Gene Summary

Gene:ZNF331; zinc finger protein 331
Aliases: RITA, ZNF361, ZNF463
Summary:This gene encodes a zinc finger protein containing a KRAB (Kruppel-associated box) domain found in transcriptional repressors. This gene may be methylated and silenced in cancer cells. This gene is located within a differentially methylated region (DMR) and shows allele-specific expression in placenta. Alternative splicing and the use of alternative promoters results in multiple transcript variants encoding the same protein. [provided by RefSeq, Nov 2015]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:zinc finger protein 331
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 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.

Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (8)

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: ZNF331 (cancer-related)

Thomas AM, Manghi P, Asnicar F, et al.
Metagenomic analysis of colorectal cancer datasets identifies cross-cohort microbial diagnostic signatures and a link with choline degradation.
Nat Med. 2019; 25(4):667-678 [PubMed] Related Publications
Several studies have investigated links between the gut microbiome and colorectal cancer (CRC), but questions remain about the replicability of biomarkers across cohorts and populations. We performed a meta-analysis of five publicly available datasets and two new cohorts and validated the findings on two additional cohorts, considering in total 969 fecal metagenomes. Unlike microbiome shifts associated with gastrointestinal syndromes, the gut microbiome in CRC showed reproducibly higher richness than controls (P < 0.01), partially due to expansions of species typically derived from the oral cavity. Meta-analysis of the microbiome functional potential identified gluconeogenesis and the putrefaction and fermentation pathways as being associated with CRC, whereas the stachyose and starch degradation pathways were associated with controls. Predictive microbiome signatures for CRC trained on multiple datasets showed consistently high accuracy in datasets not considered for model training and independent validation cohorts (average area under the curve, 0.84). Pooled analysis of raw metagenomes showed that the choline trimethylamine-lyase gene was overabundant in CRC (P = 0.001), identifying a relationship between microbiome choline metabolism and CRC. The combined analysis of heterogeneous CRC cohorts thus identified reproducible microbiome biomarkers and accurate disease-predictive models that can form the basis for clinical prognostic tests and hypothesis-driven mechanistic studies.

Seeboeck R, Sarne V, Haybaeck J
Current Coverage of the mTOR Pathway by Next-Generation Sequencing Oncology Panels.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(3) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The mTOR pathway is in the process of establishing itself as a key access-point of novel oncological drugs and targeted therapies. This is also reflected by the growing number of mTOR pathway genes included in commercially available next-generation sequencing (NGS) oncology panels. This review summarizes the portfolio of medium sized diagnostic, as well as research destined NGS panels and their coverage of the mTOR pathway, including 16 DNA-based panels and the current gene list of Foundation One as a major reference entity. In addition, we give an overview of interesting, mTOR-associated somatic mutations that are not yet incorporated. Especially eukaryotic translation initiation factors (eIFs), a group of mTOR downstream proteins, are on the rise as far as diagnostics and drug targeting in precision medicine are concerned. This review aims to raise awareness for the true coverage of NGS panels, which should be valuable in selecting the ideal platform for diagnostics and research.

Leonetti E, Gesualdi L, Scheri KC, et al.
c-Src Recruitment is Involved in c-MET-Mediated Malignant Behaviour of NT2D1 Non-Seminoma Cells.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Pisanu ME, Maugeri-Saccà M, Fattore L, et al.
Inhibition of Stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 reverts BRAF and MEK inhibition-induced selection of cancer stem cells in BRAF-mutated melanoma.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018; 37(1):318 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Combination therapy with BRAF and MEK inhibitors significantly improves survival in BRAF mutated melanoma patients but is unable to prevent disease recurrence due to the emergence of drug resistance. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been involved in these long-term treatment failures. We previously reported in lung cancer that CSCs maintenance is due to altered lipid metabolism and dependent upon Stearoyl-CoA-desaturase (SCD1)-mediated upregulation of YAP and TAZ. On this ground, we investigated the role of SCD1 in melanoma CSCs.
METHODS: SCD1 gene expression data of melanoma patients were downloaded from TCGA and correlated with disease progression by bioinformatics analysis and confirmed on patient's tissues by qRT-PCR and IHC analyses. The effects of combination of BRAF/MEKi and the SCD1 inhibitor MF-438 were monitored by spheroid-forming and proliferation assays on a panel of BRAF-mutated melanoma cell lines grown in 3D and 2D conditions, respectively. SCD1, YAP/TAZ and stemness markers were evaluated in melanoma cells and tissues by qRT-PCR, WB and Immunofluorescence.
RESULTS: We first observed that SCD1 expression increases during melanoma progression. BRAF-mutated melanoma 3D cultures enriched for CSCs overexpressed SCD1 and were more resistant than 2D differentiated cultures to BRAF and MEK inhibitors. We next showed that exposure of BRAF-mutated melanoma cells to MAPK pathway inhibitors enhanced stemness features by upregulating the expression of YAP/TAZ and downstream genes but surprisingly not SCD1. However, SCD1 pharmacological inhibition was able to downregulate YAP/TAZ and to revert at the same time CSC enrichment and resistance to MAPK inhibitors.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data underscore the role of SCD1 as prognostic marker in melanoma and promote the use of SCD1 inhibitors in combination with MAPK inhibitors for the control of drug resistance.

