Gene Summary

Gene:PCSK7; proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 7
Aliases: LPC, PC7, PC8, SPC7
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the subtilisin-like proprotein convertase family, which includes proteases that process protein and peptide precursors trafficking through regulated or constitutive branches of the secretory pathway. It encodes a type 1 membrane bound protease that is expressed in many tissues, including neuroendocrine, liver, gut, and brain. The encoded protein undergoes an initial autocatalytic processing event in the ER and then sorts to the trans-Golgi network through endosomes where a second autocatalytic event takes place and the catalytic activity is acquired. This gene encodes one of the seven basic amino acid-specific members which cleave their substrates at single or paired basic residues. It can process proalbumin and is thought to be responsible for the activation of HIV envelope glycoproteins gp160 and gp140. This gene has been implicated in the transcriptional regulation of housekeeping genes and plays a role in the regulation of iron metabolism. A t(11;14)(q23;q32) chromosome translocation associated with B-cell lymphoma occurs between this gene and its inverted counterpart. [provided by RefSeq, Feb 2014]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 7
Source:NCBIAccessed: 18 March, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (4)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 18 March 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.

  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Alu Elements
  • Tagln protein, mouse
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pcsk7 protein, mouse
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Lung Cancer
  • PCSK7
  • Phospholipases A
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Northern Blotting
  • Translocation
  • Retroelements
  • Proprotein Convertases
  • Chromosome 11
  • Gene Duplication
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase
  • Lymphoma
  • Subtilisins
  • transgelin
  • Chromosome 14
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Base Sequence
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Cluster Analysis
Tag cloud generated 18 March, 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: PCSK7 (cancer-related)

Tubio JM, Li Y, Ju YS, et al.
Mobile DNA in cancer. Extensive transduction of nonrepetitive DNA mediated by L1 retrotransposition in cancer genomes.
Science. 2014; 345(6196):1251343 [PubMed] Related Publications
Long interspersed nuclear element-1 (L1) retrotransposons are mobile repetitive elements that are abundant in the human genome. L1 elements propagate through RNA intermediates. In the germ line, neighboring, nonrepetitive sequences are occasionally mobilized by the L1 machinery, a process called 3' transduction. Because 3' transductions are potentially mutagenic, we explored the extent to which they occur somatically during tumorigenesis. Studying cancer genomes from 244 patients, we found that tumors from 53% of the patients had somatic retrotranspositions, of which 24% were 3' transductions. Fingerprinting of donor L1s revealed that a handful of source L1 elements in a tumor can spawn from tens to hundreds of 3' transductions, which can themselves seed further retrotranspositions. The activity of individual L1 elements fluctuated during tumor evolution and correlated with L1 promoter hypomethylation. The 3' transductions disseminated genes, exons, and regulatory elements to new locations, most often to heterochromatic regions of the genome.

Jajosky AN, Coad JE, Vos JA, et al.
RepSox slows decay of CD34+ acute myeloid leukemia cells and decreases T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 expression.
Stem Cells Transl Med. 2014; 3(7):836-48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Despite initial response to therapy, most acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients relapse. To eliminate relapse-causing leukemic stem/progenitor cells (LPCs), patient-specific immune therapies may be required. In vitro cellular engineering may require increasing the "stemness" or immunogenicity of tumor cells and activating or restoring cancer-impaired immune-effector and antigen-presenting cells. Leukapheresis samples provide the cells needed to engineer therapies: LPCs to be targeted, normal hematopoietic stem cells to be spared, and cancer-impaired immune cells to be repaired and activated. This study sought to advance development of LPC-targeted therapies by exploring nongenetic ways to slow the decay and to increase the immunogenicity of primary CD34(+) AML cells. CD34(+) AML cells generally displayed more colony-forming and aldehyde dehydrogenase activity than CD34(-) AML cells. Along with exposure to bone marrow stromal cells and low (1%-5%) oxygen, culture with RepSox (a reprogramming tool and inhibitor of transforming growth factor-β receptor 1) consistently slowed decline of CD34(+) AML and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) cells. RepSox-treated AML cells displayed higher CD34, CXCL12, and MYC mRNA levels than dimethyl sulfoxide-treated controls. RepSox also accelerated loss of T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (Tim-3), an immune checkpoint receptor that impairs antitumor immunity, from the surface of AML and MDS cells. Our results suggest RepSox may reduce Tim-3 expression by inhibiting transforming growth factor-β signaling and slow decay of CD34(+) AML cells by increasing CXCL12 and MYC, two factors that inhibit AML cell differentiation. By prolonging survival of CD34(+) AML cells and reducing Tim-3, RepSox may promote in vitro immune cell activation and advance development of LPC-targeted therapies.

Zhou Y, Liu X, Xu L, et al.
Transcriptional repression of plasma cell differentiation is orchestrated by aberrant over-expression of the ETS factor SPIB in Waldenström macroglobulinaemia.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 166(5):677-89 [PubMed] Related Publications
In Waldenström macroglobulinaemia (WM), the mechanism(s) responsible for repression of B-cell differentiation remains unknown. We found that expression of SPIB and ID2 were significantly increased and decreased, respectively, in WM lymphoplasmacytic cells (LPC). Ectopic expression of SPIB in healthy donor CD19(+) cells inhibited plasmacytic differentiation in conjunction with decreased transcription of IRF4 and XBP1 spliced form. In primary WM LPC, knock-down of SPIB induced plasmacytic differentiation in conjunction with increased transcription of PRDM1, XBP1 spliced form, IRF4 and ID2. Knock-down of SPIB also led to decreased BCL2 expression. Given that SPIB is a direct target of POU2AF1 (OBF1) in complex with POU2F2 or POU2F1, we next examined their expression in WM LPC. POU2F2 transcription, as well as POU2F2 and POU2AF1 protein expression was higher in WM LPC. Ectopic expression of POU2F2 in healthy donor CD19(+) cells induced transcription of SPIB and suppressed transcription of PRDM1 and IRF4. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis in BCWM.1 WM cells confirmed binding of POU2F2 and POU2AF1 in SPIB and ID2 promoters. These findings establish a molecular hierarchy among POU2F2, SPIB and ID2 during B-cell differentiation, and suggest that aberrant expression of these transcription factors plays an important role in arresting plasmacytic differentiation in WM.

