Research IndicatorsGraph generated 20 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 20 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (3)
Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
Search the Epigenomics database and view relevant gene tracks of samples.
Latest Publications: CSTB (cancer-related)
D'Costa ZC, Higgins C, Ong CW, et al.TBX2 represses CST6 resulting in uncontrolled legumain activity to sustain breast cancer proliferation: a novel cancer-selective target pathway with therapeutic opportunities.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(6):1609-20 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TBX2 is an oncogenic transcription factor known to drive breast cancer proliferation. We have identified the cysteine protease inhibitor Cystatin 6 (CST6) as a consistently repressed TBX2 target gene, co-repressed through a mechanism involving Early Growth Response 1 (EGR1). Exogenous expression of CST6 in TBX2-expressing breast cancer cells resulted in significant apoptosis whilst non-tumorigenic breast cells remained unaffected. CST6 is an important tumor suppressor in multiple tissues, acting as a dual protease inhibitor of both papain-like cathepsins and asparaginyl endopeptidases (AEPs) such as Legumain (LGMN). Mutation of the CST6 LGMN-inhibitory domain completely abrogated its ability to induce apoptosis in TBX2-expressing breast cancer cells, whilst mutation of the cathepsin-inhibitory domain or treatment with a pan-cathepsin inhibitor had no effect, suggesting that LGMN is the key oncogenic driver enzyme. LGMN activity assays confirmed the observed growth inhibitory effects were consistent with CST6 inhibition of LGMN. Knockdown of LGMN and the only other known AEP enzyme (GPI8) by siRNA confirmed that LGMN was the enzyme responsible for maintaining breast cancer proliferation. CST6 did not require secretion or glycosylation to elicit its cell killing effects, suggesting an intracellular mode of action. Finally, we show that TBX2 and CST6 displayed reciprocal expression in a cohort of primary breast cancers with increased TBX2 expression associating with increased metastases. We have also noted that tumors with altered TBX2/CST6 expression show poor overall survival. This novel TBX2-CST6-LGMN signaling pathway, therefore, represents an exciting opportunity for the development of novel therapies to target TBX2 driven breast cancers.
BACKGROUND: Disseminated cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is commonly unresponsive to standard chemotherapies, and there are as yet no predictive markers of therapy response.
METHODS: In the present study we collected fresh-frozen pretreatment lymph-node metastasis samples (n=14) from melanoma patients with differential response to dacarbazine (DTIC) or temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy, to identify proteins with an impact on treatment response. We performed quantitative protein profiling using tandem mass spectrometry and compared the proteome differences between responders (R) and non-responders (NR), matched for age, gender and histopathological type of CMM.
RESULTS: Biological pathway analyses showed several signalling pathways differing between R vs NR, including Rho signalling. Gene expression profiling data was available for a subset of the samples, and the results were compared with the proteomics data. Four proteins with differential expression between R and NR were selected for technical validation by immunoblotting (ISYNA1, F13A1, CSTB and S100A13), and CSTB and S100A13 were further validated on a larger sample set by immunohistochemistry (n=48). The calcium binding protein S100A13 was found to be significantly overexpressed in NR compared with R in all analyses performed.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that S100A13 is involved in CMM resistance to DTIC/TMZ.
Peters I, Dubrowinskaja N, Abbas M, et al.DNA methylation biomarkers predict progression-free and overall survival of metastatic renal cell cancer (mRCC) treated with antiangiogenic therapies.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e91440 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
VEGF-targeted therapy increases both the progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of patients with metastasized renal cell cancer (mRCC). Identification of molecular phenotypes of RCC could improve risk-stratification and the prediction of the clinical disease course. We investigated whether gene-specific DNA hypermethylation can predict PFS and OS among patients undergoing anti-VEGF-based therapy. Primary tumor tissues from 18 patients receiving targeted therapy were examined retrospectively using quantitative methylation-specific PCR analysis of CST6, LAD1, hsa-miR-124-3, and hsa-miR-9-1 CpG islands. PFS and OS were analyzed for first-line and sequential antiangiogenic therapies using the log rank statistics. Sensitivity and specificity were determined for predicting first-line therapy failure. Hypermethylation of CST6 and LAD1 was associated with both a shortened PFS (log rank p = 0.009 and p = 0.004) and OS (p = 0.011 and p = 0.043). The median PFS observed for the high and low methylation groups of CST6 and LAD1 was 2.0 vs.11.4 months. LAD1 methylation had a specificity of 1.0 (95% CI 0.65-1.0) and a sensitivity of 0.73 (95% CI 0.43-0.90) for the prediction of first-line therapy. CST6 and LAD1 methylation are candidate epigenetic biomarkers showing unprecedented association with PFS and OS as well as specificity for the prediction of the response to therapy. DNA methylation markers should be considered for the prospective evaluation of larger patient cohorts in future studies.
Kennedy-Nasser AA, Ku S, Castillo-Caro P, et al.Ultra low-dose IL-2 for GVHD prophylaxis after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation mediates expansion of regulatory T cells without diminishing antiviral and antileukemic activity.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(8):2215-25 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) has been associated with low numbers of circulating CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs). Because Tregs express high levels of the interleukin (IL)-2 receptor, they may selectively expand in vivo in response to doses of IL-2 insufficient to stimulate T effector T-cell populations, thereby preventing GVHD.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We prospectively evaluated the effects of ultra low-dose (ULD) IL-2 injections on Treg recovery in pediatric patients after alloSCT and compared this recovery with Treg reconstitution post alloSCT in patients without IL-2. Sixteen recipients of related (n = 12) or unrelated (n = 4) donor grafts received ULD IL-2 post hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT; 100,000-200,000 IU/m(2) ×3 per week), starting RESULTS: No grade 3/4 toxicities were associated with ULD IL-2. CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) Tregs increased from a mean of 4.8% (range, 0%-11.0%) pre IL-2 to 11.1% (range, 1.2%-31.1%) following therapy, with the greatest change occurring in the recipients of matched related donor (MRD) transplants. No IL-2 patients developed grade 2-4 acute GVHD (aGVHD), compared with 4 of 33 (12%) of the comparator group who did not receive IL-2. IL-2 recipients retained T cells reactive to viral and leukemia antigens, and in the MRD recipients, only 2 of 13 (15%) of the IL-2 patients developed viral infections versus 63% of the comparator group (P = 0.022).
