Abstract The high burden of cervical cancer in Indigenous populations worldwide is due to under-screening and inadequate follow-up. Using qualitative, participatory action research, we interviewed health care staff to identify ways to increase screening recruitment in First Nations communities in Northwest Ontario, Canada. Our findings suggest the value of a multi-levelled social-ecological model to promote behavioural changes on the community, health care service and stakeholder as well as decision-maker level. Participants emphasized the central role of First Nations women as nurturers of life and for the wellbeing of their family members. They stressed the importance of building awareness and motivation for cervical cancer screening through various activities including continuous education, hosting screening events specifically for women, improving the attitude and service of health care providers as well as promoting screening tools and policies which complement and are respectful of First Nations women.
Cathepsin B (CTB) is a cysteine protease believed to be an important therapeutic target or biomarker for several diseases including aggressive cancer, arthritis, and parasitic infections. The development of probes capable of assessing CTB activity in cell lysates, living cells, and animal models of disease are needed to understand its role in disease progression. However, discovering probes selective to cathepsin B over other cysteine cathepsins is a significant challenge due to overlap of preferred substrates and binding site homology in this family of proteases. Herein we report the synthesis and detailed evaluation of two prodrug-inspired fluorogenic peptides designed to be efficient and selective substrate-based probes for CTB. Through cell lysate and cell assays, a promising lead candidate was identified that is efficiently processed and has high specificity for CTB over other cysteine cathepsins. This work represents a key step toward the design of rapid release prodrugs or substrate-based molecular imaging probes specific to CTB.
Ultrasonography is a safe, inexpensive and wide-spread diagnostic tool capable of producing real-time non-invasive images without significant biological effects. However, the propagation of higher energy, intensity and frequency ultrasound waves through living tissues can induce thermal, mechanical and chemical effects useful for a variety of therapeutic applications. With the recent development of clinically approved High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) systems, therapeutic ultrasound is now a medical reality. Indeed, HIFU has been used for the thermal ablation of pathological lesions; localized, minimally invasive ultrasound-mediated drug delivery through the transient formation of pores on cell membranes; the temporary disruption of skin and the blood brain barrier; the ultrasound induced break-down of blood clots; and the targeted release of drugs using ultrasound and temperature sensitive drug carriers. This review seeks to engage the pharmaceutical research community by providing an overview on the biological effects of ultrasound as well as highlighting important therapeutic applications, current deficiencies and future directions.
The advent of modern molecular biology has allowed for the discovery of several mechanisms by which oncoviruses promote carcinogenesis. Remarkably, nearly all human oncogenic viruses increase levels of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). In this review, we highlight HIF-1?s significance in viral oncogenesis, while providing an in-depth analysis of its activation mechanisms by the following oncoviruses: human papillomaviruses (HPVs), hepatitis B/C viruses (HBV/HCVs), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi?s sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV), and human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1). We discuss virus-induced HIF-1?s role in transcriptional upregulation of metabolic, angiogenic, and microenvironmental factors that are integral for oncogenesis. Admittedly, conclusive evidence is lacking as to whether activation of HIF-1 target genes is necessary for malignant transformation or merely a result thereof. In addition, a complete understanding of host-virus interactions, the effect of viral genomic variation, and the clinical (and potential therapeutic) relevance of HIF-1 in viral oncogenesis warrant further investigation.
Infection with a transforming human papillomavirus (HPV) such as type 16 (of species Alphapapillomavirus 9) causes ano-genital and oral tumours via viral persistence in human squamous cell epithelia. Epidemiological studies showed that the naturally occurring HPV16 Asian-American (AA) variant (sublineage D2/D3) is found more often than the European Prototype (EP) (sublineage A1) in high-grade cervical neoplasia and tumours compared to non-cancer controls. Just three amino acid changes within the early gene, E6, of HPV16 AA have been linked to this augmented tumourigenicity. The AAE6 variant's greater immortalizing and transforming potential over EPE6 has recently been confirmed in retrovirally-transduced keratinocytes expressing the E6 gene only. However, the tumourigenic role of the full-length viral genome of HPV16 has not yet been addressed with regard to these E6 variants. To investigate this process in the context of these two HPV16 E6 genotypes, an organotypic tissue culture model was used to simulate the HPV infectious life cycle. The AAE6 variant demonstrated an enhanced ability over EPE6 to drive the viral life cycle toward tumourigenesis, as evidenced phenotypically-by a more severe grade of epithelial dysplasia with higher proliferation and deregulated differentiation, and molecularly-by high viral oncogene E6 and E7 expression, but lack of productive viral life cycle markers. In contrast, EPE6 had low E6 and E7 but high E1?E4 expression, indicative of a productive life cycle. We suggest increased viral integration into the host genome for AAE6 as one possible mechanism for these observed differences from EPE6. Additionally, we found downstream effects on immortalization and host innate immune evasion. This study highlights how minor genomic variations in transforming viruses can have a significant affect on their tumourigenic ability.