Fang BA, Kovačević Ž, Park KC, et al.
Molecular functions of the iron-regulated metastasis suppressor, NDRG1, and its potential as a molecular target for cancer therapy.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1845(1):1-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
N-myc down-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) is a known metastasis suppressor in multiple cancers, being also involved in embryogenesis and development, cell growth and differentiation, lipid biosynthesis and myelination, stress responses and immunity. In addition to its primary role as a metastasis suppressor, NDRG1 can also influence other stages of carcinogenesis, namely angiogenesis and primary tumour growth. NDRG1 is regulated by multiple effectors in normal and neoplastic cells, including N-myc, histone acetylation, hypoxia, cellular iron levels and intracellular calcium. Further, studies have found that NDRG1 is up-regulated in neoplastic cells after treatment with novel iron chelators, which are a promising therapy for effective cancer management. Although the pathways by which NDRG1 exerts its functions in cancers have been documented, the relationship between the molecular structure of this protein and its functions remains unclear. In fact, recent studies suggest that, in certain cancers, NDRG1 is post-translationally modified, possibly by the activity of endogenous trypsins, leading to a subsequent alteration in its metastasis suppressor activity. This review describes the role of this important metastasis suppressor and discusses interesting unresolved issues regarding this protein.

Miao L, Fraefel C, Sia KC, et al.
The potential application of a transcriptionally regulated oncolytic herpes simplex virus for human cancer therapy.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 110(1):94-106 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Emerging studies have shown the potential benefit of arming oncolytic viruses with therapeutic genes. However, most of these therapeutic genes are placed under the regulation of ubiquitous viral promoters. Our goal is to generate a safer yet potent oncolytic herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) for cancer therapy.
METHODS: Using bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) recombineering, a cell cycle-regulatable luciferase transgene cassette was replaced with the infected cell protein 6 (ICP6) coding region (encoded for UL39 or large subunit of ribonucleotide reductase) of the HSV-1 genome. These recombinant viruses, YE-PC8, were further tested for its proliferation-dependent luciferase gene expression.
RESULTS: The ability of YE-PC8 to confer proliferation-dependent transgene expression was demonstrated by injecting similar amount of viruses into the tumour-bearing region of the brain and the contralateral normal brain parenchyma of the same mouse. The results showed enhanced levels of luciferase activities in the tumour region but not in the normal brain parenchyma. Similar findings were observed in YE-PC8-infected short-term human brain patient-derived glioma cells compared with normal human astrocytes. intratumoural injection of YE-PC8 viruses resulted in 77% and 80% of tumour regression in human glioma and human hepatocellular carcinoma xenografts, respectively.
CONCLUSION: YE-PC8 viruses confer tumour selectivity in proliferating cells and may be developed further as a feasible approach to treat human cancers.

Ren J, Jin W, Gao YE, et al.
Relations between GPR4 expression, microvascular density (MVD) and clinical pathological characteristics of patients with epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC).
Curr Pharm Des. 2014; 20(11):1904-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
G-protein coupled receptor 4 (GPR4) is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activated by sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) and lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC). Later studies indicated that GPR4 can serve as a proton sensor. GPR4 has been known to play a critical role in the tube formation of vascular endothelial cells, and GPR4 overexpression is observed in various types of malignancies, suggesting its involvement in the cancer-related angiogenesis. In this study, we examined the GPR4 expression levels in blood vessels of ovarian cancer, and analyzed the relationship between GPR4 expression and the clinical and pathological characteristics of patients with epithelial ovarian carcinomas (EOC). Results from immunohistochemistry showed that GPR4 is detectable in the endothelium of vessels of both EOC and benign ovarian tumor tissue, but the expression levels were significantly increased in EOC. Moreover the increased expression is accompanied by a higher microvascular density (MVD) in EOC compared to that in the benign ovarian tumors. We demonstrated a positive correlation between GPR4 expression density and MVD in EOC, but not benign ovarian tumor tissues. Further analyses indicated that GPR4 expression and MVD in EOC were correlated to the status of lymph node metastasis and clinical stage, but not significantly correlated to the pathological classifications, histopathological grades, the amounts of ascites, status of peritoneal cytology, tumor sizes, or patients' ages. These results suggested that GPR4 may play an important role in the development of EOC, and its overexpression might be required for the angiogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis of EOC.

Louie SM, Roberts LS, Mulvihill MM, et al.
Cancer cells incorporate and remodel exogenous palmitate into structural and oncogenic signaling lipids.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1831(10):1566-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
De novo lipogenesis is considered the primary source of fatty acids for lipid synthesis in cancer cells, even in the presence of exogenous fatty acids. Here, we have used an isotopic fatty acid labeling strategy coupled with metabolomic profiling platforms to comprehensively map palmitic acid incorporation into complex lipids in cancer cells. We show that cancer cells and tumors robustly incorporate and remodel exogenous palmitate into structural and oncogenic glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and ether lipids. We also find that fatty acid incorporation into oxidative pathways is reduced in aggressive human cancer cells, and instead shunted into pathways for generating structural and signaling lipids. Our results demonstrate that cancer cells do not solely rely on de novo lipogenesis, but also utilize exogenous fatty acids for generating lipids required for proliferation and protumorigenic lipid signaling. This article is part of a special issue entitled Lipid Metabolism in Cancer.