CONCLUSIONS: Hence, ULD IL-2 is well tolerated, expands a Treg population in vivo, and may be associated with a lower incidence of viral infections and GVHD.
Lung cancer in never smokers (NS) shows striking demographic, clinicopathological and molecular distinctions from the disease in smokers (S). Studies on selected genetic and epigenetic alterations in lung cancer identified that the frequency and profile of some abnormalities significantly differ by smoking status. This study compared the transcriptome of lung adenocarcinoma cell lines derived from S (n = 3) and NS (n = 3) each treated with vehicle (control), histone deacetylation inhibitor (trichostatin A) or DNA methylation inhibitor (5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine). Among 122 genes reexpressed following 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine but not trichostatin A treatment in two or more cell lines (including 32 genes in S-only and 12 NS-only), methylation was validated for 80% (98/122 genes). After methylation analysis of 20 normal tissue samples and 14 additional non-small cell lung cancer cell lines (total 20), 39 genes frequently methylated in normal (>20%, 4/20) and 21 genes rarely methylated in non-small cell lung cancer (≤10%, 2/20) were excluded. The prevalence for methylation of the remaining 38 genes in lung adenocarcinomas from S (n = 97) and NS (n = 75) ranged from 8-89% and significantly differs between S and NS for CPEB1, CST6, EMILIN2, LAYN and MARVELD3 (P < 0.05). Furthermore, methylation of EMILIN2, ROBO3 and IGDCC4 was more prevalent in advanced (Stage II-IV, n = 61) than early (Stage I, n = 110) tumors. Knockdown of MARVELD3, one of the novel epigenetically silenced genes, by small interfering RNA significantly reduced anchorage-independent growth of lung cancer cells (P < 0.001). Collectively, this study has identified multiple, novel, epigenetically silenced genes in lung cancer and provides invaluable resources for the development of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.
Basal-like breast cancers frequently express aberrant DNA hypermethylation associated with concurrent silencing of specific genes secondary to DNMT3b overexpression and DNMT hyperactivity. DNMT3b is known to be post-transcriptionally regulated by microRNAs. The objective of the current study was to determine the role of microRNA dysregulation in the molecular mechanism governing DNMT3b overexpression in primary breast cancers that express aberrant DNA hypermethylation. The expression of microRNAs (miRs) that regulate (miR-29a, miR-29b, miR-29c, miR-148a and miR-148b) or are predicted to regulate DNMT3b (miR‑26a, miR-26b, miR-203 and miR-222) were evaluated among 70 primary breast cancers (36 luminal A-like, 13 luminal B-like, 5 HER2‑enriched, 16 basal-like) and 18 normal mammoplasty tissues. Significantly reduced expression of miR-29c distinguished basal-like breast cancers from other breast cancer molecular subtypes. The expression of aberrant DNA hypermethylation was determined in a subset of 33 breast cancers (6 luminal A-like, 6 luminal B-like, 5 HER2-enriched and 16 basal-like) through examination of methylation‑sensitive biomarker gene expression (CEACAM6, CDH1, CST6, ESR1, GNA11, MUC1, MYB, TFF3 and SCNN1A), 11/33 (33%) cancers exhibited aberrant DNA hypermethylation including 9/16 (56%) basal-like cancers, but only 2/17 (12%) non-basal-like cancers (luminal A-like, n=1; HER2-enriched, n=1). Breast cancers with aberrant DNA hypermethylation express diminished levels of miR-29a, miR-29b, miR-26a, miR-26b, miR-148a and miR-148b compared to cancers lacking aberrant DNA hypermethylation. A total of 7/9 (78%) basal-like breast cancers with aberrant DNA hypermethylation exhibit diminished levels of ≥6 regulatory miRs. The results show that i) reduced expression of miR-29c is characteristic of basal-like breast cancers, ii) miR and methylation-sensitive gene expression patterns identify two subsets of basal-like breast cancers, and iii) the subset of basal-like breast cancers with reduced expression of multiple regulatory miRs express aberrant DNA hypermethylation. Together, these findings strongly suggest that the molecular mechanism governing the DNMT3b-mediated aberrant DNA hypermethylation in primary breast cancer involves the loss of post-transcriptional regulation of DNMT3b by regulatory miRs.
Roll JD, Rivenbark AG, Sandhu R, et al.Dysregulation of the epigenome in triple-negative breast cancers: basal-like and claudin-low breast cancers express aberrant DNA hypermethylation.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2013; 95(3):276-87 [PubMed
] Related Publications
A subset of human breast cancer cell lines exhibits aberrant DNA hypermethylation that is characterized by hyperactivity of the DNA methyltransferase enzymes, overexpression of DNMT3b, and concurrent methylation-dependent silencing of numerous epigenetic biomarker genes. The objective of this study was to determine if this aberrant DNA hypermethylation (i) is found in primary breast cancers, (ii) is associated with specific breast cancer molecular subtypes, and (iii) influences patient outcomes. Analysis of epigenetic biomarker genes (CDH1, CEACAM6, CST6, ESR1, GNA11, MUC1, MYB, SCNN1A, and TFF3) identified a gene expression signature characterized by reduced expression levels or loss of expression among a cohort of primary breast cancers. The breast cancers that express this gene expression signature are enriched for triple-negative subtypes - basal-like and claudin-low breast cancers. Methylation analysis of primary breast cancers showed extensive promoter hypermethylation of epigenetic biomarker genes among triple-negative breast cancers, compared to other breast cancer subclasses where promoter hypermethylation events were less frequent. Furthermore, triple-negative breast cancers either did not express or expressed significantly reduced levels of protein corresponding to methylation-sensitive biomarker gene products. Together, these findings suggest strongly that loss of epigenetic biomarker gene expression is frequently associated with gene promoter hypermethylation events. We propose that aberrant DNA hypermethylation is a common characteristic of triple-negative breast cancers and may represent a fundamental biological property of basal-like and claudin-low breast cancers. Kaplan-Meier analysis of relapse-free survival revealed a survival disadvantage for patients with breast cancers that exhibit aberrant DNA hypermethylation. Identification of this distinguishing trait among triple-negative breast cancers forms the basis for development of new rational therapies that target the epigenome in patients with basal-like and claudin-low breast cancers.
