UNIMED Medical Institute

Hong Kong, China

UNIMED Medical Institute

Hong Kong, China
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Wang Z.-Y.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | Wang D.-M.,Sun Yat Sen University | Loo T.Y.,Unimed Medical Institute | Cheng Y.,Sun Yat Sen University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology | Year: 2011

Aim of the study: Although herbs have long been alternatively applied for cancer treatment in China, its treatment effects and their potential mechanisms have not been sufficiently investigated. The chinese herb Spatholobus suberectus (SS) is commonly prescribed to cancer patients. In this study, the anti-cancer effect of SS and its molecular mechanisms have been investigated. Materials and methods: The effect of SS on cell proliferation was studied by cell growth assay and flow cytometry on breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and colon cancer cell line HT-29. The role of SS in apoptosis was studied by flow cytometry, DNA fragmentation assay and mitochondrial membrane potential assay. Expression of proteins associated with cell cycle and apoptosis was determined by Western blot analysis. The in vivo effect of SS was tested in nude mouse cancer xenografts. Results: Cell growth assay showed that SS effectively inhibits tumor cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. Flow cytometry analysis showed that SS could arrest the cell cycle at G2/M checkpoint, which is associated with DNA damage and activation of phosphor-Chk1/Chk2. The pro-apoptotic effect of SS was demonstrated by Annexin V-PI staining and mitochondrial membrane potential assay. In vivo experiments show that the efficiency of SS alone group was superior to docetaxel or to docetaxel and SS combined. No obvious body weight loss or blood toxicity was observed in SS tested animals. Conclusions: Our data demonstrates that SS is a potential herb for cancer treatment by inhibiting tumor growth via induction of apoptosis and arrest of the cell cycle at G2/M phase. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Loo W.T.Y.,University of Hong Kong | Jin L.,University of Hong Kong | Cheung M.N.B.,Keenlink Dental Clinic | Wang M.,University of Sichuan | Chow L.W.C.,UNIMED Medical Institute
Journal of Translational Medicine | Year: 2010

Background: DNA methylation of certain genes frequently occurs in neoplastic cells. Although the cause remains unknown, many genes have been identified with such atypical methylation in neoplastic cells. The hypermethylation of E-Cadherin and Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) in chronic inflammation such as chronic periodontitis may demonstrate mild lesion/mutation epigenetic level. This study compares the hypermethylation status of E-Cadherin and COX-2 genes which are often found in breast cancer patients with that in chronic periodontitis.Methods: Total DNA was extracted from the blood samples of 108 systemically healthy non-periodontitis subjects, and the gingival tissues and blood samples of 110 chronic periodontitis patient as well as neoplastic tissues of 106 breast cancer patients. Methylation-specific PCR for E-Cadherin and COX-2 was performed on these samples and the PCR products were analyzed on 2% agarose gel.Results: Hypermethylation of E-Cadherin and COX-2 was observed in 38% and 35% of the breast cancer samples, respectively. In chronic periodontitis patients the detection rate was 25% and 19% respectively, and none was found in the systemically healthy non-periodontitis control subjects. The hypermethylation status was shown to be correlated among the three groups with statistical significance (p < 0.0001). The methylation of CpG islands in E-Cadherin and COX-2 genes in periodontitis patients occurs more frequently in periodontitis patients than in the control subjects, but occurs less frequently than in the breast cancer patients.Conclusions: This set of data shows that the epigenetic change in E-Cadherin and Cyclooxygenase-2 is associated with chronic periodontitis. The epigenetic changes presented in chronic inflammation patients might demonstrate an irreversible destruction in the tissues or organs similar to the effects of cancer. Chronic periodontitis to some extent might be associated with DNA hypermethylation which is related to cancer risk factors. © 2010 Loo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Awada A.,Free University of Colombia | Bozovic-Spasojevic I.,Free University of Colombia | Chow L.,UNIMED Medical Institute
Cancer Treatment Reviews | Year: 2012

Overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) predicts a poor prognosis in metastatic breast cancer. While the introduction of HER2-targeted therapies, such as the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab and the small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib, has significantly improved outcomes in HER2+ breast cancer compared with previously available therapies, use of these targeted therapies is often limited by the development of drug resistance and tolerability issues. These limitations create the need for further development and investigation of new targeted therapies that show potent and selective inhibition of these targets or closely connected molecular pathways. Recently, several agents have demonstrated promising activity in HER2+ metastatic breast cancer, either as monotherapy or in combination therapy, including the tyrosine-kinase inhibitors neratinib (HKI-272) and afatinib (BIBW-2992) and the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies pertuzumab and trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1). Agents that target other molecular pathways, such as the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, mammalian target of rapamycin, PI3-kinases, insulin-like growth factor (IGFR), HSP-90, and other kinases also have potential, in combination with anti-HER2 and/or other systemic therapies, to be active in this subtype of breast cancer. Innovative clinical studies are required in well-characterized patient populations to define the true clinical value of these emerging new approaches. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Chow L.W.-C.,UNIMED Medical Institute | Chow L.W.-C.,Organisation for Oncology and Translational Research OOTR | Xu B.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Gupta S.,Tata Memorial Hospital | And 5 more authors.
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2013

Introduction:Neratinib is a potent irreversible pan-ErbB tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has demonstrated antitumour activity and an acceptable safety profile in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2-positive breast cancer and other solid tumours.Methods:This was a phase I/II, open-label, two-part study. Part 1 was a dose-escalation study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of neratinib plus paclitaxel in patients with solid tumours. Part 2 evaluated the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of the combination at the MTD in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.Results:Eight patients were included in the dose-escalation study; no dose-limiting toxicities were observed, and an MTD of oral neratinib 240 mg once daily plus intravenous paclitaxel 80 mg m-2 on days 1, 8, and 15 of each 28-day cycle was determined. A total of 102 patients with HER2-positive breast cancer were enrolled in part 2. The overall median treatment duration was 47.9 weeks (range: 0.1-147.3 weeks). Common treatment-emergent adverse events (all grades/grade ≥3) included diarrhoea (92%/29%; none grade 4), peripheral sensory neuropathy (51%/3%), neutropenia (50%/20%), alopecia (46%/0%), leukopenia (41%/18%), anaemia (37%/8%), and nausea (34%/1%). Three (3%) patients discontinued treatment due to an adverse event (mouth ulceration, left ventricular ejection fraction reduction, and acute renal failure). Among the 99 evaluable patients in part 2 of the study, the overall response rate (ORR) was 73% (95% confidence interval (CI): 62.9-81.2%), including 7 (7%) patients who achieved a complete response; an additional 9 (9%) patients achieved stable disease for at least 24 weeks. ORR was 71% among patients with 0/1 prior chemotherapy regimen for metastatic disease and no prior lapatinib, and 77% among those with 2/3 prior chemotherapy regimens for metastatic disease with prior lapatinib permitted. Kaplan-Meier median progression-free survival was 57.0 weeks (95% CI: 47.7-81.6 weeks). Pharmacokinetic analyses indicated no interaction between neratinib and paclitaxel.Conclusion:The combination of neratinib and paclitaxel was associated with higher toxicity than that of neratinib as a single agent, but was manageable with antidiarrhoeal agents and dose reductions in general. The combination therapy also demonstrated a high rate of response in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. A phase III trial is ongoing to assess the benefit and risk of this combination in the first-line setting. © 2013 Cancer Research UK. All rights reserved.


Wang Z.-Y.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | Loo T.Y.,Unimed Medical Institute | Shen J.-G.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | Wang N.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | And 5 more authors.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment | Year: 2012

LDH-A, as the critical enzyme accounting for the transformation from pyruvate into lactate, has been demonstrated to be highly expressed in various cancer cells and its silencing has also been approved relating to increased apoptosis in lymphoma cells. In this study, we intend to investigate the correlation between LDH-A and other clinicopathological factors of breast cancer and whether LDH-A silencing could suppress breast cancer growth, and if so the potential mechanisms. 46 breast cancer specimens were collected to study the relation between LDH-A expression and clinicopathological characteristics including menopause, tumor size, node involvement, differentiation, and pathological subtypes classified by ER, PR, and Her-2. shRNAs were designed and applied to silence LDH-A expression in breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. The effects of LDH-A reduction on cancer cells were studied by a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments, including cell growth assay, apoptosis evaluation, oxidative stress detection, transmission electron microscopy observation, and tumor formation assay on nude mice. LDH-A expression was found to correlate significantly with tumor size and to be independent for other clinicopathological factors. LDH-A reduction resulted in an inhibited cancer cell proliferation, elevated intracellular oxidative stress, and induction of mitochondrial pathway apoptosis. Meanwhile, the tumorigenic ability of LDH-A deficient cancer cells was significantly limited in both breast cancer xenografts. The Ki67 positive cancer cells were significantly reduced in LDH-A deficiency tumor samples, while the apoptosis ratio was enhanced. Our results suggested that LDH-A inhibition might offer a promising therapeutic strategy for breast cancer. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Stebbing J.,Imperial College London | Filipovic A.,Imperial College London | Lit L.C.,Imperial College London | Blighe K.,University of Leicester | And 9 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2013

