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Li H.,University of Minnesota | Li H.,The China Us Henan Hormel Cancer Institute | Liu K.,The China Us Henan Hormel Cancer Institute | Liu K.,Zhengzhou University | And 10 more authors.

Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) represents the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Lack of reliable biomarkers remains a critical issue for early detection of CRC. In this study, we investigated the potential predictive values of circulating prostaglandin (PG) biosynthesis in CRC risk. Methods: Profiles of circulating PG biosynthesis and platelet counts were determined in healthy subjects (n = 16), familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) patients who were classified as regular aspirin users (n = 14) or nonusers (n = 24), and CRC patients with (n = 18) or without FAP history (n = 20). Immunohistochemistry staining was performed on biopsy samples. Results: Analysis of circulating PG biosynthesis unexpectedly revealed that CRC progression is accompanied by a pronounced elevation of circulating thromboxane A2 (TXA2) levels. When a circulating TXA2 level of 1000pg/mL was selected as a practical cutoff point, 95% of CRC patients were successfully identified. Further study suggested that the TXA2 pathway is constitutively activated during colorectal tumorigenesis and required for anchorage-independent growth of colon cancer cells. Conclusions: This study established the importance of the TXA2 pathway in CRC pathophysiology, and laid the groundwork for introducing a TXA2-targeting strategy to CRC prevention, early detection and management. © 2014. Source

Li H.,University of Minnesota | Li H.,The China Us Henan Hormel Cancer Institute | Zhu F.,University of Minnesota | Zhu F.,Huazhong University of Science and Technology | And 13 more authors.

Background: Aspirin intake reduces the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), but the molecular underpinnings remain elusive. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is overexpressed in about 80% of CRC cases, is implicated in the etiology of CRC. Here, we investigated whether aspirin can prevent CRC by normalizing EGFR expression. Methods: Immunohistochemistry staining was performed on paraffin-embedded tissue sections from normal colon mucosa, adenomatous polyps from FAP patients who were classified as regular aspirin users or nonusers. The interplay between cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and EGFR was studied in primary intestinal epithelial cells isolated from ApcMin mice, immortalized normal human colon epithelial cells (HCECs) as well as murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Results: Immunohistochemistry staining results established that EGFR overexpression is an early event in colorectal tumorigenesis, which can be greatly attenuated by regular use of aspirin. Importantly, EGFR and COX-2 were co-overexpressed and co-localized with each other in FAP patients. Further mechanistic studies revealed that COX-2 overexpression triggers the activation of the c-Jun-dependent transcription factor, activator protein-1 (AP-1), which binds to the Egfr promoter. Binding facilitates the cellular accumulation of EGFR and lowers the threshold required for pre-neoplastic cells to undergo transformation. Conclusion: Aspirin might exert its chemopreventive activity against CRC, at least partially, by normalizing EGFR expression in gastrointestinal precancerous lesions. © 2015. Source

Zhang Y.,University of Minnesota | Zhang Y.,Zhengzhou University | Zhang Y.,The China Us Henan Hormel Cancer Institute | Yao K.,University of Minnesota | And 20 more authors.

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is known to play a critical role in non-small cell lung cancer(NSCLC). Several EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors(TKIs), such as gefitinib, have been used as effective clinical therapies for patients with NSCLC. Unfortunately, acquired resistance to gefitinib commonly occurs after 6-12 months of treatment. The resistance is associated with the appearance of the L858R/T790M double mutation of the EGFR. In our present study, we discovered a compound,referred to as 244-MPT, which could suppress either gefitinib-sensitive or -resistant lung cancer cell growth and colony formation, and also suppressed the kinase activity of both wildtype and double mutant (L858R/T790M) EGFR. The underlying mechanism reveals that 244-MPT could interact with either the wildtype or double-mutant EGFR in an ATP-competitive manner and inhibit activity. Treatment with 244-MPT could substantially reduce the phosphorylation of EGFR and its downstream signaling pathways, including Akt and ERK1/2 in gefitinib-sensitive and -resistant cell lines. It was equally effective in suppressing EGFR phosphorylation and downstream signaling in NL20 cells transfected with wildtype, single-mutant (L858R) or mutant (L858R/T790M) EGFR. 244-MPT could also induce apoptosis in a gefitinib-resistant cell line and strongly suppress gefitinib-resistant NSCLC tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model. In addition, 244-MPT could effectively reduce the size of tumors in a gefitinib-resistant NSCLC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) SCID mouse model. Overall, 244-MPT could overcome gefitinib-resistance by directly targeting the EGFR. Source

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