Publications by authors named "Antoni Castells"

301 Publications

Prevalence of adenomatous polyposis in a fecal immunochemical test-based colorectal cancer screening program and risk of advanced neoplasia during follow-up.

Endoscopy 2021 Oct 4. Epub 2021 Oct 4.

Department f Gastroenterology, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain., Barcelona, Spain.

Background And Study Aims: current guidelines recommend genetic counseling and intensive colonoscopy surveillance for patients with ≥10 colorectal adenomas based on scarce data. We investigated the prevalence of this condition in a FIT (fecal immunochemical test)-based colorectal (CRC) screening program and the incidence of metachronous lesions during follow-up.

Patients And Methods: we retrospectively included all FIT-positive participants with ≥10 adenomas at index colonoscopy between 2010 and 2018. Surveillance colonoscopies (SVC) were collected until 2019. Patients with inherited syndromes, serrated polyposis syndrome, total colectomy or lacking surveillance data, were excluded. Cumulative incidence of CRC and advanced neoplasia (AN) were analyzed by Kaplan-Meyer analysis. Risk factors of metachronous AN were investigated by multivariable logistic-regression analysis.

Results: 215/9,582 (2.2%) participants had ≥10 adenomas. Germline genetic testing was performed in 92% of patients with ≥20 adenomas identifying 2 (3.3%) inherited syndromes. 3-year cumulative incidence of CRC and AN was 1%, and 16%, respectively. In 39 (24.2%) patients no polyps were found at first SVC. The presence of advanced adenoma was independently associated with a higher risk of AN at first SVC (OR: 3.91, 95% confident interval : 1.12-13.62; p=0.03). Beyond the first SVC, the risk of metachronous AN was lower.

Conclusions: the prevalence of ≥10 adenomas in a FIT-based CRC screening program is 2.2% and a small proportion of inherited syndromes are detected even amongst those with ≥ 20 adenomas. Low rate of post-colonoscopy CRC is observed and the risk of AN beyond the first SVC tends to progressively decrease throughout successive follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-1660-5353DOI Listing
October 2021

Functional Outcomes and Quality of Life After Transanal Total Mesorectal Excision For Rectal Cancer: A Prospective Observational Study.

Dis Colon Rectum 2021 Mar 30. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Institute of Digestive and Metabolic Diseases, Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, Centro de Investigacion Biomedica en Red en Enfermedades Hepaticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), University of Barcelona, Centro Esther Koplowitz, and Cellex Biomedical Research Centre, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: Few studies have addressed the functional impact after transanal total mesorectal excision.

Objective: To evaluate function and health-related quality of life among patients with rectal cancer treated with transanal total mesorectal excision.

Design: Consecutive patients treated between 2016 and 2018 were selected. Their function and quality of life was studied preoperatively, at 3 and 12 months after surgery.

Setting: Prospective case series.

Patients: Patients were eligible if they had primary anastomosis, the diverting stoma had been reversed, and in the absence of anastomotic leakage. Forty-five patients were finally included. A total of 31 (68.8%) and 32 patients (71.1%) completed the 3- and 12-months surveys, respectively.

Interventions: Standard transanal total mesorectal excision.

Main Outcome Measures: The primary endpoint was functional and quality of life outcomes using validated questionnaires. Secondary endpoints included values obtained with endoanal ultrasounds, anorectal manometries, and rectal sensation testing.

Results: Wexner and Low Anterior Resection Syndrome scores significantly increased 3 months after surgery but returned to baseline values at 12 months. The rate of "major Low Anterior Resection Syndrome" at the end of follow-up was 25.0% (+11.7% compared to baseline, p=0.314). Sexual and urinary functions remained stable throughout the study, although a meaningful clinical improvement was detected in male sexual interest. Among quality of life domains, all deteriorations returned to baseline values 12 months after surgery, except worsening of flatulence symptoms, and improvement in insomnia and constipation. At 12 months, an expected decrease in the mean width of the internal sphincter, the anal resting pressure, and the tenesmus threshold volume was found.

Limitations: Limited sample size, absence of a comparative group, significant missing data in female sexual difficulty, and in ultrasounds and manometries at 3 months.

Conclusions: Patients undergoing transanal total mesorectal excision report acceptable quality of life and functional outcomes 12 months after surgery. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/B541.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/DCR.0000000000001939DOI Listing
March 2021

Factors Associated With Advanced Colorectal Neoplasia in Patients With CKD.

Am J Kidney Dis 2021 Aug 28. Epub 2021 Aug 28.

College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

Rationale & Objective: The risk of developing colorectal cancer in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is twice that of the general population, but the factors associated with colorectal cancer are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with advanced colorectal neoplasia in patients with CKD.

Study Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting & Participants: Patients with CKD stages 3-5, including those treated with maintenance dialysis or transplantation across 11 sites in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Spain, were screened for colorectal neoplasia using a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) as part of the Detecting Bowel Cancer in CKD (DETECT) Study.

Exposure: Baseline characteristics for patients at the time of study enrollment were ascertained, including duration of CKD, comorbidities, and medications.

Outcome: Advanced colorectal neoplasia was identified through a 2-step verification process with colonoscopy following positive FIT and 2-year clinical follow-up for all patients.

Analytical Approach: Potential factors associated with advanced colorectal neoplasia were explored using multivariable logistic regression. Sensitivity analyses were performed using grouped LASSO (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator) logistic regression.

Results: Among 1,706 patients who received FIT-based screening-791 with CKD stages 3-5 not receiving kidney replacement therapy (KRT), 418 receiving dialysis, and 497 patients with a functioning kidney transplant-117 patients (6.9%) were detected to have advanced colorectal neoplasia (54 with CKD stages 3-5 without KRT, 34 receiving dialysis, and 29 transplant recipients), including 9 colorectal cancers. The factors found to be associated with advanced colorectal neoplasia included older age (OR per year older, 1.05 [95% CI, 1.03-1.07], P<0.001), male sex (OR, 2.27 [95% CI, 1.45-3.54], P<0.001), azathioprine use (OR, 2.99 [95% CI, 1.40-6.37], P=0.005), and erythropoiesis-stimulating agent use (OR, 1.92 [95% CI, 1.22-3.03], P=0.005). Grouped LASSO logistic regression revealed similar associations between these factors and advanced colorectal neoplasia.

