Publications by authors named "Emily K Colvin"

30 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Precision Oncology in Surgery: Patient Selection for Operable Pancreatic Cancer.

Ann Surg 2020 08;272(2):366-376

Department of Surgery, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.

Objective: We aimed to define preoperative clinical and molecular characteristics that would allow better patient selection for operative resection.

Background: Although we use molecular selection methods for systemic targeted therapies, these principles are not applied to surgical oncology. Improving patient selection is of vital importance for the operative treatment of pancreatic cancer (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma). Although surgery is the only chance of long-term survival, 80% still succumb to the disease and approximately 30% die within 1 year, often sooner than those that have unresected local disease.

Method: In 3 independent pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cohorts (total participants = 1184) the relationship between aberrant expression of prometastatic proteins S100A2 and S100A4 and survival was assessed. A preoperative nomogram based on clinical variables available before surgery and expression of these proteins was constructed and compared to traditional measures, and a postoperative nomogram.

Results: High expression of either S100A2 or S100A4 was independent poor prognostic factors in a training cohort of 518 participants. These results were validated in 2 independent patient cohorts (Glasgow, n = 198; Germany, n = 468). Aberrant biomarker expression stratified the cohorts into 3 distinct prognostic groups. A preoperative nomogram incorporating S100A2 and S100A4 expression predicted survival and nomograms derived using postoperative clinicopathological variables.

Conclusions: Of those patients with a poor preoperative nomogram score, approximately 50% of patients died within a year of resection. Nomograms have the potential to improve selection for surgery and neoadjuvant therapy, avoiding surgery in aggressive disease, and justifying more extensive resections in biologically favorable disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SLA.0000000000003143DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373491PMC
August 2020

Modelling Epithelial Ovarian Cancer in Mice: Classical and Emerging Approaches.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Jul 7;21(13). Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute, Northern Sydney Local Health District, St Leonards, Sydney, NSW 2065, Australia.

High-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer (HGSC) is the most aggressive subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer. The identification of germline and somatic mutations along with genomic information unveiled by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and other studies has laid the foundation for establishing preclinical models with high fidelity to the molecular features of HGSC. Notwithstanding such progress, the field of HGSC research still lacks a model that is both robust and widely accessible. In this review, we discuss the recent advancements and utility of HGSC genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) to date. Further analysis and critique on alternative approaches to modelling HGSC considers technological advancements in somatic gene editing and modelling prototypic organs, capable of tumorigenesis, on a chip.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21134806DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7370285PMC
July 2020

Why the dual origins of high grade serous ovarian cancer matter.

Nat Commun 2020 03 5;11(1):1200. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute, Northern Sydney Local Health District, St Leonards, Sydney, NSW, 2065, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15089-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058006PMC
March 2020

Expression of long noncoding RNAs in cancer-associated fibroblasts linked to patient survival in ovarian cancer.

Cancer Sci 2020 May 28;111(5):1805-1817. Epub 2020 Mar 28.

School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the most abundant cell type in the tumor microenvironment and are responsible for producing the desmoplastic reaction that is a poor prognostic factor in ovarian cancer. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to play important roles in cancer. However, very little is known about the role of lncRNAs in the tumor microenvironment. We aimed to identify lncRNAs expressed in ovarian CAFs that were associated with patient survival and used computational approaches to predict their function. Increased expression of 9 lncRNAs and decreased expression of 1 lncRNA in ovarian CAFs were found to be associated with poorer overall survival. A "guilt-by-association" approach was used to predict the function of these lncRNAs. In particular, MIR155HG was predicted to play a role in immune response. Further investigation revealed high MIR155HG expression to be associated with higher infiltrates of immune cell subsets. In conclusion, these data indicate expression on several lncRNAs in CAFs are associated with patient survival and are likely to play an important role in regulating CAF function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cas.14350DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226184PMC
May 2020

Biodistribution and Clearance of Stable Superparamagnetic Maghemite Iron Oxide Nanoparticles in Mice Following Intraperitoneal Administration.