Markman RL, Webber LP, Nascimento Filho CHV, et al.
Interfering with bromodomain epigenome readers as therapeutic option in mucoepidermoid carcinoma.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2019; 42(2):143-155 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Emerging evidence indicates that bromodomains comprise a conserved class of epigenome readers involved in cancer development and inflammation. Bromodomains are associated with epigenetic modifications of gene transcription through interactions with lysine residues of histone tails. Particularly, the bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) family member BRD4 has been found to be involved in the control over oncogenes, including c-MYC, and in the maintenance of downstream inflammatory processes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of pharmacologically displacing BRD4 in mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) cells.
METHODS: We assessed the presence of BRD4 levels in a panel of human MEC tissue samples in conjunction with histological grading and clinical information. In vitro studies were carried out using human MEC-derived cell lines. The BET inhibitor iBET762 was administered to MEC cells to assess the impact of disrupted BRD4 signaling on colony forming capacities and cell cycle status. The activation of cellular senescence induced by iBET762 was determined by immunohistochemical staining for p16
RESULTS: We found that primary human MECs and MEC-derived cell lines are endowed with high BRD4 expression levels compared to those in normal salivary glands. We also found that, by displacing BRD4 from chromatin using the BET inhibitor iBET762, MEC cells lose their colony forming capacities and undergo G1 cell cycle arrest and senescence. Finally, we found that targeted displacement of BRD4 from chromatin results in depletion of cancer stem cells from the overall MEC cell populations.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that bromodomain-mediated gene regulation constitutes an epigenetic mechanism that is deregulated in MEC cells and that the use of BET inhibitors may serve as a feasible therapeutic strategy to manage MECs.

Bottazzi B, Riboli E, Mantovani A
Aging, inflammation and cancer.
Semin Immunol. 2018; 40:74-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aging is a key aspect of neoplasia at the level of cells, individuals and populations. Unrestrained expression and production of inflammatory mediators is a key feature of aging at the cellular and organism level. Inflammatory cells and mediators are a key component of the tumor microenvironment and drive tumor progression. Non-resolving smoldering inflammation increases the risk of cancer (the extrinsic pathway connecting inflammation and cancer). In the intrinsic pathway, genetic events that cause neoplasia (oncogenes and oncosupressor genes) orchestrate the construction of cancer-related inflammation. We argue that uncontrolled smoldering inflammation drives carcinogenesis in aging and acts as a common denominator linking aging and cancer.

Varga K, Hollósi A, Pászty K, et al.
Expression of calcium pumps is differentially regulated by histone deacetylase inhibitors and estrogen receptor alpha in breast cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):1029 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Remodeling of Ca
METHODS: In this study PMCAs were examined in breast cancer datasets and in a variety of breast cancer cell lines representing different subtypes. We investigated how estrogen receptor alpha (ER-α) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors regulate the expression of these pumps.
RESULTS: Three distinct datasets displayed significantly lower ATP2B4 mRNA expression in invasive breast cancer tissue samples compared to normal breast tissue, whereas the expression of ATP2B1 and ATP2B2 was not altered. Studying the protein expression profiles of Ca
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the expression of Ca

Vedeld HM, Nesbakken A, Lothe RA, Lind GE
Clin Epigenetics. 2018; 10:70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We have previously shown that aberrant promoter methylation of

Bansagi B, Phan V, Baker MR, et al.
Multifocal demyelinating motor neuropathy and hamartoma syndrome associated with a de novo
Neurology. 2018; 90(21):e1842-e1848 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To describe a patient with a multifocal demyelinating motor neuropathy with onset in childhood and a mutation in phosphatase and tensin homolog (
METHODS: We performed whole-exome sequencing in the patient's genomic DNA validated by Sanger sequencing. Immunoblotting, in vitro enzymatic assay, and label-free shotgun proteomic profiling were performed in the patient's fibroblasts.
RESULTS: The predominant clinical presentation of the patient was a childhood onset, asymmetric progressive multifocal motor neuropathy. In addition, he presented with macrocephaly, autism spectrum disorder, and skin hamartomas, considered as clinical criteria for PTEN-related hamartoma tumor syndrome. Extensive tumor screening did not detect any malignancies. We detected a novel de novo heterozygous c.269T>C, p.(Phe90Ser)
CONCLUSION: We describe a novel phenotype, PTEN-associated multifocal demyelinating motor neuropathy with a skin hamartoma syndrome. A similar mechanism may potentially underlie other forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease with involvement of the phosphatidylinositol pathway.

