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OBJECTIVES - While colorectal cancer (CRC) is common, its incidence significantly varies around the globe. The incidence of CRC in West Africa is relatively low, but it has a distinctive clinical pattern and its molecular characteristics have not been studied. This study is one of the first attempts to analyze molecular, genetic, and pathological characteristics of colorectal cancer in Ghana.
METHODS - DNA was extracted from microdissected tumor and adjacent normal tissue of 90 paraffin blocks of CRC cases (1997-2007) collected at the University of Ghana. Microsatellite instability (MSI) was determined using fragment analysis of ten microsatellite markers. We analyzed expression of mismatch repair (MMR) proteins by immunohistochemistry and sequenced exons 2 and 3 of KRAS and exon 15 of BRAF.
RESULTS - MSI analysis showed 41% (29/70) MSI-High, 20% (14/70) MSI-Low, and 39% (27/70) microsatellite-stable (MSS) tumors. Sequencing of KRAS exons 2 and 3 identified activating mutations in 32% (24/75) of tumors, and sequencing of BRAF exon 15, the location of the common activating mutation (V600), did not show mutations at codons 599 and 600 in 88 tumors.
CONCLUSIONS - Our study found a high frequency of MSI-High colorectal tumors (41%) in Ghana. While the frequency of KRAS mutations is comparable with other populations, absence of BRAF mutations is intriguing and would require further analysis of the molecular epidemiology of CRC in West Africa.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Limitations on the number of unique protein and DNA molecules that can be characterized microscopically in a single tissue specimen impede advances in understanding the biological basis of health and disease. Here we present a multiplexed fluorescence microscopy method (MxIF) for quantitative, single-cell, and subcellular characterization of multiple analytes in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue. Chemical inactivation of fluorescent dyes after each image acquisition round allows reuse of common dyes in iterative staining and imaging cycles. The mild inactivation chemistry is compatible with total and phosphoprotein detection, as well as DNA FISH. Accurate computational registration of sequential images is achieved by aligning nuclear counterstain-derived fiducial points. Individual cells, plasma membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, tumor, and stromal regions are segmented to achieve cellular and subcellular quantification of multiplexed targets. In a comparison of pathologist scoring of diaminobenzidine staining of serial sections and automated MxIF scoring of a single section, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, estrogen receptor, p53, and androgen receptor staining by diaminobenzidine and MxIF methods yielded similar results. Single-cell staining patterns of 61 protein antigens by MxIF in 747 colorectal cancer subjects reveals extensive tumor heterogeneity, and cluster analysis of divergent signaling through ERK1/2, S6 kinase 1, and 4E binding protein 1 provides insights into the spatial organization of mechanistic target of rapamycin and MAPK signal transduction. Our results suggest MxIF should be broadly applicable to problems in the fields of basic biological research, drug discovery and development, and clinical diagnostics.
Early diagnosis and curative resection are the predominant factors associated with increased survival in patients with gastric cancer. However, most gastric cancer cases are still diagnosed at later stages. Since most pathologic specimens are archived as FFPE samples, the ability to use them to generate expression profiles can greatly improve cancer biomarker discovery. We sought to uncover new biomarkers for stomach preneoplastic metaplasias and neoplastic lesions by generating proteome profiles using FFPE samples. We combined peptide isoelectric focusing and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis to generate proteomic profiles from FFPE samples of intestinal-type gastric cancer, metaplasia, and normal mucosa. The expression patterns of selected proteins were analyzed by immunostaining first in single tissue sections from normal stomach, metaplasia, and gastric cancer and later in larger tissue array cohorts. We detected 60 proteins up-regulated and 87 proteins down-regulated during the progression from normal mucosa to metaplasia to gastric cancer. Two of the up-regulated proteins, LTF and DMBT1, were validated as specific markers for spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia and intestinal metaplasia, respectively. In cancers, significantly lower levels of DMBT1 or LTF correlated with more advanced disease and worse prognosis. Thus, proteomic profiling using FFPE samples has led to the identification of two novel markers for stomach metaplasias and gastric cancer prognosis.