Limitations: Unmeasured confounding factors.

Conclusions: Older age, male sex, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, and azathioprine were found to be significantly associated with advanced colorectal neoplasia in patients with CKD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.ajkd.2021.07.011DOI Listing
August 2021

Reply.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Jul 3. Epub 2021 Jul 3.

Gastroenterology Department, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERehd, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2021.07.003DOI Listing
July 2021

MicroRNAs Deregulated in Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm Converge on Actin Cytoskeleton-Related Pathways That Are Maintained in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 14;13(10). Epub 2021 May 14.

Gastrointestinal & Pancreatic Oncology Group, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd)/Hospital Clínic of Barcelona/Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) are pancreatic cystic lesions that can develop into pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Although there is an increasing incidence of IPMN diagnosis, the mechanisms of formation and progression into invasive cancer remain unclear. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs, repressors of mRNA translation, and promising diagnostic biomarkers for IPMN and PDAC. Functional information on the role of early-altered miRNAs in this setting would offer novel strategies for tracking the IPMN-to-PDAC progression. In order to detect mRNAs that are likely to be under miRNA regulation in IPMNs, whole transcriptome and miRNome data from normal pancreatic tissue ( = 3) and IPMN lesions ( = 4) were combined and filtered according to negative correlation and miRNA-target prediction databases by using miRComb R package. Further comparison analysis with PDAC data allowed us to obtain a subset of miRNA-mRNA pairs shared in IPMN and PDAC. Functional enrichment analysis unravelled processes that are mainly related with cell structure, actin cytoskeleton, and metabolism. MiR-181a appeared as a master regulator of these processes. The expression of selected miRNA-mRNA pairs was validated by qRT-PCR in an independent cohort of patients ( = 40), and then analysed in different pancreatic cell lines. Finally, we generated a cellular model of HPDE cells stably overexpressing miR-181a, which showed a significant alteration of actin cytoskeleton structures accompanied by a significant downregulation of EPB41L4B and SEL1L expression. In situ hybridization of miR-181a and immunohistochemistry of EPB41L4B and SEL1L in pancreatic tissues ( = 4 Healthy; = 3 IPMN; = 4 PDAC) were also carried out. In this study, we offer insights on the potential implication of miRNA alteration in the regulation of structural and metabolic changes that pancreatic cells experience during IPMN establishment and that are maintained in PDAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13102369DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8155860PMC
May 2021

Lymph Node Tumor Burden Correlates With Tumor Budding and Poorly Differentiated Clusters: A New Prognostic Factor in Colorectal Carcinoma?

Clin Transl Gastroenterol 2021 03;12(3):e00303

Pathology Department, Center of Biomedical Diagnosis (CDB), Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Spain.

Introduction: Molecular lymph node (LN) staging in early colorectal cancer (CRC) has demonstrated to be more precise than conventional histopathology pN staging. Tumor budding (TB) and poorly differentiated clusters (PDCs) are associated with LN metastases, recurrences, and lower survival in CRC. We evaluated the correlation between the total tumor load (TTL) in LNs from CRC surgical specimens with patient outcome, TB, and PDC.

Methods: In this retrospective multicentre study, 5,931 LNs from 342 stage I-III CRC were analyzed by both hematoxylin and eosin and molecular detection of tumor cytokeratin 19 mRNA by one-step nucleic acid amplification. TB and PDC were evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin and cytokeratin 19 immunohistochemistry.

Results: One-step nucleic acid was positive in 38.3% patients (n = 131). Tumor Budding was low in 45% cases, intermediate in 25%, and high in 30%. Poorly Differentiated Clusters were low-grade G1 in 53%, G2 in 32%, and G3 in 15%. TB and PDC correlated with TTL, high-grade, lymphovascular and perineural invasion, pT, pN and stage (P < 0.001). TB, PDC, and TTL ≥ 6,000 copies/µL were associated with worse overall survival (P = 0.002, P = 0.013, and P = 0.046) and disease-free survival (P < 0.001).

Discussion: The implementation of more sensitive molecular methods to assess LN status is a promising alternative approach to pN staging, which could be integrated to other factors to help risk stratification and management of patients with early-stage CRC. This study demonstrates the correlation of the amount of LN tumor burden with TB and PDCs. TTL is related to the outcome and could be used as a new prognostic factor in CRC (see Visual Abstract, Supplementary Digital Content 2, http://links.lww.com/CTG/A512).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14309/ctg.0000000000000303DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7909319PMC
March 2021

Comprehensive Genomic Characterization of Fifteen Early-Onset Lynch-Like Syndrome Colorectal Cancers.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 12;13(6). Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Oncology Section, Hospital of Gastroenterology "Dr. C. B. Udaondo", Buenos Aires C1264, Argentina.

Lynch-like syndrome (LLS) is an increasingly common clinical challenge with an underlying molecular basis mostly unknown. To shed light onto it, we focused on a very young LLS early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) cohort (diagnosis ≤ 40 y.o.), performing germline and tumor whole-exome sequencing (WES) of 15 patients, and additionally analyzing their corresponding tumor mutational burden (TMB) and mutational signatures. We identified four cases (27%) with double somatic putative variants in mismatch repair (MMR) core genes, as well as three additional cases (20%) with double somatic alterations in tumors with unexplained MSH2/MSH6 loss of expression, and two cases (13%) with potential biallelic alterations. Average TMB was significantly higher for LLS cases with double somatic alterations. Lastly, nine predicted deleterious variants in genes involved in the DNA repair functions and/or previously associated with CRC were found in nine probands, four of which also showed MMR biallelic somatic inactivation. In conclusion, we contribute new insights into LLS CRC, postulating and double somatic alterations as an underlying cause of a microsatellite instability (MSI) phenotype, proposing intrinsic biological differences between LLS with and without somatic alterations, and suggesting new predisposing candidate genes in this scenario.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13061259DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999079PMC
March 2021