Int J Mol Sci 2018 Jan 10;19(1). Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

Nanomedicine is an emerging field with great potential in disease theranostics. We generated sterically stabilized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (s-SPIONs) with average core diameters of 10 and 25 nm and determined the in vivo biodistribution and clearance profiles. Healthy nude mice underwent an intraperitoneal injection of these s-SPIONs at a dose of 90 mg Fe/kg body weight. Tissue iron biodistribution was monitored by atomic absorption spectroscopy and Prussian blue staining. Histopathological examination was performed to assess tissue toxicity. The 10 nm s-SPIONs resulted in higher tissue-iron levels, whereas the 25 nm s-SPIONs peaked earlier and cleared faster. Increased iron levels were detected in all organs and body fluids tested except for the brain, with notable increases in the liver, spleen, and the omentum. The tissue-iron returned to control or near control levels within 7 days post-injection, except in the omentum, which had the largest and most variable accumulation of s-SPIONs. No obvious tissue changes were noted although an influx of macrophages was observed in several tissues suggesting their involvement in s-SPION sequestration and clearance. These results demonstrate that the s-SPIONs do not degrade or aggregate in vivo and intraperitoneal administration is well tolerated, with a broad and transient biodistribution. In an ovarian tumor model, s-SPIONs were shown to accumulate in the tumors, highlighting their potential use as a chemotherapy delivery agent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms19010205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796154PMC
January 2018

Functional prediction of long non-coding RNAs in ovarian cancer-associated fibroblasts indicate a potential role in metastasis.

Sci Rep 2017 09 4;7(1):10374. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States.

Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) contribute to the poor prognosis of ovarian cancer. Unlike in tumour cells, DNA mutations are rare in CAFs, raising the likelihood of other mechanisms that regulate gene expression such as long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). We aimed to identify lncRNAs that contribute to the tumour-promoting phenotype of CAFs. RNA expression from 67 ovarian CAF samples and 10 normal ovarian fibroblast (NOF) samples were analysed to identify differentially expressed lncRNAs and a functional network was constructed to predict those CAF-specific lncRNAs involved in metastasis. Of the 1,970 lncRNAs available for analysis on the gene expression array used, 39 unique lncRNAs were identified as differentially expressed in CAFs versus NOFs. The predictive power of differentially expressed lncRNAs in distinguishing CAFs from NOFs were assessed using multiple multivariate models. Interrogation of known transcription factor-lncRNA interactions, transcription factor-gene interactions and construction of a context-specific interaction network identified multiple lncRNAs predicted to play a role in metastasis. We have identified novel lncRNAs in ovarian cancer that are differentially expressed in CAFs compared to NOFs and are predicted to contribute to the metastasis-promoting phenotype of CAFs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-10869-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5583324PMC
September 2017

Whole-genome landscape of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.

Nature 2017 03 15;543(7643):65-71. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston Road, Brisbane 4006, Australia.

The diagnosis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PanNETs) is increasing owing to more sensitive detection methods, and this increase is creating challenges for clinical management. We performed whole-genome sequencing of 102 primary PanNETs and defined the genomic events that characterize their pathogenesis. Here we describe the mutational signatures they harbour, including a deficiency in G:C > T:A base excision repair due to inactivation of MUTYH, which encodes a DNA glycosylase. Clinically sporadic PanNETs contain a larger-than-expected proportion of germline mutations, including previously unreported mutations in the DNA repair genes MUTYH, CHEK2 and BRCA2. Together with mutations in MEN1 and VHL, these mutations occur in 17% of patients. Somatic mutations, including point mutations and gene fusions, were commonly found in genes involved in four main pathways: chromatin remodelling, DNA damage repair, activation of mTOR signalling (including previously undescribed EWSR1 gene fusions), and telomere maintenance. In addition, our gene expression analyses identified a subgroup of tumours associated with hypoxia and HIF signalling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature21063DOI Listing
March 2017

Transgenic Mouse Models of SV40-Induced Cancer.

ILAR J 2016 ;57(1):44-54

Amanda L. Hudson, PhD, is a Sydney Neuro-Oncology Group postdoctoral fellow at the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute, Northern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Medical School Northern, University of Sydney, St. Leonards, NSW, Australia. Emily K. Colvin is a Cancer Institute NSW postdoctoral fellow at the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute, Northern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Medical School Northern, University of Sydney, St. Leonards, NSW, Australia.

The SV40 viral oncogene has been used since the 1970s as a reliable and reproducible method to generate transgenic mouse models. This seminal discovery has taught us an immense amount about how tumorigenesis occurs, and its success has led to the evolution of many mouse models of cancer. Despite the development of more modern and targeted approaches for developing genetically engineered mouse models of cancer, SV40-induced mouse models still remain frequently used today. This review discusses a number of cancer types in which SV40 mouse models of cancer have been developed and highlights their relevance and importance to preclinical research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ilar/ilw001DOI Listing
January 2017

Genomic analyses identify molecular subtypes of pancreatic cancer.

Nature 2016 Mar 24;531(7592):47-52. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.