Tzadok S, Caspin Y, Hachmo Y, et al.Directionality of noncoding human RNAs: how to avoid artifacts.
Anal Biochem. 2013; 439(1):23-9 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Inactivation of tumor suppressor and metastasis suppressor genes via epigenetic silencing is a frequent event in human cancers. Recent work has shown new mechanisms of epigenetic silencing, based on the occurrence of long noncoding promoter-spanning antisense and/or sense RNAs (lncRNAs), which constitute part of chromatin silencing complexes. Using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we have started to scan "triple negative" and Her2-overexpressing breast cancer cell lines for directional/bidirectional transcription through promoters of tumor suppressor and metastasis suppressor genes known to be epigenetically silenced in vivo. Surprisingly, we found that RT-PCR-amplified products were obtained at high frequency in the absence of exogenous primers. These amplified products resulted from RT priming via transcripts originating from promoter or upstream spanning regions. Consequently, this priming overruled directionality determination and led to false detection-identification of such lncRNAs. We show that this prevalent "no primer" artifact can be eliminated by treating the RNA preparations with periodate, performing RT reactions at highly elevated temperatures, or a combination of both. These experimental improvements enabled determination of the presence and directionality of individual promoter-spanning long noncoding RNAs with certainty. Examples for the BRMS1 metastasis suppressor gene, as well as RAR-β2 and CST6 human tumor suppressor genes, in breast carcinoma cell lines are presented.
Dimitrakopoulos L, Vorkas PA, Georgoulias V, Lianidou ESA closed-tube methylation-sensitive high resolution melting assay (MS-HRMA) for the semi-quantitative determination of CST6 promoter methylation in clinical samples.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:486 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: CST6 promoter is highly methylated in cancer, and its detection can provide important prognostic information in breast cancer patients. The aim of our study was to develop a Methylation-Sensitive High Resolution Melting Analysis (MS-HRMA) assay for the investigation of CST6 promoter methylation.
METHODS: We designed primers that amplify both methylated and unmethylated CST6 sequences after sodium bisulfate (SB) treatment and used spiked control samples of fully methylated to unmethylated SB converted genomic DNA to optimize the assay. We first evaluated the assay by analyzing 36 samples (pilot training group) and further analyzed 80 FFPES from operable breast cancer patients (independent group). MS-HRMA assay results for all 116 samples were compared with Methylation-Specific PCR (MSP) and the results were comparable.
RESULTS: The developed assay is highly specific and sensitive since it can detect the presence of 1% methylated CST6 sequence and provides additionally a semi-quantitative estimation of CST6 promoter methylation. CST6 promoter was methylated in 39/80 (48.75%) of FFPEs with methylation levels being very different among samples. MS-HRMA and MSP gave comparable results when all samples were analyzed by both assays.
CONCLUSIONS: The developed MS-HRMA assay for CST6 promoter methylation is closed tube, highly sensitive, cost-effective, rapid and easy-to-perform. It gives comparable results to MSP in less time, while it offers the advantage of additionally providing an estimation of the level of methylation.
Chimonidou M, Tzitzira A, Strati A, et al.CST6 promoter methylation in circulating cell-free DNA of breast cancer patients.
Clin Biochem. 2013; 46(3):235-40 [PubMed
] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: We have recently shown that detection of CST6 promoter methylation in primary breast tumors can provide important prognostic information in patients with operable breast cancer and that CST6 promoter is also methylated in Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC). In this study we evaluated the presence of CST6 promoter methylation in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) circulating in plasma of breast cancer patients.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Our study material consisted of: a) a pilot testing group of 27 patients with stage I-III operable breast cancer, 46 patients with verified metastasis and 37 healthy donors and b) an independent cohort of 123 consecutive stage I-III operable breast cancer patients. Methylated and unmethylated CST6 promoter sequences were detected by using methylation-specific PCR (MSP). CST6 immunohistochemical detection was performed in 20 corresponding primary tumor tissues.
RESULTS: In the pilot testing group, CST6 promoter was methylated in 8/27 (29.6%) operable breast cancer patients, in 6/46 (13.0%) patients with verified metastasis but none of 37 healthy individuals (0%). In the independent cohort, 49/123 (39.8%) operable breast cancer patients were found positive. During the follow up period, 25/123 (20.3%) patients relapsed and 9/123 (7.3%) died. CST6 was methylated in cfDNA of 13/25 (52%) patients that relapsed and in 3/9 (33.3%) patients that died.
CONCLUSIONS: CST6 promoter is highly methylated in cfDNA of breast cancer patients, but not in healthy individuals. CST6 promoter methylation in cfDNA, should be prospectively validated as a novel plasma tumor biomarker for breast cancer in a large cohort of breast cancer patients.
Merwick A, O'Brien M, Delanty NComplex single gene disorders and epilepsy.
Epilepsia. 2012; 53 Suppl 4:81-91 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Epilepsy is a heterogeneous group of disorders, often associated with significant comorbidity, such as intellectual disability and skin disorder. The genetic underpinnings of many epilepsies are still being elucidated, and we expect further advances over the coming 5 years, as genetic technology improves and prices fall for whole exome and whole genome sequencing. At present, there are several well-characterized complex epilepsies associated with single gene disorders; we review some of these here. They include well-recognized syndromes such as tuberous sclerosis complex, epilepsy associated with Rett syndrome, some of the progressive myoclonic epilepsies, and novel disorders such as epilepsy associated with mutations in the PCDH 19 gene. These disorders are important in informing genetic testing to confirm a diagnosis and to permit better understanding of the variability in phenotype-genotype correlation.
