Publications by authors named "Ann-Kristin Ahlers"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Low expression of CD24 is associated with poor survival in colorectal cancer.

Biochimie 2021 Oct 9. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, HSE University, Moscow, Russia; SRC Bioclinicum, Moscow, Russia. Electronic address:

In this study we analyzed expression of CD24 in a cohort of colorectal cancer patients using immunohistochemistry staining of CD24. We found a significant association between absence or low expression of CD24 (10% of membranous and 55% of cytoplasmic staining) and shortened patient survival. Protein localization played a crucial role in the prognosis: membranous form was the major and prognostic one in primary tumors, while cytoplasmic expression was elevated in liver metastases compared to the primary tumors and contained prognostic information. Then, using The Cancer Genome Atlas Colon Adenocarcinoma (TCGA-COAD) RNA-seq data, we showed that CD24 mRNA level was two-fold decreased in primary colorectal cancers compared to adjacent normal mucosa. Like the protein staining data, ten percent of patients with the lowest mRNA expression levels of CD24 in primary tumors had reduced survival compared to the ones with higher expression. To explain these findings mechanistically, shRNA-mediated CD24 knockdown was performed in HT-29 colorectal cancer cells. It resulted in the increase of cell migration in vitro, no changes in proliferation and apoptosis, and a slight decrease in cell invasion. As increased cell migration is a hallmark of metastasis formation, this finding corroborates the association of a decreased CD24 expression with poor prognosis. Differential gene expression analysis revealed upregulation of genes involved in cell migration in the group of patients with low CD24 expression, including integrin subunit α3 and α3, β3 subunits of laminin 332. Further co-expression analysis identified SPI1, STAT1 and IRF1 transcription factors as putative master-regulators in this group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2021.10.004DOI Listing
October 2021

Opposing prognostic relevance of junction plakoglobin in distinct prostate cancer patient subsets.

Mol Oncol 2021 Jul 17;15(7):1956-1969. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Institute of Anatomy and Experimental Morphology, Center for Experimental Medicine, University Cancer Center Hamburg, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.

Both oncogenic and tumor suppressor functions have been described for junction plakoglobin (JUP), also known as γ-catenin. To clarify the role of JUP in prostate cancer, JUP protein expression was immunohistochemically detected in a tissue microarray containing 11 267 individual prostatectomy specimens. Considering all patients, high JUP expression was associated with adverse tumor stage (P = 0.0002), high Gleason grade (P < 0.0001), and lymph node metastases (P = 0.011). These associations were driven mainly by the subset without TMPRSS2:ERG fusion, in which high JUP expression was an independent predictor of poor prognosis (multivariate analyses, P = 0.0054) and early biochemical recurrence (P = 0.0003). High JUP expression was further linked to strong androgen receptor expression (P < 0.0001), high cell proliferation, and PTEN and FOXP1 deletion (P < 0.0001). In the ERG-negative subset, high JUP expression was additionally linked to MAP3K7 (P = 0.0007) and CHD1 deletion (P = 0.0021). Contrasting the overall prognostic effect of JUP, low JUP expression indicated poor prognosis in the fraction of CHD1-deleted patients (P = 0.039). In this subset, the association of high JUP and high cell proliferation was specifically absent. In conclusion, the controversial biological roles of JUP are reflected by antagonistic prognostic effects in distinct prostate cancer patient subsets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1878-0261.12922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8253102PMC
July 2021

CHD1 loss negatively influences metastasis-free survival in R0-resected prostate cancer patients and promotes spontaneous metastasis in vivo.

Cancer Gene Ther 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Institute of Anatomy and Experimental Morphology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, 20246, Hamburg, Germany.

