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  • 1
    Keywords: APOPTOSIS ; TUMOR-CELLS ; IN-VIVO ; COMPLEX ; MOLECULE ; IMMUNOTHERAPY ; YOUNG-ADULTS ; childhood tumors ; KILLER-CELLS ; SIGNALING RECEPTOR
    Abstract: Cellular immunotherapy may provide a strategy to overcome the poor prognosis of metastatic and recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) under the current regimen of polychemotherapy. Because little is known about resistance mechanisms of RMS to cytotoxic T cells, we investigated RMS cell lines and biopsy specimens for expression and function of immune costimulatory receptors and anti-apoptotic molecules by RT-PCR, Western blot analysis, IHC, and cytotoxicity assays using siRNA or transfection-modified RMS cell lines, together with engineered RMS-directed cytotoxic T cells specific for the fetal acetylcholine receptor. We found that costimulatory CD80 and CD86 were consistently absent from all RMSs tested, whereas inducible T-cell co-stimulator ligand (ICOS-L; alias B7H2) was expressed by a subset of RMSs and was inducible by tumor necrosis factor alpha in two of five RMS cell lines. Anti-apoptotic survivin, along with other inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family members (cIAP1, cIAP2, and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein), was overexpressed by RMS cell lines and biopsy specimens. Down-regulation of survivin by siRNA or pharmacologically in RMS cells increased their susceptibility toward a T-cell attack, whereas induction of ICOS-L did not. Treatment of RMS-bearing Rag(-/-) mice with fetal acetylcholine receptor-specific chimeric T cells delayed xenograft growth; however, this happened without definitive tumor eradication. Combined blockade of survivin and application of chimeric T cells in vivo suppressed tumor proliferation during survivin inhibition. In conclusion, survivin blockade provides a strategy to sensitize RMS cells for T-cell-based therapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23562272
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  • 2
    Keywords: LYMPHOMA ; thymus
    Abstract: Due to its profound therapeutic consequences, the distinction between thymoma and T-lymphoblastic lymphoma in needle biopsies is one of the most challenging in mediastinal pathology. One essential diagnostic criterion favouring thymoma is the demonstration of increased numbers of keratin-positive epithelial cells by immunohistochemistry. Loss of keratin expression in neoplastic epithelial cells could lead to detrimental misdiagnoses. We here describe a series of 14 thymic epithelial tumours (11 type B2 and B3 thymomas, 3 thymic carcinomas) with loss of expression of one or more keratins. Cases were analysed for expression of various keratins and desmosomal proteins by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence and compared with 45 unselected type B thymomas and 24 thymic carcinomas arranged in a multitissue histological array. All 14 cases showed highly reduced expression of at least one keratin, three cases were completely negative for all keratins studied. Of the 14 cases, 13 showed strong nuclear expression of p63. Expression of desmosomal proteins was preserved, suggesting intact cell contact structures. Loss of expression of broad-spectrum-keratins and K19 was observed in 3 and 5 % of unselected thymomas and in 30 and 60 % of thymic carcinomas. A proportion of keratin-depleted thymomas contained giant cells, reminiscent of thymic nurse cells. Loss of keratin expression in type B2 and B3 thymomas is an important diagnostic pitfall in the differential diagnosis with T-lymphoblastic lymphoma and can be expected in 5 % of cases. A panel of epithelial markers including p63 is warranted to ensure correct diagnosis of keratin-negative mediastinal tumours.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24923897
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  • 3
    Keywords: radiotherapy ; FOLLOW-UP ; COLON-CANCER ; chemoradiation ; ADJUVANT CHEMOTHERAPY ; capecitabine ; III TRIAL ; total mesorectal excision ; LEUCOVORIN ; MRC CR07
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Preoperative chemoradiotherapy with infusional fluorouracil, total mesorectal excision surgery, and postoperative chemotherapy with fluorouracil was established by the German CAO/ARO/AIO-94 trial as a standard combined modality treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer. Here we compare the previously established regimen with an investigational regimen in which oxaliplatin was added to both preoperative chemoradiotherapy and postoperative chemotherapy. METHODS: In this multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 study we randomly assigned patients with rectal adenocarcinoma, clinically staged as cT3-4 or any node-positive disease, to two groups: a control group receiving standard fluorouracil-based combined modality treatment, consisting of preoperative radiotherapy of 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions plus infusional fluorouracil (1000 mg/m(2) on days 1-5 and 29-33), followed by surgery and four cycles of bolus fluorouracil (500 mg/m(2) on days 1-5 and 29); or to an investigational group receiving preoperative radiotherapy of 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions plus infusional fluorouracil (250 mg/m(2) on days 1-14 and 22-35) and oxaliplatin (50 mg/m(2) on days 1, 8, 22, and 29), followed by surgery and eight cycles of oxaliplatin (100 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 15), leucovorin (400 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 15), and infusional fluorouracil (2400 mg/m(2) on days 1-2 and 15-16). Randomisation was done with computer-generated block-randomisation codes stratified by centre, clinical T category (cT1-3 vs cT4), and clinical N category (cN0 vs cN1-2) without masking. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival, defined as the time between randomisation and non-radical surgery of the primary tumour (R2 resection), locoregional recurrence after R0/1 resection, metastatic disease or progression, or death from any cause, whichever occurred first. Survival and cumulative incidence of recurrence analyses followed the intention-to-treat principle; toxicity analyses included all patients treated. Enrolment of patients in this trial is completed and follow-up is ongoing. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00349076. FINDINGS: Of the 1265 patients initially enrolled, 1236 were assessable (613 in the investigational group and 623 in the control group). With a median follow-up of 50 months (IQR 38-61), disease-free survival at 3 years was 75.9% (95% CI 72.4-79.5) in the investigational group and 71.2% (95% CI 67.6-74.9) in the control group (hazard ratio [HR] 0.79, 95% CI 0.64-0.98; p=0.03). Preoperative grade 3-4 toxic effects occurred in 144 (24%) of 607 patients who actually received fluorouracil and oxaliplatin during chemoradiotherapy and in 128 (20%) of 625 patients who actually received fluorouracil chemoradiotherapy. Of 445 patients who actually received adjuvant fluorouracil and leucovorin and oxaliplatin, 158 (36%) had grade 3-4 toxic effects, as did 170 (36%) of 470 patients who actually received adjuvant fluorouracil. Late grade 3-4 adverse events in patients who received protocol-specified preoperative and postoperative treatment occurred in 112 (25%) of 445 patients in the investigational group, and in 100 (21%) of 470 patients in the control group. INTERPRETATION: Adding oxaliplatin to fluorouracil-based neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy (at the doses and intensities used in this trial) significantly improved disease-free survival of patients with clinically staged cT3-4 or cN1-2 rectal cancer compared with our former fluorouracil-based combined modality regimen (based on CAO/ARO/AIO-94). The regimen established by CAO/ARO/AIO-04 can be deemed a new treatment option for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. FUNDING: German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe).
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26189067
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  • 4
    Abstract: Plakophilin (PKP) 1 is frequently downregulated in prostate cancer and therefore may play a tumor-suppressive role. In the present study, we stably knocked down PKP1 in the non-neoplastic, prostatic BPH-1 cell line. In the PKP1-deficient cells, the expression of keratin 14 was lost, and the apoptosis rate was significantly reduced indicating that the cells acquired new biological capabilities. Moreover, we analyzed the gene expression profile of the PKP1-deficient BPH-1 cells. Among the genes that were significantly altered upon PKP1 knockdown, we noticed several extracellular matrix (ECM)-related genes and identified sparc/osteonectin, cwcv, and kazal-like domains proteoglycan 1 (SPOCK1/testican-1) as a gene of interest. SPOCK1 is a component of the ECM and belongs to a matricellular protein family named secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (SPARC). The role of SPOCK1 in prostate cancer has not been clearly elucidated. We analyzed SPOCK1 mRNA expression levels in different cancer databases and characterized its expression in 136 prostatic adenocarcinomas by immunohistochemistry and western blot. SPOCK1 revealed a cytoplasmic localization in the glandular epithelium of the prostate and showed a significant upregulation of mRNA and protein in prostate tumor samples. Our findings support the hypothesis that PKP1 may have a tumor-suppressive function and suggest an important role of SPOCK1 in prostate tumor progression. Collectively, altered expression of PKP1 and SPOCK1 appears to be a frequent and critical event in prostate cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26138584
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  • 5
