Functional Tissue Imaging Unit

Calgary, Canada

Functional Tissue Imaging Unit

Calgary, Canada
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Klimowicz A.C.,University of Calgary | Klimowicz A.C.,Functional Tissue Imaging Unit | Klimowicz A.C.,Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals | Bose P.,University of Calgary | And 6 more authors.
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2013

Background:Tumour hypoxia is associated with impaired apoptosis, resistance to therapy and poor prognosis. We previously reported that high stromal expression of the endogenous marker of hypoxia, carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), is associated with significantly reduced survival in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). In addition to hypoxia, CAIX expression is regulated by proliferation-associated signalling. We hypothesised that incorporating Ki67, a proliferation marker, into our existing CAIX-based stratification of OSCC would identify patients with the least favourable prognosis.Methods:Surgically resected tumours from 60 OSCC patients were analysed for CAIX, Ki67 and BAX expression using fluorescence immunohistochemistry and automated quantitative analysis (AQUA).Results:In patients expressing high stromal CAIX (sCAIX), stratification by tumour Ki67 expression revealed significantly distinct survival outcomes (P=0.005). In our OSCC cohort, below-median Ki67 and top-quartile sCAIX expression (Ki67 lo sCAIX hi) were associated with significantly worse disease-specific survival in univariate (HR 7.2 (2.5-20.4), P=0.001) and multivariate (HR 4.2 (1.4-12.8), P=0.011) analyses. Hypoxia is associated with decreased BAX expression; the Ki67 lo sCAIX hi group was more strongly associated with low BAX expression than high sCAIX alone.Conclusion: These data suggest that combined analysis of tumour Ki67 and sCAIX expression may provide a more clinically relevant assessment of tumour hypoxia in OSCC. © 2013 Cancer Research UK.

Williamson C.T.,University of Calgary | Williamson C.T.,Cancer Research UK Research Institute | Kubota E.,University of Calgary | Hamill J.D.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | And 19 more authors.
EMBO Molecular Medicine | Year: 2012

Poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors have shown promise in the treatment of human malignancies characterized by deficiencies in the DNA damage repair proteins BRCA1 and BRCA2 and preclinical studies have demonstrated the potential effectiveness of PARP inhibitors in targeting ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-deficient tumours. Here, we show that mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cells deficient in both ATM and p53 are more sensitive to the PARP inhibitor olaparib than cells lacking ATM function alone. In ATM-deficient MCL cells, olaparib induced DNA-PK-dependent phosphorylation and stabilization of p53 as well as expression of p53-responsive cell cycle checkpoint regulators, and inhibition of DNA-PK reduced the toxicity of olaparib in ATM-deficient MCL cells. Thus, both DNA-PK and p53 regulate the response of ATM-deficient MCL cells to olaparib. In addition, small molecule inhibition of both ATM and PARP was cytotoxic in normal human fibroblasts with disruption of p53, implying that the combination of ATM and PARP inhibitors may have utility in targeting p53-deficient malignancies. © 2012 EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Bose P.,University of Calgary | Thakur S.S.,University of Calgary | Klimowicz A.C.,University of Calgary | Klimowicz A.C.,Functional Tissue Imaging Unit | And 4 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

The ING1 epigenetic regulator and tumor suppressor plays a central role in apoptosis. The Ing1 gene is functionally inactivated in many cancer types but is rarely mutated. Although most studies have implicated the major ING1 isoform, p33ING1b, in nuclear apoptotic signalling, we recently discovered a novel and potent apoptosis-inducing effect of p33ING1b translocation to the mitochondria in response to DNA damage. In the present study, we examined the impact of cytoplasmic/mitochondrial localization of p33ING1b in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patient samples and explored the therapeutic potential of adenovirally-overexpressed p33ING1b in OSCC cell lines in combination with ionizing radiation (IR) treatment. In contrast with previous reports, we found that p33ING1b protein and mRNA levels are higher in OSCC compared to normal epithelial cells. In OSCC patient samples, higher levels of intra-tumoral cytoplasmic p33ING1b correlated with increased apoptotic markers and significantly better patient survival. This association was strongest in patients who received post-operative radiotherapy. IR treatment induced p33ING1b translocation to the mitochondria and adenoviral-p33ING1b synergized with IR to kill OSCC cells. Our results identify a novel functional relationship between cytoplasmic p33ING1b and patient survival and highlight the potential for the use of p33ING1b as a therapeutic agent in combination with adjuvant radiotherapy in OSCC. © 2008-2014 Impact Journals, LLC.

