Research IndicatorsGraph generated 11 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 11 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (4)
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.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
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: NOTCH4 (cancer-related)
Hypoxia promotes stem cell maintenance and tumor progression, but it remains unclear how it regulates long-term adaptation toward these processes. We reveal a striking downregulation of the hypoxia-inducible histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) demethylase JMJD1A as a hallmark of clinical human germ cell-derived tumors, such as seminomas, yolk sac tumors, and embryonal carcinomas. Jmjd1a was not essential for stem cell self-renewal but played a crucial role as a tumor suppressor in opposition to the hypoxia-regulated oncogenic H3K9 methyltransferase G9a. Importantly, loss of Jmjd1a resulted in increased tumor growth, whereas loss of G9a produced smaller tumors. Pharmacological inhibition of G9a also resulted in attenuation of tumor growth, offering a novel therapeutic strategy for germ cell-derived tumors. Finally, Jmjd1a and G9a drive mutually opposing expression of the antiangiogenic factor genes Robo4, Igfbp4, Notch4, and Tfpi accompanied by changes in H3K9 methylation status. Thus, we demonstrate a novel mechanistic link whereby hypoxia-regulated epigenetic changes are instrumental for the control of tumor growth through coordinated dysregulation of antiangiogenic gene expression.
We showed previously that zerumbone (ZER), a sesquiterpene isolated from subtropical ginger, inhibited in vitro (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231cells) and in vivo (MDA-MB-231 cells) growth of human breast cancer cells in association with apoptosis induction. Here, we investigated the role of Notch receptors in anticancer effects of ZER (cell migration inhibition and apoptosis induction) using breast cancer cells. Western blotting was performed to determine protein expression changes. Effect of ZER on transcriptional activity of Notch was assessed by luciferase reporter assays. Transfection with small hairpin RNA or small interfering RNA was performed for knockdown of Notch2 or Presenilin-1 protein. Cell migration and apoptosis were quantitated by Boyden chamber assay and flow cytometry, respectively. Exposure of MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, and SUM159 cells to ZER resulted in increased cleavage of Notch2 in each cell line. On the other hand, levels of cleaved Notch1 and Notch4 proteins were decreased following ZER treatment. Increased cleavage of Notch2 in ZER-treated cells was accompanied by induction of Presenilin-1 protein and transcriptional activation of Notch. Inhibition of cell migration as well as apoptosis induction resulting from ZER exposure was significantly augmented by knockdown of Notch2 protein. ZER-mediated cleavage of Notch2 protein in MDA-MB-231 cells was markedly attenuated upon RNA interference of Presenilin-1. Knockdown of Presenilin-1 protein also resulted in escalation of ZER-induced apoptosis. The present study indicates that Notch2 activation by ZER inhibits its proapoptotic and anti-migratory response at least in breast cancer cells.
Lunde ML, Roman E, Warnakulasuriya S, et al.Profiling of chromosomal changes in potentially malignant and malignant oral mucosal lesions from South and South-East Asia using array-comparative genomic hybridization.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2014 May-Jun; 11(3):127-40 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND/AIM: Using array-CGH, the present study aimed to explore genome-wide profiles of chromosomal aberrations in samples of oral cancer (OC), oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) and their corresponding normal oral mucosa from Indian (n=18) and OC from Sri Lankan (n=12) patients with history of BQ use, and correlate the findings to other clinicopathological parameters. A second aim was to verify the results from the array-CGH by selecting a candidate gene, S100A14, and examine its expression and genetic polymorphisms by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) using samples from both populations and from multi-national archival DNA and paraffin-embedded samples of OC.
RESULTS: In OC and OSF samples, 80 chromosomal regions (harboring 349 genes) were found as deleted or amplified. Out of the 349 genes, 34 (including several S100 gene family members) were found to be deleted and 30 (containing NOTCH4, TP53 and ERBB2) were found as amplified in OSF and OC cases. 285 genes (including TP53, ERBB2 and BRCA1) were found either as deleted in one population or amplified in the other. Few chromosomal alterations were found to be exclusive to either OC or OSF samples alone. IHC demonstrated down-regulation and transfer of S100A14 protein expression from membrane to cytoplasmic. RFLP showed differential distribution between Asian samples compared to African and Western samples at 461 G>A SNP.
CONCLUSION: The present study provides findings on chromosomal aberrations likely to be involved in pathogenesis of OC and OSF. Findings of chromosomal changes harboring genes previously found in OC examined from Western, African and Asian populations demonstrate the importance of these changes in development of OC, and the existence of common gene-specific amplifications/deletions, regardless of source of samples or attributed risk factors. We report a down-regulation of S100A14 expression to be a significant marker in association with loss of 1q21 in 70% of OC samples.
INTRODUCTION: Resistance to anti-estrogen therapies is a major cause of disease relapse and mortality in estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive breast cancers. Tamoxifen or estrogen withdrawal increases the dependence of breast cancer cells on Notch signalling. Here, we investigated the contribution of Nicastrin and Notch signalling in endocrine-resistant breast cancer cells.
METHODS: We used two models of endocrine therapies resistant (ETR) breast cancer: tamoxifen-resistant (TamR) and long-term estrogen-deprived (LTED) MCF7 cells. We evaluated the migratory and invasive capacity of these cells by Transwell assays. Expression of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) regulators as well as Notch receptors and targets were evaluated by real-time PCR and western blot analysis. Moreover, we tested in vitro anti-Nicastrin monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and gamma secretase inhibitors (GSIs) as potential EMT reversal therapeutic agents. Finally, we generated stable Nicastrin overexpessing MCF7 cells and evaluated their EMT features and response to tamoxifen.
