-low by genomic assays, we demonstrated that the single IHC evaluation of these three specific CLDNs is insufficient to identify the CLDN-low molecular subtype of breast tumours. The analysis of several other molecular markers, such as EMT (epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition) and CSC (cancer stem cell) markers should probably be added to improve the identification of this subgroup of tumours by IHC, which probably are enriched in carcinomas with metaplastic differentiation.

Park HS, Kim GY, Choi IW, et al.
Inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase activities and tightening of tight junctions by diallyl disulfide in AGS human gastric carcinoma cells.
J Food Sci. 2011; 76(4):T105-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
The effect of diallyl disulfide (DADS), a major component of an oil-soluble allyl sulfide garlic (Allium sativum) derivative, on the correlation between anti-invasive activity and tightening of tight junctions (TJs) was investigated in human gastric adenocarcinoma AGS cells. Our data indicated that the inhibitory effects of DADS on cell motility and invasiveness were found to be associated with increased tightness of the TJs, which was demonstrated by an increase in transepithelial electrical resistance. Activities of matrix metalloprotease (MMP)-2 and -9 in AGS cells were dose-dependently inhibited by treatment with DADS, and this was also correlated with a decrease in expression of their mRNA and proteins; however, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 and -2 mRNA levels and proteins were increased. Additionally, immunoblotting results indicated that DADS repressed the levels of claudin proteins (claudin-2, -3, and -4), major components of TJs that play key roles in control and selectivity of paracellular transport. Although further studies are needed, these results suggest that DADS treatment may inhibit tumor cell motility and invasion and, therefore, act as a dietary source to decrease the risk of cancer metastasis.

Okugawa T, Oshima T, Chen X, et al.
Down-regulation of claudin-3 is associated with proliferative potential in early gastric cancers.
Dig Dis Sci. 2012; 57(6):1562-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Claudins are tight junction (TJ) proteins, and the relationship between the level of expression and localization of TJ protein, and tumor aggressiveness in early gastric cancer (GC) is still far from clear.
AIMS: To investigate the expression of claudins and Ki-67 in early GC cells and surrounding normal gastric mucosa.
METHODS: A total of 53 early GC lesions removed via endoscopic mucosal resection or endoscopic submucosal resection were evaluated. All of the GCs were characterized as well to moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma. The labeling index (LI) of Ki-67 was calculated for each sample. To assess the prevalence of epithelial TJs, immunofluorescent staining for claudin-3, claudin-4, and claudin-7 was performed. The immunoreactivity was graded according to the percentage of stained cells.
RESULTS: Claudin-3, claudin-4, and claudin-7 expression at TJs in GC and intestinal metaplasia were significantly higher than that in gastric mucosa with no intestinal metaplasia. The Ki-67 LI of GC specimens was inversely correlated with claudin-3 expression, but not with claudin-4 or claudin-7 expression. Claudin-3 expression was significantly lower at the submucosal invasive front of GCs.
CONCLUSIONS: The down-regulation of claudin-3 was associated with the proliferative potential of GC cells, indicating that claudins may have a pivotal role in the progression of GC.

Riski M, Santala M, Soini Y, Talvensaari-Mattila A
Claudins 1, 3M, 3S, 4, 5 and 7 in vulvar neoplasms compared with vulvar squamous cell carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2012; 33(2):537-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression of claudins 1, 3M (membrane-bound), 3S (cytoplasmic), 4, 5 and 7 in vulvar epithelial neoplasia (VIN I-III) and to compare those with invasive vulvar squamous cell carcinoma. Paraffin tissue sections from 73 vulvar neoplasms (12 VIN I, 12 VIN II-III and 49 vulvar carcinomas) were studied by immunohistochemistry for the expression of claudins 1, 3M, 3S, 4, 5 and 7. Claudin 1 stained strongly in all groups, whereas claudin 3M, 3S and 4 immunostaining were moderate in all groups. Claudin 7 stained strongly in all groups. Claudin 3M expression was higher in VIN I compared to carcinoma, while no difference was found between VIN I and VIN II-III or between VIN II-III and carcinoma. Claudin 1 and claudin 3S expressions also showed the same decreasing tendency from VIN towards vulvar carcinoma. Claudin 5 showed only weak staining in VIN I and VIN II-III, and positive expression was also low in the carcinoma group. Expressions of claudins 1, 3M, 3S, 4 and 7 were found in VIN and vulvar carcinoma. Changes in claudin 1 and claudin 3 expression during progression from VIN to vulvar carcinoma suggests a connection with claudin expression and differentiation of vulvar squamous cells. Claudin 5 does not seem to be important in VIN or vulvar carcinoma.

