Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center

Vancouver, Canada

Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center

Vancouver, Canada

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Crea F.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Crea F.,University of British Columbia | Crea F.,Open University Milton Keynes | Quagliata L.,University of Basel | And 20 more authors.
Molecular Oncology | Year: 2016

Metastasis is the primary cause of death in prostate cancer (PCa) patients. Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) have long been considered "housekeeping" genes with no relevance for cancer biology. Emerging evidence has challenged this assumption, suggesting that snoRNA expression is frequently modulated during cancer progression. Despite this, no study has systematically addressed the prognostic and functional significance of snoRNAs in PCa.We performed RNA Sequencing on paired metastatic/non-metastatic PCa xenografts derived from clinical specimens. The clinical significance of differentially expressed snoRNAs was further investigated in two independent primary PCa cohorts (131 and 43 patients, respectively). The snoRNA demonstrating the strongest association with clinical outcome was quantified in PCa patient-derived serum samples and its functional relevance was investigated in PCa cells via gene expression profiling, pathway analysis and gene silencing.Our comparison revealed 21 differentially expressed snoRNAs in the metastatic vs. non-metastatic xenografts. Of those, 12 were represented in clinical databases and were further analyzed. SNORA55 emerged as a predictor of shorter relapse-free survival (results confirmed in two independent databases). SNORA55 was reproducibly detectable in serum samples from PCa patients. SNORA55 silencing in PCa cell lines significantly inhibited cell proliferation and migration. Pathway analysis revealed that SNORA55 expression is significantly associated with growth factor signaling and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in PCa.Our results demonstrate that SNORA55 up-regulation predicts PCa progression and that silencing this non-coding gene affects PCa cell proliferation and metastatic potential, thus positioning it as both a novel biomarker and therapeutic target. © 2015 The Authors.


Crea F.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Crea F.,Open University Milton Keynes | Venalainen E.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Ci X.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | And 13 more authors.
Epigenomics | Year: 2016

Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is the most lethal prostatic neoplasm. NEPC is thought to originate from the transdifferentiation of AR-positive adenocarcinoma cells. We have previously shown that an epigenetic/noncoding interactome (ENI) orchestrates cancer cells' plasticity, thereby allowing the emergence of metastatic, drug-resistant neoplasms. The primary objective of this manuscript is to discuss evidence indicating that some components of the ENI (Polycomb genes, miRNAs) play a key role in NEPC initiation and progression. Long noncoding RNAs represent vast and largely unexplored component of the ENI. Their role in NEPC has not been investigated. We show preliminary evidence indicating that a lncRNA (MIAT) is selectively upregulated in NEPCs and might interact with Polycomb genes. Our results indicate that long noncoding RNAs can be exploited as new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for NEPC. © 2016 Future Medicine Ltd.


PubMed | Karolinska Institutet, University of British Columbia, University of Basel, University of Surrey and 5 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Molecular oncology | Year: 2016

Metastasis is the primary cause of death in prostate cancer (PCa) patients. Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) have long been considered housekeeping genes with no relevance for cancer biology. Emerging evidence has challenged this assumption, suggesting that snoRNA expression is frequently modulated during cancer progression. Despite this, no study has systematically addressed the prognostic and functional significance of snoRNAs in PCa. We performed RNA Sequencing on paired metastatic/non-metastatic PCa xenografts derived from clinical specimens. The clinical significance of differentially expressed snoRNAs was further investigated in two independent primary PCa cohorts (131 and 43 patients, respectively). The snoRNA demonstrating the strongest association with clinical outcome was quantified in PCa patient-derived serum samples and its functional relevance was investigated in PCa cells via gene expression profiling, pathway analysis and gene silencing. Our comparison revealed 21 differentially expressed snoRNAs in the metastatic vs. non-metastatic xenografts. Of those, 12 were represented in clinical databases and were further analyzed. SNORA55 emerged as a predictor of shorter relapse-free survival (results confirmed in two independent databases). SNORA55 was reproducibly detectable in serum samples from PCa patients. SNORA55 silencing in PCa cell lines significantly inhibited cell proliferation and migration. Pathway analysis revealed that SNORA55 expression is significantly associated with growth factor signaling and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in PCa. Our results demonstrate that SNORA55 up-regulation predicts PCa progression and that silencing this non-coding gene affects PCa cell proliferation and metastatic potential, thus positioning it as both a novel biomarker and therapeutic target.


