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Danbury, CT, United States

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.


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.


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.


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.


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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