Heterotrimeric protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) consists of catalytic C (PP2Ac), structural A, and regulatory B-type subunits, and its dysfunction has been linked to cancer. Reversible methylation of PP2Ac by leucine carboxyl methyltransferase 1 (LCMT-1) and protein phosphatase methylesterase 1 (PME-1) differentially regulates B-type subunit binding and thus PP2A function. Polyomavirus middle (PyMT) and small (PyST) tumor antigens and SV40 small tumor antigen (SVST) are oncoproteins that block PP2A function by replacing certain B-type subunits, resulting in cellular transformation. Whereas the B-type subunits replaced by these oncoproteins seem to exhibit a binding preference for methylated PP2Ac, PyMT does not. We hypothesize that circumventing the normal cellular control of PP2A by PP2Ac methylation is a general strategy for ST- and MT-mediated transformation. Two predictions of this hypothesis are (1) that PyST and SVST also bind PP2A in a methylation-insensitive manner and (2) that down-regulation of PP2Ac methylation will activate progrowth and prosurvival signaling and promote transformation. We found that SVST and PyST, like PyMT, indeed form PP2A heterotrimers independently of PP2Ac methylation. In addition, reducing PP2Ac methylation through LCMT-1 knockdown or PME-1 overexpression enhanced transformation by activating the Akt and p70/p85 S6 kinase (S6K) pathways, pathways also activated by MT and ST oncoproteins. These results support the hypothesis that MT and ST oncoproteins circumvent cellular control of PP2A by methylation to promote transformation. They also implicate LCMT-1 as a negative regulator of Akt and p70/p85 S6K. Therefore, disruption of PP2Ac methylation may contribute to cancer, and modulation of this methylation may serve as an anticancer target.
Huang J, Wang L, Jiang M, et al.PTHLH coupling upstream negative regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis and Wnt receptor signal to downstream peptidase activity-induced apoptosis network in human hepatocellular carcinoma by systems-theoretical analysis.
J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2012; 32(5):250-6 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Studies were done on the analysis of biological processes in the same high expression (fold change ≥ 2) PTHLH-activated feedback negative regulation-mediated apoptosis gene ontology (GO) network of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared with the corresponding low expression activated GO network of no-tumor hepatitis/cirrhotic tissues [hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection]. We proposed PTHLH-activated network that upstream included the regulation of apoptosis, signal transduction resulting in induction of apoptosis, signal transduction by p53 class mediator resulting in transcription of p21 class mediator, negative regulation of centriole replication, negative regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis, negative regulation of Wnt receptor signaling pathway, anaphase-promoting complex-dependent proteasomal ubiquitin-dependent protein catabolism, apoptosis, induction of apoptosis, and negative regulation of phosphorylation. Downstream-network negative regulation of peptidase activity, anaphase-promoting complex-dependent proteasomal ubiquitin-dependent protein catabolism, apoptosis, induction of apoptosis and negative regulation of phosphorylation, as a result of coupling upstream negative regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis and Wnt receptor signal to downstream peptidase activity-induced apoptosis in HCC. Our hypothesis was verified by the different PTHLH-activated feedback negative regulation-mediated apoptosis GO network of HCC compared with the corresponding inhibited GO network of no-tumor hepatitis/cirrhotic tissues, or the same compared with the corresponding inhibited GO network of HCC. PTHLH coupling upstream negative regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis and Wnt receptor signal to downstream peptidase activity-induced apoptosis network was constructed that upstream BRCA1, DKK1, BUB1B activated PTHLH, and downstream PTHLH-activated CST6, BUB1B, NTN1, PHLDA2 in HCC from GEO data set using gene regulatory network inference method and our programing.
BACKGROUND: Invasion and metastasis are two important hallmarks of malignant tumors caused by complex genetic and epigenetic alterations. The present study investigated the contribution of aberrant methylation profiles of cancer related genes, APC, BIN1, BMP6, BRCA1, CST6, ESR-b, GSTP1, P14 (ARF), P16 (CDKN2A), P21 (CDKN1A), PTEN, and TIMP3, in the matched axillary lymph node metastasis in comparison to the primary tumor tissue and the adjacent normal tissue from the same breast cancer patients to identify the potential of candidate genes methylation as metastatic markers.
METHODS: The quantitative methylation analysis was performed using the SEQUENOM's EpiTYPER™ assay which relies on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS).
RESULTS: The quantitative DNA methylation analysis of the candidate genes showed higher methylation proportion in the primary tumor tissue than that of the matched normal tissue and the differences were significant for the APC, BIN1, BMP6, BRCA1, CST6, ESR-b, P16, PTEN and TIMP3 promoter regions (P<0.05). Among those candidate methylated genes, APC, BMP6, BRCA1 and P16 displayed higher methylation proportion in the matched lymph node metastasis than that found in the normal tissue (P<0.05). The pathway analysis revealed that BMP6, BRCA1 and P16 have a role in prevention of neoplasm metastasis.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study showed methylation heterogeneity between primary tumors and metastatic lesion. The contribution of aberrant methylation alterations of BMP6, BRCA1 and P16 genes in lymph node metastasis might provide a further clue to establish useful biomarkers for screening metastasis.
Bone metastasis is a frequent complication of breast cancer and a common cause of morbidity and mortality from the disease. During metastasis secreted proteins play crucial roles in the interactions between cancer cells and host stroma. To characterize the secreted proteins that are associated with breast cancer bone metastasis, we preformed a label-free proteomic analysis to compare the secretomes of four MDA-MB-231 (MDA231) derivative cell lines with varied capacities of bone metastasis. A total of 128 proteins were found to be consistently up-/down-regulated in the conditioned medium of bone-tropic cancer cells. The enriched molecular functions of the altered proteins included receptor binding and peptidase inhibition. Through additional transcriptomic analyses of breast cancer cells, we selected cystatin E/M (CST6), a cysteine protease inhibitor down-regulated in bone-metastatic cells, for further functional studies. Our results showed that CST6 suppressed the proliferation, colony formation, migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. The suppressive function against cancer cell motility was carried out by cancer cell-derived soluble CST6. More importantly, ectopic expression of CST6 in cancer cells rescued mice from overt osteolytic metastasis and deaths in the animal study, while CST6 knockdown markedly enhanced cancer cell bone metastasis and shortened animal survival. Overall, our study provided a systemic secretome analysis of breast cancer bone tropism and established secreted CST6 as a bona fide suppressor of breast cancer osteolytic metastasis.
