Publications by authors named "Maria Serena Benassi"

45 Publications

MiRNAs in Canine and Human Osteosarcoma: A Highlight Review on Comparative Biomolecular Aspects.

Cells 2021 Feb 18;10(2). Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Laboratory of experimental Oncology, IRCCS-Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, 40136 Bologna, Italy.

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most frequent primary malignant tumor of bone in humans and animals. Comparative oncology is a field of study that examines the cancer risk and tumor progression across the species. The canine model is ideally suited for translational cancer research. The biological and clinical characteristics of human and canine OS are common to hypothesize as that several living and environmental common conditions shared between the two species can influence some etiopathogenetic mechanisms, for which the canine species represents an important model of comparison with the human species. In the canine and human species, osteosarcoma is the tumor of bone with the highest frequency, with a value of about 80-85% (in respect to all other bone tumors), a high degree of invasiveness, and a high rate of metastasis and malignancy. Humans and dogs have many genetic and biomolecular similarities such as alterations in the expression of p53 and in some types of microRNAs that our working group has already described previously in several separate works. In this paper, we report and collect new comparative biomolecular features of osteosarcoma in dogs and humans, which may represent an innovative update on the biomolecular profile of this tumor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells10020428DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922516PMC
February 2021

miR-106B-25 Cluster expression: a comparative human and canine osteosarcoma study.

Vet Rec Open 2020 8;7(1):e000379. Epub 2020 Mar 8.

Oncologia Sperimentale, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Bologna, Italy.

Background: Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignant bone tumour in dogs and human beings, characterised by similar genetic and clinical features. With the aim to define similarities and differences in the biological aspects involved in OS progression, a comparative study was performed to create a model to improve patient outcome.

Methods: First, the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) belonging to the cluster miR-106b-25 (miR-106b, miR-25 and miR-93-5p) in human and canine OS tissue was compared.

Results: miR-25 and miR-106b presented a variable expression not significantly different from the corresponding normal bone, while miR-93-5p expression was increased in all OS specimens, with higher levels in the canine subset compared with human. Accordingly, its target p21 presented a weaker and less homogeneous immunostaining distribution in the canine group. Given the high expression of miR-93-5p in all OS specimens, the functional response of human 143B and canine DAN OS cells to miRNA inhibition was evaluated. Although p21 expression increased after miR-93-5p inhibition both at mRNA and protein level, a more significant cell response in terms of proliferation and apoptosis was seen in canine OS cells.

Conclusions: In conclusion, canine OS tissue and cell line presented higher expression levels of miR-93-5p than human OS. In addition, the introduction of miR-93-5p inhibitor caused a cell response in 143B and DAN that differed for the more intense functional impact in the canine OS cell line.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vetreco-2019-000379DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7061892PMC
March 2020

Histological and molecular features of solitary fibrous tumor of the extremities: clinical correlation.

Virchows Arch 2020 Mar 28;476(3):445-454. Epub 2019 Aug 28.

Department of Pathology, IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy.

Solitary fibrous tumor is a rare mesenchymal neoplasm that exhibits a broad spectrum of biological behaviors. Few studies relative to clinical-pathologic features and predictive factors have been reported, all involving a mixed population of tumors occurring at different anatomic sites. In this study, we described a cohort of 41 patients with solitary fibrous tumor of the extremities and evaluated the prognostic role of clinical and histological features, presence of C228T and C250T mutations at the TERT promoter region, and NAB2-STAT6 fusion variants. Patients were stratified according to the latest risk stratification model proposed by Demicco. The two patients with metastasis at presentation were in the high-risk group; the one with metastasis after surgery was classified in the intermediate-risk group. TERT promoter mutations were detected in 9 out of 38 DNA available. All patients with metastasis were characterized by a TERT promoter mutation. TERT promoter mutation was associated with mitoses > 4 per high-power field (p = 0.001), necrosis (p = 0.049), and size > 10 cm (p = 0.031). NAB2-STAT6 fusion variants were detected in 27 out of 41 cases without any prognostic value. In conclusion, we confirmed that the patients with solitary fibrous tumor of the limbs have a better prognosis than other solitary fibrous tumors, with a very low percentage of metastatic events. Besides, our data support an association between TERT promoter mutations and histologically malignant features, suggesting a possible molecular role in stratifying patients into intermediate- to high-risk tumor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00428-019-02650-5DOI Listing
March 2020

Effect of different anaesthetic techniques on gene expression profiles in patients who underwent hip arthroplasty.

PLoS One 2019 25;14(7):e0219113. Epub 2019 Jul 25.

Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Objectives: To investigate the modulation of genes whose expression level is indicative of stress and toxicity following exposure to three anaesthesia techniques, general anaesthesia (GA), regional anaesthesia (RA), or integrated anaesthesia (IA).

Methods: Patients scheduled for hip arthroplasty receiving GA, RA and IA were enrolled at Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna, Italy and the expression of genes involved in toxicology were evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected before (T0), immediately after surgery (T1), and on the third day (T2) after surgery in association with biochemical parameters.

Results: All three anaesthesia methods proved safe and reliable in terms of pain relief and patient recovery. Gene ontology analysis revealed that GA and mainly IA were associated with deregulation of DNA repair system and stress-responsive genes, which was observed even after 3-days from anaesthesia. Conversely, RA was not associated with substantial changes in gene expression.

Conclusions: Based on the gene expression analysis, RA technique showed the smallest toxicological effect in hip arthroplasty.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT03585647.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0219113PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6657832PMC
February 2020

CXCR4 in human osteosarcoma malignant progression. The response of osteosarcoma cell lines to the fully human CXCR4 antibody MDX1338.

J Bone Oncol 2019 Aug 8;17:100239. Epub 2019 May 8.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, IRCCS, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy.

