Gene Summary

Gene:MSX2; msh homeobox 2
Aliases: FPP, MSH, PFM, CRS2, HOX8, PFM1
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the muscle segment homeobox gene family. The encoded protein is a transcriptional repressor whose normal activity may establish a balance between survival and apoptosis of neural crest-derived cells required for proper craniofacial morphogenesis. The encoded protein may also have a role in promoting cell growth under certain conditions and may be an important target for the RAS signaling pathways. Mutations in this gene are associated with parietal foramina 1 and craniosynostosis type 2. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:homeobox protein MSX-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (43)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 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.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Apoptosis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Chromosome 5
  • Transfection
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Papilloma, Inverted
  • Up-Regulation
  • Mesoderm
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase
  • Signal Transduction
  • Promoter Regions
  • beta Catenin
  • DNA Methylation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Epigenetics
  • Homeobox Genes
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Mutation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Cultured Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Twist-Related Protein 1
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Cell Cycle
  • ras Proteins
  • src-Family Kinases
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Cell Differentiation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

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: MSX2 (cancer-related)

Duarte-Medrano G, Lopez-Méndez I, Ramírez-Luna MÁ, et al.
Analysis of circulating blood and tissue biopsy PDX1 and MSX2 gene expression in patients with pancreatic cancer: A case-control experimental study.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(26):e15954 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer (PC) is based on endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). However, EUS is invasive and requires a high level of technical skill. Recently, liquid biopsies have achieved the same sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of numerous pathologies, including cancer. Insulin-promoting factor 1 (PDX1) and Msh-homeobox 2 (MSX2), 2 homeotic genes, have been confirmed to be related to pancreatic oncogenesis.The aim of this study is to establish the diagnostic utility of circulating serum levels of MSX2 and PDX1 expression in patients with PC.A prospective study was conducted from January 2014 to February 2017. Patients with a suspected diagnosis of PC who underwent fine needle aspiration biopsy guided by EUS (EUS-FNA) were included in the study, in addition to non-PC control subjects. Both tissue and blood serum samples were submitted to histopathological analysis and measurement of PDX1 and MSX2 gene expression by means of qRT-PCR.Patients were divided into non-PC, malignant pathology (MP), or benign pathology (BP) groups. Significant differences in both MSX2 [2.05 (1.66-4.60) vs 0.83 (0.49-1.60), P = .006] and PDX1 [2.59 (1.28-10.12) vs 1.02 (0.81-1.17), P = .036] gene expression were found in blood samples of PC compared with non-PC subjects. We also observed a significant increase in MSX2 transcripts in tissue biopsy samples of patients diagnosed with MP compared with those with BP [1.98 (1.44-4.61) and 0.66 (0.45-1.54), respectively, P = .012]. The ROC curves indicate a sensitivity and specificity of 80% for PDX1 and 86% for MSX2.Gene expression of MSX2 in tissue samples obtained by EUS-FNA and serum expression of MSX2 and PDX1 were higher in patients with PC.

Ito T, Yamaguchi T, Wakatsuki T, et al.
The single-base-pair deletion, MSH2 c.2635-3delC affecting intron 15 splicing can be a cause of Lynch syndrome.
Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2019; 49(5):477-480 [PubMed] Related Publications
The proband was a 62-year-old man with ureter cancer. He had a history of metachronous colorectal and gastric cancer. Immunohistochemical staining showed the absence of both MSH2 and MSH6 proteins in the ureter cancer and other available cancer tissue specimens. Genetic testing was conducted to identify the causative genes of hereditary gastrointestinal cancer syndromes including mismatch repair genes. We detected a germline variant, c.2635-3delC, within the splice acceptor site of exon 16, in the MSH2 gene. To investigate whether this variant affected splicing of the gene, RNA sequencing was performed using blood samples. We observed a substantial amount of the transcripts that lacked proper splicing of intron 15 in the indexed case, whereas, a very low amount of such aberrant transcripts was detected in the controls, strongly indicating an association between the variant and splicing defect. These results indicate that MSH2 c.2635-3delC affects normal splicing and might be a cause of Lynch syndrome.

Lim HN, Baek SB, Jung HJ
Bee Venom and Its Peptide Component Melittin Suppress Growth and Migration of Melanoma Cells via Inhibition of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK Pathways.
Molecules. 2019; 24(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and highly chemoresistant. Melittin, an amphiphilic peptide containing 26 amino acid residues, is the major active ingredient from bee venom (BV). Although melittin is known to have several biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anticancer effects, its antimelanoma effect and underlying molecular mechanism have not been fully elucidated. In the current study, we investigated the inhibitory effect and action mechanism of BV and melittin against various melanoma cells including B16F10, A375SM and SK-MEL-28. BV and melittin potently suppressed the growth, clonogenic survival, migration and invasion of melanoma cells. They also reduced the melanin formation in α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH)-stimulated melanoma cells. Furthermore, BV and melittin induced the apoptosis of melanoma cells by enhancing the activities of caspase-3 and -9. In addition, we demonstrated that the antimelanoma effect of BV and melittin is associated with the downregulation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways. We also found that the combination of melittin with the chemotherapeutic agent temozolomide (TMZ) significantly increases the inhibition of growth as well as invasion in melanoma cells compared to melittin or TMZ alone. Taken together, these results suggest that melittin could be potentially applied for the prevention and treatment of malignant melanoma.