Germline and Somatic Whole-Exome Sequencing Identifies New Candidate Genes Involved in Familial Predisposition to Serrated Polyposis Syndrome.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Feb 23;13(4). Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), Gastroenterology Department, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

The serrated polyposis syndrome (SPS) is the most common and yet underdiagnosed colorectal polyposis syndrome. It is characterized by multiple and/or large colonic serrated polyps and a higher associated risk for colorectal cancer (CRC). The main objective of this study was to identify new candidate genes involved in the germline predisposition to SPS/CRC. Thirty-nine SPS patients from 16 families (≥2 patients per family) were recruited without alterations in well-known hereditary CRC genes, and germline and somatic whole-exome sequencing were performed. Germline rare variants with plausible pathogenicity, located in genes involved in cancer development, senescence and epigenetic regulation were selected. Somatic mutational profiling and signature analysis was pursued in one sample per family, when possible. After data filtering, , , , , , , , , , , , , and were highlighted as the more promising candidate genes for SPS germline predisposition with potentially pathogenic variants shared within families. Somatic analysis characterized mutational profiles in advanced serrated polyps/tumors, revealing a high proportion of hypermutated samples, with a prevalence of clock-like mutational signatures in most samples and the presence of DNA mismatch repair-defective signatures in some cases. In conclusion, we identified new candidate genes to be involved in familial SPS. Further functional studies and replication in additional cohorts are required to confirm the selected candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040929DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7927050PMC
February 2021

Genetic architectures of proximal and distal colorectal cancer are partly distinct.

Gut 2021 Jul 25;70(7):1325-1334. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology - IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: An understanding of the etiologic heterogeneity of colorectal cancer (CRC) is critical for improving precision prevention, including individualized screening recommendations and the discovery of novel drug targets and repurposable drug candidates for chemoprevention. Known differences in molecular characteristics and environmental risk factors among tumors arising in different locations of the colorectum suggest partly distinct mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The extent to which the contribution of inherited genetic risk factors for CRC differs by anatomical subsite of the primary tumor has not been examined.

Design: To identify new anatomical subsite-specific risk loci, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses including data of 48 214 CRC cases and 64 159 controls of European ancestry. We characterised effect heterogeneity at CRC risk loci using multinomial modelling.

Results: We identified 13 loci that reached genome-wide significance (p<5×10) and that were not reported by previous GWASs for overall CRC risk. Multiple lines of evidence support candidate genes at several of these loci. We detected substantial heterogeneity between anatomical subsites. Just over half (61) of 109 known and new risk variants showed no evidence for heterogeneity. In contrast, 22 variants showed association with distal CRC (including rectal cancer), but no evidence for association or an attenuated association with proximal CRC. For two loci, there was strong evidence for effects confined to proximal colon cancer.

Conclusion: Genetic architectures of proximal and distal CRC are partly distinct. Studies of risk factors and mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and precision prevention strategies should take into consideration the anatomical subsite of the tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321534DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223655PMC
July 2021

Identification of New Genes Involved in Germline Predisposition to Early-Onset Gastric Cancer.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Jan 28;22(3). Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Gastroenterology Department, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

The genetic cause for several families with gastric cancer (GC) aggregation is unclear, with marked relevance in early-onset patients. We aimed to identify new candidate genes involved in GC germline predisposition. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) of germline samples was performed in 20 early-onset GC patients without previous germline mutation identified. WES was also performed in nine tumor samples to analyze the somatic profile using SigProfilerExtractor tool. Sequencing germline data were filtered to select those variants with plausible pathogenicity, rare frequency and previously involved in cancer. Then, a manual filtering was performed to prioritize genes according to current knowledge and function. These genetic variants were prevalidated with Integrative Genomics Viewer 2.8.2 (IGV). Subsequently, a further selection step was carried out according to function and information obtained from tumor samples. After IGV and selection step, 58 genetic variants in 52 different candidate genes were validated by Sanger sequencing. Among them, , , and seem to be the most promising genes because of their role in hereditary cancer syndromes, tumor suppression, cell adhesion and recognition, respectively. These encouraging results represent the open door to the identification of new genes involved in GC germline predisposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031310DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7866206PMC
January 2021

Health-Related Quality of Life in People Across the Spectrum of CKD.

Kidney Int Rep 2020 Dec 3;5(12):2264-2274. Epub 2020 Oct 3.

College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

Introduction: People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience reduced quality of life (QoL) because of the high symptom and treatment burden. Limited data exist on the factors associated with overall and domain-specific QoL across all CKD stages.

Methods: Using data from a prospective, multinational study (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Spain) in 1696 participants with CKD, we measured overall and domain-specific QoL (pain, self-care, activity, mobility, anxiety/depression) using the EuroQoL, 5 dimension, 3 level. Multivariable linear regression and logistic modeling were used to determine factors associated with overall and domain-specific QoL.

Results: QoL for patients with CKD stages 3 to 5 (n = 787; mean, 0.81; SD, 0.20) was higher than in patients on dialysis (n = 415; mean, 0.76; SD, 0.24) but lower than in kidney transplant recipients (n = 494; mean, 0.84; SD, 0.21). Factors associated with reduced overall QoL (β [95% confidence intervals]) included being on dialysis (compared with CKD stages 3-5: -0.06 [-0.08 to -0.03]), female sex (-0.03 [-0.05 to -0.006]), lower educational attainment (- 0.04 [-0.06 to -0.02), lacking a partner (-0.04 [-0.06 to -0.02]), having diabetes (-0.05 [-0.07 to -0.02]), history of stroke (-0.09 [-0.13 to -0.05]), cardiovascular disease (-0.06 [-0.08 to -0.03]), and cancer (-0.03 [-0.06 to -0.009]). Pain (43%) and anxiety/depression (30%) were the most commonly affected domains, with dialysis patients reporting decrements in all 5 domains. Predictors for domain-specific QoL included being on dialysis, presence of comorbidities, lower education, female sex, and lack of a partner.