In this study we developed, characterized and validated in vitro a functional superparagmagnetic iron-oxide based magnetic resonance contrast agent by conjugating a commercially available iron oxide nanoparticle, Molday ION Rhodamine-B Carboxyl (MIRB), with a deimmunized mouse monoclonal antibody (muJ591) targeting prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). This functional contrast agent is intended for the specific and non-invasive detection of prostate cancer cells that are PSMA positive, a marker implicated in prostate tumor progression and metastasis. The two-step carbodiimide reaction used to conjugate the antibody to the nanoparticle was efficient and we obtained an elemental iron content of 1958 ± 611 per antibody. Immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry showed that the conjugated muJ591:MIRB complex specifically binds to PSMA-positive (LNCaP) cells. The muJ591:MIRB complex reduced cell adhesion and cell proliferation on LNCaP cells and caused apoptosis as tested by Annexin V assay, suggesting anti-tumorigenic characteristics. Measurements of the T2 relaxation time of the muJ591:MIRB complex using a 400 MHz Innova NMR and a multi-echo spin-echo sequence on a 3T MRI (Achieva, Philips) showed a significant T2 relaxation time reduction for the muJ591:MIRB complex, with a reduced T2 relaxation time as a function of the iron concentration. PSMA-positive cells treated with muJ591:MIRB showed a significantly shorter T2 relaxation time as obtained using a 3T MRI scanner. The reduction in T2 relaxation time for muJ591:MIRB, combined with its specificity against PSMA+LNCaP cells, suggest its potential as a biologically-specific MR contrast agent.
Social, political, and economic factors are directly and indirectly associated with the quality and distribution of health resources across Canada. First Nations (FN) women in particular, endure a disproportionate burden of ill health in contrast to the mainstream population. The complex relationship of health, social, and historical determinants are inherent to increased cervical cancer in FN women. This can be traced back to the colonial oppression suffered by Canadian FN and the social inequalities they have since faced. Screening - the Papinacolaou (Pap) test - and early immunization have rendered cervical cancer almost entirely preventable but despite these options, FN women endure notably higher rates of diagnosis and mortality due to cervical cancer. The Anishinaabek Cervical Cancer Screening Study (ACCSS) is a participatory action research project investigating the factors underlying the cervical cancer burden in FN women. ACCSS is a collaboration with 11 FN communities in Northwest Ontario, Canada, and a multidisciplinary research team from across Canada with expertise in cancer biology, epidemiology, medical anthropology, public health, virology, women's health, and pathology. Interviews with healthcare providers and community members revealed that prior to any formal data collection education must be offered. Consequently, an educational component was integrated into the existing quantitative design of the study: a two-armed, community-randomized trial that compares the uptake of two different cervical screening modalities. In ACCSS, the Research Team integrates community engagement and the flexible nature of participatory research with the scientific rigor of a randomized controlled trial. ACCSS findings will inform culturally appropriate screening strategies, aiming to reduce the disproportionate burden of cervical disease in concert with priorities of the partner FN communities.
