Gene Summary

Gene:CTSL; cathepsin L
Aliases: MEP, CATL, CTSL1
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a lysosomal cysteine proteinase that plays a major role in intracellular protein catabolism. Its substrates include collagen and elastin, as well as alpha-1 protease inhibitor, a major controlling element of neutrophil elastase activity. The encoded protein has been implicated in several pathologic processes, including myofibril necrosis in myopathies and in myocardial ischemia, and in the renal tubular response to proteinuria. This protein, which is a member of the peptidase C1 family, is a dimer composed of disulfide-linked heavy and light chains, both produced from a single protein precursor. Multiple alternatively spliced transcript variants have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2012]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:cathepsin L1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (8)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CTSL (cancer-related)

Lim YC, Kim H, Lim SM, Kim JS
Genetic analysis of a novel antioxidant multi-target iron chelator, M30 protecting against chemotherapy-induced alopecia in mice.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):149 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy-induced alopecia has been well documented as a cause of distress to patients undergoing cancer treatment. Almost all traditional chemotherapeutic agents cause severe alopecia. Despite advances in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced alopecia, there is no effective treatment for preventing chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
METHODS: In the present study, we investigated the potential role of a multi-target iron chelator, M30 in protecting against cyclophosphamide-induced alopecia in C57BL/6 mice implanted with an osmotic pump. M30 enhanced hair growth and prevented cyclophosphamide-induced abnormal hair in the mice. Furthermore, we examined the gene expression profiles derived from skin biopsy specimens of normal mice, cyclophosphamide-treated mice, and cyclophosphamide treated mice with M30 supplement.
RESULTS: The top genes namely Tnfrsf19, Ercc2, Lama5, Ctsl, and Per1 were identified by microarray analysis. These genes were found to be involved in the biological processes of hair cycle, hair cycle phase, hair cycle process, hair follicle development, hair follicle maturation, hair follicle morphogenesis, regulation of hair cycle.
CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates that M30 treatment is a promising therapy for cyclophosphamide-induced alopecia and suggests that the top five genes have unique preventive effects in cyclophosphamide-induced transformation.

Ninfali C, Siles L, Darling DS, Postigo A
Regulation of muscle atrophy-related genes by the opposing transcriptional activities of ZEB1/CtBP and FOXO3.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2018; 46(20):10697-10708 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple physiopathological and clinical conditions trigger skeletal muscle atrophy through the induction of a group of proteins (atrogenes) that includes components of the ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosomal systems. Atrogenes are induced by FOXO transcription factors, but their regulation is still not fully understood. Here, we showed that the transcription factor ZEB1, best known for promoting tumor progression, inhibits muscle atrophy and atrogene expression by antagonizing FOXO3-mediated induction of atrogenes. Compared to wild-type counterparts, hindlimb immobilization in Zeb1-deficient mice resulted in enhanced muscle atrophy and higher expression of a number of atrogenes, including Atrogin-1/Fbxo32, MuRF1/Trim63, Ctsl, 4ebp1, Gabarapl1, Psma1 and Nrf2. Likewise, in the C2C12 myogenic cell model, ZEB1 knockdown augmented both myotube diameter reduction and atrogene upregulation in response to nutrient deprivation. Mechanistically, ZEB1 directly represses in vitro and in vivo Fbxo32 and Trim63 promoter transcription in a stage-dependent manner and in a reverse pattern with MYOD1. ZEB1 bound to the Fbxo32 promoter in undifferentiated myoblasts and atrophic myotubes, but not in non-atrophic myotubes, where it is displaced by MYOD1. ZEB1 repressed both promoters through CtBP-mediated inhibition of FOXO3 transcriptional activity. These results set ZEB1 as a new target in therapeutic approaches to clinical conditions causing muscle mass loss.

Yang PJ, Hou MF, Tsai EM, et al.
Breast cancer is associated with methylation and expression of the a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain 33 (ADAM33) gene affected by endocrine‑disrupting chemicals.
Oncol Rep. 2018; 40(5):2766-2777 [PubMed] Related Publications
A disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain 33 (ADAM33) gene is a transmembrane glycoprotein that mediates changes in cell adhesion and plays an important role in cancer progression. Since bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are epigenetically toxic, the purpose of this study was to examine whether BPA and phthalate metabolites, including monoethyl phthalate (MEP), mono‑n‑butyl phthalate (MBP), mono‑isobutyl phthalate (MIBP), mono(2‑ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), mono(2‑ethyl‑5‑hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP), mono(2‑ethyl‑5‑carboxypentyl) phthalate (MECPP), and mono(2‑ethyl‑5‑oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), have an epigenetic impact on ADAM33 and the incidence of breast cancer. CpG islands of breast cancer microarray datasets obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) were used to assess the ADAM33 methylation profile. We designed a case‑control study including 44 cases and 22 age‑matched controls to detect the methylation status of intron 1 in ADAM33 from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in blood, using BSP, nested PCR, and bisulfite sequencing, and measured the in vivo gene expression of ADAM33 and the urinary concentrations of endocrine‑disrupting chemicals (EDCs), using real‑time PCR, high‑performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC‑MS). Only one dataset, GSE32393, reached significance (P=0.016). ADAM33 expression and methylation frequencies at CpG site 3 in intron 1 were higher in the control group. We found a positive association between intron 1 methylation level and ADAM33 expression as well as urinary concentrations of MEHHP, MECPP, MEOHP and Σ4MEHP (the sum of MEHP, MECPP, MEHHP, and MEOHP) in the cases. This study suggests that metabolites of phthalate such as MEHHP, MECPP, MEOHP and Σ4MEHP may increase the intron 1 methylation level to elevate ADAM33 gene expression and have a protective effect on reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Luan H, Mohapatra B, Bielecki TA, et al.
Loss of the Nuclear Pool of Ubiquitin Ligase CHIP/STUB1 in Breast Cancer Unleashes the MZF1-Cathepsin Pro-oncogenic Program.
Cancer Res. 2018; 78(10):2524-2535 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CHIP/STUB1 ubiquitin ligase is a negative co-chaperone for HSP90/HSC70, and its expression is reduced or lost in several cancers, including breast cancer. Using an extensive and well-annotated breast cancer tissue collection, we identified the loss of nuclear but not cytoplasmic CHIP to predict more aggressive tumorigenesis and shorter patient survival, with loss of CHIP in two thirds of ErbB2

