Danbury Hospital Research Institute

Danbury, CT, United States

Danbury Hospital Research Institute

Danbury, CT, United States

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Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Mariani M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | McHugh M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Petrillo M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 11 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy. Recently, NACT (Neo Adjuvant Chemotherapy) has been tested as alternative approach for the management of ovarian cancer patients. A biological predictor helpful in selecting patients for NACT would be desirable. This study was aimed at identifying actionable mechanisms of resistance to NACT. Expression of a panel of microRNAs was screened in a discovery set of 85 patients. Analysis of the potential targets was conducted in the same RNAs by calculating significant correlations between microRNAs and genes. Quantitative fluorescent immunohistochemistry was employed in a validation set of 109 patients. MiR-193a-5p was significantly overexpressed in the NACT setting. Analysis of its potential targets demonstrated that this microRNA is also significantly correlated with HGF and MET genes. Analysis of protein expression in samples taken before and after NACT demonstrated that both HGF and c-Met are increased after NACT. Patients who relapse shortly after NACT exhibited the highest relative basal expression of both HGF and c-Met, while the opposite phenomenon was observed in the best responders. Mir-193a-5p, HGF and c-Met expression may help select eligible patients for this modality of treatment. Moreover, inhibitors of this pathway may improve the efficacy of NACT.


Prislei S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Martinelli E.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Mariani M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | And 8 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2013

Background: MicroRNAs in solid malignancies can behave as predictors of either good or poor outcome. This is the case with members of the miR-200 family, which are the primary regulators of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and have been reported to act as both oncogenes and tumor suppressors. This study assessed the role of miR-200c as regulator of class III β-tubulin (TUBB3), a factor associated with drug-resistance and poor prognosis in ovarian cancer.Methods: Expression of miR-200c was assessed in a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines with inherent or acquired drug-resistance. Stable overexpression of miR-200c was obtained in A2780 and Hey cell lines. Crosslinking-coupled affinity purification method and ribonucleic-immunoprecipitation assay were used to characterise the complexes between miR-200c, HuR and 3′UTR region of TUBB3 mRNA. Nanofluidic technology and immunohistochemistry were used to analyze the expression of HuR, TUBB3 and miR-200c in 220 ovarian cancer patients.Results: In a panel of ovarian adenocarcinoma cell lines, we observed a direct correlation between miR-200c expression and chemoresistance. In A2780 cells miR-200c targeted TUBB3 3′UTR, while a positive correlation was observed between miR-200c and TUBB3 expression in most of the other cell lines. Through the analysis of 3′UTR-associated complexes, we found that the miR-200c can increase the association of the RNA binding protein HuR with TUBB3 mRNA, whereas HuR binding enhanced TUBB3 mRNA translation. Most importantly, in our analysis on 220 ovarian cancer patients we observed that overexpression of miR-200c correlated with poor or good outcome depending on the cellular localization of HuR.Conclusion: This study suggests a model for the combined regulatory activity of miR-200c and HuR on TUBB3 expression in ovarian cancer. When HuR is nuclear, high expression of miR-200c inhibits TUBB3 expression and results in a good prognosis, whereas when HuR occurs in cytoplasm, the same miRNA enhances TUBB3 expression and produces a poor outcome. These findings reveal the usefulness of multidimensional analysis in the investigation of the prognostic role of miRNA expression. © 2013 Prislei et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Shahabi S.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | He S.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Kopf M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Cancer incidence and mortality are higher in males than in females, suggesting that some gender-related factors are behind such a difference. To analyze this phenomenon the most recent Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database served to access cancer survival data for the US population. Patients with gender-specific cancer and with limited information were excluded and this fact limited the sample size to 1,194,490 patients. NHANES III provided the distribution of physiologic variables in US population (n = 29,314). Cox model and Kaplan-Meier method were used to test the impact of gender on survival across age, and to calculate the gender-specific hazard ratio of dying from cancer five years following diagnosis. The distribution of the hazard ratio across age was then compared with the distribution of 65 physiological variables assessed in NHANES III. Spearman and Kolmogorov-Smirnov test assessed the homology. Cancer survival was lower in males than in females in the age range 17 to 61 years. The risk of death from cancer in males was about 30% higher than that of females of the same age. This effect was present only in sarcomas and epithelial solid tumors with distant disease and the effect was more prominent in African-Americans than Caucasians. When compared to the variables assessed in the NHANES III study, the hazard ratio almost exactly matched the distribution of free testosterone in males; none of the other analyzed variables exhibited a similar homology. Our findings suggest that male sex hormones give rise to cancer aggressiveness in patients younger than 61 years. © 2013 Shahabi et al.


