Day 2 :
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, Singapore
Polly Leilei Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Principle Investigator at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore where she directs a research lab studying human cancers, particularly liver cancer. Her current focus is on the identification of key RNA editing events and translating these findings into diagnoses and even treatment. In addition, she has collaboration with local and international researchers to study the roles of RNA editing enzyme ADARs and their substrates in different types of human cancers, such as esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), gastric cancer and acute myeloid leukemia.
Conventionally, cancer is driven by a clonal accumulation of somatic mutations, referred to as driver mutations, conferring a selective growth advantage to cancer cells. RNA editing, is an epigenetic mechanism, introduces changes in the RNA sequences encoded by the genome, contributing to editing/epigenetic mutations. In humans, the most frequent type of editing is the conversion of adenosine to inosine (A-to-I), which is catalyzed by ADAR (Adenosine Deaminase Acting on RNA) proteins, ADAR1 and ADAR2. Inosine (I) essentially mimics guanosine (G), therefore ADAR proteins actually introduce a virtual A-to-G substitution in transcripts. Such changes can lead to specific amino acid substitutions, alternative splicing, altered microRNA seeds or targets, or changes in transcript localization, expression and degradation. Up to now, changes in the information are being investigated almost exclusively at the DNA level. Using integrative genomic approaches, our previous study highlighted a link between a disrupted RNA editing balance and cancer development. We recently place focus on understanding the regulators of A-to-I RNA editing and their role in cancer development.
China Medical University, Taiwan
Lu-Hai Wang has completed his PhD in Molecular Biology at University of California-Berkeley in 1976 and has been dedicated to the research in cancer biology. He holds the Professorship in The Rockefeller University and Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1979 and 1988, respectively. He was recruited as the Distinguished Investigator and Director of the Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine at National Health Research Institute in 2008 and went back to Taiwan. In 2010, he was elected as the Academician, which is the highest honor in academia in Taiwan. In 2012, he was awarded Fellow of TWAS, The World Academy of Sciences. His research interests lie in the molecular mechanism for tumor progression and metastasis. His laboratory has identified several miRNAs involved in regulating, migration, invasion and metastasis of breast, ovarian, and oral cancer cells. He is currently the Vice President of the China Medical University (CMU) in Taiwan and a Chair Professor in the Graduate Institute of Chinese and Western Integrated Medicine, CMU.
Metabolic reprogramming including glucose metabolism is associated with progression of tumor growth. To identify the important players in such reprogramming, we employed 4T1/BALB/c syngeneic model to compare tumors of varying sizes. We identified the glycolytic enzyme transketolase (TKT) to be up-regulated in the bigger tumors. We found TKT expression levels were the highest in lymph node metastases compared with primary tumor and normal tissues of patients. Patients with higher TKT levels had poor overall survival. Reduced TKT attenuated cancer cell growth and metastatic behaviors by in vitro and in vivo assays. Depletion of TKT elevated the expression of alpha-ketoglutarate (α-KG), which was able to inhibit cancer cell growth and metastasis. Reduced TKT or addition of α-KG switched glucose metabolism from glycolysis to TCA cycle through the regulation of enzymes involved in those pathways. These results suggest that TKT-mediated α-KG signaling pathway may be exploited for anti-metastasis therapy in breast cancer.
National Institute of Cancer Research & Hospital, Bangladesh
Dr. Shahana Pervin is a surgeon at the National Institute of Cancer Research & Hospital, Bangladesh.
Objective: This study describes the characteristics of patients with primary malignant melanoma of the vagina and their treatment at National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from February 2013-January 2015.
Materials & Methods: Eight patients with primary malignant melanoma of the vagina were identified. Medical records were reviewed for demographic information, treatment and outcomes. This investigation was approved by the Ethics Committee of the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital.
Results: The median age was 48 years (Range: 35-65 years) and most patients were premenopausal. Seven of the eight patients presented with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage-2. Five patients had disease confined mainly to the upper and middle thirds of the vagina. One patient was diagnosed with stage-4 disease. In two patients, cervical metastases were present. Almost all patients received radiotherapy. Two patients with stage-2 disease developed local recurrences within eighteen months and one patient with stage-4 disease died ten months after diagnosis.
Conclusion: Primary malignant melanomas of the vagina are uncommon, highly aggressive tumors that are associated with poor overall survival. Surgery is the mainstay of treatment. Nearly 80% of vaginal melanomas will recur. Overall, 5 years survival ranges from 5% to 25%. The size of the tumor (>than 3 cm) and the presence of lymphadenopathy at diagnosis worsen the overall survival.