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Marina di Pisa, Italy

Mariotti S.,SantAnna School of Advanced Studies | Barravecchia I.,SantAnna School of Advanced Studies | Vindigni C.,UOC Anatomia Patologica | Pucci A.,UOC Anatomia Patologica | And 12 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2016

The MICAL (Molecules Interacting with CasL) proteins catalyze actin oxidationreduction reactions destabilizing F-actin in cytoskeletal dynamics. Here we show for the first time that MICAL2 mRNA is significantly over-expressed in aggressive, poorly differentiated/undifferentiated, primary human epithelial cancers (gastric and renal). Immunohistochemistry showed MICAL2-positive cells on the cancer invasive front and in metastasizing cancer cells inside emboli, but not at sites of metastasis, suggesting MICAL2 expression was 'on' in a subpopulation of primary cancer cells seemingly detaching from the tissue of origin, enter emboli and travel to distant sites, and was turned 'off' upon homing at metastatic sites. In vitro, MICAL2 knock-down resulted in mesenchymal to epithelial transition, reduction of viability, and loss of motility and invasion properties of human cancer cells. Moreover, expression of MICAL2 cDNA in MICAL2-depleted cells induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Altogether our data indicate that MICAL2 over-expression is associated with cancer progression and metastatic disease. MICAL2 might be an important regulator of epithelial to mesenchymal transition and therefore a promising target for anti-metastatic therapy.

Panebianco F.,University of Pisa | Panebianco F.,University of Pittsburgh | Mazzanti C.,University of Pisa | Tomei S.,Sidra Medical and Research Center | And 6 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2015

Background: Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy. The most sensitive and specific diagnostic tool for thyroid nodule diagnosis is fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy with cytological evaluation. Nevertheless, FNA biopsy is not always decisive leading to "indeterminate" or "suspicious" diagnoses in 10%-30% of cases. BRAF V600E detection is currently used as molecular test to improve the diagnosis of thyroid nodules, yet it lacks sensitivity. The aim of the present study was to identify novel molecular markers/computational models to improve the discrimination between benign and malignant thyroid lesions. Methods: We collected 118 pre-operative thyroid FNA samples. All 118 FNA samples were characterized for the presence of the BRAF V600E mutation (exon15) by pyrosequencing and further assessed for mRNA expression of four genes (KIT, TC1, miR-222, miR-146b) by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Computational models (Bayesian Neural Network Classifier, discriminant analysis) were built, and their ability to discriminate benign and malignant tumors were tested. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed and principal component analysis was used for visualization purposes. Results: In total, 36/70 malignant samples carried the V600E mutation, while all 48 benign samples were wild type for BRAF exon15. The Bayesian neural network (BNN) and discriminant analysis, including the mRNA expression of the four genes (KIT, TC1, miR-222, miR-146b) showed a very strong predictive value (94.12% and 92.16%, respectively) in discriminating malignant from benign patients. The discriminant analysis showed a correct classification of 100% of the samples in the malignant group, and 95% by BNN. KIT and miR-146b showed the highest diagnostic accuracy of the ROC curve, with area under the curve values of 0.973 for KIT and 0.931 for miR-146b. Conclusions: The four genes model proposed in this study proved to be highly discriminative of the malignant status compared with BRAF assessment alone. Its implementation in clinical practice can help in identifying malignant/benign nodules that would otherwise remain suspicious. © 2015 Panebianco et al.

Franceschi S.,University of Pisa | Tomei S.,Sidra Medical and Research Center | Mazzanti C.M.,Pisa Science Foundation | Lessi F.,Pisa Science Foundation | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology | Year: 2015

Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive malignant primary brain tumor. Despite decades of research and the advent of new therapies, patients with glioblastoma continue to have a very poor prognosis. Radiation therapy has a major role as adjuvant treatment for glioblastoma following surgical resection. Many studies have shown that polymorphisms of genes involved in pathways of DNA repair may affect the sensitivity of the cells to treatment. Although the role of these polymorphisms has been investigated in relation to response to radiotherapy, their role as predisposing factors to glioblastoma has not been clarified yet. In the present study, we evaluated the association between polymorphisms in DNA repair genes, namely: XRCC1 rs25487, XRCC3 rs861539 and RAD51 rs1801320, with the susceptibility to develop glioblastoma. Eighty-five glioblastoma patients and 70 matched controls were recruited for this study. Data from the 1000 Genomes Project (98 Tuscans) were also downloaded and used for the association analysis. Subjects carrying RAD51 rs1801320 GC genotype showed an increased risk of glioblastoma (GC vs GG, χ2 = 10.75; OR 3.0087; p = 0.0010). The C allele was also significantly associated to glioblastoma (χ2 = 8.66; OR 2.5674; p = 0.0032). Moreover, RAD51 rs1801320 C allele increased the risk to develop glioblastoma also when combined to XRCC1 rs25487 G allele and XRCC3 rs861539 C allele (χ2 = 6.558; p = 0.0053). © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York

Lessi F.,Pisa Science Foundation | Mazzanti C.M.,Pisa Science Foundation | Tomei S.,Cornell College | Di Cristofano C.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 8 more authors.
Medical Oncology | Year: 2014

Von Hipple-Lindau gene (VHL) inactivation represents the most frequent abnormality in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) expression is regulated by O2 level. In normal O2 conditions, VHL binds HIF-1α and allows HIF-1α proteasomal degradation. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) has been found located in the oxygen-dependent degradation domain at codon 582 (C1772T, rs11549465, Pro582Ser). In hypoxia, VHL/HIF-1α interaction is abolished and HIF-1α activates target genes in the nucleus. This study analyzes the impact of genetic alterations and protein expression of VHL and the C1772T SNP of HIF-1α gene (HIF-1α) on prognosis in early-stage ccRCC (pT1a, pT1b, and pT2). Mutational analysis of the entire VHL sequence and the genotyping of HIF-1α C1772T SNP were performed together with VHL promoter methylation analysis and loss of heterozygosis (LOH) analysis at (3p25) locus. Data obtained were correlated with VHL and HIF-1α protein expression and with tumor-specific survival (TSS). VHL mutations, methylation status, and LOH were detected in 51, 11, and 12 % of cases, respectively. Our results support the association between biallelic alterations and/or VHL silencing with a worse TSS. Moreover, we found a significant association between the HIF-1α C1772C genotype and a worse TSS. The same association was found when testing the presence of HIF-1α protein in the nucleus. Our results highlight the role of VHL/HIF-1α pathway in RCC and support the molecular heterogeneity of early-stage ccRCC. More important, we show the involvement of HIF-1α C1772T SNP in ccRCC progression. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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