Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit

Cambridge, United Kingdom
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ten Kate F.J.C.,Erasmus Medical Center | van Olphen S.H.,Erasmus Medical Center | Bruno M.J.,Erasmus Medical Center | Wijnhoven B.P.L.,Erasmus Medical Center | And 4 more authors.
British Journal of Surgery | Year: 2017

Background: Oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) is a highly aggressive malignancy with poor survival, which is highly variable amongst patients with comparable conventional prognosticators. Therefore molecular biomarkers are urgently needed to improve the prediction of survival in these patients. SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2, also known as SOX2, is a transcription factor involved in embryonal development of the gastrointestinal tract as well as in carcinogenesis. The purpose of this study was to see whether SOX2 expression is associated with survival in patients with OAC. Methods: SOX2 was studied by immunohistochemistry in patients who had undergone potentially curative oesophagectomy for adenocarcinoma. Protein expression of SOX2 was evaluated using tissue microarrays from resection specimens, and results were analysed in relation to the clinical data by Cox regression analysis. SOX2 was evaluated in two independent OAC cohorts (Rotterdam cohort and a multicentre UK cohort). Results: Loss of SOX2 expression was independently predictive of adverse overall survival in the multivariable analysis, adjusted for known factors influencing survival, in both cohorts (Rotterdam cohort: hazard ratio (HR) 1·42, 95 per cent c.i. 1·07 to 1·89, P = 0·016; UK cohort: HR 1·54, 1·08 to 2·19, P = 0·017). When combined with clinicopathological staging, loss of SOX2 showed an increased effect in patients with pT1-2 tumours (P = 0·010) and node-negative OAC (P = 0·038), with an incrementally adverse effect on overall survival for stage I OAC with SOX2 loss (HR 3·18, 1·18 to 8·56; P = 0·022). Conclusion: SOX2 is an independent prognostic factor for long-term survival in OAC, especially in patients with stage I OAC. © 2017 BJS Society Ltd.


Bolderson E.,Queensland Institute of Medical Research | Bolderson E.,Queensland University of Technology | Savage K.I.,Queensland Institute of Medical Research | Savage K.I.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2012

The DNA damage response encompasses a complex series of signaling pathways that function to regulate and facilitate the repair of damaged DNA. Recent studies have shown that the repair of transcriptionally inactive chromatin, named heterochromatin, is dependent upon the phosphorylation of the co-repressor, Krüppel-associated box (KRAB) domain-associated protein (KAP-1), by the ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) kinase. Co-repressors, such as KAP-1, function to regulate the rigid structure of heterochromatin by recruiting histone-modifying enzymes, such HDAC1/2, SETDB1, and nucleosome-remodeling complexes such as CHD3. Here, we have characterized a phosphorylation site in the HP1-binding domain of KAP-1, Ser-473, which is phosphorylated by the cell cycle checkpoint kinase Chk2. Expression of a nonphosphorylatable S473A mutant conferred cellular sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents and led to defective repair of DNA double-strand breaks in heterochromatin. In addition, cells expressing S473A also displayed defective mobilization of the HP1-β chromodomain protein. The DNA repair defect observed in cells expressing S473A was alleviated by depletion of HP1-β, suggesting that phosphorylation of KAP-1 on Ser-473 promotes the mobilization of HP1-β from heterochromatin and subsequent DNA repair. These results suggest a novel mechanism of KAP-1-mediated chromatin restructuring via Chk2-regulated HP1-β exchange from heterochromatin, promoting DNA repair. © 2012 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Talsma A.K.,Erasmus Medical Center | Ong C.-A.J.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit | Liu X.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit | Van Hagen P.,Erasmus Medical Center | And 7 more authors.
World Journal of Surgery | Year: 2014