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most frequent primary malignant tumour of bone and metastases occur in 30% of cases, the 5-year survival rate is 25-30%. Although pre- and post-operative chemotherapy has improved prognosis in osteosarcoma (OS), high toxicity and natural and acquired drug-resistance are the first cause of treatment failure. The identification of new predictive and therapeutic biomarkers may increase drug sensitivity and better control localized and metastatic disease. By the evidence that CXCR4 receptor by binding its ligand CXCL12 activates downstream critical endpoints for tumour malignancy, we first studied human OS progression correlating CXCR4 expression in OS biopsy with patient clinical data. By Real-time PCR and immunoistochemistry we found that high levels of CXCR4 gene and protein expression significantly correlated with OS progression, emphasizing the role of CXCR4/CXCL12 axis in tumour prognosis. This was supported by univariate analyses that showed a higher probability of local and/or systemic relapse in OS patients with a high CXCR4 gene expression and a significant increase of metastasis risk associated with an increasing score of CXCR4 protein staining intensity. Secondarily, to study the role of CXCR4 as a target for new therapeutic strategies, we evaluated the response of OS cells to the fully human CXCR4 antibody, MDX1338. In the study we also included AMD3100, the most studied CXCR4 antagonist. In CXCR4-positive OS cells cultured in CXCL12-rich BM-MCS-CM (bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem conditioned medium), a decrease of cell proliferation up to 30%-40% of control was seen after drug exposure. However, an increase of apoptosis was seen in p53-positive U2OS and 143B after CXCR4 inhibitor incubation, while no changes were seen in treated SAOS-2 cells which also present a different labeling profile. The role of p53 in apoptotic response to CXCR4 inhibitors was confirmed by p53 silencing in U2OS cell line. Our data suggest that the response to anti-CXCR4 agents could be influenced by the genetic background and labeling profile which induces a different cross-talk between tumour cells and environment. The delay in cell cycle progression associated with increased apoptosis could sensitize p53-positive cells to conventional therapy and in vivo preclinical experiments are on going with the aim to suggest new combined target therapies in human OS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbo.2019.100239DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6543022PMC
August 2019

miR‑494.3p expression in synovial sarcoma: Role of CXCR4 as a potential target gene.

Int J Oncol 2019 Jan 6;54(1):361-369. Epub 2018 Nov 6.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, IRCCS, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, I‑40136 Bologna, Italy.

Synovial sarcoma (SS) is a rare tumour, with dismal survival when metastasis occurs. SS contains a characteristic translocation (X;18)(p11;q11) and the fusion genes appear to be mutually exclusive and concordant in primary and metastatic tumours. Novel prognostic and predictive factors are required. The C‑X‑C motif chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12)/C‑X‑C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) axis is involved in tumour development and metastatic spread in many types of cancer and previous data have demonstrated a pivotal role of CXCR4 in SS cell migration and invasion. Bioinformatics and biological data indicated CXCR4 is a possible candidate target of miR‑494.3p, known to be involved in tumour progression. In this study, we analysed the expression of miR‑494.3p and its potential target, CXCR4, in a series of SS specimens. A significantly lower miR‑494.3p expression was found in the tumour compared to normal tissue associated with higher levels of CXCR4 both at the gene and protein level. The role of CXCR4 as a potential target of miR‑494.3p was assessed in two SS cell lines (SW982 and SYO‑I). Transfection with miR‑494.3p expression plasmid led to a marked decrease in CXCR4 gene and protein expression, concomitant with a transitory decrease in cell proliferation and migration. The SYO‑I cells also responded with an increased apoptotic fraction. The data of this study also demonstrate that the downregulation of miR‑494.3p in SS surgical specimens, concomitant with an increased expression of its potential target, CXCR4, was more evident in the metastatic subset. In vitro experiments confirmed that miR‑494.3p functioned as a tumour suppressor through the involvement of CXCR4 and ongoing studies are directed to better clarify its role in SS therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2018.4627DOI Listing
January 2019

Circulating Candidate Biomarkers in Giant Cell Tumors of Bone.

Proteomics Clin Appl 2018 11 28;12(6):e1800041. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Experimental Oncology Laboratory, IRCCS Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Bologna, Italy.

Purpose: Approximately 5% of giant cell tumors (GCT) of bone develop pulmonary metastases. Although many biomarkers have been proposed, identification of circulating low abundance molecules may be useful to predict malignant progression.

Experimental Design: The hydrogel nanoparticle technique followed by MS was used to detect low molecular weight serum proteins or protein fragments in serum of 20 GCT patients with different clinical course and in ten healthy sera used as control. The most representative low-abundant de novo or differentially abundant proteins were submitted to String database that recognized interconnected activated pathways including protein activation cascade, wound healing, cell-substrate adhesion, and response to stress. Statistics were performed for identification of candidate prognostic factors.

Results: Proteome cluster analysis separated metastasis-free from metastatic GCT patients in two well-defined groups where serum levels of signaling transduction mediators and regulators of kinase activity presented a high discriminatory power. Increased expression of proteins STAT5B, GRB2, and OXSR1 was related to a higher probability of metastasis. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that tumor grade and STAT5B were independent prognostic factors.

Conclusions And Clinical Relevance: By using a noninvasive technique, we identified differentially abundant serum candidate biomarkers, also providing prognostic information in patients with GCT of bone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/prca.201800041DOI Listing
November 2018

Tumoral immune-infiltrate (IF), PD-L1 expression and role of CD8/TIA-1 lymphocytes in localized osteosarcoma patients treated within protocol ISG-OS1.

Oncotarget 2017 Dec 4;8(67):111836-111846. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Chemotherapy Unit, IRCCS, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy.

Background: We hypothesized that immune-infiltrates were associated with superior survival, and examined a primary osteosarcoma tissue microarrays (TMAs) to test this hypothesis.

Methods: 129 patients (pts) with localized osteosarcoma treated within protocol ISG-OS1 were included in the study. Clinical characteristics, expression of CD8, CD3, FOXP3, CD20, CD68/CD163 (tumor associated macrophage, TAM), Tia-1 (cytotoxic T cell), CD303 (plasmacytoid dendritic cells: pDC), Arginase-1 (myeloid derived suppressor cells: MDSC), PD-1 on immune-cells (IC), and PD-L1 on tumoral cells (TC) and IC were analysed and correlated with outcome.