Walther W, Petkov S, Kuvardina ON, et al.
Novel Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin suicide gene therapy for selective treatment of claudin-3- and -4-overexpressing tumors.
Gene Ther. 2012; 19(5):494-503 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bacterial toxins are known to be effective for cancer therapy. Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) is produced by the bacterial Clostridium type A strain. The transmembrane proteins claudin-3 and -4, often overexpressed in numerous human epithelial tumors (for example, colon, breast, pancreas, prostate and ovarian), are the targeted receptors for CPE. CPE binding to them triggers formation of membrane pore complexes leading to rapid cell death. In this study, we aimed at selective tumor cell killing by CPE gene transfer. We generated expression vectors bearing the bacterial wild-type CPE cDNA (wtCPE) or translation-optimized CPE (optCPE) cDNA for in vitro and in vivo gene therapy of claudin-3- and -4-overexpressing tumors. The CPE expression analysis at messenger RNA and protein level revealed more efficient expression of optCPE compared with wtCPE. Expression of optCPE showed rapid cytotoxic activity, hightened by CPE release as bystander effect. Cytotoxicity of up to 100% was observed 72 h after gene transfer and is restricted to claudin-3-and -4-expressing tumor lines. MCF-7 and HCT116 cells with high claudin-4 expression showed dramatic sensitivity toward CPE toxicity. The claudin-negative melanoma line SKMel-5, however, was insensitive toward CPE gene transfer. The non-viral intratumoral in vivo gene transfer of optCPE led to reduced tumor growth in MCF-7 and HCT116 tumor-bearing mice compared with the vector-transfected control groups. This novel approach demonstrates that CPE gene transfer can be employed for a targeted suicide gene therapy of claudin-3- and -4-overexpressing tumors, leading to the rapid and efficient tumor cell killing in vitro and in vivo.

Casagrande F, Cocco E, Bellone S, et al.
Eradication of chemotherapy-resistant CD44+ human ovarian cancer stem cells in mice by intraperitoneal administration of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin.
Cancer. 2011; 117(24):5519-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence has suggested that the capability to sustain tumor formation, growth, and chemotherapy resistance in ovarian as well as other human malignancies exclusively resides in a small proportion of tumor cells termed cancer stem cells. During the characterization of CD44(+) ovarian cancer stem cells, we found a high expression of the genes encoding for claudin-4. Because this tight junction protein is the natural high-affinity receptor for Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE), we have extensively investigated the sensitivity of ovarian cancer stem cells to CPE treatment in vitro and in vivo.
METHODS: Real-time polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry were used to evaluate claudin-3/-4 expression in ovarian cancer stem cells. Small interfering RNA knockdown experiments and MTS assays were used to evaluate CPE-induced cytotoxicity against ovarian cancer stem cell lines in vitro. C.B-17/SCID mice harboring ovarian cancer stem cell xenografts were used to evaluate CPE therapeutic activity in vivo.
RESULTS: CD44(+) ovarian cancer stem cells expressed claudin-4 gene at significantly higher levels than matched autologous CD44(-) ovarian cancer cells, and regardless of their higher resistance to chemotherapeutic agents died within 1 hour after exposure to 1.0 μg/mL of CPE in vitro. Conversely, small-interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of claudin-3/-4 expression in CD44(+) cancer stem cells significantly protected cancer stem cells from CPE-induced cytotoxicity. Importantly, multiple intraperitoneal administrations of sublethal doses of CPE in mice harboring xenografts of chemotherapy-resistant CD44(+) ovarian cancer stem cells had a significant inhibitory effect on tumor progression leading to the cure and/or long-term survival of all treated animals (ie, 100% reduction in tumor burden in 50% of treated mice; P < .0001).
CONCLUSIONS: CPE may represent an unconventional, potentially highly effective strategy to eradicate chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells.