The outcome of prostate cancer (PCa) patients is highly variable and depends on whether or not distant metastases occur. Multiple chromosomal deletions have been linked to early tumor marker PSA recurrence (biochemical relapse, BCR) after radical prostatectomy (RP), but their potential role for distant metastasis formation is largely unknown. Here, we specifically analyzed whether deletion of the tumor suppressor CHD1 (5q21) influences the post-surgical risk of distant metastasis and whether CHD1 loss directly contributes to metastasis formation in vivo. By considering >6800 patients we found that the CHD1 deletion negatively influences metastasis-free survival in R0 patients (HR: 2.32; 95% CI: 1.61, 3.33; p < 0.001) independent of preoperative PSA, pT stage, pN status, Gleason Score, and BCR. Moreover, CHD1 deletion predicts shortened BCR-free survival in pT2 patients and cancer-specific survival in all patients. In vivo, CHD1 loss increases spontaneous pulmonary metastasis formation in two distinct PCa models coupled with a higher number of multicellular colonies as compared to single-cell metastases. Transcriptome analyses revealed down-regulation of the PCa-specific metastasis suppressor and TGFβ signaling regulator PMEPA1 after CHD1 depletion in both tested PCa models. CHD1 loss increases the risk of postoperative metastasis in R0-resected PCa patients and promotes spontaneous metastasis formation in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41417-020-00288-zDOI Listing
January 2021

Xenograft-derived mRNA/miR and protein interaction networks of systemic dissemination in human prostate cancer.

Eur J Cancer 2020 09 1;137:93-107. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Institute of Anatomy and Experimental Morphology, University Medical Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, Hamburg, Germany.

Background: Distant metastasis formation is the major clinical problem in prostate cancer (PCa) and the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Our aim was to identify novel molecules that functionally contribute to human PCa systemic dissemination based on unbiased approaches.

Methods: We compared mRNA, microRNA (miR) and protein expression levels in established human PCa xenograft tumours with high (PC-3), moderate (VCaP) or weak (DU-145) spontaneous micrometastatic potential. By focussing on those mRNAs, miRs and proteins that were differentially regulated among the xenograft groups and known to interact with each other we constructed dissemination-related mRNA/miR and protein/miR networks. Next, we clinically and functionally validated our findings.

Results: Besides known determinants of PCa progression and/or metastasis, our interaction networks include several novel candidates. We observed a clear role of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathways for PCa dissemination, which was additionally confirmed by an independent human PCa model (ARCAP-E/-M). Two converging nodes, CD46 (decreasing with metastatic potential) and DDX21 (increasing with metastatic potential), were used to test the clinical relevance of the networks. Intriguingly, both network nodes consistently added prognostic information for patients with PCa whereas CD46 loss predicted poor outcome independent of established parameters. Accordingly, depletion of CD46 in weakly metastatic PCa cells induced EMT-like properties in vitro and spontaneous micrometastasis formation in vivo.

Conclusions: The clinical and functional relevance of the dissemination-related interaction networks shown here could be successfully validated by proof-of-principle experiments. Therefore, we suggest a direct pro-metastatic, clinically relevant role for the multiple novel candidates included in this study; these should be further exploited by future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.06.025DOI Listing
September 2020

Modeling Spontaneous Bone Metastasis Formation of Solid Human Tumor Xenografts in Mice.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Feb 7;12(2). Epub 2020 Feb 7.

Institute of Anatomy and Experimental Morphology, University Cancer Center Hamburg, 20251 Hamburg, Germany.

The majority of cancer-related deaths are due to hematogenous metastases, and the bone marrow (BM) represents one of the most frequent metastatic sites. To study BM metastasis formation in vivo, the most efficient approach is based on intracardiac injection of human tumor cells into immunodeficient mice. However, such a procedure circumvents the early steps of the metastatic cascade. Here we describe the development of xenograft mouse models (balb/c and severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)), in which BM metastases are spontaneously derived from subcutaneous (s.c.) primary tumors (PTs). As verified by histology, the described methodology including ex vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) even enabled the detection of micrometastases in the BM. Furthermore, we established sublines from xenograft primary tumors (PTs) and corresponding BM (BM) metastases using LAN-1 neuroblastoma xenografts as a first example. In vitro "metastasis" assays (viability, proliferation, transmigration, invasion, colony formation) partially indicated pro-metastatic features of the LAN-1-BM compared to the LAN-1-PT subline. Unexpectedly, after s.c. re-injection into mice, LAN-1-BM xenografts developed spontaneous BM metastases less frequently than LAN-1-PT xenografts. This study provides a novel methodologic approach for modelling the spontaneous metastatic cascade of human BM metastasis formation in mice. Moreover, our data indicate that putative bone-metastatic features get rapidly lost upon routine cell culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12020385DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7072706PMC
February 2020
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