Jung JH, Jeong SJ, Kim JH, et al.
Inactivation of HDAC3 and STAT3 is critically involved in 1-stearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine-induced apoptosis in chronic myelogenous leukemia K562 cells.
Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013; 67(3):1379-89 [PubMed] Related Publications
We here investigated the anticancer mechanism of 1-stearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (LPC), one of the lysophosphatidylcholines, in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) K562 cells. LPC significantly showed cytotoxicity at 80 μM and induced apoptosis by sub-G1 accumulation, increase in Annexin V positive and caspase activation. LPC enhanced histone H3 acetylation but decreased histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and HDAC3 expression. LPC also inhibited phosphorylation of STAT3, its DNA binding activity and nuclear co-localization of HDAC3 and STAT3. In addition, LPC effectively attenuated the expression of survival genes such as Cyclin D1, Cyclin E, Bcl-xL, Bcl-2 and survivin but did not affect COX-2 expression in K562 cells. Furthermore, LPC suppressed phosphorylation of Src and Janus activated kinase 2 while promoted the expression of tyrosine phosphatase Src homology 2 domain-containing phosphatase 1 (SHP-1). Consistently, silencing SHP-1 and pervanadate, an inhibitor of protein tyrosine phosphatase, reversed inactivation of HDAC and STAT3, cleavages of caspase 3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase in LPC-induced apoptosis. Of note, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay revealed that LPC suppressed the binding of HDAC3 and STAT3 to Bcl-xL, Bcl-2 and survivin promoter. Overall, our findings indicate that inactivation of STAT3 and HDAC mediates LPC-induced apoptosis in CML K562 cells.

Morita Y, Sakaguchi T, Ikegami K, et al.
Lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 1 altered phospholipid composition and regulated hepatoma progression.
J Hepatol. 2013; 59(2):292-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Several lipid synthesis pathways play important roles in the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), although the precise molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Here, we show the relationship between HCC progression and alteration of phospholipid composition regulated by lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase (LPCAT).
METHODS: Molecular lipidomic screening was performed by imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) in 37 resected HCC specimens. RT-PCR and Western blotting were carried out to examine the mRNA and protein levels of LPCATs, which catalyze the conversion of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) into phosphatidylcholine (PC) and have substrate specificity for some kinds of fatty acids. We examined the effect of LPCAT1 overexpression or knockdown on cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in HCC cell lines.
RESULTS: IMS revealed the increase of PC species with palmitoleic acid or oleic acid at the sn-2-position and the reduction of LPC with palmitic acid at the sn-1-position in HCC tissues. mRNA and protein of LPCAT1, responsible for LPC to PC conversion, were more abundant in HCCs than in the surrounding parenchyma. In cell line experiments, LPCAT1 overexpression enriched PCs observed in IMS and promoted cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. LPCAT1 knockdown did viceversa.
CONCLUSIONS: Enrichment or depletion of some specific PCs, was found in HCC by IMS. Alteration of phospholipid composition in HCC would affect tumor character. LPCAT1 modulates phospholipid composition to create favorable conditions to HCC cells. LPCAT1 is a potent target molecule to inhibit HCC progression.

Demidyuk IV, Shubin AV, Gasanov EV, et al.
Alterations in gene expression of proprotein convertases in human lung cancer have a limited number of scenarios.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e55752 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Proprotein convertases (PCs) is a protein family which includes nine highly specific subtilisin-like serine endopeptidases in mammals. The system of PCs is involved in carcinogenesis and levels of PC mRNAs alter in cancer, which suggests expression status of PCs as a possible marker for cancer typing and prognosis. The goal of this work was to assess the information value of expression profiling of PC genes. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used for the first time to analyze mRNA levels of all PC genes as well as matrix metalloproteinase genes MMP2 and MMP14, which are substrates of PCs, in 30 matched pairs of samples of human lung cancer tumor and adjacent tissues without pathology. Significant changes in the expression of PCs have been revealed in tumor tissues: increased FURIN mRNA level (p<0.00005) and decreased mRNA levels of PCSK2 (p<0.007), PCSK5 (p<0.0002), PCSK7 (p<0.002), PCSK9 (p<0.00008), and MBTPS1 (p<0.00004) as well as a tendency to increase in the level of PCSK1 mRNA. Four distinct groups of samples have been identified by cluster analysis of the expression patterns of PC genes in tumor vs. normal tissue. Three of these groups covering 80% of samples feature a strong elevation in the expression of a single gene in cancer: FURIN, PCSK1, or PCSK6. Thus, the changes in the expression of PC genes have a limited number of scenarios, which may reflect different pathways of tumor development and cryptic features of tumors. This finding allows to consider the mRNAs of PC genes as potentially important tumor markers.

Ortlepp C, Steudel C, Heiderich C, et al.
Autotaxin is expressed in FLT3-ITD positive acute myeloid leukemia and hematopoietic stem cells and promotes cell migration and proliferation.
Exp Hematol. 2013; 41(5):444-461.e4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autotaxin (ATX) has been reported to act as a motility and growth factor in a variety of cancer cells. The ATX protein acts as a secreted lysophospholipase D by converting lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), which signals via G-protein-coupled receptors and has important functions in cell migration and proliferation. This study demonstrates that ATX expression is specifically upregulated and functionally active in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) harboring an internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutation of the FLT3 receptor gene. Moreover, ATX expression was also found in normal human CD34+ progenitor cells and selected myeloid and lymphoid subpopulations. Enforced expression of mutant FLT3-ITD by retroviral vector transduction increased ATX mRNA in selected cell lines, whereas inhibition of FLT3-ITD signaling by sublethal doses of PKC412 or SU5614 led to a significant downregulation of ATX mRNA and protein levels. In the presence of LPC, ATX expression significantly increased proliferation. LPA induced proliferation, regardless of ATX expression, and induced chemotaxis in all tested human leukemic cell lines and human CD34(+) progenitors. LPC increased chemotaxis only in cells with high expression of endogenous ATX by at least 80%, demonstrating the autocrine action of ATX. Inhibition of ATX using a small molecule inhibitor selectively induced killing of ATX-expressing cell lines and reduced motility in these cells. Our data suggest that the production of bioactive LPA through ATX is involved in controlling proliferation and migration during hematopoiesis and that deregulation of ATX contributes to the pathogenesis of AML.

