ULK1: a promising biomarker in predicting poor prognosis and therapeutic response in human nasopharygeal carcinoma.
ABSTRACT: Plenty of studies have established that dysregulation of autophagy plays an essential role in cancer progression. The autophagy-related proteins have been reported to be closely associated with human cancer patients' prognosis. We explored the expression dynamics and prognostic value of autophagy-related protein ULK1 by immunochemistry (IHC) method in two independent cohorts of nasopharygeal carcinoma (NPC) cases. The X-tile program was applied to determine the optimal cut-off value in the training cohort. This derived cutoff value was then subjected to analysis the association of ULK1 expression with patients' clinical characteristics and survival outcome in the validation cohort and overall cases. High ULK1 expression was closely associated with aggressive clinical feature of NPC patients. Furthermore, high expression of ULK1 was observed more frequently in therapeutic resistant group than that in therapeutic effective group. Our univariate and multivariate analysis also showed that higher ULK1 expression predicted inferior disease-specific survival (DSS) (P<0.05). Consequently, a new clinicopathologic prognostic model with 3 poor prognostic factors (ie, ULK1 expression, overall clinical stage and therapeutic response) could significantly stratify risk (low, intermediate and high) for DSS in NPC patients (P<0.001). These findings provide evidence that, the examination of ULK1 expression by IHC method, could serve as an effective additional tool for predicting therapeutic response and patients' survival outcome in NPC patients.
Project description:We investigated the value of pretreatment serum apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I) in complementing TNM staging in the prognosis of non-metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).We retrospectively reviewed 1196 newly diagnosed patients with non-metastatic NPC. Disease-specific survival (DSS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and locoregional recurrence-free survival (LRFS) rates were compared according to serum ApoA-I level. Multivariate analysis was performed to assess the prognostic value of serum ApoA-I.The 5-year DSS, DMFS, and LRFS rates for patients with elevated or decreased serum ApoA-I were 81.3% versus 69.3% (P < 0.001), 83.4% versus 67.4% (P < 0.001), and 80.9% versus 67.3% (P < 0.001), respectively. ApoA-I ? 1.025 g/L was an independent prognostic factor for superior DSS, DMFS, and LRFS in multivariate analysis. After stratification by clinical stage, serum ApoA-I remained a clinically and statistically significant predictor of prognosis.Our data suggest that the level of ApoA-I at diagnosis is a novel independent prognostic marker that could complement clinical staging for risk definition in non-metastatic NPC.
Project description:Autophagy-related (ATG) genes contributed to tumorigenesis and cancer progression. This study aims to investigate the expression of ATG proteins and their clinicopathological significance in gastric cancer. Nine well-known ATG proteins, (ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG3, ATG5, ATG7, ATG9, ATG10, ATG12 and LC3B) and p62/SQSTM1, which represented key regulators that participated in whole autophagosomes stepwise processes, were detected in a large cohort of 352 primary gastric cancer patients. Among these 352 patients, 117 cases were randomly assigned to the training set to detect the clinicopathological value of ATG proteins, and another 235 patients were used as the testing set for further validation. Except for Beclin 1, ATG9 and ATG10, another six ATG proteins and p62/SQSTM1 were closely correlated with histological types for gastric cancer. Moreover, low expression of ULK1, Beclin 1 and ATG10 were associated with lymph node metastasis. In addition, down-regulation of ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG7 and ATG10, up-regulation of ATG12 correlated with advanced TNM stage. Importantly, multivariate cox analysis identified ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG3 and ATG10 as favorable independent prognostic factors for overall survival. Combination analysis of ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG3, ATG10 revealed the improved prognostic accuracy for gastric cancer. Our study showed that ATG proteins might serve as novel prognostic biomarkers in gastric cancer, and supply a new valuable insight into cancer treatment targeting autophagy for patients.