Pandey G, Bakhshi S, Thakur B, et al.
Prognostic significance of cathepsin L expression in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2018; 59(9):2175-2187 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overexpression of cathepsin L (CTSL), an endolysosomal cysteine protease, is associated with inferior survival of patients with various human malignancies. We evaluated the expression/activity of CTSL in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMCs) of 103 pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients to assess its prognostic significance in this malignancy. Thirty-five healthy siblings of patients served as controls. Our results revealed significantly higher CTSL activity (p < .0001), protein (p < .05), and mRNA levels (p < .01) in both PBMCs and BMMCs of patients as compared with controls. BMMCs displayed higher activity of CTSL than PBMCs (p < .01). A dramatic reduction in CTSL activity was recorded after chemotherapy in a significant proportion (74%) of patients (p < .0001). By multivariate analysis, CTSL in BMMCs emerged as a strong independent prognostic marker for overall survival (OS) (p = .004). Thus, our results suggest the potential utility of CTSL in predicting the outcome of pediatric AML.

Lu HJ, Yan J, Jin PY, et al.
MicroRNA-152 inhibits tumor cell growth while inducing apoptosis via the transcriptional repression of cathepsin L in gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
Cancer Biomark. 2018; 21(3):711-722 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: MicroRNAs are widely thought to play a regulatory role in gene expression. Although the more unique microRNA expression profiles have been reported in several tumors, there remains a scarcity of knowledge in relation to microRNA expression profiles in GISTs. During this study, through the alteration in the expression of microRNA-152 (miR-152) in gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) cells, we subsequently evaluated its ability to influence the processes associated with cancer, including proliferation, migration, invasion, and apoptosis, as well as the associated mechanisms.
METHODS: The expression of miR-152 and cathepsin L (CTSL) in GIST cell lines (GIST882, GIST430, GIST48 and GIST-T1) and normal gastric mucosal cell line RGM-1 were determined. A series of miR-152 mimics, miR-152 inhibitors, and siRNA against CTSL were introduced to treat GIST-T1 cells with the lowest miR-152 and the highest CTSL were assessed. Cell viability, cell cycle entry, apoptosis, and cell migration/invasion were all evaluated by means of CCK-8 assay, flow cytometry analyses of Annexin V-FITC/PI staining, and transwell assays.
RESULTS: The target prediction program and luciferase reporter gene assay verified CTSL is the target of miR-152. Regarding the biological significance of miR-152, siRNA knockdown and ectopic expression studies revealed that miR-152 mimic or siRNA against CTSL exposure reduced cell viability and migration/invasion, which resulted in more cells arrested at the S stage, and induced apoptosis. MiR-152 inhibitor exposure was observed to have induced effects on CTSL cells as opposed to those induced by that of the miR-152 mimics. In contrast, miR-152 downregulation abrogated the effects induced by siRNA against CTSL treatment.
CONCLUSION: The key findings of this study provided evidence suggesting that miR-152 functions by means of binding to CTSL to induce GIST cell apoptosis and inhibit proliferation, migration, and invasion. The anti-tumor role of miR-152 makes it an attractive therapeutic target for GIST.

Zhao YF, Han ML, Xiong YJ, et al.
A miRNA-200c/cathepsin L feedback loop determines paclitaxel resistance in human lung cancer A549 cells in vitro through regulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2018; 39(6):1034-1047 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cathepsin L (CTSL), a cysteine protease, is closely related to tumor occurrence, development, and metastasis, and possibly regulates cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy. miRNAs, especially the miR-200 family, have been implicated in drug-resistant tumors. In this study we explored the relationship of CTSL, miRNA-200c and drug resistance, and the potential regulatory mechanisms in human lung cancer A549 cells and A549/TAX cells in vitro. A549/TAX cells were paclitaxel-resistant A549 cells overexpressing CTSL and characterized by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We showed that miRNA-200c and CTSL were reciprocally linked in a feedback loop in these cancer cells. Overexpression of miRNA-200c in A549/TAX cells decreased the expression of CTSL, and enhanced their sensitivity to paclitaxel and suppressed EMT, whereas knockdown of miRNA-200c in A549 cells significantly increased the expression of CTSL, and decreased their sensitivity to paclitaxel and induced EMT. Overexpression of CTSL in A549 cells significantly decreased the expression of miRNA-200c, and reduced their sensitivity to paclitaxel and induced EMT, but these effects were reversed by miRNA-200c, whereas knockdown of CTSL in A549/TAX cells attenuated paclitaxel resistance and remarkably inhibited EMT, but the inhibition of miRNA-200c could reverse these effects. Therefore, miRNA-200c may be involved in regulating paclitaxel resistance through CTSL-mediated EMT in A549 cells, and CTSL and miRNA-200c are reciprocally linked in a feedback loop.