Results: Most of the cases presented tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) (CD3+ 90%; CD8+ 86%). Tia-1 was detected in 73% of the samples. PD-L1 expression was found in 14% patients in IC and 0% in TC; 22% showed PD-1 expression in IC.With a median follow-up of 8 years (range 1-13), the 5-year overall survival (5-year OS) was 74% (95% CI 64-85). Univariate analysis showed better 5-year OS for: a) pts with a good histologic response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.0001); b) pts with CD8/Tia1 tumoral infiltrates (p = 0.002); c) pts with normal alkaline phosphatas (sALP) (p = 0.04). After multivariate analysis, histologic response (p = 0.007) and CD8/Tia1 infiltration (p = 0.01) were independently correlated with survival. In the subset of pts with CD8+ infiltrate, worse (p 0.02) OS was observed for PD-L1(IC)+ cases.

Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that CD8/Tia1 infiltrate in tumor microenvironment at diagnosis confers superior survival for pts with localized osteosarcoma, while PD-L1 expression is associated with worse survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22912DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5762363PMC
December 2017

Prognostic role of XTP1/DEPDC1B and SDP35/DEPDC1A in high grade soft-tissue sarcomas.

Histol Histopathol 2018 Jun 3;33(6):597-608. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

University of Parma, COMT - Centre for Molecular and Translational Oncology and Department of Biosciences, Parma, Italy.

Background: The outcome of patients with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma (STS) remains unfavourable and new therapeutic strategies are needed. The aim of this study was to determine the role of RhoGAP, XTP1/DEPDC1B and SDP35/DEPDC1A, as possible prognostic markers, to be used to identify candidate patients for more effective and personalized therapies.

Materials-methods: SDP35/DEPDC1A and XTP1/DEPDC1B transcriptional levels were evaluated by Real-Time PCR in 86 primary STS and 22 paired lung metastasis. 17 normal tissues were used as control. Protein expression was evaluated by tissue microarray, including 152 paraffin-embedded STS samples and by western blot in 22 lung metastases and paired primary STS. Non-parametric and parametric analysis were used to establish the differences in gene and protein expression and prognostic factors were tested with Kaplan Meier and Cox's regression analyses.

Results: SDP35/DEPDC1A and XTP1/DEPDC1B gene were down-regulated in adjacent normal tissues while sarcoma specimens presented high mRNA levels, significantly related to metastasis-free survival. Gene expression further increased in paired metastatic lesions. Immunohistochemical staining showed a variable expression in intensity and distribution, with a significantly higher probability of metastatic disease in patients up-regulating SDP35/DEPDC1A. Western blotting assessed high levels of proteins in STS specimens and indicated a stronger expression of SDP35/DEPDC1A in metastases when compared to primary tumours. Multivariate analyses highlighted that SDP35/DEPDC1A abundance, grade III and no history of radiation therapy were significant independent risk factors.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that increased expression of SDP35/DEPDC1A and XPT1/DEPDC1B correlates with metastatic progression and identified SDP35/DEPDC1A as an independent marker for prediction of poor prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14670/HH-11-959DOI Listing
June 2018

The distinct clinical features of giant cell tumor of bone in pagetic and non-pagetic patients are associated with genetic, biochemical and histological differences.

Oncotarget 2017 09 27;8(38):63121-63131. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

Institute of Genetics and Biophysics Adriano Buzzati-Traverso, National Research Council of Italy, Naples, Italy.

Giant Cell Tumor of Bone (GCT) is a tumor characterized by neoplastic mesenchymal stromal cells and a high number of osteoclast-like multinucleated giant cells. Rarely, GCT could arise in bones affected by Paget's disease of bone (GCT/PDB). Although it is already known that GCT/PDB and GCT show a different clinical profile regarding the age-onset and skeletal localization, our deep clinical comparison between the two GCT/PDB and GCT cohorts, permitted us to identify additional differences (e.g. focality, ALP serum levels, the 5-year survival rate and the familial recurrence), strongly suggesting a different molecular basis. Accordingly, driver somatic mutations in and were described in GCT patients, while we recently identified a germline mutation in as the genetic defect of GCT/PDB patients. Here, we detected mutations in our GCT cohort, confirming its molecular screening as the elected diagnostic tool, and then we excluded the in and as the trigger event for the GCT/PDB development. Importantly, we also identified an alternative biochemical profile with GCT/PDB not exhibiting the up-regulation of the GCT marker . Finally, our histological analysis also showed a different appearance of the two forms of the tumor, with GCT/PDB showing a higher number of osteoclast-like giant cells (twice), with an abnormal number of nuclei per cell, corroborating its different behaviour in terms of neoplastic properties. We demonstrated that the distinct clinical features of pagetic and conventional GCT are associated with different genetic background, resulting in a specific biochemical and histological behaviour of the tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18670DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5609908PMC
September 2017

PARP1 expression drives the synergistic antitumor activity of trabectedin and PARP1 inhibitors in sarcoma preclinical models.

Mol Cancer 2017 04 28;16(1):86. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Sarcoma Unit, Medical Oncology, Candiolo Cancer Institute - FPO, IRCCS, Candiolo, Torino, Italy.

Background: Enhancing the antitumor activity of the DNA-damaging drugs is an attractive strategy to improve current treatment options. Trabectedin is an isoquinoline alkylating agent with a peculiar mechanism of action. It binds to minor groove of DNA inducing single- and double-strand-breaks. These kinds of damage lead to the activation of PARP1, a first-line enzyme in DNA-damage response pathways. We hypothesized that PARP1 targeting could perpetuate trabectedin-induced DNA damage in tumor cells leading finally to cell death.

Methods: We investigated trabectedin and PARP1 inhibitor synergism in several tumor histotypes both in vitro and in vivo (subcutaneous and orthotopic tumor xenografts in mice). We searched for key determinants of drug synergism by comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and gene expression profiling (GEP) and validated their functional role.

Results: Trabectedin activated PARP1 enzyme and the combination with PARP1 inhibitors potentiated DNA damage, cell cycle arrest at G2/M checkpoint and apoptosis, if compared to single agents. Olaparib was the most active PARP1 inhibitor to combine with trabectedin and we confirmed the antitumor and antimetastatic activity of trabectedin/olaparib combination in mice models. However, we observed different degree of trabectedin/olaparib synergism among different cell lines. Namely, in DMR leiomyosarcoma models the combination was significantly more active than single agents, while in SJSA-1 osteosarcoma models no further advantage was obtained if compared to trabectedin alone. aCGH and GEP revealed that key components of DNA-repair pathways were involved in trabectedin/olaparib synergism. In particular, PARP1 expression dictated the degree of the synergism. Indeed, trabectedin/olaparib synergism was increased after PARP1 overexpression and reduced after PARP1 silencing.