PubMed | University of Turin, Celgene, Mayo Medical School, Cancer Agency & Cancer Research Center and Italian National Cancer Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Future oncology (London, England) | Year: 2016

Activated B-cell-like (ABC) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the major constituent of nongerminal center B-cell-like (non-GCB) DLBCL, is associated with poorer survival outcomes than GCB-type DLBCL. In Phase II studies, lenalidomide combined with R-CHOP (R(2)-CHOP) improved outcomes relative to historical R-CHOP in newly diagnosed DLBCL, particularly in non-GCB cases. ROBUST (CC-5013-DLC-002) is a randomized, double-blind, global, Phase III study of oral lenalidomide (15 mg, days 1-14) plus R-CHOP21 6 versus placebo-R-CHOP21 6 in patients with previously untreated ABC-type DLBCL. Subtyping is done within 3 calendar days by central laboratory gene-expression profiling of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy tissue. The primary end point is progression-free survival. Secondary end points include response rates, overall survival and health-related quality of life.


Crea F.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Watahiki A.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Watahiki A.,Vancouver General Hospital | Quagliata L.,University of Basel | And 16 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) is still an incurable disease. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) may be an overlooked source of cancer biomarkers and therapeutic targets. We therefore performed RNA sequencing on paired metastatic/nonmetastatic PCa xenografts derived from clinical specimens. The most highly upregulated transcript was LOC728606, a lncRNA now designated PCAT18. PCAT18 is specifically expressed in the prostate compared to 11 other normal tissues (p<0.05) and up-regulated in PCa compared to 15 other neoplasms (p<0.001). Cancer-specific up-regulation of PCAT18 was confirmed on an independent dataset of PCa and benign prostatic hyperplasia samples (p<0.001). PCAT18 was detectable in plasma samples and increased incrementally from healthy individuals to those with localized and metastatic PCa (p<0.01). We identified a PCAT18-associated expression signature (PES), which is highly PCa-specific and activated in metastatic vs. primary PCa samples (p<1E-4, odds ratio >2). The PES was significantly associated with androgen receptor (AR) signalling. Accordingly, AR activation dramatically up-regulated PCAT18 expression in vitro and in vivo. PCAT18 silencing significantly (p<0.001) inhibited PCa cell proliferation and triggered caspase 3/7 activation, with no effect on nonneoplastic cells. PCAT18 silencing also inhibited PCa cell migration (p<0.01) and invasion (p<0.01). These results position PCAT18 as a potential therapeutic target and biomarker for metastatic PCa.


Anglesio M.S.,University of British Columbia | Wiegand K.C.,University of British Columbia | Melnyk N.,University of British Columbia | Chow C.,University of British Columbia | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background:Ovarian carcinomas consist of at least five distinct diseases: high-grade serous, low-grade serous, clear cell, endometrioid, and mucinous. Biomarker and molecular characterization may represent a more biologically relevant basis for grouping and treating this family of tumors, rather than site of origin. Molecular characteristics have become the new standard for clinical pathology, however development of tailored type-specific therapies is hampered by a failure of basic research to recognize that model systems used to study these diseases must also be stratified. Unrelated model systems do offer value for study of biochemical processes but specific cellular context needs to be applied to assess relevant therapeutic strategies.Methods:We have focused on the identification of clear cell carcinoma cell line models. A panel of 32 "ovarian cancer" cell lines has been classified into histotypes using a combination of mutation profiles, IHC mutation-surrogates, and a validated immunohistochemical model. All cell lines were identity verified using STR analysis.Results:Many described ovarian clear cell lines have characteristic mutations (including ARID1A and PIK3CA) and an overall molecular/immuno-profile typical of primary tumors. Mutations in TP53 were present in the majority of high-grade serous cell lines. Advanced genomic analysis of bona-fide clear cell carcinoma cell lines also support copy number changes in typical biomarkers such at MET and HNF1B and a lack of any recurrent expressed re-arrangements.Conclusions: As with primary ovarian tumors, mutation status of cancer genes like ARID1A and TP53 and a general immuno-profile serve well for establishing histotype of ovarian cancer cell We describe specific biomarkers and molecular features to re-classify generic "ovarian carcinoma" cell lines into type specific categories. Our data supports the use of prototype clear cell lines, such as TOV21G and JHOC-5, and questions the use of SKOV3 and A2780 as models of high-grade serous carcinoma. © 2013 Anglesio et al.


