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Int J Oncol, 24, 1279- 1288

Molecular characterizations of derivatives of HCT116 colorectal cancer cells that are resistant to the chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil.

P.M. De Angelis, B. Fjell, K.L. Kravik, T. Haug, S.H. Tunheim, W. Reichelt, M. Beigi, O.P. Clausen, E. Galteland, T. Stokke

5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is the chemotherapeutic drug of choice for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, but resistance to 5-FU remains a major obstacle to successful therapy. We generated 5-FU-resistant derivatives of the HCT116 human colon cancer cell line by serial passage of these cells in the presence of increasing 5-FU concentrations in an attempt to elucidate the biological mechanisms involved in resistance to 5-FU. Two resultant resistant derivatives, HCT116 ResB and ResD, were characterized for resistance phenotypes, genotypes, and gene expression using cells maintained long-term in 5-FU-free media. Compared to parental HCT116 cells that respond to 5-FU challenge by inducing high levels of apoptosis, ResB and ResD derivatives had significantly reduced apoptotic fractions when transiently challenged with 5-FU. ResB and ResD cells were respectively 27- and 121-fold more resistant to 5-FU, had increased doubling times, and significantly increased plating efficiencies compared to the parental cells. Both resistant derivatives retained the wild-type TP53 genotype, TP53 copy number and CGH profile characteristic of the parental line. Alterations in gene expression in the resistant derivatives compared to the parental line were assessed using oligonucleotide microarrays. Overall, the 5-FU-resistant derivatives were characterized by reduced apoptosis and a more aggressive growth phenotype, consistent with the observed up-regulation of apoptosis-inhibitory genes (e.g., IRAK1, MALT1, BIRC5), positive growth-regulatory genes (e.g., CCND3, CCNE2, CCNF, CYR61), and metastasis genes (e.g., LMNB1, F3, TMSNB), and down-regulation of apoptosis-promoting genes (e.g., BNIP3, BNIP3L, FOXO3A) and negative growth-regulatory genes (e.g., AREG, CCNG2, CDKN1A, CDKN1C, GADD45A). 5-FU metabolism-associated genes (e.g., TYMS, DTYMK, UP) and DNA repair genes (e.g., FEN1, FANCG, RAD23B) were also up-regulated in one or both resistant derivatives, suggesting that the resistant derivatives might be able to overcome both 5-FU inhibition of thymidylate synthase and the DNA damage caused by 5-FU, respectively. Development of 5-FU resistance thus appears to encompass deregulation of apoptosis-, proliferation-, DNA repair-, and metastasis-associated regulatory pathways.

Cellular Oncology, 26, 335- 345

DNA ploidy and chromosome (FISH) pattern analysis of peripheral nerve sheath tumors

A. Hruska, R. Bollmann, R.B. Kovács, M. Bollmann, M. Bodó, Z. Sápi

BACKGROUND AND METHODS: 44 peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNST) (27 schwannomas, 9 neurofibromas and 8 malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST)) were analyzed to determine DNA ploidy pattern and to clarify the conflicting data in the literature concerning this topic (whether benign PNSTs are aneuploid or not). For further insight we analyzed 6 schwannomas, one atypical neurofibroma and five MPNSTs by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique using centromeric chromosome probes (7, 17 and 18) and automatic image analysis station, Metafer 4. RESULTS: Benign schwannomas (including the problematic variants as ancient, cellular, neuroblastoma like and multiplex schwannomas) could be characterized by euploid-polyploidisation and by their 4c peak height value which was usually more than 10% of total cell number measured. These characters were not found among neurofibromas and MPNST-s. FISH analysis revealed and confirmed that the 'normal' euploid-polyploid cells are mainly eusomic-polysomic containing two, four, eight or sixteen signals for each chromosomes examined, but in a small proportion aneusomy was found among tumor cells of benign schwannomas (average: 2.58; range 1.33-3.44). In contrast, the atypical neurofibroma displayed marked aneusomy (18.44%) but it contained normal eusomic and polysomic cells too. Two diploid MPNSTs proved to be clearly aneusomic with trisomy of chromosome 17 and monosomy of chromosome 18. CONCLUSIONS: All these data suggest that ploidy pattern determination combined with FISH analysis may be a very useful supplementary tool for making a right diagnosis (to differentiate benign versus malignant schwannomas in problematic variants) and to understand better the malignant transformation in PNSTs.