Using cervical-carcinoma-derived cells as a model, the present study investigates the effects cell line and cell cycle phase have on sonoporation transfection efficiency under the same physical conditions. A plasmid expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) was used to measure transfection efficiency. To evaluate the effect of cell type, CaSki, HeLa, and SiHa cells were sonoporated using an acoustic pressure of 1 MPa for 30 s with a duty cycle of 4.8% in the presence of the GFP plasmid. To study the effect of cell cycle phase, SiHa cells were synchronized at S-phase using a double thymidine block and sonoporated at different time points after the block. Contrast agent microbubbles were used at a 0.33% volume concentration. Results indicated that both cell line and cell cycle phase impact the transfection efficiency obtained with sonoporation.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) directly infects cervical keratinocytes and interferes with TLR signalling. To shed light on the effect of HPV on upstream receptors, we evaluated TLRs 1-9 gene expression in HPV-negative normal and HPV-positive pre-malignant and malignant ex vivo cervical tissue. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed separately for epithelial and stromal tissue compartments. Differences in gene expression were analyzed by the Jonckheere-Terpstra trend test or the Students t-test for pairwise comparison. Laser capture microdissection revealed an increase in TLR3 and a decrease in TLR1 mRNA levels in dysplastic and carcinoma epithelium, respectively. In the stroma, a trend of increasing TLR 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9 mRNA levels with disease severity was found. These findings implicate the involvement of TLR3 and TLR1 in early and late cervical carcinogenesis, respectively, suggesting that stromal upregulation of TLRs may play a role in cervical disease progression.
Non-surgical, antiviral treatment options are desirable for HPV-related lesions within the genitourinary and upper digestive tract. We compared the toxicity of three zinc finger-ejecting (ZFE) compounds (4,4-dithiodimorpholine, azodicarbonamide, and diamide) to the HIV protease inhibitor lopinavir using HPV-positive SiHa, CaSki, HeLa, ME180, and HPV-negative C33A cervical carcinoma cell lines as well as primary human foreskin keratinocytes (PHFKs). Colorimetric growth assays revealed selective toxicity when treated with lopinavir. All carcinoma cell lines, except CaSki, were sensitive to 20 ?M lopinavir whereas primary PHFKs were highly resistant. In contrast, 4,4-dithiodimorpholine was uniformly toxic to all cells tested while azodicarbonamide and diamide showed no effect at all. It is concluded that lopinavir may be an attractive candidate to treat pre-cancerous and cancerous HPV-positive lesions.
Background The incidence of cervical cancer is up to sixfold higher among First Nation women in Canada than in the general population. This is probably due to lower participation rates in cervical cancer prevention programmes. Objective To raise screening participation in this underserved population by launching an alternative approach to (Pap)anicolaou testing in a clinic-namely, vaginal self-sampling followed by human papillomavirus (HPV) diagnostics. Methods Good relationships were established with a First Nation community of the Northern Superior region in Northwest Ontario, and then 49 community women, aged 25-59, were recruited, who provided a vaginal self-sample and answered a questionnaire. Frequency distributions and cross-tabulations were used to summarise the data. Associations between categorical variables were assessed using the ?(2) test of association, or the Goodman-Kruskal ? if both variables had ordered categories. Self-collected samples were tested for integrity and HPV using optimised molecular biological methods. Results The majority of participants (87.2%) were amenable to future HPV screening by self-sampling. This finding was independent of age, educational level and a previous history of abnormal Pap tests. Interestingly, the preferred way to learn about sexual health remained through interaction with healthcare professionals. As defined by the presence of a housekeeping gene, self-sample integrity was high (96%). Using polymerase chain reaction-based Luminex typing, the overall HPV positivity was 28.6% (ie, with either a low- or high-risk type) and 16.3% were infected with a high-risk type such as HPV16. Conclusion In this pilot study of First Nation women, self-sampling and HPV testing was well received and self-sample quality was excellent. A larger survey to be conducted in other Northern Superior communities in Northwest Ontario will determine whether this approach could become a viable screening strategy for First Nation women.