Conclusions: PARP1 inhibition potentiated trabectedin activity in a PARP1-dependent manner and PARP1 expression in tumor cells might be a useful predictive biomarker that deserves clinical evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12943-017-0652-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5410089PMC
April 2017

miR-152 down-regulation is associated with MET up-regulation in leiomyosarcoma and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma.

Cell Oncol (Dordr) 2017 Feb 29;40(1):77-88. Epub 2016 Nov 29.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via di Barbiano 1, 10 40136, Bologna, Italy.

Purpose: Highly aggressive adult soft tissue sarcomas (STS), i.e., leiomyosarcomas (LMS) and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcomas (UPS), present complex genomic anomalies and overall 5-year survival rates of 20 to 40%. Here, we aimed to identify new biomarkers that may be employed to improve the treatment of non-translocation STS patients. We validated 12 miRNAs implicated in tumor development using primary STS samples and selected miR-152 for further analysis in STS-derived cell lines.

Methods: 59 primary STS samples (27 LMS and 32 UPS) and 10 matched normal control tissues were included in the study, as well as 3 STS-derived cell lines (HT1080, SW872 and SKLMS1) and a normal control mesenchymal cell line (hMSC). miRNA expression analyses were performed using a TaqMan microRNA Array platform and qRT-PCR (miR-152), respectively. The expression levels of the putative miR-152 targets MET and KIT were assessed using qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays, respectively. In addition, various functional analyses were performed before and after miR-152 transfection into SKLMS1 cells.

Results: We found that 12 pre-selected miRNAs were down-regulated in primary STS tumor samples compared to its normal control samples. A statistically significant miR-152 down-regulation was found to be accompanied by high MET and KIT mRNA levels in both the primary samples and the STS-derived cell lines tested. miR-152 transfection in SKLMS1 cells led to a reduction in KIT and MET mRNA and protein levels which, in turn, was associated with a transient down-regulation of the PI3K/AKT pathway, a transient decrease in cell growth, and a transient increase in both apoptotic and S-phase cells.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that over-expression of MET and KIT in primary STS samples and its derived cell lines is associated with miR-152 down-regulation. This shift may play a role in STS development and, thus, may be used to identify patients at risk. The effect of MET down-regulation on downstream signaling pathways, such as the PI3K/AKT pathway, may provide a basis for the future design of novel STS treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13402-016-0306-4DOI Listing
February 2017

Translational research in diagnosis and management of soft tissue tumours.

Cancer Imaging 2016 Jun 7;16(1):13. Epub 2016 Jun 7.

Research Department, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy.

Finding a soft tissue mass in the superficial regions is a common event in daily clinical practice. Correct management of the diagnostic process is crucial to avoid blunders. Diagnosis is posed by pathology, although both imaging and a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms play an important a role in the characterization, staging and follow-up of soft tissue masses. Cellular and molecular mechanisms can explain either the development of chemo-resistance and the underlying pre- and post-surgery metastasis formation. These are mandatory to improve prognosis and unveil novel parameters predicting therapeutic response. Imaging mainly involves ultrasound and MR and is fundamental not only in diagnosis but also in the first step of therapy: the biopsy. Novel imaging techniques like Ultrasound Elastosonography, Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MR imaging (DCE), Diffusion Weighted MR imaging (DWI) and MR Spectroscopy (MRS) are discussed. This paper aims at reviewing and discussing pathological methods and imaging in the diagnosis of soft tissue masses underscoring that the most appropriate treatment depends on advanced molecular and radiological studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40644-016-0071-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4897899PMC
June 2016

ZNF687 Mutations in Severe Paget Disease of Bone Associated with Giant Cell Tumor.

Am J Hum Genet 2016 Feb;98(2):275-86

Institute of Genetics and Biophysics "Adriano Buzzati-Traverso," National Research Council of Italy, 80131 Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Paget disease of bone (PDB) is a skeletal disorder characterized by focal abnormalities of bone remodeling, which result in enlarged and deformed bones in one or more regions of the skeleton. In some cases, the pagetic tissue undergoes neoplastic transformation, resulting in osteosarcoma and, less frequently, in giant cell tumor of bone (GCT). We performed whole-exome sequencing in a large family with 14 PDB-affected members, four of whom developed GCT at multiple pagetic skeletal sites, and we identified the c.2810C>G (p.Pro937Arg) missense mutation in the zinc finger protein 687 gene (ZNF687). The mutation precisely co-segregated with the clinical phenotype in all affected family members. The sequencing of seven unrelated individuals with GCT associated with PDB (GCT/PDB) identified the same mutation in all individuals, unravelling a founder effect. ZNF687 is highly expressed during osteoclastogenesis and osteoblastogenesis and is dramatically upregulated in the tumor tissue of individuals with GCT/PDB. Interestingly, our preliminary findings showed that ZNF687, indicated as a target gene of the NFkB transcription factor by ChIP-seq analysis, is also upregulated in the peripheral blood of PDB-affected individuals with (n = 5) or without (n = 6) mutations in SQSTM1, encouraging additional studies to investigate its potential role as a biomarker of PDB risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.12.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4746367PMC
February 2016

Tissue and serum IGFBP7 protein as biomarker in high-grade soft tissue sarcoma.

Am J Cancer Res 2015 15;5(11):3446-54. Epub 2015 Oct 15.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli Bologna, Italy.