Cytogenet Genome Res, 104, 383- 389

New developments in automated cytogenetic imaging: unattended scoring of dicentric chromosomes, micronuclei, single cell electrophoresis, and fluorescence signals.

C. Schunck, T. Johannes, D. Varga, T. Lörch, A. Plesch

The quantification of DNA damage, both in vivo and in vitro, can be very time consuming, since large amounts of samples need to be scored. Additional uncertainties may arise due to the lack of documentation or by scoring biases. Image analysis automation is a possible strategy to cope with these difficulties and to generate a new quality of reproducibility. In this communication we collected some recent results obtained with the automated scanning platform Metafer, covering applications that are being used in radiation research, biological dosimetry, DNA repair research and environmental mutagenesis studies. We can show that the automated scoring for dicentric chromosomes, for micronuclei, and for Comet assay cells produce reliable and reproducible results, which prove the usability of automated scanning in the above mentioned research fields.

Mutagenesis, 19, 391- 397

An automated scoring procedure for the micronucleus test by image analysis

D. Varga, T. Johannes, S. Jainta, S. Schuster, U. Schwarz-Boeger, M. Kiechle, B.P. Garcia, W. Vogel

The micronucleus assay (MNT) in human lymphocytes is frequently used to assess chromosomal damage as a consequence of environmental mutagen exposure, to assess the effect of mutagens or to search for reduced DNA repair capacity after a mutagenic challenge. We have established an automated scoring procedure for the cytokinesis blocked MNT based on computerized image analysis (Metasystems Metafer 4 version 2.12). To evaluate the results we used the reproducibility of counts, established a dose-response curve for gamma-irradiation and used the ability of the system to differentiate between breast cancer patients and controls as a biological reference, a difference which we had observed before by visual counting. Blood cultures were irradiated with gamma-rays (2 Gy) at the beginning and treated with cytochalasin B during the last 24 h. The slides were stained with Giemsa for visual counting and with DAPI for automated analysis. Our test sample consisted of 73 persons (27 with breast cancer and 26 female and 20 male controls). A comparison between visual counting (controls, mean MN frequency 313) and automated counting (mean MN frequency 106) in slides from the same culture revealed a large drop for the automated counts. However, the automated counts were as reproducible as the visual counts [coefficient of variation (CV) on the sample approximately 20%; CV on repeated counts of the same slides approximately 5%] and both counts were highly correlated. Furthermore, the discrimination between cases and controls improved for automated counting of slides from the same cultures [visual odds rato (OR) < or = 4.0, P = 0.009; automated OR > 16, P < 0.0001], with a strong dependence on the set of parameters used. This improvement was confirmed in a validation sample of an additional 21 controls and 20 cases (OR = 11, P = 0.0018) performed as a prospective or diagnostic test.

Nature Reviews - Genetics, 5, 11- 22

Systematic genome-wide screens of gene function.

A.E. Carpenter, D.M. Sabatini

By using genome information to create tools for perturbing gene function, it is now possible to undertake systematic genome-wide functional screens that examine the contribution of every gene to a biological process. The directed nature of these experiments contrasts with traditional methods, in which random mutations are induced and the resulting mutants are screened for various phenotypes. The first genome-wide functional screens in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster have recently been published, and screens in human cells will soon follow. These high-throughput techniques promise the rapid annotation of genomes with high-quality information about the biological function of each gene.

Int J Cancer, 111, 358- 366

Intratumor chromosomal heterogeneity in advanced carcinomas of the uterine cervix.