Couture F, D'Anjou F, Desjardins R, et al.
Role of proprotein convertases in prostate cancer progression.
Neoplasia. 2012; 14(11):1032-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Better understanding of the distinct and redundant functions of the proprotein convertase (PC) enzyme family within pathophysiological states has a great importance for potential therapeutic strategies. In this study, we investigated the functional redundancy of PCs in prostate cancer in the commonly used androgen-sensitive LNCaP and the androgen-independent DU145 human cell lines. Using a lentiviral-based shRNA delivery system, we examined in vitro and in vivo cell proliferation characteristics of knockdown cell lines for the endogenous PCs furin, PACE4, and PC7 in both cell lines. Of the three PCs, only PACE4 was essential to maintain a high-proliferative status, as determined in vitro using XTT proliferation assays and in vivo using tumor xenografts in nude mice. Furin knockdowns in both cell lines had no effects on cell proliferation or tumor xenograft growth. Paradoxically, PC7 knockdowns reduced in vitro cellular proliferation but had no effect in vivo. Because PCs act within secretion pathways, we showed that conditioned media derived from PACE4 knockdown cells had very poor cell growth-stimulating effects in vitro. Immunohistochemistry of PACE4 knockdown tumors revealed reduced Ki67 and higher p27(KIP) levels (proliferation and cell cycle arrest markers, respectively). Interestingly, we determined that the epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway was activated in PC7 knockdown tumors only, providing some explanations of the paradoxical effects of PC7 silencing in prostate cancer cell lines. We conclude that PACE4 has a distinct role in maintaining proliferation and tumor progression in prostate cancer and this positions PACE4 as a relevant therapeutic target for this disease.

Chughtai K, Jiang L, Greenwood TR, et al.
Mass spectrometry images acylcarnitines, phosphatidylcholines, and sphingomyelin in MDA-MB-231 breast tumor models.
J Lipid Res. 2013; 54(2):333-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The lipid compositions of different breast tumor microenvironments are largely unknown due to limitations in lipid imaging techniques. Imaging lipid distributions would enhance our understanding of processes occurring inside growing tumors, such as cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. Recent developments in MALDI mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) enable rapid and specific detection of lipids directly from thin tissue sections. In this study, we performed multimodal imaging of acylcarnitines, phosphatidylcholines (PC), a lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), and a sphingomyelin (SM) from different microenvironments of breast tumor xenograft models, which carried tdTomato red fluorescent protein as a hypoxia-response element-driven reporter gene. The MSI molecular lipid images revealed spatially heterogeneous lipid distributions within tumor tissue. Four of the most-abundant lipid species, namely PC(16:0/16:0), PC(16:0/18:1), PC(18:1/18:1), and PC(18:0/18:1), were localized in viable tumor regions, whereas LPC(16:0/0:0) was detected in necrotic tumor regions. We identified a heterogeneous distribution of palmitoylcarnitine, stearoylcarnitine, PC(16:0/22:1), and SM(d18:1/16:0) sodium adduct, which colocalized primarily with hypoxic tumor regions. For the first time, we have applied a multimodal imaging approach that has combined optical imaging and MALDI-MSI with ion mobility separation to spatially localize and structurally identify acylcarnitines and a variety of lipid species present in breast tumor xenograft models.

Zhang R, Wang J, Ma S, et al.
Requirement of Osteopontin in the migration and protection against Taxol-induced apoptosis via the ATX-LPA axis in SGC7901 cells.
BMC Cell Biol. 2011; 12:11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Autotaxin (ATX) possesses lysophospholipase D (lyso PLD) activity, which converts lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) into lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). The ATX-LPA signaling axis has been implicated in angiogenesis, chronic inflammation and tumor progression. Osteopontin (OPN) is an important chemokine involved in the survival, proliferation, migration, invasion and metastasis of gastric cancer cells. The focus of the present study was to investigate the relationship between the ATX-LPA axis and OPN.
RESULTS: In comparison with non-treated cells, we found that the ATX-LPA axis up-regulated OPN expression by 1.92-fold in protein levels and 1.3-fold in mRNA levels. The ATX-LPA axis activates LPA2, Akt, ERK and ELK-1 and also protects SGC7901 cells from apoptosis induced by Taxol treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first evidence that expression of OPN induced by ATX-LPA axis is mediated by the activation of Akt and MAPK/ERK pathways through the LPA2 receptor. In addition, OPN is required for the protective effects of ATX-LPA against Taxol-induced apoptosis and ATX-LPA-induced migration of SGC7901 cells.

Wu JM, Xu Y, Skill NJ, et al.
Autotaxin expression and its connection with the TNF-alpha-NF-kappaB axis in human hepatocellular carcinoma.
Mol Cancer. 2010; 9:71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Autotaxin (ATX) is an extracellular lysophospholipase D that generates lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) from lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC). Both ATX and LPA have been shown to be involved in many cancers. However, the functional role of ATX and the regulation of ATX expression in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain elusive.
RESULTS: In this study, ATX expression was evaluated in tissues from 38 human HCC and 10 normal control subjects. ATX was detected mainly in tumor cells within tissue sections and its over-expression in HCC was specifically correlated with inflammation and liver cirrhosis. In addition, ATX expression was examined in normal human hepatocytes and liver cancer cell lines. Hepatoma Hep3B and Huh7 cells displayed stronger ATX expression than hepatoblastoma HepG2 cells and normal hepatocytes did. Proinflammtory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) promoted ATX expression and secretion selectively in Hep3B and Huh7 cells, which led to a corresponding increase in lysophospholipase-D activity. Moreover, we explored the mechanism governing the expression of ATX in hepatoma cells and established a critical role of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) in basal and TNF-alpha induced ATX expression. Further study showed that secreted enzymatically active ATX stimulated Hep3B cell invasion.
CONCLUSIONS: This report highlights for the first time the clinical and biological evidence for the involvement of ATX in human HCC. Our observation that links the TNF-alpha/NF-kappaB axis and the ATX-LPA signaling pathway suggests that ATX is likely playing an important role in inflammation related liver tumorigenesis.