Conti DV, Wang K, Sheng X, et al.
Two Novel Susceptibility Loci for Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017; 109(8) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Prostate cancer incidence is 1.6-fold higher in African Americans than in other populations. The risk factors that drive this disparity are unknown and potentially consist of social, environmental, and genetic influences. To investigate the genetic basis of prostate cancer in men of African ancestry, we performed a genome-wide association meta-analysis using two-sided statistical tests in 10 202 case subjects and 10 810 control subjects. We identified novel signals on chromosomes 13q34 and 22q12, with the risk-associated alleles found only in men of African ancestry (13q34: rs75823044, risk allele frequency = 2.2%, odds ratio [OR] = 1.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.37 to 1.76, P = 6.10 × 10-12; 22q12.1: rs78554043, risk allele frequency = 1.5%, OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.39 to 1.89, P = 7.50 × 10-10). At 13q34, the signal is located 5' of the gene IRS2 and 3' of a long noncoding RNA, while at 22q12 the candidate functional allele is a missense variant in the CHEK2 gene. These findings provide further support for the role of ancestry-specific germline variation in contributing to population differences in prostate cancer risk.

Demark-Wahnefried W, Rais-Bahrami S, Desmond RA, et al.
Presurgical weight loss affects tumour traits and circulating biomarkers in men with prostate cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2017; 117(9):1303-1313 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Obesity is associated with aggressive prostate cancer. To explore whether weight loss favourably affects tumour biology and other outcomes, we undertook a presurgical trial among overweight and obese men with prostate cancer.
METHODS: This single-blinded, two-arm randomised controlled trial explored outcomes of a presurgical weight loss intervention (WLI) that promoted ∼1 kg per week loss via caloric restriction and increased physical activity (PA). Forty overweight/obese men with clinically confirmed prostate cancer were randomised to the WLI presurgery or to a control arm; changes in weight, body composition, quality-of-life, circulating biomarkers, gene expression, and immunohistochemical markers in tumour and benign prostatic tissue were evaluated.
RESULTS: The study period averaged 50 days. Mean (s.d.) change scores for the WLI vs control arms were as follows: weight: -4.7 (3.1) kg vs -2.2 (4.4) kg (P=0.0508); caloric intake: -500 (636) vs -159 (600) kcal per day (P=0.0034); PA: +0.9 (3.1) vs +1.7 (4.6) MET-hours per day (NS); vitality: +5.3 (7.l4) vs -1.8 (8.1) (P=0.0491); testosterone: +55.1 (86.0) vs -48.3 (203.7) ng dl
CONCLUSIONS: Intentional weight loss shows mixed effects on circulating biomarkers, tumour gene expression, and proliferative markers. More study is needed before recommending weight loss, in particular rapid weight loss, among men with prostate cancer.

Maag JLV, Fisher OM, Levert-Mignon A, et al.
Novel Aberrations Uncovered in Barrett's Esophagus and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Using Whole Transcriptome Sequencing.
Mol Cancer Res. 2017; 15(11):1558-1569 [PubMed] Related Publications
Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has one of the fastest increases in incidence of any cancer, along with poor five-year survival rates. Barrett's esophagus (BE) is the main risk factor for EAC; however, the mechanisms driving EAC development remain poorly understood. Here, transcriptomic profiling was performed using RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) on premalignant and malignant Barrett's tissues to better understand this disease. Machine-learning and network analysis methods were applied to discover novel driver genes for EAC development. Identified gene expression signatures for the distinction of EAC from BE were validated in separate datasets. An extensive analysis of the noncoding RNA (ncRNA) landscape was performed to determine the involvement of novel transcriptomic elements in Barrett's disease and EAC. Finally, transcriptomic mutational investigation of genes that are recurrently mutated in EAC was performed. Through these approaches, novel driver genes were discovered for EAC, which involved key cell cycle and DNA repair genes, such as BRCA1 and PRKDC. A novel 4-gene signature (CTSL, COL17A1, KLF4, and E2F3) was identified, externally validated, and shown to provide excellent distinction of EAC from BE. Furthermore, expression changes were observed in 685 long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA) and a systematic dysregulation of repeat elements across different stages of Barrett's disease, with wide-ranging downregulation of Alu elements in EAC. Mutational investigation revealed distinct pathways activated between EAC tissues with or without TP53 mutations compared with Barrett's disease. In summary, transcriptome sequencing revealed altered expression of numerous novel elements, processes, and networks in EAC and premalignant BE.

Primon M, Huszthy PC, Motaln H, et al.
Cathepsin L silencing increases As
Exp Cell Res. 2017; 356(1):64-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Low-grade, pilocytic astrocytomas are treated by resection, but additional therapy is necessary for those tumors with anaplastic features. Arsenic trioxide (As

Xiong Y, Ji W, Fei Y, et al.
Cathepsin L is involved in X-ray-induced invasion and migration of human glioma U251 cells.
Cell Signal. 2017; 29:181-191 [PubMed] Related Publications
An important therapeutic method of glioblastoma, the most common primary brain tumor, is radiotherapy. However, several studies reported recently that radiation could also promote the invasion and migration of malignant tumor. Herein, we have identified that a significant increase of migration and invasiveness of human glioma U251 cells undergoing X-ray was observed compared to controls, accompanied by the increase of cathepsin L (CTSL), which is a lysosomal cysteine protease overexpressed and secreted by tumor cells. To verify if there was a relationship between CTSL and the X-ray-induced glioma invasion, a CTSL specific inhibitor Z-FY-CHO or a short hairpin RNA interference was used to pretreat U251 cells. As a result, the cell invasion and migration was impaired via down-regulation of CTSL. Additionally, a marked reduction of the cell-signaling molecules Rho kinase was also detected compared with controls. We also found that CTSL is involved in EMT progress: both in vitro and in clinical specimens. Overall, our findings show that CTSL is an important protein which mediates cell invasion and migration of human glioma U251 cells induced by X-ray, and the inhibition of CTSL expression might diminish the invasion of U251 cells by reducing the activity of RhoA and CDC42 as well as EMT positive markers.