RESULTS: We found that ETR cells acquired an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype and displayed increased levels of Nicastrin and Notch targets. Interestingly, we detected higher level of Notch4 but lower levels of Notch1 and Notch2 suggesting a switch to signalling through different Notch receptors after acquisition of resistance. Anti-Nicastrin monoclonal antibodies and the GSI PF03084014 were effective in blocking the Nicastrin/Notch4 axis and partially inhibiting the EMT process. As a result of this, cell migration and invasion were attenuated and the stem cell-like population was significantly reduced. Genetic silencing of Nicastrin and Notch4 led to equivalent effects. Finally, stable overexpression of Nicastrin was sufficient to make MCF7 unresponsive to tamoxifen by Notch4 activation.
CONCLUSIONS: ETR cells express high levels of Nicastrin and Notch4, whose activation ultimately drives invasive behaviour. Anti-Nicastrin mAbs and GSI PF03084014 attenuate expression of EMT molecules reducing cellular invasiveness. Nicastrin overexpression per se induces tamoxifen resistance linked to acquisition of EMT phenotype. Our finding suggest that targeting Nicastrin and/or Notch4 warrants further clinical evaluation as valid therapeutic strategies in endocrine-resistant breast cancer.
Elevated Notch ligand and receptor expression has been associated with aggressive forms of prostate cancer, suggesting a role for Notch signaling in regulation of prostate tumor initiation and progression. Here, we report a critical role for Lunatic Fringe (Lfng), which encodes an O-fucosylpeptide 3-ß-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase known to modify epidermal growth factor repeats of Notch receptor proteins, in regulation of prostate epithelial differentiation and proliferation, as well as in prostate tumor suppression. Deletion of Lfng in mice caused altered Notch activation in the prostate, associated with elevated accumulation of Notch1, Notch2, and Notch4 intracellular domains, decreased levels of the putative Notch3 intracellular fragment, as well as increased expression of Hes1, Hes5, and Hey2. Loss of Lfng resulted in expansion of the basal layer, increased proliferation of both luminal and basal cells, and ultimately, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. The Lfng-null prostate showed down-regulation of prostatic tumor suppressor gene NKX3.1 and increased androgen receptor expression. Interestingly, expression of LFNG and NKX3.1 were positively correlated in publically available human prostate cancer data sets. Knockdown of LFNG in DU-145 prostate cancer cells led to expansion of CD44(+)CD24(-) and CD49f(+)CD24(-) stem/progenitor-like cell population associated with enhanced prostatosphere-forming capacity. Taken together, these data revealed a tumor-suppressive role for Lfng in the prostate through differential regulation of Notch signaling.
Background Notch signaling is deregulated in human gliomas and may play a role in their malignancy. However, the role of each Notch receptor in glioma cell differentiation and progression is not clear. We examined the expression pattern of Notch receptors and compared it with differentiation markers in glioma cell lines, primary human cultures, and biopsies of different grades. Furthermore, the effects of a γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) on cell survival were assessed. Methods Notch receptors and markers of cellular differentiation were analyzed by reverse transcriptase PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and immunocytochemistry. GSI sensitivity was assessed in both cell lines and primary cultures grown as monolayers or tumorspheres, by MTT assay. Results In cell lines, Notch1 and Notch2/4 levels paralleled those of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin, respectively. In human gliomas and primary cultures, Notch1 was moderate/strong in low-grade tumors but weak in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Conversely, Notch4 increased from astrocytoma grade II to GBM. Primary GBM cultures grown in serum (monolayer) showed moderate/high levels of CD133, nestin, vimentin, and Notch4 and very low levels of GFAP and Notch1, which were reduced in tumorspheres. This effect was drastic for Notch4. GSI reduced cell survival with stronger effect in serum, whilst human primary cultures showed different sensitivity. Conclusion Data from cell lines and human gliomas suggest a correlation between expression of Notch receptors and cell differentiation. Namely, Notch1 and Notch4 are markers of differentiated and less differentiated glioma cells, respectively. We propose Notch receptors as markers of glioma grading and possible prognostic factors.
Anaplastic astrocytoma WHO grade III (A3) is a lethal brain tumor that often occurs in middle aged patients. Clinically, it is challenging to distinguish A3 from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) WHO grade IV. To reveal the genetic landscape of this tumor type, we sequenced the exome of a cohort of A3s (n=16). For comparison and to illuminate the genomic landscape of other glioma subtypes, we also included in our study diffuse astrocytoma WHO grade II (A2, n=7), oligoastrocytoma WHO grade II (OA2, n=2), anaplastic oligoastrocytoma WHO grade III (OA3, n=4), and GBM (n=28). Exome sequencing of A3s identified frequent mutations in IDH1 (75%, 12/16), ATRX (63%, 10/16), and TP53 (82%, 13/16). In contrast, the majority of GBMs (75%, 21/28) did not contain IDH1 or ATRX mutations, and displayed a distinct spectrum of mutations. Finally, our study also identified novel genes that were not previously linked to this tumor type. In particular, we found mutations in Notch pathway genes (NOTCH1, NOTCH2, NOTCH4, NOTCH2NL), including a recurrent NOTCH1-A465Tmutation, in 31% (5/16) of A3s. This study suggests genetic signatures will be useful for the classification of gliomas.
BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly aggressive brain tumor characterized by massive neovascularization, necrosis, and intense resistance to therapy. Deregulated Notch signaling has been implicated in the formation and progression of different malignancies. The present study attempted to investigate the activation status of Dll4-Notch signaling in primary human GBM and its association with vascular and clinical parameters in patients.
METHODS: Major components of Dll4-Notch signaling were examined by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry in GBM (n = 26) and control (n = 11) brain tissue. The vascular pattern (VP) and microvascular density (MVD) were analyzed after laminin immunostaining. O6-Methylguanine-methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation in GBM samples was detected by methylation-specific PCR.
RESULTS: The mRNA levels of Dll4, Jagged1, Notch1, Notch4, Hey1, Hey2, Hes1, and VEGF were 3.12-, 3.58-, 3.37-, 5.77-, 4.89-, 3.13-, 6.62-, and 32.57-fold elevated, respectively, in GBM samples, compared with the controls. Western blotting revealed a 4-, 3.7-, and 45.6-fold upregulation of Dll4, Notch1, and Hey1, respectively, accompanied by a downregulation of PTEN expression and an increase in the expression of p-Akt and VEGF. Immunostaining located the immunoreactivity of Dll4 and Notch1 in endothelial cells, microglia/macrophages, tumor cells, and astrocytes. Furthermore, the upregulation of Dll4-Notch signaling components was correlated to a low MVD and was potentially related to a classic VP, tumor edema, and MGMT promoter methylation.
CONCLUSIONS: The upregulation of Dll4-Notch signaling components was found in a subset of GBM samples and was associated with some angiogenic and clinical parameters. These findings highlight this signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target for patients with GBM who show an activation of Dll4-Notch signaling.
Rodríguez-Rodero S, Fernández AF, Fernández-Morera JL, et al.DNA methylation signatures identify biologically distinct thyroid cancer subtypes.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 98(7):2811-21 [PubMed
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the global patterns of aberrant DNA methylation in thyroid cancer.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We have used DNA methylation arrays to determine, for the first time, the genome-wide promoter methylation status of papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid tumors.
RESULTS: We identified 262 and 352 hypermethylated and 13 and 21 hypomethylated genes in differentiated papillary and follicular tumors, respectively. Interestingly, the other tumor types analyzed displayed more hypomethylated genes (280 in anaplastic and 393 in medullary tumors) than aberrantly hypermethylated genes (86 in anaplastic and 131 in medullary tumors). Among the genes indentified, we show that 4 potential tumor suppressor genes (ADAMTS8, HOXB4, ZIC1, and KISS1R) and 4 potential oncogenes (INSL4, DPPA2, TCL1B, and NOTCH4) are frequently regulated by aberrant methylation in primary thyroid tumors. In addition, we show that aberrant promoter hypomethylation-associated overexpression of MAP17 might promote tumor growth in thyroid cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: Thyroid cancer subtypes present differential promoter methylation signatures, and nondifferentiated subtypes are characterized by aberrant promoter hypomethylation rather than hypermethylation. Additional studies are needed to determine the potential clinical interest of the tumor subtype-specific DNA methylation signatures described herein and the role of aberrant promoter hypomethylation in nondifferentiated thyroid tumors.
Beschorner R, Waidelich J, Trautmann K, et al.Notch receptors in human choroid plexus tumors.
Histol Histopathol. 2013; 28(8):1055-63 [PubMed
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Notch signaling plays a role in development and formation of the normal choroid plexus (nCP), and in formation of various tumors in humans. Activation of Notch3 has been reported to promote tumor growth in invasive gliomas and to initiate formation of choroid plexus tumors (CPT) in mice. We investigated the expression of all currently known Notch receptors (Notch 1-4) in 55 samples of nCP and 88 CPT, including 61 choroid plexus papillomas (CPP), 22 atypical CPP and 5 choroid plexus carcinomas by immunohistochemistry. Notch expression was semiquantitatively evaluated separately for membranous/cytoplasmic and for nuclear staining. In addition, we examined Her2 expression (EGFR2, Her2/neu, ErbB2, CD340) because of its functional link to Notch signaling. All samples were negative for Notch3. Membranous/cytoplasmic expression of Notch1 (p<0.0001) and Notch4 (p=0.046) was significantly higher, whereas Notch2 expression was significantly lower (p<0.0001) in nCP compared to CPT. Nuclear expression of Notch1, -2 and -4 was significantly higher in CPT compared to nCP (p<0.0001 each). Expression of Notch2 and Notch4 showed a shift from a prevailing membranous/cytoplasmic expression in nCP to a predominant nuclear expression in CPT. Her2 was weakly expressed in 42/84 CPT but only in 2/53 nCP (p=0.0001) and positively correlated with nuclear expression of Notch1, -2 and 4 in CPT. In summary, a shift between membranous/cytoplasmic (non-canonical signaling pathway) and nuclear expression (canonical signaling pathway) of Notch1, -2 and -4 and upregulation of Her2 indicate neoplastic transformation in human CP and may reveal new therapeutic approaches.
