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Ratovitski E.A.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division
Current Genomics | Year: 2017

Accumulating evidence shows that hallmarks of cancer include: “genetic and epigenetic alterations leading to inactivation of cancer suppressors, overexpression of oncogenes, deregulation of intracellular signaling cascades, alterations of cancer cell metabolism, failure to undergo cancer cell death, induction of epithelial to mesenchymal transition, invasiveness, metastasis, deregulation of immune response and changes in cancer microenvironment, which underpin cancer development”. Natural compounds as bioactive ingredients isolated from natural sources (plants, fungi, marine life forms) have revolutionized the field of anticancer therapeutics and rapid developments in preclinical studies are encouraging. Natural compounds could affect the epigenetic molecular mechanisms that modulate gene expression, as well as DNA damage and repair mechanisms. The current review will describe the latest achievements in using naturally produced compounds targeting epigenetic regulators and modulators of gene transcription in vitro and in vivo to generate novel anticancer therapeutics. ©2017 Bentham Science Publishers.


Guerrero-Preston R.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division | Guerrero-Preston R.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan | Hadar T.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division | Ostrow K.L.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division | And 13 more authors.
Oncology Reports | Year: 2014

Methylation alterations of CpG islands, CpG island shores and first exons are key events in the formation and progression of human cancer, and an increasing number of differentially methylated regions and genes have been identified in breast cancer. Recent studies of the breast cancer methylome using deep sequencing and microarray platforms are providing a novel insight on the different roles aberrant methylation plays in molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Accumulating evidence from a subset of studies suggests that promoter methylation of tumor-suppressor genes associated with breast cancer can be quantified in circulating DNA. However, there is a paucity of studies that examine the combined presence of genetic and epigenetic alterations associated with breast cancer using blood-based assays. Dysregulation of DNA repair capacity (DRC) is a genetic risk factor for breast cancer that has been measured in lymphocytes. We isolated plasma DNA from 340 participants in a breast cancer case control project to study promoter methylation levels of five genes previously shown to be associated with breast cancer in frozen tissue and in cell line DNA: MAL, KIF1A, FKBP4, VGF and OGDHL. Methylation of at least one gene was found in 49% of the cases compared to 20% of the controls. Three of the four genes had receiver characteristic operator curve values of ≥0.50: MAL(0.64), KIF1A (0.51) and OGDHL (0.53). KIF1A promotermethylation was associated with breast cancer and inverselyassociated with DRC. This is the first evidence of a significantassociation between genetic and epigenetic alterations in breastcancer using blood-based tests. The potential diagnostic utilityof these biomarkers and their relevance for breast cancer risk prediction should be examined in larger cohorts.


Ili C.G.,University of the Frontier | Brebi P.,University of the Frontier | Tapia O.,University of the Frontier | Sandoval A.,University of the Frontier | And 8 more authors.
International Journal of Gynecological Pathology | Year: 2013

Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide and infection by high-risk human papillomavirus types is a precursor event. The cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) has been found to be overexpressed in several types of cancers and could be associated with cervical cancer progression because of its ability to inhibit the apoptotic process. To detect c-FLIP expression in cervical cancer, an immunohistochemical staining was performed, using tissue microarrays, on a series of 536 archival biopsy samples, including normal cervical tissues, low-grade and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, and squamous cervical carcinomas. The epithelium in the normal cervix and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions mainly stained negatively for c-FLIP, whereas high-grade intraepithelial lesions and cancer samples showed an elevated expression of c-FLIP. A direct association was observed between the increasing grade of the lesion and the intensity of c-FLIP staining, in which the frequency of intense c-FLIP expression increased from 12.5% in the normal tissue to 82.1% in the cervical cancer tissue. An increased expression of c-FLIP may be an important factor in the progression of cervical cancer. This finding could aid in identifying patients with preneoplastic lesions at greater risk of developing cervical cancer. c-FLIP expression in cervical tissue may be a potential cervical cancer progression marker. © 2013 International Society of Gynecological Pathologists.