Conclusions: Being on dialysis, women with CKD, those with multiple comorbidities, lack of a partner, and lower educational attainment were associated with lower QoL across all stages of CKD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ekir.2020.09.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7710842PMC
December 2020

New fecal bacterial signature for colorectal cancer screening reduces the fecal immunochemical test false-positive rate in a screening population.

PLoS One 2020 1;15(12):e0243158. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

GoodGut SL, Girona, Spain.

Guidelines recommend routine screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) in asymptomatic adults starting at age 50. The most extensively used noninvasive test for CRC screening is the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), which has an overall sensitivity for CRC of approximately 61.0%-91.0%, which drops to 27.0%-67.0% for advanced adenomas. These figures contain a high false-positive rate and a low positive predictive value. This work aimed to develop a new, noninvasive CRC screening tool based on fecal bacterial markers capable of decreasing FIT false-positive rates in a FIT-positive population. We defined a fecal bacterial signature (RAID-CRC Screen) in a proof-of-concept with 172 FIT-positive individuals and validated the obtained results on an external cohort of 327 FIT-positive subjects. All study participants had joined the national CRC screening program. In the clinical validation of RAID-CRC Screen, a sensitivity of 83.9% and a specificity of 16.3% were obtained for the detection of advanced neoplasm lesions (advanced adenomas and/or CRC). FIT 20 μg/g produced 184 false-positive results. Using RAID-CRC Screen, this value was reduced to 154, thus reducing the false-positive rate by 16.3%. The RAID-CRC Screen test could be implemented in CRC screening programs to allow a significant reduction in the number of colonoscopies performed unnecessarily for FIT-positive participants of CRC screening programs.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243158PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7707514PMC
January 2021

Population-based organized screening by faecal immunochemical testing and colorectal cancer mortality: a natural experiment.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 03;50(1):143-155

Department of Gastroenterology, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), CIBERehd, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Population-based organized screening programmes for colorectal cancer (CRC) are underway worldwide, with many based on the faecal immunochemical test (FIT). No clinical trials assessing FIT compared with no screening are planned, and few studies have assessed the population impact of such programmes.

Methods: Before 2010, 11 out of 50 Spanish provinces initiated population-based organized screening programmes with FIT for an average-risk population aged 50-69 years. We used a quasi-experimental design across Spanish provinces between 1999 and 2016 to evaluate their impact on population age-standardized mortality and incidence rates due to CRC. Difference-in-differences and synthetic control analyses were performed to test for validation of statistical assumptions and to assess the dynamics of screening-associated changes in outcomes over time.

Results: No differences in outcome trends between exposed (n = 11) and control (n = 36) provinces were observed for up to 7 years preceding the implementation of screening. Relative to controls, exposed provinces experienced a mean increase in age-standardized incidence of 10.08% [95% confidence interval (CI) (5.09, 15.07)] 2 years after implementation, followed by a reduction in age-standardized mortality rates due to CRC of 8.82% [95% CI (3.77, 13.86)] after 7 years. Results were similar for both women and men. No associated changes were observed in adjacent age bands not targeted by screening, nor for 10 other major causes of death in the exposed provinces.

Conclusions: FIT-based organized screening in Spain was associated with reductions in population colorectal cancer mortality. Further research is warranted in order to assess the replicability and external validity of our findings, and on gender-specific use of FIT in organized screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa166DOI Listing
March 2021

Quality of Colonoscopy Is Associated With Adenoma Detection and Postcolonoscopy Colorectal Cancer Prevention in Lynch Syndrome.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 Nov 3. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Principado de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain.

Background & Aims: Colonoscopy reduces colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality in Lynch syndrome (LS) carriers. However, a high incidence of postcolonoscopy CRC (PCCRC) has been reported. Colonoscopy is highly dependent on endoscopist skill and is subject to quality variability. We aimed to evaluate the impact of key colonoscopy quality indicators on adenoma detection and prevention of PCCRC in LS.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter study focused on LS carriers without previous CRC undergoing colonoscopy surveillance (n = 893). Incident colorectal neoplasia during surveillance and quality indicators of all colonoscopies were analyzed. We performed an emulated target trial comparing the results from the first and second surveillance colonoscopies to assess the effect of colonoscopy quality indicators on adenoma detection and PCCRC incidence. Risk analyses were conducted using a multivariable logistic regression model.

Results: The 10-year cumulative incidence of adenoma and PCCRC was 60.6% (95% CI, 55.5%-65.2%) and 7.9% (95% CI, 5.2%-10.6%), respectively. Adequate bowel preparation (odds ratio [OR], 2.07; 95% CI, 1.06-4.3), complete colonoscopies (20% vs 0%; P = .01), and pan-chromoendoscopy use (OR, 2.14; 95% CI, 1.15-3.95) were associated with significant improvement in adenoma detection. PCCRC risk was significantly lower when colonoscopies were performed during a time interval of less than every 3 years (OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.14-0.97). We observed a consistent but not significant reduction in PCCRC risk for a previous complete examination (OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03-1.28), adequate bowel preparation (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.17-3.24), or previous use of high-definition colonoscopy (OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.02-2.33).

Conclusions: Complete colonoscopies with adequate bowel preparation and chromoendoscopy use are associated with improved adenoma detection, while surveillance intervals of less than 3 years are associated with a reduction of PCCRC incidence. In LS, high-quality colonoscopy surveillance is of utmost importance for CRC prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.11.002DOI Listing
November 2020

Interobserver Agreement Among Pathologists in the Differentiation of Sessile Serrated From Hyperplastic Polyps.

Gastroenterology 2021 01 18;160(1):452-454.e1. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Kansas City, Missouri; Gastroenterology, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kansas. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.09.015DOI Listing
January 2021

Colon capsule endoscopy versus CT colonography in FIT-positive colorectal cancer screening subjects: a prospective randomised trial-the VICOCA study.

