Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor. Radiotherapy post surgical resection remained the mainstay of the management of GBM for decades until the addition of temozolomide was shown to prolong the median overall survival (OS) by 2.5 months to 14.6 months in 2005. Infiltrative growth to surrounding normal brain tissue and cooption of vascular niches, peripheral microvasuclar hyperplasia, and central hypoxic regions with pseudopalisading necrosis are characteristics of GBM and are causally linked to their exceptional radio- and chemo-resistant phenotype. An intratumoral hierarchy is postulated consisting of tumor stem cells in the apex with high DNA-repair proficiency resisting radiotherapy. It is conceivable that the stem cell property is more dynamic than originally anticipated. Niche effects such as exposure to hypoxia and intercellular communication in proximities to endothelial or bone marrow-derived cells (BMDC), for example, may activate such "stem cell" programs. GBM are exceptionally stroma-rich tumors and may consist of more than 70% stroma components, such as microglia and BMDC. It becomes increasingly apparent that treatment of GBM needs to integrate therapies targeting all above-mentioned distinct pathophysiological features. Accordingly, recent approaches in GBM therapy include inhibition of invasion (e.g., integrin, EGFR, CD95, and mTOR inhibition), antiangiogenesis and stroma modulators (TGFbeta, VEGF, angiopoetin, cMET inhibitors) and activation of immune response (vaccination and blockage of negative co-stimulatory signals). In addition, high LET-radiotherapy, for example with carbon ions, is postulated to ablate tumor stem cell and hypoxic cells more efficiently as compared with conventional low-LET photon irradiation. We discuss current key concepts, their limitations, and potentials to improve the outcome in this rapidly progressive and devastating disease.
A hypoxic microenvironment induces resistance to alkylating agents by activating targets in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. The molecular mechanisms involved in this mTOR-mediated hypoxia-induced chemoresistance, however, are unclear. Here we identify the mTOR target N-myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) as a key determinant of resistance toward alkylating chemotherapy, driven by hypoxia but also by therapeutic measures such as irradiation, corticosteroids, and chronic exposure to alkylating agents via distinct molecular routes involving hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha, p53, and the mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2)/serum glucocorticoid-induced protein kinase 1 (SGK1) pathway. Resistance toward alkylating chemotherapy but not radiotherapy was dependent on NDRG1 expression and activity. In posttreatment tumor tissue of patients with malignant gliomas, NDRG1 was induced and predictive of poor response to alkylating chemotherapy. On a molecular level, NDRG1 bound and stabilized methyltransferases, chiefly O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), a key enzyme for resistance to alkylating agents in glioblastoma patients. In patients with glioblastoma, MGMT promoter methylation in tumor tissue was not more predictive for response to alkylating chemotherapy in patients who received concomitant corticosteroids.
The lack of sensitive biocompatible particle track detectors has so far limited parallel detection of physical energy deposition and biological response. Fluorescent nuclear track detectors (FNTDs) based on Al?O?:C,Mg single crystals combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) provide 3D information on ion tracks with a resolution limited by light diffraction. Here we report the development of next generation cell-fluorescent ion track hybrid detectors (Cell-Fit-HD).
Transfer of cellular material via tunneling nanotubes (TNT) was recently discovered as a novel mechanism for intercellular communication. The role of intercellular exchange in communication of renal epithelium is not known. Here we report extensive spontaneous intercellular exchange of cargo vesicles and organelles between primary human proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTEC). Cells were labeled with two different quantum dot nanocrystals (Qtracker 605 or 525) and intercellular exchange was quantified by high-throughput fluorescence imaging and FACS analysis. In co-culture, a substantial fraction of cells (67.5%) contained both dyes indicating high levels of spontaneous intercellular exchange in RPTEC. The double positive cells could be divided into three categories based on the preponderance of 605 Qtracker (46.30%), 525 Qtracker (48.3%) and approximately equal content of both Qtrackers (4.57%). The transfer of mitochondria between RPTECs was also detected using an organelle specific dye. Inhibition of TNT genesis by actin polymerization inhibitor (Latrunculin B) markedly reduced intercellular exchange (>60%) suggesting that intercellular exchange in RPTEC was in part mediated via TNT-like structures. In contrast, induction of cellular stress by Zeocin treatment increased tube-genesis in RPTEC. Our data indicates an unexpected dynamic of intercellular communication between RPTEC by exchange of cytosolic material, which may play an important role in renal physiology.