Ostrow K.L.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division | Michalidi C.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division | Guerrero-Preston R.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division | Hoque M.O.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division | And 3 more authors.
Epigenetics | Year: 2013

We have previously identified a putative tumor suppressor gene, NISCH, whose promoter is methylated in lung tumor tissue as well as in plasma obtained from lung cancer patients. NISCH was observed to be more frequently methylated in smoker lung cancer patients than in non-smoker lung cancer patients. Here, we investigated the effect of tobacco smoke exposure on methylation of the NISCH gene. We tested methylation of NISCH after oral keratinocytes were exposed to mainstream and side stream cigarette smoke extract in culture. Methylation of the promoter region of the NISCH gene was also evaluated in plasma obtained from lifetime non-smokers and light smokers (< 20 pack/year), with and without lung tumors, and heavy smokers (20+ pack/year) without disease. Promoter methylation of NISCH was tested by quantitative fluorogenic real-time PCR in all samples. Promoter methylation of NISCH occurred after exposure to mainstream tobacco smoke as well as to side stream tobacco smoke in normal oral keratinocyte cell lines. NISCH methylation was also detected in 68% of high-risk, heavy smokers without detectable tumors. Interestingly, in light smokers, NISCH methylation was present in 69% of patients with lung cancer and absent in those without disease. Our pilot study indicates that tobacco smoke induces methylation changes in the NISCH gene promoter before any detectable cancer. Methylation of the NISCH gene was also found in lung cancer patients' plasma samples. After confirming these findings in longitudinally collected plasma samples from high-risk populations (such as heavy smokers), examining patients for hypermethylation of the NISCH gene may aid in identifying those who should undergo additional screening for lung cancer. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.


Ratovitski E.A.,Head and Neck Cancer Research Division
Cell Cycle | Year: 2014

The tumor protein (TP) p63/microRNAs functional network may play a key role in supporting the response of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) to chemotherapy. We show that the cisplatin exposure of SCC-11 cells led to upregulation of miR-297, miR-92b-3p, and miR-485-5p through a phosphorylated ΔNp63α-dependent mechanism that subsequently modulated the expression of the protein targets implicated in DNA methylation (DNMT3A), histone deacetylation (HDAC9), and demethylation (KDM4C). Further studies showed that mimics for miR-297, miR-92b-3p, or miR-485-5p, along with siRNA against and inhibitors of DNMT3A, HDAC9, and KDM4C modulated the expression of DAPK1, SMARCA2, and MDM2 genes assessed by the quantitative PCR, promoter luciferase reporter, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Finally, the above-mentioned treatments affecting epigenetic enzymes also modulated the response of SCC cells to chemotherapeutic drugs, rendering the resistant SCC cells more sensitive to cisplatin exposure, thereby providing the groundwork for novel chemotherapeutic venues in treating patients with SCC. © 2014 Landes Bioscience.


The tumor protein p63/microRNA functional network appears to play a decisive role in chemoresistance of human epithelial cancers. The cisplatin- and phosphorylated-ΔNp63α-dependent microRNAs, whose expression was varied in sensitive and resistant squamous cell carcinoma cells (SCC, which were derived from larynx and tongue tumors), were shown to modulate the expression of multiple members of cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and autophagy pathways. The specific microRNAs were further shown to modulate the resistant phenotype of SCC cells in vitro, thereby providing groundwork for novel chemotherapeutic venues for head and neck cancer. © 2013 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Abstract This study shows that specific microRNAs differentially regulated by ΔNp63α in cisplatin-sensitive and resistant squamous cell carcinoma (SSC) cells of larynx and tongue affect the expression of members of the necroptotic pathway CYLD, RIPK1, and MLKL. Different degrees of protein interaction between necroptotic signaling intermediates were also observed in SCC cells sensitive or resistant to cisplatin. Modulation of RIPK1 with miR-101-3p mimic or inhibitor, as well as with siRNA, or chemical inhibitors was shown to affect sensitivity of SCC cells to cisplatin. This is the first report showing the modulatory effect of ΔNp63α-responsive microRNAs on the specific members of necroptotic pathway in SCC tumor cells variably responding to platinum chemotherapy. © 2015 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.


