Circular RNAs are a large group of RNAs whose cellular functions are still being investigated. We recently proposed that circSMARCA5 acts as sponge for the splicing factor Serine and Arginine Rich Splicing Factor 1 (SRSF1) in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). After demonstrating by RNA immunoprecipitation a physical interaction between SRFS1 and circSMARCA5, we assayed by real-time PCR in a cohort of 31 GBM biopsies and 20 unaffected brain parenchyma controls (UC) the expression of total, pro-angiogenic (Iso8a) and anti-angiogenic (Iso8b) mRNA isoforms of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGFA), a known splicing target of SRSF1. The Iso8a to Iso8b ratio: (i) increased in GBM biopsies with respect to UC (p-value < 0.00001); (ii) negatively correlated with the expression of circSMARCA5 (r-value = −0.46, p-value = 0.006); (iii) decreased in U87-MG overexpressing circSMARCA5 with respect to negative control (p-value = 0.0055). Blood vascular microvessel density, estimated within the same biopsies, negatively correlated with the expression of circSMARCA5 (r-value = −0.59, p-value = 0.00001), while positively correlated with that of SRSF1 (r-value = 0.38, p-value = 0.00663) and the Iso8a to Iso8b ratio (r-value = 0.41, p-value = 0.0259). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that GBM patients with low circSMARCA5 expression had lower overall and progression free survival rates than those with higher circSMARCA5 expression (p-values = 0.033, 0.012, respectively). Our data convincingly suggest that circSMARCA5 is an upstream regulator of pro- to anti-angiogenic VEGFA isoforms ratio within GBM cells and a highly promising GBM prognostic and prospective anti-angiogenic molecule.
Since 1971, we have surgically treated spasticity in 109 cases of cerebral palsy with posterior rhizotomy. The best results have been obtained with functional posterior rhizotomy, an original modification of Foerster’s technique, in which the selection of the roots/rootlets to be sectioned is based on functional exploration of the spinal circuits involved in the maintenance of spasticity, using intra-operative electrostimulation on dorsal roots. This method makes selective sections possible, thereby saving a larger number of normal proprioceptive afferents, with consequent reduction in negative side effects. No recurrencies have been observed in our 3-year follow-up. The main indication is Little’s disease.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent and deadly human brain cancer. Early diagnosis through non-invasive biomarkers may render GBM more easily treatable, improving the prognosis of this currently incurable disease. We suggest the use of serum extracellular vesicle (sEV)-derived circular RNAs (circRNAs) as highly stable minimally invasive diagnostic biomarkers for GBM diagnosis. EVs were isolated by size exclusion chromatography from sera of 23 GBM and 5 grade 3 glioma (GIII) patients, and 10 unaffected controls (UC). The expression of two candidate circRNAs (circSMARCA5 and circHIPK3) was assayed by droplet digital PCR. CircSMARCA5 and circHIPK3 were significantly less abundant in sEVs from GBM patients with respect to UC (fold-change (FC) of −2.15 and −1.92, respectively) and GIII (FC of −1.75 and −1.4, respectively). Receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis, based on the expression of sEV-derived circSMARCA5 and circHIPK3, allowed us to distinguish GBM from UC (area under the curve (AUC) 0.823 (0.667–0.979) and 0.855 (0.704 to 1.000), with a 95% confidence interval (CI), respectively). Multivariable ROC analysis, performed by combining the expression of sEV-derived circSMARCA5 and circHIPK3 with preoperative neutrophil to lymphocyte (NLR), platelet to lymphocyte (PLR) and lymphocyte to monocyte (LMR) ratios, three known diagnostic and prognostic GBM markers, allowed an improvement in the GBM diagnostic accuracy (AUC 0.901 (0.7912 to 1.000), 95% CI). Our data suggest sEV-derived circSMARCA5 and circHIPK3 as good diagnostic biomarkers for GBM, especially when associated with preoperative NLR, PLR and LMR.
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a large class of RNAs with regulatory functions within cells. We recently showed that circSMARCA5 is a tumor suppressor in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and acts as a decoy for Serine and Arginine Rich Splicing Factor 1 (SRSF1) through six predicted binding sites (BSs). Here we characterized RNA motifs functionally involved in the interaction between circSMARCA5 and SRSF1. Three different circSMARCA5 molecules (Mut1, Mut2, Mut3), each mutated in two predicted SRSF1 BSs at once, were obtained through PCR-based replacement of wild-type (WT) BS sequences and cloned in three independent pcDNA3 vectors. Mut1 significantly decreased its capability to interact with SRSF1 as compared to WT, based on the RNA immunoprecipitation assay. In silico analysis through the “Find Individual Motif Occurrences” (FIMO) algorithm showed GAUGAA as an experimentally validated SRSF1 binding motif significantly overrepresented within both predicted SRSF1 BSs mutated in Mut1 (q-value = 0.0011). U87MG and CAS-1, transfected with Mut1, significantly increased their migration with respect to controls transfected with WT, as revealed by the cell exclusion zone assay. Immortalized human brain microvascular endothelial cells (IM-HBMEC) exposed to conditioned medium (CM) harvested from U87MG and CAS-1 transfected with Mut1 significantly sprouted more than those treated with CM harvested from U87MG and CAS-1 transfected with WT, as shown by the tube formation assay. qRT-PCR showed that the intracellular pro- to anti-angiogenic Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGFA) mRNA isoform ratio and the amount of total VEGFA mRNA secreted in CM significantly increased in Mut1-transfected CAS-1 as compared to controls transfected with WT. Our data suggest that GAUGAA is the RNA motif responsible for the interaction between circSMARCA5 and SRSF1 as well as for the circSMARCA5-mediated control of GBM cell migration and angiogenic potential.
Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the immunohistochemical expression and distribution of serine and arginine rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1) in a series of 102 cases of both diffuse and circumscribed adult gliomas to establish the potential diagnostic role of this protein in the differential diagnosis of brain tumors. Methods: This retrospective immunohistochemical study included 42 glioblastoma cases, 21 oligodendrogliomas, 15 ependymomas, 15 pilocytic astrocytomas, 5 sub-ependymal giant cell astrocytoma and 4 pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas. Results: Most glioblastoma (81%), oligodendroglioma (71%), sub-ependymal giant cell astrocytoma (80%) and pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (75%) cases showed strong SRSF1 immunoexpression, while no detectable staining was found in the majority of ependymomas (87% of cases) and pilocytic astrocytomas (67% of cases). Conclusions: The immunohistochemical expression of SRSF1 may be a promising diagnostic marker of astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas and its increased expression might allow for excluding entities that often enter into differential diagnosis, such as ependymomas and pilocytic astrocytomas.
Specific breast cancer (BC) subtypes are associated with bad prognoses due to the absence of successful treatment plans. The triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype, with estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR) and human epidermal growth factor-2 (HER2) negative receptor status, is a clinical challenge for oncologists, because of its aggressiveness and the absence of effective therapies. In addition, proton therapy (PT) represents an effective treatment against both inaccessible area located or conventional radiotherapy (RT)-resistant cancers, becoming a promising therapeutic choice for TNBC. Our study aimed to analyze the in vivo molecular response to PT and its efficacy in a MDA-MB-231 TNBC xenograft model. TNBC xenograft models were irradiated with 2, 6 and 9 Gy of PT. Gene expression profile (GEP) analyses and immunohistochemical assay (IHC) were performed to highlight specific pathways and key molecules involved in cell response to the radiation. GEP analysis revealed in depth the molecular response to PT, showing a considerable immune response, cell cycle and stem cell process regulation. Only the dose of 9 Gy shifted the balance toward pro-death signaling as a dose escalation which can be easily performed using proton beams, which permit targeting tumors while avoiding damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Uveal melanoma, in spite of its rarity, represents the most common primitive intraocular malignant neoplasm of the adults; it affects choroid, ciliary bodied and iris and remains clinically silent for a long time, being accidentally discovered by routine ophthalmic exams. Prognosis of uveal melanoma is poor and frequently characterized by liver metastases, within 10–15 years from diagnosis. Autophagy is a multi-step catabolic process by which cells remove damaged organelles and proteins and recycle nutrients. It has been hypothesized that in early stages of tumorigenesis autophagy has a tumor suppressor role while, in more advanced stages, it may represent a survival mechanism of neoplastic cells in response to stress. Several proteins related to autophagy cascade have been investigated in numerous subtypes of human cancer, with overall controversal results. In this paper we studied the immunohistochemical expression of 3 autophagy related proteins (Beclin-1, p62 and ATG7) in a cohort of 85 primary uveal melanoma treated by primary enucleation (39 with metastasis and 46 non metastatic) and correlated their expression with clinico-pathological parameters and blood vascular microvessel density, in order to investigate the potential prognostic role of autophagy in this rare neoplasm. We found that high immunohistochemical levels of Beclin-1 correlated with a lower risk of metastasis and higher disease-free survival times, indicating a positive prognostic role for Beclin-1 in uveal melanoma. No statistically significative differences regarding the expression of ATG7 and p62 between metastatic and non metastatic patients was detected.
Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common intraocular tumor in adults. Despite sharing the name and similar morphological features with cutaneous melanoma (CM), it is an entirely different neoplasia with a particular genetic background and clinical behavior. CDKN2A is a gene located at chromosome 9p21, encoding for P16INK4a and P14(ARF) proteins, whose role as a tumor suppressor has been clearly defined in many malignant tumors. CDKN2A frequently presents germline mutations in familial CM and epigenetic downregulation in a considerable percentage of sporadic CM. It has been hypothesized that CDKN2A alterations are early events in CM development, playing a central role in the malignant transformation of melanocytes. Alterations of the CDKN2A gene reduce the expression of P16INK4a in most CM subtypes. Immunohistochemical evaluation of P16INK4a is currently used, in association with Ki67 and HMB45, in pathology practice to discriminate between dysplastic nevi and melanoma. On the other hand, CKDN2A is rarely mutated in UM, and the immunohistochemical expression of P16INK4a has only been reported in small case series. We tested P16INK4a expression on paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 9 tissue microarrays (TMAs), built with 2 mm cores derived from 133 uveal melanoma FFPE blocks, collected from 1990 to 2018, and from selected paraffin-blocks of 3 UM liver metastases. The immunohistochemical expression of P16INK4a was assessed with a visual evaluation by light microscopy and then with a digital approach. Both approaches, with an acceptable concordance rate, revealed P16INK4a expression in a large proportion of UM cases and all liver metastases, opening new possibilities of using it in the differential diagnosis between cutaneous and uveal melanoma metastases in cases of unknown primary tumor or patients with two different primary melanomas.
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