Ku KE, Choi N, Oh SH, et al.
Src inhibition induces melanogenesis in human G361 cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2019; 19(4):3061-3070 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Src kinase family (SKF) includes non‑receptor tyrosine kinases that interact with many cellular cytosolic, nuclear and membrane proteins, and is involved in the progression of cellular transformation and oncogenic activity. However, there is little to no evidence on the effect of SKF or its inhibitors on melanogenesis. Therefore, the present study investigated whether C‑terminal Src kinase inhibition can induce melanogenesis and examined the associated signaling pathways and mRNA expression of melanogenic proteins. First, whether stimulators of melanogenesis, such as ultraviolet B and α‑melanocyte‑stimulating hormone, can dephosphorylate Src protein was evaluated, and the results revealed that SU6656 and PP2 inhibited the phosphorylation of Src in G361 cells. Src inhibition by these chemical inhibitors induced melanogenesis in G361 cells and upregulated the mRNA expression levels of melanogenesis‑associated genes encoding microphthalmia‑associated transcription factor, tyrosinase‑related protein 1 (TRP1), TRP2, and tyrosinase. In addition, Src inhibition by small interfering RNA induced melanogenesis and upregulated the mRNA expression levels of melanogenesis‑associated genes. As the p38 mitogen‑activated protein kinase (MAPK) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding (CREB) pathways serve key roles in melanogenesis, the present study further examined whether Src mediates melanogenesis via these pathways. As expected, Src inhibition via SU6656 or PP2 administration induced the phosphorylation of p38 or CREB, as determined by western blotting analysis, and increased the levels of phosphorylated p38 or CREB, as determined by immunofluorescence staining. In addition, the induced pigmentation and melanin content of G361 cells by Src inhibitors was significantly inhibited by p38 or CREB inhibitors. Taken together, these data indicate that Src is associated with melanogenesis, and Src inhibition induces melanogenesis via the MAPK and CREB pathways in G361 cells.

Lee A, Kim JY, Heo J, et al.
The Inhibition of Melanogenesis Via the PKA and ERK Signaling Pathways by
J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018; 28(12):2121-2132 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal melanin synthesis results in several hyperpigmentary disorders such as freckles, melanoderma, age spots, and other related conditions. In this study, we investigated the antimelanogenic effects of an extract from the microalgae

Oh TI, Jung HJ, Lee YM, et al.
Zerumbone, a Tropical Ginger Sesquiterpene of
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(10) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Zerumbone (ZER), an active constituent of the Zingiberaceae family, has been shown to exhibit several biological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-microbial, and anti-cancer; however, it has not been studied for anti-melanogenic properties. In the present study, we demonstrate that ZER and

Park SH, Choi E, Kim S, et al.
Oxidative Stress-Protective and Anti-Melanogenic Effects of Loliolide and Ethanol Extract from Fresh Water Green Algae,
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(9) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Loliolide is a monoterpenoid hydroxylactone found in many algae, including fresh water green algae,

Jonchere V, Marisa L, Greene M, et al.
Identification of Positively and Negatively Selected Driver Gene Mutations Associated With Colorectal Cancer With Microsatellite Instability.
Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018; 6(3):277-300 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background & Aims: Recent studies have shown that cancers arise as a result of the positive selection of driver somatic events in tumor DNA, with negative selection playing only a minor role, if any. However, these investigations were concerned with alterations at nonrepetitive sequences and did not take into account mutations in repetitive sequences that have very high pathophysiological relevance in the tumors showing microsatellite instability (MSI) resulting from mismatch repair deficiency investigated in the present study.
Methods: We performed whole-exome sequencing of 47 MSI colorectal cancers (CRCs) and confirmed results in an independent cohort of 53 MSI CRCs. We used a probabilistic model of mutational events within microsatellites, while adapting pre-existing models to analyze nonrepetitive DNA sequences. Negatively selected coding alterations in MSI CRCs were investigated for their functional and clinical impact in CRC cell lines and in a third cohort of 164 MSI CRC patients.
Results: Both positive and negative selection of somatic mutations in DNA repeats was observed, leading us to identify the expected true driver genes associated with the MSI-driven tumorigenic process. Several coding negatively selected MSI-related mutational events (n = 5) were shown to have deleterious effects on tumor cells. In the tumors in which deleterious MSI mutations were observed despite the negative selection, they were associated with worse survival in MSI CRC patients (hazard ratio, 3; 95% CI, 1.1-7.9;
Conclusions: The present results identify the positive and negative driver somatic mutations acting in MSI-driven tumorigenesis, suggesting that genomic instability in MSI CRC plays a dual role in achieving tumor cell transformation. Exome sequencing data have been deposited in the European genome-phenome archive (accession: EGAS00001002477).

Dixon-Suen SC, Nagle CM, Thrift AP, et al.
Adult height is associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer: a Mendelian randomisation study.
Br J Cancer. 2018; 118(8):1123-1129 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Observational studies suggest greater height is associated with increased ovarian cancer risk, but cannot exclude bias and/or confounding as explanations for this. Mendelian randomisation (MR) can provide evidence which may be less prone to bias.
METHODS: We pooled data from 39 Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium studies (16,395 cases; 23,003 controls). We applied two-stage predictor-substitution MR, using a weighted genetic risk score combining 609 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Study-specific odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between genetically predicted height and risk were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.
RESULTS: Greater genetically predicted height was associated with increased ovarian cancer risk overall (pooled-OR (pOR) = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.01-1.11 per 5 cm increase in height), and separately for invasive (pOR = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.01-1.11) and borderline (pOR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.02-1.29) tumours.
CONCLUSIONS: Women with a genetic propensity to being taller have increased risk of ovarian cancer. This suggests genes influencing height are involved in pathways promoting ovarian carcinogenesis.