Singh PK, Mistry KN, Chiramana H, et al.
Exploring the deleterious SNPs in XRCC4 gene using computational approach and studying their association with breast cancer in the population of West India.
Gene. 2018; 655:13-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway has pivotal role in repair of double-strand DNA breaks that may lead to carcinogenesis. XRCC4 is one of the essential proteins of this pathway and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of this gene are reported to be associated with cancer risks. In our study, we first used computational approaches to predict the damaging variants of XRCC4 gene. Tools predicted rs79561451 (S110P) nsSNP as the most deleterious SNP. Along with this SNP, we analysed other two SNPs (rs3734091 and rs6869366) to study their association with breast cancer in population of West India. Variant rs3734091 was found to be significantly associated with breast cancer while rs6869366 variant did not show any association. These SNPs may influence the susceptibility of individuals to breast cancer in this population.

Brédart A, Anota A, Dick J, et al.
Patient-Centered Care in Breast Cancer Genetic Clinics.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018; 15(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
With advances in breast cancer (BC) gene panel testing, risk counseling has become increasingly complex, potentially leading to unmet psychosocial needs. We assessed psychosocial needs and correlates in women initiating testing for high genetic BC risk in clinics in France and Germany, and compared these results with data from a literature review. Among the 442 counselees consecutively approached, 212 (83%) in France and 180 (97%) in Germany, mostly BC patients (81% and 92%, respectively), returned the 'Psychosocial Assessment in Hereditary Cancer' questionnaire. Based on the Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm (BOADICEA) BC risk estimation model, the mean BC lifetime risk estimates were 19% and 18% in France and Germany, respectively. In both countries, the most prevalent needs clustered around the "living with cancer" and "children-related issues" domains. In multivariate analyses, a higher number of psychosocial needs were significantly associated with younger age (b = -0.05), higher anxiety (b = 0.78), and having children (b = 1.51), but not with country, educational level, marital status, depression, or loss of a family member due to hereditary cancer. These results are in line with the literature review data. However, this review identified only seven studies that quantitatively addressed psychosocial needs in the BC genetic counseling setting. Current data lack understandings of how cancer risk counseling affects psychosocial needs, and improves patient-centered care in that setting.

Moore MM, Schoeny RS, Becker RA, et al.
Development of an adverse outcome pathway for chemically induced hepatocellular carcinoma: case study of AFB1, a human carcinogen with a mutagenic mode of action.
Crit Rev Toxicol. 2018; 48(4):312-337 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) are frameworks starting with a molecular initiating event (MIE), followed by key events (KEs) linked by KE relationships (KERs), ultimately resulting in a specific adverse outcome. Relevant data for the pathway and each KE/KER are evaluated to assess biological plausibility, weight-of-evidence, and confidence. We aimed to describe an AOP relevant to chemicals directly inducing mutation in cancer critical gene(s), via the formation of chemical-specific pro-mutagenic DNA adduct(s), as an early critical step in tumor etiology. Such chemicals have mutagenic modes-of-action (MOA) for tumor induction. To assist with developing this AOP, Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) was selected as a case study because it has a rich database and is considered to have a mutagenic MOA. AFB1 information was used to define specific KEs, KERs, and to inform development of a generic AOP for mutagen-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In assessing the AFB1 information, it became clear that existing data are, in fact, not optimal and for some KEs/KERs, the definitive data are not available. In particular, while there is substantial information that AFB1 can induce mutations (based on a number of mutation assays), the definitive evidence - the ability to induce mutation in the cancer critical gene(s) in the tumor target tissue - is not available. Thus, it is necessary to consider the patterns of results in the weight-of-evidence for KEs and KERs. It was important to determine whether there was sufficient evidence that AFB1 can induce the necessary critical mutations early in the carcinogenic process, which was the case.