Resistance to endocrine therapy in breast cancer is common. With the aim of discovering new molecular targets for breast cancer therapy, we have recently identified LMTK3 as a regulator of the estrogen receptor-alpha (ERα) and wished to understand its role in endocrine resistance. We find that inhibition of LMTK3 in a xenograft tamoxifen (Tam)-resistant (BT474) breast cancer mouse model results in re-sensitization to Tam as demonstrated by a reduction in tumor volume. A whole genome microarray analysis, using a BT474 cell line, reveals genes significantly modulated (positively or negatively) after LMTK3 silencing, including some that are known to be implicated in Tam resistance, notably c-MYC, HSPB8 and SIAH2. We show that LMTK3 is able to increase the levels of HSPB8 at a transcriptional and translational level thereby protecting MCF7 cells from Tam-induced cell death, by reducing autophagy. Finally, high LMTK3 levels at baseline in tumors are predictive for endocrine resistance; therapy does not lead to alteration in levels, whereas in patient's plasma samples, acquired LMTK3 gene amplification (copy number variation) was associated with relapse while receiving Tam. In aggregate, these data support a role for LMTK3 in both innate (intrinsic) and acquired (adaptive) endocrine resistance in breast cancer. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Chronic periodontitis (CP) is a chronic inflammation associated with elevations of several inflammatory and cardiac markers. Studies implicated CP as one of the etiologies in coronary heart disease (CHD). Cardiotoxicity is a major complication of anticancer drugs, including anthracyclines and 5-fluorouracil (5FU). The most severe cardiac complications are heart failure, arrhythmia and coronary heart disease (CHD). In this study, we compared the level of inflammatory factors and cardiac markers between chronic periodontitis patients and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. 108 blood samples of periodontally healthy subjects were obtained on random from Hong Kong Red Cross, and these represented the controlled population. Forty-four patients diagnosed with chronic periodontitis were recruited from the West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University. They have received scaling and root planning with mean pocket depths of 6.05 mm. Thirty breast cancer patients diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma from UNIMED Medical Institute, Hong Kong gave consent to participate in this study. They received 4 cycles of 500mg/m2 5-fluorouracil, 75 mg/m2 epirubicin and 500mg/m2 cyclophosphamide at a 3-week interval between each cycle. Peripheral venous blood from each group was taken for measurement of blood cells, inflammatory marker (P-selectin, high sensitvity C-reactive protein) and cardiac markers (troponin T; troponin I; N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (Nt-proBNP) and Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). The lymphocyte count was higher (p < 0.05) in periodontitis patients than the other two groups, and more neutrophils (p < 0.05) were seen in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The two test groups demonstrated higher levels (p < 0.01) of inflammatory and cardiac markers than the control group. The elevated cardiac markers found in periodontitis patients suggested that they may carry potential risks in developing cardiac lesions. Troponin T, troponin I, pro-BNP, LDH and high sensitvity C-reactive protein may be used as markers to monitor cardiac lesions in chronic inflammatory patients.


