A pinboard by
Madiha Kanwal

Fresh graduate, Kunming Institute of Zoology, University Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


Diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer

My previous studies mainly focused on three parts of scientific research: (1) Identification of oncogenic mutation in air pollution related lung cancer by simple PCR and DNA sequencing); (2) Pathophysiological function of MUC16 mutation by using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technique and expression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and drug effect on over and under expression of MUC16; (3) Screening of novel genes related to familial lung cancer identified by whole genome sequencing and finding possible association with family history in lung cancer. The main objective of the projects was to evaluate somatic and germline mutations with significant contribution in lung cancer development and progression that may lead to better diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of lung cancer.


NRF2-regulated metabolic gene signature as a prognostic biomarker in non-small cell lung cancer.

Abstract: Mutations in Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (KEAP1) cause the aberrant activation of nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2 (NRF2), which leads to oncogenesis and drug resistance in lung cancer cells. Our study was designed to identify the genes involved in lung cancer progression targeted by NRF2. A series of microarray experiments in normal and cancer cells, as well as in animal models, have revealed regulatory genes downstream of NRF2 that are involved in wide variety of pathways. Specifically, we carried out individual and combinatorial microarray analysis of KEAP1 overexpression and NRF2 siRNA-knockdown in a KEAP1 mutant-A549 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line. As a result, we identified a list of genes which were mainly involved in metabolic functions in NSCLC by using functional annotation analysis. In addition, we carried out in silico analysis to characterize the antioxidant responsive element sequences in the promoter regions of known and putative NRF2-regulated metabolic genes. We further identified an NRF2-regulated metabolic gene signature (NRMGS) by correlating the microarray data with lung adenocarcinoma RNA-Seq gene expression data from The Cancer Genome Atlas followed by qRT-PCR validation, and finally showed that higher expression of the signature conferred a poor prognosis in 8 independent NSCLC cohorts. Our findings provide novel prognostic biomarkers for NSCLC.

Pub.: 26 Jul '17, Pinned: 18 Aug '17

Gene methylation biomarkers in sputum as a classifier for lung cancer risk.

Abstract: CT screening for lung cancer reduces mortality, but will cost Medicare ~2 billion dollars due in part to high false positive rates. Molecular biomarkers could augment current risk stratification used to select smokers for screening. Gene methylation in sputum reflects lung field cancerization that remains in lung cancer patients post-resection. This population was used in conjunction with cancer-free smokers to evaluate classification accuracy of a validated eight-gene methylation panel in sputum for cancer risk. Sputum from resected lung cancer patients (n=487) and smokers from Lovelace (n=1380) and PLuSS (n=718) cohorts was studied for methylation of an 8-gene panel. Area under a receiver operating characteristic curve was calculated to assess the prediction performance in logistic regressions with different sets of variables. The prevalence for methylation of all genes was significantly increased in the ECOG-ACRIN patients compared to cancer-free smokers as evident by elevated odds ratios that ranged from 1.6 to 8.9. The gene methylation panel showed lung cancer prediction accuracy of 82-86% and with addition of clinical variables improved to 87-90%. With sensitivity at 95%, specificity increased from 25% to 54% comparing clinical variables alone to their inclusion with methylation. The addition of methylation biomarkers to clinical variables would reduce false positive screens by ruling out one-third of smokers eligible for CT screening and could increase cancer detection rates through expanding risk assessment criteria.

Pub.: 30 Jul '17, Pinned: 18 Aug '17

Daurinol blocks breast and lung cancer metastasis and development by inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK).

Abstract: FAK overexpression has been reported in diverse primary and metastatic tumor tissues, supporting its pro-tumorigenic and pro-metastatic roles. Therefore, we have developed a neo-treatment strategy using daurinol to effectively treat cancer metastasis. Daurinol blocked cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro and exhibited anti-metastatic activity in an experimental metastasis model of breast and lung cancer. Daurinol selectively inhibited phosphorylation of FAK at Tyr925, Tyr576/577, and Tyr397 sites in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Daurinol effectively suppressed migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 and A549 cancer cells. These data were associated with inhibition of expression and secretion of invasion factors, including matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 2, MMP9, and urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA). Consistent with these in vitro results, daurinol (10 mg/kg; Oral gavage) effectively inhibited breast and lung cancer metastasis in a mouse model. In addition, daurinol showed strong suppressive activity of cell survival as revealed by colony formation assays. Analysis of cellular phenotypes revealed that inhibition of FAK phosphorylation in cancer cells limited colony formation, cell migration, and invasion, thereby reducing the cell proliferation rate. Furthermore, daurinol significantly reduced tumor development in 4-(methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)/benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)-treated A/J mice. Our results suggest that daurinol suppresses lung metastasis through inhibition of migration and survival via blockade of FAK activity.

Pub.: 21 Jul '17, Pinned: 27 Jul '17

Plasma N-acetylputrescine, cadaverine and 1,3-diaminopropane: potential biomarkers of lung cancer used to evaluate the efficacy of anticancer drugs.

Abstract: Polyamines have been widely investigated as potential biomarkers for various types of cancers, including lung cancer, which is one of the most common causes of death from cancer worldwide. This study was carried out to evaluate the value of polyamines that serve as early diagnostic and cancer progression markers as well as drug evaluation for lung cancer (squamous cell carcinoma of lung, SCCL). SCCL was induced in Wistar rats by intratracheal instillation of 3-methylcholanthrene and treated with three different anti-cancer drugs, Aidi injections, fluorouracil, and a combination of them. After carcinogenesis for 28, 70 and 98 days and therapy for 28 and 56 days, the polyamine levels in plasma of SCCL, healthy and treated rats were determined using a UHPLC-MS/MS assay base on the means of targeted metabolomics. Results showed that increased N-acetylputrescine, cadaverine and 1,3-diaminopropane levels were associated with progression of SCCL. The levels of cadaverine and 1,3-diaminopropane returned to normal after administration of the three different kinds of anticancer drug. In addition, the suitability of using N-acetylputrescine, cadaverine and 1,3-diaminopropane as biomarkers was confirmed by PLS-DA and ROC analysis. It can provide an innovative and effective way for the clinical diagnosis, prevention and treatment of lung cancer, and stimulate a theoretical basis for the design and development of new anticancer drugs. At the same time, this increased the clinical options for polyamines as cancer biomarkers.

Pub.: 26 Jul '17, Pinned: 27 Jul '17