Hess J, Thomas G, Braselmann H, et al.
Gain of chromosome band 7q11 in papillary thyroid carcinomas of young patients is associated with exposure to low-dose irradiation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011; 108(23):9595-600 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The main consequence of the Chernobyl accident has been an increase in papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) in those exposed to radioactive fallout as young children. Our aim was to identify genomic alterations that are associated with exposure to radiation. We used array comparative genomic hybridization to analyze a main (n = 52) and a validation cohort (n = 28) of PTC from patients aged <25 y at operation and matched for age at diagnosis and residency. Both cohorts consisted of patients exposed and not exposed to radioiodine fallout. The study showed association of a gain on chromosome 7 (7q11.22-11.23) with exposure (false discovery rate = 0.035). Thirty-nine percent of the exposed group showed the alteration; however, it was not found in a single case from the unexposed group. This was confirmed in the validation set. Because only a subgroup of cases in the exposed groups showed gain of 7q11.22-11.23, it is likely that different molecular subgroups and routes of radiation-induced carcinogenesis exist. The candidate gene CLIP2 was specifically overexpressed in the exposed cases. In addition, the expression of the genes PMS2L11, PMS2L3, and STAG3L3 correlated with gain of 7q11.22-11.23. An enrichment of Gene Ontology terms "DNA repair" (PMS2L3, PMS2L5), "response to DNA damage stimulus" (BAZ1B, PMS2L3, PMS2L5, RFC2), and "cell-cell adhesion" (CLDN3, CLDN4) was found. This study, using matched exposed and unexposed cohorts, provides insights into the radiation-related carcinogenesis of young-onset PTC and, with the exposure-specific gain of 7q11 and overexpression of the CLIP2 gene, radiation-specific molecular markers.

Sun C, Yi T, Song X, et al.
Efficient inhibition of ovarian cancer by short hairpin RNA targeting claudin-3.
Oncol Rep. 2011; 26(1):193-200 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal gynecologic neoplasms. Even though various new chemotherapeutics have been developed for the treatment of ovarian cancer, drug resistance and undesired serious side effects remain unavoidable obstacles for chemotherapeutic approaches. New strategies to overcome the therapeutic dilemma are needed. Claudin-3 (CLDN3) is a recently discovered gene generally overexpressed in human ovarian cancers but not in normal ovarian tissue. Its high expression has been identified to associate with the invasion, proliferation and survival of cancer cells, making it a promising target for gene therapy of ovarian cancer. However, in gene therapy, traditional gene carriers such as virus or cationic liposomes suffer from distressing shortcomings of potential carcinogenicity, obvious cytotoxicity and immunogenicity. Nanoparticles (NPs) based on PLGA are a novel gene delivery system with good biodegradability, excellent biocompatibility and low toxcity for in vivo gene delivery compared with traditional gene carriers. We constructed a plasmid expressing shRNA targeted CLDN3 (pshCLDN3) encapsulated with PLGA-NPs, and administered it by i.p. injection to nude mice bearing intraperitoneal SKOV3 ovarian cancer, to investigate the antitumor potential of knocking down CLDN3. After 12 times of administration, the tumors of each group were compared. The underlying antitumor mechanisms were revealed by immunostaining of CD31, Ki-67 and TUNEL assay, to exhibit possible alterations in microvessel density, cell proliferation and cell apoptosis. Our study demonstrated that i.p. administration of pshCLDN3 effectively suppressed the expression of CLDN3 and, thus, inhibited the growth of ovarian tumors, significantly reducing tumor weight by 67.4% compared with blank controls (p<0.05). Immunostaining of CD31, Ki-67 and TUNEL assay demonstrated decreased angiogenesis (p<0.05), reduced proliferation (p<0.05) and increased apoptosis (p<0.05) in the pshCLDN3 treated group compared with controls. No obvious toxicity of PLGA-NPs was observed either in vitro or in vivo. Our results indicated that knockdown of CLDN3 by pshCLDN3 encapsulated in PLGA NPs may provide a promising approach for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Tang W, Dou T, Zhong M, Wu Z
Dysregulation of Claudin family genes in colorectal cancer in a Chinese population.
Biofactors. 2011 Jan-Feb; 37(1):65-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Claudins play an important role in tumor metastasis and in invasiveness of colorectal cancer (CRC). We have evaluated the relationship between CRC and expression of the claudin genes in Chinese patients with CRC. We measured CLDN1 and CLDN7 mRNA using quantitative PCR, and protein levels with immunohistochemistry in cancer tissues and adjacent normal tissue. Cancer tissues had significantly higher levels of CLDN1, and significantly lower levels of CLDN3, CLDN4, and CLDN7 than did normal tissue. CLDN3, CLDN4, and CLDN7 expression levels were higher in CRC of the protruded type than in CRC of the infiltrative type. Expression of CLDN7 correlated with lymph node metastasis. Stage N0 cancer tissues had higher levels of CLDN7 than did stages N1 and N2, suggesting that CLDN7 expression was closely related to the extent of lymph node metastasis. CLDN1 protein was upregulated, but CLDN7 protein was downregulated in cancer tissues when compared with expression in adjacent normal tissues. In conclusion, CLDN3, CLDN4, and CLDN7 were significantly downregulated, whereas CLDN1 was significantly upregulated in CRC. The altered expression of claudin genes may play a role in the initiation and development of CRC.