Chen W, Zhang H, Wang J, et al.Lentiviral-mediated gene silencing of Notch-4 inhibits in vitro proliferation and perineural invasion of ACC-M cells.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 29(5):1797-804 [PubMed
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Salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC) is a common type of salivary gland cancer. The poor long-term prognosis for patients with SACC is mainly due to local recurrence, perineural invasion (PNI) and distant metastasis. Notch signaling plays a critical role in determining cell fate such as proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Accumulating evidence indicates that aberrant Notch-4 expression has a tumor-promoting function in SACC. In the present study, we used lentiviral-mediated RNA interference (RNAi) targeted against Notch-4 to determine the effects of decreased levels of this protein in the human highly metastatic adenoid cystic carcinoma cell line ACC-M. Furthermore, the proliferative capability as well as the PNI potential of the treated cells were observed in vitro. Our studies demonstrated that RNAi directed against Notch-4 markedly decreased Notch-4 gene expression, resulting in the inhibition of cell proliferation, and G0/G1 to S phase arrest in ACC-M cells. Knockdown of Notch-4 also resulted in a decrease in the in vitro PNI activity in ACC-M cells. To conclude, RNAi targeting against Notch-4 induces the suppression of cell growth and inhibition of PNI in vitro in ACC-M cells. Notch-4 may play an important role in regulating proliferation and PNI activity of SACC.
You C, Sandalcioglu IE, Dammann P, et al.Loss of CCM3 impairs DLL4-Notch signalling: implication in endothelial angiogenesis and in inherited cerebral cavernous malformations.
J Cell Mol Med. 2013; 17(3):407-18 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CCM3, a product of the cerebral cavernous malformation 3 or programmed cell death 10 gene (CCM3/PDCD10), is broadly expressed throughout development in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Increasing evidence indicates a crucial role of CCM3 in vascular development and in regulation of angiogenesis and apoptosis. Furthermore, loss of CCM3 causes inherited (familial) cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), a common brain vascular anomaly involving aberrant angiogenesis. This study focused on signalling pathways underlying the angiogenic functions of CCM3. Silencing CCM3 by siRNA stimulated endothelial proliferation, migration and sprouting accompanied by significant downregulation of the core components of Notch signalling including DLL4, Notch4, HEY2 and HES1 and by activation of VEGF and Erk pathways. Treatment with recombinant DLL4 (rhDLL4) restored DLL4 expression and reversed CCM3-silence-mediated impairment of Notch signalling and reduced the ratio of VEGF-R2 to VEGF-R1 expression. Importantly, restoration of DLL4-Notch signalling entirely rescued the hyper-angiogenic phenotype induced by CCM3 silence. A concomitant loss of CCM3 and the core components of DLL4-Notch signalling were also demonstrated in CCM3-deficient endothelial cells derived from human CCM lesions (CCMEC) and in a CCM3 germline mutation carrier. This study defined DLL4 as a key downstream target of CCM3 in endothelial cells. CCM3/DLL4-Notch pathway serves as an important signalling for endothelial angiogenesis and is potentially implicated in the pathomechanism of human CCMs.
Jonusiene V, Sasnauskiene A, Lachej N, et al.Down-regulated expression of Notch signaling molecules in human endometrial cancer.
Med Oncol. 2013; 30(1):438 [PubMed
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Notch signaling pathway is a highly conserved developmental pathway, which plays an important role in the regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Deregulation of Notch pathway has been connected with the carcinogenesis in a variety of cancers. In this study, we investigated the expression of Notch receptors (NOTCH1, NOTCH2, NOTCH3 and NOTCH4), ligands (JAG1, JAG2 and DLL1) and target gene HES1. Fifty paired samples of endometrial cancer and adjacent nontumor endometrial tissue from endometrial cancer patients were analyzed by quantitative PCR. The mRNA levels of all investigated molecules were lower in endometrial cancer compared to adjacent nontumor tissue. The expression of NOTCH1, NOTCH4 and DLL1 in IB stage adenocarcinoma was significantly lower (P < 0.05) than the expression in IA stage adenocarcinoma. Significant correlations were found between mRNA expression levels of Notch target gene HES1 and several Notch signaling molecules: NOTCH1, NOTCH3, DLL1 (P < 0.001) and NOTCH2, JAG2 (P < 0.05). This supports the notion that Notch pathway can function as tumor suppressor in human endometrial cancer.
BACKGROUND: There is relatively little methylation array data available specifically for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). This study aims to compare the DNA methylome across a large cohort of tumour/normal pairs.
METHODS: DNA was extracted from 44 OSCCs and paired normal mucosa. DNA methylation analysis employed the Illumina GoldenGate high-throughput array comprising 1505 CpG loci selected from 807 epigenetically regulated genes. This data was correlated with extracapsular spread (ECS), human papilloma virus (HPV) status, recurrence and 5-year survival.
RESULTS: Differential methylation levels of a number of genes distinguished the tumour tissue sample from the matched normal. Putative methylation signatures for ECS and recurrence were identified. The concept of concordant methylation or CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) in OSCC is supported by our data, with an association between 'CIMP-high' and worse prognosis. Epigenetic deregulation of NOTCH4 signalling in OSCC was also observed, as part of a possible methylation signature for recurrence, with parallels to recently discovered NOTCH mutations in HNSCC. Differences in methylation in HPV-driven cases were seen, but are less significant than that has been recently proposed in other series.
CONCLUSION: Although OSCC seems as much an 'epigenetic' as a genetic disease, the translational potential of cancer epigenetics has yet to be fully exploited. This data points to the application of epigenetic biomarkers and targets available to further the development of therapy in OSCC.