Kany S, Woschek M, Kneip N, et al.
Simvastatin exerts anticancer effects in osteosarcoma cell lines via geranylgeranylation and c-Jun activation.
Int J Oncol. 2018; 52(4):1285-1294 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcoma is the leading primary bone cancer in young adults and exhibits high chemoresistance rates. Therefore, characterization of both alternative treatment options and the underlying mechanisms is essential. Simvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, has among its pleiotropic effects anticancer potential. Characterizing this potential and the underlying mechanisms in osteosarcoma is the subject of the present study. Human osteosarcoma cells (SaOS-2 and U2OS) were treated with simvastatin (4-66 µM) for 48 or 72 h. The effects of downstream substrate mevalonate (MA) or substrates for isoprenylation farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) and geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate (GGPP) were evaluated using add-back experiments. Tumour growth using MTT assay, apoptosis, cell cycle and signalling cascades involved in simvastatin-induced manipulation were analysed. The results revealed that simvastatin dose-dependently inhibited cell growth. Simvastatin significantly induced apoptosis, increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, and cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP protein. Simvastatin impaired cell cycle progression as shown by significantly increased percentages of cells in the G0/G1 phase and lower percentages of cells in the S phase. Gene expression levels of cell cycle-regulating genes (TP53, CDKN1A and CDK1) were markedly altered. These effects were not completely abolished by FPP, but were reversed by MA and GGPP. JNK and c-Jun phosphorylation was enhanced after simvastatin treatment, while those were abolished when either MA or GGPP were added. In conclusion, simvastatin acts primarily by reducing prenylation to induce apoptosis and reduce osteosarcoma cell growth. Particularly enhanced activation of c-Jun seems to play a pivotal role in osteosarcoma cell death.

Yue Y, Yuan Y, Li L, et al.
Homeobox protein MSX1 inhibits the growth and metastasis of breast cancer cells and is frequently silenced by promoter methylation.
Int J Mol Med. 2018; 41(5):2986-2996 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deregulation of msh homeobox 1 (MSX1) has been identified to be associated with multiple human malignant neoplasms. However, the association of the expression and biological function of MSX1 with breast tumorigenesis, and the underlying mechanism remain largely unknown. Therefore, the present study examined the expression and promoter methylation of MSX1 in breast tumor cell lines, primary breast tumors and normal breast tissues using semi-quantitative, quantitative and methylation-specific reverse transcription‑polymerase chain reaction. Colony formation assays, flow cytometric analysis, and wound healing and Transwell assays were used to assess various functions of MSX1. Western blot analyses were also conducted to explore the mechanism of MSX1. The results revealed that MSX1 was broadly expressed in normal human tissues, including breast tissues, but was frequently downregulated or silenced in breast cancer cell lines and primary tumors by promoter methylation. Methylation of the MSX1 promoter was observed in 7/9 (77.8%) breast cancer cell lines and 47/99 (47.5%) primary tumors, but not in normal breast tissues or surgical margin tissues, suggesting that tumor-specific methylation of MSX1 occurs in breast cancer. Pharmacological demethylation reduced MSX1 promoter methylation levels and restored the expression of MSX1. The ectopic expression of MSX1, induced by transfection with a lentiviral vector, significantly inhibited the clonogenicity, proliferation, migration and invasion of breast tumor cells by inducing G1/S cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Ectopic MSX1 expression also inhibited the expression of active β-catenin and its downstream targets c-Myc and cyclin D1, and also increased the cleavage of caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. In conclusion, MSX1 exerts tumor-suppressive functions by inducing G1/S cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in breast tumorigenesis. Its methylation may be used as an epigenetic biomarker for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.

Takehara Y, Nagasaka T, Nyuya A, et al.
Accuracy of four mononucleotide-repeat markers for the identification of DNA mismatch-repair deficiency in solid tumors.
J Transl Med. 2018; 16(1):5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: To screen tumors with microsatellite instability (MSI) arising due to DNA mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR), a panel of five quasi-monomorphic mononucleotide-repeat markers amplified in a multiplex PCR (Pentaplex) are commonly used. In spite of its several strengths, the pentaplex assay is not robust at detecting the loss of MSH6-deficiency (dMSH6). In order to overcome this challenge, we designed this study to develop and optimize a panel of four quasi-monomorphic mononucleotide-repeat markers (Tetraplex) for identifying solid tumors with dMMR, especially dMSH6.
METHODS: To improve the sensitivity for tumors with dMMR, we established a quasi-monomorphic variant range (QMVR) of 3-4 bp for the four Tetraplex markers. Thereafter, to confirm the accuracy of this assay, we examined 317 colorectal cancer (CRC) specimens, comprising of 105 dMMR [45 MutL homolog (MLH)1-deficient, 45 MutS protein homolog (MSH)2-deficient, and 15 MSH6-deficient tumors] and 212 MMR-proficient (pMMR) tumors as a test set. In addition, we analyzed a cohort of 138 endometrial cancers (EC) by immunohistochemistry to determine MMR protein expression and validation of our new MSI assay.
RESULTS: Using the criteria of ≥ 1 unstable markers as MSI-positive tumor, our assay resulted in a sensitivity of 97.1% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 91.9-99.0%] for dMMR, and a specificity of 95.3% (95% CI = 91.5-97.4%) for pMMR CRC specimens. Among the 138 EC specimens, 41 were dMMR according to immunohistochemistry. Herein, our Tetraplex assay detected dMMR tumors with a sensitivity of 92.7% (95% CI = 80.6-97.5%) and a specificity of 97.9% (95% CI = 92.8-99.4%) for pMMR tumors. With respect to tumors with dMSH6, in the CRC-validation set, Tetraplex detected dMSH6 tumors with a sensitivity of 86.7% (13 of 15 dMSH6 CRCs), which was subsequently validated in the EC test set as well (sensitivity, 75.0%; 6 of 8 dMSH6 ECs).
CONCLUSIONS: Our newly optimized Tetraplex system will help offer a robust and highly sensitive assay for the identification of dMMR in solid tumors.