Jagdis A.,University of British Columbia | Phan T.,Tom Baker Cancer Center | Phan T.,University of Calgary | Klimowicz A.C.,Tom Baker Cancer Center | And 13 more authors.
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics | Year: 2013

Purpose: We sought to evaluate the prognostic/predictive value of ERCC1 and XPF in patients with nonmetastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) treated with curative intent. Methods and Materials: ERCC1 and XPF protein expression was evaluated by immunofluorescence combined with automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) using the FL297 and 3F2 antibodies, respectively. ERCC1 and XPF protein expression levels were correlated with clinical outcomes. Results: Patient characteristics were as follows: mean age 52 years (range, 18-85 years), 67% male, 72% Karnofsky performance status (KPS) ≥90%, World Health Organization (WHO) type 1/2/3 = 12%/28%/60%, stage III/IV 65%. With a median follow-up time of 50 months (range, 2.9 to 120 months), the 5-year overall survival (OS) was 70.8%. Median standardized nuclear AQUA scores were used as cutpoints for ERCC1 (n=138) and XPF (n=130) protein expression. Agreement between dichotomized ERCC1 and XPF scores was high at 79.4% (kappa = 0.587, P<.001). Neither biomarker predicted locoregional recurrence, DFS, or OS after adjustment for age and KPS, irrespective of stratification by stage, WHO type, or treatment. Conclusions: Neither ERCC1 nor XPF, analyzed by quantitative immunohistochemistry using the FL297 and 3F2 antibodies, was prognostic or predictive in this cohort of NPC patients. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Thakur S.,University of Calgary | Singla A.K.,University of Calgary | Chen J.,University of Calgary | Tran U.,University of Calgary | And 7 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

INhibitor of Growth 1 (ING1) expression is repressed in breast carcinomas, but its role in breast cancer development and metastasis is unknown. ING1 levels were quantified in >500 patient samples using automated quantitative fluorescence immunohistochemistry, and data were analysed for correlations to patient outcome. Effects of altering ING levels were examined in microarrays and metastasis assays in vitro, and in a mouse metastasis model in vivo. ING1 levels were lower in tumors compared to adjacent normal breast tissue and correlated with tumor size (p=0.019) and distant recurrence (p=0.001) in ER- or Her2+ patients. In these patients ING1 predicted disease-specific and distant metastasis-free survival. Transcriptome analysis showed that the pathway most affected by ING1 was breast cancer (p = 0.0008). Decreasing levels of ING1 increased, and increasing levels decreased, migration and invasion of MDA-MB231 cells in vitro. ING1 overexpression also blocked cancer cell metastasis in vivo and eliminated tumor-induced mortality in mouse models. Our data show that ING1 protein levels are downregulated in breast cancer and for the first time, we show that altering their levels regulates metastasis in vitro and in vivo, which indicates that ING1 may have a therapeutic role for inhibiting metastasis of breast cancer.

PubMed | University of Calgary, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Functional Tissue Imaging Unit and Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Oncotarget | Year: 2016