In order to achieve a better outcome for pancreatic cancer patients, reliable biomarkers are required which allow for improved diagnosis. These may emanate from a more detailed molecular understanding of the aggressive nature of this disease. Having previously reported that Notch3 activation appeared to be associated with more aggressive disease, we have now examined components of this pathway (Notch1, Notch3, Notch4, HES-1, HEY-1) in more detail in resectable (n = 42) and non-resectable (n = 50) tumours compared to uninvolved pancreas. All three Notch family members were significantly elevated in tumour tissue, compared to uninvolved pancreas, with expression maintained within matched lymph node metastases. Furthermore, significantly higher nuclear expression of Notch1, -3 and -4, HES-1, and HEY-1 (all p ≤ 0.001) was noted in locally advanced and metastatic tumours compared to resectable cancers. In survival analyses, nuclear Notch3 and HEY-1 expression were significantly associated with reduced overall and disease-free survival following tumour resection with curative intent, with nuclear HEY-1 maintaining independent prognostic significance for both outcomes on multivariate analysis. These data further support a central role for Notch signalling in pancreatic cancer and suggest that nuclear expression of Notch3 and its target gene, HEY-1, merit validation in biomarker panels for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment efficacy. A peptide fragment of Notch3 was detected in plasma from patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer, but due to wide inter-individual variation, mean levels were not significantly different compared to age-matched controls.
González-Hernández A, Henríquez-Hernández LA, Cabrera de León A, et al.Microsatellite polymorphisms in the EGFR, NOTCH4 and E2F4 genes and their association with breast cancer risk.
Int J Biol Markers. 2012 Jul-Sep; 27(3):e219-26 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND: The sequences of many human genes that encode proteins involved in cancer contain polymorphic microsatellites. Variations in microsatellite length may constitute risk factors in several human diseases, a possibility that has been little explored in breast cancer. Among the genes that contain polymorphic microsatellites are EGFR, NOTCH4 and E2F4. The length of some of these microsatellites has been associated with breast cancer risk.
PURPOSE AND METHODS: To determine whether the length of the microsatellites (CA)n in EGFR, (CTG)n in NOTCH4 and (AGC)n in E2F4 was associated with breast cancer risk, we genotyped these 3 microsatellites in 212 women with breast cancer and a control group of 308 women from the general population who did not have this disease.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The allelic distribution observed for the 3 microsatellites matched that found in other white populations, with the exception of some (AGC)n alleles in E2F4, which have not been described previously. The length of (CA)n in EGFR and (CTG)n in NOTCH4 was not associated with breast cancer (OR=0.99; 95% CI 0.59-1.37; p=0.619 and OR=1.08; 95% CI 0.71-1.65; p=0.725, respectively). Short alleles (<13 repeats) of (AGC)n in E2F4 were less frequent in women with cancer than in the control sample.
Ayurvedic medicine plants continue to draw attention for the discovery of novel anticancer agents. Withaferin A (WA) is one such small-molecule constituent of the ayurvedic medicine plant Withania somnifera with efficacy against cultured and xenografted human breast cancer cells. However, the mechanism underlying anticancer effect of WA is not fully understood. This study was undertaken to determine the role of Notch signaling in anticancer effects of WA using human breast cancer cells as a model. Notably, Notch signaling is often hyperactive in human breast cancers. Exposure of MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells to pharmacological concentrations of WA resulted in cleavage (activation) of Notch2 as well as Notch4, which was accompanied by transcriptional activation of Notch as evidenced by RBP-Jk, HES-1A/B, and HEY-1 luciferase reporter assays. On the other hand, WA treatment caused a decrease in levels of both transmembrane and cleaved Notch1. The WA-mediated activation of Notch was associated with induction of γ-secretase complex components presenilin1 and/or nicastrin. Inhibition of MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cell migration resulting from WA exposure was significantly augmented by knockdown of Notch2 as well as Notch4 protein. Activation of Notch2 was not observed in cells treated with withanone or withanolide A, which are structural analogs of WA. The results of this study indicate that WA treatment activates Notch2 and Notch4, which impede inhibitory effect of WA on breast cancer cell migration.
Recent high-throughput genomic sequencing studies of solid tumors, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), ovarian cancer, lung adenocarcinoma, glioblastoma, breast cancer, and lung SCC, have highlighted DNA mutation as a mechanism for aberrant Notch signaling. A primary challenge of targeting Notch for treatment of solid malignancies is determining whether Notch signaling is cancer promoting or tumor suppressing for a specific cancer. We compiled reported Notch receptor and ligand missense and nonsense mutations to glean insights into aberrant Notch signaling. Frequencies of coding mutations differed for the 4 NOTCH genes. A total of 4.7% of tumors harbored NOTCH1 missense or nonsense mutations. NOTCH2, and NOTCH3 had similar overall mutation rates of 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively, whereas NOTCH4 mutations were rarer. Notch ligand genes were rarely mutated. The combined mutation frequency and position spectra of the 4 Notch paralogs across the different cancers provide an opportunity to begin to illuminate the different contributions of each Notch paralog to each tumor type and to identify opportunities for therapeutic targeting. Notch signaling pathway activators and inhibitors are currently in early clinical development for treatment of solid malignancies. Defining the status and consequences of altered Notch signaling will be important for selection of appropriate treatment.
Tumor cell vasculogenic mimicry (VM) describes the functional plasticity of aggressive cancer cells forming de novo vascular networks, thereby providing a perfusion pathway for rapidly growing tumors, transporting fluid from leaky vessels, and/or connecting with endothelial-lined vasculature. The underlying induction of VM seems to be related to hypoxia, which may also promote the plastic, transendothelial phenotype of tumor cells capable of VM. Since its introduction in 1999 as a novel paradigm for melanoma tumor perfusion, many studies have contributed new insights into the underlying molecular pathways supporting VM in a variety of tumors, including melanoma, glioblastoma, carcinomas, and sarcomas. In particular, critical VM-modulating genes are associated with vascular (VE-cadherin, EphA2, VEGF receptor 1), embryonic and/or stem cell (Nodal, Notch4), and hypoxia-related (hypoxia-inducible factor, Twist1) signaling pathways. Each of these pathways warrants serious scrutiny as potential therapeutic, vascular targets, and diagnostic indicators of plasticity, drug resistance, and the aggressive metastatic phenotype.
