Gene Summary

Gene:NEUROG1; neurogenin 1
Aliases: AKA, ngn1, Math4C, bHLHa6, NEUROD3
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 25 June, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (18)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 25 June 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

  • Staging
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Signal Transducing Adaptor Proteins
  • Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements
  • CpG Islands
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • ras Proteins
  • Mutation
  • Victoria
  • Chromosome 5
  • Promoter Regions
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phenotype
  • DNA Sequence Analysis
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • BRAF
  • Epigenetics
  • RUNX3
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Gene Silencing
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Uveal Neoplasms
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • Tumor Markers
  • Risk Factors
  • Cancer DNA
  • Retinoblastoma
  • DNA Methylation
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
Tag cloud generated 25 June, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: NEUROG1 (cancer-related)

Shiovitz S, Bertagnolli MM, Renfro LA, et al.
CpG island methylator phenotype is associated with response to adjuvant irinotecan-based therapy for stage III colon cancer.
Gastroenterology. 2014; 147(3):637-45 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), defined by a high frequency of aberrantly methylated genes, is a characteristic of a subclass of colon tumors with distinct clinical and molecular features. Cohort studies have produced conflicting results on responses of CIMP-positive tumors to chemotherapy. We assessed the association between tumor CIMP status and survival of patients receiving adjuvant fluorouracil and leucovorin alone or with irinotecan (IFL).
METHODS: We analyzed data from patients with stage III colon adenocarcinoma randomly assigned to groups given fluorouracil and leucovorin or IFL after surgery, from April 1999 through April 2001. The primary end point of the trial was overall survival and the secondary end point was disease-free survival. DNA isolated from available tumor samples (n = 615) was used to determine CIMP status based on methylation patterns at the CACNA1G, IGF2, NEUROG1, RUNX3, and SOCS1 loci. The effects of CIMP on survival were modeled using Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards; interactions with treatment and BRAF, KRAS, and mismatch repair (MMR) status were also investigated.
RESULTS: Of the tumor samples characterized for CIMP status, 145 were CIMP positive (23%). Patients with CIMP-positive tumors had shorter overall survival times than patients with CIMP-negative tumors (hazard ratio = 1.36; 95% confidence interval: 1.01-1.84). Treatment with IFL showed a trend toward increased overall survival for patients with CIMP-positive tumors, compared with treatment with fluorouracil and leucovorin (hazard ratio = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.37-1.05; P = .07), but not for patients with CIMP-negative tumors (hazard ratio = 1.38; 95% CI: 1.00-1.89; P = .049). In a 3-way interaction analysis, patients with CIMP-positive, MMR-intact tumors benefited most from the addition of irinotecan to fluorouracil and leucovorin therapy (for the interaction, P = .01). CIMP was more strongly associated with response to IFL than MMR status. Results for disease-free survival times were comparable among all analyses.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with stage III, CIMP-positive, MMR-intact colon tumors have longer survival times when irinotecan is added to combination therapy with fluorouracil and leucovorin.

Ma X, Gao L, Tan K
Modeling disease progression using dynamics of pathway connectivity.
Bioinformatics. 2014; 30(16):2343-50 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
MOTIVATION: Disease progression is driven by dynamic changes in both the activity and connectivity of molecular pathways. Understanding these dynamic events is critical for disease prognosis and effective treatment. Compared with activity dynamics, connectivity dynamics is poorly explored.
RESULTS: We describe the M-module algorithm to identify gene modules with common members but varied connectivity across multiple gene co-expression networks (aka M-modules). We introduce a novel metric to capture the connectivity dynamics of an entire M-module. We find that M-modules with dynamic connectivity have distinct topological and biochemical properties compared with static M-modules and hub genes. We demonstrate that incorporation of module connectivity dynamics significantly improves disease stage prediction. We identify different sets of M-modules that are important for specific disease stage transitions and offer new insights into the molecular events underlying disease progression. Besides modeling disease progression, the algorithm and metric introduced here are broadly applicable to modeling dynamics of molecular pathways.
AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: M-module is implemented in R. The source code is freely available at

Philipp AB, Nagel D, Stieber P, et al.
Circulating cell-free methylated DNA and lactate dehydrogenase release in colorectal cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:245 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hypermethylation of DNA is an epigenetic alteration commonly found in colorectal cancer (CRC) and can also be detected in blood samples of cancer patients. Methylation of the genes helicase-like transcription factor (HLTF) and hyperplastic polyposis 1 (HPP1) have been proposed as prognostic, and neurogenin 1 (NEUROG1) as diagnostic biomarker. However the underlying mechanisms leading to the release of these genes are unclear. This study aimed at examining the possible correlation of the presence of methylated genes NEUROG1, HLTF and HPP1 in serum with tissue breakdown as a possible mechanism using serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as a surrogate marker. Additionally the prognostic impact of these markers was examined.
METHODS: Pretherapeutic serum samples from 259 patients from all cancer stages were analyzed. Presence of hypermethylation of the genes HLTF, HPP1, and NEUROG1 was examined using methylation-specific quantitative PCR (MethyLight). LDH was determined using an UV kinetic test.
RESULTS: Hypermethylation of HLTF and HPP1 was detected significantly more often in patients with elevated LDH levels (32% vs. 12% [p = 0.0005], and 68% vs. 11% [p < 0.0001], respectively). Also, higher LDH values correlated with a higher percentage of a fully methylated reference in a linear fashion (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.18 for HLTF [p = 0.004]; 0.49 [p < .0001] for HPP1). No correlation between methylation of NEUROG1 and LDH was found in this study. Concerning the clinical characteristics, high levels of LDH as well as methylation of HLTF and HPP1 were significantly associated with larger and more advanced stages of CRC. Accordingly, these three markers were correlated with significantly shorter survival in the overall population. Moreover, all three identified patients with a worse prognosis in the subgroup of stage IV patients.
CONCLUSIONS: We were able to provide evidence that methylation of HLTF and especially HPP1 detected in serum is strongly correlated with cell death in CRC using LDH as surrogate marker. Additionally, we found that prognostic information is given by both HLTF and HPP1 as well as LDH. In sum, determining the methylation of HLTF and HPP1 in serum might be useful in order to identify patients with more aggressive tumors.