Cardoso R, Lacerda PC, Costa PP, et al.
Estrogen Metabolism-Associated CYP2D6 and IL6-174G/C Polymorphisms in Schistosoma haematobium Infection.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017; 18(12) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Wang Y, He T, Herman JG, et al.
Methylation of ZNF331 is an independent prognostic marker of colorectal cancer and promotes colorectal cancer growth.
Clin Epigenetics. 2017; 9:115 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: ZNF331 was reported to be a transcriptional repressor. Methylation of the promoter region of ZNF331 has been found frequently in human esophageal and gastric cancers. The function and methylation status of ZNF331 remain to be elucidated in human colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: Six colorectal cancer cell lines, 146 cases of primary colorectal cancer samples, and 10 cases of noncancerous colorectal mucosa were analyzed in this study using the following techniques: methylation specific PCR (MSP), qRT-PCR, siRNA, flow cytometry, xenograft mice, MTT, colony formation, and transfection assays.
RESULTS: Loss of ZNF331 expression was found in DLD1 and SW48 cells, reduced expression was found in SW480, SW620, and HCT116 cells, and high level expression was detected in DKO cells. Complete methylation of the ZNF331 in the promoter region was found in DLD1 and SW48 cells, partial methylation was found in SW480, SW620, and HCT116 cells, and unmethylation was detected in DKO cells. Loss of/reduced expression of ZNF331 is correlated with promoter region methylation. Restoration of ZNF331 expression was induced by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (DAC) in DLD1 and SW48 cells. These results suggest that ZNF331 expression is regulated by promoter region methylation in CRC cells. ZNF331 was methylated in 67.1% (98/146) of human primary colorectal cancer samples. Methylation of ZNF331 was significantly associated with tumor size, overall survival (OS), and disease-free survival (DFS) (
CONCLUSIONS: ZNF331 is frequently methylated in human colorectal cancer, and the expression of ZNF331 is regulated by promoter region methylation. Methylation of ZNF331 is a poor prognostic marker of CRC.

Chattaragada MS, Riganti C, Sassoe M, et al.
FAM49B, a novel regulator of mitochondrial function and integrity that suppresses tumor metastasis.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(6):697-709 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mitochondrial dysregulation plays a central role in cancers and drives reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent tumor progression. We investigated the pro-tumoral roles of mitochondrial dynamics and altered intracellular ROS levels in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We identified 'family with sequence similarity 49 member B' (FAM49B) as a mitochondria-localized protein that regulates mitochondrial fission and cancer progression. Silencing FAM49B in PDAC cells resulted in increased fission and mitochondrial ROS generation, which enhanced PDAC cell proliferation and invasion. Notably, FAM49B expression levels in PDAC cells were downregulated by the tumor microenvironment. Overall, the results of this study show that FAM49B acts as a suppressor of cancer cell proliferation and invasion in PDAC by regulating tumor mitochondrial redox reactions and metabolism.

You D, Jung SP, Jeong Y, et al.
Wild-type p53 controls the level of fibronectin expression in breast cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 38(4):2551-2557 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant fibronectin (FN) expression is associated with poor prognosis, cell adhesion, and cell motility in a variety of cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the relationship between p53 and FN expression in breast cancer cells. Basal FN expression was significantly decreased by treatment with the p53 activator III, RITA, in MCF7 breast cancer cells with wild-type p53. In addition, overexpression of wild-type p53 markedly decreased the level of FN expression in p53-mutant breast cancer cells. To examine the mechanism underlying the relationship between p53 and FN expression, we treated MCF7 breast cancer cells with the tumor promoter TPA (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate). Our results showed that basal FN expression was increased by TPA treatment in a time-dependent manner. In contrast, the level of p53 expression was decreased by TPA treatment. However, the expression of FN and p53 was not altered by TPA in p53-mutant breast cancer cells. Furthermore, the alterations in FN and p53 expression in response to TPA were prevented by a specific MEK inhibitor, UO126. Finally, we demonstrated that TPA triggers degradation of p53 through the proteasomal pathway in MCF7 cells. TPA-induced FN expression was decreased by the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Under the same condition, p53 protein expression, but not mRNA expression, was reversed by MG132. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the level of FN expression is associated with the status and expression of p53 in breast cancer cells.