Background: The location of positive lymph nodes has been abandoned in the seventh classification of the TNM staging system for esophageal adenocarcinoma. The present study evaluates whether distribution of involved nodes relative to the diaphragm in addition to TNM 7 further refines prediction. Methods: Pathology reports of patients who underwent esophagectomy between 2000 and 2008 for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus were reviewed and staging was performed according to the seventh UICC-AJCC staging system. In addition, lymph node involvement of nodal stations above and below the diaphragm was investigated by endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) in a separate cohort of patients who were scheduled for esophagectomy between 2008 and 2009 at two institutions. Survival was calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method, and multivariate analysis was performed with a Cox regression model. Results: Some 327 patients who had undergone esophagectomy for cancer were included. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients with from three to six involved lymph nodes in the resection specimen on both sides of the diaphragm had a twofold higher chance of dying compared to patients with the same number of involved lymph nodes on one side of the diaphragm. EUS assessment of lymph node metastases relative to the diaphragm in 102 patients showed that nodal involvement on both sides of the diaphragm was associated with worse survival than when nodes on one side or no nodes are involved [HR (95 % CI) 2.38 (1.15-4.90)]. Conclusions: A combined staging system that incorporates distribution of lymph nodes relative to the diaphragm refines prognostication after esophagectomy as assessed in the resected specimen and pretreatment as assessed by EUS. This improved staging has the potential to have a great impact on clinical decision making as to whether to embark upon potentially curative or palliative treatments. © 2013 Société Internationale de Chirurgie.


Gaboriau D.C.A.,National University of Ireland | Gaboriau D.C.A.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit | Rowling P.J.E.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit | Rowling P.J.E.,University of Cambridge | And 4 more authors.
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2015

Mutations in breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 (breast cancer early-onset 1) are associated with increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. BRCA1 is a large protein of 1863 residues with two small structured domains at its termini: a RING domain at the N-terminus and a BRCT (BRCA1 C-terminus domain) repeat domain at the C-terminus. Previously, we quantified the effects of missense mutations on the thermodynamic stability of the BRCT domains, and we showed that many are so destabilizing that the folded functional state is drastically depopulated at physiological temperature. In the present study, we ask whether and how reduced thermodynamic stability of the isolated BRCT mutants translates into loss of function of the full-length protein in the cell. We assessed the effects of missense mutants on different stages of BRCA1-mediated DNA repair by homologous recombination using chicken lymphoblastoid DT40 cells as a model system. We found that all of the mutations, regardless of how profound their destabilizing effects, retained some DNA repair activity and thereby partially rescued the chicken BRCA1 knockout. By contrast, the mutation R1699L, which disrupts the binding of phosphorylated proteins (but which is not destabilizing), was completely inactive. It is likely that both protein context (location of the BRCT domains at the C-terminus of the large BRCA1 protein) and cellular environment (binding partners, molecular chaperones) buffer these destabilizing effects such that at least some mutant protein is able to adopt the folded functional state. ©The Authors Journal compilation © 2015 Biochemical Society.


Liau S.-S.,Addenbrookes Hospital | Liau S.-S.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit | Qureshi M.S.,Addenbrookes Hospital | Praseedom R.,Addenbrookes Hospital | Huguet E.,Addenbrookes Hospital
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery | Year: 2013

Introduction: Hepatic adenomas (HAs) are benign tumors of the liver, which can be solitary or multiple, and have a definite risk of malignant degeneration. Discussion: The pathogenesis and natural history of this disease entity were previously unknown. Recent research into the molecular pathogenesis of this condition has provided evidence for the malignant transformation of some of these adenomas. In the current article, we discuss the current evidence on the molecular biology underlying malignant transformation of hepatic adenomas and the implications for the surgical management of this disease. © 2013 The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.