Lanzotti V.,University of Naples Federico II | Barile E.,Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research | Scambia G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Ferlini C.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute
Fitoterapia | Year: 2015

From the whole plant of Euphorbia cyparissias, two new diterpenes based on jatrophane skeleton, named cyparissins A and B (1 and 2) were isolated. Their chemical structures were established through a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometric methods. The new cyparissins A and B were tested to evaluate their ability to inhibit P-glycoprotein-mediated multidrug resistance and their cytotoxic activity against A2780 human ovarian cancer cells, both WT and ADR. Compounds 1 and 2 showed moderate inhibitory effects on P-glycoprotein while showing a significant concentration-depending cytotoxic activity for both cancer cell lines. These isolated compounds are based on a new chemical structure that expands the knowledge base for this class of bioactive metabolites. © 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.


De Donato M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Mariani M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Petrella L.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2012

The Class III β-tubulin isotype (βIII-tubulin) is a predictive biomarker in ovarian cancer and other solid tumor malignancies. We discovered that βIII-tubulin function is linked to two GTPases: guanylate-binding protein 1 (GBP1), which activates its function, and GNAI1, which inhibits it. This finding was demonstrated in a panel of ovarian cancer cells resistant to several chemotherapeutic agents. Using a protein microarray, we identified PIM1 as the downstream partner of GBP1, recruited into the cytoskeleton under hypoxic conditions. The clinical value of these observations was tested by performing an archive study of 98 ovarian cancer patients, which demonstrated that the βIII-tubulin -/PIM1- cohort responded to treatment, exhibiting long overall survival (OS), while βIII-tubulin +/PIM+ patients experienced poor outcomes and OS times similar to patients receiving palliation alone. βIII-tubulin expression is commonly believed responsible for paclitaxel resistance due to its enhancement of the dynamic instability of microtubules, which counteracts the activity of taxanes. In contrast, our research reveals that βIII-tubulin behaves as a gateway for prosurvival signals, such as PIM1, to move into the cytoskeleton. When cells are exposed to microenvironmental stressors, they activate this pathway by telling the cytoskeleton to incorporate PIM1 through GBP1 and βIII-tubulin, which ultimately leads to drug resistance. This discovery reveals that βIII-tubulin does not act alone but requires partners to play its role. The discovery of such protein:protein interactions underlying this prosurvival cascade makes feasible the development of therapeutic approaches using novel compounds that are capable of inhibiting the transmission of prosurvival signals into the cytoskeleton. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Mariani M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Zannoni G.F.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Sioletic S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 8 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research | Year: 2012

Purpose: Colorectal cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in Western countries. To predict the outcome of therapy, we assessed the role of class III (TUBB3) and class Vβ-tubulin (TUBB6) as predictive biomarkers. Experimental Design: Using immunohistochemistry and nanofluidics, the expression of TUBB3 and TUBB6 was assessed in two cohorts of 180 and 134 patients, respectively. The CYP17A1 RS743572 was genotyped to identifyGGcarriers with enhanced androgen levels. TUBB3 andTUBB6 were investigated in 22 colorectal cancer cell lines in basal conditions and after serum starvation, the latter serving as activator of this prosurvival pathway. To ascertain the role of androgen receptor (AR) in such regulation, we silenced AR and checked TUBB3 and TUBB6 expression and sensitivity to chemotherapy. Results: There was a link between poor survival, the expression of TUBB3/TUBB6, and AR only in females. Conversely, only in males carriers of the GG phenotype exhibited the worst outcome. Importantly, male cell lines were resistant to serum starvation and exhibited higher levels of TUBB6, thereby suggesting that the pathway is activated by androgens. In female cells this phenomenon was absent. In both genders, AR was the main driver of TUBB3/TUBB6 expression, as constitutive silencing of AR was associated with downregulation of TUBB3/TUBB6 expression and increased sensitivity to oxaliplatin and SN-38. Conclusions: The involvement of androgens in the TUBB3 pathway opens the way for clinical trials to assess the efficacy of antiandrogens for increasing the efficacy of chemotherapy in male colorectal cancer patients. ©2012 AACR.


Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Karki R.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Spennato M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Pandya D.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Gene | Year: 2015

Microtubules are polymeric structures composed of tubulin subunits. Each subunit consists of a heterodimer of α- and β-tubulin. At least seven β-tubulin isotypes, or classes, have been identified in human cells, and constitutive isotype expression appears to be tissue specific. Class III β-tubulin (βIII-tubulin) expression is normally confined to testes and tissues derived from neural cristae. However, its expression can be induced in other tissues, both normal and neoplastic, subjected to a toxic microenvironment characterized by hypoxia and poor nutrient supply. In this review, we will summarize the mechanisms underlying βIII-tubulin constitutive and induced expression. We will also illustrate its capacity to serve as a biomarker of neural commitment in normal tissues and as a pure prognostic biomarker in cancer patients. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Mariani M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Shahabi S.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Sieber S.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Current Molecular Medicine | Year: 2011

Class III β -tubulin (TUBB3) is a prominent mechanism of drug resistance expressed in a variety of solid tumors and particularly in lung and ovarian cancer. In the classical view, TUBB3 expression and drug resistance have been linked, and together they have been associated with a perturbation in microtubule dynamics. In keeping with this observation, TUBB3 was associated with drug resistance only when chemotherapy included a taxane in its chemical composition. In this review, we demonstrate that the classical supposition about TUBB3 is not correct, and that instead TUBB3 expression is linked to drug resistance as a complex survival mechanism activated by microenvironmental conditions such as poor nutrient supply and hypoxia. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers.


Raspaglio G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | De Maria I.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Filippetti F.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Martinelli E.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 7 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2010

The supply of oxygen and nutrients to solid tumors is inefficient because cancer tissues have an inadequate number of microvessels, thus inducing the selective growth of the most aggressive cancer cells. This explains why many of the factors underlying a poor prognosis are induced in hypoxic/hypoglycemic conditions. Among these factors, a prominent role in several solid tumors is played by the class III β-tubulin gene (TUBB3). The study described here reveals that glucose deprivation enhances TUBB3 expression at both the gene and protein levels in A2780 ovarian cancer cells. In silico analysis of TUBB3 mRNA sequence predicted a putative binding site for the RNA-binding protein Hu antigen (HuR) in the 3′ flanking untranslated region. A hypoglycemic-dependent engagement of this site was shown using RNA pull-down and ribonucleoimmunoprecipitation techniques. Thereafter, HuR gene silencing revealed that TUBB3 translation is HuR dependent in hypoglycemia because HuR silencing inhibited the entry of TUBB3 mRNA into cytoskeletal and free polysomes. Finally, the clinical value of this finding was assessed in a clinical cohort of 46 ovarian cancer patients in whom it was found that HuR cytoplasmic staining was associated with high levels of TUBB3 and poor survival. ©2010 AACR.


Baranello C.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Andreoli M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Fanelli M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Stromal elements within a tumor interact with cancer cells to create a microenvironment that supports tumor growth and survival. Adrenomedullin (ADM) is an autocrine/paracrine factor produced by both stromal cells and cancer cells to create such a microenvironment. During differentiation of macrophages, ADM is produced in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli and hypoxia. In this study we investigated the role of ADM as a growth factor for ovarian cancer cells and as a modulator of macrophages. We also analyzed ADM expression levels in a retrospective clinical study using nanofluidic technology and assessment of ADM at the gene level in 220 ovarian cancer patients. To study the effects of ADM, ovarian cancer cell lines A2780, OVCAR-3, and HEY and their drug-resistant counterparts were used for proliferation assays, while monocytes from healthy donors were differentiated in vitro. ADM was a weak growth factor, as revealed by proliferation assays and cell cycle analysis. After culturing cancer cells under stressing conditions, such as serum starvation and/or hypoxia, ADM was found to be a survival factor in HEY but not in other cell lines. In macrophages, ADM showed activity on proliferation/differentiation, primarily in type 2 macrophages (M2). Unexpectedly, the clinical study revealed that high expression of ADM was linked to positive outcome and to cancer with low Ca125. In conclusion, although in vitro ADM was a potential factor in biological aggressiveness, this possibility was not confirmed in patients. Therefore, use of an ADM antagonist would be inappropriate in managing ovarian cancer patients. © 2012 Baranello et al.

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