Faião-Flores F, Smalley KSM
Get with the Program! Stemness and Reprogramming in Melanoma Metastasis.
J Invest Dermatol. 2018; 138(1):10-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer cells are highly plastic and adopt multiple phenotypic states that contribute to tumor progression. Heppt et al. demonstrate that the homeodomain transcription factor Msh homeobox 1 reprograms melanoma cells to a precursor state associated with melanoma progression and increased liver metastasis. Identification of this new role for Msh homeobox 1 may facilitate the development of new therapies that limit melanoma dissemination.

Yu R, Longo J, van Leeuwen JE, et al.
Statin-Induced Cancer Cell Death Can Be Mechanistically Uncoupled from Prenylation of RAS Family Proteins.
Cancer Res. 2018; 78(5):1347-1357 [PubMed] Related Publications
The statin family of drugs preferentially triggers tumor cell apoptosis by depleting mevalonate pathway metabolites farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP), which are used for protein prenylation, including the oncoproteins of the RAS superfamily. However, accumulating data indicate that activation of the RAS superfamily are poor biomarkers of statin sensitivity, and the mechanism of statin-induced tumor-specific apoptosis remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that cancer cell death triggered by statins can be uncoupled from prenylation of the RAS superfamily of oncoproteins. Ectopic expression of different members of the RAS superfamily did not uniformly sensitize cells to fluvastatin, indicating that increased cellular demand for protein prenylation cannot explain increased statin sensitivity. Although ectopic expression of HRAS increased statin sensitivity, expression of myristoylated HRAS did not rescue this effect. HRAS-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through activation of zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) sensitized tumor cells to the antiproliferative activity of statins, and induction of EMT by ZEB1 was sufficient to phenocopy the increase in fluvastatin sensitivity; knocking out ZEB1 reversed this effect. Publicly available gene expression and statin sensitivity data indicated that enrichment of EMT features was associated with increased sensitivity to statins in a large panel of cancer cell lines across multiple cancer types. These results indicate that the anticancer effect of statins is independent from prenylation of RAS family proteins and is associated with a cancer cell EMT phenotype.

Zhang C, Lin KS, Bénard F
Molecular Imaging and Radionuclide Therapy of Melanoma Targeting the Melanocortin 1 Receptor.
Mol Imaging. 2017 Jan-Dec; 16:1536012117737919 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Melanoma is a deadly disease at late metastatic stage, and early diagnosis and accurate staging remain the key aspects for managing melanoma. The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1 R) is overexpressed in primary and metastatic melanomas, and its endogenous ligand, the α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (αMSH), has been extensively studied for the development of MC1 R-targeted molecular imaging and therapy of melanoma. Natural αMSH is not well suited for this purpose due to low stability in vivo. Unnatural amino acid substitutions substantially stabilized the peptide, while cyclization via lactam bridge and metal coordination further improved binding affinity and stability. In this study, we summarized the development and the in vitro and in vivo characteristics of the radiolabeled αMSH analogues, including

Flori E, Rosati E, Cardinali G, et al.
The α-melanocyte stimulating hormone/peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ pathway down-regulates proliferation in melanoma cell lines.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2017; 36(1):142 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The α-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (αMSH)/Melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) interaction promotes melanogenesis through the cAMP/PKA pathway. The direct induction of this pathway by Forskolin (FSK) is also known to enhance melanocyte proliferation. αMSH acts as a mitogenic agent in melanocytes and its effect on proliferation of melanoma cells is less known. We previously identified the αMSH/Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor (PPARγ) pathway as a new pathway on the B16-F10 mouse melanoma cell line. αMSH induced the translocation of PPARγ into the nucleus as an active transcription factor. This effect was independent of the cAMP/PKA pathway and was mediated by the activation of the PI(4,5)P2/PLC pathway, a pathway which we have described to be triggered by the αMSH-dependent MC1R stimulation. Moreover, in the same study, preliminary experiments showed that mouse melanoma cells responded to αMSH by reducing proliferation and that PPARγ was involved in this effect. Due to its key role in the control of cell proliferation, PPARγ agonists are used in therapeutic models for different forms of cancer, including melanoma. The purpose of this study was: (a) to confirm the different proliferative behavior in response to αMSH in healthy and in melanoma condition; (b) to verify whether the cAMP/PKA pathway and the PLC/PPARγ pathway could exert an antagonistic function in the control of proliferation; (c) to deepen the knowledge of the molecular basis responsible for the down-proliferative response of melanoma cells after exposure to αMSH.
METHODS: We employed B16-F10 cell line, a human melanoma cell line (Mel 13) and two primary cultures of human melanocytes (NHM 1 and NHM 2, respectively), all expressing a wild type MC1R and responding to the αMSH in terms of pigmentation. We evaluated cell proliferation through: a) cell counting, b) cell cycle analysis c) protein expression of proliferation modulators (p27, p21, cyclin D1 and cyclin E).
RESULTS: The αMSH acted as a mitogenic agent in primary cultures of human melanocytes, whereas it determined a slow down of proliferation in melanoma cell lines. FSK, as an inducer of the cAMP/PKA pathway, reproduced the αMSH mediated effect on proliferation in NHMs but it did not mimic the αMSH effect on proliferation in B16-F10 and Mel 13 melanoma cell lines. Meanwhile, 3 M3-FBS (3 M3), as an inducer of PI(4,5)P2/PLC pathway, reproduced the αMSH proliferative effect. Further experiments, treating melanoma cell lines with αMSH in the presence/absence of GW9662, as an inhibitor of PPARγ, confirmed the key role of this transcription factor in decreasing cell proliferation in response to the hormone exposure.
CONCLUSIONS: In both melanoma cell lines, αMSH determined the reduction of proliferation through the PI(4,5)P2/PLC pathway, employing PPARγ as an effector element. These evidence could offer perspectives for new therapeutic approaches for melanoma.