Zhang Y, Zhu C, Sun B, et al.
Integrated High Throughput Analysis Identifies GSK3 as a Crucial Determinant of p53-Mediated Apoptosis in Lung Cancer Cells.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2017; 42(3):1177-1191 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: p53 dysfunction is frequently observed in lung cancer. Although restoring the tumour suppressor function of p53 is recently approved as a putative strategy for combating cancers, the lack of understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying p53-mediated lung cancer suppression has limited the application of p53-based therapies in lung cancer.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Using RNA sequencing, we determined the transcriptional profile of human non-small cell lung carcinoma A549 cells after treatment with two p53-activating chemical compounds, nutlin and RITA, which could induce A549 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, respectively. Bioinformatics analysis of genome-wide gene expression data showed that distinct transcription profiles were induced by nutlin and RITA and 66 pathways were differentially regulated by these two compounds. However, only two of these pathways, 'Adherens junction' and 'Axon guidance', were found to be synthetic lethal with p53 re-activation, as determined via integrated analysis of genome-wide gene expression profile and short hairpin RNA (shRNA) screening. Further functional protein association analysis of significantly regulated genes associated with these two synthetic lethal pathways indicated that GSK3 played a key role in p53-mediated A549 cell apoptosis, and then gene function study was performed, which revealed that GSK3 inhibition promoted p53-mediated A549 cell apoptosis in a p53 post-translational activity-dependent manner.
CONCLUSION: Our findings provide us with new insights regarding the mechanism by which p53 mediates A549 apoptosis and may cast light on the development of more efficient p53-based strategies for treating lung cancer.

Shin D, Kim EH, Lee J, Roh JL
RITA plus 3-MA overcomes chemoresistance of head and neck cancer cells via dual inhibition of autophagy and antioxidant systems.
Redox Biol. 2017; 13:219-227 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Reactivation of p53 and induction of tumor cell apoptosis (RITA) is a small molecule that blocks p53-MDM2 interaction, thereby reactivating p53 in tumors. RITA can induce exclusive apoptosis in cancer cells independently of the p53 pathway; however, the resistance of cancer cells remains a major drawback. Here, we found a novel resistance mechanism of RITA treatment and an effective combined treatment to overcome RITA resistance in head and neck cancer (HNC) cells. The effects of RITA and 3-methyladenine (3-MA) were tested in different HNC cell lines, including cisplatin-resistant and acquired RITA-resistant HNC cells. The effects of each drug alone and in combination were assessed by measuring cell viability, apoptosis, cell cycle, glutathione, reactive oxygen species, protein expression, genetic inhibition of p62 and Nrf2, and a mouse xenograft model of cisplatin-resistant HNC. RITA induced apoptosis of HNC cells at different levels without significantly inhibiting normal cell viability. Following RITA treatment, RITA-resistant HNC cells exhibited a sustained expression of other autophagy-related proteins, overexpressed p62, and displayed activation of the Keap1-Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The autophagy inhibitor 3-MA sensitized resistant HNC cells to RITA treatment via the dual inhibition of molecules related to the autophagy and antioxidant systems. Silencing of the p62 gene augmented the combined effects. The effective antitumor activity of RITA plus 3-MA was also confirmed in vivo in mouse xenograft models transplanted with resistant HNC cells, showing increased oxidative stress and DNA damage. The results indicate that RITA plus 3-MA can help overcome RITA resistance in HNC cells.
CONDENSED ABSTRACT: This study revealed a novel RITA resistant mechanism associated with the sustained induction of autophagy, p62 overexpression, and Keap1-Nrf2 antioxidant system activation. The combined treatment of RITA with the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine overcomes RITA resistance via dual inhibition of autophagy and antioxidant systems in vitro and in vivo.

Fattore L, Sacconi A, Mancini R, Ciliberto G
MicroRNA-driven deregulation of cytokine expression helps development of drug resistance in metastatic melanoma.
Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2017; 36:39-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
microRNAs are major components of the eukaryotic post-transcriptional machinery and are frequently deregulated during cancer development. Increasing evidence points to them also as key players in the establishment of drug resistance. In this review, we provide an updated overview of the role of miRNAs in melanoma development and drug resistance and postulate that they are able to drive these processes in concert with deregulation of inflammatory and angiogenic cytokine expression. Notably, we have identified by querying the Cancer Genome Atlas database, a defined set of miRNAs which mostly have an impact on the development of melanoma and have recognized the main downstream pathways controlled by them. Most importantly, these miRNAs, which are down-regulated in metastatic melanomas as compared to primary tumors, are also able to predict prognosis of BRAF-mutated melanoma patients. Finally, we discuss the possibility that a common miRNA signature characterizes not only acquired resistance to MAPKi but also innate resistance to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, since these conditions are both associated with alterations of the same pro-angiogenetic and pro-inflammatory pathways.