A group of 160 patients with primary glioblastoma treated with radiotherapy and temozolomide was analyzed for the impact of O6-methly-guanly-methyl-transferase (MGMT)-promoter methylation as well as isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)1-mutational status. Unexpectedly, overall survival or progression-free survival were not longer in the group with methylated MGMT-promoter as compared to patients without that methylation. IDH-1 mutations were significantly associated with increased overall survival.
We have previously reported that over-expression of a panel of 119 genes correlates with the metastatic potential of pancreatic carcinoma cells. We sought to identify and functionally characterize candidate tumour metastasis promoting genes among this library using a secondary phenotype-assisted screen. Here we report the discovery of the metastasis-promoting function of a hitherto not characterized gene located on chromosome 14 (ORF138), which we have named novel metastasis-promoting gene 1 (NVM-1). The NVM-1 transcript is extensively alternatively spliced, is expressed endogenously in a number of different tissues, and is strongly over-expressed at the protein level in a variety of human tumour types. Importantly, NVM-1 expression stimulates the migratory and invasive behaviour of tumour cells and promotes metastasis formation in experimental animals in vivo. Up-regulation of FMNL2 and MT1E and down-regulation of TIMP4 and MHC-I is observed as a consequence of NVM-1 expression. Together these data identify NVM-1 as a gene that is functionally involved in tumour metastasis, and suggest that NVM-1 may constitute a promising therapeutic target for inhibition of tumour metastasis.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors mediate a systemic antitumor activity via antiangiogenesis and seem to enhance the response of primary tumors to radiation. Radiosensitizing effects of COX-2 inhibition have not been reported for bone metastases. Therefore, the aim of this study was the investigation of the radiosensitizing effects of the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib in secondary bone tumors of a non-small cell lung carcinoma in vivo.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disorder of the lungs with limited treatment options. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) constitute a family of proteases that degrade extracellular matrix with roles in fibrosis. Here we studied the role of MMP13 in a radiation-induced lung fibrosis model using a MMP13 knockout mouse.
Cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CS/CPB) is associated with increased risk for postoperative complications causing substantial morbidity and mortality. To identify the molecular mechanisms underlying CS/CPB-induced pathophysiology we employed an integrative systems biology approach using the whole blood transcriptome as the sentinel organ.
Tissue fibrosis is an integral component of chronic inflammatory (liver and pancreas) diseases and pancreatic cancer. Activated pancreatic- (PSC) and hepatic- (HSC) stellate cells play a key role in fibrogenesis. To identify organ- and disease-specific stellate cell transcriptional fingerprints, we employed genome-wide transcriptional analysis of primary human PSC and HSC isolated from patients with chronic inflammation or cancer.