Chimonidou M, Strati A, Tzitzira A, et al.DNA methylation of tumor suppressor and metastasis suppressor genes in circulating tumor cells.
Clin Chem. 2011; 57(8):1169-77 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are associated with prognosis in a variety of human cancers and have been proposed as a liquid biopsy for follow-up examinations. We show that tumor suppressor and metastasis suppressor genes are epigenetically silenced in CTCs isolated from peripheral blood of breast cancer patients.
METHODS: We obtained peripheral blood from 56 patients with operable breast cancer, 27 patients with verified metastasis, and 23 healthy individuals. We tested DNA extracted from the EpCAM-positive immunomagnetically selected CTC fraction for the presence of methylated and unmethylated CST6, BRMS1, and SOX17 promoter sequences by methylation-specific PCR (MSP). All samples were checked for KRT19 (keratin 19, formerly CK-19) expression by reverse-transcription quantitative PCR.
RESULTS: In CTCs of patients with operable breast cancer, promoter methylation of CST6 was observed in 17.9%, BRMS1 in 32.1%, and SOX17 in 53.6% of patients. In CTCs of patients with verified metastasis, promoter methylation of CST6 was observed in 37.0%, BRMS1 in 44.4%, and SOX17 in 74.1%. In healthy individuals, promoter methylation of CST6 was observed in 4.3%, BRMS1 in 8.7%, and SOX17 in 4.3%. DNA methylation of these genes for both operable and metastatic breast cancer was significantly different from that of the control population.
CONCLUSIONS: DNA methylation of tumor suppressor and metastasis suppressor genes is a hallmark of CTCs and confirms their heterogeneity. Our findings add a new dimension to the molecular characterization of CTCs and may underlie the acquisition of malignant properties, including their stem-like phenotype.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common cancers in China. The lower survival rate of ESCC is attributed to late diagnosis and poor therapeutic efficacy; therefore, the identification of tumor-associated proteins as biomarkers for early diagnosis, and the discovery of novel targets for therapeutic intervention, seems very important for increasing the survival rate of ESCC. To identify tumor-associated proteins as biomarkers in ESCC, we have analyzed ESCC tissues and adjacent normal tissues by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) analysis. The results showed that a total of 104 protein spots with different expression levels were found on 2DE, and 47 proteins were eventually identified by MALDI-TOF MS. Among these identified proteins, 33 proteins including keratin 17 (KRT17), biliverdin reductase B (BLVRB), proteasome activator subunit 1 (PSME1), manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), high-mobility group box-1(HMGB1), heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), peroxiredoxin (PRDX1), keratin 13 (KRT13), and so on were overexpressed, and 14 proteins including cystatin B (CSTB), tropomyosin 2 (TPM2), annexin 1 (ANX1), transgelin (TAGLN), keratin 19 (KRT19), stratifin (SFN), and so on were down-expressed in ESCC. Biological functions of these proteins are associated with cell proliferation, cell motility, protein folding, oxidative stress, and signal transduction. In the subsequent study using immunoassay on ESCC serum samples and tissue-array slides, two representative proteins, HSP70 and HMGB1, were selected as examples for the purpose of validation. The results showed that both HSP70 and HMGB1 can induce autoantibody response in ESCC sera and have higher expression in ESCC tissues. Especially, the frequency of antibodies to HSP70 in ESCC sera was significantly higher than that in normal human sera. The preliminary results suggest that some of these identified proteins might contribute to esophageal cell differentiation and carcinogenesis, certain proteins could be used as tumor-associated antigen (TAA) biomarkers in cancer diagnosis, and further studies on these identified proteins should provide more evidence of how these proteins are involved in carcinogenesis of ESCC.
BACKGROUND: Aberrant DNA methylation patterns might be used as a biomarker for diagnosis and management of cancer patients.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: To achieve a gene panel for developing a breast cancer blood-based test we quantitatively assessed the DNA methylation proportion of 248 CpG sites per sample (total of 31,248 sites in all analyzed samples) on 10 candidate genes (APC, BIN1, BMP6, BRCA1, CST6, ESR-b, GSTP1, P16, P21 and TIMP3). The number of 126 samples consisting of two different cohorts was used (first cohort: plasma samples from breast cancer patients and normal controls; second cohort: triple matched samples including cancerous tissue, matched normal tissue and serum samples). In the first cohort, circulating cell free methylated DNA of the 8 tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) was significantly higher in patients with breast cancer compared to normal controls (P<0.01). In the second cohort containing triple matched samples, seven genes showed concordant hypermethylated profile in tumor tissue and serum samples compared to normal tissue (P<0.05). Using eight genes as a panel to develop a blood-based test for breast cancer, a sensitivity and specificity of more than 90% could be achieved in distinguishing between tumor and normal samples.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that the selected TSG panel combined with the high-throughput technology might be a useful tool to develop epigenetic based predictive and prognostic biomarker for breast cancer relying on pathologic methylation changes in tumor tissue, as well as in circulation.
INTRODUCTION: This study was aimed at understanding the clinicopathological significance of cystatin M loss, and investigating possible factors responsible for cystatin M loss in breast cancer.
METHODS: The expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER2, HER4, and cystatin M was retrospectively analyzed using immunohistochemistry in 117 patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and in 175 patients with invasive breast cancer (IBC). The methylation status of CST6 gene encoding cystatin M was evaluated using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from 292 participants and using pyrosequencing in fresh-frozen tumor and matched normal tissues from 51 IBC patients.