Project description:Background: Glutamate decarboxylase 1 (GAD1) which serves as a rate-limiting enzyme involving in the production of ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA), exists in the GABAergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). Little is known about the relevance of GAD1 to nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Through data mining on a data set derived from a published transcriptome database, this study first identified GAD1 as a differentially upregulated gene in NPC. We aimed to evaluate GAD1 expression and its prognostic effect on patients with early and locoregionally advanced NPC. Methods: We evaluated GAD1 immunohistochemistry and performed an H-score analysis on biopsy specimens from 124 patients with nonmetastasized NPC receiving treatment. GAD1 overexpression was defined as an H score higher than the median value. The findings of such an analysis are correlated with clinicopathological behaviors and survival rates, namely disease-specific survival (DSS), distant-metastasis-free survival (DMeFS), and local recurrence-free survival (LRFS) rates. Results: GAD1 overexpression was significantly associated with an increase in the primary tumor status (p < 0.001) and American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stages III-IV (p = 0.002) and was a univariate predictor of adverse outcomes of DSS (p = 0.002), DMeFS (p < 0.0001), and LRFS (p = 0.001). In the multivariate comparison, in addition to advanced AJCC stages III-IV, GAD1 overexpression remained an independent prognosticator of short DSS (p = 0.004, hazard ratio = 2.234), DMeFS (p < 0.001, hazard ratio = 4.218), and LRFS (p = 0.013, hazard ratio = 2.441) rates. Conclusions: Our data reveal that GAD1 overexpression was correlated with advanced disease status and may thus be a critical prognostic indicator of poor outcomes in NPC and a potential therapeutic target to facilitate the development of effective treatment modalities.
Project description:Purpose:Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a heterogeneous disease. We searched for genes that function in cell adhesion in GSE12452, a published transcriptomic database. We found that POSTN, which encodes periostin (POSTN), was significantly upregulated in NPC tumorigenesis. Herein, we sought to analyze the expression of POSTN and its prognostic significances in patients with NPC. Materials and methods:In this single-institution retrospective study, we determined and analyzed POSTN expression by immunohistochemistry and H-score method, respectively, in 124 patients with NPC. The results indicated that POSTN expression was correlated with the clinicopathologic features, disease-specific survival (DSS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and local recurrence-free survival (LRFS) of NPC. We performed univariate and multivariate analyses to determinate the statistical significance. Results:High POSTN expression was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (p=0.004) and advanced American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage (p=0.006). In univariate analysis, high POSTN expression served as a significant prognostic factor for worse DSS (p=0.0002), DMFS (p=0.0138), and LRFS (p=0.0028). In multivariate Cox regression analyses, which was adjusted for AJCC stages, POSTN expression was independently associated with cancer-related death (HR: 2.311; 95% CI: 1.327-4.027; p=0.003) and local tumor recurrence (HR: 3.187; 95% CI: 1.108-4.408; p=0.024). Conclusion:High POSTN expression is associated with tumor aggressiveness and worse clinical outcomes in NPC, indicating that it may be a potential prognostic biomarker and a therapeutic target.
Project description:BACKGROUND:By data mining from published transcriptomic databases, we identified RAP2A as a significantly upregulated gene in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) tissues. RAP2A, a member of the RAS oncogene family, is involved in the process of GTP binding and GTPase activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of RAP2A and its prognostic impact in patients with early and locoregionally advanced NPC. METHODS:RAP2A immunohistochemistry was performed for 124 NPC patients who were receiving standard treatment and had no initial distal metastasis. We also performed Western blotting to evaluate the endogenous protein expression of RAP2A in NPC cells and non-neoplastic mucosal cells. The result of RAP2A expression was further correlated with clinicopathological variables, disease-specific survival (DSS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMeFS), and local recurrence-free survival (LRFS). RESULTS:High expression of RAP2A was significantly associated with advanced primary tumor status (P = 0.024) and advanced TNM stage (P = 0.006). In univariate analysis, high expression of RAP2A served as a significant prognostic factor for inferior DSS (P < 0.0001), DMeFS (P < 0.0001), and LRFS (P < 0.0001). In multivariate analysis, RAP2A overexpression still independently predicted worse DSS (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.976, P < 0.001), DMeFS (HR = 4.233, P < 0.001), and LRFS (HR = 4.156, P < 0.001). Moreover, Both HONE1 and TW01 NPC cells, but not non-neoplastic DOK cells demonstrated significantly increased RAP2A expression. CONCLUSION:Overexpression of RAP2A is associated with advanced disease status and may therefore be an important prognosticator for poor outcomes in NPC, as well as a potential therapeutic target to aid in developing effective treatment modalities.