BMC Med 2020 09 18;18(1):255. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Gastroenterology Department, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Colon capsule endoscopy (CCE) and CT colonography (CTC) are minimally invasive techniques for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Our objective is to compare CCE and CTC for the identification of patients with colorectal neoplasia among participants in a CRC screening programme with positive faecal immunochemical test (FIT). Primary outcome was to compare the performance of CCE and CTC in detecting patients with neoplastic lesions.

Methods: The VICOCA study is a prospective, single-centre, randomised trial conducted from March 2014 to May 2016; 662 individuals were invited and 349 were randomised to CCE or CTC before colonoscopy. Endoscopists were blinded to the results of CCE and CTC.

Results: Three hundred forty-nine individuals were included: 173 in the CCE group and 176 in the CTC group. Two hundred ninety individuals agreed to participate: 147 in the CCE group and 143 in the CTC group. In the intention-to-screen analysis, sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values for the identification of individuals with colorectal neoplasia were 98.1%, 76.6%, 93.7% and 92.0% in the CCE group and 64.9%, 95.7%, 96.8% and 57.7% in the CTC group. In terms of detecting significant neoplastic lesions, the sensitivity of CCE and CTC was 96.1% and 79.3%, respectively. Detection rate for advanced colorectal neoplasm was higher in the CCE group than in the CTC group (100% and 93.1%, respectively; RR = 1.07; p = 0.08). Both CCE and CTC identified all patients with cancer. CCE detected more patients with any lesion than CTC (98.6% and 81.0%, respectively; RR = 1.22; p = 0.002).

Conclusion: Although both techniques seem to be similar in detecting patients with advanced colorectal neoplasms, CCE is more sensitive for the detection of any neoplastic lesion.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02081742 . Registered: September 16, 2013.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01717-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7500543PMC
September 2020

Eflornithine plus Sulindac for Prevention of Progression in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis.

N Engl J Med 2020 09;383(11):1028-1039

From the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland (C.A.B., J.C.); the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam (E.D., F.G.K., V.H.R.); the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (P.L.); the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix (N.J.S.), and Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Tucson (A. Cohen) - both in Arizona; the Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas, University of Barcelona, Barcelona (F.B., A. Castells); the Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Bonn (R.H., C.P.S.), and the National Center for Hereditary Tumor Syndromes (R.H., C.P.S.), Bonn, Germany; Northern Genetics Service, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne (J.B., A.H.), and Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, Saint Mary's Hospital, Manchester (F.L.) - both in the United Kingdom; Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto (S. Gallinger, R.G.); the Division of Population Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endoscopy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School - all in Boston (R.L., S.S.); the Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (E.M.S.); Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, and the Division of Gastroenterology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla (S. Gupta); Huntsman Cancer Center, Salt Lake City (P.K.); the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (G.G.G., A.K.R.); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN (F.A.S.); University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium (E.V.C.); Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta (F.F.W.); Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis (P.E.W.); University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle (W.M.G.); Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville (M.F.); and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison (J.M.W.).

Background: The efficacy and safety of combination therapy with eflornithine and sulindac, as compared with either drug alone, in delaying disease progression in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis are unknown.

Methods: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of the combination of eflornithine and sulindac, as compared with either drug alone, in adults with familial adenomatous polyposis. The patients were stratified on the basis of anatomical site with the highest polyp burden and surgical status; the strata were precolectomy (shortest projected time to disease progression), rectal or ileal pouch polyposis after colectomy (longest projected time), and duodenal polyposis (intermediate projected time). The patients were then randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive 750 mg of eflornithine, 150 mg of sulindac, or both once daily for up to 48 months. The primary end point, assessed in a time-to-event analysis, was disease progression, defined as a composite of major surgery, endoscopic excision of advanced adenomas, diagnosis of high-grade dysplasia in the rectum or pouch, or progression of duodenal disease.

Results: A total of 171 patients underwent randomization. Disease progression occurred in 18 of 56 patients (32%) in the eflornithine-sulindac group, 22 of 58 (38%) in the sulindac group, and 23 of 57 (40%) in the eflornithine group, with a hazard ratio of 0.71 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.39 to 1.32) for eflornithine-sulindac as compared with sulindac (P = 0.29) and 0.66 (95% CI, 0.36 to 1.24) for eflornithine-sulindac as compared with eflornithine. Among 37 precolectomy patients, the corresponding values in the treatment groups were 2 of 12 patients (17%), 6 of 13 (46%), and 5 of 12 (42%) (hazard ratios, 0.30 [95% CI, 0.07 to 1.32] and 0.20 [95% CI, 0.03 to 1.32]); among 34 patients with rectal or ileal pouch polyposis, the values were 4 of 11 patients (36%), 2 of 11 (18%), and 5 of 12 (42%) (hazard ratios, 2.03 [95% CI, 0.43 to 9.62] and 0.84 [95% CI, 0.24 to 2.90]); and among 100 patients with duodenal polyposis, the values were 12 of 33 patients (36%), 14 of 34 (41%), and 13 of 33 (39%) (hazard ratios, 0.73 [95% CI, 0.34 to 1.52] and 0.76 [95% CI, 0.35 to 1.64]). Adverse and serious adverse events were similar across the treatment groups.

Conclusions: In this trial involving patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, the incidence of disease progression was not significantly lower with the combination of eflornithine and sulindac than with either drug alone. (Funded by Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01483144; EudraCT number, 2012-000427-41.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1916063DOI Listing
September 2020

Genetic Counseling for Hereditary Gastric and Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Gastrointestinal Cancer Clinics: An Effective Strategy.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Aug 23;12(9). Epub 2020 Aug 23.