The aim of this study was to determine whether low prevalence human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 E6 variants differ from high prevalence types in their functional abilities. We evaluated functions relevant to carcinogenesis for the rarely-detected European variants R8Q, R10G and R48W as compared to the commonly detected L83V. Human immortalized keratinocytes (NIKS) stably transduced with the E6 variants were used in most functional assays. Low and high prevalence E6 variants displayed similar abilities in abrogation of growth arrest and inhibition of p53 elevation induced by actinomycin D. Differences were detected in the abilities to dysregulate stratification and differentiation of NIKS in organotypic raft cultures, modulate detachment induced apoptosis (anoikis) and hyperactivate Wnt signaling. No distinctive phenotype could be assigned to include all rare variants. Like L83V, raft cultures derived from variants R10G and R48W similarly induced hyperplasia and aberrantly expressed keratin 5 in the suprabasal compartment with significantly lower expression of keratin 10. Unlike L83V, both variants, and particularly R48W, induced increased levels of anoikis upon suspension in semisolid medium. R8Q induced a unique phenotype characterized by thin organotypic raft cultures, low expression of keratin 10, and high expression of keratins 5 and 14 throughout all raft layers. Interestingly, in a reporter based assay R8Q exhibited a higher ability to augment TCF/?-catenin transcription. The data suggests that differences in E6 variant prevalence in cervical carcinoma may not be related to the carcinogenic potential of the E6 protein.
We hypothesized that development of cervical cancer is associated with alterations in the expression of innate immune receptors, i.e. integrins and TLRs, and that these alterations can be induced by infectious agents. We have studied the expression of these proteins in cervical biopsy tissues and cervical cancer-derived cell lines HeLa, CaSki, SiHa, C-33?A, and ME180. Immunohistochemistry analysis demonstrated an increase in integrin ?v, ?3, ?4, and ?6 expression in the epithelium during the development of cervical cancer. A clear trend towards higher expression of integrin ?6 in cell lines harbouring human papillomavirus (HPV) genetic material, compared to HPV-negative C-33?A, was observed. To investigate whether bacterial infection can alter the expression of TLRs and integrins, we infected HeLa cells by two pathogens, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, using a common bacterium of the female genital tract, Lactobacillus reuteri, as a control. Infection with E. coli or P. aeruginosa, but not with L. reuteri, significantly altered the expression of TLR and integrins, particularly of TLR4 and integrin ?6. Considering that both integrin ?6 and TLR4 play important roles in tumorigenesis, our data suggest that bacterial infection may trigger cancer development in HPV-infected cervical epithelium.
Interferons (IFNs) are expressed by many cell types and play a pivotal role in the generation of immune responses against viral infections. IFN-?, a novel type I IFN, displays a tight tropism for keratinocytes and specific lymphoid populations and exhibits functional similarities with other type I IFNs. The human papillomavirus (HPV), the etiological agent for cervical cancer, infects keratinocytes of the uterine cervix and has been shown to directly inhibit the IFN pathway. We evaluated IFN-?, -?, and -? gene expression in HPV-negative normal and HPV-positive pre-malignant and malignant ex vivo cervical tissue covering the entire spectrum of cervical disease. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and methods previously optimized for detecting low-expressing genes in cervical tissue were used. In contrast to IFN-? and -?, IFN-? mRNA prevalence and levels were unexpectedly higher in diseased compared with normal whole cervical tissue with highest levels observed in invasive carcinoma tissue. Strikingly, laser capture microdissection revealed an absence of IFN-? mRNA in diseased epithelium, whereas stromal IFN-? was found exclusively in diseased tissue. IFN-? and IFN-? were likewise found to be upregulated in diseased cervical stroma. Immunofluorescence supports the involvement of monocytes and dendritic cells in the stromal induction of IFNs in diseased tissue. Further, using three-dimensional raft cultures in which the viral life cycle can be mimicked, human keratinocytes transfected with full-length HPV16 displayed a significant decrease in IFN-? mRNA compared with non-transfected human keratinocytes. Altogether, these findings show that IFN-? is down-regulated in cervical keratinocytes harboring HPV, which may be a contributing factor in the progression of a cervical lesion.
Cervical cancer is caused primarily by human papillomaviruses (HPV). The polymorphism rs1042522 at codon 72 of the TP53 tumour-suppressor gene has been investigated as a genetic cofactor. More than 80 studies were done between 1998 and 2006, after it was initially reported that women who are homozygous for the arginine allele had a risk for cervical cancer seven times higher than women who were heterozygous for the allele. However, results have been inconsistent. Here we analyse pooled data from 49 studies to determine whether there is an association between TP53 codon 72 polymorphism and cervical cancer.