Kuo CC, Lin CY, Shih YL, et al.
Frequent methylation of HOXA9 gene in tumor tissues and plasma samples from human hepatocellular carcinomas.
Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014; 52(8):1235-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant DNA methylation is associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), suggesting that gene methylation could be a potential biomarker for detection of HCC. The aim of this study is to identify potential biomarkers in HCC.
METHODS: We used the Infinium methylation array and a DNA-pooling strategy to analyze the genome-wide methylation profile in HCC. Quantitative methylation-specific PCR (Q-MSP) was used to validate homeobox A9 (HOXA9) methylation in 29 normal controls, 100 HCC samples and adjacent non-tumor tissues and in 74 plasma samples, including 40 patients with HCC.
RESULTS: Ten genes (HOXA9, NEUROG1, TNFRSF10C, IRAK3, GFPT2, ZNF177, DPYSL4, ELOVL4, FSD1, and CACNA1G) showed differences in methylation between controls and HCCs. Of these, HOXA9 was significantly hypermethylated in HCCs (76.7%; 23/30) compared with controls (3.4%; 1/29). In addition, combination analysis of two- and three-gene sets for HCC detection showed greater sensitivity (90%-96.7%) and comparable specificity (93.1%-96.6%) to each individual gene (33.3%-76.7% and 55.2%-100.0%). HOXA9 methylation was further validated by Q-MSP in two independent set of clinical samples including 100 HCC and paired non-tumor tissues. Further, HOXA9 methylation could be detected in plasma from HCC patients (n=40) but not in normal plasma (n=34) (p<0.0005). Combined testing (either parameter positive) for α-fetoprotein (AFP, a plasma protein biomarker) and HOXA9 methylation showed greater sensitivity (94.6%) for detection of HCC than AFP alone (75.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that methylation of HOXA9 could be a helpful biomarker to assist in HCC detection.

Lyu X, Xin Y, Mi R, et al.
Overexpression of Wilms tumor 1 gene as a negative prognostic indicator in acute myeloid leukemia.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e92470 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Chromosomal aberrations are useful in assessing treatment options and clinical outcomes of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. However, 40 ∼ 50% of the AML patients showed no chromosomal abnormalities, i.e., with normal cytogenetics aka the CN-AML patients. Testing of molecular aberrations such as FLT3 or NPM1 can help to define clinical outcomes in the CN-AML patients but with various successes. Goal of this study was to test the possibility of Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1) gene overexpression as an additional molecular biomarker. A total of 103 CN-AML patients, among which 28% had overexpressed WT1, were studied over a period of 38 months. Patient's response to induction chemotherapy as measured by the complete remission (CR) rate, disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were measured. Our data suggested that WT1 overexpression correlated negatively with the CR rate, DFS and OS. Consistent with previous reports, CN-AML patients can be divided into three different risk subgroups based on the status of known molecular abnormalities, i.e., the favorable (NPM1(mt)/no FLT3(ITD)), the unfavorable (FLT3(ITD)) and the intermediate risk subgroups. The WT1 overexpression significantly reduced the CR, DFS and OS in both the favorable and unfavorable groups. As the results, patients with normal WT1 gene expression in the favorable risk group showed the best clinical outcomes and all survived with complete remission and disease-free survival over the 37 month study period; in contrast, patients with WT1 overexpression in the unfavorable risk group displayed the worst clinical outcomes. WT1 overexpression by itself is an independent and negative indicator for predicting CR rate, DFS and OS of the CN-AML patients; moreover, it increases the statistical power of predicting the same clinical outcomes when it is combined with the NPM1(mt) or the FLT3(ITD) genotypes that are the good or poor prognostic markers of CN-AML.

Berg M, Hagland HR, Søreide K
Comparison of CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) frequency in colon cancer using different probe- and gene-specific scoring alternatives on recommended multi-gene panels.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e86657 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In colorectal cancer a distinct subgroup of tumours demonstrate the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). However, a consensus of how to score CIMP is not reached, and variation in definition may influence the reported CIMP prevalence in tumours. Thus, we sought to compare currently suggested definitions and cut-offs for methylation markers and how they influence CIMP classification in colon cancer.
METHODS: Methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA), with subsequent fragment analysis, was used to investigate methylation of tumour samples. In total, 31 CpG sites, located in 8 different genes (RUNX3, MLH1, NEUROG1, CDKN2A, IGF2, CRABP1, SOCS1 and CACNA1G) were investigated in 64 distinct colon cancers and 2 colon cancer cell lines. The Ogino gene panel includes all 8 genes, in addition to the Weisenberger panel of which only 5 of the 8 genes included were investigated. In total, 18 alternative combinations of scoring of CIMP positivity on probe-, gene-, and panel-level were analysed and compared.
RESULTS: For 47 samples (71%), the CIMP status was constant and independent of criteria used for scoring; 34 samples were constantly scored as CIMP negative, and 13 (20%) consistently scored as CIMP positive. Only four of 31 probes (13%) investigated showed no difference in the numbers of positive samples using the different cut-offs. Within the panels a trend was observed that increasing the gene-level stringency resulted in a larger difference in CIMP positive samples than increasing the probe-level stringency. A significant difference between positive samples using 'the most stringent' as compared to 'the least stringent' criteria (20% vs 46%, respectively; p<0.005) was demonstrated.
CONCLUSIONS: A statistical significant variation in the frequency of CIMP depending on the cut-offs and genes included in a panel was found, with twice as many positives samples by least compared to most stringent definition used.

Pradhan MP, Desai A, Palakal MJ
Systems biology approach to stage-wise characterization of epigenetic genes in lung adenocarcinoma.
BMC Syst Biol. 2013; 7:141 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epigenetics refers to the reversible functional modifications of the genome that do not correlate to changes in the DNA sequence. The aim of this study is to understand DNA methylation patterns across different stages of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD).
RESULTS: Our study identified 72, 93 and 170 significant DNA methylated genes in Stages I, II and III respectively. A set of common 34 significant DNA methylated genes located in the promoter section of the true CpG islands were found across stages, and these were: HOX genes, FOXG1, GRIK3, HAND2, PRKCB, etc. Of the total significant DNA methylated genes, 65 correlated with transcription function. The epigenetic analysis identified the following novel genes across all stages: PTGDR, TLX3, and POU4F2. The stage-wise analysis observed the appearance of NEUROG1 gene in Stage I and its re-appearance in Stage III. The analysis showed similar epigenetic pattern across Stage I and Stage III. Pathway analysis revealed important signaling and metabolic pathways of LUAD to correlate with epigenetics. Epigenetic subnetwork analysis identified a set of seven conserved genes across all stages: UBC, KRAS, PIK3CA, PIK3R3, RAF1, BRAF, and RAP1A. A detailed literature analysis elucidated epigenetic genes like FOXG1, HLA-G, and NKX6-2 to be known as prognostic targets.
CONCLUSION: Integrating epigenetic information for genes with expression data can be useful for comprehending in-depth disease mechanism and for the ultimate goal of better target identification.