Tangjitgamol S, Kittisiam T, Tanvanich S
Prevalence and prognostic role of mismatch repair gene defect in endometrial cancer patients.
Tumour Biol. 2017; 39(9):1010428317725834 [PubMed] Related Publications
The study was to evaluate the prevalence of mismatch repair gene defect among Thai patients with endometrial cancer and its association with clinico-pathological features and survivals. The formalin fixed paraffin-embedded blocks of EMC tissue from hysterectomy specimens of patients having surgery in our institution between 1 Jan 1995 and 31 December 2016 were assessed for the immunohistochemical expression of 4 mismatch repair proteins (MLH1, PMS, MSH2, MSH 6). Mismatch repair gene defect was determined by a negative expression of at least 1 protein. Among 385 EMC patients included in the study, mean age was 57.3 ± 10.8 years with 62.3% aged ⩽ 60 years. The most frequent mismatch repair gene defect was MSH6 (38.7%), followed by PMS2 (34.3%), MLH1 (33.2%), and MSH2 (16.4%). Overall, 55.1% showed negative expression of at least one protein. We found significantly higher mismatch repair gene defect in patients aged ⩽ 60 years, with early stage disease, and negative lymph node status than the other comparative groups: 59.2% vs 48.3% for age (p = 0.037), 58.2% vs 45.2% (p = 0.027) for stage, and 58.1% vs 44.6% (p = 0.048) for nodal status. The 5-year progression-free survival, overall survival, and endometrial cancer-specific survival of patients with mismatch repair gene defect was higher than those without gene defect. The differences were statistically significant for only progression-free survival and endometrial cancer-specific survival: 87.7% (95% confidence interval = 83.0%-92.4%) vs 81.5% (95% confidence interval = 75.4%-87.6%) (p = 0.049) for progression-free survival and 91.0% (95% confidence interval = 86.9%-95.1%) vs 85.5% (95% confidence interval = 80.0%-91.0%) (p = 0.044) for endometrial cancer-specific survival, respectively. In conclusion, more than half of Thai endometrial cancer patients had mismatch repair gene defect. The patients with mismatch repair gene defect had significantly younger age (⩽ 60 years) and better prognosis in terms of early stage, negative nodal status, and longer survivals.

Pompano RR, Chiang AH, Kastrup CJ, Ismagilov RF
Conceptual and Experimental Tools to Understand Spatial Effects and Transport Phenomena in Nonlinear Biochemical Networks Illustrated with Patchy Switching.
Annu Rev Biochem. 2017; 86:333-356 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many biochemical systems are spatially heterogeneous and exhibit nonlinear behaviors, such as state switching in response to small changes in the local concentration of diffusible molecules. Systems as varied as blood clotting, intracellular calcium signaling, and tissue inflammation are all heavily influenced by the balance of rates of reaction and mass transport phenomena including flow and diffusion. Transport of signaling molecules is also affected by geometry and chemoselective confinement via matrix binding. In this review, we use a phenomenon referred to as patchy switching to illustrate the interplay of nonlinearities, transport phenomena, and spatial effects. Patchy switching describes a change in the state of a network when the local concentration of a diffusible molecule surpasses a critical threshold. Using patchy switching as an example, we describe conceptual tools from nonlinear dynamics and chemical engineering that make testable predictions and provide a unifying description of the myriad possible experimental observations. We describe experimental microfluidic and biochemical tools emerging to test conceptual predictions by controlling transport phenomena and spatial distribution of diffusible signals, and we highlight the unmet need for in vivo tools.

Villarese P, Lours C, Trinquand A, et al.
TCRα rearrangements identify a subgroup of NKL-deregulated adult T-ALLs associated with favorable outcome.
Leukemia. 2018; 32(1):61-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) results from leukemic transformation of T-cell precursors arrested at specific differentiation stages, including an 'early-cortical' thymic maturation arrest characterized by expression of cytoplasmic TCRβ but no surface T-cell receptor (TCR) and frequent ectopic expression of the TLX1/3 NK-like homeotic proteins (NKL). We designed a TCRα VJC PCR to identify clonal TCRα rearrangements in 32% of 127 T-ALLs, including 0/52 immature/TCRγδ lineage cases and 41/75 (55%) TCRαβ lineage cases. Amongst the latter, TCRα rearrangements were not identified in 30/54 (56%) of IMβ/pre-αβ early-cortical T-ALLs, of which the majority (21/30) expressed TLX1/3. We reasoned that the remaining T-ALLs might express other NKL proteins, so compared transcript levels of 46 NKL in T-ALL and normal thymic subpopulations. Ectopic overexpression of 10 NKL genes, of which six are unreported in T-ALL (NKX2-3, BARHL1, BARX2, EMX2, LBX2 and MSX2), was detectable in 17/104 (16%) T-ALLs. Virtually all NKL overexpressing T-ALLs were TCRα unrearranged and ectopic NKL transcript expression strongly repressed Eα activity, suggesting that ectopic NKL expression is the major determinant in early-cortical thymic T-ALL maturation arrest. This immunogenetic T-ALL subtype, defined by TCRβ VDJ but no TCRα VJ rearrangement, is associated with a favorable outcome in GRAALL-treated adult T-ALLs.

