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Dugo M.,Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics | Nicolini G.,Unit of Immunobiology of Human Tumors | Tragni G.,Fondazione Istituto Nazionale Dei Tumori | Bersani I.,Unit of Immunobiology of Human Tumors | And 7 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Dysregulation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) contributes to several aspects of oncogenesis including drug resistance. In melanoma, distinct RTKs have been involved in BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) resistance, yet the utility of RTKs expression pattern to identify intrinsically resistant tumors has not been assessed. Transcriptional profiling of RTKs and integration with a previous classification, reveals three robust subtypes in two independent datasets of melanoma cell lines and one cohort of melanoma samples. This classification was validated by Western blot in a panel of patient-derived melanoma cell lines. One of the subtypes identified here for the first time displayed the highest and lowest expression of EGFR and ERBB3, respectively, and included BRAF-mutant tumors all intrinsically resistant to BRAFi PLX4720, as assessed by analysis of the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia pharmacogenomic study and by in vitro growth inhibition assays. High levels of EGFR were detected, even before therapy, in tumor cells of one of three melanoma patients unresponsive to BRAFi. Use of different pharmacological inhibitors highlighted the relevance of PI3K/mTOR signaling for growth of this PLX4720-resistant subtype. Our results identify a specific molecular profile of melanomas intrinsically resistant to BRAFi and suggest the PI3K/ mTOR pathway as a potential therapeutic target for these tumors.

De Cecco L.D.,Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics | Negri T.,Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology | Brich S.,Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology | Mauro V.,Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology | And 10 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Aim: to investigate the events involved in the progression of myxoid liposarcoma (MLS). Gene expression profiling and immunohistochemical/biochemical analyses were applied to specimens representative of the opposite ends of the MLS spectrum: pure myxoid (ML) and pure round cell (RC) liposarcomas. The analyses revealed the involvement of both coding and non coding RNAs (SNORDs located in DLK1-DIO3 region) and support a model of stepwise progression mainly driven by epigenetic changes involving tumour vascular supply and tumoral cellular component. In this model, a switch in the vascular landscape from a normal to a pro-angiogenic signature and the silencing of DLK1-DIO3 region mark the progression from ML to RC in concert with the acquisition by the latter of the overexpression of YY1/C-MYC/HDAC2, together with over-expression of genes involved in cell proliferation and stemness: MKNK2, MSX1 and TRIM71. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that to progress from ML to RC liposarcoma the cells have to overcome the epigenetic silencing restriction point in order to reset their new stem-like differentiation signature. Our findings provide a first attempt at identifying the missing links between ML and RC liposarcomas, that may also have broader applications in other clinico-pathological settings characterised by a spectrum of progression.

de Cecco L.,Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics | Nicolau M.,Stanford University | Giannoccaro M.,Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics | Daidone M.G.,Fondazione Istituto Nazionale Dei Tumori | And 4 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a disease with heterogeneous clinical behavior and response to therapies. Despite the introduction of multimodality treatment, 40-50% of patients with advanced disease recur. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve the classification beyond the current parameters in clinical use to better stratify patients and the therapeutic approaches. Following a meta-analysis approach we built a large training set to whom we applied a Disease-Specific Genomic Analysis (DSGA) to identify the disease component embedded into the tumor data. Eleven independent microarray datasets were used as validation sets. Six different HNSCC subtypes that summarize the aberrant alterations occurring during tumor progression were identified. Based on their main biological characteristics and de-regulated signaling pathways, the subtypes were designed as immunoreactive, inflammatory, human papilloma virus (HPV)-like, classical, hypoxia associated, and mesenchymal. Our findings highlighted a more aggressive behavior for mesenchymal and hypoxia-associated subtypes. The Genomics Drug Sensitivity Project was used to identify potential associations with drug sensitivity and significant differences were observed among the six subtypes. To conclude, we report a robust molecularly defined subtype classification in HNSCC that can improve patient selection and pave the way to the development of appropriate therapeutic strategies.

Mauri G.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Jachetti E.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Comuzzi B.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Dugo M.,Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics | And 6 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2016

Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted glycoprotein, that belongs to the non-structural extracellular matrix (ECM), and its over expression in human prostate cancer has been associated with disease progression, androgen independence and metastatic ability. Nevertheless, the pathophysiology of OPN in prostate tumorigenesis has never been studied. We crossed TRansgenic Adenocarcinoma of the Mouse Prostate (TRAMP) mice with OPN deficient (OPN-/-) mice and followed tumor onset and progression in these double mutants. Ultrasound examination detected the early onset of a rapidly growing, homogeneous and spherical tumor in about 60% of OPN-/- TRAMP mice. Such neoplasms seldom occurred in parental TRAMP mice otherwise prone to adenocarcinomas and were characterized for being androgen receptor negative, highly proliferative and endowed with neuroendocrine (NE) features. Gene expression profiling showed up-regulation of genes involved in tumor progression, cell cycle and neuronal differentiation in OPN-deficient versus wild type TRAMP tumors. Downregulated genes included key genes of TGFa pathway, including SMAD3 and Filamin, which were confirmed at the protein level. Furthermore, NE genes and particularly those characterizing early prostatic lesions of OPN-deficient mice were found to correlate with those of human prostate NE tumours. These data underscore a novel role of OPN in the early stages of prostate cancer growth, protecting against the development of aggressive NE tumors.

Malaponte G.,University of Catania | Hafsi S.,University of Catania | Hafsi S.,University of Sousse | Hafsi S.,Institute dinvestigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer IDIBAPS | And 9 more authors.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research | Year: 2016

Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) are a heterogeneous group of lymphoproliferative malignancies with variable patterns of behavior and responses to therapy. NHL development and invasion depend onmultiple interactions between tumor cells and non-neoplastic cells. Such interactions are usually modulated by several cytokines. Accordingly, it was demonstrated that matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 were activated in human lymphoid cell lines by interleukin-6 (IL-6). The activation of these enzymes is associated with tumor invasion andmetastasis in human cancers. MMPs are also activated in several cancers by osteopontin (OPN), a secreted glycoprotein that regulates cell adhesion, migration, and survival. However, it is still unclear if MMPs play a role in NHL development and if their activation is determined by OPN and/or IL-6. In the present study, two groups of 78 NHL patients and 95 healthy donors were recruited for the analysis of OPN, MMP-2, MMP-9 and IL-6. Significant higher circulating levels ofMMP-2,MMP-9, OPN and IL-6 were observed in NHL patients when compared to healthy donors. Similar data were obtained by analyzing the activity of both MMP-2 and MMP-9. The multivariate regression model indicates that, in both NHL cases and healthy donors, OPN is associated with the increase of MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels independently of IL-6. These data were first confirmed by "in silico" analyses and then by "in vitro" experiments conducted on peripheral blood mononuclear cells randomly selected from both NHL patients and healthy donors. Overall, our data suggest that the activation ofMMPs in NHL development ismostly associated with OPN. However, IL-6 may play an important role in the lymphomagenesis through the activation of other molecular pathways. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Tumor Microenvironment Regulation of Cancer Cell Survival, Metastasis, Inflammation, and Immune Surveillance edited by Peter Ruvolo and Gregg L. Semenza. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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