Cruickshanks HA, McBryan T, Nelson DM, et al.
Senescent cells harbour features of the cancer epigenome.
Nat Cell Biol. 2013; 15(12):1495-506 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Altered DNA methylation and associated destabilization of genome integrity and function is a hallmark of cancer. Replicative senescence is a tumour suppressor process that imposes a limit on the proliferative potential of normal cells that all cancer cells must bypass. Here we show by whole-genome single-nucleotide bisulfite sequencing that replicative senescent human cells exhibit widespread DNA hypomethylation and focal hypermethylation. Hypomethylation occurs preferentially at gene-poor, late-replicating, lamin-associated domains and is linked to mislocalization of the maintenance DNA methyltransferase (DNMT1) in cells approaching senescence. Low-level gains of methylation are enriched in CpG islands, including at genes whose methylation and silencing is thought to promote cancer. Gains and losses of methylation in replicative senescence are thus qualitatively similar to those in cancer, and this 'reprogrammed' methylation landscape is largely retained when cells bypass senescence. Consequently, the DNA methylome of senescent cells might promote malignancy, if these cells escape the proliferative barrier.

Bommeljé CC, Weeda VB, Huang G, et al.
Oncogenic function of SCCRO5/DCUN1D5 requires its Neddylation E3 activity and nuclear localization.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(2):372-81 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: To determine mechanisms by which SCCRO5 (aka DCUN1D5) promotes oncogenesis.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: SCCRO5 mRNA and protein expression were assessed in 203 randomly selected primary cancer tissue samples, matched histologically normal tissues, and cell lines by use of real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. SCCRO5 overexpression was correlated with survival. The effect of SCCRO5 knockdown on viability was assessed in selected cancer cell lines. Structure-function studies were performed to determine the SCCRO5 residues required for binding to the neddylation components, for neddylation-promoting activity, and for transformation.
RESULTS: In oral and lung squamous cell carcinomas, SCCRO5 mRNA levels corresponded with protein levels and overexpression correlated with decreased disease-specific survival. Knockdown of SCCRO5 by RNAi resulted in a selective decrease in the viability of cancer cells with high endogenous levels, suggesting the presence of oncogene addiction. SCCRO5 promoted cullin neddylation while maintaining conserved reaction processivity paradigms involved in ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like protein conjugation, establishing it as a component of the neddylation E3. Neddylation activities in vitro required the potentiating of neddylation (PONY) domain but not the nuclear localization sequence (NLS) domain. In contrast, both the NLS domain and the PONY domain were required for transformation of NIH-3T3 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that SCCRO5 has oncogenic potential that requires its function as a component of the neddylation E3. Neddylation activity and nuclear localization of SCCRO5 are important for its in vivo function.

Farrelly LA, Savage NT, O'Callaghan C, et al.
Therapeutic concentrations of valproate but not amitriptyline increase neuropeptide Y (NPY) expression in the human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line.
Regul Pept. 2013; 186:123-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a peptide found in the brain and autonomic nervous system, which is associated with anxiety, depression, epilepsy, learning and memory, sleep, obesity and circadian rhythms. NPY has recently gained much attention as an endogenous antiepileptic and antidepressant agent, as drugs with antiepileptic and/or mood-stabilizing properties may exert their action by increasing NPY concentrations, which in turn can reduce anxiety and depression levels, dampen seizures or increase seizure threshold. We have used human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells to investigate the effect of valproate (VPA) and amitriptyline (AMI) on NPY expression at therapeutic plasma concentrations of 0.6mM and 630nM, respectively. In addition, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) known to differentiate SH-SY5Y cells into a neuronal phenotype and to increase NPY expression through activation of protein kinase C (PKC) was applied as a positive control (16nM). Cell viability after drug treatment was tested with a 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. NPY expression was measured using immunofluorescence and quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Results from immunocytochemistry have shown NPY levels to be significantly increased following a 72h but not 24h VPA treatment. A further increase in expression was observed with simultaneous VPA and TPA treatment, suggesting that the two agents may increase NPY expression through different mechanisms. The increase in NPY mRNA by VPA and TPA was confirmed with qRT-PCR after 72h. In contrast, AMI had no effect on NPY expression in SH-SY5Y cells. Together, the data point to an elevation of human NPY mRNA and peptide levels by therapeutic concentrations of VPA following chronic treatment. Thus, upregulation of NPY may have an impact in anti-cancer treatment of neuroblastomas with VPA, and antagonizing hypothalamic NPY effects may help to ameliorate VPA-induced weight gain and obesity without interfering with the desired central effects of VPA.

Fredericks WJ, Yin H, Lal P, et al.
Ectopic expression of the TERE1 (UBIAD1) protein inhibits growth of renal clear cell carcinoma cells: altered metabolic phenotype associated with reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide and SXR target genes involved in cholesterol and lipid metabolism.
Int J Oncol. 2013; 43(2):638-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Current studies of the TERE1 (UBIAD1) protein emphasize its multifactorial influence on the cell, in part due to its broad sub-cellular distribution to mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and golgi. However, the profound effects of TERE1 relate to its prenyltransferase activity for synthesis of the bioactive quinones menaquinone and COQ10. Menaquinone (aka, vitamin K-2) serves multiple roles: as a carrier in mitochondrial electron transport, as a ligand for SXR nuclear hormone receptor activation, as a redox modulator, and as an alkylator of cellular targets. We initially described the TERE1 (UBIAD1) protein as a tumor suppressor based upon reduced expression in urological cancer specimens and the inhibition of growth of tumor cell lines/xenografts upon ectopic expression. To extend this potential tumor suppressor role for the TERE1 protein to renal cell carcinoma (RCC), we applied TERE1 immunohistochemistry to a TMA panel of 28 RCC lesions and determined that in 57% of RCC lesions, TERE1 expression was reduced (36%) or absent (21%). Ectopic TERE1 expression caused an 80% decrease in growth of Caki-1 and Caki-2 cell lines, a significantly decreased colony formation, and increased caspase 3/7 activity in a panel of RCC cell lines. Furthermore, TERE1 expression increased mitochondrial oxygen consumption and hydrogen production, oxidative stress and NO production. Based on the elevated cholesterol and altered metabolic phenotype of RCC, we also examined the effects of TERE1 and the interacting protein TBL2 on cellular cholesterol. Ectopic TERE1 or TBL2 expression in Caki-1, Caki-2 and HEK 293 cells reduced cholesterol by up to 40%. RT-PCR analysis determined that TERE1 activated several SXR targets known to regulate lipid metabolism, consistent with predictions based on its role in menaquinone synthesis. Loss of TERE1 may contribute to the altered lipid metabolic phenotype associated with progression in RCC via an uncoupling of ROS/RNS and SXR signaling from apoptosis by elevation of cholesterol.