Gastroenterology Department, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

The identification of high-risk groups of gastric (GC) and pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PC) due to a hereditary basis could imply a benefit in the affected families by establishing personalized preventive strategies. We aimed at assessing the diagnostic yield of GC/PC hereditary syndromes in individuals evaluated based on specific clinical criteria. In total, 77 unrelated individuals (45 from GC group/32 from PC group) were recruited: 51 (66.2%) cancer diagnosis ≤60 years, 3 (4%) with personal history of GC/PC and other cancer and 23 (29.8%) due to family history. Immunohistochemical analysis of DNA mismatch repair proteins was performed in 38 (49.3%) available tumors, being pathological in one (2%) GC. A genetic analysis was performed if clinical criteria of hereditary syndrome were fulfilled, identifying a mutation in 10/22 (45.5%) families [7/16 (43.7%) with GC and 3/6 (50%) with PC] and 19 (24.7%) fulfilled criteria of familial cancer. Diagnosis of cancer <40 years and personal history of other cancers were independent risk factors of a hereditary syndrome [OR:11.3 (95%IC 1.9-67); = 0.007 and OR:17.4 (95% IC 2.5-119.9); = 0.004; respectively]. The selection of patients based on clinical criteria leads to high diagnostic yield, detecting a causative germline mutation in almost half of the cases; therefore, both meticulous genetic counseling and use of multi-gen panels is crucial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092386DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564434PMC
August 2020

Germline biallelic Mcm8 variants are associated with early-onset Lynch-like syndrome.

JCI Insight 2020 09 17;5(18). Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Gastroenterology Department, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Lynch syndrome is the most common cause of hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC), and it is characterized by DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency. The term Lynch-like syndrome (LLS) is used for patients with MMR-deficient tumors and neither germline mutation in MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, or EPCAM nor MLH1 somatic methylation. Biallelic somatic inactivation or cryptic germline MMR variants undetected during genetic testing have been proposed to be involved. Sixteen patients with early-onset LLS CRC were selected for germline and tumor whole-exome sequencing. Two potentially pathogenic germline MCM8 variants were detected in a male patient with LLS with fertility problems. A knockout cellular model for MCM8 was generated by CRISPR/Cas9 and detected genetic variants were produced by mutagenesis. DNA damage, microsatellite instability, and mutational signatures were monitored. DNA damage was evident for MCM8KO cells and the analyzed genetic variants. Microsatellite instability and mutational signatures in MCM8KO cells were compatible with the involvement of MCM8 in MMR. Replication in an independent familial cancer cohort detected additional carriers. Unexplained MMR-deficient CRC cases, even showing somatic biallelic MMR inactivation, may be caused by underlying germline defects in genes different than MMR genes. We suggest MCM8 as a gene involved in CRC germline predisposition with a recessive pattern of inheritance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.140698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7526538PMC
September 2020

Risk of Cancer in Family Members of Patients with Lynch-Like Syndrome.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Aug 9;12(8). Epub 2020 Aug 9.

Servicio de Medicina Digestiva, Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria ISABIAL, 03010 Alicante, Spain.

Lynch syndrome (LS) is a common cause of hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC). Some CRC patients develop mismatch repair deficiency without germline pathogenic mutation, known as Lynch-like syndrome (LLS). We compared the risk of CRC in first-degree relatives (FDRs) in LLS and LS patients. LLS was diagnosed when tumors showed immunohistochemical loss of MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2; or loss of MLH1 with wild type; and/or no methylation and absence of pathogenic mutation in these genes. CRC and other LS-related neoplasms were followed in patients diagnosed with LS and LLS and among their FDRs. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated for CRC and other neoplasms associated with LS among FDRs of LS and LLS patients. In total, 205 LS (1205 FDRs) and 131 LLS families (698 FDRs) had complete pedigrees. FDRs of patients with LLS had a high incidence of CRC (SIR, 2.08; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.56-2.71), which was significantly lower than that in FDRs of patients with LS (SIR, 4.25; 95% CI, 3.67-4.90; < 0.001). The risk of developing other neoplasms associated with LS also increased among FDR of LLS patients (SIR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.44-2.80) but was lower than that among FDR of patients with LS (SIR, 5.01, 95% CI, 4.26-5.84; < 0.001). FDRs with LLS have an increased risk of developing CRC as well as LS-related neoplasms, although this risk is lower than that of families with LS. Thus, their management should take into account this increased risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082225DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7466118PMC
August 2020

Genome-wide Modeling of Polygenic Risk Score in Colorectal Cancer Risk.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09 5;107(3):432-444. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

Accurate colorectal cancer (CRC) risk prediction models are critical for identifying individuals at low and high risk of developing CRC, as they can then be offered targeted screening and interventions to address their risks of developing disease (if they are in a high-risk group) and avoid unnecessary screening and interventions (if they are in a low-risk group). As it is likely that thousands of genetic variants contribute to CRC risk, it is clinically important to investigate whether these genetic variants can be used jointly for CRC risk prediction. In this paper, we derived and compared different approaches to generating predictive polygenic risk scores (PRS) from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) including 55,105 CRC-affected case subjects and 65,079 control subjects of European ancestry. We built the PRS in three ways, using (1) 140 previously identified and validated CRC loci; (2) SNP selection based on linkage disequilibrium (LD) clumping followed by machine-learning approaches; and (3) LDpred, a Bayesian approach for genome-wide risk prediction. We tested the PRS in an independent cohort of 101,987 individuals with 1,699 CRC-affected case subjects. The discriminatory accuracy, calculated by the age- and sex-adjusted area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC), was highest for the LDpred-derived PRS (AUC = 0.654) including nearly 1.2 M genetic variants (the proportion of causal genetic variants for CRC assumed to be 0.003), whereas the PRS of the 140 known variants identified from GWASs had the lowest AUC (AUC = 0.629). Based on the LDpred-derived PRS, we are able to identify 30% of individuals without a family history as having risk for CRC similar to those with a family history of CRC, whereas the PRS based on known GWAS variants identified only top 10% as having a similar relative risk. About 90% of these individuals have no family history and would have been considered average risk under current screening guidelines, but might benefit from earlier screening. The developed PRS offers a way for risk-stratified CRC screening and other targeted interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.07.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477007PMC
September 2020

Centrosome reduction in newly-generated tetraploid cancer cells obtained by separase depletion.

Sci Rep 2020 06 4;10(1):9152. Epub 2020 Jun 4.

Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Oncology Team, Institut D'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Barcelona, 08036, Spain.

Tetraploidy, a common feature in cancer, results in the presence of extra centrosomes, which has been associated with chromosome instability (CIN) and aneuploidy. Deregulation in the number of centrosomes triggers tumorigenesis. However, how supernumerary centrosomes evolve during the emergence of tetraploid cells remains yet to be elucidated. Here, generating tetraploid isogenic clones in colorectal cancer and in non-transformed cells, we show that near-tetraploid clones exhibit a significant increase in the number of centrosomes. Moreover, we find that centrosome area in near-tetraploids is twice as large as in near-diploids. To evaluate whether centrosome clustering was occurring, we next analysed the number of centrioles revealing centriole amplification. Notwithstanding, more than half of the near-tetraploids maintained in culture do not present centrosome aberrations. To test whether cells progressively lost centrioles after becoming near-tetraploid, we transiently transfected diploid cells with siRNA against ESPL1/Separase, a protease responsible for triggering anaphase, to generate newly near-tetraploid cells. Finally, using this model, we assessed the number of centrioles at different time-points after tetraploidization finding that near-tetraploids rapidly lose centrosomes over time. Taken together, these data demonstrate that although most cells reduce supernumerary centrosomes after tetraploidization, a small fraction retains extra centrioles, potentially resulting in CIN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65975-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7272426PMC
June 2020

COVID-19: a pandemic of values.

Authors:
Antoni Castells

Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 Jun - Jul;43(6):329-330. Epub 2020 May 1.

Servicio de Gastroenterología, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERehd, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, España. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gastrohep.2020.04.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7252003PMC
June 2020

MiR-93 is related to poor prognosis in pancreatic cancer and promotes tumor progression by targeting microtubule dynamics.

Oncogenesis 2020 May 4;9(5):43. Epub 2020 May 4.

Gastrointestinal & Pancreatic Oncology Group, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd)/ Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Biomarkers and effective therapeutic agents to improve the dismal prognosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) are urgently required. We aimed to analyze the prognostic value and mechanistic action of miR-93 in PDAC. Correlation of miR-93 tumor levels from 83 PDAC patients and overall survival (OS) was analyzed by Kaplan-Meier. MiR-93 depletion in PANC-1 and MIA PaCa-2 cells was achieved by CRISPR/Cas9 and miR-93 overexpression in HPDE cells by retroviral transduction. Cell proliferation, migration and invasion, cell cycle analysis, and in vivo tumor xenografts in nude mice were assessed. Proteomic analysis by mass spectrometry and western-blot was also performed. Finally, miR-93 direct binding to candidate mRNA targets was evaluated by luciferase reporter assays. High miR-93 tumor levels are significantly correlated with a worst prognosis in PDAC patients. MiR-93 abolition altered pancreatic cancer cells phenotype inducing a significant increase in cell size and a significant decrease in cell invasion and proliferation accompanied by a G2/M arrest. In vivo, lack of miR-93 significantly impaired xenograft tumor growth. Conversely, miR-93 overexpression induced a pro-tumorigenic behavior by significantly increasing cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Proteomic analysis unveiled a large group of deregulated proteins, mainly related to G2/M phase, microtubule dynamics, and cytoskeletal remodeling. CRMP2, MAPRE1, and YES1 were confirmed as direct targets of miR-93. MiR-93 exerts oncogenic functions by targeting multiple genes involved in microtubule dynamics at different levels, thus affecting the normal cell division rate. MiR-93 or its direct targets (CRMP2, MAPRE1, or YES1) are new potential therapeutic targets for PDAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41389-020-0227-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198506PMC
May 2020

Tetraploidy-Associated Genetic Heterogeneity Confers Chemo-Radiotherapy Resistance to Colorectal Cancer Cells.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Apr 30;12(5). Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Oncology Team, Institut D'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

Tetraploidy, or whole-genome duplication, is a common phenomenon in cancer and preludes chromosome instability, which strongly correlates with disease progression, metastasis, and treatment failure. Therefore, it is reasonable to hypothesize that tetraploidization confers multidrug resistance. Nevertheless, the contribution of whole-genome duplication to chemo-radiotherapy resistance remains unclear. Here, using isogenic diploid and near-tetraploid clones from three colorectal cancer cell lines and one non-transformed human epithelial cell line, we show a consistent growth impairment but a divergent tumorigenic potential of near-tetraploid cells. Next, we assessed the effects of first-line chemotherapeutic drugs, other commonly used agents and ionizing radiation, and found that whole-genome duplication promoted increased chemotherapy resistance and also conferred protection against irradiation. When testing the activation of apoptosis, we observed that tetraploid cells were less prone to caspase 3 activation after treatment with first-line chemotherapeutic agents. Furthermore, we found that pre-treatment with ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related (ATR) inhibitors, which targets response to replication stress, significantly enhanced the sensitivity of tetraploid cells to first-line chemotherapeutic agents as well as to ionizing radiation. Our findings provide further insight into how tetraploidy results in greater levels of tolerance to chemo-radiotherapeutic agents and, moreover, we show that ATR inhibitors can sensitize near-tetraploid cells to commonly used chemo-radiotherapy regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281619PMC
April 2020

Germline Mutations in FAF1 Are Associated With Hereditary Colorectal Cancer.

Gastroenterology 2020 07 14;159(1):227-240.e7. Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Gastroenterology Department, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: A significant proportion of colorectal cancer (CRC) cases have familial aggregation but little is known about the genetic factors that contribute to these cases. We performed an exhaustive functional characterization of genetic variants associated with familial CRC.

Methods: We performed whole-exome sequencing analyses of 75 patients from 40 families with a history of CRC (including early-onset cases) of an unknown germline basis (discovery cohort). We also sequenced specific genes in DNA from an external replication cohort of 473 families, including 488 patients with colorectal tumors that had normal expression of mismatch repair proteins (validation cohort). We disrupted the Fas-associated factor 1 gene (FAF1) in DLD-1 CRC cells using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing; some cells were transfected with plasmids that express FAF1 missense variants. Cells were analyzed by immunoblots, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and functional assays monitoring apoptosis, proliferation, and assays for Wnt signaling or nuclear factor (NF)-kappa-B activity.

