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Gimondi S.,Fondazione Istituto Nazionale Dei Tumori | Gimondi S.,University of Milan | Dugo M.,Functional Genomics Core Facility | Vendramin A.,Fondazione Istituto Nazionale Dei Tumori | And 7 more authors.
Experimental Hematology | Year: 2016

Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) results in significant morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Noninvasive diagnostic and prognostic tests for aGVHD are currently lacking, but would be beneficial in predicting aGVHD and improving the safety of allo-HSCT. Circulating microRNAs exhibit marked stability and may serve as biomarkers in several clinical settings. Here, we evaluated the use of circulating microRNAs as predictive biomarkers of aGVHD in lymphoma patients after allo-HSCT from matched unrelated donors (MUDs). After receiving informed consent, we prospectively collected plasma samples from 24 lymphoma patients before and after unmanipulated MUD allo-HSCT; microRNAs were then isolated. Fourteen patients developed aGVHD symptoms at a median of 48 days (range: 32-90) post-transplantation. Two patients developed intestinal GVHD, eight cutaneous GVHD, and four multiorgan GVHD. The microRNA expression profile was examined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). MicroRNAs 194 and 518f were significantly upregulated in aGVHD samples compared with samples taken from non-aGVHD patients. Remarkably, these upregulated microRNAs could be detected before the onset of aGVHD. Pathway prediction analysis indicated that these microRNAs may regulate critical pathways involved in aGVHD pathogenesis. Considering the noninvasive characteristics of plasma sampling and the feasibility of detecting miRNAs after allo-HSCT using real-time polymerase chain reaction, our results indicate that circulating microRNAs have the potential to enable an earlier aGVHD diagnosis and might assist in individualizing therapeutic strategies after MUD allo-HSCT. Nevertheless, standardization of blood sampling and analysis protocols is mandatory for the introduction of miRNA profiling into routine clinical use. © 2016 ISEH - International Society for Experimental Hematology.

Vitali C.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Bassani C.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Chiodoni C.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Fellini E.,Molecular Immunology Unit | And 8 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2015

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) promptly adapt hematopoiesis to stress conditions, such as infection and cancer, replenishing bone marrow-derived circulating populations, while preserving the stem cell reservoir. SOCS2, a feedback inhibitor of JAK-STAT pathways, is expressed in most primitive HSC and is upregulated in response to STAT5-inducing cytokines. We demonstrate that Socs2 deficiency unleashes HSC proliferation in vitro, sustaining STAT5 phosphorylation in response to IL3, thrombopoietin, and GM-CSF. In vivo, SOCS2 deficiency leads to unrestricted myelopoietic response to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and, in turn, induces exhaustion of long-term HSC function along serial bone marrow transplantations. The emerging role of SOCS2 in HSC under stress conditions prompted the investigation of malignant hematopoiesis. High levels of SOCS2 characterize unfavorable subsets of acute myeloid and lymphoblastic leukemias, such as those with MLL and BCR/ABL abnormalities, and correlate with the enrichment of genes belonging to hematopoietic and leukemic stemness signatures. In this setting, SOCS2 and its correlated genes are part of regulatory networks fronted by IKZF1/Ikaros and MEF2C, two transcriptional regulators involved in normal and leukemic hematopoiesis that have never been linked to SOCS2. Accordingly, a comparison of murine wt and Socs2-/- HSC gene expression in response to 5-FU revealed a significant overlap with the molecular programs that correlate with SOCS2 expression in leukemias, particularly with the oncogenic pathways and with the IKZF1/Ikaros and MEF2C-predicted targets. Lentiviral gene transduction of murine hematopoietic precursors with Mef2c, but not with Ikzf1, induces Socs2 upregulation, unveiling a direct control exerted by Mef2c over Socs2 expression. © 2015 American Association for Cancer Research.