Hsu DM, Agarwal S, Benham A, et al.
G-CSF receptor positive neuroblastoma subpopulations are enriched in chemotherapy-resistant or relapsed tumors and are highly tumorigenic.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(13):4134-46 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Neuroblastoma is a neural crest-derived embryonal malignancy, which accounts for 13% of all pediatric cancer mortality, primarily due to tumor recurrence. Therapy-resistant cancer stem cells are implicated in tumor relapse, but definitive phenotypic evidence of the existence of these cells has been lacking. In this study, we define a highly tumorigenic subpopulation in neuroblastoma with stem cell characteristics, based on the expression of CSF3R, which encodes the receptor for granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). G-CSF receptor positive (aka G-CSFr(+) or CD114(+)) cells isolated from a primary tumor and the NGP cell line by flow cytometry were highly tumorigenic and capable of both self-renewal and differentiation to progeny cells. CD114(+) cells closely resembled embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells with respect to their profiles of cell cycle, miRNA, and gene expression. In addition, they reflect a primitive undifferentiated neuroectodermal/neural crest phenotype revealing a developmental hierarchy within neuroblastoma tumors. We detected this dedifferentiated neural crest subpopulation in all established neuroblastoma cell lines, xenograft tumors, and primary tumor specimens analyzed. Ligand activation of CD114 by the addition of exogenous G-CSF to CD114(+) cells confirmed intact STAT3 upregulation, characteristic of G-CSF receptor signaling. Together, our data describe a novel distinct subpopulation within neuroblastoma with enhanced tumorigenicity and a stem cell-like phenotype, further elucidating the complex heterogeneity of solid tumors such as neuroblastoma. We propose that this subpopulation may represent an additional target for novel therapeutic approaches to this aggressive pediatric malignancy.

Burnett-Hartman AN, Newcomb PA, Potter JD, et al.
Genomic aberrations occurring in subsets of serrated colorectal lesions but not conventional adenomas.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(9):2863-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
A subset of aggressive colorectal cancers exhibit BRAF mutation, MLH1 methylation, and a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), but precursors are poorly established. In this study, we determined the status of these markers in colorectal polyps and evaluated associated risk factors. The study included 771 polyp cases and 1,027 controls who were ages 24 to 80 years, part of a group health program, received a colonoscopy from 1998 to 2007, and completed a structured questionnaire assessing risk factors. Following standard pathology review, polyps were assayed for BRAF mutation (V600E) and tested for MLH1 and CIMP methylation, the latter including the genes, CACNA1G, IGF2, NEUROG1, RUNX3, and SOCS1. Polytomous logistic regression was used to estimate ORs and 95% confidence intervals for the association between molecularly defined subsets of polyps and potential risk factors. There were 580 conventional adenomas and 419 serrated lesions successfully assayed. For adenomas, the prevalence of each marker was ≤1%. In contrast, 55% of serrated lesions harbored mutant BRAF, 26% were CIMP-high, and 5% had methylated MLH1. In these lesions, the highest prevalence of markers was in sessile-serrated polyps (SSP) of ≥10 mm that were in the right-side/cecal regions of the colon. Risk factors for CIMP-high-serrated lesions included Caucasian race, current smoking status, and a history of polyps, whereas for serrated lesions with mutant BRAF, the significant risk factors were male sex, current smoking status, obesity, and a history of polyps. Our results suggest that SSPs and other large, right-sided serrated lesions have a unique molecular profile that is similar to CIMP-high, BRAF-mutated colorectal cancers.

Jacobs MS, Persons DL, Fraga GR
EGFR and MYC gene copy number aberrations are more common in squamous cell carcinoma than keratoacanthoma: a FISH study.
J Cutan Pathol. 2013; 40(5):447-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MYC genomic aberrations have been described in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) but have not been widely investigated in keratoacanthoma (KA). EGFR and MYC were evaluated by fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry in 8 verrucae, 19 involuting KA (IKA), 23 classic KA (CKA), 6 atypical KA (AKA) and 19 SCC. Increased EGFR gene copy number was seen in 9 of 23 CKA and 14 of 19 SCC (p = 0.03). Increased MYC gene copy number was observed in 7 of 23 CKA and 17 of 19 SCC (p = 0.0001). MYC gene amplification was more common in SCC than CKA (p = 0.005), while EGFR gene amplification was rare and not significant. MYC protein overexpression was identified in 6 of 23 CKA and 14 of 19 SCC (p = 0.005). There was no statistical difference in EGFR protein overexpression in SCC and CKA (p = 0.06). EGFR and MYC aberrations were rare in IKA. AKA showed EGFR and MYC anomalies at an incidence intermediate between CKA and SCC. EGFR and MYC gene copy number aberrations are more common in SCC than KA. The incidence of aberrations parallels the degree of cytologic atypia in KA.