Integrated genomic analysis of 456 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas identified 32 recurrently mutated genes that aggregate into 10 pathways: KRAS, TGF-β, WNT, NOTCH, ROBO/SLIT signalling, G1/S transition, SWI-SNF, chromatin modification, DNA repair and RNA processing. Expression analysis defined 4 subtypes: (1) squamous; (2) pancreatic progenitor; (3) immunogenic; and (4) aberrantly differentiated endocrine exocrine (ADEX) that correlate with histopathological characteristics. Squamous tumours are enriched for TP53 and KDM6A mutations, upregulation of the TP63∆N transcriptional network, hypermethylation of pancreatic endodermal cell-fate determining genes and have a poor prognosis. Pancreatic progenitor tumours preferentially express genes involved in early pancreatic development (FOXA2/3, PDX1 and MNX1). ADEX tumours displayed upregulation of genes that regulate networks involved in KRAS activation, exocrine (NR5A2 and RBPJL), and endocrine differentiation (NEUROD1 and NKX2-2). Immunogenic tumours contained upregulated immune networks including pathways involved in acquired immune suppression. These data infer differences in the molecular evolution of pancreatic cancer subtypes and identify opportunities for therapeutic development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature16965DOI Listing
March 2016

The Extracellular Matrix in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer - A Piece of a Puzzle.

Front Oncol 2015 2;5:245. Epub 2015 Nov 2.

Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute, Northern Sydney Local Health District , St. Leonards, NSW , Australia ; Sydney Medical School Northern, University of Sydney , Sydney, NSW , Australia.

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women and the most lethal gynecological malignancy. Extracellular matrix (ECM) is an integral component of both the normal and tumor microenvironment. ECM composition varies between tissues and is crucial for maintaining normal function and homeostasis. Dysregulation and aberrant deposition or loss of ECM components is implicated in ovarian cancer progression. The mechanisms by which tumor cells induce ECM remodeling to promote a malignant phenotype are yet to be elucidated. A thorough understanding of the role of the ECM in ovarian cancer is needed for the development of effective biomarkers and new therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2015.00245DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4629462PMC
November 2015

Connective tissue growth factor as a novel therapeutic target in high grade serous ovarian cancer.

Oncotarget 2015 Dec;6(42):44551-62

Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Cancer Research Program, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia.

Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death among women with gynecologic cancer. We examined molecular profiles of fibroblasts from normal ovary and high-grade serous ovarian tumors to identify novel therapeutic targets involved in tumor progression. We identified 2,300 genes that are significantly differentially expressed in tumor-associated fibroblasts. Fibroblast expression of one of these genes, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. CTGF protein expression in ovarian tumor fibroblasts significantly correlated with gene expression levels. CTGF is a secreted component of the tumor microenvironment and is being pursued as a therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer. We examined its effect in in vitro and ex vivo ovarian cancer models, and examined associations between CTGF expression and clinico-pathologic characteristics in patients. CTGF promotes migration and peritoneal adhesion of ovarian cancer cells. These effects are abrogated by FG-3019, a human monoclonal antibody against CTGF, currently under clinical investigation as a therapeutic agent. Immunohistochemical analyses of high-grade serous ovarian tumors reveal that the highest level of tumor stromal CTGF expression was correlated with the poorest prognosis. Our findings identify CTGF as a promoter of peritoneal adhesion, likely to mediate metastasis, and a potential therapeutic target in high-grade serous ovarian cancer. These results warrant further studies into the therapeutic efficacy of FG-3019 in high-grade serous ovarian cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4792575PMC
December 2015

Granulosa Cell-Specific Brca1 Loss Alone or Combined with Trp53 Haploinsufficiency and Transgenic FSH Expression Fails to Induce Ovarian Tumors.

Horm Cancer 2015 Aug 6;6(4):142-52. Epub 2015 May 6.

ANZAC Research Institute, University of Sydney, Concord Hospital, Sydney, NSW, 2139, Australia.