Kim K, Leutou AS, Jeong H, et al.
Anti-Pigmentary Effect of (-)-4-Hydroxysattabacin from the Marine-Derived Bacterium Bacillus sp.
Mar Drugs. 2017; 15(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bioactivity-guided isolation of a crude extract from a culture broth of Bacillus sp. has led to the isolation of (-)-4-hydroxysattabacin (1). The inhibitory effect of (-)-4-hydroxysattabacin (1) was investigated on melanogenesis in the murine melanoma cell line, B16F10, and human melanoma cell line, MNT-1, as well as a pigmented 3D-human skin model. (-)-4-Hydroxysattabacin treatment decreased melanin contents in a dose-dependent manner in α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH)-stimulated B16F10 cells. Quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) demonstrated that treatment with (-)-4-hydroxysattabacin down-regulated several melanogenic genes, including tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TRP-1), and tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP-2) while their enzymatic activities were unaffected. The anti-melanogenic effects of (-)-4-hydroxysattabacin were further demonstrated in a pigmented 3D human epidermal skin model, MelanodermTM, and manifested as whitening and regression of melanocyte activation in the tissue.

Dubey AP, Vishwanath S, Nikhil P, et al.
Microsatellite instability in stage II colorectal cancer: An Indian perspective.
Indian J Cancer. 2016 Oct-Dec; 53(4):513-517 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Around 80% of colorectal carcinoma are associated with chromosomal instability (CIN) while rest of 20 % are euploid, possessing defect in mis match repair system (MMR) quintessential for surveillance and correction of errors in introduced into microsatellites.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyse all stage II CRC for MSI who presented at MDTC at Army hospital (research and refrral) new delhi during last 2 years (Jan 14 to Dec 2015).
RESULTS: We found that 22.2% patients out of 45 patients with stageII CRC being MSI-. high. We also noticed all suchcases were associated with loss of expression of PMS2 & MLH1, that was in contrast other studies where loss of MLH1 and MSH@, MSH6 were seen more commonly.
CONCLUSION: MSI occurs in a significant proportion of colorectal cancers in young (<50 years old) patients. Young age at colorectal cancer diagnosis, proximal tumor location, family history of colorectal cancer were independent predictors of MSI status in our patients. In a proportion of these young patients with MSI tumors, loss of expression of proteins by 2 MMR genes PMS2 and hMLH1 has been identified.

Husek P, Pacovsky J, Chmelarova M, et al.
Methylation status as a predictor of intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunotherapy response of high grade non-muscle invasive bladder tumor.
Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2017; 161(2):210-216 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Genetic and epigenetic alterations play an important role in urothelial cancer pathogenesis. Deeper understanding of these processes could help us achieve better diagnosis and management of this life-threatening disease. The aim of this research was to evaluate the methylation status of selected tumor suppressor genes for predicting BCG response in patients with high grade non-muscle-invasive bladder tumor (NMIBC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 82 patients with high grade non-muscle-invasive bladder tumor (stage Ta, T1, CIS) who had undergone BCG instillation therapy. We compared epigenetic methylation status in BCG-responsive and BCG-failure groups. We used the MS-MLPA (Methylation-Specific Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification probe sets ME001 and ME004. The control group was 13 specimens of normal urotel (bladder tissue)).
RESULTS: Newly identified methylations in high grade NMIBC were found in MUS81a, NTRK1 and PCCA. The methylation status of CDKN2B (P=0.00312
CONCLUSION: The results show that the methylation status of selected tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) has the potential for predicting BCG response in patients with NMIBC high grade tumors. Tumor suppressor genes such as CDKN2b, MUS81a, PFM-1, MSH6 and THBS1 are very promising for future research.