Chronic inflammation and fibrosis are the leading causes of chronic allograft failure. The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)gamma is a transcription factor known to have antidiabetogenic and immune effects, and PPARgamma forms obligate heterodimers with the retinoid X receptor (RXR). We have reported that a retinoic acid (RAR)/RXR-agonist can potently influence the course of renal chronic allograft dysfunction. In this study, in a Fischer to Lewis rat renal transplantation model, administration of the PPARgamma-agonist, rosiglitazone, independent of dose (3 or 30 mg/kgBW/day), lowered serum creatinine, albuminuria, and chronic allograft damage with a chronic vascular damage score as follows: 35.0 +/- 5.8 (controls) vs. 8.1 +/- 2.4 (low dose-Rosi; P < 0.05); chronic tubulointerstitial damage score: 13.6 +/- 1.8 (controls) vs. 2.6 +/- 0.4 (low dose-Rosi; P < 0.01). The deposition of extracellular matrix proteins (collagen, fibronectin, decorin) was strikingly lower. The expression of transforming growth factor-beta1 was inhibited, whereas that of bone morphogenic protein-7 (BMP-7) was increased. Intragraft mononuclear cells and activated fibroblast numbers were reduced by 50%. In addition, the migratory and proliferative activity of these cells was significantly inhibited in vitro. PPARgamma activation diminished the number of cells expressing the proinflammatory and fibrogenic proteoglycan biglycan. In macrophages its secretion was blocked by rosiglitazone in a predominantly PPARgamma-dependent manner. The combination of PPARgamma- and RAR/RXR-agonists resulted in additive effects in the inhibition of fibrosis. In summary, PPARgamma activation was potently immunosuppressive and antifibrotic in kidney allografts, and these effects were enhanced by a RAR/RXR-agonist.
Endothelial cells (EC) in tumor and normal tissue constitute critical radiotherapy targets. MicroRNAs have emerged as master switchers of the cellular transcriptome. Here, we seek to investigate the role of miRNAs in primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMEC) after ionizing radiation.
To unravel biological mechanisms potentially resulting in the obliteration process after radiosurgery (RS) of human cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) by investigating molecular signatures on the transcriptomic level in peripheral blood of patients.
Within three decades, anti-angiogenic therapy has rapidly evolved into an integral component of current standard anti-cancer treatment. Anti-angiogenic therapy has fulfilled a number of its earlier proposed promises. The universality of this approach is demonstrated by the broad spectrum of malignant and benign tumor entities, as well as non-neoplastic diseases, that are currently treated with anti-angiogenic agents. In contrast to tumor cell targeting therapies, the development of acquired drug resistance (e.g., via mutations in growth factor receptor signaling genes) has not been described yet for the principal target of anti-angiogenic therapy--the tumor endothelium. Moreover, the tumor endothelium has emerged as a critical target of conventional cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The presumption that tumor growth and metastasis are angiogenesis-dependent implies that the number of potential targets of an anti-cancer therapy could be reduced to those that stimulate the angiogenesis process. Therefore, the set of endogenous angiogenesis stimulants might constitute an "Achilles heel" of cancer. Direct targeting of tumor endothelium via, e.g., endogenous angiogenesis inhibitors poses another promising but clinically less explored therapeutic strategy. Indeed, the majority of current anti-angiogenic approaches block the activity of a single or at most a few pro-angiogenic proteins secreted by tumor cells or the tumor stroma. Based on our systems biology work on the angiogenic switch, we predicted that the redundancy of angiogenic signals might limit the efficacy of anti-angiogenic monotherapies. In support of this hypothesis, emerging experimental evidence suggests that tumors may become refractory or even evade the inhibition of a single pro-angiogenic pathway via compensatory upregulation of alternative angiogenic factors. Here, we discuss current concepts and propose novel strategies to overcome tumor evasion of anti-angiogenic therapy. We believe that early detection of tumors, prediction of tumor evasive mechanisms and rational design of anti-angiogenic combinations will direct anti-angiogenic therapy towards its ultimate goal--the conversion of cancer to a dormant, chronic, manageable disease.