    Abstract: The transcription factor Meis1 drives myeloid leukemogenesis in the context of Hox gene overexpression but is currently considered undruggable. We therefore investigated whether myeloid progenitor cells transformed by Hoxa9 and Meis1 become addicted to targetable signaling pathways. A comprehensive (phospho)proteomic analysis revealed that Meis1 increased Syk protein expression and activity. Syk upregulation occurs through a Meis1-dependent feedback loop. By dissecting this loop, we show that Syk is a direct target of miR-146a, whose expression is indirectly regulated by Meis1 through the transcription factor PU.1. In the context of Hoxa9 overexpression, Syk signaling induces Meis1, recapitulating several leukemogenic features of Hoxa9/Meis1-driven leukemia. Finally, Syk inhibition disrupts the identified regulatory loop, prolonging survival of mice with Hoxa9/Meis1-driven leukemia.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28399410
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  • 6
    Keywords: GENE-EXPRESSION ; PLAQUE PROTEIN ; CELL-ADHESION ; EPITHELIAL-CELLS ; STRESS GRANULES ; EXON JUNCTION COMPLEX ; POLY(A)-BINDING PROTEIN ; EUKARYOTIC TRANSLATION ; STIMULATE TRANSLATION ; TUMOR-PROGRESSION
    Abstract: Plakophilins 1 and 3 (PKP1/3) are members of the arm-repeat family of catenin proteins and serve as structural components of desmosomes important for cell-cell-adhesion. In addition, PKP1/3 occur as soluble proteins outside of desmosomes, yet their role in the cytoplasm is not known so far. We found that cytoplasmic PKP1/3 were co-precipitated with the RNA-binding proteins FXR1, G3BP, PABPC1 and UPF1 and these PKP1/3 complexes also comprised desmoplakin and PKP2 mRNAs. Moreover, we showed that the interaction of PKP1/3 with G3BP, PABPC1 and UPF1 but not with FXR1 was RNase-sensitive. To address the cytoplasmic function of PKP1/3 we performed gain and loss of function studies. Both PKP1 and PKP3 knock down cell lines showed reduced protein and mRNA levels for desmoplakin and PKP2. Whereas global rates of translation were unaffected, desmoplakin and PKP2 mRNA were destabilized. Furthermore, binding of PKP1/3 to FXR1 was RNA-independent, and both PKP3 and FXR1 stabilized PKP2 mRNA. Our results demonstrate that cytoplasmic PKP1/3 are components of mRNA ribonucleoprotein particles and act as posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25225333
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  • 7
    Abstract: BACKGROUND & AIMS: The ability of exocrine pancreatic cells to change the cellular phenotype is required for tissue regeneration upon injury, but also contributes to their malignant transformation and tumor progression. We investigated context-dependent signaling and transcription mechanisms that determine pancreatic cell fate decisions toward regeneration and malignancy. In particular, we studied the function and regulation of the inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFATC1) in pancreatic cell plasticity and tissue adaptation. METHODS: We analyzed cell plasticity during pancreatic regeneration and transformation in mice with pancreas-specific expression of a constitutively active form of NFATC1, or depletion of enhancer of zeste 2 homologue 2 (EZH2), in the context of wild-type or constitutively activate Kras, respectively. Acute and chronic pancreatitis were induced by intraperitoneal injection of caerulein. EZH2-dependent regulation of NFATC1 expression was studied in mouse in human pancreatic tissue and cells by immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. We used genetic and pharmacologic approaches of EZH2 and NFATC1 inhibition to study the consequences of pathway disruption on pancreatic morphology and function. Epigenetic modifications on the NFATC1 gene were investigated by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. RESULTS: NFATC1 was rapidly and transiently induced in early adaptation to acinar cell injury in human samples and in mice, where it promoted acinar cell transdifferentiation and blocked proliferation of metaplastic pancreatic cells. However, in late stages of regeneration, Nfatc1 was epigenetically silenced by EZH2-dependent histone methylation, to enable acinar cell redifferentiation and prevent organ atrophy and exocrine insufficiency. In contrast, oncogenic activation of KRAS signaling in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells reversed the EZH2-dependent effects on the NFATC1 gene and was required for EZH2-mediated transcriptional activation of NFATC1. CONCLUSIONS: In studies of human and mouse pancreatic cells and tissue, we identified context-specific epigenetic regulation of NFATc1 activity as an important mechanism of pancreatic cell plasticity. Inhibitors of EZH2 might therefore interfere with oncogenic activity of NFATC1 and be used in treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28188746
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  • 8
    Keywords: GENES ; METHYLATION ; germline mutations ; GASTROINTESTINAL STROMAL TUMORS ; MOLECULAR-GENETICS ; pheochromocytomas ; FAMILIAL PARAGANGLIOMA ; STRATAKIS-SYNDROME