H. Lyng, M. Beigi, D.H. Svendsrud, O.T. Brustugun, T. Stokke, G.B. Kristensen, K. Sundf\or, A. Skj\onsberg, P.M. De Angelis

Intratumor heterogeneity in chromosomal aberrations is believed to represent a major challenge in the treatment of cancer. The aim of our work was to assess the chromosomal heterogeneity of advanced cervical carcinomas and to distinguish aberrations that had occurred at a late stage of the disease from early events. A total of 55 biopsies, sampled from 2-4 different sites within 20 tumors, were analyzed by use of comparative genomic hybridization. Heterogeneous aberrations were identified as those present in at least 1 of the biopsies and which were not seen, nor seen as a tendency, in the others of the same tumor. The homogeneous aberrations were those seen in all biopsies of the tumor. The most frequent homogeneous aberrations were gain of 3q (65%), 20q (65%) and 5p (50%), indicating that these are early events in the development of the disease. Chromosomal heterogeneity was observed in 11 tumors. The most frequent heterogeneous aberrations were loss of 4p14-q25 (60% of 10 cases with this aberration), and gain of 2p22-pter (50% of 6 cases), 11qcen-q13 (33% of 9 cases) and 8q (27% of 11 cases), suggesting that these events promote progression at a later stage. Many of the heterogeneous regions contained genes known to influence the prognosis of cervical cancer, such as 7p (EGFR), 8q (c-MYC), 11qcen-q13 (CCND1) and 17q (ERBB2). Three evolution sequences for the subpopulations in the heterogeneous tumors were identified: a serial, a parallel and a mixed sequence. In 2 tumors with a serial sequence, it was indicated that the aberrations +8 and -X had occurred after the other heterogeneous aberrations and hence were the aberrations most recently formed. Our results suggest pronounced chromosomal instability in advanced cervical carcinomas. Moreover, aggressive and treatment-resistant subpopulations may emerge at a late stage and possibly contribute to a poor prognosis of the advanced stages.

Histol Histopathol, 19, 229- 237

Multicolour FISH probe sets and their applications

T. Liehr, H. Starke, A. Weise, H. Lehrer, U. Claussen

Multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays are nowadays indispensable for a precise description of complex chromosomal rearrangements. Routine application of such techniques on human chromosomes started in 1996 with the simultaneous use of all 24 human whole chromosome painting probes in multiplex-FISH (M-FISH) and spectral karyotyping (SKY). Since then different approaches for chromosomal differentiation based on multicolor-FISH (mFISH) assays have been described. Predominantly, they have been established to characterize marker chromosomes identified in conventional banding analysis. Their characterization is of high clinical impact and is the requisite condition for further molecular investigations aimed at the identification of disease-related genes. Here we present a review on the available mFISH methods including their advantages, limitations and possible applications.

Cytogenet. Genome Res., 104, 87- 94

Human fibroblasts expressing hTERT show remarkable karyotype stability even after exposure to ionizing radiation.

L.M. Pirzio, M.A. Freulet, Y. Bai, B. Fouladi, J.P. Murnane, L. Sabatier, C. Desmaze

Ectopic expression of telomerase results in an immortal phenotype in various types of normal cells, including primary human fibroblasts. In addition to its role in telomere lengthening, telomerase has now been found to have various functions, including the control of DNA repair, chromatin modification, and the control of expression of genes involved in cell cycle regulation. The investigations on the long-term effects of telomerase expression in normal human fibroblast highlighted that these cells show low frequencies of chromosomal aberrations. In this paper, we describe the karyotypic stability of human fibroblasts immortalized by expression of hTERT. The ectopic overexpression of telomerase is associated with unusual spontaneous as well as radiation-induced chromosome stability. In addition, we found that irradiation did not enhance plasmid integration in cells expressing hTERT, as has been reported for other cell types. Long-term studies illustrated that human fibroblasts immortalized by telomerase show an unusual stability for chromosomes and for plasmid integration sites, both with and without exposure to ionizing radiation. These results confirm a role for telomerase in genome stabilisation by a telomere-independent mechanism and point to the possibility for utilizing hTERT-immortalized normal human cells for the study of gene targeting.