PubMed | Head and Neck Cancer Research Division and New York University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Epigenetics | Year: 2014

We have previously identified a putative tumor suppressor gene, NISCH, whose promoter is methylated in lung tumor tissue as well as in plasma obtained from lung cancer patients. NISCH was observed to be more frequently methylated in smoker lung cancer patients than in non-smoker lung cancer patients. Here, we investigated the effect of tobacco smoke exposure on methylation of the NISCH gene. We tested methylation of NISCH after oral keratinocytes were exposed to mainstream and side stream cigarette smoke extract in culture. Methylation of the promoter region of the NISCH gene was also evaluated in plasma obtained from lifetime non-smokers and light smokers (<20 pack/year), with and without lung tumors, and heavy smokers (20+ pack/year) without disease. Promoter methylation of NISCH was tested by quantitative fluorogenic real-time PCR in all samples. Promoter methylation of NISCH occurred after exposure to mainstream tobacco smoke as well as to side stream tobacco smoke in normal oral keratinocyte cell lines. NISCH methylation was also detected in 68% of high-risk, heavy smokers without detectable tumors. Interestingly, in light smokers, NISCH methylation was present in 69% of patients with lung cancer and absent in those without disease. Our pilot study indicates that tobacco smoke induces methylation changes in the NISCH gene promoter before any detectable cancer. Methylation of the NISCH gene was also found in lung cancer patients plasma samples. After confirming these findings in longitudinally collected plasma samples from high-risk populations (such as heavy smokers), examining patients for hypermethylation of the NISCH gene may aid in identifying those who should undergo additional screening for lung cancer.


PubMed | Head and Neck Cancer Research Division
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Current pharmaceutical biotechnology | Year: 2015

MicroRNAs, whose transcription is regulated by members of the tumor protein p53 family, modulate the expression of numerous metabolic enzymes, significantly altering tumor cell response to chemotherapeutic treatments. The role for Np63-regulated microRNAs in regulation of cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and autophagy in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells upon cisplatin exposure has been reported. The current study indicated that the selected microRNA targets differentially regulated by Np63 in cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant SCC cells could alter the expression of a few metabolic enzymes, thereby potentially contributing to the metabolic changes in SCC cells upon cisplatin exposure. Finally, the modulation of specific targets (e.g., SREBF2, AKT2, G6PD, CPS1, FADS1, and ETNK1) using a combination of microRNA mimics and siRNA silencing has shown that a suppression of these metabolic factors/ enzymes could confer a sensitivity of SCC cells to cisplatin. Thus, the Np63-regulated microRNAs were found to regulate the levels of several metabolic factors and enzymes, thereby potentially contributing to the response of larynx and tongue-derived SCC cells to platinum chemotherapy.


PubMed | Head and Neck Cancer Research Division
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: FEBS letters | Year: 2015

This study shows that specific microRNAs differentially regulated by Np63 in cisplatin-sensitive and resistant squamous cell carcinoma (SSC) cells of larynx and tongue affect the expression of members of the necroptotic pathway CYLD, RIPK1, and MLKL. Different degrees of protein interaction between necroptotic signaling intermediates were also observed in SCC cells sensitive or resistant to cisplatin. Modulation of RIPK1 with miR-101-3p mimic or inhibitor, as well as with siRNA, or chemical inhibitors was shown to affect sensitivity of SCC cells to cisplatin. This is the first report showing the modulatory effect of Np63-responsive microRNAs on the specific members of necroptotic pathway in SCC tumor cells variably responding to platinum chemotherapy.

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