Innocenti F, Cerquetti L, Pezzilli S, et al.
Effect of mitotane on mouse ovarian follicle development and fertility.
J Endocrinol. 2017; 234(1):29-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitotane (MTT) is an adrenolytic drug used in advanced and adjuvant treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma, in Cushing's disease and in ectopic syndrome. However, knowledge about its effects on the ovary is still scarce. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of MTT on the ovary using

Lecarpentier J, Silvestri V, Kuchenbaecker KB, et al.
Prediction of Breast and Prostate Cancer Risks in Male BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers Using Polygenic Risk Scores.
J Clin Oncol. 2017; 35(20):2240-2250 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Purpose BRCA1/2 mutations increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer in men. Common genetic variants modify cancer risks for female carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations. We investigated-for the first time to our knowledge-associations of common genetic variants with breast and prostate cancer risks for male carriers of BRCA1/ 2 mutations and implications for cancer risk prediction. Materials and Methods We genotyped 1,802 male carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 by using the custom Illumina OncoArray. We investigated the combined effects of established breast and prostate cancer susceptibility variants on cancer risks for male carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations by constructing weighted polygenic risk scores (PRSs) using published effect estimates as weights. Results In male carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations, PRS that was based on 88 female breast cancer susceptibility variants was associated with breast cancer risk (odds ratio per standard deviation of PRS, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.19 to 1.56; P = 8.6 × 10

Antonelli M, Strappazzon F, Arisi I, et al.
ATM kinase sustains breast cancer stem-like cells by promoting ATG4C expression and autophagy.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(13):21692-21709 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The efficacy of Ataxia-Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) kinase signalling inhibition in cancer therapy is tempered by the identification of new emerging functions of ATM, which suggests that the role of this protein in cancer progression is complex. We recently demonstrated that this tumor suppressor gene could act as tumor promoting factor in HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2) positive breast cancer. Herein we put in evidence that ATM expression sustains the proportion of cells with a stem-like phenotype, measured as the capability to form mammospheres, independently of HER2 expression levels. Transcriptomic analyses revealed that, in mammospheres, ATM modulates the expression of cell cycle-, DNA repair- and autophagy-related genes. Among these, the silencing of the autophagic gene, autophagy related 4C cysteine peptidase (ATG4C), impairs mammosphere formation similarly to ATM depletion. Conversely, ATG4C ectopic expression in cells silenced for ATM expression, rescues mammospheres growth. Finally, tumor array analyses, performed using public data, identify a significant correlation between ATM and ATG4C expression levels in all human breast cancer subtypes, except for the basal-like one.Overall, we uncover a new connection between ATM kinase and autophagy regulation in breast cancer. We demonstrate that, in breast cancer cells, ATM and ATG4C are essential drivers of mammosphere formation, suggesting that their targeting may improve current approaches to eradicate breast cancer cells with a stem-like phenotype.

Di Domenico M, Giordano A
Signal transduction growth factors: the effective governance of transcription and cellular adhesion in cancer invasion.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(22):36869-36884 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Giulio Bizzozero classified the tissues concerning their capacity to self-renew during the adult life in labile, stable and permanent tissues. In 1940 Viktor Hamburger and Rita Levi Montalcini exposed the possibility to induce the growth of permanent cells thanks to a specific ligand Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Stanley Cohen purified a protein the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), able to induce epidermis proliferation and to elicit precocious eye disclosure and teeth eruption, establishing the "inverse" relationships between the proliferation and differentiation. These two biological effects induced by EGF were according to EGFR signaling is involved in a large array of cellular functions such as proliferation, survival, adhesion, migration and differentiation. This review is focused on the key role of growth factors signaling and their downstream effectors in physiological and in pathological phenomena, the authors highlight the governance of Growth factors during the EMT in cancer invasion.

Scott DW, Abrisqueta P, Wright GW, et al.
New Molecular Assay for the Proliferation Signature in Mantle Cell Lymphoma Applicable to Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Biopsies.
J Clin Oncol. 2017; 35(15):1668-1677 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Purpose Mantle cell lymphoma is an aggressive B-cell neoplasm that displays heterogeneous outcomes after treatment. In 2003, the Lymphoma/Leukemia Molecular Profiling Project described a powerful biomarker-the proliferation signature-using gene expression in fresh frozen material. Herein, we describe the training and validation of a new assay that measures the proliferation signature in RNA derived from routinely available formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) biopsies. Methods Forty-seven FFPE biopsies were used to train an assay on the NanoString platform, using microarray gene expression data of matched fresh frozen biopsies as a gold standard. The locked assay was applied to pretreatment FFPE lymph node biopsies from an independent cohort of 110 patients uniformly treated with rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone. Seventeen biopsies were tested across three laboratories to assess assay reproducibility. Results The MCL35 assay, which contained a 17-gene proliferation signature, yielded gene expression of sufficient quality to assign an assay score and risk group in 108 (98%) of 110 archival FFPE biopsies. The MCL35 assay assigned patients to high-risk (26%), standard-risk (29%), and low-risk (45%) groups, with different lengths of overall survival (OS): a median of 1.1, 2.6, and 8.6 years, respectively (log-rank for trend, P < .001). In multivariable analysis, these risk groups and the Mantle Cell Lymphoma International Prognostic Index were independently associated with OS ( P < .001 for both variables). Concordance of risk assignment across the three independent laboratories was 100%. Conclusion The newly developed and validated MCL35 assay for FFPE biopsies uses the proliferation signature to define groups of patients with significantly different OS independent of the Mantle Cell Lymphoma International Prognostic Index. Importantly, the analytic and clinical validity of this assay defines it as a reliable biomarker to support risk-adapted clinical trials.