Han CL, Chen JS, Chan EC, et al.
An informatics-assisted label-free approach for personalized tissue membrane proteomics: case study on colorectal cancer.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2011; 10(4):M110.003087 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We developed a multiplexed label-free quantification strategy, which integrates an efficient gel-assisted digestion protocol, high-performance liquid chromatography tandem MS analysis, and a bioinformatics alignment method to determine personalized proteomic profiles for membrane proteins in human tissues. This strategy provided accurate (6% error) and reproducible (34% relative S.D.) quantification of three independently purified membrane fractions from the same human colorectal cancer (CRC) tissue. Using CRC as a model, we constructed the personalized membrane protein atlas of paired tumor and adjacent normal tissues from 28 patients with different stages of CRC. Without fractionation, this strategy confidently quantified 856 proteins (≥2 unique peptides) across different patients, including the first and robust detection (Mascot score: 22,074) of the well-documented CRC marker, carcinoembryonic antigen 5 by a discovery-type proteomics approach. Further validation of a panel of proteins, annexin A4, neutrophils defensin A1, and claudin 3, confirmed differential expression levels and high occurrences (48-70%) in 60 CRC patients. The most significant discovery is the overexpression of stomatin-like 2 (STOML2) for early diagnostic and prognostic potential. Increased expression of STOML2 was associated with decreased CRC-related survival; the mean survival period was 34.77 ± 2.03 months in patients with high STOML2 expression, whereas 53.67 ± 3.46 months was obtained for patients with low STOML2 expression. Further analysis by ELISA verified that plasma concentrations of STOML2 in early-stage CRC patients were elevated as compared with those of healthy individuals (p < 0.001), suggesting that STOML2 may be a noninvasive serological biomarker for early CRC diagnosis. The overall sensitivity of STOML2 for CRC detection was 71%, which increased to 87% when combined with CEA measurements. This study demonstrated a sensitive, label-free strategy for differential analysis of tissue membrane proteome, which may provide a roadmap for the subsequent identification of molecular target candidates of multiple cancer types.

Cocco E, Casagrande F, Bellone S, et al.
Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin carboxy-terminal fragment is a novel tumor-homing peptide for human ovarian cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2010; 10:349 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Development of innovative, effective therapies against recurrent/chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer remains a high priority. Using high-throughput technologies to analyze genetic fingerprints of ovarian cancer, we have discovered extremely high expression of the genes encoding the proteins claudin-3 and claudin-4.
METHODS: Because claudin-3 and -4 are the epithelial receptors for Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE), and are sufficient to mediate CPE binding, in this study we evaluated the in vitro and in vivo bioactivity of the carboxy-terminal fragment of CPE (i.e., CPE290-319 binding peptide) as a carrier for tumor imaging agents and intracellular delivery of therapeutic drugs. Claudin-3 and -4 expression was examined with rt-PCR and flow cytometry in multiple primary ovarian carcinoma cell lines. Cell binding assays were used to assess the accuracy and specificity of the CPE peptide in vitro against primary chemotherapy-resistant ovarian carcinoma cell lines. Confocal microscopy and biodistribution assays were performed to evaluate the localization and uptake of the FITC-conjugated CPE peptide in established tumor tissue.
RESULTS: Using a FITC-conjugated CPE peptide we show specific in vitro and in vivo binding to multiple primary chemotherapy resistant ovarian cancer cell lines. Bio-distribution studies in SCID mice harboring clinically relevant animal models of chemotherapy resistant ovarian carcinoma showed higher uptake of the peptide in tumor cells than in normal organs. Imunofluorescence was detectable within discrete accumulations (i.e., tumor spheroids) or even single chemotherapy resistant ovarian cancer cells floating in the ascites of xenografted animals while a time-dependent internalization of the FITC-conjugated CPE peptide was consistently noted in chemotherapy-resistant ovarian tumor cells by confocal microscopy.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on the high levels of claudin-3 and -4 expression in chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer and other highly aggressive human epithelial tumors including breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers, CPE peptide holds promise as a lead peptide for the development of new diagnostic tracers or alternative anticancer agents.