Tumor-initiating cells (T-ICs), a subpopulation of cancer cells with stem cell-like properties, are related to tumor relapse and metastasis. Our previous studies identified a distinct profile of microRNA (miRNA) expression in breast T-ICs (BT-ICs), and the dysregulated miRNAs contribute to the self-renewal and tumorigenesis of these cells. However, the underlying mechanisms for miRNA dysregulation in BT-ICs remain obscure. In the present study, we demonstrated that the expression and function of miR-34c were reduced in the BT-ICs of MCF-7 and SK-3rd cells, a breast cancer cell line enriched for BT-ICs. Ectopic expression of miR-34c reduced the self-renewal of BT-ICs, inhibited epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and suppressed migration of the tumor cells via silencing target gene Notch4. Furthermore, we identified a single hypermethylated CpG site in the promoter region of miR-34c gene that contributed to transcriptional repression of miR-34c in BT-ICs by reducing DNA binding activities of Sp1. Therefore, miR-34c reduction in BT-ICs induced by a single hypermethylated CpG site in the promoter region promotes self-renewal and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of BT-ICs.
INTRODUCTION: Women with triple-negative breast cancer have the worst prognosis, frequently present with metastatic tumors and have few targeted therapy options. Notch-1 and Notch-4 are potent breast oncogenes that are overexpressed in triple-negative and other subtypes of breast cancer. PEA3, an ETS transcription factor, is also overexpressed in triple-negative and other breast cancer subtypes. We investigated whether PEA3 could be the critical transcriptional activator of Notch receptors in MDA-MB-231 and other breast cancer cells.
METHODS: Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis were performed to detect Notch-1, Notch-2, Notch-3 and Notch-4 receptor expression in breast cancer cells when PEA3 was knocked down by siRNA. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was performed to identify promoter regions for Notch genes that recruited PEA3. TAM-67 and c-Jun siRNA were used to identify that c-Jun was necessary for PEA3 enrichment on the Notch-4 promoter. A Notch-4 luciferase reporter was used to confirm that endogenous PEA3 or AP-1 activated the Notch-4 promoter region. Cell cycle analysis, trypan blue exclusion, annexin V flow cytometry, colony formation assay and an in vivo xenograft study were performed to determine the biological significance of targeting PEA3 via siRNA, Notch signaling via a γ-secretase inhibitor, or both.
RESULTS: Herein we provide new evidence for transcriptional regulation of Notch by PEA3 in breast cancer. PEA3 activates Notch-1 transcription in MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and SKBr3 breast cancer cells. PEA3 activates Notch-4 transcription in MDA-MB-231 cells where PEA3 levels are endogenously high. In SKBr3 and BT474 breast cancer cells where PEA3 levels are low, overexpression of PEA3 increases Notch-4 transcripts. Chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed the enrichment of PEA3 on Notch-1 and Notch-4 promoters in MDA-MB-231 cells. PEA3 recruitment to Notch-1 was AP-1-independent, whereas PEA3 recruitment to Notch-4 was c-JUN-dependent. Importantly, the combined inhibition of Notch signaling via a γ-secretase inhibitor (MRK-003 GSI) and knockdown of PEA3 arrested growth in the G1 phase, decreased both anchorage-dependent and anchorage-independent growth and significantly increased apoptotic cells in vitro. Moreover, either PEA3 knockdown or MRK-003 GSI treatment significantly reduced tumor growth of MDA-MB-231 xenografts in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, the results from this study demonstrate for the first time that Notch-1 and Notch-4 are novel transcriptional targets of PEA3 in breast cancer cells. Targeting of PEA3 and/or Notch pathways might provide a new therapeutic strategy for triple-negative and possibly other breast cancer subtypes.
Litten JB, Chen TT, Schultz R, et al.Activated NOTCH2 is overexpressed in hepatoblastomas: an immunohistochemical study.
Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2011 Sep-Oct; 14(5):378-83 [PubMed
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Hepatoblastoma is a pediatric malignancy characterized by the uncontrolled proliferation of immature hepatocytes (hepatoblasts). This disease is diagnosed primarily in children younger than 5 years and is disproportionately observed in former premature infants. Cytogenetically, hepatoblastoma is characterized by numerical aberrations, as well as unbalanced translocations involving the proximal region of chromosome 1q. The NOTCH2 gene has been mapped to this locus, and it is well established that the NOTCH gene family is an important regulator of several developmental pathways. Specifically, the NOTCH2 protein is known to delay hepatoblast maturation during early hepatic organogenesis, and the reduction of NOTCH2 expression correlates with the differentiation of hepatoblasts into hepatocytes and biliary cells in the developing liver. We hypothesized that NOTCH2 is involved in the pathogenesis of hepatoblastoma by maintaining a population of undifferentiated hepatoblasts. We studied the immunohistochemical expression of NOTCH2 and its isoforms NOTCH1, NOTCH3, and NOTCH4 and the NOTCH2 primary ligand JAGGED1 in hepatoblastomas. Compared with the normal liver, an increased level of NOTCH2 expression was seen in 22 of 24 (92%) hepatoblastomas. There was no significant staining for other NOTCH isoforms and JAGGED1 in hepatoblastomas. Therefore, we suggest that NOTCH2 expression and activation, independent of JAGGED1 expression, may contribute to the pathogenesis of hepatoblastoma. In the hepatoblastoma sinusoidal vasculature, we saw NOTCH3 and NOTCH1 expression. These observations have potential implications with regard to therapeutic targeting of the NOTCH signaling pathway in hepatoblastomas.