Chesnais V, Arcangeli ML, Delette C, et al.
Architectural and functional heterogeneity of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells in non-del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes.
Blood. 2017; 129(4):484-496 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) are hematopoietic stem cell disorders in which recurrent mutations define clonal hematopoiesis. The origin of the phenotypic diversity of non-del(5q) MDS remains unclear. Here, we investigated the clonal architecture of the CD34

Fei Y, Xiong Y, Zhao Y, et al.
Cathepsin L knockdown enhances curcumin-mediated inhibition of growth, migration, and invasion of glioma cells.
Brain Res. 2016; 1646:580-588 [PubMed] Related Publications
Curcumin can be used to prevent and treat cancer. However, its exact underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Cathepsin L, a lysosomal cysteine protease, is overexpressed in several cancer types. This study aimed to determine the role of cathepsin L in curcumin-mediated inhibition of growth, migration, and invasion of glioma cells. Results revealed that the activity of cathepsin L was enhanced in curcumin-treated glioma cells. Cathepsin L knockdown induced by RNA interference significantly promoted curcumin-induced cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest. The knockdown also inhibited the migration and invasion of glioma cells. Our results suggested that the inhibition of cathepsin L can enhance the sensitivity of glioma cells to curcumin. Therefore, cathepsin L may be a new target to enhance the efficacy of curcumin against cancers.

Soh H, Venkatesan N, Veena MS, et al.
Cystatin E/M Suppresses Tumor Cell Growth through Cytoplasmic Retention of NF-κB.
Mol Cell Biol. 2016; 36(12):1776-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We and others have shown that the cystatin E/M gene is inactivated in primary human tumors, pointing to its role as a tumor suppressor gene. However, the molecular mechanism of tumor suppression is not yet understood. Using plasmid-directed cystatin E/M gene overexpression, a lentivirus-mediated tetracycline-inducible vector system, and human papillomavirus 16 (HPV 16) E6 and E7 gene-immortalized normal human epidermal keratinocytes, we demonstrated intracellular and non-cell-autonomous apoptotic growth inhibition of tumor cell lines and that growth inhibition is associated with cytoplasmic retention of NF-κB. We further demonstrated decreased phosphorylation of IκB kinase (IKKβ) and IκBα in the presence of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), confirming the role of cystatin E/M in the regulation of the NF-κB signaling pathway. Growth suppression of nude mouse xenograft tumors carrying a tetracycline-inducible vector system was observed with the addition of doxycycline in drinking water, confirming that the cystatin E/M gene is a tumor suppressor gene. Finally, immunohistochemical analyses of cervical carcinoma in situ and primary tumors have shown a statistically significant inverse relationship between the expression of cystatin E/M and cathepsin L and a direct relationship between the loss of cystatin E/M expression and nuclear expression of NF-κB. We therefore propose that the cystatin E/M suppressor gene plays an important role in the regulation of NF-κB.

Sudhan DR, Rabaglino MB, Wood CE, Siemann DW
Cathepsin L in tumor angiogenesis and its therapeutic intervention by the small molecule inhibitor KGP94.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2016; 33(5):461-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A significant proportion of breast cancer patients harbor clinically undetectable micrometastases at the time of diagnosis. If left untreated, these micro-metastases may lead to disease relapse and possibly death. Hence, there is significant interest in the development of novel anti-metastatic agents that could also curb the growth of pre-established micrometastases. Like primary tumor, the growth of metastases also is driven by angiogenesis. Although the role of cysteine protease Cathepsin L (CTSL) in metastasis associated tumor cell functions such as migration and invasion is well recognized, its role in tumor angiogenesis remains less explored. The present study examines the contribution of CTSL to breast cancer angiogenesis and evaluates the anti-angiogenic efficacy of CTSL inhibitor KGP94. CTSL semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis on breast tissue panels revealed significant upregulation of CTSL in breast cancer patients which strongly correlated with increased relapse and metastatic incidence and poor overall survival. Preclinically, CTSL ablation using shRNA or KGP94 treatment led to a significant reduction in MDA-MB-231 tumor cell induced angiogenesis in vivo. In-vitro assessments demonstrated a significant decrease in various angiogenic properties such as endothelial cell sprouting, migration, invasion, tube formation and proliferation in the presence of KGP94. Microarray analyses revealed a significant upregulation of cell cycle related genes by CTSL. Western blot analyses further confirmed upregulation of members of the cyclin family by CTSL. Collectively, these data indicate that CTSL is an important contributor to tumor angiogenesis and that the CTSL inhibition may have therapeutic utility in the treatment of breast cancer patients.