De Cecco L.,Functional Genomics Core Facility | Berardi M.,Molecular Targeting Unit | Sommariva M.,Molecular Targeting Unit | Sommariva M.,University of Milan | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

We recently reported that peritumoral CpG-ODN treatment, activating TLR-9 expressing cells in tumor microenvironment, induces modulation of genes involved in DNA repair and sensitizes cancer cells to DNA-damaging cisplatin treatment. Here, we investigated whether this treatment induces modulation of miRNAs in tumor cells and their relevance to chemotherapy response. Array analysis identified 20 differentially expressed miRNAs in human IGROV-1 ovarian tumor cells from CpG-ODN-treated mice versus controls (16 down- and 4 up-regulated). Evaluation of the role of the 3 most differentially expressed miRNAs on sensitivity to cisplatin of IGROV-1 cells revealed significantly increased cisplatin cytotoxicity upon ectopic expression of hsa-miR-302b (up-modulated in our array), but no increased effect upon reduced expression of hsa-miR-424 or hsa-miR-340 (down-modulated in our array). Accordingly, hsa-miR-302b expression was significantly associated with time to relapse or overall survival in two data sets of platinum-treated ovarian cancer patients. Use of bio-informatics tools identified 19 mRNAs potentially targeted by hsa-miR-302b, including HDAC4 gene, which has been reported to mediate cisplatin sensitivity in ovarian cancer. Both HDAC4 mRNA and protein levels were significantly reduced in IGROV-1 cells overexpressing hsa-miR-302b. Altogether, these findings indicate that hsa-miR-302b acts as a "chemosensitizer" in human ovarian carcinoma cells and may represent a biomarker able to predict response to cisplatin treatment. Moreover, the identification of miRNAs that improve sensitivity to chemotherapy provides the experimental underpinning for their possible future clinical use. © 2013 De Cecco et al.

Minna E.,Molecular Mechanisms Unit | Romeo P.,Molecular Mechanisms Unit | De Cecco L.,Functional Genomics Core Facility | Dugo M.,Functional Genomics Core Facility | And 8 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Thyroid cancer incidence is rapidly increasing. Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (PTC), the most frequent hystotype, usually displays good prognosis, but no effective therapeutic options are available for the fraction of progressive PTC patients. BRAF and RET/PTC are the most frequent driving genetic lesions identified in PTC. We developed two complementary in vitro models based on RET/PTC1 oncogene, starting from the hypothesis that miRNAs modulated by a driving PTC-oncogene are likely to have a role in thyroid neoplastic processes. Through this strategy, we identified a panel of deregulated miRNAs. Among these we focused on miR-199a-3p and showed its under-expression in PTC specimens and cell lines. We demonstrated that miR-199a-3p restoration in PTC cells reduces MET and mTOR protein levels, impairs migration and proliferation and, more interesting, induces lethality through an unusual form of cell death similar to methuosis, caused by macropinocytosis dysregulation. Silencing MET or mTOR, both involved in survival pathways, does not recapitulate miR-199a-3p-induced cell lethality, thus suggesting that the cooperative regulation of multiple gene targets is necessary. Integrated analysis of miR-199a-3p targets unveils interesting networks including HGF and macropinocytosis pathways. Overall our results indicate miR-199a-3p as a tumor suppressor miRNA in PTC.

Anania M.C.,Molecular Mechanisms Unit | Sensi M.,Functional Genomics Core Facility | Sensi M.,Human Tumors Immunobiology Unit | Radaelli E.,University of Milan | And 12 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2011

Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) arises from the thyroid follicular epithelium and represents the most frequent thyroid malignancy. PTC is associated with gene rearrangements generating RET/PTC and TRK oncogenes, and to the BRAFV600E activating point mutation. A role of tumor-suppressor genes in the pathogenesis of PTC has not been assessed yet. The tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 (TIMP3) gene, encoding a metalloproteinases inhibitor and capable of inhibiting growth, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis of several cancers, was found to be silenced by promoter methylation in a consistent fraction of PTCs, in association with tumor aggressiveness and BRAFV600E mutation, thus suggesting an oncosuppressor role. To explore this possibility, in this study we performed gene expression and functional studies. Analysis of gene expression data produced in our laboratory as well as meta-analysis of publicly available data sets confirmed the downregulation of TIMP3 gene expression in PTC with respect to normal thyroid. The functional consequences of TIMP3 downregulation were investigated in the PTC-derived NIM1 cell line, in which the expression of TIMP3 is silenced. Restoration of TIMP3 expression by exposure to soluble TIMP3 protein or by complementary DNA transfection had no effect on the growth rate of NIM1 cells. Instead, it affected the adhesive, migratory and invasive capabilities of NIM1 cells by modulating several proteins involved in these processes. A striking effect was observed in vivo, as TIMP3 reduced the tumorigenicity of NIM1 cells by repressing angiogenesis and macrophage infiltration. Our data indicate that the loss of TIMP3 expression exerts a functional role in the pathogenesis of PTC. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

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