Project description:Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignant epithelial tumor with tremendous invasion and metastasis capacities, and it has a high incidence in southeast Asia and southern China. Previous studies identified that far upstream element-binding protein 1 (FBP1), a transcriptional regulator of c-Myc that is one of the most frequently aberrantly expressed oncogenes in various human cancers, including NPC, is an important biomarker for many cancers. Our study aimed to investigate the expression and function of FBP1 in human NPC. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), western blot and immunohistochemical staining (IHC) were performed in NPC cells and biopsies. Furthermore, the effect of FBP1 knockdown on cell proliferation, colony formation, side population tests and tumorigenesis in nude mice were measured by MTT, clonogenicity analysis, flow cytometry and a xenograft model, respectively. The results showed that the mRNA and protein levels of FBP1, which are positively correlated with c-Myc expression, were substantially higher in NPC than that in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. IHC revealed that the patients with high FBP1 expression had a significantly poorer prognosis compared with the patients with low expression (P=0.020). In univariate analysis, high FBP1 and c-Myc expression predicted poorer overall survival (OS) and poorer progression-free survival. Multivariate analysis indicated that high FBP1 and c-Myc expression were independent prognostic markers. Knockdown of FBP1 reduced cell proliferation, clonogenicity and the ratio of side populations, as well as tumorigenesis in nude mice. These data indicate that FBP1 expression, which is closely correlated with c-Myc expression, is an independent prognostic factor and promotes NPC progression. Our results suggest that FBP1 can not only serve as a useful prognostic biomarker for NPC but also as a potential therapeutic target for NPC patients.
Project description:Autophagy is involved in maintaining cellular homeostasis under stress conditions. It also plays an important role in various diseases including cancer. Pulmonary squamous cell carcinomas (pSQCC) at present lack targetable molecular alterations, and demand alternative therapeutic options. We assessed the expression levels of autophagy related proteins LC3B, p62, and HMGB1 in 271 primary resected pSQCC by immunohistochemistry, in correlation with clinical and pathological parameters, as a rationale for a potential autophagy directed therapy. LC3B, p62, and HMGB1 staining showed various patterns. LC3Bhighp62low levels, suggested to indicate intact activated autophagy, were associated with prolonged disease specific survival (DSS) and LC3Bhighp62high levels, indicating activated but late stage impaired autophagy, with shorter DSS (p = 0.024). p62high expression regardless of LC3B, however, showed an even stronger association with shorter DSS (p = 0.015) and was also an independent negative prognostic factor in multivariate analysis (HR = 2.99; 95% CI 1.38?6.52; p = 0.006). HMGB1 expression correlated neither with the expression of LC3B and p62, nor with patients' outcome. Different states of autophagy characterized by distinct p62 and LC3B expression patterns may be linked to patient's prognosis in pSQCC. Our results, however, point also to an autophagy independent role of p62 with an even more pronounced prognostic impact compared to autophagy related p62.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Homeobox (HOX) genes are expressed in adult cells and regulate expression of genes involved in cell proliferation as well as cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions. Dysregulation of HOX gene expression plays important roles in carcinogenesis in a variety of organs. Through data mining on a published transcriptome dataset, this study first identified Homeobox protein Hox-C6 (HOXC6) gene as one of the differentially upregulated genes in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). We aimed to evaluate HOXC6 expression and its prognostic effect in a large cohort of NPC patients. METHODS: We retrospectively examined the HOXC6 expression and Ki-67 index by immunohistochemistry in biopsy specimens from 124 patients with non-metastasized NPC. The results were correlated with the clinicopathological variables including disease-specific survival (DSS), metastasis-free survival (MeFS), and local recurrence-free survival (LRFS). RESULTS: HOXC6 high expression was positively correlated with increased Ki-67 labeling index, and significantly associated with increment of tumor stage (p=0.024), advanced nodal status (p<0.001) and American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage (p=0.002). Its expression also correlated with worse prognosis in terms of DSS (p=0.008), MeFS (p=0.0047) univariately. In multivariate analyses, HOXC6 expression still remained prognostically independent to portend worse DSS (p=0.015, hazard ratio=1.988) and MeFS (p=0.036, hazard ratio=1.899), together with stage III-IV (p=0.024, DSS; p=0.043, MeFS). CONCLUSION: In summary, our results suggest HOXC6 may play a critical role in NPC progression and may serve as a potential prognostic biomarker in NPC patients.