Ohno Y, Kitamura H, Takahashi N, et al.
IL-6 down-regulates HLA class II expression and IL-12 production of human dendritic cells to impair activation of antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2016; 65(2):193-204 [PubMed] Related Publications
Immunosuppression in tumor microenvironments critically affects the success of cancer immunotherapy. Here, we focused on the role of interleukin (IL)-6/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3) signaling cascade in immune regulation by human dendritic cells (DCs). IL-6-conditioned monocyte-derived DCs (MoDCs) impaired the presenting ability of cancer-related antigens. Interferon (IFN)-γ production attenuated by CD4(+) T cells co-cultured with IL-6-conditioned MoDCs corresponded with decreased DC IL-12p70 production. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR and CD86 expression was significantly reduced in CD11b(+)CD11c(+) cells obtained from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of healthy donors by IL-6 treatment and was STAT3 dependent. Arginase-1 (ARG1), lysosomal protease, cathepsin L (CTSL), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) were involved in the reduction of surface HLA-DR expression. Gene expressions of ARG1, CTSL, COX2, and IL6 were higher in tumor-infiltrating CD11b(+)CD11c(+) cells compared with PBMCs isolated from colorectal cancer patients. Expression of surface HLA-DR and CD86 on CD11b(+)CD11c(+) cells was down-regulated, and T cell-stimulating ability was attenuated compared with PBMCs, suggesting that an immunosuppressive phenotype might be induced by IL-6, ARG1, CTSL, and COX2 in tumor sites of colorectal cancer patients. There was a relationship between HLA-DR expression levels in tumor tissues and the size of CD4(+) T and CD8(+) T cell compartments. Our findings indicate that IL-6 causes a dysfunction in human DCs that activates cancer antigen-specific Th cells, suggesting that blocking the IL-6/STAT3 signaling pathway might be a promising strategy to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Sudhan DR, Pampo C, Rice L, Siemann DW
Cathepsin L inactivation leads to multimodal inhibition of prostate cancer cell dissemination in a preclinical bone metastasis model.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 138(11):2665-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
It is estimated that approximately 90% of patients with advanced prostate cancer develop bone metastases; an occurrence that results in a substantial reduction in the quality of life and a drastic worsening of prognosis. The development of novel therapeutic strategies that impair the metastatic process and associated skeletal adversities is therefore critical to improving prostate cancer patient survival. Recognition of the importance of Cathepsin L (CTSL) to metastatic dissemination of cancer cells has led to the development of several CTSL inhibition strategies. The present investigation employed intra-cardiac injection of human PC-3ML prostate cancer cells into nude mice to examine tumor cell dissemination in a preclinical bone metastasis model. CTSL knockdown confirmed the validity of targeting this protease and subsequent intervention studies with the small molecule CTSL inhibitor KGP94 resulted in a significant reduction in metastatic tumor burden in the bone and an improvement in overall survival. CTSL inhibition by KGP94 also led to a significant impairment of tumor initiated angiogenesis. Furthermore, KGP94 treatment decreased osteoclast formation and bone resorptive function, thus, perturbing the reciprocal interactions between tumor cells and osteoclasts within the bone microenvironment which typically result in bone loss and aggressive growth of metastases. These functional effects were accompanied by a significant downregulation of NFκB signaling activity and expression of osteoclastogenesis related NFκB target genes. Collectively, these data indicate that the CTSL inhibitor KGP94 has the potential to alleviate metastatic disease progression and associated skeletal morbidities and hence may have utility in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer patients.

Mori J, Tanikawa C, Funauchi Y, et al.
Cystatin C as a p53-inducible apoptotic mediator that regulates cathepsin L activity.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(3):298-306 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In response to various cellular stresses, p53 is activated and inhibits malignant transformation through the transcriptional regulation of its target genes. However, the full picture of the p53 downstream pathway still remains to be elucidated. Here we identified cystatin C, a major inhibitor of cathepsins, as a novel p53 target. In response to DNA damage, activated p53 induced cystatin C expression through p53 binding sequence in the first intron. We showed that cathepsin L activity was decreased in HCT116 p53(+/+) cells after adriamycin treatment, but not in HCT116 p53(-/-) cells. We also found that knockdown of cystatin C reduced adriamycin-induced caspase-3 activation. Cystatin C expression was significantly downregulated in breast cancer cells with p53 mutations, and decreased cystatin C expression was associated with poor prognosis of breast cancer. Our findings revealed an important role of the p53-cystatin C pathway in human carcinogenesis.

Hassan AEA, Abou-Elkhair RAI, Parker WB, et al.
6-Methylpurine derived sugar modified nucleosides: Synthesis and in vivo antitumor activity in D54 tumor expressing M64V-Escherichia coli purine nucleoside phosphorylase.
Eur J Med Chem. 2016; 108:616-622 [PubMed] Related Publications
Impressive antitumor activity has been observed with fludarabine phosphate against tumors that express Escherichia coli purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) due to the liberation of 2-fluoroadenine in the tumor tissue. 6-Methylpurine (MeP) is another cytotoxic adenine analog that does not exhibit selectivity when administered systemically, and could be very useful in a gene therapy approach to cancer treatment involving E. coli PNP. The prototype MeP releasing prodrug 9-(2-deoxy-β-d-ribofuranosyl)-6-methylpurine (1) [MeP-dR] has demonstrated good activity against tumors expressing E. coli PNP, but its antitumor activity is limited due to toxicity resulting from the generation of MeP from gut bacteria. Therefore, we have embarked on a medicinal chemistry program to identify a combination of non-toxic MeP prodrugs and non-human adenosine glycosidic bond cleaving enzymes. The two best MeP-based substrates with M64V-E coli PNP, a mutant which was engineered to tolerate modification at the 5'-position of adenosine and its analogs, were 9-(6-deoxy-α-l-talofuranosyl)-6-methylpurine (3) [methyl(talo)-MeP-R] and 9-(α-l-lyxofuranosyl)6-methylpurine (4) [lyxo-MeP-R]. The detailed synthesis methyl(talo)-MeP-R and lyxo-MeP-R, and the evaluation of their substrate activity with 4 enzymes not normally associated with cancer patients is described. In addition, we have determined the intraperitoneal pharmacokinetic (ip-PK) properties of methyl(talo)-MeP-R and have determined its in vivo bystander activity in mice bearing D54 tumors that express M64V PNP. The observed good in vivo bystander activity of [methyl(talo)-MeP-R/M64V-E coli PNP combination suggests that these agents could be useful for the treatment of cancer.