Wiegering A, Matthes N, Mühling B, et al.
Reactivating p53 and Inducing Tumor Apoptosis (RITA) Enhances the Response of RITA-Sensitive Colorectal Cancer Cells to Chemotherapeutic Agents 5-Fluorouracil and Oxaliplatin.
Neoplasia. 2017; 19(4):301-309 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is the most common cancer of the gastrointestinal tract with frequently dysregulated intracellular signaling pathways, including p53 signaling. The mainstay of chemotherapy treatment of CRC is 5-fluorouracil (5FU) and oxaliplatin. The two anticancer drugs mediate their therapeutic effect via DNA damage-triggered signaling. The small molecule reactivating p53 and inducing tumor apoptosis (RITA) is described as an activator of wild-type and reactivator of mutant p53 function, resulting in elevated levels of p53 protein, cell growth arrest, and cell death. Additionally, it has been shown that RITA can induce DNA damage signaling. It is expected that the therapeutic benefits of 5FU and oxaliplatin can be increased by enhancing DNA damage signaling pathways. Therefore, we highlighted the antiproliferative response of RITA alone and in combination with 5FU or oxaliplatin in human CRC cells. A panel of long-term established CRC cell lines (n=9) including p53 wild-type, p53 mutant, and p53 null and primary patient-derived, low-passage cell lines (n=5) with different p53 protein status were used for this study. A substantial number of CRC cells with pronounced sensitivity to RITA (IC

Cañete A, Cano E, Muñoz-Chápuli R, Carmona R
Role of Vitamin A/Retinoic Acid in Regulation of Embryonic and Adult Hematopoiesis.
Nutrients. 2017; 9(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient throughout life. Its physiologically active metabolite retinoic acid (RA), acting through nuclear retinoic acid receptors (RARs), is a potent regulator of patterning during embryonic development, as well as being necessary for adult tissue homeostasis. Vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy increases risk of maternal night blindness and anemia and may be a cause of congenital malformations. Childhood Vitamin A deficiency can cause xerophthalmia, lower resistance to infection and increased risk of mortality. RA signaling appears to be essential for expression of genes involved in developmental hematopoiesis, regulating the endothelial/blood cells balance in the yolk sac, promoting the hemogenic program in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros area and stimulating eryrthropoiesis in fetal liver by activating the expression of erythropoietin. In adults, RA signaling regulates differentiation of granulocytes and enhances erythropoiesis. Vitamin A may facilitate iron absorption and metabolism to prevent anemia and plays a key role in mucosal immune responses, modulating the function of regulatory T cells. Furthermore, defective RA/RARα signaling is involved in the pathogenesis of acute promyelocytic leukemia due to a failure in differentiation of promyelocytes. This review focuses on the different roles played by vitamin A/RA signaling in physiological and pathological mouse hematopoiesis duddurring both, embryonic and adult life, and the consequences of vitamin A deficiency for the blood system.

Russo A, Scardigli R, La Regina F, et al.
Increased cytoplasmic TDP-43 reduces global protein synthesis by interacting with RACK1 on polyribosomes.
Hum Mol Genet. 2017; 26(8):1407-1418 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TDP-43 is a well known RNA binding protein involved in the pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Lobar Dementia (FTLD). In physiological conditions, TDP-43 mainly localizes in the nucleus and shuttles, at least in neurons, to the cytoplasm to form TDP-43 RNA granules. In the nucleus, TDP-43 participates to the expression and splicing of RNAs, while in the cytoplasm its functions range from transport to translation of specific mRNAs. However, if loss or gain of these TDP-43 functions are affected in ALS/FTLD pathogenesis is not clear. Here, we report that TDP-43 localizes on ribosomes not only in primary neurons but also in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. We find that binding of TDP-43 to the translational machinery is mediated by an interaction with a specific ribosomal protein, RACK1, and that an increase in cytoplasmic TDP-43 represses global protein synthesis, an effect which is rescued by overexpression of RACK1. Ribosomal loss of RACK1, which excludes TDP-43 from the translational machinery, remarkably reduces formation of TDP-43 cytoplasmic inclusions in neuroblastoma cells. Finally, we corroborate the interaction between TDP-43 and RACK1 on polyribosomes of neuroblastoma cells with mis-localization of RACK1 on TDP-43 positive cytoplasmic inclusions in motor neurons of ALS patients. In conclusions, results from this study suggest that TDP-43 represents a translational repressor not only for specific mRNAs but for overall translation and that its binding to polyribosomes through RACK1 may promote, under conditions inducing ALS pathogenesis, the formation of cytoplasmic inclusions.