Soft-tissue sarcomas (STS) are a heterogeneous group of mesenchymal tumors whose classification and treatment is complicated by molecular heterogeneity within the histological subtypes and by the lack of prognostic/therapeutic biomarkers. This study analyses expression of target proteins involved in insulin-like growth factor pathway (IGF1Rβ, IRS1 S612 and IGFBP7) in high-grade STS to stratify patients with the worst prognosis. Tissue microarray analysis performed on 145 high-grade STS samples revealed a uniform expression of IGF1Rβ and IRS1 S612, while IGFBP7 was more strongly expressed in metastatic than in metastasis-free patients. This was confirmed by multivariate regression analysis that demonstrated the independent poor prognostic role of IGFBP7 overexpression with a significant increase of risk of metastasis (HR = 6.358, 95% CI = 2.946-13.721; P < 0.0005). Given the evidence that circulating protein may generate from tissue tumor cells, in 59/145 patients who had available serum we measured IGFBP7 concentration. The ELISA assay revealed significantly higher levels in tumor patients than in the control with a possible threshold value of 25 ng/ml. Differentiating sera according to primary tumor histotype, significantly higher IGFBP7 concentration was found in synovial sarcoma and liposarcoma than in other STS histotypes. This study revealed that tissue expression of IGFBP7, considered a tumor stroma marker in mesenchymal derived cells, was highly prognostic in poor metastasis-free survival. In parallel, the determination of serum protein levels might contribute to STS diagnosis. Subsequent analyses will be crucial to understand the clinical relevance of IGFBP7 protein in STS.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4697690PMC
January 2016

Identification of novel candidate circulating biomarkers for malignant soft tissue sarcomas: Correlation with metastatic progression.

Proteomics 2016 Feb;16(4):689-97

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy.

Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) are a heterogeneous group of rare tumors for which identification and validation of biological markers may improve clinical management. The fraction of low-molecular-weight (LMW) circulating proteins and fragments of proteins is a rich source of new potential biomarkers. To identify circulating biomarkers useful for STS early diagnosis and prognosis, we analyzed 53 high-grade STS sera using hydrogel core-shell nanoparticles that selectively entrap LMW proteins by size exclusion and affinity chromatography, protect them from degradation and amplify their concentration for mass spectrometry detection. Twenty-two analytes mostly involved in inflammatory and immunological response, showed a progressive increase from benign to malignant STS with a relative difference in abundance, more than 50% when compared to healthy control. 16 of these were higher in metastatic compared to non-metastatic tumors. Cox's regression analysis revealed a statistical significant association between the abundance of lactotransferrin (LTF) and complement factor H-related 5 (CFHR5) and risk of metastasis. In particular, CFHR5 was associated with the risk of metastasis. The role of circulating proteins involved in metastatic progression will be crucial for a better understanding of STS biology and patient management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201500164DOI Listing
February 2016

Excess TGF-β mediates muscle weakness associated with bone metastases in mice.

Nat Med 2015 Nov 12;21(11):1262-1271. Epub 2015 Oct 12.

Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Cancer-associated muscle weakness is a poorly understood phenomenon, and there is no effective treatment. Here we find that seven different mouse models of human osteolytic bone metastases-representing breast, lung and prostate cancers, as well as multiple myeloma-exhibited impaired muscle function, implicating a role for the tumor-bone microenvironment in cancer-associated muscle weakness. We found that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, released from the bone surface as a result of metastasis-induced bone destruction, upregulated NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4), resulting in elevated oxidization of skeletal muscle proteins, including the ryanodine receptor and calcium (Ca(2+)) release channel (RyR1). The oxidized RyR1 channels leaked Ca(2+), resulting in lower intracellular signaling, which is required for proper muscle contraction. We found that inhibiting RyR1 leakage, TGF-β signaling, TGF-β release from bone or Nox4 activity improved muscle function in mice with MDA-MB-231 bone metastases. Humans with breast- or lung cancer-associated bone metastases also had oxidized skeletal muscle RyR1 that is not seen in normal muscle. Similarly, skeletal muscle weakness, increased Nox4 binding to RyR1 and oxidation of RyR1 were present in a mouse model of Camurati-Engelmann disease, a nonmalignant metabolic bone disorder associated with increased TGF-β activity. Thus, pathological TGF-β release from bone contributes to muscle weakness by decreasing Ca(2+)-induced muscle force production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.3961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4636436PMC
November 2015

Fusion events lead to truncation of FOS in epithelioid hemangioma of bone.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2015 Sep 14;54(9):565-74. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Epithelioid hemangioma of bone is a locally aggressive vascular neoplasm. It can be challenging to diagnose because of the wide histological spectrum, which can make it difficult to differentiate from other vascular neoplasms such as epithelioid hemangioendothelioma or epithelioid angiosarcoma. COBRA-FISH karyotyping identified a balanced t(3;14) translocation. Transcriptome sequencing of the index case and two other epithelioid hemangiomas revealed a recurrent translocation breakpoint involving the FOS gene, which was fused to different partners in all three cases. The break was observed in exon 4 of the FOS gene and the fusion event led to the introduction of a stop codon. In all instances, the truncation of the FOS gene would result in the loss of the transactivation domain (TAD). Using FISH probes we found a break in the FOS gene in two additional cases, in none of these cases a recurrent fusion partner could be identified. In total, FOS was split in 5/7 evaluable samples. We did not observe point mutations leading to early stop codons in any of the 10 cases where RNA was available. Detection of FOS rearrangement may be a useful diagnostic tool to assist in the often difficult differential diagnosis of vascular tumors of bone. Our data suggest that the translocation causes truncation of the FOS protein, with loss of the TAD, which is thereby a novel mechanism involved in tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22269DOI Listing
September 2015

Prognostic impact of reduced connexin43 expression and gap junction coupling of neoplastic stromal cells in giant cell tumor of bone.

PLoS One 2015 1;10(5):e0125316. Epub 2015 May 1.

1st Department of Pathology & Experimental Cancer Research, Semmelweis University Budapest, Hungary; Hunragian Academy of Sciences-Semmelweis University (MTA-SE) Tumor Progression Research Group, Budapest, Hungary.