Loo W.T.,UNIMED Medical Institute
Journal of translational medicine | Year: 2012

Periodontitis is a common disease that affects the periodontal tissue supporting the teeth. This disease is attributed to multiple risk factors, including diabetes, cigarette smoking, alcohol, pathogenic microorganisms, genetics and others. Human beta-defensin-1 (hBD-1) is a cationic antimicrobial peptide with cysteine-rich ß-sheets and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. CD14 is a protein involved in the detection of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and has also been associated with periodontitis. This study investigates the single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) region, -1654(V38I), of the human beta-defensin-1 (hBD-1) gene as well as the -159 region of the CD14 gene in subjects with chronic periodontitis. Blood samples from periodontally healthy subjects and periodontitis patients were obtained. DNA was extracted from the blood and was used to perform restriction digest at the polymorphic G1654A site of DEFB1 with the enzyme HincII. The polymorphic site 159TT of CD14 was digested with the enzyme AvaII. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was performed on soluble samples to determine the protein expressions. The control and patient groups expressed 35% and 38% 1654 A/A genotype of DEFB1, respectively. The A allele frequency of the control group was 40%, while the patient blood group was 54%. The mean hBD-1 protein levels of the control and patient samples were 102.83 pg/mL and 252.09 pg/mL, respectively. The genotype distribution of CD14 in healthy subjects was 16% for C/C, 26% for T/T and 58% for C/T. The genotype frequencies of CD14 in periodontitis patients were 10% for C/C, 43% for T/T and 47% for C/T. The CD14 protein expression determined by ELISA showed a mean protein level of the control samples at 76.28ng/mL and the patient blood samples at 179.27ng/mL with a p value of 0.001.Our study demonstrated that patients suffering from chronic periodontitis present more commonly with the 1654A/A genotype on the DEFB1 gene and the 159T/T genotype on the CD14 gene. This study purely investigated the association between periodontitis and one polymorphic site on both DEFB1 and CD14 gene, with the purpose of expanding knowledge for the future development in diagnostic markers or therapeutic interventions to combat this disease.


Periodontal disease is thought to arise from the interaction of various factors, including the susceptibility of the host, the presence of pathogenic organisms, and the absence of beneficial species. The genetic factors may play a significant role in the risk of periodontal diseases. Cytokines initiate, mediate and control immune and inflammatory responses. The aim of this study is to compare genotypes and soluble protein of pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-γ, IL-10, TNF-α and IL-4) in subjects with or free of chronic periodontitis. A total of 1,290 Chinese subjects were recruited to this clinical trial: 850 periodontally healthy controls and 440 periodontal patients. All subjects were free of systemic diseases. Oral examinations were performed, and the following parameters were recorded for each subject: supragingival/subgingival calculus, gingival recession, bleeding on probing (BOP), probing depth (PD), clinical attachment loss (CAL), gingival recession and tooth mobility. The peripheral blood samples were collected for genetic and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analysis. Restriction enzymes were used for digestion of amplified fragments of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-γ, IL-10, TNF-α and IL-4. The protein expressions of patient and control samples for IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-10, and IL-4 measured by ELISA confirmed a statistically significant difference (p < 0.001). The digestion of fragments of various genes showed that the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1α and TNF-α, and the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 demonstrated a correlation with chronic inflammation in patients (X2: p < 0.001). The remaining genes investigated in patients and healthy subjects (IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-γ and IL-10) did not show any significant difference. The cytokine gene polymorphisms may be used as a marker for periodontitis susceptibility, clinical behaviour and severity. This detection offers early diagnosis and induction of prophylaxis to other family members against disease progression.


Chow L.W.C.,Organisation for Oncology and Translational Research | Chow L.W.C.,UNIMED Medical Institute | Chow L.W.C.,University of Hong Kong
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs | Year: 2010

Cancer treatment has revolutionized from a "one size fits all" approach to a more individualized approach with the advancement of medicine and molecular biology. Several predictive and prognostic factors have been studied and applied to clinical practice to assist clinicians in cancer management. In breast cancer therapeutics, the appearance of biomarkers such as expressions of hormone receptor and human epidermal growth factor (HER) receptors has modified treatment strategies from chemotherapy to molecular-targeted therapy including endocrine therapy and anti-HER therapy. With better understanding of the molecular level of tumorigenesis, cancer pathogenesis and metastases, several novel biomarkers such as cyclo-oxygennase-2 enzyme and tyrosine kinases have been discovered and new anti-cancer agents have been introduced into the currently available treatments. The change has also modified pre-operative treatment for locally advanced and early breast cancers. The neo-adjuvant treatment indeed provides an excellent platform for translational research which is a widely used research method in clinical research. The study of gene and protein expressions from tissue and blood samples collected before, during and after neo-adjuvant treatment provides a lot of keys to decipher the signaling pathways and discover novel biomarkers which are essential for development of new drugs and prediction of the clinical outcome of therapy. The addition of gene expression profiling to conventional predictive factors will give more prognostic information to clinicians for better management of the disease. © 2010 Informa UK Ltd.

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