International Journal of Oncology, 24, 127- 136

Breakpoint differentiation in chromosomal aberrations of hematological malignancies: identification of 33 previously unrecorded breakpoints

A. Heller, I.F. Loncarevic, M. Glaser, E. Gebhart, U. Trautmann, U. Claussen, T. Liehr

Routine cytogenetic analysis provides important information of diagnostic and prognostic relevance for hematological malignancies. In spite of this, poorly spread metaphase chromosomes and highly rearranged karyotypes with numerous marker chromosomes, are often difficult to interpret. In order to improve the definition of chromosomal breakpoints multicolor banding (MCB) was applied on 45 bone marrow samples from patients suffering from hematological malignancies like myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute myelocytic leukemia (AML), chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML) or acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The breakpoints defined by GTG banding were confirmed by MCB in 8 cases, while in the remaining 37 cases the breakpoints had to be redefined. In 20/45 cases the breakpoints could only be characterized after application of MCB. In summary, 73 different breakpoints were characterized, thereof 33 were previously undescribed. Eleven cases showed known acquired aberrations and 21 cases had previously described aberration types such as del(5q-), del(7q-), del(13q-) or t(1;5) as sole rearrangement or in connection with other complex ones. In a total of 11 cases 19 breakpoints as described before were involved in hematological malignancies, while in 14 cases 33 breakpoints were identified which have not been described previously. Thus, MCB has proven to be a powerful and reliable method for screening of chromosomal aberrations, which considerably increased the accuracy of cytogenetic diagnosis.

Cytogenet Genome Res, 104, 390- 393

mBAND: a high resolution multicolor banding technique for the detection of complex intrachromosomal aberrations

I. Chudoba, G. Hickmann, T. Friedrich, A. Jauch, P. Kozlowski, G. Senger

Precise breakpoint definition of chromosomal rearrangements using conventional banding techniques often fails, especially when more than two breakpoints are involved. The classic banding procedure results in a pattern of alternating light and dark bands. Hence, in banded chromosomes a specific chromosomal band is rather identified by the surrounding banding pattern than by its own specific morphology. In chromosomal rearrangements the original pattern is altered and therefore the unequivocal determination of breakpoints is not obvious. The multicolor banding technique (mBAND, see Chudoba et al., 1999) is able to identify breakpoints unambiguously, even in highly complex chromosomal aberrations. The mBAND technique is presented and illustrated in a case of intrachromosomal rearrangement with seven breakpoints all having occurred on one chromosome 16, emphasizing the unique analyzing power of mBAND as compared to conventional banding techniques.

Haematologica, 89, 965- 972

Heterogeneity of BCL6 rearrangements in nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma

I Wlodarska, M Stul, C De Wolf-Peeters, A Hagemeijer

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma (NLPHL) showed recurrent rearrangement of the BCL6 which is gene detected in 48% of cases analyzed by interphase-fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). These findings point to a critical role for BCL6 in the development of this distinct Hodgkin's lymphoma. We present our results of metaphase-FISH analyses aimed at identifying and characterizing BCL6-related chromosomal translocations in NLPHL. DESIGN AND METHODS: Four NLPHL cases with available metaphase spreads obtained either at the time of diagnosis or during progression to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) were collected. Extensive metaphase-FISH analysis was performed to identify the affected partner chromosomes and reciprocal breakpoints. RESULTS: Each of the analyzed NLPHL cases showed a different type of BCL6 rearrangement that included the t(3;22)(q27;q11) targeting immunoglobulin (IG) alpha chain locus, complex t(3;7;3;1) involving the 7p12/Ikaros gene region, t(3;9)(q27;p13) affecting an unknown gene in vicinity of PAX5, and t(3;4)(q27;q32) showing the alternative 3q27 breakpoint outside BCL6 and possibly, an internal deletion of BCL6. Retrospective interphase-FISH analysis of 2 cases with subsequent DLBCL showed the same type of BCL6 translocation as in NLPHL samples. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: The spectrum of BCL6 aberrations targeting IG as well as non-IG loci in NLPHL is similar to that found in DLBCL. These findings further support the hypothesis of a germinal center B-cell-derived origin of NLPHL and of a relationship between these two lymphoma entities. This latter issue is additionally illustrated in two NLPHL patients who subsequently developed DLBCL and showed the same type of BCL6 rearrangements in both tumors.