Dutta P, Bui T, Bauckman KA, et al.
EVI1 splice variants modulate functional responses in ovarian cancer cells.
Mol Oncol. 2013; 7(3):647-68 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Amplification of 3q26.2, found in many cancer lineages, is a frequent and early event in ovarian cancer. We previously defined the most frequent region of copy number increase at 3q26.2 to EVI1 (ecotropic viral integration site-1) and MDS1 (myelodysplastic syndrome 1) (aka MECOM), an observation recently confirmed by the cancer genome atlas (TCGA). MECOM is increased at the DNA, RNA, and protein level and likely contributes to patient outcome. Herein, we report that EVI1 is aberrantly spliced, generating multiple variants including a Del(190-515) variant (equivalent to previously reported) expressed in >90% of advanced stage serous epithelial ovarian cancers. Although EVI1(Del190-515) lacks ∼70% of exon 7, it binds CtBP1 as well as SMAD3, important mediators of TGFβ signaling, similar to wild type EVI1. This contrasts with EVI1 1-268 which failed to interact with CtBP1. Interestingly, the EVI1(Del190-515) splice variant preferentially localizes to PML nuclear bodies compared to wild type and EVI1(Del427-515). While wild type EVI1 efficiently repressed TGFβ-mediated AP-1 (activator protein-1) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) promoters, EVI1(Del190-515) elicited a slight increase in both promoter activities. Expression of EVI1 and EVI1(Del427-515) (but not EVI1(Del190-515)) in OVCAR8 ovarian cancer cells increased cyclin E1 LMW expression and cell cycle progression. Furthermore, knockdown of specific EVI1 splice variants (both MDS1/EVI1 and EVI1(Del190-515)) markedly increased claudin-1 mRNA and protein expression in HEY ovarian and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Changes in claudin-1 were associated with alterations in specific epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers concurrent with reduced migratory potential. Collectively, EVI1 is frequently aberrantly spliced in ovarian cancer with specific forms eliciting altered functions which could potentially contribute to ovarian cancer pathophysiology.

Shull AY, Clendenning ML, Ghoshal-Gupta S, et al.
Somatic mutations, allele loss, and DNA methylation of the Cub and Sushi Multiple Domains 1 (CSMD1) gene reveals association with early age of diagnosis in colorectal cancer patients.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(3):e58731 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Cub and Sushi Multiple Domains 1 (CSMD1) gene, located on the short arm of chromosome 8, codes for a type I transmembrane protein whose function is currently unknown. CSMD1 expression is frequently lost in many epithelial cancers. Our goal was to characterize the relationships between CSMD1 somatic mutations, allele imbalance, DNA methylation, and the clinical characteristics in colorectal cancer patients.
METHODS: We sequenced the CSMD1 coding regions in 54 colorectal tumors using the 454FLX pyrosequencing platform to interrogate 72 amplicons covering the entire coding sequence. We used heterozygous SNP allele ratios at multiple CSMD1 loci to determine allelic balance and infer loss of heterozygosity. Finally, we performed methylation-specific PCR on 76 colorectal tumors to determine DNA methylation status for CSMD1 and known methylation targets ALX4, RUNX3, NEUROG1, and CDKN2A.
RESULTS: Using 454FLX sequencing and confirming with Sanger sequencing, 16 CSMD1 somatic mutations were identified in 6 of the 54 colorectal tumors (11%). The nonsynonymous to synonymous mutation ratio of the 16 somatic mutations was 15:1, a ratio significantly higher than the expected 2:1 ratio (p = 0.014). This ratio indicates a presence of positive selection for mutations in the CSMD1 protein sequence. CSMD1 allelic imbalance was present in 19 of 37 informative cases (56%). Patients with allelic imbalance and CSMD1 mutations were significantly younger (average age, 41 years) than those without somatic mutations (average age, 68 years). The majority of tumors were methylated at one or more CpG loci within the CSMD1 coding sequence, and CSMD1 methylation significantly correlated with two known methylation targets ALX4 and RUNX3. C:G>T:A substitutions were significantly overrepresented (47%), suggesting extensive cytosine methylation predisposing to somatic mutations.
CONCLUSIONS: Deep amplicon sequencing and methylation-specific PCR reveal that CSMD1 alterations can correlate with earlier clinical presentation in colorectal tumors, thus further implicating CSMD1 as a tumor suppressor gene.

Zhou Z, Luther N, Ibrahim GM, et al.
B7-H3, a potential therapeutic target, is expressed in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
J Neurooncol. 2013; 111(3):257-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a brain cancer with a median survival of only 1 year. Lack of molecular characterization of this tumor impedes the development of novel therapies. Membrane protein B7-H3, aka CD276, involved in interactions with host defenses in certain cancers, has been shown to be over-expressed in the majority of malignant neuroectodermal tumors including adult high-grade glioma. Targeting B7-H3 with a monoclonal antibody has demonstrated safety and efficacy in the salvage treatment of stage IV childhood neuroblastoma, another neuroectodermal tumor. It thus stands to reason that B7-H3 might serve as a therapeutic target in DIPG. B7-H3 immunoreactivity was determined in DIPG and non-diffuse brainstem glioma specimens with immunohistochemistry. In addition, B7-H3 mRNA expression was evaluated with microarrays in another set of specimens. All of the nine (100 %) DIPG specimens were shown to be B7-H3 immunoreactive. In the non-diffuse brainstem glioma group, none of the eight WHO grade I specimens showed B7-H3 immunoreactivity and nine of the 24 WHO grade II specimens (37.5 %) showed B7-H3 immunoreactivity. The association between histological grade and B7-H3 immunoreactivity was statistically highly significant. B7-H3 mRNA expression was also significantly higher in DIPG samples than in normal brain and juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (WHO grade I) specimens. In summary, B7-H3 is over-expressed in DIPG. Given the need for novel treatment in this disease, antibody-based immunotherapy against B7-H3 in DIPG warrants further investigation.

Brant KA, Leikauf GD
Dysregulation of FURIN by prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 in lung epithelial NCI-H292 cells.
Mol Carcinog. 2014; 53(3):192-200 [PubMed] Related Publications
Because proprotein convertases (PCSKs) activate growth factors and matrix metalloproteinase, these enzymes have been implicated in non-small cell lung cancer tumor progression and aggressiveness. Previous studies indicate that one PCSK member, FURIN is overexpressed in NSCLC, but little is known regarding the mechanisms driving PCSKs expression during malignant change. We sought to determine whether prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (prostaglandin G/H synthase and cyclooxygenase) (PTGS2) (aka COX2), whose expression is also frequently increased in NSCLC, differentially regulates PCSK expression and activity between normal (NHBE) and NSCLC epithelial cells (NCI-H292, NCI-H441, A549). NSCLC cells exhibit significantly greater cell-associated and secreted PCSK activity as compared with NHBE. The heightened activity is consistent with increased FURIN, PCSK4, and PCSK6 protein in the NCSLC cells. Inhibition of PTGS2 activity using NS-398 and siRNA decreased FURIN mRNA, protein, activity along with cell proliferation in NCI-H292 cells but not NHBE cells. NSCLC also expressed elevated levels of the transcription factor E2F1. When NCI-H292 cells were transfected with E2F1 siRNA, both PTGS2 expression and PCSK activity were attenuated, arguing a pivotal role for E2F1 in the differential regulation of PCSKs by PTGS2. Our results highlight a novel role for PTGS2 in NSCLC and may provide a mechanism, whereby PTGS2 inhibitors suppress lung cancer cell growth.