Dempke WCM, Fenchel K, Uciechowski P, Dale SP
Second- and third-generation drugs for immuno-oncology treatment-The more the better?
Eur J Cancer. 2017; 74:55-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent success in cancer immunotherapy (anti-CTLA-4, anti-PD1/PD-L1) has confirmed the hypothesis that the immune system can control many cancers across various histologies, in some cases producing durable responses in a way not seen with many small-molecule drugs. However, only less than 25% of all patients do respond to immuno-oncology drugs and several resistance mechanisms have been identified (e.g. T-cell exhaustion, overexpression of caspase-8 and β-catenin, PD-1/PD-L1 gene amplification, MHC-I/II mutations). To improve response rates and to overcome resistance, novel second- and third-generation immuno-oncology drugs are currently evaluated in ongoing phase I/II trials (either alone or in combination) including novel inhibitory compounds (e.g. TIM-3, VISTA, LAG-3, IDO, KIR) and newly developed co-stimulatory antibodies (e.g. CD40, GITR, OX40, CD137, ICOS). It is important to note that co-stimulatory agents strikingly differ in their proposed mechanism of action compared with monoclonal antibodies that accomplish immune activation by blocking negative checkpoint molecules such as CTLA-4 or PD-1/PD-1 or others. Indeed, the prospect of combining agonistic with antagonistic agents is enticing and represents a real immunologic opportunity to 'step on the gas' while 'cutting the brakes', although this strategy as a novel cancer therapy has not been universally endorsed so far. Concerns include the prospect of triggering cytokine-release syndromes, autoimmune reactions and hyper immune stimulation leading to activation-induced cell death or tolerance, however, toxicity has not been a major issue in the clinical trials reported so far. Although initial phase I/II clinical trials of agonistic and novel antagonistic drugs have shown highly promising results in the absence of disabling toxicity, both in single-agent studies and in combination with chemotherapy or other immune system targeting drugs; however, numerous questions remain about dose, schedule, route of administration and formulation as well as identifying the appropriate patient populations. In our view, with such a wealth of potential mechanisms of action and with the ability to fine-tune monoclonal antibody structure and function to suit particular requirements, the second and third wave of immuno-oncology drugs are likely to provide rapid advances with new combinations of novel immunotherapy (especially co-stimulatory antibodies). Here, we will review the mechanisms of action and the clinical data of these new antibodies and discuss the major issues facing this rapidly evolving field.

Naldi A, Larive RM, Czerwinska U, et al.
Reconstruction and signal propagation analysis of the Syk signaling network in breast cancer cells.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2017; 13(3):e1005432 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ability to build in-depth cell signaling networks from vast experimental data is a key objective of computational biology. The spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) protein, a well-characterized key player in immune cell signaling, was surprisingly first shown by our group to exhibit an onco-suppressive function in mammary epithelial cells and corroborated by many other studies, but the molecular mechanisms of this function remain largely unsolved. Based on existing proteomic data, we report here the generation of an interaction-based network of signaling pathways controlled by Syk in breast cancer cells. Pathway enrichment of the Syk targets previously identified by quantitative phospho-proteomics indicated that Syk is engaged in cell adhesion, motility, growth and death. Using the components and interactions of these pathways, we bootstrapped the reconstruction of a comprehensive network covering Syk signaling in breast cancer cells. To generate in silico hypotheses on Syk signaling propagation, we developed a method allowing to rank paths between Syk and its targets. We first annotated the network according to experimental datasets. We then combined shortest path computation with random walk processes to estimate the importance of individual interactions and selected biologically relevant pathways in the network. Molecular and cell biology experiments allowed to distinguish candidate mechanisms that underlie the impact of Syk on the regulation of cortactin and ezrin, both involved in actin-mediated cell adhesion and motility. The Syk network was further completed with the results of our biological validation experiments. The resulting Syk signaling sub-networks can be explored via an online visualization platform.

Slastnikova TA, Rosenkranz AA, Morozova NB, et al.
Preparation, cytotoxicity, and in vivo antitumor efficacy of
Int J Nanomedicine. 2017; 12:395-410 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Modular nanotransporters (MNTs) are a polyfunctional platform designed to achieve receptor-specific delivery of short-range therapeutics into the cell nucleus by receptor-mediated endocytosis, endosome escape, and targeted nuclear transport. This study evaluated the potential utility of the MNT platform in tandem with Auger electron emitting
METHODS: Three MNTs developed to target either melanocortin receptor-1 (MC1R), folate receptor (FR), or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) that are overexpressed on cancer cells were modified with p-SCN-Bn-NOTA and then labeled with
RESULTS: The three NOTA-MNT conjugates were labeled with a specific activity of 2.7 GBq/mg with nearly 100% yield, allowing use without subsequent purification. The cytotoxicity of
CONCLUSION: The specific in vitro cytotoxicity, prolonged tumor retention, and therapeutic efficacy of MC1R-targeted

Mahdian-Shakib A, Dorostkar R, Tat M, et al.
Differential role of microRNAs in prognosis, diagnosis, and therapy of ovarian cancer.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 84:592-600 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ovarian cancer (OC) is the most lethal of malignant gynecological cancers, and has a very poor prognosis, frequently, attributable to late diagnosis and responsiveness to chemotherapy. In spite of the technological and medical approaches over the past four decades, involving the progression of several biological markers (mRNA and proteins biomarkers), the mortality rate of OC remains a challenge due to its late diagnosis, which is expressly ascribed to low specificities and sensitivities. Consequently, there is a crucial need for novel diagnostic and prognostic markers that can advance and initiate more individualized treatment, finally increasing survival of the patients. MiRNAs are non-coding RNAs that control target genes post transcriptionally. They are included in tumorigenesis, apoptosis, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and chemoresistance. Several studies have within the last decade demonstrated that miRNAs are dysregulated in OC and have possibilities as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for OC. Additionally; recent studies have also focused on miRNAs as predictors of chemotherapy sensitivities and their potential as therapeutic targets. In this review, we discuss the current data involving the accumulating evidence of the altered expression of miRNAs in OC, their role in diagnosis, prognosis, and forecast of response to therapy. Given the heterogeneity of this disease, it is likely that advances in long-term survival might be also attained by translating the recent insights of miRNAs participation in OC into new targeted therapies that will have a crucial effect on the management of ovarian cancer.