Wang W, Long L, Wang L, et al.
Knockdown of Cathepsin L promotes radiosensitivity of glioma stem cells both in vivo and in vitro.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 371(2):274-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
The presence of glioma stem cells (GSCs) in tumor is relevant for glioma treatment resistance. This study assessed whether knockdown of Cathepsin L can influence GSC growth, tumor radiosensitivity, and clinical outcome. Protein levels of Cathepsin L and stem cell markers (CD133 and Nestin) were analyzed in samples from 90 gliomas of different WHO grades and 6 normal brain tissues by immunohistochemistry. Two glioma stem cell lines with overexpressed Cathepsin L were stably transfected with Cathepsin L short hairpin RNA expression vectors. The effects of Cathepsin L inhibition on radiosensitivity, self-renewal, stemness, DNA damage, and apoptosis were evaluated. In addition, an intracranial animal model and subcutaneous tumor xenografts in nude mice were used to assess tumor response to Cathepsin L inhibition in vivo. Our results proved that expressions of Cathepsin L and CD133, but not of Nestin, correlated with malignant grades of glioma tissues. GSCs with high Cathepsin L and CD133 co-expression were extraordinarily radioresistant. Cathepsin L inhibition with radiotherapy significantly reduced GSC growth, promoted apoptosis, and improved radiosensitivity. Knockdown of Cathepsin L resulted in a dramatic reduction of CD133 expression, as well as the decreased phosphorylation of DNA repair checkpoint proteins (ATM and DNA-PKcs). Furthermore, combination of Cathepsin L inhibition and radiotherapy potently blocked tumor growth and decreased blood vessel formation in vivo. Taken together, these findings suggest Cathepsin L as a promising therapeutic target for clinical therapy in GBM patients.

Berardi DE, Flumian C, Campodónico PB, et al.
Myoepithelial and luminal breast cancer cells exhibit different responses to all-trans retinoic acid.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2015; 38(4):289-305 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women worldwide. The exact role of luminal epithelial (LEP) and myoephitelial (MEP) cells in breast cancer development is as yet unclear, as also how retinoids may affect their behaviour. Here, we set out to evaluate whether retinoids may differentially regulate cell type-specific processes associated with breast cancer development using the bi-cellular LM38-LP murine mammary adenocarcinoma cell line as a model.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The bi-cellular LM38-LP murine mammary cell line was used as a model throughout all experiments. LEP and MEP subpopulations were separated using inmunobeads, and the expression of genes known to be involved in epithelial to mysenchymal transition (EMT) was assessed by qPCR after all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) treatment. In vitro invasive capacities of LM38-LP cells were evaluated using 3D Matrigel cultures in conjunction with confocal microscopy. Also, in vitro proliferation, senescence and apoptosis characteristics were evaluated in the LEP and MEP subpopulations after ATRA treatment, as well as the effects of ATRA treatment on the clonogenic, adhesive and invasive capacities of these cells. Mammosphere assays were performed to detect stem cell subpopulations. Finally, the orthotopic growth and metastatic abilities of LM38-LP monolayer and mammosphere-derived cells were evaluated in vivo.
RESULTS: We found that ATRA treatment modulates a set of genes related to EMT, resulting in distinct gene expression signatures for the LEP or MEP subpopulations. We found that the MEP subpopulation responds to ATRA by increasing its adhesion to extracellular matrix (ECM) components and by reducing its invasive capacity. We also found that ATRA induces apoptosis in LEP cells, whereas the MEP compartment responded with senescence. In addition, we found that ATRA treatment results in smaller and more organized LM38-LP colonies in Matrigel. Finally, we identified a third subpopulation within the LM38-LP cell line with stem/progenitor cell characteristics, exhibiting a partial resistance to ATRA.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the luminal epithelial (LEP) and myoephitelial (MEP) mammary LM38-P subpopulations respond differently to ATRA, i.e., the LEP subpopulation responds with increased cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and the MEP subpopulation responds with increased senescence and adhesion, thereby decreasing its invasive capacity. Finally, we identified a third subpopulation with stem/progenitor cell characteristics within the LM38-LP mammary adenocarcinoma cell line, which appears to be non-responsive to ATRA.

Merhi A, De Mees C, Abdo R, et al.
Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Regulates the Expression of the Ammonium Permease Gene RHBG in Human Cancer Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(6):e0128683 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ammonium is a metabolic waste product mainly detoxified by the liver. Hepatic dysfunction can lead to cytotoxic accumulation of circulating ammonium and to subsequent encephalopathy. Transmembrane ammonium transport is a widely spread process ensured by the highly conserved proteins of the Mep-Amt-Rh superfamily, including the mammalian Rhesus (Rh) factors. The regulatory mechanisms involved in the control of RH genes expression remain poorly studied. Here we addressed the expression regulation of one of these factors, RHBG. We identify HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells and SW480 colon adenocarcinoma cells as expressing RHBG and show that its expression relies on β-catenin signaling. siRNA-mediated β-catenin knockdown resulted in significant reduction of RHBG mRNA in both cell lines. Pharmaceutical inhibition of the TCF4/β-catenin interaction or knockdown of the transcription factor TCF4 also downregulated RHBG expression. We identify a minimal RHBG regulatory sequence displaying a promoter activity and show that β-catenin and TCF4 bind to this fragment in vivo. We finally characterize the role of potential TCF4 binding sites in RHBG regulation. Taken together, our results indicate RHBG expression as a direct target of β-catenin regulation, a pathway frequently deregulated in many cancers and associated with tumorigenesis.