Guichet PO, Bieche I, Teigell M, et al.
Cell death and neuronal differentiation of glioblastoma stem-like cells induced by neurogenic transcription factors.
Glia. 2013; 61(2):225-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiform (GBM) are devastating brain tumors containing a fraction of multipotent stem-like cells which are highly tumorigenic. These cells are resistant to treatments and are likely to be responsible for tumor recurrence. One approach to eliminate GBM stem-like cells would be to force their terminal differentiation. During development, neurons formation is controlled by neurogenic transcription factors such as Ngn1/2 and NeuroD1. We found that in comparison with oligodendrogenic genes, the expression of these neurogenic genes is low or absent in GBM tumors and derived cultures. We thus explored the effect of overexpressing these neurogenic genes in three CD133(+) Sox2(+) GBM stem-like cell cultures and the U87 glioma line. Introduction of Ngn2 in CD133(+) cultures induced massive cell death, proliferation arrest and a drastic reduction of neurosphere formation. Similar effects were observed with NeuroD1. Importantly, Ngn2 effects were accompanied by the downregulation of Olig2, Myc, Shh and upregulation of Dcx and NeuroD1 expression. The few surviving cells adopted a typical neuronal morphology and some of them generated action potentials. These cells appeared to be produced at the expense of GFAP(+) cells which were radically reduced after differentiation with Ngn2. In vivo, Ngn2-expressing cells were unable to form orthotopic tumors. In the U87 glioma line, Ngn2 could not induce neuronal differentiation although proliferation in vitro and tumoral growth in vivo were strongly reduced. By inducing cell death, cell cycle arrest or differentiation, this work supports further exploration of neurogenic proteins to oppose GBM stem-like and non-stem-like cell growth.

Gourgari E, Saloustros E, Stratakis CA
Large-cell calcifying Sertoli cell tumors of the testes in pediatrics.
Curr Opin Pediatr. 2012; 24(4):518-22 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The aim of this review is to describe the clinical, biochemical, radiographic, histological, and functional characteristics of large-cell calcifying Sertoli cell tumors of the testes (LCCSCTs). We describe the two main syndromes associated with these tumors: Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) caused mainly by mutations in the STK11 (aka LKB1) gene, which encodes a serine-threonine kinase, and Carney complex (CNC), which is most often caused by PRKAR1A mutations, the gene encoding regulatory subunit type 1 of protein kinase A.
RECENT FINDINGS: Relatively few patients have been reported in the literature with LCCSCTs. In children they often present as prepubertal and/or peripubertal gynecomastia. Although these tumors are very rare, they occur with higher frequency among patients with PJS and CNC. Orchiectomy was often performed in the past; however, these tumors are overwhelmingly benign and, unless there are significant hormonal changes or pain and/or mass effects, there is no need for surgery. Tumors that lead to hyperestrogenemia may be treated efficiently with aromatase inhibitors; any change in appearance should prompt evaluation for malignancy.
SUMMARY: The detection of LCCSCTs may point to an underlying genetic multiple neoplasia syndrome such as PJS or CNC. Surgery is rarely indicated and aromatase inhibitors constitute an effective treatment for those cases that are associated with gynecomastia and/or advanced skeletal age.

Aka JA, Zerradi M, Houle F, et al.
17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 modulates breast cancer protein profile and impacts cell migration.
Breast Cancer Res. 2012; 14(3):R92 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Human 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (17β-HSD1) is a steroid-converting enzyme that has long been known to play critical roles in estradiol synthesis and more recently in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) inactivation, showing a dual function that promotes breast cancer cell proliferation. Previously, we reported the first observation of the influence of the enzyme on endogenous estrogen-responsive gene expression. Here, we demonstrate the impact of 17β-HSD1 expression on the breast cancer cell proteome and investigate its role in cell migration.
METHODS: 17β-HSD1 was stably transfected in MCF7 cells and the proteome of the generated cells overexpressing 17β-HSD1 (MCF7-17βHSD1 cells) was compared to that of the wild type MCF7 cells. Proteomics study was performed using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by mass spectrometry analysis of differentially expressed protein spots. Reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to investigate the transcription of individual gene. The effect of 17β-HSD1 on MCF7 cell migration was verified by a wound-healing assay.
RESULTS: Proteomic data demonstrate that the expression of more than 59 proteins is modulated following 17β-HSD1 overexpression. 17β-HSD1 regulates the expression of important genes and proteins that are relevant to cell growth control, such as BRCA2 and CDKN1A interacting protein (BCCIP) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) which are down- and upregulated in MCF7-17βHSD1 cells, respectively. RT-qPCR data reveal that 17β-HSD1 increases the mRNA levels of estrogen receptors (ER) alpha and beta by 171 and 120%, respectively, while decreasing that of the androgen receptor by 64%. Interestingly, 17β-HSD1 increases the mRNA transcript (by 3.6 times) and the protein expression of the metastasis suppressor gene nm23-H1 and the expression of the two enzymes are closely correlated. We have further shown that 17β-HSD1 expression is associated with an increase of MCF7 cell migration.
CONCLUSIONS: In addition to the regulation of important genes, we have demonstrated for the first time that 17β-HSD1 increases breast cancer cell migration, in spite of its positive regulation of the antimetastatic gene NM23. This is also correlated to its stimulation of breast cancer cell growth, further confirming its targeting in ER positive breast cancer. The novel findings in this study suggest several directions for future research on the contribution of 17β-HSD1 to breast cancer progression and related treatment.

