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Falls Church, VA, United States

Mueller C.,George Mason University | Edmiston K.H.,Cancer Translational Research Center | Carpenter C.,George Mason University | Gaffney E.,St Jamess Hospital | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: There is an urgent need to measure phosphorylated cell signaling proteins in cancer tissue for the individualization of molecular targeted kinase inhibitor therapy. However, phosphoproteins fluctuate rapidly following tissue procurement. Snap-freezing preserves phosphoproteins, but is unavailable in most clinics and compromises diagnostic morphology. Formalin fixation preserves tissue histomorphology, but penetrates tissue slowly, and is unsuitable for stabilizing phosphoproteins. We originated and evaluated a novel one-step biomarker and histology preservative (BHP) chemistry that stabilizes signaling protein phosphorylation and retains formalin-like tissue histomorphology with equivalent immunohistochemistry in a single paraffin block. Results: Total protein yield extracted from BHP-fixed, routine paraffin-embedded mouse liver was 100% compared to snap-frozen tissue. The abundance of 14 phosphorylated proteins was found to be stable over extended fixation times in BHP fixed paraffin embedded human colon mucosa. Compared to matched snap-frozen tissue, 8 phosphoproteins were equally preserved in mouse liver, while AMPKβ1 Ser108 was slightly elevated after BHP fixation. More than 25 tissues from mouse, cat and human specimens were evaluated for preservation of histomorphology. Selected tissues were evaluated in a multi-site, independent pathology review. Tissue fixed with BHP showed equivalent preservation of cytoplasmic and membrane cytomorphology, with significantly better nuclear chromatin preservation by BHP compared to formalin. Immunohistochemical staining of 13 non-phosphorylated proteins, including estrogen receptor alpha, progesterone receptor, Ki-67 and Her2, was equal to or stronger in BHP compared to formalin. BHP demonstrated significantly improved immunohistochemical detection of phosphorylated proteins ERK Thr202/Tyr204, GSK3-α/β Ser21/Ser9, p38-MAPK Thr180/Tyr182, eIF4G Ser1108 and Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase Ser79. Conclusion: In a single paraffin block BHP preserved the phosphorylation state of several signaling proteins at a level comparable to snap-freezing, while maintaining the full diagnostic immunohistochemical and histomorphologic detail of formalin fixation. This new tissue fixative has the potential to greatly facilitate personalized medicine, biobanking, and phospho-proteomic research. © 2011 Mueller et al. Source

Espina V.,George Mason University | Gallagher R.I.,George Mason University | Banks S.,Cancer Translational Research Center | Wiedemann J.,Cancer Translational Research Center | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: While it is accepted that a majority of invasive breast cancer progresses from a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) precursor stage, very little is known about the factors that promote survival of DCIS neoplastic cells within the hypoxic, nutrient deprived intraductal microenvironment. Methodology and Principal Findings: We examined the hypothesis that fresh human DCIS lesions contain pre-existing carcinoma precursor cells. We characterized these cells by full genome molecular cytogenetics (Illumina HumanCytoSNP profile), and signal pathway profiling (Reverse Phase Protein Microarray, 59 endpoints), and demonstrated that autophagy is required for survival and anchorage independent growth of the cytogenetically abnormal tumorigenic DCIS cells. Ex vivo organoid culture of fresh human DCIS lesions, without enzymatic treatment or sorting, induced the emergence of neoplastic epithelial cells exhibiting the following characteristics: a) spontaneous generation of hundreds of spheroids and duct-like 3- D structures in culture within 2-4 weeks; b) tumorigenicity in NOD/SCID mice; c) cytogenetically abnormal (copy number loss or gain in chromosomes including 1, 5, 6, 8, 13, 17) compared to the normal karyotype of the non-neoplastic cells in the source patient's breast tissue; d) in vitro migration and invasion of autologous breast stroma; and e) up-regulation of signal pathways linked to, and components of, cellular autophagy. Multiple autophagy markers were present in the patient's original DCIS lesion and the mouse xenograft. We tested whether autophagy was necessary for survival of cytogenetically abnormal DCIS cells. The lysosomotropic inhibitor (chloroquine phosphate) of autophagy completely suppressed the generation of DCIS spheroids/3-D structures, suppressed ex vivo invasion of autologous stroma, induced apoptosis, suppressed autophagy associated proteins including Atg5, AKT/PI3 Kinase and mTOR, eliminated cytogenetically abnormal spheroid forming cells from the organ culture, and abrogated xenograft tumor formation. Conclusions: Cytogenetically abnormal spheroid forming, tumorigenic, and invasive neoplastic epithelial cells pre-exist in human DCIS and require cellular autophagy for survival. Copyright: © 2010 Espina et al. Source

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