Rowling P.J.E.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit | Cook R.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit | Itzhaki L.S.,Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2010

Carriers of germ line mutations in breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 have an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers; missense mutations have, however, been difficult to assess for disease association. Here we have used a biophysical approach to classify these variants. We established an assay for measuring the thermodynamic stability of the BRCA1 BRCT domains and investigated the effects of 36 missense mutations. The mutations show a range of effects. Some do not change the stability, whereas others destabilize the protein by as much as 6 kcal mol-1; one-third of the mutants could not be expressed in soluble form in Escherichia coli, and we conclude that these destabilize the protein by an even greater amount. We tested several computer algorithms for their ability to predict the mutant effects and found that by grouping them into two classes (destabilizing by less than or more than 2.2 kcal mol-1), the algorithms could predict the stability changes. Importantly, with the exception of the few mutants located in the binding site, none showed a significant reduction in affinity for phosphorylated substrate. These results indicate that despite very large losses in stability, the integrity of the structure is not compromised by the mutations. Thus, the majority of mutations cause loss of function by reducing the proportion of BRCA1 molecules that are in the folded state and increasing the proportion of molecules that are unfolded. Consequently, small molecule stabilization of the structure could be a generally applicable preventative therapeutic strategy for rescuing many BRCA1 mutations. © 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


PubMed | Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of biological chemistry | Year: 2010

Carriers of germ line mutations in breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 have an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers; missense mutations have, however, been difficult to assess for disease association. Here we have used a biophysical approach to classify these variants. We established an assay for measuring the thermodynamic stability of the BRCA1 BRCT domains and investigated the effects of 36 missense mutations. The mutations show a range of effects. Some do not change the stability, whereas others destabilize the protein by as much as 6 kcal mol(-1); one-third of the mutants could not be expressed in soluble form in Escherichia coli, and we conclude that these destabilize the protein by an even greater amount. We tested several computer algorithms for their ability to predict the mutant effects and found that by grouping them into two classes (destabilizing by less than or more than 2.2 kcal mol(-1)), the algorithms could predict the stability changes. Importantly, with the exception of the few mutants located in the binding site, none showed a significant reduction in affinity for phosphorylated substrate. These results indicate that despite very large losses in stability, the integrity of the structure is not compromised by the mutations. Thus, the majority of mutations cause loss of function by reducing the proportion of BRCA1 molecules that are in the folded state and increasing the proportion of molecules that are unfolded. Consequently, small molecule stabilization of the structure could be a generally applicable preventative therapeutic strategy for rescuing many BRCA1 mutations.


PubMed | National University of Ireland and Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Biochemical journal | Year: 2015

Mutations in breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 (breast cancer early-onset 1) are associated with increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. BRCA1 is a large protein of 1863 residues with two small structured domains at its termini: a RING domain at the N-terminus and a BRCT (BRCA1 C-terminus domain) repeat domain at the C-terminus. Previously, we quantified the effects of missense mutations on the thermodynamic stability of the BRCT domains, and we showed that many are so destabilizing that the folded functional state is drastically depopulated at physiological temperature. In the present study, we ask whether and how reduced thermodynamic stability of the isolated BRCT mutants translates into loss of function of the full-length protein in the cell. We assessed the effects of missense mutants on different stages of BRCA1-mediated DNA repair by homologous recombination using chicken lymphoblastoid DT40 cells as a model system. We found that all of the mutations, regardless of how profound their destabilizing effects, retained some DNA repair activity and thereby partially rescued the chicken BRCA1 knockout. By contrast, the mutation R1699L, which disrupts the binding of phosphorylated proteins (but which is not destabilizing), was completely inactive. It is likely that both protein context (location of the BRCT domains at the C-terminus of the large BRCA1 protein) and cellular environment (binding partners, molecular chaperones) buffer these destabilizing effects such that at least some mutant protein is able to adopt the folded functional state.


PubMed | Medical Research Council MRC Cancer Cell Unit
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.) | Year: 2012

Diseases of the esophageal epithelium (EE), such as reflux esophagitis and cancer, are rising in incidence. Despite this, the cellular behaviors underlying EE homeostasis and repair remain controversial. Here, we show that in mice, EE is maintained by a single population of cells that divide stochastically to generate proliferating and differentiating daughters with equal probability. In response to challenge with all-trans retinoic acid (atRA), the balance of daughter cell fate is unaltered, but the rate of cell division increases. However, after wounding, cells reversibly switch to producing an excess of proliferating daughters until the wound has closed. Such fate-switching enables a single progenitor population to both maintain and repair tissue without the need for a reserve slow-cycling stem cell pool.

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