BRCA1 mutations are associated with ovarian cancer. Previous studies reported that murine granulosa cell (GC) Brca1 loss caused ovarian-uterine tumors resembling serous cystadenomas, but the pathogenesis of these tumors may have been confounded by ectopic Brca1 expression and altered estrous cycling. We have used Tg.AMH.Cre conferring proven ovarian and GC-specific Cre activity to selectively target Brca1 disruption, denoted Brca1(GC-/-). Furthermore, ovary-specific Brca1(GC-/-) was combined with global Trp53 haploinsufficiency (Trp53(+/-)) and transgenic follicle-stimulating hormone (Tg.FSH) overexpression as a multi-hit strategy to investigate additional genetic and hormonal ovarian tumorigenesis mechanisms. However, 12-month-old Brca1(GC-/-) mice had no detectable ovarian or uterine tumors. Brca1(GC-/-) mice had significantly increased ovary weights, follicles exhibiting more pyknotic granulosa cells, and fewer corpora lutea with regular estrous cycling compared to controls. Isolated Brca1(GC-/-) mutation lengthened the estrous cycle and proestrus stage; however, ovarian cystadenomas were not observed, even when Brca1(GC-/-) was combined with Trp53(+/-) and overexpressed Tg.FSH. Our Brca1(GC-/-) models reveal that specific intra-follicular Brca1 loss alone, or combined with cancer-promoting genetic (Trp53 loss) and endocrine (high serum FSH) changes, was not sufficient to cause ovarian tumors. Our findings show that the ovary is remarkably resistant to oncogenesis, and support the emerging view of an extragonadal, multi-hit origin for ovarian tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12672-015-0222-5DOI Listing
August 2015

Whole genomes redefine the mutational landscape of pancreatic cancer.

Nature 2015 Feb;518(7540):495-501

Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.

Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal of malignancies and a major health burden. We performed whole-genome sequencing and copy number variation (CNV) analysis of 100 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). Chromosomal rearrangements leading to gene disruption were prevalent, affecting genes known to be important in pancreatic cancer (TP53, SMAD4, CDKN2A, ARID1A and ROBO2) and new candidate drivers of pancreatic carcinogenesis (KDM6A and PREX2). Patterns of structural variation (variation in chromosomal structure) classified PDACs into 4 subtypes with potential clinical utility: the subtypes were termed stable, locally rearranged, scattered and unstable. A significant proportion harboured focal amplifications, many of which contained druggable oncogenes (ERBB2, MET, FGFR1, CDK6, PIK3R3 and PIK3CA), but at low individual patient prevalence. Genomic instability co-segregated with inactivation of DNA maintenance genes (BRCA1, BRCA2 or PALB2) and a mutational signature of DNA damage repair deficiency. Of 8 patients who received platinum therapy, 4 of 5 individuals with these measures of defective DNA maintenance responded.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523082PMC
February 2015

The epigenetic agents suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid and 5‑AZA‑2' deoxycytidine decrease cell proliferation, induce cell death and delay the growth of MiaPaCa2 pancreatic cancer cells in vivo.

Int J Oncol 2015 May 16;46(5):2223-30. Epub 2015 Feb 16.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia.

Despite incremental advances in the diagnosis and treatment for pancreatic cancer (PC), the 5‑year survival rate remains <5%. Novel therapies to increase survival and quality of life for PC patients are desperately needed. Epigenetic thera-peutic agents such as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) have demonstrated therapeutic benefits in human cancer. We assessed the efficacy of these epigenetic therapeutic agents as potential therapies for PC using in vitro and in vivo models. Treatment with HDACi [suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA)] and DNMTi [5‑AZA‑2' deoxycytidine (5‑AZA‑dc)] decreased cell proliferation in MiaPaCa2 cells, and SAHA treatment, with or without 5‑AZA‑dc, resulted in higher cell death and lower DNA synthesis compared to 5‑AZA‑dc alone and controls (DMSO). Further, combination treatment with SAHA and 5‑AZA‑dc significantly increased expression of p21WAF1, leading to G1 arrest. Treatment with epigenetic agents delayed tumour growth in vivo, but did not decrease growth of established pancreatic tumours. In conclusion, these data demonstrate a potential role for epigenetic modifier drugs for the management of PC, specifically in the chemoprevention of PC, in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2015.2894DOI Listing
May 2015

Genetically engineered insertional mutagenesis in mice to model cancer: Sleeping Beauty.

Methods Mol Biol 2014 ;1194:367-83

Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, Level 8, Kolling Building, St Leonards, NSW, 2065, Australia,

The ability to accurately model human cancer in mice enables in vivo examination of the biological mechanisms related to cancer initiation and progression as well as preclinical testing of new anticancer treatments and potential targets. The emergence of the genetically engineered Sleeping Beauty system of insertional mutagenesis has led to the development of a new generation of genetic mouse models of cancer and identification of novel cancer-causing genes. This chapter reviews the published cancer models of Sleeping Beauty and strategies using available strains to generate several models of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-1215-5_21DOI Listing
March 2015

Tumor-associated macrophages contribute to tumor progression in ovarian cancer.

Authors:
Emily K Colvin

Front Oncol 2014 6;4:137. Epub 2014 Jun 6.

Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney , St. Leonards, NSW , Australia.

