Publications by authors named "Arianna Citti"

12 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes improve clinical outcome of therapy-resistant neuroblastoma.

Oncoimmunology 2015 Sep 2;4(9):e1019981. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Department; IRCCS; Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù , Rome, Italy.

Neuroblastoma grows within an intricate network of different cell types including epithelial, stromal and immune cells. The presence of tumor-infiltrating T cells is considered an important prognostic indicator in many cancers, but the role of these cells in neuroblastoma remains to be elucidated. Herein, we examined the relationship between the type, density and organization of infiltrating T cells and clinical outcome within a large collection of neuroblastoma samples by quantitative analysis of immunohistochemical staining. We found that infiltrating T cells have a prognostic value greater than, and independent of, the criteria currently used to stage neuroblastoma. A variable structural organization and different concurrent infiltration of T-cell subsets were detected in tumors with various outcomes. Low-risk neuroblastomas were characterized by a higher number of proliferating T cells and a more structured T-cell organization, which was gradually lost in tumors with poor prognosis. We defined an immunoscore based on the presence of CD3, CD4 and CD8 infiltrating T cells that associates with favorable clinical outcome in MYCN-amplified tumors, improving patient survival when combined with the v-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene neuroblastoma derived homolog (MYCN) status. These findings support the hypothesis that infiltrating T cells influence the behavior of neuroblastoma and might be of clinical importance for the treatment of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2015.1019981DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4570119PMC
September 2015

Clinical and ultrastructural spectrum of diffuse lung disease associated with surfactant protein C mutations.

Eur J Hum Genet 2015 Aug 18;23(8):1033-41. Epub 2015 Mar 18.

1] Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital, San Francisco, CA, USA [2] Department of Medical and Surgical Neonatology, Bambino Gesu' Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Genetic defects of surfactant metabolism are associated with a broad range of clinical manifestations, from neonatal respiratory distress syndrome to adult interstitial lung disease. Early therapies may improve symptoms but diagnosis is often delayed owing to phenotype and genotype variability. Our objective was to characterize the cellular/ultrastructural correlates of surfactant protein C (SP-C) mutations in children with idiopathic diffuse lung diseases. We sequenced SFTPC - the gene encoding SP-C - SFTPB and ABCA3, and analyzed morphology, ultrastructure and SP expression in lung tissue when available. We identified eight subjects who were heterozygous for SP-C mutations. Median age at onset and clinical course were variable. None of the mutations were located in the mature peptide-encoding region, but were either in the pro-protein BRICHOS or linker C-terminal domains. Although lung morphology was similar to other genetic surfactant metabolism disorders, electron microscopy studies showed specific anomalies, suggesting surfactant homeostasis disruption, plus trafficking defects in the four subjects with linker domain mutation and protein misfolding in the single BRICHOS mutation carrier in whom material was available. Immunolabeling studies showed increased proSP-C staining in all cases. In two cases, amyloid deposits could be identified. Immunochemistry and ultrastructural studies may be useful for diagnostic purposes and for genotype interpretation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2015.45DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4795107PMC
August 2015

Hyper-activation of Notch3 amplifies the proliferative potential of rhabdomyosarcoma cells.

PLoS One 2014 5;9(5):e96238. Epub 2014 May 5.

Department of Oncohematology, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, IRCCS, Roma, Italy.

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a pediatric myogenic-derived soft tissue sarcoma that includes two major histopathological subtypes: embryonal and alveolar. The majority of alveolar RMS expresses PAX3-FOXO1 fusion oncoprotein, associated with the worst prognosis. RMS cells show myogenic markers expression but are unable to terminally differentiate. The Notch signaling pathway is a master player during myogenesis, with Notch1 activation sustaining myoblast expansion and Notch3 activation inhibiting myoblast fusion and differentiation. Accordingly, Notch1 signaling is up-regulated and activated in embryonal RMS samples and supports the proliferation of tumor cells. However, it is unable to control their differentiation properties. We previously reported that Notch3 is activated in RMS cell lines, of both alveolar and embryonal subtype, and acts by inhibiting differentiation. Moreover, Notch3 depletion reduces PAX3-FOXO1 alveolar RMS tumor growth in vivo. However, whether Notch3 activation also sustains the proliferation of RMS cells remained unclear. To address this question, we forced the expression of the activated form of Notch3, Notch3IC, in the RH30 and RH41 PAX3-FOXO1-positive alveolar and in the RD embryonal RMS cell lines and studied the proliferation of these cells. We show that, in all three cell lines tested, Notch3IC over-expression stimulates in vitro cell proliferation and prevents the effects of pharmacological Notch inhibition. Furthermore, Notch3IC further increases RH30 cell growth in vivo. Interestingly, knockdown of Notch canonical ligands JAG1 or DLL1 in RMS cell lines decreases Notch3 activity and reduces cell proliferation. Finally, the expression of Notch3IC and its target gene HES1 correlates with that of the proliferative marker Ki67 in a small cohort of primary PAX-FOXO1 alveolar RMS samples. These results strongly suggest that high levels of Notch3 activation increase the proliferative potential of RMS cells.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0096238PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4010457PMC
June 2015

High-resolution array CGH profiling identifies Na/K transporting ATPase interacting 2 (NKAIN2) as a predisposing candidate gene in neuroblastoma.