Tholen M, Wolanski J, Stolze B, et al.
Stress-resistant Translation of Cathepsin L mRNA in Breast Cancer Progression.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(25):15758-69 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The cysteine protease cathepsin L (CTSL) is often thought to act as a tumor promoter by enhancing tumor progression and metastasis. This goes along with increased CTSL activity in various tumor entities; however, the mechanisms leading to high CTSL levels are incompletely understood. With the help of the polyoma middle T oncogene driven breast cancer mouse model expressing a human CTSL genomic transgene, we show that CTSL indeed promotes breast cancer metastasis to the lung. During tumor formation and progression high expression levels of CTSL are maintained by enduring translation of CTSL mRNA. Interestingly, human breast cancer specimens expressed the same pattern of 5' untranslated region (UTR) splice variants as the transgenic mice and the human cancer cell line MDA-MB 321. By polyribosome profiling of tumor tissues and human breast cancer cells, we observe an intrinsic resistance of CTSL to stress-induced shutdown of translation. This ability can be attributed to all 5' UTR variants of CTSL and is not dependent on a previously described internal ribosomal entry site motif. In conclusion, we provide in vivo functional evidence for overexpressed CTSL as a promoter of lung metastasis, whereas high CTSL levels are maintained during tumor progression due to stress-resistant mRNA translation.

You L, Wang Z, Li H, et al.
The role of STAT3 in autophagy.
Autophagy. 2015; 11(5):729-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process in eukaryotes that eliminates harmful components and maintains cellular homeostasis in response to a series of extracellular insults. However, these insults may trigger the downstream signaling of another prominent stress responsive pathway, the STAT3 signaling pathway, which has been implicated in multiple aspects of the autophagic process. Recent reports further indicate that different subcellular localization patterns of STAT3 affect autophagy in various ways. For example, nuclear STAT3 fine-tunes autophagy via the transcriptional regulation of several autophagy-related genes such as BCL2 family members, BECN1, PIK3C3, CTSB, CTSL, PIK3R1, HIF1A, BNIP3, and microRNAs with targets of autophagy modulators. Cytoplasmic STAT3 constitutively inhibits autophagy by sequestering EIF2AK2 as well as by interacting with other autophagy-related signaling molecules such as FOXO1 and FOXO3. Additionally, the mitochondrial translocation of STAT3 suppresses autophagy induced by oxidative stress and may effectively preserve mitochondria from being degraded by mitophagy. Understanding the role of STAT3 signaling in the regulation of autophagy may provide insight into the classic autophagy model and also into cancer therapy, especially for the emerging targeted therapy, because a series of targeted agents execute antitumor activities via blocking STAT3 signaling, which inevitably affects the autophagy pathway. Here, we review several of the representative studies and the current understanding in this particular field.

Ruan J, Zheng H, Fu W, et al.
Increased expression of cathepsin L: a novel independent prognostic marker of worse outcome in hepatocellular carcinoma patients.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e112136 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the expression and role of Cathepsin L (CTSL) in Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue and cell line (MHCC-97H), and to evaluate the clinical and prognostic significance of CTSL protein in patients with HCC.
METHODS: The expression of CTSL was examined in HCC tissue and MHCC-97H cells by Western-blotting, Real-time PCR and immunohistochemical staining. Cell growth curve assay and colony formation assay were used to verify the effect of CTSL on the proliferation and tumor progression ability of MHCC-97H cells. Tumor formation assay in nude mice was used to analyze the effect of CTSL on the tumorigenicity of MHCC-97H cells.
RESULTS: The status of CTSL protein in carcinoma tissues is much higher than that in paracarcinoma tissues. The overall survival of the patients with high CTSL expression was significantly shorter than the low CTSL expression group. high CTSL expression was significantly correlated with advanced clinical staging, histological grade and tumor recurrence. In vitro experiments demonstrated that over-expression of CTSL in MHCC-97H cells promoted cell proliferation and tumor progression ability. Down-regulation of CTSL showed the opposite effects. Over-expression of CTSL increase the tumorigenicity of MHCC-97H cells by in vivo experiments. Moreover, multivariate analysis suggested that CTSL expression might be an independent prognostic indicator for the survival of HCC patients after curative surgery.
CONCLUSIONS: CTSL might involve in the development and progression of HCC as a oncogene, and thereby may be a valuable prognostic marker for HCC patients.

Mariş D, Nica D, Mohan D, et al.
Multidisciplinary management of adult low grade gliomas.
Chirurgia (Bucur). 2014 Sep-Oct; 109(5):590-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adult hemispheric low grade gliomas (LGG) cover a pathologic spectrum which has specific clinical, histological and molecular characteristics. The optimal management of these tumors is still a controversial topic in international literature.
METHODS: We evaluated scientific papers from the literature (Medline and Cochrane Library to date) and we compared the results found there with our experience, trying to create a pattern of treatment of our own.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The advances in microsurgical and neuromonitoring techniques, as well as in neuroimaging, allow for a more aggressive resection of LGG with a significant improvement in overall survival and quality of life. The potential risks of the "wait and see" policy and the neurotoxicity of radiotherapy are challenged by the benefits of careful surgical resection and up-front chemotherapy. The present day treatment strategy, based on recent evidence, should include a maximal surgical resection when possible, with the full preservation of the patients ability, and delayed radiotherapy. The role of temozolomide in the management of LGG and the identification of the therapeutic modality with the best quality of life profile will be determined by ongoing trials. The further characterization of prognostic relevance of molecular markers and data from advanced imaging techniques needs an intensification of research and validation efforts.
ABBREVIATIONS: LGG: low grade gliomas, WHO: World Health Organization, OS: overall survival, PFS: progression-free survival, MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging, MRS: Magnetic resonance spectroscopy, MPFS: malignant progression-free survival, rCBV: Relative Cerebral Blood Volume, QOL: quality of life, FLAIR: Fluid attenuated inversion recovery, MGMT: O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase enzyme, DSC MR imaging: Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast Perfusion MR imaging, 1H-MRS: Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, IDH1: isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 gene, SPECT: Single-photon emission computed tomography, PET: Positron emission tomography, DTI-FT: Diffuse Tensor Imaging-fiber tracking technique, DES: direct electrical stimulation, EEG: Electroencephalography, EcoG: Electrocorticography, MEP: motor evoked potentials, EMG: Electromyography, AED: anti-epileptic drugs, TMZ: Temozolomide, EORTC: European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, NCCTG: North Central Cancer Treatment Group, RTOG: Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, ECOG: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, EOR: extent of resection, Gy: Gray (unit), GyE: gray equivalent, RT: radiation therapy, IMRT: image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy, FSRT: fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy, SRS: proton therapy or stereotactic radiosurgery, LET: high-linear energy transfer beams, RBE: relative biological effectiveness, CTCAE: Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, PCV: procarbazine, lomustine, and vincristine chemotherapy.