Jung H, Jun KH, Jung JH, et al.
The expression of claudin-1, claudin-2, claudin-3, and claudin-4 in gastric cancer tissue.
J Surg Res. 2011; 167(2):e185-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The claudins (CLDNs) are a family of functional tight junction proteins, and are involved with the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The claudin proteins have a significant influence on the biological behavior of tumor progression in several types of cancers. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the expression pattern of claudin-1, claudin-2, claudin-3, and claudin-4 in gastric cancer tissue.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Tissue was obtained from surgically resected specimens of 72 patients who were diagnosed with gastric adenocarcinoma at a single institution. The expressions of claudin-1, claudin-2, claudin-3, and claudin-4 were determined by immunohistochemical staining with the ABC method.
RESULTS: Claudin-2 demonstrated the highest expression rate (73.6%) and claudin-4 demonstrated the lowest expression rate (44.4%). The expression of claudin-1 was significantly lower in cases of intestinal type adenocarcinoma based on the Lauren classification. The expressions of claudin-3 and claudin-4 were significantly lower in cases with positive lymphatic invasion. The expression of claudin-3 was significantly lower in cases with an advanced T-stage (T3 and T4). The expression of claudin-3 showed significantly positive correlations with the expression of the other claudin proteins. In survival analysis, the expression of claudin-4 was related to good overall survival rate with significance (P = 0.046).
CONCLUSION: We suggest that claudin-3 and claudin-4 represent useful molecular markers for gastric cancer. Claudin-3 and claudin-4 would be the most important proteins related to the lymphatic invasion process, and claudin-4 would be useful with prognostic marker based on our results. Further investigations with a greater number of subjects are required to identify the action mechanism of claudin in gastric cancer.

Kwon MJ, Kim SS, Choi YL, et al.
Derepression of CLDN3 and CLDN4 during ovarian tumorigenesis is associated with loss of repressive histone modifications.
Carcinogenesis. 2010; 31(6):974-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Unlike epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes, the role of epigenetic derepression of cancer-promoting genes or oncogenes in carcinogenesis remains less well understood. The tight junction proteins claudin-3 and claudin-4 are frequently overexpressed in ovarian cancer and their overexpression was previously reported to promote the migration and invasion of ovarian epithelial cells. Here, we show that the expression of claudin-3 and claudin-4 is repressed in ovarian epithelial cells in association with promoter 'bivalent' histone modifications, containing both the activating trimethylated histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) mark and the repressive mark of trimethylated histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3). During ovarian tumorigenesis, derepression of CLDN3 and CLDN4 expression correlates with loss of H3K27me3 in addition to trimethylated histone H4 lysine 20 (H4K20me3), another repressive histone modification. Although CLDN4 repression was accompanied by both DNA hypermethylation and repressive histone modifications, DNA methylation was not required for CLDN3 repression in immortalized ovarian epithelial cells. Moreover, activation of both CLDN3 and CLDN4 in ovarian cancer cells was associated with simultaneous changes in multiple histone modifications, whereas H3K27me3 loss alone was insufficient for their derepression. CLDN4 repression was robustly reversed by combined treatment targeting both DNA demethylation and histone acetylation. Our study strongly suggests that in addition to the well-known chromatin-associated silencing of tumor suppressor genes, epigenetic derepression by the conversely related loss of repressive chromatin modifications also contributes to ovarian tumorigenesis via activation of cancer-promoting genes or candidate oncogenes.