Dendritic cells (DCs)--immunomodulatory cells that initiate adaptive immune responses--have recently been shown to exert proangiogenic effects when infiltrating the tumor microenvironment. As tumors that escape immune surveillance inhibit DC maturation, we explored whether maturation status determines their ability to promote angiogenesis and whether angiogenesis depends on the presence of DCs. Using mouse xenograft models of human tumors, we show that fast-growing "angiogenic" tumors are infiltrated by a more immature DC population than respective dormant avascular tumors. Accordingly, supplementation of immature DCs, but not mature DCs, enhanced tumor growth. When DCs were mixed with Matrigel and injected subcutaneously into mice, only immature DCs promoted the ingrowth of patent blood vessels. Notably, depletion of DCs in a transgenic mouse model that allows for their conditional ablation completely abrogated basic fibroblast growth factor-induced angiogenesis in Matrigel plugs, and significantly inhibited tumor growth in these mice. Because immature DCs actively promote angiogenesis and tumor growth, whereas DC maturation or ablation suppresses this response, we conclude that angiogenesis is dependent on the presence of immature DCs. Thus, cancer immunotherapies that promote DC maturation may act by both augmenting the host immune response to the tumor and by suppressing tumor angiogenesis.
We devise a novel, systems-biology approach for identifying genetic participants in homeostatic biological processes. The central idea is that genes which are inversely regulated in alignment with positive and negative system perturbation are strong candidates for significant regulatory involvement in a given homeostatic process. This allows us to integrate known genetic participants together with hitherto unknown ones into a signaling network. We illustrate this concept and justify the underlying rationale in the exemplary case of the formation of blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the progression of pancreatic cancer where we have introduced a gene regulatory network governing the shift from a non angiogenic phenotype to an angiogenic phenotype in pancreatic tissue (angiogenic switch). The envisaged pay-off of our approach is an improved understanding of signaling networks as well as the discovery of yet unknown genetic agents for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Subject to mild constraints, the same algorithm for the identification of signalling components can in principle be implemented across a wide spectrum of homeostatic processes including, e.g., apoptosis and fibrogenesis.
We have previously shown that small molecule PDGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (RTKI) can drastically attenuate radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis if the drug administration starts at the time of radiation during acute inflammation with present but limited effects against acute inflammation. To rule out interactions of the drug with acute inflammation, we investigated here in an interventive trial if a later drug administration start at a time when the acute inflammation has subsided--has also beneficial antifibrotic effects.
High-throughput "omics" based data analysis play emerging roles in life sciences and molecular diagnostics. This emphasizes the urgent need for user-friendly windows-based software interfaces that could process the diversity of large tab-delimited raw data files generated by these methods. Depending on the study, dozens to hundreds of these data tables are generated. Before the actual statistical or cluster analysis, these data tables have to be combined and merged to expression matrices (e.g., in case of gene expression analysis). Gene annotations as well as information concerning the samples analyzed may be appended, renewed or extended. Often additional data values shall be computed or certain features must be filtered out.
Perineural invasion, the growth of tumor cells along nerves, is a key feature of pancreatic cancer. The cardinal symptom of pancreatic cancer, abdominal pain often radiating to the back, as well as the high frequency of local tumor recurrence following resection are both attributed to the unique ability of pancreatic tumor cells to invade the neuronal system. The molecular mechanisms underlying the neuroaffinity of pancreatic tumors are not completely understood. In this study, we developed a novel method to monitor ex vivo perineural invasion into surgically resected rat vagal nerves by different human pancreatic tumor cell lines. Genome-wide transcriptional analyses were employed to identify the consensus set of genes differentially regulated in all highly nerve-invasive (nerve invasion passage 3) versus less invasive (nerve invasion passage 0) pancreatic tumor cells. The critical involvement of kinesin family member 14 (KIF14) and Rho-GDP dissociation inhibitor beta (ARHGDIbeta) in perineural invasion was confirmed on RNA and protein levels in human pancreatic tumor specimens. We found significant up-regulation of KIF14 and ARHGDIbeta mRNA levels in patients with pancreatic cancer, and both proteins were differentially expressed in tumor cells invading the perineural niche of pancreatic cancer patients as detected by immunohistochemistry. Moreover, functional knockdown of KIF14 and ARHGDIbeta using small interfering RNA resulted in altered basal and/or perineural invasion of pancreatic tumor cells. Our work provides novel insights into the molecular determinants of perineural invasion in pancreatic cancer. The established nerve invasion model and the consensus signature of perineural invasion could be instrumental in the identification of novel therapeutic targets of pancreatic cancer as exemplified by KIF14 and ARHGDIbeta.