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death in women with gynecological malignancy and improvements in current treatments are needed. As with many other solid cancers, the ovarian tumor microenvironment is emerging as a key player in tumor progression and a potential therapeutic target. The tumor microenvironment contains several non-malignant cell types that are known to contribute to tumor progression and metastasis. Included in this population of non-malignant cells are several different types of immune cells, of which tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are the most abundant. An increasing amount of evidence is emerging to suggest that TAMs display a unique activation profile in ovarian tumors and are able to create an immunosuppressive microenvironment, allowing tumors to evade immune detection and promoting tumor progression. Therefore, an increased understanding of how these immune cells interact with tumor cells and the microenvironment will greatly benefit the development of more effective immunotherapies to treat ovarian cancer. This review focuses on the role of TAMs in the ovarian tumor microenvironment and how they promote tumor progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2014.00137DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4047518PMC
June 2014

A historical perspective of pancreatic cancer mouse models.

Semin Cell Dev Biol 2014 Mar 28;27:96-105. Epub 2014 Mar 28.

Pancreatic Cancer Research, Nutrition, Food and Health Research Group, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:

Pancreatic cancer is an inherently aggressive disease with an extremely poor prognosis and lack of effective treatments. Over the past few decades, much has been uncovered regarding the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer and the underlying genetic alterations necessary for tumour initiation and progression. Much of what we know about pancreatic cancer has come from mouse models of this disease. This review focusses on the development of genetically engineered mouse models that phenotypically and genetically recapitulate human pancreatic cancer, as well as the increasing use of patient-derived xenografts for preclinical studies and the development of personalised medicine strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcdb.2014.03.025DOI Listing
March 2014

SV40 TAg mouse models of cancer.

Semin Cell Dev Biol 2014 Mar 25;27:61-73. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, New South Wales 2065, Australia. Electronic address:

The discovery of a number of viruses with the ability to induce tumours in animals and transform human cells has vastly impacted cancer research. Much of what is known about tumorigenesis today regarding tumour drivers and tumour suppressors has been discovered through experiments using viruses. The SV40 virus has proven extremely successful in generating transgenic models of many human cancer types and this review provides an overview of these models and seeks to give evidence as to their relevance in this modern era of personalised medicine and technological advancements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcdb.2014.02.004DOI Listing
March 2014

Histomolecular phenotypes and outcome in adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of vater.

J Clin Oncol 2013 Apr 25;31(10):1348-56. Epub 2013 Feb 25.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW 2010 Australia.

Purpose: Individuals with adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater demonstrate a broad range of outcomes, presumably because these cancers may arise from any one of the three epithelia that converge at that location. This variability poses challenges for clinical decision making and the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Patients And Methods: We assessed the potential clinical utility of histomolecular phenotypes defined using a combination of histopathology and protein expression (CDX2 and MUC1) in 208 patients from three independent cohorts who underwent surgical resection for adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater.

Results: Histologic subtype and CDX2 and MUC1 expression were significant prognostic variables. Patients with a histomolecular pancreaticobiliary phenotype (CDX2 negative, MUC1 positive) segregated into a poor prognostic group in the training (hazard ratio [HR], 3.34; 95% CI, 1.69 to 6.62; P < .001) and both validation cohorts (HR, 5.65; 95% CI, 2.77 to 11.5; P < .001 and HR, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.25 to 7.17; P = .0119) compared with histomolecular nonpancreaticobiliary carcinomas. Further stratification by lymph node (LN) status defined three clinically relevant subgroups: one, patients with histomolecular nonpancreaticobiliary (intestinal) carcinoma without LN metastases who had an excellent prognosis; two, those with histomolecular pancreaticobiliary carcinoma with LN metastases who had a poor outcome; and three, the remainder of patients (nonpancreaticobiliary, LN positive or pancreaticobiliary, LN negative) who had an intermediate outcome.

Conclusion: Histopathologic and molecular criteria combine to define clinically relevant histomolecular phenotypes of adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater and potentially represent distinct diseases with significant implications for current therapeutic strategies, the ability to interpret past clinical trials, and future trial design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2012.46.8868DOI Listing
April 2013

Sirtuin-1 regulates acinar-to-ductal metaplasia and supports cancer cell viability in pancreatic cancer.

Cancer Res 2013 Apr 31;73(7):2357-67. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia.