Skill NJ, Scott RE, Wu J, Maluccio MA
Hepatocellular carcinoma associated lipid metabolism reprogramming.
J Surg Res. 2011; 169(1):51-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary malignancy of the liver with a high worldwide prevalence and poor prognosis. Previous data, by Affymetrix microarray analysis, has shown a decrease in genes involved in phospholipid catabolism, fatty acid catabolism, choline metabolism, and bile acid metabolism in HCC compared with control tissue. The aim of this study was to better understand metabolic processes in relation to the development of HCC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Tumor, plasma, and bile samples were collected at the time of hepatic resection for HCC. All bile specimens were collected from the gallbladder at the beginning of the case. Normal bile and plasma were collected from patients undergoing cholecystectomy for non-neoplastic disease. Liver biopsy samples were taken from both tumor and adjacent normal tissue. Phospholipid levels were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and high performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC).
RESULTS: Targeted phospholipid analysis by HPTLC and ELISA showed a modified choline metabolic profile within the liver, bile, and serum, culminating in an increased synthesis of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Choline was significantly increased in tumor tissue; lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) was increased within bile while LPA was increased in all three biological samples of HCC patients compared with controls. Phosphatidylcholine was not significantly changed.
CONCLUSIONS: HCC is congruent with a reprogramming of choline catabolism and phospholipid metabolism. Increased LPA may provide a potent mitogenic and proliferative microenvironment via autocrine/paracrine activation of high-affinity G-protein-coupled receptors. Additional research is required to better understand the role of these pathways in HCC development.

Zhang A, London R, Schulz FM, et al.
Human liver progenitor cell lines are readily established from non-tumorous tissue adjacent to hepatocellular carcinoma.
Stem Cells Dev. 2010; 19(8):1277-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-tumorous liver tissue removed during surgery to resect hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is potentially a useful source of material from which cells, particularly liver progenitor/stem cells (LPCs), can be isolated to establish cell lines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the applicability of the "plate-and-wait" method to derive LPCs from resections to remove HCC. Three independent non-tumorous liver samples from HCC resection and 3 samples from liver donors were used for LPC isolation. Staining for LPC markers, OV6, CK19, and EpCAM, in the above liver samples demonstrated staining in only 2 of the non-tumorous samples. We isolated 2 human liver epithelial cell lines (HLECs) from these 2 samples. These HLECs were positive for general stem cell markers CD133, EpCAM, and Oct4. They expressed the liver progenitor cell markers OV6, CK14, and M2PK but not CK19. They also expressed the hepatocellular markers albumin, CK8, CK18, HNF4-alpha, and the drug-metabolizing gene CYP3A4. These cells accumulated glycogen, indocyanine green, and synthesized urea. They produced colonies in soft agar that showed anchorage-independent growth and their tumorigenic status was confirmed when they produced tumors following transfer to athymic nude mice. In contrast, the third non-tumorous tissue and 3 normal liver samples did not produce cell lines. This study establishes a correlation between the presence of LPCs in the source liver tissue and the ability to derive cell lines from these tissues. The phenotypic similarities between the LPCs and the HLECs suggest that a precursor-product relationship may exist between the 2 cell types.

Byun J, Logothetis CJ, Gorlov IP
Housekeeping genes in prostate tumorigenesis.
Int J Cancer. 2009; 125(11):2603-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Housekeeping (HK) genes are involved in basic cellular functions and tend to be constitutively expressed across various tissues and conditions. A number of studies have analyzed the value of HK genes as an internal standard for assessing gene expression, but the role of HK genes in cancer development has never been specifically addressed. In this study, we sought to evaluate the expression of HK genes during prostate tumorigenesis. We performed a meta-analysis of gene expression during the transition from normal prostate (NP) to localized prostate cancer (LPC) (i.e., NP > LPC) and from localized to metastatic prostate cancer (MPC) (i.e., LPC > MPC). We found that HK genes are more likely to be differentially expressed during prostate tumorigenesis than is the average gene in the human genome, suggesting that prostate tumorigenesis is driven by modulation of the expression of HK genes. Cell-cycle genes and proliferation markers were up-regulated in both NP > LPC and LPC > MPC transitions. We also found that the genes encoding ribosomal proteins were up-regulated in the NP > LPC and down-regulated in the LPC > MPC transition. The expression of heat shock proteins was up-regulated during the LPC > MPC transition, suggesting that in its advanced stages, prostate tumor is under cellular stress. The results of these analyses suggest that during prostate tumorigenesis, there is a period when the tumor is under cellular stress and, therefore, may be the most vulnerable and responsive to treatment.

Campbell PJ
Somatic and germline genetics at the JAK2 locus.
Nat Genet. 2009; 41(4):385-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myeloproliferative neoplasms are hematological malignancies frequently associated with somatically acquired mutation of the JAK2 gene. A new study shows that these mutations are preferentially found within a particular inherited JAK2 haplotype, implying the existence of a strong, but uncharacterized, interaction between somatic and germline genetics at this locus.