Zhang L, Wei L, Shen G, et al.
Cathepsin L is involved in proliferation and invasion of ovarian cancer cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 11(1):468-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cathepsin L (CTSL) is a lysosomal cysteine protease that has been found to be overexpressed in ovarian cancer (OC). The aim of the present study was to investigate the possible involvement of CTSL in the development of OC. In this study, RNA interference with a CTSL small hairpin RNA (CTSL-shRNA), and a plasmid carrying CTSL were used to identify the effects of this enzyme on the regulation of the malignant behavior of OC cells. OV-90 and SKOV3 human ovarian cancer cell lines were selected as cell models in vitro and in vivo. The results showed that downregulation of CTSL significantly inhibits the proliferative and invasive capability of SKOV3 cells, and that upregulation of CTSL in OV-90 cells leads to opposite effects. Compared with parental OC cells, cells in which CTSL was silenced exhibited a reduced capacity to develop into tumors in nude mice, while the growth of tumor xenografts derived from these cells was markedly constrained. In conclusion, the results suggested that CTSL contributes to the proliferation and metastasis of OC, and that CTSL may be a novel molecular target for OC treatment.

Skinner HD, Lee JH, Bhutani MS, et al.
A validated miRNA profile predicts response to therapy in esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Cancer. 2014; 120(23):3635-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In the current study we present a validated miRNA signature to predict pathologic complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant chemoradiation in esophageal adenocarcinoma.
METHODS: Three patient cohorts (discovery, n = 10; model, n = 43; and validation, n = 65) with locally advanced esophageal adenocarcinoma were analyzed. In the discovery cohort 754 miRNAs were examined in pretreatment tumor biopsy specimens using a TaqMan array. Of these, the 44 most significantly altered between tumors with pCR and non-pCR were examined in an additional 43 tumors using a Fluidigm 48.48 array. The 4 miRNAs (mir-505*, mir-99b, mir-451, and mir-145*) significantly predicting pCR in both cohorts were examined in an additional validation cohort (n = 65) using an Illumina array. These 4 miRNAs were used to generate an miRNA expression profile (MEP) score.
RESULTS: The 4 miRNAs profiled are highly significantly associated with pCR in the model cohort (Ptrend  = .008), the validation cohort (Ptrend  = .025), and the combined cohort (Ptrend  = 4.6 × 10(-4) ). The receiver-operator characteristic areas under the curves (AUCs) for the MEP score were 0.78 for the model cohort, 0.71 for the validation cohort, and 0.72 for the combined cohort. When combined with clinical variables, the MEP score AUCs increased to 0.89, 0.77, and 0.81, respectively Estimates from logistic regression based on the MEP were determined and used to generate a probability of pCR plot, which identifies a group of patients with very high (≥80%) and very low (≤10%) probability of pCR.
CONCLUSIONS: The MEP score provides a validated means of predicting pCR to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in esophageal adenocarcinoma that is robust across several analysis platforms.

Huang PC, Li WF, Liao PC, et al.
Risk for estrogen-dependent diseases in relation to phthalate exposure and polymorphisms of CYP17A1 and estrogen receptor genes.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014; 21(24):13964-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Evidence has shown that polymorphisms of various genes known to be involved in estrogen biosynthesis and function are associated with estrogen-dependent diseases (EDDs). These genes include CYP17A1, estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), and 2 (ESR2). Phthalates are considered estrogenic endocrine disruptors, and recent research has suggested that they may act as a risk factor for EDDs. However, extremely few studies have assessed the effects of gene-environment interaction on these diseases. We recruited 44 patients with endometriosis or adenomyosis, 36 patients with leiomyoma, and 69 healthy controls from a medical center in Taiwan between 2005 and 2007. Urine samples were collected and analyzed for seven phthalate metabolites using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Peripheral lymphocytes were used for DNA extraction to determine the genotype of CYP17A1, ESR1, and ESR2. Compared to controls, patients with leiomyoma had significantly higher levels of total urinary mono-ethylhexyl phthalate (ΣMEHP) (52.1 vs. 29.6 μg/g creatinine, p = 0.040), mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) (75.4 vs. 51.3 μg/g creatinine, p = 0.019), and monoethyl phthalate (MEP) (103.7 vs. 59.3 μg/g creatinine, p = 0.031). In contrast, patients with endometriosis or adenomyosis showed a marginally increased level of urinary MEHP only. Subjects who were homozygous for both the ESR1 C allele (rs2234693) and CYP17A1 C allele (rs743572) showed a significantly increased risk for leiomyoma (OR = 19.8; 95 % CI, 1.70; 231.5; p = 0.017) relative to subjects with other genotypes of ESR1 and CYP17A1. These results were obtained after adjusting for age, cigarette smoking, MEHP level, GSTM1 genotype and other covariates. Our results suggested that both CYP17A1 and ESR1 polymorphisms may modulate the effects of phthalate exposure on the development of leiomyoma.

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