Kim SO, Choi BT, Choi IW, et al.
Anti-invasive activity of histone deacetylase inhibitors via the induction of Egr-1 and the modulation of tight junction-related proteins in human hepatocarcinoma cells.
BMB Rep. 2009; 42(10):655-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
The potential anti-metastasis and anti-invasion activities of early growth response gene-1 (Egr-1) and claudin-3, a tight junction (TJ)-related protein, were evaluated using histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors in human hepatocarcinoma cells. The results of wound healing and Transwell assays showed that HDAC inhibitors such as trichostatin A and sodium butyrate inhibited cell migration and invasion. HDAC inhibitors markedly induced Egr-1 expression during the early period, after which expression levels decreased. In addition, the down-regulation of snail and type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) in HDAC inhibitor-treated cells induced the upregulation of thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), E-cadherin and claudin-3. Cells transfected with Egr-1 and claudin-3 siRNA displayed significant blockage of HDAC inhibitor-induced anti-invasive activity. Collectively, these findings indicate that the up-regulation of Egr-1 and claudin-3 are crucial steps in HDAC inhibitor-induced anti-metastasis and anti-invasion.

Yuan X, Lin X, Manorek G, et al.
Recombinant CPE fused to tumor necrosis factor targets human ovarian cancer cells expressing the claudin-3 and claudin-4 receptors.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2009; 8(7):1906-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Using gene expression profiling, others and we have recently found that claudin-3 (CLDN3) and claudin-4 (CLDN4) are two of the most highly and consistently up-regulated genes in ovarian carcinomas. Because these tight junction proteins are the naturally occurring receptors for Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE), in this study, we used the COOH-terminal 30 amino acids of the CPE (CPE(290-319)), a fragment that is known to retain full binding affinity but have no cytolytic effect, to target tumor necrosis factor (TNF) to ovarian cancers. We constructed a pET32-based vector that expressed the fusion protein, designated here as CPE(290-319)-TNF, in which CPE(290-319) was fused to TNF at its NH(2)-terminal end. Western blotting confirmed presence of both CPE(290-319) and TNF in the fusion protein. The TNF component in CPE(290-319)-TNF was 5-fold less potent than free TNF as determined by a standard L-929 TNF bioassay. However, the CPE(290-319)-TNF was >6.7-fold more cytotoxic than free TNF to 2008 human ovarian cancer cells, which express both CLDN3 and CLDN4 receptors. shRNAi-mediated knockdown of either CLDN3 or CLDN4 expression in 2008 markedly attenuated the cytotoxic effects of CPE(290-319)-TNF. The fusion construct was efficiently delivered into target cells and located in both cytosol and vesicular compartments as assessed by immunofluorescent staining. We conclude that CPE(290-319) effectively targeted TNF to ovarian cancer cells and is an attractive targeting moiety for development of CPE-based toxins for therapy of ovarian carcinomas that overexpress CLDN3 and CLDN4.

Romani C, Comper F, Bandiera E, et al.
Development and characterization of a human single-chain antibody fragment against claudin-3: a novel therapeutic target in ovarian and uterine carcinomas.
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009; 201(1):70.e1-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to develop and characterize a human antibody in a single-chain antibody fragment format (scFv) that is directed specifically against claudin-3 (CLDN3).
STUDY DESIGN: The synthetic ETH-2 Gold human antibody phage display library was used to select scFv specific against CLDN3. scFv binding properties were analyzed by surface plasmon resonance; specificity was confirmed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunofluorescence, and flow cytometry on a panel of ovarian and uterine serous carcinoma cell lines.
RESULTS: Surface plasmon resonance studies indicated scFv H6 to be the clone with the highest affinity against CLDN3 (K(D) of 23.60 nmol/L). scFv H6 efficiently stained CLDN3-expressing cells and recognized its epitope in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that was performed with uterine serous papillary carcinoma native protein extract, which suggested that a conformational epitope is recognized by this antibody. Cell surface immunofluorescence with laser scanning confocal microscopy confirmed the specific binding to the native membrane CLDN3.
CONCLUSION: scFv H6 may represent a novel antitumor agent against chemotherapy-resistant ovarian and serous papillary carcinomas and other human malignancies that overexpress CLDN3.

