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Danbury, CT, United States

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.


Prislei S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Martinelli E.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Zannoni G.F.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Petrillo M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 7 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

ZEB2 is a key factor in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a program controlling cell migration in embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis. We demonstrated a role of ZEB2 in migration and anchorage-independent cell growth in ovarian cancer, as shown by ZEB2 silencing. We found that the RNA-binding protein HuR bound the 3′UTR of ZEB2 mRNA, acting as a positive regulator of ZEB2 protein expression. In Hey ovarian cell line, HuR silencing decreased ZEB2 and ZEB1 nuclear expression and impaired migration. In hypoglycemic conditions ZEB2 expression decreased, along with ZEB1, vimentin and cytoplasmic HuR, and a reduced cellular migration ability was observed. Analysis of ZEB2 and HuR expression in ovarian cancers revealed that nuclear ZEB2 is localized in tumor leading edge and co-localizes with cytoplasmic HuR. In a series of 143 ovarian cancer patients high expression of ZEB2 mRNA significantly correlated with a poor prognosis in term of both overall survival and progression-free survival. Moreover, at immunohistochemical evaluation, we found that prognostic significance of ZEB2 protein relies on its nuclear expression and co-localization with cytoplasmic HuR. In conclusion our findings indicated that nuclear ZEB2 may enhance progression of EMT transition and acquisition of an aggressive phenotype in ovarian cancer.


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.

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