This study was designed to investigate the combined influence of ATM and Ki67 on clinical outcome in early stage hormone receptor positive breast cancer (ES-HPBC), particularly in patients with smaller tumors (< 4 cm) and fewer than four positive lymph nodes.532 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens of resected primary breast tumors were used to construct a tissue microarray. Samples from 297 patients were suitable for final statistical analysis. We detected ATM and Ki67 proteins using fluorescence and brightfield immunohistochemistry respectively, and quantified their expression with digital image analysis. Data on expression levels were subsequently correlated with clinical outcome.Remarkably, ATM expression was useful to stratify the low Ki67 group into subgroups with better or poorer prognosis. Specifically, in the low Ki67 subgroup defined as having smaller tumors and no positive nodes, patients with high ATM expression showed better outcome than those with low ATM, with estimated survival rates of 96% and 89% respectively at 15 years follow up (p = 0.04). Similarly, low-Ki67 patients with smaller tumors, 1-3 positive nodes and high ATM also had significantly better outcomes than their low ATM counterparts, with estimated survival rates of 88% and 46% respectively (p = 0.03) at 15 years follow up. Multivariable analysis indicated that the combination of high ATM and low Ki67 is prognostic of improved survival, independent of tumor size, grade, and lymph node status (p = 0.02).These data suggest that the prognostic value of Ki67 can be improved by analyzing ATM expression in ES-HPBC.

Barber B.R.,University of Alberta | Biron V.L.,University of Alberta | Klimowicz A.C.,University of Calgary | Klimowicz A.C.,Functional Tissue Imaging Unit | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery | Year: 2013

Background: The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is increasing due to fundamenta changes in oncogenesis related to effects of the human papilomavirus (HPV). Virally-mediated tumours behave and respond to treatment differently than their classic, carcinogenically-mediated counterparts despite similar stage and grade of disease. This difference in behaviour has lead to investigation of etiologies of OPSCC at the molecular level. Molecular biomarkers offer potential insight into the behaviour of OPSCC. Identifying a subset of patients that are more likely to have recurrence and distant metastasis is valuable for prognostication and treatment planning. There is limited information regarding the profiles of these biomarkers in locoregional and distant metastases in OPSCC. Objective: This study was designed to identify biomarker profiles predictive of locoregional and distant metastases and recurrence in OPSCC. Methods: Cross-sectional study of a prospectively-collected oropharyngeal tumour database was undertaken. All patients with OPSCC presenting to the University of Alberta Hospital from 2002-2009 were included in the study. Data collection from the Alberta Cancer Registry, including demographics, nodal status, distant metastases, treatment, recurrence, and survival, was undertaken. Tissue micro-arrays (TMAs) were constructed for each tumour specimen using triplicate cores (0.6mm) of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) pre-treatment tumour tissue. TMAs were processed using immunohistochemistry for p16, EGFR, Ki67, p53, and Bcl-XL. Positivity for each biomarker was determined using quantified AQUAnalysis ® scores on histoplots. Multivariate statistics were utilized to assess the relationship between each biomarker and locoregional and distant metastases, as well as recurrence-free survival (RFS). Results: High expression of p16 (p=0.000) and Bcl-XL (p=0.039) independently demonstrated a significant association with nodal disease at presentation. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated improved RFS in patients with high p16 and decreased RFS in patients with high p53 expression. Cox regression analysis supported p16 as an independent prognosticator for improved RFS. p53 demonstrated an association with recurrence, but when compared to p16 status, nodal status, and staging, was not an independent predictor of recurrence. Conclusions: Biomarker profiling using p16, Bcl-xL, and p53 may be useful in prognostication and treatment planning in patients with OPSCC. © 2013 Barber et al.

PubMed | University of Calgary and Functional Tissue Imaging Unit
Type: | Journal: Micron (Oxford, England : 1993) | Year: 2014

In recent years, differences have emerged in the treatment of squamous and non-squamous non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs). This highlights the importance of accurate histopathologic classification. However, there remains inter-observer disagreement when making diagnoses based on histology. Fractal dimension (FD) is a mathematical measure of irregularity and complexity of shape. We hypothesize that the FD of carcinoma epithelial architecture can assist in differentiating adenocarcinoma (ADC) from squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung.134 resected (88 ADC and 46 SCC) cases of resected early-stage NSCLC were analyzed. Tissue micro arrays were generated from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue, stained with pan-cytokeratin, and digitally imaged and the FD of the epithelial structure calculated. Mean FD of ADC and SCC were compared using the independent t-test, partial correlations, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses.A statistically significant difference (p<0.001) between the mean FD of ADC (M=1.70, SD=0.07) and SCC (M=1.78, SD=0.07) was found. Significance remained (p<0.001) when controlling for several possible confounders. ROC analysis demonstrated an area-under-the-curve of 0.81 (p<0.001).The epithelial structure FD of NSCLC has potential as a reproducible and automated measure to help subtype NSCLCs into ADC and SCC. With further image analysis algorithm improvements, fractal analysis may be a component in computerized histomorphological assessments of lung cancer and may provide an adjunct test in differentiating NSCLCs.