Hartmann EM, Beà S, Navarro A, et al.
Increased tumor cell proliferation in mantle cell lymphoma is associated with elevated insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA-binding protein 3 expression.
Mod Pathol. 2012; 25(9):1227-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mantle cell lymphoma is an aggressive, non-curable B-cell lymphoma, characterized by the translocation t(11;14)(q13;q32) involving CCND1 and a high number of additional genetic alterations. Chromosomal gains of 7p are frequent in mantle cell lymphoma, with insulin-like growth factor II mRNA-binding protein 3 (IGF2BP3 aka IMP3) being the most upregulated gene in this region. IGF2BP3 is a member of the IGF II mRNA-BP family, and increased IGF2BP3 expression is associated with an aggressive behavior in many malignant tumors. We here analyze selected genes related to IGF signaling in gene expression and genomic array data of 8 mantle cell lymphoma cell lines and 12 primary mantle cell lymphomas and study IGF2BP3 protein expression in 172 well-characterized primary mantle cell lymphomas by immunohistochemistry. The majority of mantle cell lymphoma cell lines and primary cases showed elevated IGF2BP3 mRNA expression and a subset also expressed the IGF1 and IGF2 receptors. On the protein level, 66 of 172 primary mantle cell lymphomas showed IGF2BP3 expression in >50% of tumor cells, and strong IGF2BP3 protein expression was highly associated with increased proliferation as measured by the Ki-67 index, but not with overall survival of mantle cell lymphoma patients. Only a subset of mantle cell lymphomas with marked IGF2BP3 expression had an underlying chromosomal gain in 7p, suggesting that additional mechanisms are involved in the upregulation of IGF2BP3 in mantle cell lymphoma. In seven paired mantle cell lymphoma samples, IGF2BP3 protein expression remained constant between primary diagnosis and relapse. Increased IGF2BP3 expression and, potentially, enhanced IGF signaling may contribute proproliferative stimuli in the evolution of mantle cell lymphoma tumor cells.

Perez OD, Logg CR, Hiraoka K, et al.
Design and selection of Toca 511 for clinical use: modified retroviral replicating vector with improved stability and gene expression.
Mol Ther. 2012; 20(9):1689-98 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Retroviral replicating vectors (RRVs) are a nonlytic alternative to oncolytic replicating viruses as anticancer agents, being selective both for dividing cells and for cells that have defects in innate immunity and interferon responsiveness. Tumor cells fit both these descriptions. Previous publications have described a prototype based on an amphotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV), encoding yeast cytosine deaminase (CD) that converts the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to the potent anticancer drug, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in an infected tumor. We report here the selection of one lead clinical candidate based on a general design goal to optimize the genetic stability of the virus and the CD activity produced by the delivered transgene. Vectors were tested for titer, genetic stability, CD protein and enzyme activity, ability to confer susceptibility to 5-FC, and preliminary in vivo antitumor activity and stability. One vector, Toca 511, (aka T5.0002) encoding an optimized CD, shows a threefold increased specific activity in infected cells over infection with the prototype RRV and shows markedly higher genetic stability. Animal testing demonstrated that Toca 511 replicates stably in human tumor xenografts and, after 5-FC administration, causes complete regression of such xenografts. Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec) has been taken forward to preclinical and clinical trials.

Male H, Patel V, Jacob MA, et al.
Inhibition of RalA signaling pathway in treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.
Lung Cancer. 2012; 77(2):252-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer and relatively resistant to chemotherapy. The most prevalent molecular abnormality in NSCLC is the overactivation of K-Ras proto-oncogene; therefore, elucidating down-stream Ras signaling in NSCLC is significantly important in developing novel therapies against this malignancy. Our work indicates that RalA, an important effector of Ras, is activated in NSCLC cell lines. While RalA was also overactivated in fetal human broncho-epithelial cells, RalBP1 (Ral binding protein-1), an important down-stream effector of RalA, was expressed at higher levels in cancer cell lines. Aurora kinase-A (AKA), an upstream activator of RalA, was also found to be active only in malignant cells. The outcome of inhibition of RalA (by gene specific silencing using a lentivirus) on the malignant phenotype of A549 cells was also studied. While proliferation and invasiveness of A549 cells were reduced upon silencing RalA, apoptosis and necrosis were elevated in such conditions. Additionally, the in vivo tumorigenesis of A549 cells was reduced upon partial inhibition of RalA and AKA using pharmacological inhibitors. Finally, we were interested in evaluating the level of active RalA in the fraction of NSCLC cells expressing cancer stem cell markers. For this purpose cells with increased expression of CD44 were separated from A549 cells and compared with cells with low level of expression of this marker and an unsorted population. A significant enhancement of RalA activation in high CD44+ cells was found as potential evidence for involvement of RalA signaling in initiation of the neoplastic procedure and an important contributor for tumor maintenance in NSCLC. Further studies can reveal therapeutic, preventive and diagnostic value of RalA pathway in this deadly disease.

Aka JA, Adjo Aka J, Lin SX
Comparison of functional proteomic analyses of human breast cancer cell lines T47D and MCF7.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(2):e31532 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
T47D and MCF7 are two human hormone-dependent breast cancer cell lines which are widely used as experimental models for in vitro and in vivo (tumor xenografts) breast cancer studies. Several proteins involved in cancer development were identified in these cell lines by proteomic analyses. Although these studies reported the proteomic profiles of each cell line, until now, their differential protein expression profiles have not been established. Here, we used two-dimensional gel and mass spectrometry analyses to compare the proteomic profiles of the two cell lines, T47D and MCF7. Our data revealed that more than 164 proteins are differentially expressed between them. According to their biological functions, the results showed that proteins involved in cell growth stimulation, anti-apoptosis mechanisms and cancerogenesis are more strongly expressed in T47D than in MCF7. These proteins include G1/S-specific cyclin-D3 and prohibitin. Proteins implicated in transcription repression and apoptosis regulation, including transcriptional repressor NF-X1, nitrilase homolog 2 and interleukin-10, are, on the contrary, more strongly expressed in MCF7 as compared to T47D. Five proteins that were previously described as breast cancer biomarkers, namely cathepsin D, cathepsin B, protein S100-A14, heat shock protein beta-1 (HSP27) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), are found to be differentially expressed in the two cell lines. A list of differentially expressed proteins between T47D and MCF7 was generated, providing useful information for further studies of breast cancer mechanisms with these cell lines as models.

