Abstract: In classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) the malignant mononuclear Hodgkin (H) and multinuclear, diagnostic Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells are rare and generally make up <3% of the total cellular mass of the affected lymph nodes. During recent years, the introduction of laser micro-dissection techniques at the single cell level has substantially improved our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of HL. Gene expression profiling, comparative genomic hybridization analysis, micro-RNA expression profiling and viral oncogene sequencing have deepened our knowledge of numerous facets of H- and RS-cell gene expression deregulation. The question remains whether disturbed signaling pathways and deregulated transcription factors are at the origin of refractory/relapsing Hodgkin’s lymphoma or whether these hallmarks are at least partially related to another major factor. We recently showed that the 3D nuclear organization of telomeres and chromosomes marked the transition from H- to RS-cells in HL cell lines. This transition is associated with progression of telomere dysfunction, shelterin disruption and progression of complex chromosomal rearrangements. We reported analogous findings in refractory/relapsing HL and identified the shelterin proteins TRF1, TRF2 and POT1 as targets of the LMP1 oncogene in post-germinal center B-cells. Here we summarize our findings, including data not previously published, and propose a model in which progressive disruption of nuclear integrity, a form of genomic instability, is the key-player in refractory/relapsing HL. Therapeutic approaches should take these findings into account.
Abstract: Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops through a multistage process that results from the progressive accumulation of genetic mutations, and frequently as a result of mutations in the Wnt signaling pathway. However, it has become evident over the past two decades that epigenetic alterations of the chromatin, particularly the chromatin components in the promoter regions of tumor suppressors and oncogenes, play key roles in CRC pathogenesis. Epigenetic regulation is organized at multiple levels, involving primarily DNA methylation and selective histone modifications in cancer cells. Assessment of the CRC epigenome has revealed that virtually all CRCs have aberrantly methylated genes and that the average CRC methylome has thousands of abnormally methylated genes. Although relatively less is known about the patterns of specific histone modifications in CRC, selective histone modifications and resultant chromatin conformation have been shown to act, in concert with DNA methylation, to regulate gene expression to mediate CRC pathogenesis. Moreover, it is now clear that not only DNA methylation but also histone modifications are reversible processes. The increased understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the context of CRC pathogenesis has led to development of epigenetic biomarkers for CRC diagnosis and epigenetic drugs for CRC therapy.
Abstract: Currently, the treatment of pediatric high-grade osteosarcomas systematically includes one topoisomerase IIα inhibitor. This chemotherapy is usually adapted to the response to the neo-adjuvant therapy after surgery. The current and unique marker of chemoresponsiveness is the percentage of viable residual cells in the surgical resection. This late patient management marker has to be evaluated earlier in the therapeutic history of the patients on initial biopsy. Therefore, new biomarkers, especially those involved in the topoisomerase IIα inhibitor response might be good candidates. Therefore, our study was designed to target TOP1, TOP2A and TOP2B genes in 105 fresh-frozen diagnostic biopsies by allelotyping and real-time quantitative PCR. Our analyses in those pediatric osteosarcomas, homogeneously treated, highlighted the frequent involvement of topo-isomerase genes. The main and most important observation was the statistical link between the presence of TOP2A amplification and the good response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. Compared to adult cancers, the 17q21 amplicon, including TOP2A and ERBB2 genes, seems to be differentially implicated in the osteosarcoma chemoresponsiveness. Surprisingly, there is no ERBB2 gene co-amplification and the patients harboring TOP2A amplification tend to show a worse survival, so TOP2A analyses remain a preliminary, but a good molecular approach for the evaluation at diagnosis of pediatric osteosarcoma chemoresponsiveness.
Abstract: One of the most obvious hallmarks of cancer is uncontrolled proliferation of cells partly due to independence of growth factor supply. A major component of mitogenic signaling is Ras, a small GTPase. It was the first identified human protooncogene and is known since more than three decades to promote cellular proliferation and growth. Ras was shown to support growth factor-independent survival during development and to protect from chemical or mechanical lesion-induced neuronal degeneration in postmitotic neurons. In contrast, for specific patho-physiological cases and cellular systems it has been shown that Ras may also promote cell death. Proteins from the Ras association family (Rassf, especially Rassf1 and Rassf5) are tumor suppressors that are activated by Ras-GTP, triggering apoptosis via e.g., activation of mammalian sterile 20-like (MST1) kinase. In contrast to Ras, their expression is suppressed in many types of tumours, which makes Rassf proteins an exciting model for understanding the divergent effects of Ras activity. It seems likely that the outcome of Ras signaling depends on the balance between the activation of its various downstream effectors, thus determining cellular fate towards either proliferation or apoptosis. Ras homologue enriched in brain (Rheb) is a protein from the Ras superfamily that is also known to promote proliferation, growth, and regeneration through the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTor) pathway. However, recent evidences indicate that the Rheb-mTor pathway may switch its function from a pro-growth into a cell death pathway, depending on the cellular situation. In contrast to Ras signaling, for Rheb, the cellular context is likely to modulate the whole Rheb-mTor pathway towards cellular death or survival, respectively.
Abstract: Osteopontin and MMP9 are implicated in angiogenesis and cancer progression. The objective of this study is to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying angiogenesis, and to elucidate the role of osteopontin in this process. We report here that osteopontin/αvβ3 signaling pathway which involves ERK1/2 phosphorylation regulates the expression of VEGF. An inhibitor to MEK or curcumin significantly suppressed the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and expression of VEGF. MMP9 knockdown reduces the secretion but not the expression of VEGF. Moreover, MMP9 knockdown increases the release of angiostatin, a key protein that suppresses angiogenesis. Conditioned media from PC3 cells treated with curcumin or MEK inhibitor inhibited tube formation in vitro in human microvascular endothelial cells. Similar inhibitory effect on tube formation was found with conditioned media collected from PC3 cells expressing mutant-osteopontin at integrin-binding site and knockdown of osteopontin or MMP9. We conclude that MMP9 activation is associated with angiogenesis via regulation of secretion of VEGF and angiostatin in PC3 cells. Curcumin is thus a potential drug for cancer treatment because it demonstrated anti-angiogenic and anti-invasive properties.
Abstract: Osteosarcoma is the most frequent malignant primary bone tumor and a main cause of cancer-related death in children and adolescents. Although long-term survival in localized osteosarcoma has improved to about 60% during the 1960s and 1970s, long-term survival in both localized and metastatic osteosarcoma has stagnated in the past several decades. Thus, current conventional therapy consists of multi-agent chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, which is not fully adequate for osteosarcoma treatment. Innovative drugs and approaches are needed to further improve outcome in osteosarcoma patients. This review describes the current management of osteosarcoma as well as potential new therapies.