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) induces a pathological complete response (pCR) in ~30% of patients with breast cancer. However, many patients have residual cancer after chemotherapy, which correlates with a higher risk of metastatic recurrence and poorer outcome than those who achieve a pCR. We hypothesized that molecular profiling of tumors after NAC would identify genes associated with drug resistance. Digital transcript counting was used to profile surgically resected breast cancers after NAC. Low concentrations of dual specificity protein phosphatase 4 (DUSP4), an ERK phosphatase, correlated with high post-NAC tumor cell proliferation and with basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) status. BLBC had higher DUSP4 promoter methylation and gene expression patterns of Ras-ERK pathway activation relative to other breast cancer subtypes. DUSP4 overexpression increased chemotherapy-induced apoptosis, whereas DUSP4 depletion dampened the response to chemotherapy. Reduced DUSP4 expression in primary tumors after NAC was associated with treatment-refractory high Ki-67 scores and shorter recurrence-free survival. Finally, inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) synergized with docetaxel treatment in BLBC xenografts. Thus, DUSP4 downregulation activates the Ras-ERK pathway in BLBC, resulting in an attenuated response to anti-cancer chemotherapy.
We compared the reproducibility of multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mass spectrometry-based peptide quantitation in tryptic digests from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) and frozen clear cell renal cell carcinoma tissues. The analyses targeted a candidate set of 114 peptides previously identified in shotgun proteomic analyses, of which 104 were detectable in FFPE and frozen tissue. Although signal intensities for MRM of peptides from FFPE tissue were on average 66% of those in frozen tissue, median coefficients of variation (CV) for measurements in FFPE and frozen tissues were nearly identical (18-20%). Measurements of lysine C-terminal peptides and arginine C-terminal peptides from FFPE tissue were similarly reproducible (19.5% and 18.3% median CV, respectively). We further evaluated the precision of MRM-based quantitation by analysis of peptides from the Her2 receptor in FFPE and frozen tissues from a Her2 overexpressing mouse xenograft model of breast cancer and in human FFPE breast cancer specimens. We obtained equivalent MRM measurements of HER2 receptor levels in FFPE and frozen mouse xenografts derived from HER2-overexpressing BT474 cells and HER2-negative Sum159 cells. MRM analyses of 5 HER2-positive and 5 HER-negative human FFPE breast tumors confirmed the results of immunohistochemical analyses, thus demonstrating the feasibility of HER2 protein quantification in FFPE tissue specimens. The data demonstrate that MRM analyses can be performed with equal precision on FFPE and frozen tissues and that lysine-containing peptides can be selected for quantitative comparisons, despite the greater impact of formalin fixation on lysine residues. The data further illustrate the feasibility of applying MRM to quantify clinically important tissue biomarkers in FFPE specimens.
OBJECTIVE - The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are aging-associated disorders characterized by ineffective maturation of hematopoietic elements, which are often diagnostically challenging. This study identifies microRNAs (miRNA) and miRNA targets that might represent diagnostic markers for MDS.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - This study utilized a total of 42 MDS samples and 45 controls. A discovery set of 20 frozen bone marrow mononuclear cell samples (10 MDS, 10 controls) was profiled on a custom Agilent miRNA microarray. Classifier miRNAs were validated in a separate set of 49 paraffin-embedded particle preparations by real-time polymerase chain reaction (24 MDS, 25 controls). Target prediction analysis was compared to a de novo transcriptional profile of MDS derived from the Microarray Innovations in Leukemia study. c-Myb and Sufu were further investigated by immunohistochemical stains on a set of 26 paraffin-embedded samples.
RESULTS - We identified 13 miRNAs of interest from the discovery set, 8 of which proved statistically significant on real-time polymerase chain reaction verification. These eight miRNAs were then examined in an independent real-time polymerase chain reaction validation set. Notably, hsa-miR-378, hsa-miR-632, and hsa-miR-636 demonstrated particularly high discrimination between MDS and normal controls. Target prediction identified potential targets of miRNA regulation that correspond to many of the genes that characterize MDS. Immunohistochemical staining performed on a third validation set confirmed that c-Myb and Sufu are differentially expressed in MDS.
CONCLUSIONS - Our data utilize both discovery and validation sets and two complementary platforms to identify miRNAs associated with MDS. We have analyzed predicted targets and identified c-Myb and Sufu as potential diagnostic markers of MDS.