Missense mutations of the GJA1 gene encoding the gap junction channel protein connexin43 (Cx43) cause bone malformations resulting in oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD), while GJA1 null and ODDD mutant mice develop osteopenia. In this study we investigated Cx43 expression and channel functions in giant cell tumor of bone (GCTB), a locally aggressive osteolytic lesion with uncertain progression. Cx43 protein levels assessed by immunohistochemistry were correlated with GCTB cell types, clinico-radiological stages and progression free survival in tissue microarrays of 89 primary and 34 recurrent GCTB cases. Cx43 expression, phosphorylation, subcellular distribution and gap junction coupling was also investigated and compared between cultured neoplastic GCTB stromal cells and bone marow stromal cells or HDFa fibroblasts as a control. In GCTB tissues, most Cx43 was produced by CD163 negative neoplastic stromal cells and less by CD163 positive reactive monocytes/macrophages or by giant cells. Significantly less Cx43 was detected in α-smooth muscle actin positive than α-smooth muscle actin negative stromal cells and in osteoclast-rich tumor nests than in the adjacent reactive stroma. Progressively reduced Cx43 production in GCTB was significantly linked to advanced clinico-radiological stages and worse progression free survival. In neoplastic GCTB stromal cell cultures most Cx43 protein was localized in the paranuclear-Golgi region, while it was concentrated in the cell membranes both in bone marrow stromal cells and HDFa fibroblasts. In Western blots, alkaline phosphatase sensitive bands, linked to serine residues (Ser369, Ser372 or Ser373) detected in control cells, were missing in GCTB stromal cells. Defective cell membrane localization of Cx43 channels was in line with the significantly reduced transfer of the 622 Da fluorescing calcein dye between GCTB stromal cells. Our results show that significant downregulation of Cx43 expression and gap junction coupling in neoplastic stromal cells are associated with the clinical progression and worse prognosis in GCTB.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0125316PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4416750PMC
February 2016

Prognostic role of nuclear factor/IB and bone remodeling proteins in metastatic giant cell tumor of bone: A retrospective study.

J Orthop Res 2015 Aug 2;33(8):1205-11. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy.

Giant cell tumor of bone (GCTb) represents 5% of bone tumors, and although considered benign, 5% metastasize to the lung. The expression of proteins directly or indirectly associated with osteolysis and tumor growth was studied on 163 samples of GCTb. Of these, 33 patients developed lung metastasis during follow-up. The impact of tumor-host interaction on clinical aspects was evaluated with the aim of finding specific markers for new biological therapies, thus improving clinical management of GCTb. Protein expression was evaluated by immunohistochemical analysis on Tissue Microarray. The majority of GCTb samples from patients with metastatic disease were strongly positive to RANKL and its receptor RANK as well as to CAII and MMP-2 and to pro-survival proteins NFIB and c-Fos. Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated a significant difference in metastasis free survival curves based on protein staining. Interestingly, the statistical correlation established a strong association between all variables studied with a higher τ coefficient for RANK/RANKL, RANK/NFIB, and RANKL/NFIB pairs. At multivariate analysis co-overexpression of NFIB, RANK and RANKL significantly increased the risk of metastasis with an odds ratio of 13.59 (95%CI 4.12-44.82; p < 0.0005). In conclusion, the interconnection between matrix remodeling and tumor cell activity may identify tumor-host endpoints for new biological treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.22873DOI Listing
August 2015

Prognostic and predictive role of CXCR4, IGF-1R and Ezrin expression in localized synovial sarcoma: is chemotaxis important to tumor response?

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2015 Jan 23;10. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Background: Synovial sarcoma (SS) is a rare tumor, with dismal survival when metastatic. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy is debated. New prognostic and predictive factors are needed.

Methods: We reviewed patients with localized SS; SS18-SSX fusion transcript presence was confirmed by FISH and RT-PCR. Expression of CXCR4, IGF-1R and Ezrin were evaluated by immunohistochemistry.

Results: Tumor samples from 88 SS patients (45 female; 43 male) with median age 37 years (range 11-63) were selected. The size of the lesion was > 5 cm in 68% of patients and 34% of cases presented biphasic histotype. All patients underwent surgery, 56% adjuvant radiotherapy (RT), 65% adjuvant chemotherapy. A positive stain for IGF-1R was detected in 55 patients, with nucleus expression in 21 patients. CXCR4 was expressed in 74 patients, nuclear pattern in 31 patients. 80 SS were positive to Ezrin, 48 had cytoplasmatic location, 32 membrane location. With a median follow-up of 6 years (1-30 years), the 5-year overall survival (OS) was 70% (95% CI 60-81). 5-year OS was 63% (95% CI 41-85%) for patients with positive IGF-1R/nuclear expression, and 73% (95% CI 61-85%; P = 0.05) in negative patients. 5-year OS was 47% (95% CI 27-66%) in patients with positive CXCR4/nuclear staining, and 86% (95% CI 76-96%, P = 0.0003) in negative cases. No survival difference was found according to Ezrin expression. By multivariate analysis, nuclear expression of CXCR4 and IGF-1R was confirmed independent adverse prognostic factor for SS patient survival linked to the use of chemotherapy.

Conclusions: Our findings have important potential implications demonstrating that together with clinical prognostic factors such as radiotherapy and age, CXCR4 and IGF-1R negatively influences survival in patients with localized SS. We believe that further studies addressed to the effects of CXCR4 and IGF-1R inhibitors on cell viability and function are needed to plan new and more appropriate SS treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-014-0222-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4320838PMC
January 2015

miR-196a expression in human and canine osteosarcomas: a comparative study.

Res Vet Sci 2015 Apr 30;99:112-9. Epub 2014 Dec 30.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy.

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignant bone tumour in dogs and humans. MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNA molecules involved in post-transcriptional gene expression. Here, we compared the effects of miR-196a deregulation in human and canine OS cells after having observed a more uniform distribution and stronger down-expression in the human specimens. Cell response to miR-196a transfection was different in human and canine OS. A decreased proliferation rate was seen in human MG63 and 143B OS cells, while no appreciable changes occurred in canine DAN cells. Transient decrease of motility was highly remarkable and longer in MG63, concomitant with decreased levels of annexin1, a target of miR-196a promoting cell migration and invasion. In conclusion, the effects of miR-196a over-expression on tumour cell response may be strictly related to species and cell type. Further studies are needed to define the impact of miRNA deregulation on OS development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.12.017DOI Listing
April 2015

p53-dependent activation of microRNA-34a in response to etoposide-induced DNA damage in osteosarcoma cell lines not impaired by dominant negative p53 expression.