    Abstract: Carney triad (CT) is a rare condition with synchronous or metachronous occurrence of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), paragangliomas (PGLs), and pulmonary chondromas in a patient. In contrast to Carney-Stratakis syndrome (CSS) and familial PGL syndromes, no germline or somatic mutations in the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) complex subunits A, B, C, or D have been found in most tumors and/or patients with CT. Nonetheless, the tumors arising among patients with CT, CSS, or familial PGL share a similar morphology with loss of the SDHB subunit on the protein level. For the current study, we employed massive parallel bisulfite sequencing to evaluate DNA methylation patterns in CpG islands in proximity to the gene loci of all four SDH subunits. For the first time, we report on a recurrent aberrant dense DNA methylation at the gene locus of SDHC in tumors of patients with CT, which was not present in tumors of patients with CSS or PGL, or in sporadic GISTs with KIT mutations. This DNA methylation pattern was correlated to a reduced mRNA expression of SDHC, and concurrent loss of the SDHC subunit on the protein level. Collectively, these data suggest epigenetic inactivation of the SDHC gene locus with functional impairment of the SDH complex as a plausible alternate mechanism of tumorigenesis in CT.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24859990
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  • 9
    Abstract: In-depth analyses of cancer cell proteomes are needed to elucidate oncogenic pathomechanisms, as well as to identify potential drug targets and diagnostic biomarkers. However, methods for quantitative proteomic characterization of patient-derived tumors and in particular their cellular subpopulations are largely lacking. Here we describe an experimental set-up that allows quantitative analysis of proteomes of cancer cell subpopulations derived from either liquid or solid tumors. This is achieved by combining cellular enrichment strategies with quantitative Super-SILAC-based mass spectrometry followed by bioinformatic data analysis. To enrich specific cellular subsets, liquid tumors are first immunophenotyped by flow cytometry followed by FACS-sorting; for solid tumors, laser-capture microdissection is used to purify specific cellular subpopulations. In a second step, proteins are extracted from the purified cells and subsequently combined with a tumor-specific, SILAC-labeled spike-in standard that enables protein quantification. The resulting protein mixture is subjected to either gel electrophoresis or Filter Aided Sample Preparation (FASP) followed by tryptic digestion. Finally, tryptic peptides are analyzed using a hybrid quadrupole-orbitrap mass spectrometer, and the data obtained are processed with bioinformatic software suites including MaxQuant. By means of the workflow presented here, up to 8,000 proteins can be identified and quantified in patient-derived samples, and the resulting protein expression profiles can be compared among patients to identify diagnostic proteomic signatures or potential drug targets.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25867170
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  • 10
    Abstract: Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) is a highly proliferative B-cell neoplasm and is treated with intensive chemotherapy that, because of its toxicity, is often not suitable for the elderly or for patients with endemic BL in developing countries. BL cell survival relies on signals transduced by B-cell antigen receptors (BCRs). However, tonic as well as activated BCR signaling networks and their relevance for targeted therapies in BL remain elusive. We have systematically characterized and compared tonic and activated BCR signaling in BL by quantitative phosphoproteomics to identify novel BCR effectors and potential drug targets. We identified and quantified approximately 16,000 phospho-sites in BL cells. Among these sites, 909 were related to tonic BCR signaling, whereas 984 phospho-sites were regulated upon BCR engagement. The majority of the identified BCR signaling effectors have not been described in the context of B cells or lymphomas yet. Most of these newly identified BCR effectors are predicted to be involved in the regulation of kinases, transcription, and cytoskeleton dynamics. Although tonic and activated BCR signaling shared a considerable number of effector proteins, we identified distinct phosphorylation events in tonic BCR signaling. We investigated the functional relevance of some newly identified BCR effectors and show that ACTN4 and ARFGEF2, which have been described as regulators of membrane-trafficking and cytoskeleton-related processes, respectively, are crucial for BL cell survival. Thus, this study provides a comprehensive dataset for tonic and activated BCR signaling and identifies effector proteins that may be relevant for BL cell survival and thus may help to develop new BL treatments.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27155012
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