Leleu X, Hunter ZR, Xu L, et al.
Expression of regulatory genes for lymphoplasmacytic cell differentiation in Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia.
Br J Haematol. 2009; 145(1):59-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (WM) is a B-cell malignancy characterized by excess bone marrow (BM) lymphoplasmacytic cells (LPC). The accumulation of LPC in WM may represent a failure of B-cells to properly differentiate into plasma cells. The present study investigated transcriptional expression of genes involved in late B-cell differentiation, including PRDM1, PAX5, XBP1 transcripts and ERN1, in BM B-cells from 31 patients with WM and six healthy donors. Real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) determined that approximately 80% of the patients had high XBP1 spliced mRNA expression, 80% of whom had high mRNA ERN1alpha expression. XBP1, PRDM1 and PAX5 mRNA was present in all patients studied. Using relative quantitative RT-PCR we isolated two groups with low and high expression of XBP1, XBP1 spliced and ERN1alpha. Sequence analysis showed germline polymorphisms in all genes studied. These data depict for the first time a heterogeneous expression pattern of the genes involved in late differentiation process of plasma cells in patients with WM and propose a role of XBP1-ERN1alpha in WM pathogenesis.

Page RE, Klein-Szanto AJ, Litwin S, et al.
Increased expression of the pro-protein convertase furin predicts decreased survival in ovarian cancer.
Cell Oncol. 2007; 29(4):289-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Proprotein convertases (PCs) are serine proteases that after restricted proteolysis activate many proteins that play a crucial role in cancer such as metalloproteinases, growth factors and growth factor receptors, adhesion molecules, and angiogenic factors. Although the expression of several PCs is increased in many tumors, their expression in primary ovarian tumors has not been studied in detail. We sought to determine if there was an association between the expression of the ubiquitously expressed PCs, furin, PACE-4, PC-5 and PC-7, and ovarian tumor progression.
METHODS: We assessed their expression by RT-PCR, Real-time PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry using cells derived from normal human ovarian surface epithelium (HOSE) and cancer cell lines as well as ovarian epithelial cancer specimens (45 RT-PCR/Real-time PCR, and 120 archival specimens for Immunohistochemistry).
RESULTS: We found that furin expression was restricted to the cancer cell lines. In contrast, PACE-4 and PC-7 showed expression only in normal HOSE cells lines. Furthermore, furin was predominantly expressed in primary tumors from patients who survived for less than five years. The other PCs are either expressed in the group of survivors (PC-7 and PACE4) or expressed in low amounts (PC-5).
CONCLUSIONS: Our studies point to a clear relationship between furin and ovarian cancer. In addition, these results show that furin exhibits the closest association with ovarian cancer among the ubiquitously expressed PCs, arguing against the redundancy of these proteases. In summary, furin may constitute a marker for ovarian tumor progression and could contribute to predict the outcome of this disease.

Li C, Gemma A, Minegishi Y, et al.
In vitro simulation study of individualized chemotherapy in lung cancer.
J Nippon Med Sch. 2007; 74(3):217-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
The primary aim of this in vitro simulation study was to evaluate the utility of gene expression profile analysis in predicting the effect of varying drug combinations for the treatment of lung cancer. Using 10 human cancer cell lines, we focused our gene expression analysis on a cohort of candidate sensitivity-prediction factors, previously reported using cDNA filter arrays, with a view to predicting the ability of a set of anti-cancer drugs commonly used to treat lung cancer, namely cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil (5FU), SN38, docetaxel, gemcitabine, and vinorelbine. Altered expression of genes for glutathione-S-transferase-pi, uridine phosphorylase, O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase, and multidrug resistance 1 was identified in lung cancer cell lines. Drug sensitivity testing, in the form of methylthiotetrazol analysis, was performed using these six anti-cancer drugs against the panel of 10 lung cancer cell lines. We compared the predicted chemosensitivity based on the gene expression pattern of 19 well-known sensitivity-related genes with the cytotoxic activity of each of these anti-cancer drugs. Molecular profiling data predicted resistance to CDDP in LK-2 cells, 5FU in LK-2, PC7, A549, NCI-N231, Lu135 cells, irinitecan in PC9 cells, and VNR in PC7 cells. However, the prediction efficacy (number of predicted inactive drugs by gene expression analysis/number of inactive drugs by methylthiotetrazol assay) was 21.6% (8 of 37). No false-positive findings in relation to sensitivity-related genes were obtained on the basis of this molecular analysis. Thus, prediction of sensitivity to lung cancer by molecular analysis appears possible. With elucidation of additional drug sensitivity factors, selection of appropriate anticancer drugs by gene expression profiling may make it possible to increase the response rate in lung cancer chemotherapy.

Ganly I, Talbot S, Carlson D, et al.
Identification of angiogenesis/metastases genes predicting chemoradiotherapy response in patients with laryngopharyngeal carcinoma.
J Clin Oncol. 2007; 25(11):1369-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To identify genes related to angiogenesis/metastasis that predict locoregional failure in patients with laryngopharyngeal cancer (LPC) undergoing chemoradiotherapy (CRT) treatment.
METHODS: Tumor tissue was collected and snap-frozen from 35 sequential patients with histologically confirmed LPC being treated with CRT. Gene expression analysis was performed using a novel cDNA array consisting of 277 genes functionally associated with angiogenesis (n = 152) and/or metastasis (n = 125). Locoregional response was correlated to the gene expression profiles to identify genes associated with outcome. These genes were internally validated by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and validated externally by immunohistochemistry analysis on an independent set of patients.
RESULTS: Locoregional failure occurred in nine of 35 patients. Seventeen genes from the cDNA microarray correlated with locoregional failure (two-sample t test, P < .05). Seven genes were chosen for additional analysis based on the availability of antibodies for immunohistochemistry. Of these seven genes, real-time RT-PCR validated four genes: MDM2, VCAM-1, erbB2, and H-ras (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P = .008, .02, .04, and .04, respectively). External validation by immunohistochemistry confirmed MDM2 and erbB2 as being predictive of locoregional response. Controlling for stage of disease, positivity for MDM2 or erbB2 was an independent negative predictor of locoregional disease-free survival.
CONCLUSION: Genomic screening by cDNA microarray and validation internally by real-time RT-PCR and externally by immunohistochemistry have identified two genes (MDM2 and erbB2) as predictors of locoregional failure in LPC patients treated with CRT. The role of these genes in treatment selection and the functional basis for their activity in CRT response merit additional consideration.