PLoS One 2014 9;9(12):e114757. Epub 2014 Dec 9.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Bologna, Italy.

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignant bone tumor and prevalently occurs in the second decade of life. Etoposide, a chemotherapeutic agent used in combined treatments of recurrent human OS, belongs to the topoisomerase inhibitor family and causes DNA breakage. In this study we evaluated the cascade of events determined by etoposide-induced DNA damage in OS cell lines with different p53 status focusing on methylation status and expression of miR-34a that modulate tumor cell growth and cell cycle progression. Wild-type p53 U2-OS cells and U2-OS cells expressing dominant-negative form of p53 (U2- OS175) were more sensitive to etoposide than p53-deficient MG63 and Saos-2 cells, showing increased levels of unmethylated miR-34a, reduced expression of CDK4 and cell cycle arrest in G1 phase. In contrast, MG63 and Saos-2 cell lines presented aberrant methylation of miR-34a promoter gene with no miR-34a induction after etoposide treatment, underlining the close connection between p53 expression and miR-34a methylation status. Consistently, in p53siRNA transfected U2-OS cells we observed loss of miR-34a induction after etoposide exposure associated with a partial gain of gene methylation and cell cycle progress towards G2/M phase. Our results suggest that the open and unmethylated conformation of the miR-34a gene may be regulated by p53 able to bind the gene promoter. In conclusion, cell response to etoposide-induced DNA damage was not compromised in cells with dominant-negative p53 expression.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0114757PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4260944PMC
December 2015

Significant association between human osteosarcoma and simian virus 40.

Cancer 2015 Mar 6;121(5):708-15. Epub 2014 Nov 6.

Section of Pathology, Oncology and Experimental Biology, School of Medicine, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

Background: Simian virus 40 (SV40) has been considered to be an oncogenic viral agent in the development of osteosarcoma (OS), which to the authors' knowledge continues to be of unknown etiology.

Methods: In the current study, serum samples from patients with OS were investigated with an indirect enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay (ELISA) to test for the presence of immunoglobulin G antibodies, which react with SV40 antigens. In ELISA, SV40 antigens were represented by 2 synthetic polypeptides that mimic epitopes of the viral capsid proteins 1 to 3. Additional sera from patients with breast cancer and undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma as well as healthy subjects were the controls.

Results: Immunologic results suggested that antibodies that react with SV40 mimotopes were more prevalent (44%) in serum samples from patients with OS compared with healthy subjects (17%). The difference in prevalence between these cohorts was statistically significant (P<.001). It is interesting to note that in the patients with OS, significance indicated the difference between OS versus breast cancer (44% vs 15%; P<.001) and OS versus undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (44% vs 25%; P<.05).

Conclusions: The data from the current study indicate an association between OS and SV40. These data could be transferred to clinical applications for innovative therapies to address SV40-positive OS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.29137DOI Listing
March 2015

Differentiating soft tissue leiomyosarcoma and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma: A miRNA analysis.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2014 Aug 26;53(8):693-702. Epub 2014 Apr 26.

Department of Pathology, Haartman Institute and HUSLAB, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.

The rare and highly aggressive adult soft tissue sarcomas leiomyosarcoma (LMS) and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) contain complex genomes characterized by a multitude of rearrangements, amplifications, and deletions. Differential diagnosis remains a challenge. MicroRNA (miRNA) profiling was conducted on a series of LMS and UPS samples to initially investigate the differential expression and to identify specific signatures useful for improving the differential diagnosis. Initially, 10 high-grade LMS and 10 high-grade UPS were profiled with a miRNA microarray. Two cultured human mesenchymal stem cell samples were used as controls. 38 and 46 miRNAs classified UPS and LMS samples, respectively, into separate groups compared to control samples. When comparing the two profiles, miR-199b-5p, miR-320a, miR-199a-3p, miR-126, miR-22 were differentially expressed. These were validated by RT-PCR on a further series of 27 UPS and 21 LMS for a total of 68 cases. The levels of miR-199-5p and miR-320a, in particular, confirmed the microarray data, the former highly expressed in UPS and the latter in LMS. Immunohistochemistry was performed on all 68 cases to confirm original diagnosis. Recently reported LMS- and UPS-associated genes were correlated with miRNA targets based on target algorithms of three databases. Several genes including IMP3, ROR2, MDM2, CDK4, and UPA, are targets of differentially expressed miRNAs. We identified miRNA expression patterns in LMS and UPS, linking them to chromosomal regions and mRNA targets known to be involved in tumor development/progression of LMS and UPS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22179DOI Listing
August 2014

Metformin inhibits growth and sensitizes osteosarcoma cell lines to cisplatin through cell cycle modulation.

Oncol Rep 2014 Jan 20;31(1):370-5. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, I-40136 Bologna, Italy.

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common cancer that affects the bone and appears to be resistant to several chemotherapeutic drugs. The aim of the present study was to verify whether the combination of metformin and cisplatin has an effect on OS cell lines. OS cell lines U2OS, 143B and MG63 were treated with metformin, cisplatin or a combination of both drugs. Viability, apoptosis and cell cycle were evaluated to characterize the effects of the treatments. Western blot analyses were used to evaluate protein expression. All OS cell lines were found to be sensitive to metformin with different values of IC50, showing a slowdown of cell cycle associated or not with apoptosis. In particular, metformin was able to sensitize cells to cisplatin, to which all OS cell lines were resistant, demonstrating a synergistic effect in the combined treatment of the two drugs. The data obtained may have clinical relevance for novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of OS; metformin inhibits tumor cell growth and amplifies the effect of cisplatin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/or.2013.2862DOI Listing
January 2014

Mapping protein signal pathway interaction in sarcoma bone metastasis: linkage between rank, metalloproteinases turnover and growth factor signaling pathways.

Clin Exp Metastasis 2014 Jan 23;31(1):15-24. Epub 2013 Jul 23.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136, Bologna, Italy.