Testicular germ cell cancers in young adult men derive from a precursor lesion called carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the testis. CIS cells were suggested to arise from primordial germ cells or gonocytes. However, direct studies on purified samples of CIS cells are lacking. To overcome this problem, we performed laser microdissection of CIS cells. Highly enriched cell populations were obtained and subjected to gene expression analysis. The expression profile of CIS cells was compared with microdissected gonocytes, oogonia, and cultured embryonic stem cells with and without genomic aberrations. Three samples of each tissue type were used for the analyses. Unique expression patterns for these developmentally very related cell types revealed that CIS cells were very similar to gonocytes because only five genes distinguished these two cell types. We did not find indications that CIS was derived from a meiotic cell, and the similarity to embryonic stem cells was modest compared with gonocytes. Thus, we provide new evidence that the molecular phenotype of CIS cells is similar to that of gonocytes. Our data are in line with the idea that CIS cells may be gonocytes that survived in the postnatal testis. We speculate that disturbed development of somatic cells in the fetal testis may play a role in allowing undifferentiated cells to survive in the postnatal testes. The further development of CIS into invasive germ cell tumors may depend on signals from their postpubertal niche of somatic cells, including hormones and growth factors from Leydig and Sertoli cells.
Angiostatin, a proteolytic fragment of plasminogen, is a potent endogenous antiangiogenic agent. The molecular mechanisms governing angiostatins antiangiogenic and antitumor effects are not well understood. Here, we report the identification of mitochondrial compartment as the ultimate target of angiostatin. After internalization of angiostatin into the cell, at least 2 proteins within the mitochondria bind this molecule: malate dehydrogenase, a member of Krebs cycle, and adenosine triphosphate synthase. In vitro and in vivo studies revealed differential regulation of key prosurvival and angiogenesis-related proteins in angiostatin-treated tumors and tumor-endothelium. Angiostatin induced apoptosis via down-regulation of mitochondrial BCL-2. Angiostatin treatment led to down-regulation of c-Myc and elevated levels of another key antiangiogenic protein, thrombospondin-1, reinforcing its antitumor and antiangiogenic effects. Further evidence is provided for reduced recruitment and infiltration of bone marrow-derived macrophages in angiostatin-treated tumors. The observed effects of angiostatin were restricted to the tumor site and were not observed in other major organs of the mice, indicating unique tumor specific bioavailability. Together, our data suggest mitochondria as a novel target for antiangiogenic therapy and provide mechanistic insights to the antiangiogenic and antitumor effects of angiostatin.
Tumor dormancy has important implications for early detection and treatment of cancer. Lack of experimental models and limited clinical accessibility constitute major obstacles to the molecular characterization of dormant tumors. We have developed models in which human tumors remain dormant for a prolonged period of time (>120 days) until they switch to rapid growth and become strongly angiogenic. These angiogenic tumors retain their ability to grow fast once injected in new mice. We hypothesized that dormant tumors undergo a stable genetic reprogramming during their switch to the fast-growing phenotype. Genome-wide transcriptional analysis was done to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying the switch of dormant breast carcinoma, glioblastoma, osteosarcoma, and liposarcoma tumors. A consensus expression signature distinguishing all four dormant versus switched fast-growing tumors was generated. In alignment with our phenotypic observation, the angiogenesis process was the most significantly affected functional gene category. The switch of dormant tumors was associated with down-regulation of angiogenesis inhibitor thrombospondin and decreased sensitivity of angiogenic tumors to angiostatin. The conversion of dormant tumors to exponentially growing tumors was also correlated with regulation and activation of pathways not hitherto linked to tumor dormancy process, such as endothelial cell-specific molecule-1, 5-ecto-nucleotidase, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3, epidermal growth factor receptor, insulin-like growth factor receptor, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling. Further, novel dormancy-specific biomarkers such as H2BK and Eph receptor A5 (EphA5) were discovered. EphA5 plasma levels in mice and mRNA levels in tumor specimens of glioma patients correlated with diseases stage. These data will be instrumental in identifying novel early cancer biomarkers and could provide a rationale for development of dormancy-promoting tumor therapy strategies.