Wang GY, Ho IA, Sia KC, et al.
Engineering an improved cell cycle-regulatable herpes simplex virus type 1 amplicon vector with enhanced transgene expression in proliferating cells yet attenuated activities in resting cells.
Hum Gene Ther. 2007; 18(3):222-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
We previously generated a herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-based amplicon vector (denoted pC8-36) in which gene expression from the minimal cyclin A promoter is repressed by preventing the binding of a trans-activating protein, Gal4-NF-YA, to it through selective interaction with the transcriptional repressor protein CDF-1. Because CDF-1 is absent in actively dividing cells, transgene expression conferred by the pC8-36 vector is therefore cell cycle dependent. As gene therapy evolves to become a promising therapeutic modality for many human diseases, there is an increasing need to further improve the kinetics of gene regulation. In the present study, we examined whether the availability of more binding sites for CDF-1 repressor proteins could enhance transgene expression. Using an overlap extension polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, the CDE and CHR elements within the minimum cyclin A promoter were multimerized to contain two, three, and six copies of the designated CDE/CHR sequence. Interestingly, our results demonstrated that six-copy CDE/CHR sequence motifs (pC8-6CC-Luc) conferred an approximately 20-fold increase in the ratio of cell cycle regulation compared with the previous reported construct. Further, the overall transcriptional activities mediated by pC8-6CC-Luc were stronger compared with the native human survivin promoter, which consists of three copies of the CDE element and one copy of the CHR element. pC8-6CC-Luc contained, in essence, only the synthetic six-copy CDE/CHR sequence motif (about 262 bp). In comparison with other native endogenous promoters, which usually contain many other transcription binding sites, pC8-6CC-Luc amplicon vectors should confer better regulated and consistent transgene expression and may be considered a gene delivery vector of choice to target actively proliferating tumor cells.

Fromont G, Vallancien G, Validire P, et al.
BCAR1 expression in prostate cancer: association with 16q23 LOH status, tumor progression and EGFR/KAI1 staining.
Prostate. 2007; 67(3):268-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The 16q23 locus has been recently suggested in both breast and prostate cancer to contain a gene involved in disease progression. The breast cancer antiestrogen resistance 1 (BCAR1) gene, located at 16q23, contributes to many cellular processes including migration and survival, and interacts in vitro with the growth factor receptor EGFR and the metastasis suppressor KAI1.
METHODS: BCAR1, EGFR, and KAI1 expression was studied by immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray containing 100 localized prostate cancers (LPC), 15 hormone refractory prostate cancers (HRPC), and 15 lymph node metastasis (LNM). Forty eight of the LPC were also analyzed for 16q23 LOH status using microsatellite markers.
RESULTS: BCAR1 staining was present in 25% of LPC, associated with higher Gleason score, and in 60% and 80% of, respectively, LNM and HRPC. BCAR1 expression was inversely correlated with 16q23 LOH status (P < 0.001), and was associated with high EGFR staining (P < 0.02), and negative KAI1 expression (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: BCAR1 expression in LPC seems to be regulated at least in part by genetic events. The increased expression of BCAR1 with disease progression suggests a potential interest for both prognosis and treatment.

Kishi Y, Okudaira S, Tanaka M, et al.
Autotaxin is overexpressed in glioblastoma multiforme and contributes to cell motility of glioblastoma by converting lysophosphatidylcholine to lysophosphatidic acid.
J Biol Chem. 2006; 281(25):17492-500 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autotaxin (ATX) is a multifunctional phosphodiesterase originally isolated from melanoma cells as a potent cell motility-stimulating factor. ATX is identical to lysophospholipase D, which produces a bioactive phospholipid, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), from lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC). Although enhanced expression of ATX in various tumor tissues has been repeatedly demonstrated, and thus, ATX is implicated in progression of tumor, the precise role of ATX expressed by tumor cells was unclear. In this study, we found that ATX is highly expressed in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most malignant glioma due to its high infiltration into the normal brain parenchyma, but not in tissues from other brain tumors. In addition, LPA1, an LPA receptor responsible for LPA-driven cell motility, is predominantly expressed in GBM. One of the glioblastomas that showed the highest ATX expression (SNB-78), as well as ATX-stable transfectants, showed LPA1-dependent cell migration in response to LPA in both Boyden chamber and wound healing assays. Interestingly these ATX-expressing cells also showed chemotactic response to LPC. In addition, knockdown of the ATX level using small interfering RNA technique in SNB-78 cells suppressed their migratory response to LPC. These results suggest that the autocrine production of LPA by cancer cell-derived ATX and exogenously supplied LPC contribute to the invasiveness of cancer cells and that LPA1, ATX, and LPC-producing enzymes are potential targets for cancer therapy, including GBM.

Lu W, Takahashi H, Furusato B, et al.
Allelotyping analysis at chromosome arm 8p of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and incidental, latent, and clinical prostate cancers.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2006; 45(5):509-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this study, we used 7 informative microsatellite markers at 8p22, 23.1, and 23.2 in Japanese patients to compare frequency of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in 53 lesions of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), 38 cases (38 lesions) of incidental prostate cancer (IPC), 31 cases (41 lesions) of latent prostate cancer (LPC), and 102 cases (168 lesions) of clinical prostate cancer (CPC). The frequency of LOH at 8p22-23.2 with at least 1 marker was 0%, 33%, 57%, and 51% in the HGPIN, IPC, LPC, and CPC cases, respectively. No statistically significant difference was found at 8p22-23.2 between the types of prostate cancer. However, the frequency of 8p22 deletion was significantly higher in CPC and LPC cases than in IPC cases (P = 0.0003) or lesions (P = 0.0017). The frequency of LOH at 8p22 and 8p23.1 loci in high-grade tumors was significantly higher than in low-grade tumors in both the LPCs/IPCs and CPCs (P < 0.05). Allelic loss at 8p22 was significantly more frequent in CPC than in IPC (P = 0.002) and in pT4 CPC than in earlier-stage CPC (P = 0.038). These findings suggest that deletion of 8p is an important event in both the initiation and metastasis of prostate cancer. The extremely high frequency of LOH at 8p22-23.1 in high-grade tumors suggests the existence of a novel putative tumor-suppressor gene associated with the progression of prostate cancer. These results should be useful in identifying the target gene of deletion at 8p.

