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Pham H.,Hirshberg Laboratories for Pancreatic Cancer Research | Chen M.,Hirshberg Laboratories for Pancreatic Cancer Research | Li A.,Hirshberg Laboratories for Pancreatic Cancer Research | King J.,Hirshberg Laboratories for Pancreatic Cancer Research | And 6 more authors.
Pancreas | Year: 2010

Objectives: Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a product of cyclooxygenase (COX) and PGE synthase (PGES) and deactivated by 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (PGDH). Down-regulation of PGDH contributes to PGE2 accumulation in lung and colon cancers but has not been identified in pancreatic cancer. Methods: Normal human pancreatic and tumor-matched tissues, as well as MiaPaCa-2 and BxPC-3 cell lines, were assessed for COX-2, microsomal PGES-1, PGDH, and snail homolog 1 (SNAI1) and SNAI2 expressions by real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting and PGE2 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Normal tissues exhibited low COX-2 messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expressions and high PGDH mRNA and protein expressions and PGE2 levels at 13 pg/mg of protein. In contrast, tumor tissues exhibited high COX-2 mRNA and protein expressions and low PGDH mRNA and protein expressions and PGE2 levels at 32 pg/mg of protein. Tumor tissues exhibited significantly elevated expressions of SNAI2 mRNA and protein but not SNAI1 because SNAI1 and SNAI2 reportedly down-regulate PGDH expression. The COX-2-positive BxPC-3 but not the COX-2-negative MiaPaCa-2 treated with 100-nmol/L PGE2 induced phosphorylated extracellular signal-related kinase that was blocked by the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor U0126, demonstrating the ability of PGE2 to activate ERK. Conclusions: These results suggest that enhanced PGE2 production proceeds through the expressions of COX-2 and microsomal PGES-1 and down-regulation of PGDH by SNAI2 in pancreatic tumors. Copyright © 2010 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Angst E.,Hirshberg Laboratories for Pancreatic Cancer Research | Angst E.,University of California at Los Angeles | Dawson D.W.,University of California at Los Angeles | Nguyen A.,University of California at Los Angeles | And 9 more authors.
Pancreas | Year: 2010

Objectives: N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1), important in tumor growth and metastasis, has recently gained interest as a potential therapeutic target. Loss of NDRG1 expression is generally associated with poor clinical outcome in pancreatic cancer (PaCa) patients. As the NDRG1 gene possesses a large promoter CpG island, we sought to determine whether its repression is epigenetically mediated in PaCa cells. Methods: Pancreatic cancer cells were treated with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. Promoter methylation was assessed by genomic bisulfite sequencing and by combined bisulfite restriction analyses. Results: Treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and trichostatin A enhanced NDRG1 protein expression, implicating epigenetic regulation of NDRG1. However, there was no significant DNA methylation of the NDRG1 promoter CpG island, as determined by genomic bisulfite sequencing of HPAF-II cells. We further confirmed the lack of promoter methylation in 6 PaCa cell lines by combined bisulfite restriction analyses. Conclusions: These findings indicate that NDRG1 gene reactivation in PaCa cell lines by pharmacologic reversal of DNA methylation and histone deacetylation occurs via an indirect mechanism. This may occur via the altered expression of genes involved in the regulation of NDRG1 transcription or NDRG1 protein stability in PaCa cells. Copyright © 2010 by Williams & Wilkins.

King J.C.,University of California at Los Angeles | King J.C.,Hirshberg Laboratories for Pancreatic Cancer Research | Lu Q.-Y.,University of California at Los Angeles | Li G.,University of California at Los Angeles | And 12 more authors.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research | Year: 2012

Pancreatic cancer is an exceedingly lethal disease with a five-year survival that ranks among the lowest of gastrointestinal malignancies. Part of its lethality is attributable to a generally poor response to existing chemotherapeutic regimens. New therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. We aimed to elucidate the anti-neoplastic mechanisms of apigenin-an abundant, naturally-occurring plant flavonoid-with a particular focus on p53 function. Pancreatic cancer cells (BxPC-3, MiaPaCa-2) experienced dose and time-dependent growth inhibition and increased apoptosis with apigenin treatment. p53 post-translational modification, nuclear translocation, DNA binding, and upregulation of p21 and PUMA were all enhanced by apigenin treatment despite mutated p53 in both cell lines. Transcription-dependent p53 activity was reversed by pifithrin-α, a specific DNA binding inhibitor of p53, but not growth inhibition or apoptosis suggesting transcription-independent p53 activity. This was supported by immunoprecipitation assays which demonstrated disassociation of p53/BclXL and PUMA/BclXL and formation of complexes with Bak followed by cytochrome c release. Treated animals grew smaller tumors with increased cellular apoptosis than those fed control diet. These results suggest that despite deactivating mutation, p53 retains some of its function which is augmented following treatment with apigenin. Cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction may be mediated by transcription-independent p53 function via interactions with BclXL and PUMA. Further study of flavonoids as chemotherapeutics is warranted. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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