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Andreoli M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Persico M.,University of Naples Federico II | Kumar A.,Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico | Orteca N.,University of Naples Federico II | And 14 more authors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2014

Class III β-tubulin plays a prominent role in the development of drug resistance to paclitaxel by allowing the incorporation of the GBP1 GTPase into microtubules. Once in the cytoskeleton, GBP1 binds to prosurvival kinases such as PIM1 and initiates a signaling pathway that induces resistance to paclitaxel. Therefore, the inhibition of the GBP1:PIM1 interaction could potentially revert resistance to paclitaxel. A panel of 44 4-azapodophyllotoxin derivatives was screened in the NCI-60 cell panel. The result is that 31 are active and the comparative analysis demonstrated specific activity in paclitaxel-resistant cells. Using surface plasmon resonance, we were able to prove that NSC756093 is a potent in vitro inhibitor of the GBP1:PIM1 interaction and that this property is maintained in vivo in ovarian cancer cells resistant to paclitaxel. Through bioinformatics, molecular modeling, and mutagenesis studies, we identified the putative NSC756093 binding site at the interface between the helical and the LG domain of GBP1. According to our results by binding to this site, the NSC756093 compound is able to stabilize a conformation of GBP1 not suitable for binding to PIM1. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source


Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Mariani M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | McHugh M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Petrillo M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 11 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy. Recently, NACT (Neo Adjuvant Chemotherapy) has been tested as alternative approach for the management of ovarian cancer patients. A biological predictor helpful in selecting patients for NACT would be desirable. This study was aimed at identifying actionable mechanisms of resistance to NACT. Expression of a panel of microRNAs was screened in a discovery set of 85 patients. Analysis of the potential targets was conducted in the same RNAs by calculating significant correlations between microRNAs and genes. Quantitative fluorescent immunohistochemistry was employed in a validation set of 109 patients. MiR-193a-5p was significantly overexpressed in the NACT setting. Analysis of its potential targets demonstrated that this microRNA is also significantly correlated with HGF and MET genes. Analysis of protein expression in samples taken before and after NACT demonstrated that both HGF and c-Met are increased after NACT. Patients who relapse shortly after NACT exhibited the highest relative basal expression of both HGF and c-Met, while the opposite phenomenon was observed in the best responders. Mir-193a-5p, HGF and c-Met expression may help select eligible patients for this modality of treatment. Moreover, inhibitors of this pathway may improve the efficacy of NACT. Source


Shahabi S.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | He S.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Kopf M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | Mariani M.,Danbury Hospital Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Cancer incidence and mortality are higher in males than in females, suggesting that some gender-related factors are behind such a difference. To analyze this phenomenon the most recent Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database served to access cancer survival data for the US population. Patients with gender-specific cancer and with limited information were excluded and this fact limited the sample size to 1,194,490 patients. NHANES III provided the distribution of physiologic variables in US population (n = 29,314). Cox model and Kaplan-Meier method were used to test the impact of gender on survival across age, and to calculate the gender-specific hazard ratio of dying from cancer five years following diagnosis. The distribution of the hazard ratio across age was then compared with the distribution of 65 physiological variables assessed in NHANES III. Spearman and Kolmogorov-Smirnov test assessed the homology. Cancer survival was lower in males than in females in the age range 17 to 61 years. The risk of death from cancer in males was about 30% higher than that of females of the same age. This effect was present only in sarcomas and epithelial solid tumors with distant disease and the effect was more prominent in African-Americans than Caucasians. When compared to the variables assessed in the NHANES III study, the hazard ratio almost exactly matched the distribution of free testosterone in males; none of the other analyzed variables exhibited a similar homology. Our findings suggest that male sex hormones give rise to cancer aggressiveness in patients younger than 61 years. © 2013 Shahabi et al. Source


Karki R.,Reproductive Tumor Biology Research | Mariani M.,Reproductive Tumor Biology Research | Mariani M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Andreoli M.,Reproductive Tumor Biology Research | And 7 more authors.
Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets | Year: 2013

Introduction: βIII-Tubulin (TUBB3) is predominantly expressed in neurons of the central and peripheral nervous systems, while in normal non-neoplastic tissues it is barely detectable. By contrast, this cytoskeletal protein is abundant in a wide range of tumors. βIII-Tubulin is linked to dynamic instability of microtubules (MTs), weakening the effects of agents interfering with MT polymerization. Based on this principle, early studies introduced the classical theory linking βIII-tubulin with a mechanism of counteracting taxane activity and accordingly, prompted its investigation as a predictive biomarker of taxane resistance. Areas covered: We reviewed 59 translational studies, including cohorts from lung, ovarian, breast, gastric, colorectal and various miscellaneous cancers subject to different chemotherapy regimens. Expert opinion: βIII-Tubulin functions more as a prognostic factor than as a predictor of response to chemotherapy. We believe this view can be explained by βIII-tubulin's association with prosurvival pathways in the early steps of the metastatic process. Its prognostic response increases if combined with additional biomarkers that regulate its expression, since βIII-tubulin can be expressed in conditions, such as estrogen exposure, unrelated to survival mechanisms and without any predictive activity. Additional avenues for therapeutic intervention could emerge if drugs are designed to directly target βIII-tubulin and its mechanism of regulation. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd. Source


Mozzetti S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Martinelli E.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Raspaglio G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Prislei S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 7 more authors.
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2012

Epothilones constitute a novel class of antitubulin agents that are active in patients who relapse after treatment with other chemotherapeutics. This study investigated the molecular mechanisms leading to the onset of epothilone-B (patupilone) resistance in ovarian cancer. Results demonstrated that the Gli family of transcription factors was overexpressed in resistant cells and that treatment with a specific Gli1 inhibitor (GANT58) made cells more susceptible to treatment, partially reversing drug resistance. We also demonstrated that Gli1 knockdown halted growth in resistant cells that were exposed to patupilone, confirming that Gli1 is capable of directly mediating epothilone-B resistance. Another observation from our research was that patupilone-resistant cells produced HGF and acquired characteristics of a mesenchymal phenotype. However, HGF silencing alone was not capable of converting the drug-resistant phenotype to a susceptible one, and in this case we demonstrated that Gli1 overexpression led to an increase in HGF, establishing a functional link between Gli1 and HGF. These results demonstrated that Gli1 played a key role in driving resistance to patupilone, suggesting that the combination of epothilones and Gli1-targeted agents could be exploited to improve outcomes in ovarian cancer patients resistant to standard treatments. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

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