Although dormant tumors are highly prevalent within the human population, the underlying mechanisms are still mostly unknown. We have previously identified the consensus gene expression pattern of dormant tumors. Here, we show that this gene expression signature could be used for the isolation and identification of clones which generate dormant tumors. We established single cell-derived clones from the aggressive tumor-generating U-87 MG human glioblastoma cell line. Based only on the expression pattern of genes which were previously shown to be associated with tumor dormancy, we identified clones which generate dormant tumors. We show that very high expression levels of thrombospondin and high expression levels of angiomotin and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 5 (IGFBP5), together with low levels of endothelial specific marker (ESM) 1 and epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) characterize the clone which generates dormant U-87 MG derived glioblastomas. These tumors remained indolent both in subcutaneous and orthotopic intracranial sites, in spite of a high prevalence of proliferating cells. We further show that tumor cells which form U-87 MG derived dormant tumors have an impaired angiogenesis potential both in vitro and in vivo and have a slower invasion capacity. This work demonstrates that fast-growing tumors contain tumor cells that when isolated will form dormant tumors and serves as a proof-of-concept for the use of transcriptome profiles in the identification of such cells. Isolating the tumor cells that form dormant tumors will facilitate understanding of the underlying mechanisms of dormant micro-metastases, late recurrence, and changes in rate of tumor progression.
Tumor dormancy refers to a critical stage in cancer development in which tumor cells remain occult for a prolonged period of time until they eventually progress and become clinically apparent. We previously showed that the switch of dormant tumors to fast-growth is angiogenesis dependent and requires a stable transcriptional reprogramming in tumor cells. Considering microRNAs (miRs) as master regulators of transcriptome, we sought to investigate their role in the control of tumor dormancy. We report here the identification of a consensus set of 19 miRs that govern the phenotypic switch of human dormant breast carcinoma, glioblastoma, osteosarcoma, and liposarcoma tumors to fast-growth. Loss of expression of dormancy-associated miRs (DmiRs, 16/19) was the prevailing regulation pattern correlating with the switch of dormant tumors to fast-growth. The expression pattern of two DmiRs (miR-580 and 190) was confirmed to correlate with disease stage in human glioma specimens. Reconstitution of a single DmiR (miR-580, 588 or 190) led to phenotypic reversal of fast-growing angiogenic tumors towards prolonged tumor dormancy. Of note, 60% of angiogenic glioblastoma and 100% of angiogenic osteosarcoma over-expressing miR190 remained dormant during the entire observation period of ? 120 days. Next, the ability of DmiRs to regulate angiogenesis and dormancy-associated genes was evaluated. Transcriptional reprogramming of tumors via DmiR-580, 588 or 190 over-expression resulted in downregulation of pro-angiogenic factors such as TIMP-3, bFGF and TGFalpha. In addition, a G-CSF independent downregulation of Bv8 was found as a common target of all three DmiRs and correlated with decreased tumor recruitment of bone marrow-derived CD11b+ Gr-1+ myeloid cells. In contrast, antiangiogenic and dormancy promoting pathways such as EphA5 and Angiomotin were upregulated in DmiR over-expressing tumors. This work suggests novel means to reverse the malignant tumor phenotype into an asymptomatic dormant state and may provide promising targets for early detection or prevention of cancer.