We applied reverse phase protein microarrays technology to map signal pathway interactions in a discovery set of 34 soft tissue sarcoma (STS) bone metastases compared to healthy bone. Proteins associated with matrix remodeling (MMP), adhesion (FAK Y576/577, Syndecan-1), and growth/survival (IGF1R Y1135/1136, PI3K, EGFR) were elevated in metastasis compared to normal bone. Linkage between Syndecan-1, FAK Y576/577, Shc Y317, and EGFR, IGF Y1135/1136, PI3K/AKT was a prominent feature of STS bone metastasis. Elevated linkage between RANKL and 4EBP1 T37/46, EGFR, IGF1R Y1135/1136, Src Y41, Shc Y317, PI3Kp110γ was associated with short survival. Finally, we tested the hypothesis that signal pathway proteins augmented in the STS bone metastasis may provide clues to understand the subset of primary STS that metastasize. The most representative molecules identified in the discovery set were validated on an independent series of 82 primary STS by immunohistochemistry applied to a tissue microarray. The goal was to correlate the molecular profile in the primary tumors with a higher likelihood of metastasis. Elevation of activated kinase substrate endpoints IRS1 S612, 4EBP1 T37/46, FAK Y576/577 and loss of Fibronectin, were associated with a higher likelihood of metastases. These data indicate that the linkage between matrix remodeling, adhesion, and growth signaling may drive STS metastasis and can be the basis for prognostic and therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10585-013-9605-6DOI Listing
January 2014

Protease expression in giant cell tumour of bone: a comparative study on feline and human samples.

Res Vet Sci 2013 Oct 10;95(2):310-5. Epub 2013 May 10.

Department of Biopathological Sciences and Hygiene of Animal and Alimentary Productions, University of Perugia, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Via San Costanza, 4-06126 Perugia, Italy.

Human giant cell tumour of bone (GCTB) is a rare low grade of malignancy tumour with tendency to recur. During tumourigenesis the bone remodeling balance is subverted by the tumour cellular components that interacting with bone matrix induce release of growth factors and cytokines, promoting cell proliferation and bone resorption. The master regulators of this positive feed-back are acid and neutral proteases that destroying extracellular matrix increase osteolysis. In contrast, in cats, very few data are reported on GCTB biological activity. In this study, histological features and metalloproteinase (MMPs) and urokinase plasminogen activator system (uPA) expression were compared in human and feline GCTB and differences in distribution and intensity related to histological pattern and clinical behaviour were determined. In both species, the overexpression of these molecules suggested a strong and complex cross-talk between tumour and microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2013.04.011DOI Listing
October 2013

NG2/CSPG4-collagen type VI interplays putatively involved in the microenvironmental control of tumour engraftment and local expansion.

J Mol Cell Biol 2013 Jun 3;5(3):176-93. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

SOS for Experimental Oncology 2, The National Tumour Institute Aviano-CRO-IRCCS, Aviano (PN), Italy.

In soft-tissue sarcoma patients, enhanced expression of NG2/CSPG4 proteoglycan in pre-surgical primary tumours predicts post-surgical metastasis formation and thereby stratifies patients into disease-free survivors and patients destined to succumb to the disease. Both primary and secondary sarcoma lesions also up-regulate collagen type VI, a putative extracellular matrix ligand of NG2, and this matrix alteration potentiates the prognostic impact of NG2. Enhanced constitutive levels of the proteoglycan in isolated sarcoma cells closely correlate with a superior engraftment capability and local growth in xenogenic settings. This apparent NG2-associated malignancy was also corroborated by the diverse tumorigenic behaviour in vitro and in vivo of immunoselected NG2-expressing and NG2-deficient cell subsets, by RNAi-mediated knock down of endogenous NG2, and by ectopic transduction of full-length or deletion constructs of NG2. Cells with modified expression of NG2 diverged in their interaction with purified Col VI, matrices supplemented with Col VI, and cell-free matrices isolated from wild-type and Col VI null fibroblasts. The combined use of dominant-negative NG2 mutant cells and purified domain fragments of the collagen allowed us to pinpoint the reciprocal binding sites within the two molecules and to assert the importance of this molecular interaction in the control of sarcoma cell adhesion and motility. The NG2-mediated binding to Col VI triggered activation of convergent cell survival- and cell adhesion/migration-promoting signal transduction pathways, implicating PI-3K as a common denominator. Thus, the findings point to an NG2-Col VI interplay as putatively involved in the regulation of the cancer cell-host microenvironment interactions sustaining sarcoma progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmcb/mjt010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3656611PMC
June 2013

miRNA expression profile in human osteosarcoma: role of miR-1 and miR-133b in proliferation and cell cycle control.

Int J Oncol 2013 Feb 28;42(2):667-75. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, I-40136 Bologna, Italy.

miRNA profile deregulation affecting downstream signaling pathways activates endpoints that represent potential biomarkers for prognosis and treatment of tumor patients. In the past 20 years conventional therapy for osteosarcoma (OS) reached a survival plateau, highlighting the need for new therapeutic approaches. In this study, microarray unsupervised and supervised analysis identified, respectively, 100 and 40 differentially expressed miRNAs in OS samples with different grades of malignancy compared to normal bone. When analyzing low-grade and high-grade OS by unsupervised analysis, 12 miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed. Real‑time PCR performed on a larger series of OS confirmed a significant lower expression of miR-1, miR‑133b and miR-378* in tumors with respect to control, also showing lower mRNA levels in 31 high-grade OS than in 25 low-grade and in metastatic versus non‑metastatic patients. We demonstrated that miR-1 and miR133b were downregulated in OS cell lines compared to normal osteoblasts. Secondly, by transfection with miRNA precursor molecules, we demonstrated that the ectopic expression of miR-1 and miR-133b in U2-OS cell lines significantly reduced cell proliferation and MET protein expression and negatively regulated cell invasiveness and motility in a short-term assay. Cell cycle distribution revealed block in G(1) and delay of cell cycle progression associated with increased apoptosis in miR-1- and miR‑133b‑transfected cells, respectively. Our data assessed specific miRNA profiling deregulation in OS clinical samples and suggest that the expression of miR-1 and miR-133b may control cell proliferation and cell cycle through MET protein expression modulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2012.1717DOI Listing
February 2013