PLoS One 2013 25;8(10):e78481. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Department, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Neuroblastoma (NB), the most common solid cancer in early childhood, usually occurs sporadically but also its familial occurance is known in 1-2% of NB patients. Germline mutations in the ALK and PHOX2B genes have been found in a subset of familial NBs. However, because some individuals harbouring mutations in these genes do not develop this tumor, additional genetic alterations appear to be required for NB pathogenesis. Herein, we studied an Italian family with three NB patients, two siblings and a first cousin, carrying an ALK germline-activating mutation R1192P, that was inherited from their unaffected mothers and with no mutations in the PHOX2B gene. A comparison between somatic and germline DNA copy number changes in the two affected siblings by a high resolution array-based Comparative Genomic Hybridization (CGH) analysis revealed a germline gain at NKAIN2 (Na/K transporting ATPase interacting 2) locus in one of the sibling, that was inherited from the parent who does not carry the ALK mutation. Surprisingly, NKAIN2 was expressed at high levels also in the affected sibling that lacks the genomic gain at this locus, clearly suggesting the existance of other regulatory mechanisms. High levels of NKAIN2 were detected in the MYCN-amplified NB cell lines and in the most aggressive NB lesions as well as in the peripheral blood of a large cohort of NB patients. Consistent with a role of NKAIN2 in NB development, NKAIN2 was down-regulated during all-trans retinoic acid differentiation in two NB cell lines. Taken together, these data indicate a potential role of NKAIN2 gene in NB growth and differentiation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0078481PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3808344PMC
February 2015

Ultrastructural characterization of genetic diffuse lung diseases in infants and children: a cohort study and review.

Ultrastruct Pathol 2013 Oct;37(5):356-65

Division of Medical Pathology .

Pediatric diffuse lung diseases are rare disorders with an onset in the neonatal period or in infancy, characterized by chronic respiratory symptoms and diffuse interstitial changes on imaging studies. Genetic disorders of surfactant homeostasis represent the main etiology. Surfactant protein B and ABCA3 deficiencies typically cause neonatal respiratory failure, which is often lethal within a few weeks or months. Although heterozygous ABCA3 mutation carriers are mostly asymptomatic, there is growing evidence that monoallelic mutations may affect surfactant homeostasis. Surfactant protein C mutations are dominant or sporadic disorders leading to a broad spectrum of manifestations from neonatal respiratory distress syndrome to adult pulmonary fibrosis. The authors performed pathology and ultrastructural studies in 12 infants who underwent clinical lung biopsy. One carried a heterozygous SP-B mutation, 3 carried SP-C mutations, and 7 carried ABCA3 mutations (5 biallelic and 2 monoallelic). Optical microscopy made it possible to distinguish between surfactant-related disorders and other forms. One of the ABCA3 monoallelic carriers had morphological features of alveolar capillary dysplasia, a genetic disorder of lung alveolar, and vascular development. One patient showed no surfactant-related anomalies but had pulmonary interstitial glycogenosis, a developmental disorder of unknown origin. Electron microscopy revealed specific lamellar bodies anomalies in all SP-B, SP-C, and ABCA3 deficiency cases. In addition, the authors showed that heterozygous ABCA3 mutation carriers have an intermediate ultrastructural phenotype between homozygous carriers and normal subjects. Lung biopsy is an essential diagnostic procedure in unexplained diffuse lung disorders, and electron microscopy should be performed systematically, since it may reveal specific alterations in genetic disorders of surfactant homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/01913123.2013.811454DOI Listing
October 2013

IRF1 and NF-kB restore MHC class I-restricted tumor antigen processing and presentation to cytotoxic T cells in aggressive neuroblastoma.

PLoS One 2012 5;7(10):e46928. Epub 2012 Oct 5.

Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Department, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Neuroblastoma (NB), the most common solid extracranial cancer of childhood, displays a remarkable low expression of Major Histocompatibility Complex class I (MHC-I) and Antigen Processing Machinery (APM) molecules, including Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) Aminopeptidases, and poorly presents tumor antigens to Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTL). We have previously shown that this is due to low expression of the transcription factor NF-kB p65. Herein, we show that not only NF-kB p65, but also the Interferon Regulatory Factor 1 (IRF1) and certain APM components are low in a subset of NB cell lines with aggressive features. Whereas single transfection with either IRF1, or NF-kB p65 is ineffective, co-transfection results in strong synergy and substantial reversion of the MHC-I/APM-low phenotype in all NB cell lines tested. Accordingly, linked immunohistochemistry expression patterns between nuclear IRF1 and p65 on the one hand, and MHC-I on the other hand, were observed in vivo. Absence and presence of the three molecules neatly segregated between high-grade and low-grade NB, respectively. Finally, APM reconstitution by double IRF1/p65 transfection rendered a NB cell line susceptible to killing by anti MAGE-A3 CTLs, lytic efficiency comparable to those seen upon IFN-γ treatment. This is the first demonstration that a complex immune escape phenotype can be rescued by reconstitution of a limited number of master regulatory genes. These findings provide molecular insight into defective MHC-I expression in NB cells and provide the rational for T cell-based immunotherapy in NB variants refractory to conventional therapy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046928PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3465322PMC
April 2013

Distribution of cystinosin-LKG in human tissues.

Histochem Cell Biol 2012 Aug 29;138(2):351-63. Epub 2012 Apr 29.

Division of Nephrology, Department of Nephrology and Urology, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Nephropathic cystinosis is multisystemic progressive disorder caused by mutations of CTNS gene that encodes for the lysosomal cystine co-transporter cystinosin, and for a less abundant isoform termed cystinosin-LKG, which is expressed in not only lysosomes but also other cell compartments. To overcome the absence of high-quality antibodies against cystinosin, we have obtained a rabbit antiserum against cystinosin-LKG and have analyzed in human tissues the expression of the two known cystinosin isoforms by RT-PCR, and the expression of cystinosin-LKG by immunohistochemistry. In most tissues, CTNS-LKG represents 5-20 % of CTNS transcripts, with the exception of the testis that expresses both isoforms in equal proportions. Cystinosin-LKG was found to be highly expressed in renal tubular cells, pancreatic islets of Langerhans, Leydig cells of the testis, mucoserous glands of the bronchial wall, melanocytes and keratinocytes. These results are parallel with many features of cystinosis, such as early onset Fanconi syndrome, male infertility, diabetes mellitus and hypopigmentation. Intermediate expression levels were of the LKG isoform observed in the gastro-intestinal tract and thyroid glands; low levels of expression were observed in the brain, skeletal and cardiac muscles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00418-012-0958-8DOI Listing
August 2012

Markers of activated inflammatory cells correlate with severity of liver damage in children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Int J Mol Med 2012 Jul 10;30(1):49-56. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Unit of Pathology, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Concomitantly to the obesity epidemic, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the leading cause of liver disease in children. NAFLD encompasses a spectrum of histological damage ranging from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), with possible progression to cirrhosis. There is growing evidence that the immune system plays a pivotal role in the initiation and progression to NASH but the cellular nature of the hepatic inflammation is still unknown. The present study includes 34 children with biopsy-proven NAFLD. Liver damage was evaluated by the NAFLD activity score (NAS), and the inflammatory infiltrate was characterized by immunohistochemistry for CD45, CD3 and CD163 which are markers of leukocytes, T cells and activated Kupffer cells/macrophages, respectively. Our results have shown that CD45+ (P<0.0001) and CD163+ (P<0.0001) cells were markedly increased in children with severe histological activity (NAS≥5) compared to children with lower activity (NAS<5), whereas CD3+ cells were significantly lower (P<0.01) in children with severe histological activity. There was a significant association between the numbers of CD45+, CD3+ and CD163+ cells, regarding both the portal tract and liver lobule, and the severity of steatosis, ballooning and fibrosis (P<0.01). These data suggest that the severity and composition of the inflammatory infiltrate correlate with steatosis and the severity of disease in children with NAFLD. Moreover, a decrease in CD3+ cells may be involved in the pathogenesis of liver damage. Future studies should evaluate whether it can predict the progression of liver disease independently of established histological scores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2012.965DOI Listing
July 2012

Expression of multidrug resistance-associated proteins in paediatric soft tissue sarcomas before and after chemotherapy.

Int J Oncol 2012 Jul 10;41(1):117-24. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Pathology Department, IRCCS, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, I-00165 Rome, Italy.