Mazzoleni S, Galli R
Gliomagenesis: a game played by few players or a team effort?
Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2012; 4:205-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) represents the most aggressive and deadliest brain tumor of adults. To date, cell heterogeneity within GBM has been explained by the "hierarchical" model of tumorigenesis, aka the "cancer stem cell" hypothesis. In agreement with this model, only rare tumor cells, namely the cancer stem cells (CSCs), are responsible for GBM initiation and, as such, are considered the favored target of therapy. However, multiple evidence has recently indicated that tumor-initiating cells (TICs) may not represent a restricted and infrequent GBM component; rather, they might constitute most of the cells within the tumor bulk. Here we review several studies that recently shed new light on the process of gliomagenesis. We critically analyze the methodological inconsistencies and drawbacks that are causing protracted controversy in the field. Finally, we discuss the clinical implications and the novel therapeutic scenarios that have been put forward by the presence of functionally and molecularly distinct subpopulations of GBM-initiating cells within the same tumor.

Xiang C, Baubet V, Pal S, et al.
RP58/ZNF238 directly modulates proneurogenic gene levels and is required for neuronal differentiation and brain expansion.
Cell Death Differ. 2012; 19(4):692-702 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Although neurogenic pathways have been described in the developing neocortex, less is known about mechanisms ensuring correct neuronal differentiation thus also preventing tumor growth. We have shown that RP58 (aka zfp238 or znf238) is highly expressed in differentiating neurons, that its expression is lost or diminished in brain tumors, and that its reintroduction blocks their proliferation. Mice with loss of RP58 die at birth with neocortical defects. Using a novel conditional RP58 allele here we show that its CNS-specific loss yields a novel postnatal phenotype: microencephaly, agenesis of the corpus callosum and cerebellar hypoplasia that resembles the chr1qter deletion microcephaly syndrome in human. RP58 mutant brains maintain precursor pools but have reduced neuronal and increased glial differentiation. Well-timed downregulation of pax6, ngn2 and neuroD1 depends on RP58 mediated transcriptional repression, ngn2 and neuroD1 being direct targets. Thus, RP58 may act to favor neuronal differentiation and brain growth by coherently repressing multiple proneurogenic genes in a timely manner.

Jo P, Jung K, Grade M, et al.
CpG island methylator phenotype infers a poor disease-free survival in locally advanced rectal cancer.
Surgery. 2012; 151(4):564-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Locally advanced rectal cancers are treated with preoperative radiochemotherapy (RCT). However, subsets of patients have no benefit from preoperative treatment. Since epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation, may influence response to neoadjuvant treatment we studied the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) in patients who received a 5-fluouracil based RCT.
METHODS: One hundred fifty patients with locally advanced rectal cancer, treated within a phase III clinical trial (CAO/ARO/AIO-94 and -04), were included in this analysis. CIMP was assessed by methylation specific PCR (MSP) using RUNX3, SOCS1, NEUROG1, IGF2, and CACNA1G as a marker panel. Loss of mismatch repair gene (MMR) expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry for a subset of patients. KRAS and BRAF mutation status were assessed using Sanger sequencing.
RESULTS: The CIMP status could be established in all 150 patients. Fifteen (10%) revealed CIMP positivity (≥3 methylated promoters), whereas 135 patients (90%) where classified as CIMP negative. Analysis for MMR status did not reveal any microsatellite instability (MSI). A single mutation of the BRAF gene (D594G) was detected. The KRAS gene (exon 1, 2, and 3) was mutated in 65 tumors (43%) but was not correlated to a specific CIMP status. Three- and 5-year disease-free survival was notably worse in CIMP positive patients (56% and 0% vs 80% and 75%; P < .01) suggesting an increased likelihood of poor clinical outcome (HR 5.5; 95%CI: [2.1, 13.9]).
CONCLUSION: CIMP positivity, defined by methylation of at least 3 specific gene promoters, is an infrequent event in locally advanced rectal cancer. However, it increases the likelihood of distant metastases. Therefore, the CIMP status may be included as a molecular marker for the identification of high-risk patients and might contribute to individual treatment stratification.

Hu WY, Shi GB, Hu DP, et al.
Actions of estrogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals on human prostate stem/progenitor cells and prostate cancer risk.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012; 354(1-2):63-73 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Estrogen reprogramming of the prostate gland as a function of developmental exposures (aka developmental estrogenization) results in permanent alterations in structure and gene expression that lead to an increased incidence of prostatic lesions with aging. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) with estrogenic activity have been similarly linked to an increased prostate cancer risk. Since it has been suggested that stem cells and cancer stem cells are potential targets of cancer initiation and disease management, it is highly possible that estrogens and EDCs influence the development and progression of prostate cancer through reprogramming and transforming the prostate stem and early stage progenitor cells. In this article, we review recent literature highlighting the effects of estrogens and EDCs on prostate cancer risk and discuss recent advances in prostate stem/progenitor cell research. Our laboratory has recently developed a novel prostasphere model using normal human prostate stem/progenitor cells and established that these cells express estrogen receptors (ERs) and are direct targets of estrogen action. Further, using a chimeric in vivo prostate model derived from these normal human prostate progenitor cells, we demonstrated for the first time that estrogens initiate and promote prostatic carcinogenesis in an androgen-supported environment. We herein discuss these findings and highlight new evidence using our in vitro human prostasphere assay for perturbations in human prostate stem cell self-renewal and differentiation by natural steroids as well as EDCs. These findings support the hypothesis that tissue stem cells may be direct EDC targets which may underlie life-long reprogramming as a consequence of developmental and/or transient adult exposures.

Remo A, Zanella C, Molinari E, et al.
Rhabdoid carcinoma of the colon: a distinct entity with a very aggressive behavior: a case report associated with a polyposis coli and review of the literature.
Int J Surg Pathol. 2012; 20(2):185-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdoid colon tumors (RCTs) are rare lesions whose existence as an independent distinct entity remains controversial. To date, 6 RCTs have been reported. This study reports a novel case associated with polyposis coli in a 73-year-old woman. Histologically, the neoplasia was heterogeneous consisting of an adenocarcinoma associated with rhabdoid features. In rhabdoid component, an intense expression of MSH2 was noted but MLH1 was negative. A BRAF V600E mutation and no KRAS mutations were identified. The promoter regions of subset of genes highly specific to characterize the CIMP status (NEUROG1, IGF2, RUNX3, SOCS1, including MLH1) were hypermethylated, suggesting the presence of CIMP+ and MSI high tumor. In conclusion, all RCTs have similar clinical features. The presence of polyposis and adenocarcinoma component as well as the expression of mesenchymal marker suggests a sarcomatous dedifferentiation. It is argued that RCT could be a very aggressive entity of colon, which could benefit from new biological colonic treatments.

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