L83V-related variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 E6, exemplified by the Asian-American variant Q14H/H78Y/L83V, were shown to be more prevalent than E6 prototype in progressing lesions and cervical cancer. We evaluated functions relevant to carcinogenesis for the E6 variants L83V, R10/L83V and Q14H/H78Y/L83V as well as the prototype in a model of human normal immortalized keratinocytes (NIKS). All E6 expressing NIKS equally abrogated growth arrest and DNA damage responses. Organotypic cultures derived from these keratinocytes demonstrated hyperplasia and aberrantly expressed keratin 5 in the suprabasal compartment. In contrast, differentiation and induction of apoptosis varied. The E6 variant rafts expressed keratin 10 in nearly all suprabasal cells while the prototype raft showed keratin 10 staining in a subset of suprabasal cells only. In addition, E6 variant NIKS expressing R10G/L83V and Q14H/H78Y/L83V were more prone to undergo cell-detachment-induced apoptosis (anoikis) than NIKS expressing E6 prototype. The combined differentiation and apoptosis pattern of high-risk E6 variants, especially of Q14H/H78Y/L83V, may reflect a phenotype beneficial to carcinogenesis and viral life cycle.
High-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), such as HPV16, have been found in nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Therapies targeted at blocking the HPV16 E6 protein and its deleterious effects on the tumour suppressor pathways of the cell can reverse the malignant phenotype of affected keratinocytes while sparing uninfected cells. Through a strong interdisciplinary collaboration between engineering and biology, a novel, non-invasive intracellular delivery method for the HPV16 E6 antibody, F127-6G6, was developed. The method employs high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in combination with microbubbles, in a process known as sonoporation. In this proof of principle study, it was first demonstrated that sonoporation antibody delivery into the HPV16 positive cervical carcinoma derived cell lines CaSki and SiHa was possible, using chemical transfection as a baseline for comparison. Delivery of the E6 antibody using sonoporation significantly restored p53 expression in these cells, indicating the antibody is able to enter the cells and remains active. This delivery method is targeted, non-cytotoxic, and non-invasive, making it more easily translatable for in vivo experiments than other transfection methods.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 E6 is a viral oncoprotein essential for host cell transformation. Due to its role in HPV-induced cancers of the genital, head and neck epithelia, reliable protein-level determination of E6 expression would be an invaluable diagnostic tool. Immunocytochemical detection and subcellular localization of HPV16 E6 has been demonstrated with varying success and a comprehensive review of techniques is lacking. To address these issues, we used established monoclonal antibodies and optimized a standard immunocytochemical method for E6 protein detection inside the HPV16 positive cell lines, SiHa and CaSki. E6 oncoprotein was detected primarily in the nucleus. We also refined quantitative analysis with a software to objectively differentiate between HPV16 positive and negative cells. Our analysis was also able to differentiate expression differences between SiHa and CaSki on par with RT-qPCR. Thus, we provide a long-needed, robust protocol for antibody-mediated detection of the HPV16 E6 oncoprotein inside cultured cells.
We examined how well the human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 oncogene can function in the absence of the E7 oncogene during the carcinogenic process in human keratinocytes using a common HPV variant strongly associated with cervical cancer: the Asian-American E6 variant (AAE6). This E6 variant is 20 times more frequently detected in cervical cancer than the prototype European E6 variant, as evidenced by independent epidemiological data. Using cell culture and cell-based functional assays, we assessed how this variant can perform crucial carcinogenesis steps compared to the prototype E6 variant. The ability to immortalize and transform primary human foreskin keratinocytes (PHFKs) to acquire resilient phenotypes and the ability to promote cell migration were evaluated. The immortalization capability was assayed based on population doublings, number of passages, surpassing mortality stages 1 and 2, human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression, and the ability to overcome G(1) arrest via p53 degradation. Transformation and migration efficiency were analyzed using a combination of functional cell-based assays. We observed that either AAE6 or prototype E6 proteins alone were sufficient to immortalize PHFKs, although AAE6 was more potent in doing so. The AAE6 variant protein alone pushed PHFKs through transformation and significantly increased their migration ability over that of the E6 prototype. Our findings are in line with epidemiological data that the AA variant of HPV16 confers an increased risk over the European prototype for cervical cancer, as evidenced by a superior immortalization, transformation, and metastatic potential.
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