Shinozaki A, Ushiku T, Morikawa T, et al.
Epstein-Barr virus-associated gastric carcinoma: a distinct carcinoma of gastric phenotype by claudin expression profiling.
J Histochem Cytochem. 2009; 57(8):775-85 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated gastric carcinoma (GC) is a distinct subtype with characteristic clinicopathological features. To better characterize its cellular characteristics, 43 cases of EBV-associated GC, 68 cases of EBV-negative GC, and non-neoplastic gastric mucosa in adults and fetuses were examined immunohistochemically. We quantified the expression of the major tight-junction protein claudin (CLDN) -1, -3, -4, -7, and -18 together with gastric mucins (MUC5AC and MUC6), intestinal mucin (MUC2), and CD10. EBV-associated GC showed a high frequency of CLDN18 expression (84%) and a low frequency of CLDN3 expression (5%). This expression profile corresponded to that of normal gastric epithelium in adults and fetuses. Almost half of the EBV-associated GC cases demonstrated gastric mucin expression, whereas the other half lacked mucin or CD10 expression. In contrast, as demonstrated by the expression profiles of CLDN3 and CLDN18, EBV-negative GC comprised a heterogeneous group of four different CLDN phenotypes: gastric, intestinal, mixed, and an undifferentiated type with variable expression patterns of mucins. These results indicate that EBV-associated GC is considerably homogenous with regard to cellular differentiation and that it preserves well the nature of the cells of origin. EBV-associated GC may undergo distinct carcinogenic processes, which differ from those of EBV-negative GC.

Jung JH, Jung CK, Choi HJ, et al.
Diagnostic utility of expression of claudins in non-small cell lung cancer: different expression profiles in squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas.
Pathol Res Pract. 2009; 205(6):409-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
The claudins, members of a large family of adherent junction proteins, regulate the integrity and function of tight junctions. At present, at least 23 different claudins are known to exist in humans, and claudin gene expression is frequently altered in several human cancers. However, few studies have examined the expression of claudins in lung cancer. This study examined the expression of claudin-1, claudin-3, claudin-4, and claudin-5 proteins using immunohistochemical analysis in 14 normal lung tissue samples and 171 NSCLC samples. All of the claudin proteins examined were expressed in normal bronchial epithelial cells. In the normal peripheral parenchyma, only claudin-5 strongly stained most of the pneumocytes. Claudin-1 expression was stronger in squamous cell carcinomas than in adenocarcinomas, whereas claudin-4 and claudin-5 expression was stronger in adenocarcinomas. Clinically, expression of claudin proteins was not found to be associated with patient survival. These data suggest that the disruption of tight junction protein might be involved in the development of these tumors. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the different expression patterns of claudins in NSCLC suggests that claudin-4, in addition to 1 and 5, might be a useful differential diagnostic marker in Korean people.

Huang YH, Bao Y, Peng W, et al.
Claudin-3 gene silencing with siRNA suppresses ovarian tumor growth and metastasis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009; 106(9):3426-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Claudin-3 (CLDN3) is a tight junction protein that is overexpressed in 90% of ovarian tumors. Previous in vitro studies have indicated that CLDN3 overexpression promotes the migration, invasion, and survival of ovarian cancer cells. Here, we investigated the efficacy of lipidoid-formulated CLDN3 siRNA in 3 different ovarian cancer models. Intratumoral injection of lipidoid/CLDN3 siRNA into OVCAR-3 xenografts resulted in dramatic silencing of CLDN3, significant reduction in cell proliferation, reduction in tumor growth, and a significant increase in the number of apoptotic cells. Intraperitoneal injection of lipidoid-formulated CLDN3 siRNA resulted in a substantial reduction in tumor burden in MISIIR/TAg transgenic mice and mice bearing tumors derived from mouse ovarian surface epithelial cells. Ascites development was reduced in CLDN3 siRNA-treated mice, suggesting the treatment effectively suppressed metastasis. Toxicity was not observed after multiple i.p. injections. Importantly, treatment of mice with nonimmunostimulatory 2'-OMe modified CLDN3 siRNA was as effective in suppressing tumor growth as unmodifed siRNA. These results suggest that lipidoid-formulated CLDN3 siRNA has potential as a therapeutic for ovarian cancer.