The exocrine pancreas can undergo acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM), as in the case of pancreatitis where precursor lesions of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) can arise. The NAD(+)-dependent protein deacetylase Sirtuin-1 (Sirt1) has been implicated in carcinogenesis with dual roles depending on its subcellular localization. In this study, we examined the expression and the role of Sirt1 in different stages of pancreatic carcinogenesis, i.e. ADM models and established PDAC. In addition, we analyzed the expression of KIAA1967, a key mediator of Sirt1 function, along with potential Sirt1 downstream targets. Sirt1 was co-expressed with KIAA1967 in the nuclei of normal pancreatic acinar cells. In ADM, Sirt1 underwent a transient nuclear-to-cytoplasmic shuttling. Experiments where during ADM, we enforced repression of Sirt1 shuttling, inhibition of Sirt1 activity or modulation of its expression, all underscore that the temporary decrease of nuclear and increase of cytoplasmic Sirt1 stimulate ADM. Our results further underscore that important transcriptional regulators of acinar differentiation, that is, Pancreatic transcription factor-1a and β-catenin can be deacetylated by Sirt1. Inhibition of Sirt1 is effective in suppression of ADM and in reducing cell viability in established PDAC tumors. KIAA1967 expression is differentially downregulated in PDAC and impacts on the sensitivity of PDAC cells to the Sirt1/2 inhibitor Tenovin-6. In PDAC, acetylation of β-catenin is not affected, unlike p53, a well-characterized Sirt1-regulated protein in tumor cells. Our results reveal that Sirt1 is an important regulator and potential therapeutic target in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-3359DOI Listing
April 2013

Pancreatic cancer genomes reveal aberrations in axon guidance pathway genes.

Nature 2012 Nov 24;491(7424):399-405. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, 370 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales 2010, Australia.

Pancreatic cancer is a highly lethal malignancy with few effective therapies. We performed exome sequencing and copy number analysis to define genomic aberrations in a prospectively accrued clinical cohort (n = 142) of early (stage I and II) sporadic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Detailed analysis of 99 informative tumours identified substantial heterogeneity with 2,016 non-silent mutations and 1,628 copy-number variations. We define 16 significantly mutated genes, reaffirming known mutations (KRAS, TP53, CDKN2A, SMAD4, MLL3, TGFBR2, ARID1A and SF3B1), and uncover novel mutated genes including additional genes involved in chromatin modification (EPC1 and ARID2), DNA damage repair (ATM) and other mechanisms (ZIM2, MAP2K4, NALCN, SLC16A4 and MAGEA6). Integrative analysis with in vitro functional data and animal models provided supportive evidence for potential roles for these genetic aberrations in carcinogenesis. Pathway-based analysis of recurrently mutated genes recapitulated clustering in core signalling pathways in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and identified new mutated genes in each pathway. We also identified frequent and diverse somatic aberrations in genes described traditionally as embryonic regulators of axon guidance, particularly SLIT/ROBO signalling, which was also evident in murine Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated somatic mutagenesis models of pancreatic cancer, providing further supportive evidence for the potential involvement of axon guidance genes in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11547DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3530898PMC
November 2012

Retinoid signaling in pancreatic cancer, injury and regeneration.

PLoS One 2011 29;6(12):e29075. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia.

Background: Activation of embryonic signaling pathways quiescent in the adult pancreas is a feature of pancreatic cancer (PC). These discoveries have led to the development of novel inhibitors of pathways such as Notch and Hedgehog signaling that are currently in early phase clinical trials in the treatment of several cancer types. Retinoid signaling is also essential for pancreatic development, and retinoid therapy is used successfully in other malignancies such as leukemia, but little is known concerning retinoid signaling in PC.

Methodology/principal Findings: We investigated the role of retinoid signaling in vitro and in vivo in normal pancreas, pancreatic injury, regeneration and cancer. Retinoid signaling is active in occasional cells in the adult pancreas but is markedly augmented throughout the parenchyma during injury and regeneration. Both chemically induced and genetically engineered mouse models of PC exhibit a lack of retinoid signaling activity compared to normal pancreas. As a consequence, we investigated Cellular Retinoid Binding Protein 1 (CRBP1), a key regulator of retinoid signaling known to play a role in breast cancer development, as a potential therapeutic target. Loss, or significant downregulation of CRBP1 was present in 70% of human PC, and was evident in the very earliest precursor lesions (PanIN-1A). However, in vitro gain and loss of function studies and CRBP1 knockout mice suggested that loss of CRBP1 expression alone was not sufficient to induce carcinogenesis or to alter PC sensitivity to retinoid based therapies.

Conclusions/significance: In conclusion, retinoid signalling appears to play a role in pancreatic regeneration and carcinogenesis, but unlike breast cancer, it is not mediated directly by CRBP1.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0029075PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3248409PMC
April 2012

Adult cardiac-resident MSC-like stem cells with a proepicardial origin.

Cell Stem Cell 2011 Dec;9(6):527-40

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, 2010, Australia.