Kamps R, Brandão RD, Bosch BJ, et al.
Next-Generation Sequencing in Oncology: Genetic Diagnosis, Risk Prediction and Cancer Classification.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017; 18(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has expanded in the last decades with significant improvements in the reliability, sequencing chemistry, pipeline analyses, data interpretation and costs. Such advances make the use of NGS feasible in clinical practice today. This review describes the recent technological developments in NGS applied to the field of oncology. A number of clinical applications are reviewed, i.e., mutation detection in inherited cancer syndromes based on DNA-sequencing, detection of spliceogenic variants based on RNA-sequencing, DNA-sequencing to identify risk modifiers and application for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, cancer somatic mutation analysis, pharmacogenetics and liquid biopsy. Conclusive remarks, clinical limitations, implications and ethical considerations that relate to the different applications are provided.

Visvanathan K, Fackler MS, Zhang Z, et al.
Monitoring of Serum DNA Methylation as an Early Independent Marker of Response and Survival in Metastatic Breast Cancer: TBCRC 005 Prospective Biomarker Study.
J Clin Oncol. 2017; 35(7):751-758 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Purpose Epigenetic alterations measured in blood may help guide breast cancer treatment. The multisite prospective study TBCRC 005 was conducted to examine the ability of a novel panel of cell-free DNA methylation markers to predict survival outcomes in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) using a new quantitative multiplex assay (cMethDNA). Patients and Methods Ten genes were tested in duplicate serum samples from 141 women at baseline, at week 4, and at first restaging. A cumulative methylation index (CMI) was generated on the basis of six of the 10 genes tested. Methylation cut points were selected to maximize the log-rank statistic, and cross-validation was used to obtain unbiased point estimates. Logistic regression or Cox proportional hazard models were used to test associations between the CMI and progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and disease status at first restaging. The added value of the CMI in predicting survival outcomes was evaluated and compared with circulating tumor cells (CellSearch). Results Median PFS and OS were significantly shorter in women with a high CMI (PFS, 2.1 months; OS, 12.3 months) versus a low CMI (PFS, 5.8 months; OS, 21.7 months). In multivariable models, among women with MBC, a high versus low CMI at week 4 was independently associated with worse PFS (hazard ratio, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.23 to 2.60; P = .002) and OS (hazard ratio, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.21 to 2.54; P = .003). An increase in the CMI from baseline to week 4 was associated with worse PFS ( P < .001) and progressive disease at first restaging ( P < .001). Week 4 CMI was a strong predictor of PFS, even in the presence of circulating tumor cells ( P = .004). Conclusion Methylation of this gene panel is a strong predictor of survival outcomes in MBC and may have clinical usefulness in risk stratification and disease monitoring.

Vale Rodrigues R, Santos F, Pereira da Silva J, et al.
A case of multiple gastrointestinal stromal tumors caused by a germline KIT gene mutation (p.Leu576Pro).
Fam Cancer. 2017; 16(2):267-270 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multiple gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) caused by germline KIT gene mutations are an extremely rare autosomal dominant disorder. We report a case of a 21-year-old woman who presented to the emergency department with a 2-week history of asthenia, palpitations and upper gastrointestinal bleeding. After further clinical evaluation one gastric and two small bowel GISTs were diagnosed, which were surgically resected after neoadjuvant therapy with Imatinib. Diffuse hyperplasia of the interstitial cells of Cajal was also seen in the background gastric and small intestinal walls. Somatic mutational analysis of the KIT gene revealed a substitution at codon 576 in exon 11 (p.Leu576Pro) in all tumors and normal ileal mucosa. The germline nature of this mutation was confirmed by mutation analysis in peripheral blood leukocytes. However, she had no familial history of GISTs and her parents did not carry the respective germline mutation.

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