Expression of multidrug resistance (MDR) proteins is thought to significantly contribute to the different biological/clinical behaviour of soft tissue sarcomas (STS) of various histological types and clinicopathological stages, as they are responsible for active efflux of cytotoxic drugs from tumour cells. We investigated the expression of 3 MDR proteins, i.e., permeability glycoprotein 1 (P-gp), multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1) and multidrug resistance 3 (MDR3), in 43 STS specimens from newly-diagnosed paediatric patients, 31 with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and 12 with non-RMS STS. To assess the influence of chemotherapy on STS drug resistance, the number of MDR-associated protein-positive cells was determined in 15 patients on both primary lesions before chemotherapy and on residual tumour after chemotherapy. At least one of the MDR-associated proteins tested was detected in 84% of primary untreated STS specimens. In these specimens, MRP1 was detected in a high percentage (70%) of the cases, followed by MDR3 in 58% and P-gp in 44%. Many specimens showed co-expression of two different MDR proteins. Interestingly, MDR3 was significantly associated with the presence of PAX3/PAX7-FKHR transcripts in RMS (p<0.05). Moreover, expression of MRP1 and MDR3 was significantly more frequent in group III and IV tumours as compared with those of groups I and II (p<0.01). After chemotherapy MRP1, MDR3 and, to a lesser extent, P-gp expression was found to be increased in most of the samples. The frequent expression of these MDR-associated proteins in primary tumour cells before chemotherapy and the increase of their levels after chemotherapy, suggest that these proteins play a pivotal role in conferring drug resistance and in producing therapy-induced differentiation on STS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2012.1433DOI Listing
July 2012

Attenuation of PI3K/Akt-mediated tumorigenic signals through PTEN activation by DNA vaccine-induced anti-ErbB2 antibodies.

J Immunol 2010 Apr 10;184(8):4170-7. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Institute Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

By studying BALB/c mice deficient in immune components, we show that the protective immunity to rat ErbB2(+) tumors rests on the Ab response elicited by the electroporation of a DNA vaccine encoding the extracellular and transmembrane domains of rat ErbB2. In vivo, the adoptive transfer of vaccine-elicited anti-rat ErbB2 Abs protected against a challenge of rat ErbB2(+) carcinoma cells (TUBO cells). In vitro, such Abs inhibited TUBO cell growth by impairing cell cycle progression and inducing apoptosis. To correlate intrinsic mechanisms of Ab action with their tumor-inhibitory potential, first we showed that TUBO cells constitutively express phosphorylated transgenic ErbB2/autochthonous ErbB3 heterodimers and exhibit a basal level of Akt phosphorylation, suggesting a constitutive activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Treatment with anti-ErbB2 Abs caused a drastic reduction in the basal level of Akt phosphorylation in the absence of an impairment of PI3K enzymatic activity. Notably, the same Ab treatment induced an increase in PTEN phosphatase activity that correlated with a reduced PTEN phosphorylation. In conclusion, vaccine-induced anti-ErbB2 Abs directly affected the transformed phenotype of rat ErbB2(+) tumors by impairing ErbB2-mediated PI3K/Akt signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.0903375DOI Listing
April 2010

Myc down-regulation sensitizes melanoma cells to radiotherapy by inhibiting MLH1 and MSH2 mismatch repair proteins.

Clin Cancer Res 2005 Apr;11(7):2756-67

Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca-Centro Ricerca S. Pietro and Unita di Radioterapia Oncologica S. Pietro, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: Melanoma patients have a very poor prognosis with a response rate of <1% due to advanced diagnosis. This type of tumor is particularly resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and the surgery remains the principal treatment for patients with localized melanoma. For this reason, there is particular interest in the melanoma biological therapy.

Experimental Design: Using two p53 mutant melanoma models stably expressing an inducible c-myc antisense RNA, we have investigated whether Myc protein down-regulation could render melanoma cells more susceptible to radiotherapy, reestablishing apoptotic p53-independent pathway. In addition to address the role of p53 in the activation of apoptosis, we studied the effect of Myc down-regulation on radiotherapy sensitivity also in a p53 wild-type melanoma cell line.

Results: Myc down-regulation is able per se to induce apoptosis in a fraction of the cell population (approximately 40% at 72 hours) and in combination with gamma radiation efficiently enhances the death process. In fact, approximately 80% of apoptotic cells are evident in Myc down-regulated cells exposed to gamma radiation for 72 hours compared with approximately 13% observed after only gamma radiation treatment. Consistent with the enhanced apoptosis is the inhibition of the MLH1 and MSH2 mismatch repair proteins, which, preventing the correction of ionizing radiation mismatches occurring during DNA replication, renders the cells more prone to radiation-induced apoptosis.

Conclusions: Data herein reported show that Myc down-regulation lowers the apoptotic threshold in melanoma cells by inhibiting MLH1 and MSH2 proteins, thus increasing cell sensitivity to gamma radiation in a p53-independent fashion. Our results indicate the basis for developing new antitumoral therapeutic strategy, improving the management of melanoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-04-1582DOI Listing
April 2005