Project description:The present study aimed to retrospectively analyze the survival outcomes and prognostic factors for patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) receiving intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).Clinical data was collected from 691 patients with NPC receiving IMRT from January 2009 to August 2015. A survival analysis was performed and prognostic factors were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method, the Cox proportional hazards regression model, and the log-rank test.The median follow-up time was 62.8 months. Sixty-three patients experienced relapse, 44 cases (70%) of which occurred within 3 years. Six cases (9.5%) remained in remission for over 5 years. Seventy-two patients developed metastasis, 63 cases (87.5%) of which occurred within 3 years and only 1 case occurred after 5 years (1.3%). Five-year disease special survival (DSS), progression free survival, locoregional recurrence free survival, and distant metastasis free survival were 86.5%, 82.5%, 90.7%, and 89.4%, respectively in patients with NPC. Patients with stage III NPC with and without induction chemotherapy had 5-year DSS rates of 95.8% and 89.3%, respectively (P?=?.00). Patients with stage IVa NPC with and without induction chemotherapy had 5-year DSS rates of 73.1% and 68.9%, respectively (P?=?.04). The 5-year DSS rates of patients with stage III with or without concurrent chemotherapy were 92.8% and 85.5%, respectively (P?=?.04). The 5-year DSS rates of patients with stage IV with or without concurrent chemotherapy were 72.7% and 53.0% (P?=?.02).IMRT improves the survival rate of patients with NPC. Recurrence and metastasis mainly occur within 2 to 3 years after radiotherapy. Induction and concurrent chemotherapy improve the 5-year DSS of patients with locally advanced NPC.
Project description:Identification of cancer-associated genes by genomic profiling contributes to the elucidation of tumor development and progression. The methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) gene, located at chromosome 9p21, plays a critical role in tumorigenicity and disease progression in a wide variety of cancers. However, the prognostic impact of MTAP in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) remains obscured. Through data mining from published transcriptomic database, MTAP was first identified as a differentially downregulated gene in NPC. In this study, our aim was to evaluate the expression of MTAP in NPC and to clarify its prognostic significance.MTAP immunohistochemistry was retrospectively performed and analyzed in biopsy specimens from 124 NPC patients who received standard treatment without distant metastasis at initial diagnosis. The immunoexpression status was correlated with the clinicopathological variables, disease-specific survival (DSS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and local recurrence-free survival (LRFS). Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to measure MTAP gene dosage. In some cases, we also performed methylation-specific PCR and pyrosequencing to assess the status of promoter methylation.MTAP deficiency was significantly associated with advanced tumor stages (P?=?0.023) and univariately predictive of adverse outcomes for DSS, DMFS, and LRFS. In the multivariate comparison, MTAP deficiency still remained prognostically independent to portend worse DSS (P?=?0.021, hazard ratio?=?1.870) and DMFS (P?=?0.009, hazard ratio?=?2.154), together with advanced AJCC stages III to IV. Homozygous deletion or promoter methylation of MTAP gene were identified to be significantly associated with MTAP protein deficiency (P?<?0.001).MTAP deficiency was correlated with an aggressive phenotype and independently predictive of worse DSS and DMFS, suggesting its role in disease progression and as an independent prognostic biomarker of NPC, which potentially offers new strategy of targeted treatment for patients lacking MTAP expression.