The energy deposition characteristics of proton radiation have attracted considerable attention in light of its implications for carcinogenesis risk in space travel, as well for application to cancer treatment. In space, it is the principle component of the galactic cosmic radiation to which astronauts will be exposed. For treatment, an increasing number of proton facilities are being established to exploit the physical advantages of this radiation type. However, the possibility that there may also be biologically based advantages to proton exposure has not been considered in either context. We demonstrate here that high-energy proton irradiation can inhibit expression of major pro-angiogenic factors and multiple angiogenesis-associated processes, including invasion and endothelial cell proliferation, which is prominent in cancer progression. Dose-dependent suppression of angiogenic signaling was demonstrated for both cancer and nontransformed cells. Pan-genomic microarray analysis and RT-PCR revealed that post-irradiation (0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 Gy), critical pro-angiogenic signaling factors including: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), interleukin 6 and 8 (IL-6, IL-8) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1A), were significantly downregulated. Co-culture studies demonstrated that endothelial cell proliferation and invasion were inhibited by culturing with irradiated cancer or fibroblast cells, which suggests that proton irradiation may, in addition to direct action, contribute to angiogenesis suppression through modulation of paracrine signalings from targeted cells. Addition of recombinant IL-8 or VEGF partially restored these functions in vitro, while in vivo, an attenuated tumor growth rate was demonstrated for proton-irradiated human lung cancer cells. Taken together, these findings provide novel pre-clinical evidence that proton irradiation may, in addition to its physical targeting advantages, have important biological ramifications that should be a consideration in the optimization of proton therapy.
Quantitative analysis of transcriptional regulation of genes is a prerequisite for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of action of different radiation qualities such as photon, proton or carbon ion irradiation. Microarrays and real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) are considered the two cornerstones of gene expression analysis. In interpreting these results it is critical to normalize the expression levels of the target genes by that of appropriately selected endogenous control genes (ECGs) or housekeeping genes. We sought to systematically investigate common ECG candidates for their stability after different radiation modalities in different human cell lines by qRT-PCR. We aimed to identify the most robust set of ECGs or housekeeping genes for transcriptional analysis in irradiation studies.
The mTOR signaling plays an integral role in cellular homeostasis controlling the transition between the catabolic and anabolic states. Originally approved as immunosuppressive agents preventing allograft rejection, inhibitors of mTOR signaling have recently entered the arena of cancer therapy. Using rapamycin derivative (RAD001) as a prototype inhibitor, we aimed to systematically analyze the molecular mechanisms underlying the pleiotropic effects of mTOR signaling. Using proliferation- and clonogenic survival assays, a preferential sensitivity of microvascular endothelial cells (HDMVEC) followed by fibroblasts and U87 gliblastoma to RAD001 treatment was found. In contrast, lung- and prostate tumor cells demonstrated relative resistance against RAD001 treatment. In co-culture with fibroblasts, RAD001 exerted potent antiangiogenic effects by inhibiting endothelial cell tube formation. Further, RAD001 treatment efficiently prevented tumor growth in U87 tumor xenografts. Integrative transcriptome analysis was performed to decipher the molecular mechanism underlying RAD001 -induced anti-tumor and antiangiogenic effects. The predominant expression pattern was downregulation of genes after RAD001 treatment in all three sensitive cell types. Among the RAD001 downregulated genes, a transcriptional network was discovered enriched for genes related to angiogenesis processes and extracellular matrix remodeling, e.g., VEGF, HIF1A, CXCLs, IL6, FN, PAI-1 or NRP1. Of note, key components of PI3K upstream (PDK1) as well as mTORC2 downstream signaling (SGK1, NDRG) were downregulated by RAD001. Decreased expression of IMPDH and 139 common gene targets between mycophenolic acid and RAD001 suggested in part shared mechanisms underlying their antiangiogenic and immunosuppressive effects. In summary, key genetic participants governing anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic effects of mTOR inhibition were identified.
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