Molecular Biology of the Cell, 15, 3709- 3718

Does a sentinel or a subset of short telomeres determine replicative senescence?

Y. Zou, A. Sfeir, S.M. Gryaznov, J.W. Shay, W.E. Wright

The proliferative life span of human cells is limited by telomere shortening, but the specific telomeres responsible for determining the onset of senescence have not been adequately determined. We here identify the shortest telomeres by the frequency of signal-free ends after in situ hybridization with telomeric probes and demonstrate that probes adjacent to the shortest ends colocalize with gammaH2AX-positive DNA damage foci in senescent cells. Normal BJ cells growth arrest at senescence before developing significant karyotypic abnormalities. We also identify all of the telomeres involved in end-associations in BJ fibroblasts whose cell-cycle arrest at the time of replicative senescence has been blocked and demonstrate that the 10% of the telomeres with the shortest ends are involved in >90% of all end-associations. The failure to find telomeric end-associations in near-senescent normal BJ metaphases, the presence of signal-free ends in 90% of near-senescent metaphases, and the colocalization of short telomeres with DNA damage foci in senescent interphase cells suggests that end-associations rather than damage signals from short telomeres per se may be the proximate cause of growth arrest. These results demonstrate that a specific group of chromosomes with the shortest telomeres rather than either all or only one or two sentinel telomeres is responsible for the induction of replicative senescence.

Radioprotection, 38, 323- 340

Comparaison de systèmes d'analyse d'images cytologiques en dosimétrie biologique (FRENCH)

L. Roy, M. Delbos, N. Paillole, V. Durand, P. Voisin

La technique de référence en dosimétrie biologique est basée sur le dénombrement des aberrations chromosomiques de type dicentrique induit par les rayonnements ionisants. Cet article présente divers systèmesd'analyse d'images utilisés en dosimétrie biologique pour aider la détection de ces aberrations. Les systèmes présentés sont le CYTOGEN de la société IMSTAR, le CYTOSCAN (APPLIED IMAGING) et le METAFER (METASYSTEM). Tous ne présentent pas les mêmes fonctionnalités et chacun peut être utilisé de façon plus ou moins automatique. Certaines fonctionnalités communes de ces systèmes sont comparées. L'aide apportée par les systèmes porte sur 3 points : (1) localisation automatique des métaphases sur les lames, dans ce cas on a un gain de temps d'un facteur 2 à 4 par rapport au comptage manuel ; (2) un outil d'aide au comptage qui apporte un confort de lecture et une meilleure fiabilité des résultats ; (3) la détection automatique des dicentriques est particulièrement utile en cas de tri de population. En effet, dans ce cas il faut estimer très rapidement la dose reçue par un nombre important de personnes. Par contre, l'estimation de dose n'a pas besoin d'être aussi précise que dans le cas de l'expertise individuelle. Des erreurs dans la détection des dicentriques est alors tolérée et une détection automatique des dicentriques est envisageable. Le gain de temps est très appréciable puisqu'il est possible de compter 300 cellules en une demie-heure (METAFER) contre 25 avec la seule aide du chercheur de métaphases. Cependant la qualité de la détection doit encore être améliorée puisque 50 % des dicentriques ne sont pas détectées. Le marquage des centromères par technique FISH devrait permettre d'améliorer la sensibilité de la technique. Les premiers résultats sont encourageant puisque 90 % des centromères sont correctements détectés mais d'autres expériences doivent êtres réalisées pour évaluer le gain de temps.