Crea F.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Crea F.,University of British Columbia | Nur Saidy N.R.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Nur Saidy N.R.,University of British Columbia | And 3 more authors.
Trends in Molecular Medicine | Year: 2015

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been implicated as the seeds of treatment resistance and metastasis, which are the most deadly features of a neoplasm. However, an unequivocal definition of the CSC phenotype is still missing. A common feature of normal and aberrant stem cells is their ability to enter a prolonged dormant state. Cancer dormancy is a key mechanism for treatment resistance and metastasis. Here we propose a unified definition of dormancy-competent CSCs (DCCs) as the neoplastic subpopulation that can plastically alternate periods of dormancy and rapid growth. Irreversible DNA mutations can hardly account for this versatile behavior, and based on emerging evidence we propose that cancer dormancy is a nongenetic disease driven by the flexible nature of the epigenetic/noncoding interactome. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Laronde D.M.,University of British Columbia | Williams P.M.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Hislop T.G.,University of British Columbia | Poh C.,University of British Columbia | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Quality of oral screening examinations is dependent upon the experience of the clinician and can vary widely. Deciding when a patient needs to be referred is a critical and difficult decision for general practice clinicians. A device to aid in this decision would be beneficial. The objective of this study was to to examine the utility of direct fluorescence visualization (FV) by dental practitioners as an aid in decision-making during screening for cancer and other oral lesions. Methods: Dentists were trained to use a stepwise protocol for evaluation of the oral mucosa: medical history, head, neck and oral exam, and fluorescent visualization exam. They were asked to use clinical features to categorize lesions as low (LR), intermediate (IR), or high (HR) risk and then to determine FV status of these lesions. Clinicians made the decision of which lesions to reassess in 3 weeks and based on this reassessment, to refer forward. Results: Of 2404 patients screened over 11 months, 357 initially had lesions with 325 (15%) identified as LR, 16 (4.5%) IR, and 16 (4.5%) HR. Lesions assessed initially as IR and HR had a 2.7-fold increased risk of FV loss persisting to the reassessment appointment versus the LR lesions. The most predictive model for lesion persistence included both FV status and lesion risk assessment. Conclusion: A protocol for screening (assess risk, reassess, and refer) is recommended for the screening of abnormal intraoral lesions. Integrating FV into a process of assessing and reassessing lesions significantly improved this model. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


PubMed | University of British Columbia and Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Epigenomics | Year: 2016

Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is the most lethal prostatic neoplasm. NEPC is thought to originate from the transdifferentiation of AR-positive adenocarcinoma cells. We have previously shown that an epigenetic/noncoding interactome (ENI) orchestrates cancer cells plasticity, thereby allowing the emergence of metastatic, drug-resistant neoplasms. The primary objective of this manuscript is to discuss evidence indicating that some components of the ENI (Polycomb genes, miRNAs) play a key role in NEPC initiation and progression. Long noncoding RNAs represent vast and largely unexplored component of the ENI. Their role in NEPC has not been investigated. We show preliminary evidence indicating that a lncRNA (MIAT) is selectively upregulated in NEPCs and might interact with Polycomb genes. Our results indicate that long noncoding RNAs can be exploited as new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for NEPC.

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