Copyright © 2011 ISEH - Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Utilization of MALDI-MS (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry) for tissue imaging is a relatively new proteomic technique that simultaneously maps the spatial distribution of multiple proteins directly within a single frozen tissue section. Here, we report the development of a methodology to apply MALDI tissue imaging to chick heart tissue sections acquired from fixed and paraffin-embedded samples. This protocol produces molecular images that can be related to the high-quality histological tissue sections. Perfused term chick hearts were fixed in acidic ethanol and embedded in paraffin wax. Tissue sections (15 microm) were collected onto conductive slides, deparaffinized with xylene, and transitioned into water with graded ethanol washes and allowed to air dry. In separate experiments, three different MALDI matrices were applied to chick heart tissue sections through repeated cycles from a glass nebulizer. Tissue sections were then analyzed by MALDI mass spectrometry using a raster step-size of 75-100 microm, and molecular images for specific m/z ratios reconstituted. MALDI tissue imaging revealed spatially resolved protein signals within single heart sections that are specific to structures or regions of the heart, for example, vessels, valves, endocardium, myocardium, or septa. Moreover, no prior knowledge of protein expression is required as is the case for immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization methodologies. The ability to simultaneously localize a large number of unique protein signals within a single tissue section, with good preservation of histological features, provides cardiovascular researchers a new tool to give insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying normal and pathological conditions.
Analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues (FFPE) is increasingly recognized as a strategy for the discovery and validation of clinically useful biomarker candidates. Large tissue collections including tissue microarrays (TMAs) are available, but current analytical strategies for their characterization have limited throughput. In this report, we describe a workflow for rapid analysis of hundreds of FFPE tissue specimens. The strategy combines parallel sample processing and on-chip electrophoresis with automated matrix-assisted laser desorption ionzation mass spectrometry (MALDI MS) analysis. The method is optimized for small quantities of clinically valuable tissues allowing detection of hundreds of peptides from a single core in a TMA section. We describe results from the optimization of the method and apply it for the analysis of tissue microarrays containing formalin fixed tissue specimens from human kidney.
Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens comprise a potentially valuable resource for retrospective biomarker discovery studies, and recent work indicates the feasibility of using shotgun proteomics to characterize FFPE tissue proteins. A critical question in the field is whether proteomes characterized in FFPE specimens are equivalent to proteomes in corresponding fresh or frozen tissue specimens. Here we compared shotgun proteomic analyses of frozen and FFPE specimens prepared from the same colon adenoma tissues. Following deparaffinization, rehydration, and tryptic digestion under mild conditions, FFPE specimens corresponding to 200 microg of protein yielded approximately 400 confident protein identifications in a one-dimensional reverse phase liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. The major difference between frozen and FFPE proteomes was a decrease in the proportions of lysine C-terminal to arginine C-terminal peptides observed, but these differences had little effect on the proteins identified. No covalent peptide modifications attributable to formaldehyde chemistry were detected by analyses of the MS/MS datasets, which suggests that undetected, cross-linked peptides comprise the major class of modifications in FFPE tissues. Fixation of tissue for up to 2 days in neutral buffered formalin did not adversely impact protein identifications. Analysis of archival colon adenoma FFPE specimens indicated equivalent numbers of MS/MS spectral counts and protein group identifications from specimens stored for 1, 3, 5, and 10 years. Combination of peptide isoelectric focusing-based separation with reverse phase LC-MS/MS identified 2554 protein groups in 600 ng of protein from frozen tissue and 2302 protein groups from FFPE tissue with at least two distinct peptide identifications per protein. Analysis of the combined frozen and FFPE data showed a 92% overlap in the protein groups identified. Comparison of gene ontology categories of identified proteins revealed no bias in protein identification based on subcellular localization. Although the status of posttranslational modifications was not examined in this study, archival samples displayed a modest increase in methionine oxidation, from approximately 17% after one year of storage to approximately 25% after 10 years. These data demonstrate the equivalence of proteome inventories obtained from FFPE and frozen tissue specimens and provide support for retrospective proteomic analysis of FFPE tissues for biomarker discovery.
A novel method for high-throughput proteomic analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue microarrays (TMA) is described using on-tissue tryptic digestion followed by MALDI imaging MS. A TMA section containing 112 needle core biopsies from lung-tumor patients was analyzed using MS and the data were correlated to a serial hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained section having various histological regions marked, including cancer, non-cancer, and normal ones. By correlating each mass spectrum to a defined histological region, statistical classification models were generated that can sufficiently distinguish biopsies from adenocarcinoma from squamous cell carcinoma biopsies. These classification models were built using a training set of biopsies in the TMA and were then validated on the remaining biopsies. Peptide markers of interest were identified directly from the TMA section using MALDI MS/MS sequence analysis. The ability to detect and characterize tumor marker proteins for a large cohort of FFPE samples in a high-throughput approach will be of significant benefit not only to investigators studying tumor biology, but also to clinicians for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.