Jo YS, Oh HR, Kim MS, et al.
Frameshift mutations of OGDH, PPAT and PCCA genes in gastric and colorectal cancers.
Neoplasma. 2016; 63(5):681-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer. However, genetic alterations in metabolism-related genes are largely unknown. The aim of this study was to identify whether somatic mutations in OGDH, PPAT and PCCA genes known to be involved in amino acid or nucleotide metabolism are mutated in gastric cancer (GC) and colorectal cancer (CRC). By public database search, we identified that OGDH, PPAT and PCCA genes harbor mononucleotide repeats that may serve as mutation targets in cancers with microsatellite instability (MSI). We analyzed the repeats for the presence of the mutations in 90 GCs and 141 CRCs using single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) and samples of 10 patients with shifted bands were sequenced. We found frameshift mutations of OGDH (3 cases), PCCA (5 cases) and PPAT (2 cases) in the cancers. These mutations were exclusively detected in MSI-high (MSI-H), and not in MSI-low or MSI-stable (MSI-L/MSS) cancers. We also analyzed 16 CRCs for the presence of intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) and found that one CRC harbored regional ITH for OGDH frameshift mutation showing very rare frequency of OGDH mutation ITH in colorectal cancer tissues. Our data indicate that amino acid/nucleotide metabolism-related genes OGDH, PPAT and PCCA acquire somatic mutations in MSH-H GCs and CRCs and that mutational ITH may occur in at least some of these tumors. Collectively, our results may extend our insight into the involvement of amino acid/nucleotide metabolism in the pathogenesis of cancer for, in particular, MSI-H GCs and CRCs.

Dixon SC, Nagle CM, Thrift AP, et al.
Adult body mass index and risk of ovarian cancer by subtype: a Mendelian randomization study.
Int J Epidemiol. 2016; 45(3):884-95 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Observational studies have reported a positive association between body mass index (BMI) and ovarian cancer risk. However, questions remain as to whether this represents a causal effect, or holds for all histological subtypes. The lack of association observed for serous cancers may, for instance, be due to disease-associated weight loss. Mendelian randomization (MR) uses genetic markers as proxies for risk factors to overcome limitations of observational studies. We used MR to elucidate the relationship between BMI and ovarian cancer, hypothesizing that genetically predicted BMI would be associated with increased risk of non-high grade serous ovarian cancers (non-HGSC) but not HGSC.
METHODS: We pooled data from 39 studies (14 047 cases, 23 003 controls) in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. We constructed a weighted genetic risk score (GRS, partial F-statistic = 172), summing alleles at 87 single nucleotide polymorphisms previously associated with BMI, weighting by their published strength of association with BMI. Applying two-stage predictor-substitution MR, we used logistic regression to estimate study-specific odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between genetically predicted BMI and risk, and pooled these using random-effects meta-analysis.
RESULTS: Higher genetically predicted BMI was associated with increased risk of non-HGSC (pooled OR = 1.29, 95% CI 1.03-1.61 per 5 units BMI) but not HGSC (pooled OR = 1.06, 95% CI 0.88-1.27). Secondary analyses stratified by behaviour/subtype suggested that, consistent with observational data, the association was strongest for low-grade/borderline serous cancers (OR = 1.93, 95% CI 1.33-2.81).
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that higher BMI increases risk of non-HGSC, but not the more common and aggressive HGSC subtype, confirming the observational evidence.

Sahin IH, Lowery MA, Stadler ZK, et al.
Genomic instability in pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a new step towards precision medicine and novel therapeutic approaches.
Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016; 10(8):893-905 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most challenging cancers. Whole genome sequencing studies have been conducted to elucidate the underlying fundamentals underscoring disease behavior. Studies have identified a subgroup of pancreatic cancer patients with distinct molecular and clinical features. Genetic fingerprinting of these tumors is consistent with an unstable genome and defective DNA repair pathways, which creates unique susceptibility to agents inducing DNA damage. BRCA1/2 mutations, both germline and somatic, which lead to impaired DNA repair, are found to be important biomarkers of genomic instability as well as of response to DNA damaging agents. Recent studies have elucidated that PARP inhibitors and platinum agents may be effective to induce tumor regression in solid tumors bearing an unstable genome including pancreatic cancer. In this review we discuss the characteristics of genomic instability in pancreatic cancer along with its clinical implications and the utility of DNA targeting agents particularly PARP inhibitors as a novel treatment approach.

Earp M, Winham SJ, Larson N, et al.
A targeted genetic association study of epithelial ovarian cancer susceptibility.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(7):7381-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genome-wide association studies have identified several common susceptibility alleles for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). To further understand EOC susceptibility, we examined previously ungenotyped candidate variants, including uncommon variants and those residing within known susceptibility loci.
RESULTS: At nine of eleven previously published EOC susceptibility regions (2q31, 3q25, 5p15, 8q21, 8q24, 10p12, 17q12, 17q21.31, and 19p13), novel variants were identified that were more strongly associated with risk than previously reported variants. Beyond known susceptibility regions, no variants were found to be associated with EOC risk at genome-wide statistical significance (p <5x10(-8)), nor were any significant after Bonferroni correction for 17,000 variants (p< 3x10-6).
METHODS: A customized genotyping array was used to assess over 17,000 variants in coding, non-coding, regulatory, and known susceptibility regions in 4,973 EOC cases and 5,640 controls from 13 independent studies. Susceptibility for EOC overall and for select histotypes was evaluated using logistic regression adjusted for age, study site, and population substructure.
CONCLUSION: Given the novel variants identified within the 2q31, 3q25, 5p15, 8q21, 8q24, 10p12, 17q12, 17q21.31, and 19p13 regions, larger follow-up genotyping studies, using imputation where necessary, are needed for fine-mapping and confirmation of low frequency variants that fall below statistical significance.

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