Colony-forming units - fibroblast (CFU-Fs), analogous to those giving rise to bone marrow (BM) mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), are present in many organs, although the relationship between BM and organ-specific CFU-Fs in homeostasis and tissue repair is unknown. Here we describe a population of adult cardiac-resident CFU-Fs (cCFU-Fs) that occupy a perivascular, adventitial niche and show broad trans-germ layer potency in vitro and in vivo. CRE lineage tracing and embryo analysis demonstrated a proepicardial origin for cCFU-Fs. Furthermore, in BM transplantation chimeras, we found no interchange between BM and cCFU-Fs after aging, myocardial infarction, or BM stem cell mobilization. BM and cardiac and aortic CFU-Fs had distinct CRE lineage signatures, indicating that they arise from different progenitor beds during development. These diverse origins for CFU-Fs suggest an underlying basis for differentiation biases seen in different CFU-F populations, and could also influence their capacity for participating in tissue repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2011.10.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3652240PMC
December 2011

Recruitment and activation of pancreatic stellate cells from the bone marrow in pancreatic cancer: a model of tumor-host interaction.

PLoS One 2011 14;6(10):e26088. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia.

Background And Aims: Chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer are characterised by extensive stellate cell mediated fibrosis, and current therapeutic development includes targeting pancreatic cancer stroma and tumor-host interactions. Recent evidence has suggested that circulating bone marrow derived stem cells (BMDC) contribute to solid organs. We aimed to define the role of circulating haematopoietic cells in the normal and diseased pancreas.

Methods: Whole bone marrow was harvested from male β-actin-EGFP donor mice and transplanted into irradiated female recipient C57/BL6 mice. Chronic pancreatitis was induced with repeat injections of caerulein, while carcinogenesis was induced with an intrapancreatic injection of dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA). Phenotype of engrafted donor-derived cells within the pancreas was assessed by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and in situ hybridisation.

Results: GFP positive cells were visible in the exocrine pancreatic epithelia from 3 months post transplantation. These exhibited acinar morphology and were positive for amylase and peanut agglutinin. Mice administered caerulein developed chronic pancreatitis while DMBA mice exhibited precursor lesions and pancreatic cancer. No acinar cells were identified to be donor-derived upon cessation of cerulein treatment, however rare occurrences of bone marrow-derived acinar cells were observed during pancreatic regeneration. Increased recruitment of BMDC was observed within the desmoplastic stroma, contributing to the activated pancreatic stellate cell (PaSC) population in both diseases. Expression of stellate cell markers CELSR3, PBX1 and GFAP was observed in BMD cancer-associated PaSCs, however cancer-associated, but not pancreatitis-associated BMD PaSCs, expressed the cancer PaSC specific marker CELSR3.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that BMDC can incorporate into the pancreas and adopt the differentiated state of the exocrine compartment. BMDC that contribute to the activated PaSC population in chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer have different phenotypes, and may play important roles in these diseases. Further, bone marrow transplantation may provide a useful model for the study of tumor-host interactions in cancer and pancreatitis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0026088PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193536PMC
February 2012

Clinical and immunohistochemical features of 34 solid pseudopapillary tumors of the pancreas.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2011 Feb;26(2):267-74

Department of Gastroenterology, Bankstown Hospital, New South Wales, Australia.

Background And Aim: Clinicopathological data regarding pancreatic solid pseudopapillary tumors (SPT) in a multiethnic country are limited. The aim of the present study was to characterize pancreatic SPT in Australia.

Methods: Clinicopathological features, treatment, immunohistochemical findings and outcome data of 34 patients (79% Caucasian, 12% Asian, 6% South Pacific Islander and 3% African) with pancreatic SPT were reviewed.

Results: The most presenting complaint was abdominal pain. Median diameter of tumors was 60 mm (range: 20-220); predominantly located in the pancreatic tail (tail : body : head = 23:3:8). All tumors were resected and patients underwent surgery, including a liver resection for metastasis, all patients were alive after a median follow up of 70 months (IQR: 48-178). Two patients underwent repeated surgery for local recurrences with liver metastases after 8 and 18 months, which were successfully managed by surgical resection. Completeness of excision, perineural spread, vascular space invasion, mitotic rate and cellular atypia did not predict recurrence. In all cases, there was aberrant nuclear staining of beta-catenin and a loss of membranous expression of E-cadherin with aberrant nuclear localization of the cytoplasmic domain. Most pancreatic SPT were also strongly positive for CD10 (96%), progesterone receptor (79%), cytokeratin (28%), synapthophysin (26%) and chromogranin (15%).