PubMed | University of Calgary and Functional Tissue Imaging Unit
Type: | Journal: Molecular cancer | Year: 2015

Previous studies have established that levels of the Inhibitor of Growth 1(ING1) tumor suppressor are reduced in a significant proportion of different cancer types. Here we analyzed levels of ING1 in breast cancer patients to determine its prognostic significance as a biomarker for breast cancer prognosis.We used automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) to determine the levels of ING1 in the tumor associated stromal cells of 462 breast cancer samples. To better understand how high ING1 levels affect nearby epithelium, we measured the levels of cytokines and secreted matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), using an ELISA based assay in mammary fibroblasts overexpressing ING1. These cells were also used in a 3-dimensional co-culture with MCF7 cells to determine the effect of released MMPs and other cytokines on growing colonies.We find that high levels of ING1 in stroma are associated with tumor grade (p=0.001) and size (p=0.02), and inversely associated with patient survival (p=0.0001) in luminal, but not in non-luminal cancers, suggesting that high stromal ING1 promotes cancer development. In this group of patients ING1 could also predict patient survival and act as a biomarker (HR=2.125). While ING1 increased or decreased the expression of different cytokines, ING1 also increased the levels of MMP1, MMP3 and MMP10 by 5-8 fold, and concomitantly decreased levels of the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteases TIMP2, TIMP3 and TIMP4 by 1.5-3.3 fold, resulting in significant increases in MMP activity as determined by zymography. Co-culturing of MCF7 cells with stromal cells expressing ING1 in 3-dimensional organoid cultures suggested that MCF7 colonies were less well defined, suggesting that secreted MMPs might promote migration.These data indicate that stromal ING1 expression can predict the survival of patients with luminal breast cancer. High levels of ING1 in stromal cells can promote the development of breast cancer through increased expression and release of MMPs and down regulation of TIMPs, which may be an underlying mechanism of reduced patient survival.

PubMed | University of Calgary, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and Functional Tissue Imaging Unit
Type: | Journal: Gynecologic oncology | Year: 2017

The management of locally advanced cervical cancer has improved significantly with the advent of cisplatin-based chemoradiotherapy (CRT) as the primary treatment regimen. Nevertheless, a significant proportion of patients fail to respond or relapse on this treatment and have a very poor prognosis. Our goal was to determine the prognostic value of a panel of proteins involved in detection and repair of DNA damage.We performed fluorescence immunohistochemistry, and used software analysis to assess expression of DNA damage response proteins ATM, DNA-PKcs, PARP-1, Ku70 and Ku86 in 117 pre-treatment specimens from patients with locally advanced cervical cancer. We compared expression to clinicopathologic correlates to determine prognostic significance.Five-year progression-free survival was significantly lower in the low expressors than in high expressors of ATM (35% vs. 58%, p=0.044) and PARP-1 (24% vs. 61%, p=0.003), and showed a trend to significance for DNA-PKcs (30% vs. 60%, p=0.050). Low expression of the same proteins also correlated significantly with lower overall survival. In multivariable analysis, adjusted for FIGO stage and tumor size, low ATM and PARP-1 expression was significantly associated with both poorer progression-free and overall survival. Pairwise analyses indicated that expression levels of these proteins were correlated.Expression of DNA damage response proteins in cervical cancer is associated with outcome in patients treated with CRT. Immunohistochemical analysis of these proteins may be useful in guiding treatment decisions in such patients.

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