Int. J. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 32, 198- 200

Search for deleteion 22q11.2 in interphase nuclei of buccal mucosa of patients ascertained by isolated cleft palate: a new diagnostic approach

N. Shouman, B. Pabst, M. Arslan-Kirchner, A. Eckardt, R. Schönweiler, M. Ptok, Y. Mehraein, J. Schmidtke, K. Miller

A new approach for the detection of chromosome deletion 22q11.2 in interphase nuclei from buccal mucosa cells obtained by a non-invasive procedure is described. FISH analysis has been performed on samples from a group of 101 patients that presented consecutively for speech therapy and/or surgical correction of cleft palate. A normal result has been obtained in 98 patients; a deletion 22q11.2 was present in three patients (2.8%) with cleft palate.

Cancer letters, 197, 29- 34

Disseminated tumour cells in the bone marrow - chances and consequences of microscopical detection methods

P.F. Ambros, G. Mehes, I.M. Ambros, R. Ladenstein

The detection of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) in the hematopoetic system is important for various reasons. It is essential for tumor staging. According to the International Neuroblastoma Staging System (INSS) only the cytomorphological examination of bone marrow smears is accepted despite the fact that an infiltrate below 0.1%, can hardly be detected and even infiltrates of more than 10% are sometimes overlooked. Another important aspect is the monitoring of the disease response to cytotoxic drugs by quantifying DTCs. Moreover, bone marrow aspirates represent an ideal source to determine the genetic and biological make up of DTCs at diagnosis and during follow up. Key issues that can be tested on DTCs are: determination of the proliferation capacity, the apoptotic rate, the drug sensitivity etc. The prerequisite for such a bone-marrow diagnosis, however, is the unequivocal identification of disseminated tumor cells. Thus, in order to avoid false positive and false negative results, which are a risk in bone-marrow diagnostics, a system was developed to distinguish tumor cells from non-neoplastic cells and to facilitate the gain of insights into the biological make-up of tumor cells more easily.

Cancer Genet. Cytogenet., 142, 80- 82

Cytogenetic and molecular characterization of simultaneous chronic and acute myelotic leukemia.

L. Harder, S. Gesk, J.I. Martin-Subero, H. Merz, A. Hochhaus, E. Maa\ss, A. Feller, W. Grote, R. Siebert, S. Fetscher

We describe a patient initially diagnosed with a chronic myeloproliferative disorder in the accelerated phase. Cytogenetic analysis showed the presence of two independent clones. One clone contained a typical Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome due to t(9;22)(q34;q11), as the sole abnormality which was proven molecularly to result in the b2a2-BCR/ABL fusion. The other clone displayed a complex karyotype with several structural and numerical aberrations including trisomy 11 and 22 but lacking a t(9;22) or any other structural abnormalities involving chromosomes 9 and 22. Fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrated that the t(9;22) was present only in cells with two copies of chromosomes 11 and 22. In contrast, cells with trisomies 11 and 22 lacked evidence for a BCR/ABL fusion. Based on the genetic findings, simultaneous chronic and acute myelocytic leukemias were diagnosed rather than a blastic phase of a chronic myelocytic leukemia.

J. Appl. Genet., 44, 539- 546

Molecular cytogenetic techniques in detecting subtle chromosomal imbalances

B. Kaluzewski, M. Constantinou, E. Zajac

Diagnostic possibilities of CGH and M-FISH techniques for detection of submicroscopic chromosomal imbalancies were compared on the basis of two cases of t(X;Y) and one case of marker chromosome. In cases with t(X;Y), the sequences specific for chromosome Y were detected by PCR and CGH, but the localisation of these sequences on the short arm of chromosome X was confirmed by the FISH technique, employing two Yp-specific probes for SRY and TSPY genes. Significant differences between above cases were revealed in the size of Yp chromosome fragments translocated on chromosome X. An extra material of chromosome marker could not be identified by classical banding and FISH techniques and it was only CGH and M-FISH techniques that enabled detecting the chromosomal origin of the marker. The applied CGH technique enabled finding subtle chromosomal imbalancies in the presented cases with a resolution of approximately 3 Mbp.