RESULTS: Cystatin M loss was found in 9 (8%) of 117 patients with DCIS and in 99 (57%) of 175 with invasive breast cancer (IBC) (P < 0.0001). Cystatin M loss was found in 58 (57%) of 101 HER2-negative IBCs and in 41 (55%) of 74 HER2-positive IBCs, and this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.97). However, cystatin M loss was significantly associated with the loss of ER (P = 0.01), PR (P = 0.002), and HER4 (P = 0.003) in IBCs. Cystatin M loss occurred in 34 (76%) of the 45 HER4-negative IBCs and in 65 (50%) of the 130 HER4-positive IBCs. Multivariate analysis showed that cystatin M loss occurred at a 3.57 times (95% CI = 1.28 to 9.98; P = 0.01) higher prevalence in the triple-negative IBCs of ER, PR, and HER4 than in other subtypes, after adjusting for age. The quantity of CST6 methylation was associated with ER loss (P = 0.0002) in IBCs but not with the loss of PR (P = 0.64) or HER4 (P = 0.87).
CONCLUSIONS: The present study suggests that cystatin M loss may be associated with the losses of ER, PR, and HER4 in IBC.
Sathya S, Sudhagar S, Vidhya Priya M, et al.3β-hydroxylup-20(29)-ene-27,28-dioic acid dimethyl ester, a novel natural product from Plumbago zeylanica inhibits the proliferation and migration of MDA-MB-231 cells.
Chem Biol Interact. 2010; 188(3):412-20 [PubMed
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Plumbago zeylanica, a traditional Indian herb is being used for the therapy of rheumatism and has been approved for anti-tumor activity. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the biological action are not very well understood. In this study, the anti-invasive activities of P. zeylanica methanolic extract (PME) and pure compound 3β-hydroxylup-20(29)-ene-27,28-dioic acid (PZP) isolated from it are investigated in vitro. PME and PZP were noted to have the ability to induce apoptosis as assessed by flow cytometry. Further, the molecular mechanism of apoptosis induced by PME and PZP was found by the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential with the down regulation of Bcl-2, increased expression of Bad, release of cytochrome c, activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of PARP leading to DNA fragmentation. Importantly, both PME and PZP were observed to suppress MDA-MB-231 cells adhesion to the fibronectin-coated substrate and also inhibited the wound healing migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells through the reconstituted extracellular matrix. Gelatin zymography revealed that PME and PZP decreased the secretion of matrix metalloproteinases-2 (MMP-2) and metalloproteinases-9 (MMP-9). Interestingly both PME and PZP exerted an inhibitory effect on the protein levels of p-PI3K, p-Akt, p-JNK, p-ERK1/2, MMP-2, MMP-9, VEGF and HIF-1α that are consistent with the observed anti-metastatic effect. Collectively, these data provide the molecular basis of the anti-proliferative and anti-metastatic effects of PME and PZP.
Promoter region hyermethylation and transcriptional silencing is a frequent cause of tumour suppressor gene (TSG) inactivation in many types of human cancers. Functional epigenetic studies, in which gene expression is induced by treatment with demethylating agents, may identify novel genes with tumour-specific methylation. We used high-density gene expression microarrays in a functional epigenetic study of 11 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cell lines. Twenty-eight genes were then selected for analysis of promoter methylation status in cell lines and primary RCC. Eight genes (BNC1, PDLIM4, RPRM, CST6, SFRP1, GREM1, COL14A1 and COL15A1) showed frequent (>30% of RCC tested) tumour-specific promoter region methylation. Hypermethylation was associated with transcriptional silencing. Re-expression of BNC1, CST6, RPRM and SFRP1 suppressed the growth of RCC cell lines and RNA interference knock-down of BNC1, SFRP1 and COL14A1 increased the growth of RCC cell lines. Methylation of BNC1 or COL14A1 was associated with a poorer prognosis independent of tumour size, stage or grade. The identification of these epigenetically inactivated candidate RCC TSGs can provide insights into renal tumourigenesis and a basis for developing novel therapies and biomarkers for prognosis and detection.
Lah TT, Nanni I, Trinkaus M, et al.Toward understanding recurrent meningioma: the potential role of lysosomal cysteine proteases and their inhibitors.
J Neurosurg. 2010; 112(5):940-50 [PubMed
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OBJECT: The first aim of this study was to diagnose more aggressive and potentially recurrent meningiomas using an in vitro embryonic chick heart invasiveness assay in which lysosomal enzyme cathepsin B was used as the invasiveness marker. The second aim was to confirm if cathepsin B and/or cathepsin L and their endogenous inhibitors were also prognostic parameters in the clinical study of 119 patients with meningioma.
METHODS: Primary meningioma cultured spheroids were "confronted" with embryonic chick heart spheroids in vitro, and cathepsin B was used as molecular marker to immunolabel the invasive tumor cells. In vitro invasion assays of the malignant meningioma cells were used to assess the invasive potential related to the cysteine cathepsins. As to the second aim, the possible association of cathepsin B along with selected molecular markers, cathepsin L, and endogenous cysteine protease inhibitors (stefins A and B and cystatin C) with meningioma malignancy was determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in tumor homogenates. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to compare these parameters with established biological markers of meningioma recurrence in 119 patients with meningiomas.
RESULTS: The more invasive tumors, which characteristically overgrew the normal tissue, were identified even within a group of histologically benign meningiomas. More intensive staining of cathepsin B in these tumors was not only found at the tumor front, but also in the invading pseudopodia of a single migrating tumor cells. Matrigel invasion of malignant meningioma cells was significantly altered by modulating cathepsin B activity and by stefin B silencing. In the clinical samples of meningioma, the levels of cathepsins B and L, stefin B, and cystatin C were highest in the tumors of higher histological grades, whereas stefin A and progesterone receptor were the only markers that were significantly increased and decreased, respectively, in WHO Grade III lesions. With respect to the prognosis of relapse, cathepsin L (p = 0.035), stefin B (p = 0.007), cystatin C (p = 0.008), and progesterone receptor (p = 0.049) levels were significant, whereas cathepsin B was not a prognosticator. As expected, WHO grade, age, and Simpson grade (complete tumor resection) were prognostic, with Simpson grade only relevant in the short term (up to 90 months) but not in longer-term follow-up. Of note, the impact of all these parameters was lost in multivariate analysis, due to overwhelming prognostic impact of stefin B (p = 0.039).
CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that the cysteine cathepsins and their inhibitors are involved in a process related to early meningioma recurrence, regardless of their histological classification. Of note, the known tumor invasiveness marker cathepsin B, measured in whole-tumor homogenates, was not prognostic, in contrast to its endogenous inhibitor stefin B, which was highly significant and the only independent prognostic factor to predict meningioma relapse in multivariate analysis and reported herein for the first time. Stefin B inhibition of local invasion was confirmed by in vitro invasion assay, although its other functions cannot be excluded.
Kioulafa M, Balkouranidou I, Sotiropoulou G, et al.Methylation of cystatin M promoter is associated with unfavorable prognosis in operable breast cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2009; 125(12):2887-92 [PubMed
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The methylation status of cystatin M (CST6) gene in breast tumors was investigated and its prognostic significance as a novel breast cancer biomarker was evaluated. Using methylation-specific PCR (MSP), CST6 promoter methylation was examined in 134 formalin fixed paraffin-embedded tissues (FFPEs): 10 pairs of breast tumors and their surrounding normal tissues, 10 breast fibroadenomas, 11 normal breast tissues and 93 breast tumors. Methylation of CST6 promoter was observed in 2/21 (9.5%) noncancerous breast tissues, 1/10 (10%) benign breast tumors (fibroadenomas) and 52 (55.9%) operable breast cancer tumor samples. CST6 was rarely methylated in the normal tissue surrounding the tumor (10%). During the follow-up period, 24 (25.8%) patients relapsed and 19 (20.4%) died. CST6 methylation was detected in 19 (79.2%) of patients who relapsed and in 15 (78.9%) of patients who died. Disease-free-interval (DFI) and overall survival (OS) were significantly associated with CST6 promoter methylation (p=0.004 and p=0.001 respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that CST6 methylation is an independent prognostic factor for DFI (HR=3.484; 95% CI: 1.155-10.511; p=0.027). and OS (HR=9.190; 95% CI: 1.989-42.454; p=0.004). CST6 promoter methylation status in tumor cells seems to provide important prognostic information in operable breast cancer and merits to be further evaluated and validated in a larger cohort of patients.
Radpour R, Kohler C, Haghighi MM, et al.Methylation profiles of 22 candidate genes in breast cancer using high-throughput MALDI-TOF mass array.
Oncogene. 2009; 28(33):2969-78 [PubMed
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Alterations of DNA methylation patterns have been suggested as biomarkers for diagnostics and therapy of cancers. Every novel discovery in the epigenetic landscape and every development of an improved approach for accurate analysis of the events may offer new opportunity for the management of patients. Using a novel high-throughput mass spectrometry on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) silico-chips, we determined semiquantitative methylation changes of 22 candidate genes in breast cancer tissues. For the first time we analysed the methylation status of a total of 42 528 CpG dinucleotides on 22 genes in 96 different paraffin-embedded tissues (48 breast cancerous tissues and 48 paired normal tissues). A two-way hierarchical cluster analysis was used to classify methylation profiles. In this study, 10 hypermethylated genes (APC, BIN1, BMP6, BRCA1, CST6, ESRb, GSTP1, P16, P21 and TIMP3) were identified to distinguish between cancerous and normal tissues according to the extent of methylation. Individual assessment of the methylation status for each CpG dinucleotide indicated that cytosine hypermethylation in the cancerous tissue samples was mostly located near the consensus sequences of the transcription factor binding sites. These hypermethylated genes may serve as biomarkers for clinical molecular diagnosis and targeted treatments of patients with breast cancer.
Cystatin E/M (CST6) is a natural inhibitor of lysosomal cysteine proteases. Recent studies have shown that experimental manipulation of CST6 expression alters the metastatic behavior of human breast cancer cells. However, the association of CST6 with prostate cancer invasion and progression remains unclear. Here, we show that CST6 is robustly expressed in normal human prostate epithelium, whereas its expression is downregulated in metastatic prostate cell lines and prostate tumor tissues. Treatment of metastatic prostate cell lines with the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A resulted in significant induction of CST6 mRNA levels and increased CST6 protein expression, indicating that epigenetic silencing may play a role in the loss of CST6 expression observed in prostate cancer. CST6 overexpression in human prostate cancer cells significantly reduced in vitro cell proliferation and matrigel invasion. Furthermore, the results from a bioluminescence tumor/metastasis model showed that the overexpression of CST6 significantly inhibits tumor growth and the incidence of lung metastasis. These results suggest that the downregulation of the CST6 gene is associated with promoter histone modifications and that this association plays an important role in prostate cancer progression during the invasive and metastatic stages of the disease.
Nagaraj NS, Anilakumar KR, Singh OVDiallyl disulfide causes caspase-dependent apoptosis in human cancer cells through a Bax-triggered mitochondrial pathway.
J Nutr Biochem. 2010; 21(5):405-12 [PubMed
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Diallyl disulfide (DADS), an important component of garlic (Allium sativum) derivative, has been demonstrated to exert a potential molecular target against human cancers. We investigated DADS-induced expressions of Apaf1, cystatin B, caspase-3 and FADD (fas-associated protein with death domain) in breast, prostate and lung cancer cells. These showed coincident data when further examined by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis. Furthermore, DADS induced a marked amount of Bax translocation, cytochrome c release and activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9. DADS-treated tumor cells triggered mitochondria-mediated signaling pathways that led to a significant increase in apoptosis induction. Further studies with caspase-3 and caspase-9 inhibitors (zDEVD-fmk and zLEHD-fmk, respectively) proved that DADS induces apoptosis through a caspase-3-dependent pathway. DADS is only an agent used in the study. The molecular mechanism presented therefore provides strong additional support to the hypothesis that DADS is a strong inducer of apoptosis through a Bax-triggered mitochondria-mediated and caspase-3-dependent pathway. This study shows clearly that DADS causes caspase-dependent apoptosis in human cancer cells through a Bax-triggered mitochondrial pathway. Therefore, the mitochondrial pathway might be the target for cancer chemoprevention and/or chemotherapy by DADS.