Results: We identified predicted pathogenic variant in the FAF1 gene (c.1111G>A; p.Asp371Asn) in the discovery cohort; it was present in 4 patients of the same family. We identified a second variant in FAF1 in the validation cohort (c.254G>C; p.Arg85Pro). Both variants encoded unstable FAF1 proteins. Expression of these variants in CRC cells caused them to become resistant to apoptosis, accumulate beta-catenin in the cytoplasm, and translocate NF-kappa-B to the nucleus.

Conclusions: In whole-exome sequencing analyses of patients from families with a history of CRC, we identified variants in FAF1 that associate with development of CRC. These variants encode unstable forms of FAF1 that increase resistance of CRC cells to apoptosis and increase activity of beta-catenin and NF-kappa-B.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.03.015DOI Listing
July 2020

Colorectal cancer genetic variants are also associated with serrated polyposis syndrome susceptibility.

J Med Genet 2020 10 13;57(10):677-682. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Gastroenterology Department, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain

Background: Serrated polyposis syndrome (SPS) is a clinical entity characterised by large and/ormultiple serrated polyps throughout the colon and increased risk for colorectal cancer (CRC). The basis for SPS genetic predisposition is largely unknown. Common, low-penetrance genetic variants have been consistently associated with CRC susceptibility, however, their role in SPS genetic predisposition has not been yet explored.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate if common, low-penetrance genetic variants for CRC risk are also implicated in SPS genetic susceptibility.

Methods: A case-control study was performed in 219 SPS patients and 548 asymptomatic controls analysing 65 CRC susceptibility variants. A risk prediction model for SPS predisposition was developed.

Results: Statistically significant associations with SPS were found for seven genetic variants (rs4779584-, rs16892766-, rs3217810-, rs992157-/, rs704017-, rs11196172-, rs6061231-). The risk allele was remarkably over-represented in SPS cases compared with controls (OR=1.573, 1.21-2.04, p value=0.0006). A fourfold increase in SPS risk was observed when comparing subjects within the highest decile of variants (≥65) with those in the first decile (≤50).

Conclusions: Genetic variants for CRC risk are also involved in SPS susceptibility, being the most relevant ones rs4779584-, rs16892766- and rs3217810-.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2019-106374DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7525772PMC
October 2020

Fecal MicroRNA-Based Algorithm Increases Effectiveness of Fecal Immunochemical Test-Based Screening for Colorectal Cancer.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 02 28;19(2):323-330.e1. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

Gastroenterology Department, Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, University of Barcelona, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: An algorithm based on fecal levels of 2 microRNAs (miR-421 and miR-27a-3p), fecal hemoglobin concentration, and patient age and sex can identify patients with advanced colorectal neoplasia. We investigated whether this algorithm, called miRFec, could increase effectiveness and efficiency of fecal immunochemical test (FIT)-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs.

Methods: We obtained data and fecal samples from 767 persons with a positive result from the FIT who then underwent colonoscopy examination while participating a population-based CRC screening program, from March 2011 through May 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. Fecal miRNAs were isolated from the buffer contained in the original FIT collection device and analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription PCR. Aims were to evaluate the usefulness of the miRFec algorithm in identifying persons at greatest risk for CRC who should be prioritized for colonoscopy examination and individuals at low risk for whom colonoscopy could be avoided.

Results: Of the 767 study subjects, 414 (54.0%) were found by colonoscopy to have advanced colorectal neoplasia (67 with CRC and 347 with advanced adenomas) and 353 (46.0%) were found to have either non-advanced adenomas (n = 136) or a normal examination (n = 217). MiRFec algorithm scores (1-4) were independently associated with the presence of advanced colorectal neoplasia (P < .001). The miRFec algorithm differentiated patients with CRC from those with non-advanced adenomas or normal colonoscopy with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 90% (95% CI, 86-94). Subjects with miRFec scores in the 4th quartile (above 3.09, high-risk group) were 8-fold more likely to have advanced colorectal neoplasia than subjects with miRFec scores in the 1st quartile (below 2.14, low-risk group). Subjects in the low-risk group had a positive predictive value below 30% for detection of advanced colorectal neoplasia. When we used a 50% specificity cut-off value, the miRFec algorithm identified 97% of patients with CRC and would allow 264 subjects (34.4%) to avoid colonoscopy examination.

Conclusions: An algorithm based on fecal levels of 2 miRNAs and hemoglobin, patient age and sex (miRFec) differentiated patients with CRC from those with non-advanced adenomas or normal colonoscopy with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value of 90% and avoided 34% of colonoscopies. Inclusion of this algorithm in FIT-based CRC screening programs could increase their effectiveness and efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.02.043DOI Listing
February 2021

CNApp, a tool for the quantification of copy number alterations and integrative analysis revealing clinical implications.

Elife 2020 01 15;9. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Oncology Team, Institut D'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Somatic copy number alterations (CNAs) are a hallmark of cancer, but their role in tumorigenesis and clinical relevance remain largely unclear. Here, we developed CNApp, a web-based tool that allows a comprehensive exploration of CNAs by using purity-corrected segmented data from multiple genomic platforms. CNApp generates genome-wide profiles, computes CNA scores for broad, focal and global CNA burdens, and uses machine learning-based predictions to classify samples. We applied CNApp to the TCGA pan-cancer dataset of 10,635 genomes showing that CNAs classify cancer types according to their tissue-of-origin, and that each cancer type shows specific ranges of broad and focal CNA scores. Moreover, CNApp reproduces recurrent CNAs in hepatocellular carcinoma and predicts colon cancer molecular subtypes and microsatellite instability based on broad CNA scores and discrete genomic imbalances. In summary, CNApp facilitates CNA-driven research by providing a unique framework to identify relevant clinical implications. CNApp is hosted at https://tools.idibaps.org/CNApp/.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.50267DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010409PMC
January 2020
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