Metodieva SN, Nikolova DN, Cherneva RV, et al.Expression analysis of angiogenesis-related genes in Bulgarian patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.
Tumori. 2011 Jan-Feb; 97(1):86-94 [PubMed
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AIMS AND BACKGROUND: Angiogenesis is a key process in the early stages of tumor development. In this study we aimed to evaluate the expression of a panel of angiogenesis-related genes in a group of Bulgarian patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
METHODS AND STUDY DESIGN: We analyzed the expression of 84 genes associated with the angiogenic process in 12 NSCLCs of two histological subtypes: 7 adenocarcinomas and 5 squamous cell carcinomas. Eight peripheral nontumorous tissues were used as controls. We performed real-time PCR on pathway-specific gene arrays (SABiosciences).
RESULTS: Our pilot study identified upregulated genes in early-stage NSCLC including growth factors (TGFA and EFNA3), the adhesion molecule THBS2, cytokines and chemokines (MDK, CXCL9, CXCL10), and the serine protease PLAU. Several genes showed downregulation including one growth factor (FIGF), the receptors for growth factors TEK and S1PR1 as well as adhesion molecules (COL4A3 and CDH5), the cytokine IL6, the matrix protein LEP and the transcription factor NOTCH4. The study demonstrated deregulated genes specific for the two histological subtypes including the transcription factor HAND2, which was overexpressed in squamous cell carcinomas but not adenocarcinomas.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the limited number of patients, our results demonstrated the potential of angiogenesis-related genes as biomarkers in the early stages of NSCLC development.
Morita Y, Matsuda M, Yamaguchi T, et al.Efficacy of rituximab monotherapy for an elderly hemodialysis patient with primary cardiac lymphoma.
Intern Med. 2010; 49(19):2163-6 [PubMed
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We report a case of primary cardiac lymphoma (PCL) occurring in a 76-year-old man during maintenance hemodialysis. Chest computed tomography (CT) revealed a tumor with pericardial effusion in the left ventricular posterior wall. Cytological examination of the pericardial fluid revealed monotonous lymphoid cells positive for B-cell markers, and clonal immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangement was detected, indicating B-cell lymphoma. Rituximab monotherapy was administered biweekly at the therapeutic level on hemodialysis. The follow-up chest CT showed tumor disappearance with pericardial fluid after two courses of therapy. Rituximab monotherapy was effective for an elderly hemodialysis patient with PCL.
Siar CH, Nagatsuka H, Chuah KS, et al.Notch4 overexpression in ameloblastoma correlates with the solid/multicystic phenotype.
Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2010; 110(2):224-33 [PubMed
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OBJECTIVE: Notch signaling has been implicated in cell fate decisions during odontogenesis and tumorigenesis of some odontogenic neoplasms; however, its role in solid/multicystic (SA), unicystic (UA), and recurrent (RA) ameloblastoma remains unclear. The aim of this study was to determine Notch receptor and ligand expressions in these subtypes and to speculate on their significance.
METHODS: Notch receptors (Notch1, 2, 3, 4) and ligands (Jagged1, 2, and Delta1) were examined immunohistochemically in SA (n = 23), UA (n = 22), and RA (n = 19).
RESULTS: Notch4 overexpression in SA (n = 19/23; 82.6%) compared with UA (n = 1/22; 4.5%) or RA (n = 10/19; 52.6%) (P < .05) suggests positive correlation between Notch4 signaling and ameloblastomas with a solid/multicystic phenotype. Ligand (Jagged1 and Delta1) underexpression compared with their receptors (Notch1, 3, 4) (P < .05) and nonreactivity for Notch2 and Jagged2 in all 3 subsets suggests that ameloblastoma epithelium belongs to an earlier stage of differentiation (equivalent to inner enamel epithelium of developing tooth germ) before lineage commitment.
CONCLUSION: Present findings suggest that Notch signaling molecules may play differing roles in the acquisition of different ameloblastoma phenotypes.
Ding LC, She L, Zheng DL, et al.Notch-4 contributes to the metastasis of salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2010; 24(2):363-8 [PubMed
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The Notch signaling pathway is important for cell-cell communication; it is involved in gene regulation mechanisms that control multiple cell differentiation processes during embryonic and adult life. Notch is present in all metazoans, and vertebrates possess four different Notch receptors: Notch-1, Notch-2, Notch-3, and Notch-4. The aim of the present study was to identify the role of Notch protein in the metastasis of salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC). Real-time PCR results showed that Notch-1, Notch-2, and Notch-4 were upregulated in the highly metastatic SACC cell line ACC-M, compared to ACC-2, a SACC cell line with low metastatic ability. Knockdown of Notch-4 by small interfering RNA efficiently inhibited the invasion of ACC-M cells. Notch-4 expression was significantly higher in the clinical samples with metastasis and recurrence compared to that in control (p<0.05), shown by immunohistochemistry analysis. These results indicate that Notch-4 may play an important role in SACC metastasis.
UNLABELLED: We have previously shown that the microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is able to change and reprogram aggressive cancer cells to a less aggressive state. Some mechanisms implicated in the phenotypic changes observed after this exposure are mainly associated with the Nodal signaling pathway, which plays a key role in tumor cell plasticity. However, several other molecular mechanisms might be related directly and/or indirectly to these changes, including microRNA (miRNA) regulation and DNA methylation.