Conclusions: Pancreatic SPT occur in all races and are uniformly indolent. Given complete resection of a pancreatic SPT is usually curative and recurrences can be treated with re-operation, correct diagnosis is important.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1746.2010.06466.xDOI Listing
February 2011

Messina: a novel analysis tool to identify biologically relevant molecules in disease.

PLoS One 2009 28;4(4):e5337. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia.

Background: Morphologically similar cancers display heterogeneous patterns of molecular aberrations and follow substantially different clinical courses. This diversity has become the basis for the definition of molecular phenotypes, with significant implications for therapy. Microarray or proteomic expression profiling is conventionally employed to identify disease-associated genes, however, traditional approaches for the analysis of profiling experiments may miss molecular aberrations which define biologically relevant subtypes.

Methodology/principal Findings: Here we present Messina, a method that can identify those genes that only sometimes show aberrant expression in cancer. We demonstrate with simulated data that Messina is highly sensitive and specific when used to identify genes which are aberrantly expressed in only a proportion of cancers, and compare Messina to contemporary analysis techniques. We illustrate Messina by using it to detect the aberrant expression of a gene that may play an important role in pancreatic cancer.

Conclusions/significance: Messina allows the detection of genes with profiles typical of markers of molecular subtype, and complements existing methods to assist the identification of such markers. Messina is applicable to any global expression profiling data, and to allow its easy application has been packaged into a freely-available stand-alone software package.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0005337PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671167PMC
July 2009

Margin clearance and outcome in resected pancreatic cancer.

J Clin Oncol 2009 Jun 27;27(17):2855-62. Epub 2009 Apr 27.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales 2010, Australia.

Purpose: Current adjuvant therapies for pancreatic cancer (PC) are inconsistently used and only modestly effective. Because a high proportion of patients who undergo resection for PC likely harbor occult metastatic disease, any adjuvant trials assessing therapies such as radiotherapy directed at locoregional disease are significantly underpowered. Stratification based on the probability (and volume) of residual locoregional disease could play an important role in the design of future clinical trials assessing adjuvant radiotherapy.

Patients And Methods: We assessed the relationships between margin involvement, the proximity to operative resection margins and outcome in a cohort of 365 patients who underwent operative resection for PC.

Results: Microscopic involvement of a resection margin by tumor was associated with a poor prognosis. Stratifying the minimum clearance of resection margins by 0.5-mm increments demonstrated that although median survival was no different to clear margins based on these definitions, it was not until the resection margin was clear by more than 1.5 mm that optimal long-term survival was achieved.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that a margin clearance of more than 1.5 mm is important for long-term survival in a subgroup of patients. More aggressive therapeutic approaches that target locoregional disease such as radiotherapy may be beneficial in patients with close surgical margins. Stratification of patients for entry onto future clinical trials based on this criterion may identify those patients who benefit from adjuvant radiotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2008.20.5104DOI Listing
June 2009

Expression of S100A2 calcium-binding protein predicts response to pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer.

Gastroenterology 2009 Aug 16;137(2):558-68, 568.e1-11. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Background & Aims: Current methods of preoperative staging and predicting outcome following pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer (PC) are inadequate. We evaluated the utility of multiple biomarkers from distinct biologic pathways as potential predictive markers of response to pancreatectomy and patient survival.

Methods: We assessed the relationship of candidate biomarkers known, or suspected, to be aberrantly expressed in PC, with disease-specific survival and response to therapy in a cohort of 601 patients.

Results: Of the 17 candidate biomarkers examined, only elevated expression of S100A2 was an independent predictor of survival in both the training (n = 162) and validation sets (n = 439; hazard ratio [HR], 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.48-3.25; P < .0001) when assessed in a multivariate model with clinical variables. Patients with high S100A2 expressing tumors had no survival benefit with pancreatectomy compared with those with locally advanced disease, whereas those without high S100A2 expression had a survival advantage of 10.6 months (19.4 vs 8.8 months, respectively) and a HR of 3.23 (95% CI: 2.39-4.33; P < .0001). Of significance, patients with S100A2-negative tumors had a significant survival benefit from pancreatectomy even in the presence of involved surgical margins (median, 15.7 months; P = .0007) or lymph node metastases (median, 17.4 months; P = .0002).

Conclusions: S100A2 expression is a good predictor of response to pancreatectomy for PC and suggests that high S100A2 expression may be a marker of a metastatic phenotype. Prospective measurement of S100A2 expression in diagnostic biopsy samples has potential clinical utility as a predictive marker of response to pancreatectomy and other therapies that target locoregional disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2009.04.009DOI Listing
August 2009