Adams L, Roth MJ, Abnet CC, et al.
Promoter methylation in cytology specimens as an early detection marker for esophageal squamous dysplasia and early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2008; 1(5):357-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The incidence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is very high in northern China. This cancer has a very poor prognosis, mostly because it is usually diagnosed at a late stage. Detection at an earlier stage can dramatically improve prognosis. Microscopic evaluation of esophageal balloon cytology (EBC) specimens has been the most common method for early detection of ESCC, but this technique is limited by low sensitivity and specificity. The use of molecular markers may improve these screening characteristics. This study evaluates whether measurement of gene methylation in EBC specimens may have utility for the detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC. We evaluated the presence of methylation in eight genes shown to be methylated in ESCC in previous studies in EBC specimens from 147 patients with endoscopic biopsy diagnoses ranging from normal mucosa to severe squamous dysplasia. Methylation status was determined using quantitative methylation-specific PCR techniques. The sensitivity and specificity of methylation of each individual gene and of combinations of these genes to detect biopsyproven high-grade (moderate or severe) squamous dysplasia were determined. For individual genes, the sensitivities ranged from 9% to 34% and the specificities ranged from 77% to 99%. Using a panel of four genes (AHRR, p16INK4a, MT1G, and CLDN3) resulted in sensitivity and specificity of 50% and 68%, respectively. This study suggests that evaluation of gene methylation in EBC samples may have utility for early detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC; however, identification of more sensitive methylation markers will be required for development of a clinically useful screening test.

Ishida M, Kushima R, Okabe H
Claudin expression in rectal well-differentiated endocrine neoplasms (carcinoid tumors).
Oncol Rep. 2009; 21(1):113-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Claudins are the structures and functional components of tight junctions and have crucial roles in the maintenance of cell polarity, cellular arrangement, adhesion and paracellular transport. Various claudins are expressed in different epithelial cells and most tissues express multiple claudin proteins. The altered expression of claudins has been reported in various human carcinomas, but their expression in rectal well-differentiated endocrine neoplasms (carcinoid tumors), the most common endocrine tumors in the gastrointestinal tract, has yet to be examined. The expression of claudins-2, -3 and -4 in 16 rectal well-differentiated endocrine neoplasms was studied by immunohistochemical methods, and compared with their expression patterns in endocrine tumors of the pancreas and lung. According to previous reports, pancreatic endocrine tumors were positive for claudin-3 and negative for claudins-2 and -4, and a majority of lung carcinoid tumors showed no immunoreactivity to claudins-2, -3 and -4. However, our immunohistochemical study revealed that the rectal well-differentiated endocrine neoplasms showed diffuse positive immunoreactivity to claudins-2, -3 and -4. These results indicate that claudin expression depends on the site of origin of endocrine tumors. In addition, claudin-3 and -4 expression in rectal well-differentiated endocrine neoplasms suggests the possibility of a new therapeutic strategy. Claudins-3 and -4 are receptors for the cytotoxic Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin. This enterotoxin rapidly and specifically lyses cells expressing claudins-3 and -4 and has a potential application in cancer therapeutics. Accordingly, this enterotoxin may be applicable for the treatment of rectal well-differentiated endocrine neoplasms in the future in order to prevent unexpected metastatic recurrences after tumor resections, because these neoplasms have a relatively high incidence of metastases despite their small size.

Valladares-Ayerbes M, Díaz-Prado S, Reboredo M, et al.
Bioinformatics approach to mRNA markers discovery for detection of circulating tumor cells in patients with gastrointestinal cancer.
Cancer Detect Prev. 2008; 32(3):236-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Detection of tumor cells in the blood, or minimal deposits in distant organs as bone marrow, could be important to identify cancer patients at high risk of relapse or disease progression. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of tissue or tumor selective mRNA is the most powerful tool for the detection of this circulating or occult metastatic cells. Our study aims to identify novel gastrointestinal cancer-specific markers for circulating tumor cell detection.
METHOD: Phase I preclinical study was performed by means of computational tools for expression analysis. In silico data were used to identify and prioritize molecular markers highly expressed in gastrointestinal cancers but absent in hematopoietic-derived libraries. Selected genes were evaluated by means of qRT-PCR in gastrointestinal cancer and hematopoietic cell-lines, normal human bone marrows and bloods, tumor tissue, and blood from cancer patients.
RESULTS: Novel and known mRNA markers for circulating tumor cell detection in gastrointestinal cancer have been identified. Among all the genes assessed, PKP3, AGR2, S100A16, S100A6, LGALS4, and CLDN3 were selected and assays based on blood qRT-PCR were developed. Reliably qRT-PCR assays for the novel targets plakophilin 3 (PKP3) and anterior gradient-2 (AGR2) to identify blood-borne cells in cancer patients were developed.
CONCLUSIONS: Novel and known gastrointestinal-specific mRNA markers for circulating tumor cells have been identified through in silico analysis and validated in clinical material. qRT-PCR assay targeted to PKP3 and AGR2 mRNAs might be helpful to detect circulating tumor cells in patients with gastrointestinal cancer.

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