Colombo J, Fachel AA, De Freitas Calmon M, et al.Gene expression profiling reveals molecular marker candidates of laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2009; 21(3):649-63 [PubMed
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Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma is very common in head and neck cancer, with high mortality rates and poor prognosis. In this study, we compared expression profiles of clinical samples from 13 larynx tumors and 10 non-neoplastic larynx tissues using a custom-built cDNA microarray containing 331 probes for 284 genes previously identified by informatics analysis of EST databases as markers of head and neck tumors. Thirty-five genes showed statistically significant differences (SNR > or = | 1.0 |, p< or =0.001) in the expression between tumor and non-tumor larynx tissue samples. Functional annotation indicated that these genes are involved in cellular processes relevant to the cancer phenotype, such as apoptosis, cell cycle, DNA repair, proteolysis, protease inhibition, signal transduction and transcriptional regulation. Six of the identified transcripts map to intronic regions of protein-coding genes and may comprise non-annotated exons or as yet uncharacterized long ncRNAs with a regulatory role in the gene expression program of larynx tissue. The differential expression of 10 of these genes (ADCY6, AES, AL2SCR3, CRR9, CSTB, DUSP1, MAP3K5, PLAT, UBL1 and ZNF706) was independently confirmed by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Among these, the CSTB gene product has cysteine protease inhibitor activity that has been associated with an antimetastatic function. Interestingly, CSTB showed a low expression in the tumor samples analyzed (p<0.0001). The set of genes identified here contribute to a better understanding of the molecular basis of larynx cancer, and provide candidate markers for improving diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of this carcinoma.
Zeng Y, Yang Z, Xu JG, et al.Differentially expressed genes from the glioblastoma cell line SHG-44 treated with all-trans retinoic acid in vitro.
J Clin Neurosci. 2009; 16(2):285-94 [PubMed
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Morphology, immunocytochemistry, growth curve assay, and flow cytometry were used to investigate the effects of all-trans retinoic acid (RA) on cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and differentiation of the astrocytoma cell line SHG-44 from glioblastoma multiforme (World Health Organization grade IV). The differentially expressed genes from RA-treated and normal SHG-44 were identified by cDNA microarray after the cell line SHG-44 was treated with 10muM RA for 3 days. Validation of some differentially expressed genes was performed by Northern Blot analysis. The expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was markedly increased in RA-treated SHG-44 cells. Other changes included a short shuttle shape, small nucleus, decreased karyoplasm proportion, the formation of increased thin cytoplasmic processes, reduced cell growth and a 15% increase in G0/G1 phase cell populations. In addition, 42 known genes were identified with altered expression in our cDNA microarray. There was stable down-regulation of MDM2 and UGB as well as overexpression of SOD2, CSTB, and G3BP when RA-treated SHG-44 was compared with normal SHG-44. RA simultaneously suppressed the proliferation of SHG-44 cells significantly as well as induced differentiation and altered gene expression.
The interplay between histone modifications and promoter hypermethylation provides a causative explanation for epigenetic gene silencing in cancer. Less is known about the upstream initiators that direct this process. Here, we report that the Cystatin M (CST6) tumor suppressor gene is concurrently down-regulated with other loci in breast epithelial cells cocultured with cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF). Promoter hypermethylation of CST6 is associated with aberrant AKT1 activation in epithelial cells, as well as the disabled INNP4B regulator resulting from the suppression by CAFs. Repressive chromatin, marked by trimethyl-H3K27 and dimethyl-H3K9, and de novo DNA methylation is established at the promoter. The findings suggest that microenvironmental stimuli are triggers in this epigenetic cascade, leading to the long-term silencing of CST6 in breast tumors. Our present findings implicate a causal mechanism defining how tumor stromal fibroblasts support neoplastic progression by manipulating the epigenome of mammary epithelial cells. The result also highlights the importance of direct cell-cell contact between epithelial cells and the surrounding fibroblasts that confer this epigenetic perturbation. Because this two-way interaction is anticipated, the described coculture system can be used to determine the effect of epithelial factors on fibroblasts in future studies.
DeBenedette MA, Calderhead DM, Ketteringham H, et al.Priming of a novel subset of CD28+ rapidly expanding high-avidity effector memory CTL by post maturation electroporation-CD40L dendritic cells is IL-12 dependent.
J Immunol. 2008; 181(8):5296-305 [PubMed
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Dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapeutics must induce robust CTL capable of killing tumor or virally infected cells in vivo. In this study, we show that RNA electroporated post maturation and coelectroporated with CD40L mRNA (post maturation electroporation (PME)-CD40L DC) generate high-avidity CTL in vitro that lyse naturally processed and presented tumor Ag. Unlike cytokine mixture-matured DC which induce predominantly nonproliferative effector memory CD45RA(+) CTL, PME-CD40L DC prime a novel subset of Ag-specific CTL that can be expanded to large numbers upon sequential DC stimulation in vitro. We have defined these cells as rapidly expanding high-avidity (REHA) CTL based on: 1) the maintenance of CD28 expression, 2) production of high levels of IFN-gamma and IL-2 in response to Ag, and 3) the demonstration of high-avidity TCR that exhibit strong cytolytic activity toward limiting amounts of native Ag. We demonstrate that induction of REHA CTL is dependent at least in part on the production of IL-12. Interestingly, neutralization of IL-12 did not effect cytolytic activity of REHA CTL when Ag is not limiting, but did result in lower TCR avidity of Ag-reactive CTL. These results suggest that PME-CD40L DC are uniquely capable of delivering the complex array of signals needed to generate stable CD28(+) REHA CTL, which if generated in vivo may have significant clinical benefit for the treatment of infectious disease and cancer.