AIM: To further explore the epigenetic mechanisms potentially underlying the phenotypic changes that occur after exposing metastatic melanoma cells to a hESC microenvironment.
MATERIALS & METHODS: A total of 365 miRNAs were screened using the TaqMan® Low Density Arrays. We also evaluated whether DNA methylation could be one of the factors regulating the expression of the inhibitor of Nodal, Lefty, in hESCs (where it is highly expressed) vs melanoma cells (where it is not expressed).
RESULTS: Using these experimental approaches, we identified miRNAs that are up- and down-regulated in melanoma cells exposed to a hESC microenvironment, such as miR-302a and miR-27b, respectively. We also demonstrate that Notch4 is one of the targets of miR-302a, which is upstream of Nodal. Additionally, one of the mechanisms that might explain the absence of the inhibitor of Nodal, Lefty, in cancer cells is silencing by DNA methylation, which provides new insights into the unregulated expression of Nodal in melanoma.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation and regulation by microRNAs might play a significant role in tumor cell plasticity and the metastatic phenotype.
Siar CH, Nakano K, Han PP, et al.Differential expression of Notch receptors and their ligands in desmoplastic ameloblastoma.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2010; 39(7):552-8 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND: In mammals, the Notch gene family encodes four receptors (Notch1-4), and all of them are important for cell fate decisions. Notch signaling pathway plays an essential role in tooth development. The ameloblastoma, a benign odontogenic epithelial neoplasm, histologically recapitulates the enamel organ at bell stage. Notch has been detected in the plexiform and follicular ameloblastoma. Its activity in the desmoplastic ameloblastoma is unknown.
METHOD: Notch1-4 and their ligands (Jagged1, Jagged2 and Delta1) were examined immunohistochemically in 10 cases of desmoplastic ameloblastoma.
RESULTS: Ameloblastoma tumor epithelium demonstrated positive expression for Notch1 (n = 5/10), Notch3 (n = 8/10), Notch4 (n = 10/10), Jagged1 (n = 6/10) and Delta1 (n = 5/10), but no reactivity for Notch2 (n = 10/10) and Jagged2 (10/10). Expression patterns were distinct with some overlap. Positive activity was detected largely in the cell membrane and cytoplasm of peripheral and central neoplastic epithelial cells, and sometimes in the nucleus. Staining score was highest for Notch4. Stromal components namely endothelial cells and fibroblasts showed overexpression for Notch4 but were mildly or non-reactive for the other Notch members and their ligands.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that Notch receptors and their ligands may play differing roles during the development of the desmoplastic ameloblastoma with Notch4 probably playing a greater role in the acquisition of tissue-specific cellular characteristics in the desmoplastic ameloblastoma.
Gao MQ, Choi YP, Kang S, et al.CD24+ cells from hierarchically organized ovarian cancer are enriched in cancer stem cells.
Oncogene. 2010; 29(18):2672-80 [PubMed
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Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been identified in solid tumors and cancer cell lines. In this study, we isolated a series of cancer cell clones, which were heterogeneous in growth rate, cell cycle distribution and expression profile of genes and proteins, from ovarian tumor specimens of a patient and identified a sub-population enriched for ovarian CSCs defined by CD24 phenotype. Experiments in vitro demonstrated CD24(+) sub-population possessed stem cell-like characteristics of remaining quiescence and more chemoresistant compared with CD24(-) fraction, as well as a specific capacity for self-renewal and differentiation. In addition, injection of 5 x 10(3) CD24(+) cells was able to form tumor xenografts in nude mice, whereas equal number of CD24(-) cells remained nontumorigenic. We also found that CD24(+) cells expressed higher mRNA levels of some 'stemness' genes, including Nestin, beta-catenin, Bmi-1, Oct4, Oct3/4, Notch1 and Notch4 which were involved in modulating many functions of stem cells, and lower E-cadherin mRNA level than CD24(-) cells. Altogether, these observations suggest human ovarian tumor cells are organized as a hierarchy and CD24 demarcates an ovarian cancer-initiating cell population. These findings will have important clinical applications for developing effective therapeutic strategies to treat ovarian cancer.
Archer KJ, Mas VR, Maluf DG, Fisher RAHigh-throughput assessment of CpG site methylation for distinguishing between HCV-cirrhosis and HCV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma.
Mol Genet Genomics. 2010; 283(4):341-9 [PubMed
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Methylation of promoter CpG islands has been associated with gene silencing and demonstrated to lead to chromosomal instability. Therefore, some postulate that aberrantly methylated CpG regions may be important biomarkers indicative of cancer development. In this study we used the Illumina GoldenGate Methylation BeadArray Cancer Panel I for simultaneously profiling methylation of 1,505 CpG sites in order to identify methylation differences in 76 liver tissues ranging from normal to pre-neoplastic and neoplastic states. CpG sites for ESR1, GSTM2, and MME were significantly differentially methylated when comparing the pre-neoplastic tissues from patients with concomitant hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to the pre-neoplastic tissues from patients without HCC. When comparing paired HCC tissues to their corresponding pre-neoplastic non-tumorous tissues, eight CpG sites, including one CpG site that was hypermethylated (APC) and seven (NOTCH4, EMR3, HDAC9, DCL1, HLA-DOA, HLA-DPA1, and ERN1) that were hypomethylated in HCC, were identified. Our study demonstrates that high-throughput methylation technologies may be used to identify differentially methylated CpG sites that may prove to be important molecular events involved in carcinogenesis.