Ho IA, Hui KM, Lam PY
Targeting proliferating tumor cells via the transcriptional control of therapeutic genes.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2006; 13(1):44-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have previously reported the construction of a cell cycle-regulated HSV-1 amplicon vector (denoted as pC8-36) that confers luciferase reporter gene activities dependent on cellular divisions. However, luciferase reporter gene is well known for its relatively high sensitivity, thus, it is crucial to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of a transcriptional targeted vector. In this report, we have engineered the FasL and FADD genes into pC8-36 and demonstrated their efficacy for the treatment of human gliomas in vitro and in vivo. Using trypan blue dye exclusion and TUNEL assay, FasL expression mediated by pC8-36 was shown to induce a significantly higher percentage of cell death in proliferating cells than those observed in the G(1)-arrested cells. The observed cell killing effect correlated well with the level of FasL protein expression when analyzed by ELISA assay. Furthermore, the incorporation of both FasL and FADD into pC8-36 resulted in the enhancement of apoptosis in the target glioma cells both in vitro and in vivo. Targeting proliferating tumor cells via the transcriptional control of therapeutic genes could potentially improve the safety and efficacy of cancer gene therapy, and thus would allow the development of strategies for more effective anticancer therapies.

Chen M, O'Connor KL
Integrin alpha6beta4 promotes expression of autotaxin/ENPP2 autocrine motility factor in breast carcinoma cells.
Oncogene. 2005; 24(32):5125-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
In advanced breast carcinomas, the alpha6beta4 integrin is associated with a migratory and invasive phenotype. In our current study, we show that expression of the alpha6beta4 integrin in MDA-MB-435 breast carcinoma cells leads to increased expression of the autocrine motility factor autotaxin, as determined by Affymetrix gene chip, real-time quantitative RT-PCR and immunoblot analyses. We further demonstrate that increased autotaxin secretion from integrin alpha6beta4 expressing cells acts to enhance chemotaxis through its ability to convert lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and accounts for 80% of the motogenic activity of the conditioned medium. We determine that integrin alpha6beta4-dependent overexpression of autotaxin in MDA-MB-435 cells is mediated by NFAT1, but not NFAT5, through the use of siRNAs that specifically target autotaxin, integrin beta4, NFAT1 and NFAT5. Finally, we show by electrophoretic mobility shift assays that two consensus NFAT binding sites found in the autotaxin promoter strongly and specifically bind NFAT1 from integrin alpha6beta4 expressing cells. In summary, we find that the alpha6beta4 integrin potentiates autotaxin expression through the upregulation and activation of NFAT1. These observations highlight for the first time a mechanism by which NFAT transcription factors can facilitate an invasive and motile phenotype downstream of integrin alpha6beta4 signaling.

Bazan V, La Rocca G, Corsale S, et al.
Laser pressure catapulting (LPC): optimization LPC-system and genotyping of colorectal carcinomas.
J Cell Physiol. 2005; 202(2):503-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genotype analysis is becoming more and more useful in clinical practice, since specific mutations in tumors often correlate with prognosis and/or therapeutic response. Unfortunately, current molecular analytical techniques often require time-consuming and costly steps of analysis, thus making their routine clinical use difficult. Moreover, one of the most difficult problems arising during tumor research is that of their cell heterogeneity, which depends on their clear molecular heterogeneity. SSCP analysis discriminates by means of aberrant electrophoresis migration bands, mutated alleles which may represent as little as 15-20% of their total number. Nevertheless, in order to identify by sequencing the type of alteration revealed by this technique, only the mutated allele must be isolated. The advent of laser microdissection is a procedure which easily solves these problems of accuracy, costs, and time. The aims of this study were to perfect the system of laser pressure catapulting (LPC) laser microdissection for the assessment of the mutational status of p53 and k-ras genes in a consecutive series of 67 patients with colorectal carcinomas (CRC), in order to compare this technique with that involving hand-dissection and to demonstrate that since the LPC system guarantees more accurate biomolecular analyses, it should become part of clinical routine in this field. The LPC-system was perfected with the use of mineral oil and the LPC-membrane. To compare the techniques of hand- and LPC-microdissection, alcohol-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue from 67 cases of CRC were both hand- and laser-microdissected. In either case, dissected samples were analyzed by SSCP/sequencing and direct sequencing for k-ras and p53 gene mutations. LPC-microdissection made it possible to pick up mutations by direct sequencing or SSCP/sequencing, whereas hand-microdissection mutations were identified only by means of SSCP followed by sequencing; direct sequencing did not reveal any mutation. In the 67 patients examined by either method, 36% (24/67) showed p53 mutations, 32 of which identified. Seventy-eight percent (25/32) were found in the conserved areas of the gene, while 12% (4/32) were in the L2 loop, 50% (16/32) were in the L3 loop, and 12% (4/32) in the LSH motif of the protein. Moreover, of the 67 cases examined, 40% (27/67) showed mutations in k-ras, with a total of 29 mutations identified. Of these, 14 (48%) were found in codon 12 and 15 (52%) in codon 13. The modifications which we brought to the LPC system led to a vast improvement of the technique, making it an ideal substitution for hand-microdissection and guaranteeing a considerable number of advantages regarding facility, accuracy, time, and cost. Furthermore, the data obtained from the mutational analyses performed confirm that the LPC system is more efficient and rapid than hand-microdissection for acquiring useful information regarding molecular profile and can therefore be used with success in clinical routine.

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