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Blackburn A.C.,Australian National University | Jerry D.J.,Pioneer Valley Life science Institute | Jerry D.J.,University of Massachusetts Amherst
Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia | Year: 2011

Genetic factors play an important role in determining risk and resistance to increased breast cancer. Recent technological advances have made it possible to analyze hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms in large-scale association studies in humans and have resulted in identification of alleles in over 20 genes that influence breast cancer risk. Despite these advances, the challenge remains in identifying what the functional polymorphisms are that confer the increased risk, and how these genetic variants interact with each other and with environmental factors. In rodents, the incidence of mammary tumors varies among strains, such that they can provide alternate ideas for candidate pathways involved in humans. Mapping studies in animals have unearthed numerous loci for breast cancer susceptibility that have been validated in human populations. In a reciprocal manner, knockin and knockout mice have been used to validate the tumorigenicity of risk alleles found in population studies. Rodent studies also underscore the complexity of interactions among alleles. The fact that genes affecting risk and resistance to mammary tumors in rodents depend greatly upon the carcinogenic challenge emphasizes the importance of gene x environment interactions. The challenge to rodent geneticists now is to capitalize on the ability to control the genetics and environment in rodent models of tumorigenesis to better understand the biology of breast cancer development, to identify those polymorphisms most relevant to human susceptibility and to identify compensatory pathways that can be targeted for improved prevention in women at highest risk of developing breast cancer. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

Nguyen D.,New York University | Nguyen D.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Oketch-Rabah H.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Illa-Bochaca I.,New York University | And 12 more authors.
Cancer Cell | Year: 2011

Tissue microenvironment is an important determinant of carcinogenesis. We demonstrate that ionizing radiation, a known carcinogen, affects cancer frequency and characteristics by acting on the microenvironment. Using a mammary chimera model in which an irradiated host is transplanted with oncogenic Trp53 null epithelium, we show accelerated development of aggressive tumors whose molecular signatures were distinct from tumors arising in nonirradiated hosts. Molecular and genetic approaches show that TGFβ mediated tumor acceleration. Tumor molecular signatures implicated TGFβ, and genetically reducing TGFβ abrogated the effect on latency. Surprisingly, tumors from irradiated hosts were predominantly estrogen receptor negative. This effect was TGFβ independent and linked to mammary stem cell activity. Thus, the irradiated microenvironment affects latency and clinically relevant features of cancer through distinct and unexpected mechanisms. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. Source

Fagan-Solis K.D.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Schneider S.S.,Pioneer Valley Life science Institute | Pentecost B.T.,New York State Department of Health | Bentley B.A.,Baystate Medical Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry | Year: 2013

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that varies in its biology and response to therapy. A foremost threat to patients is tumor invasion and metastasis, with the greatest risk among patients diagnosed with triple-negative and/or basal-like breast cancers. A greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer cell spreading is needed as 90% of cancer-associated deaths result from metastasis. We previously demonstrated that the Tamoxifen-selected, MCF-7 derivative, TMX2-28, lacks expression of estrogen receptor α (ERα) and is highly invasive, yet maintains an epithelial morphology. The present study was designed to further characterize TMX2-28 cells and elucidate their invasion mechanism. We found that TMX2-28 cells do not express human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and progesterone receptor (PR), in addition to lacking ERα, making the cells triple-negative. We then determined that TMX2-28 cells lack expression of active matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, and other genes involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) suggesting that TMX2-28 may not utilize mesenchymal invasion. In contrast, TMX2-28 cells have high expression of Ras Homolog Gene Family Member, A (RhoA), a protein known to play a critical role in amoeboid invasion. Blocking RhoA activity with the RhoA pathway specific inhibitor H-1152, or a RhoA specific siRNA, resulted in inhibition of invasive behavior. Collectively, these results suggest that TMX2-28 breast cancer cells exploit a RhoA-dependent, proteolytic-independent invasion mechanism. Targeting the RhoA pathway in triple-negative, basal-like breast cancers that have a proteolytic-independent invasion mechanism may provide therapeutic strategies for the treatment of patients with increased risk of metastasis. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 1385-1394, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Dunphy K.A.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Schneyer A.L.,Pioneer Valley Life science Institute | Hagen M.J.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Jerry D.J.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Jerry D.J.,Pioneer Valley Life science Institute
Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia | Year: 2011

TGFβ contributes to mammary gland development and has paradoxical roles in breast cancer because it has both tumor suppressor and tumor promoter activity. Another member of the TGFβ superfamily, activin, also has roles in the developing mammary gland, but these functions, and the role of activin in breast cancer, are not well characterized. TGFβ and activin share the same intracellular signaling pathways, but divergence in their signaling pathways are suggested. The purpose of this review is to compare the spatial and temporal expression of TGFβ and activin during mammary gland development, with consideration given to their functions during each developmental period. We also review the contributions of TGFβ and activin to breast cancer resistance and susceptibility. Finally, we consider the systemic contributions of activin in regulating obesity and diabetes; and the impact this regulation has on breast cancer. Elevated levels of activin in serum during pregnancy and its influence on pregnancy associated breast cancer are also considered. We conclude that evidence demonstrates that activin has tumor suppressing potential, without definitive indication of tumor promoting activity in the mammary gland, making it a good target for development of therapeutics. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

Chen X.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Parelkar S.S.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Henchey E.,Pioneer Valley Life science Institute | Schneider S.,Pioneer Valley Life science Institute | Emrick T.,University of Massachusetts Amherst
Bioconjugate Chemistry | Year: 2012

We demonstrate the conjugation of the cancer drug doxorubicin (DOX) to poly(methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine) (polyMPC), linked by hydrazone groups, using (1) a one-pot ATRP/click sequence, and (2) a post-polymerization conjugation strategy. While the one-pot method gave polyMPC-DOX conjugates in a facile single step, post-polymerization conjugation gave higher-molecular-weight polymers with very high DOX loadings. DOX release from the polyMPC backbone was pH-dependent (faster at pH 5.0 than at pH 7.4) owing to the hydrazone linkage. Half-life values of DOX release ranged from 2 to 40 h at pH 5.0. Cell culture experiments showed that highly loaded polyMPC-DOX conjugates exhibited higher intracellular drug accumulation and lower half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values, while a polymer with 30 wt % drug loading showed a maximum tolerated dose in the range of 30-50 mg/kg DOX equivalent weight in healthy mice. © 2012 American Chemical Society. Source

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