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Boni L.,Clinical Trials Coordinating Center | Taddei A.,University of Florence | Bencini L.,General Surgery and Surgical Oncology | Bernini M.,General Surgery and Surgical Oncology | And 11 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research | Year: 2014

Purpose: hERG1 channels are aberrantly expressed in several types of human cancers, where they affect different aspects of cancer cell behavior. A thorough analysis of the functional role and clinical significance of hERG1 channels in gastric cancer is still lacking. Experimental Design: hERG1 expression was tested in a wide (508 samples) Italian cohort of surgically resected patients with gastric cancer, by immunohistochemistry and real-time quantitative PCR. The functional link between hERG1 and the VEGF-A was studied in different gastric cancer cell lines. The effects of hERG1 and VEGF-A inhibition were evaluated in vivo in xenograft mouse models. Results: hERG1 was positive in69% of the patients and positivity correlated with Lauren's intestinal type, fundus localization of the tumor, G1-G2 grading, I and II tumor-node-metastasis stage, and VEGF-A expression. hERG1 activity modulated VEGF-A secretion, through an AKT-dependent regulation of the transcriptional activity of the hypoxia inducible factor. Treatment of immunodeficient mice xenografted with human gastric cancer cells, with a combination of hERG1 blockers and anti-VEGF-A antibodies, impaired tumor growth more than single-drug treatments. Conclusion: Our results show that hERG1 (i) is aberrantly expressed in human gastric cancer since its early stages; (ii) drives an intracellular pathway leading to VEGF-A secretion; (iii) can be exploited to identify a gastric cancer patients' group where a combined treatment with antiangiogenic drugs and noncardiotoxic hERG1 inhibitors could be proposed. © 2014 American Association for Cancer Research.

Rondelli T.,Core Research Laboratory CRL Instituto Toscano Tumori ITT | Berardi M.,Core Research Laboratory CRL Instituto Toscano Tumori ITT | Peruzzi B.,Core Research Laboratory CRL Instituto Toscano Tumori ITT | Boni L.,Clinical Trials Coordinating Center | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Germ-line mutation rate has been regarded classically as a fundamental biological parameter, as it affects the prevalence of genetic disorders and the rate of evolution. Somatic mutation rate is also an important biological parameter, as it may influence the development and/or the course of acquired diseases, particularly of cancer. Estimates of this parameter have been previously obtained in few instances from dermal fibroblasts and lymphoblastoid cells. However, the methodology required has been laborious and did not lend itself to the analysis of large numbers of samples. We have previously shown that the X-linked gene PIG-A, since its product is required for glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins to become surface bound, is a good sentinel gene for studying somatic mutations. We now show that by this approach we can accurately measure the proportion of PIG-A mutant peripheral blood granulocytes, which we call mutant frequency, f{hook}. We found that the results are reproducible, with a variation coefficient (CV) of 45%. Repeat samples from 32 subjects also had a CV of 44%, indicating that f{hook} is a relatively stable individual characteristic. From a study of 142 normal subjects we found that log f{hook} is a normally distributed variable; f{hook} variability spans a 80-fold range, from less than 1×10-6 to 37.5×10-6, with a median of 4.9×10-6. Unlike other techniques commonly employed in population studies, such as comet assay, this method can detect any kind of mutation, including point mutation, as long as it causes functional inactivation of PIG-A gene. Since the test is rapid and requires only a small sample of peripheral blood, this methodology will lend itself to investigating genetic factors that underlie the variation in the somatic mutation rate, as well as environmental factors that may affect it. It will be also possible to test whether f{hook} is a determinant of the risk of cancer. © 2013 Rondelli et al.

Lastraioli E.,University of Florence | Bencini L.,General Surgery and Surgical Oncology | Bianchini E.,Clinical Trials Coordinating Center | Romoli M.R.,University of Florence | And 8 more authors.
Translational Oncology | Year: 2012

BACKGROUND: There is a need to identify new markers to assess recurrence risk in early-stage colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. We explored the prognostic impact of ether-a-gò-gò-related gene 1 channels and some hypoxia markers, in patients with nonmetastatic (stage I, II, and III) CRC. METHODS: The expression of hERG1, vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), glucose transporter 1, carbonic anhydrase IX (CA-IX), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R), and p53 was tested by immunohistochemistry in 135 patients. The median follow-up was 35 months. Clinicopathologic parameters and overall survival were evaluated. RESULTS: hERG1 displayed a statistically significant association with Glut-1, VEGF-A, CA-IX, and EGF-R; p53 with VEGF-A and CA-IX; Glut-1 with the age of the patients; and EGF-R with TNM and mucin content. TNM and CA-IX were prognostic factors at the univariate analysis; TNM, hERG1, and Glut-1, at the multivariate analysis. Risk scores calculated from the final multivariate model allowed to stratify patients into four different risk groups: A) stage I-II, Glut-1 positivity, any hERG1; B) stage I-II, Glut-1 and hERG1 negativity; C) stage I-II, Glut-1 negativity, hERG1 positivity; D) stage III, any Glut-1 and any hERG1. CONCLUSIONS: hERG1 positivity with Glut-1 negativity identifies a patient group with poor prognosis within stage I-II CRC. The possibility that these patients might benefit from adjuvant therapy, independently from the TNM stage, is discussed. IMPACT: More robust prognostic and predictive markers, supplementing standard clinical and pathologic staging, are needed for node-negative patients. © 2012 Neoplasia Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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