Initiation and progression of human caner not only depends on genetic alterations but also on epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation and histone modifications. Aberrant DNA hypermethylation in the promoter regions of genes is the most well-defined epigenetic change in tumors and is associated with inappropriate gene silencing. This feature can be utilized to search for tumor-specific DNA methylation biomarkers and to examine candidate DNA biomarkers for clinical use. DNA methylation biomarker is defined as a molecular target that undergoes DNA methylation changes in carcinogenesis. Such a biomarker is useful for early detection of cancer, predicting and/or monitoring the therapeutic response, and detection of recurrent cancer. In this review, we describe the mechanism that establishes and maintains DNA methylation patterns as well as the mechanism of aberrant gene silencing in cancer, and then we introduce methods to isolate the DNA methylation biomarkers. We also summarize the current status of clinical implementation for some of the most widely studied and well-validated DNA methylation biomarkers, including tissue factor pathway inhibitor 2 (TFPI2), septin 9 (SEPT9), glutathione S-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1), and O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), and assess the clinical potential of these biomarkers for risk assessment, early diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and the prevention of cancer. Finally we describe the possible involvement of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in cancer; this is a recently discovered 5-methylcytosine oxidation derivative and might have a diagnostic potential in certain cancers. Abnormal DNA methylations are leading candidates for the development of specific markers for cancer diagnosis and therapy.
Spasticity management is pivotal for achieving functional recovery of stroke patients. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a single trial of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on spasticity and balance in chronic stroke patients. Forty-two chronic stroke patients were randomly allocated into the TENS (n = 22) or the placebo-TENS (n = 20) group. TENS stimulation was applied to the gastrocnemius for 60 min at 100 Hz, 200 μs with 2 to 3 times the sensory threshold (the minimal threshold in detecting electrical stimulation for subjects) after received physical therapy for 30 min. In the placebo-TENS group, electrodes were placed but no electrical stimulation was administered. For measuring spasticity, the resistance encountered during passive muscle stretching of ankle joint was assessed using the Modified Ashworth Scale, and the Hand held dynamometer was used to assess the resistive force caused by spasticity. Balance ability was measured using a force platform that measures postural sway generated by postural imbalance. The TENS group showed a significantly greater reduction in spasticity of the gastrocnemius, compared to the placebo-TENS group (p < 0.05). TENS resulted in greater balance ability improvements, especially during the eyes closed condition (p < 0.05). However, these effects returned to baseline values within one day. This study shows that TENS provides an immediately effective means of reducing spasticity and of improving balance in chronic stroke patients. The present data may be useful to establish the standard parameters for TENS application in the clinical setting of stroke.
Cisplatin is one of the most potent chemotherapeutic anticancer drugs, but it can produce side effects such as nephrotoxicity. Inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules have important roles in the pathogenesis of cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. D-Ribose is a naturally occurring five-carbon monosaccharide that is found in all living cells, and has anti-inflammatory effects in renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. The purpose of this study was to determine the protective effects of D-ribose on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Forty-eight mice were randomly divided into four groups: control, cisplatin, cisplatin + ribose, and ribose. Mice were given cisplatin (20 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneally) with or without D-ribose (400 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneally, immediately after cisplatin injection). At 72 h after cisplatin injection, we measured serum and renal tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and renal monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 concentrations by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; renal expression of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 mRNA by real-time polymerase chain reaction; serum blood urea nitrogen and creatinine; and histological changes. Cisplatin increased serum and renal TNF-α concentrations, renal MCP-1 concentration, and renal ICAM-1 mRNA expression. Treatment with D-ribose attenuated the increase in serum and renal TNF-α concentrations, renal MCP-1 concentration, and renal ICAM-1 mRNA expression. Consequently, cisplatin-induced renal dysfunction and renal tubular necrosis were attenuated by D-ribose treatment. This is believed to be the first time that protective effects of D-ribose on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity via inhibition of inflammatory reactions have been investigated. Thus, D-ribose may become a new therapeutic candidate for the treatment of cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity.
Liver cancer a global public health concern and well known for poor prognosis. The association between low total cholesterol level and liver cancer has been reported. However, the association between low low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and liver cancer is still unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between LDL cholesterol level and liver cancer mortality. A total of 16,217 persons (5,551 men and 10,666 women) aged 40-79 years in 1993 were followed until 2008. LDL cholesterol levels were divided into four categories (< 80 mg/dl, 80-99 mg/dl, 100-119 mg/dl, and ≥ 120 mg/dl). Hazard ratio of LDL cholesterol level for liver cancer mortality was calculated using a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model. Covariates were age, sex, alanine transaminase, body mass index, alcohol intake and smoking status, all of which were correlated with LDL cholesterol levels. There were 51 deaths (32 men and 19 women) from liver cancer. Multivariable hazard ratios of liver cancer deaths for LDL cholesterol levels of < 80 mg/dl was 4.33 (95% confident interval [CI]: 1.94, 9.68), for LDL cholesterol levels of 80-99 mg/dl was 1.03 (95% CI: 0.42, 2.53), and for LDL cholesterol levels of ≥ 120 mg/dl was 0.43 (95% CI: 0.20, 0.92) compared with LDL cholesterol levels of 100-199 mg/dl (p for trend < 0.01). Therefore, low LDL cholesterol levels are associated with elevated risk of liver cancer mortality. Low LDL cholesterol may be a predictive marker for death due to liver cancer.
Chronic liver disease (CLD), such as hepatitis C, is a progressive disease consisting of the destruction and regeneration of the liver parenchyma, leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis. Platelets contain various growth factors and may play important roles in liver regeneration. Thus, to investigate whether platelet transfusion improves liver function in patients with CLD and cirrhosis, we conducted an exploratory clinical trial. The study included 10 patients with CLD and cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class A or B), who all presented thrombocytopenia (platelet counts between 50,000 and 100,000 /μl). The subjects received 10 units of platelet concentrate once a week for 12 weeks. They were followed up for 9 months after the last transfusion. One patient discontinued platelet transfusion because of pruritus, and 2 patients discontinued because of platelet transfusion refractoriness. One patient was excluded from the analysis for receiving a procedural treatment after 12 platelet transfusions. Thus, the remaining 6 patients were analyzed. The platelet count did not increase significantly after the last transfusion. Significant improvement of serum albumin was observed at 1 month and 3 months after the last transfusion. Serum cholinesterase improved significantly at 1 week, 3 months, and 9 months after the last transfusion. Serum hyaluronic acid showed a tendency toward improvement after the last transfusion. In conclusion, platelet transfusion improved some of the indicators of liver function in patients with CLD and cirrhosis, though adverse events related to platelet transfusion were observed in some patients. Platelet increment therapy could be a new strategy for treating CLD and cirrhosis.
In Japan, the incidence of severe pediatric tuberculosis (TB) has decreased dramatically in recent years. However, children in Japan can still have considerable opportunities to contract TB infection from adult TB patients living nearby, and infants infected with TB may develop severe disseminated disease. A 3-month-old girl was admitted to our hospital with dyspnea and poor feeding. After admission, miliary TB and multiple brain tuberculomas were diagnosed. Anti-tuberculous therapy was initiated with streptomycin (SM), isoniazid (INH), rifampicin and pyrazinamide. Symptoms persisted after starting the initial treatment and mycobacterial cultures of gastric fluid remained positive. Drug sensitivity testing revealed the TB strain isolated on admission as completely resistant to INH and SM. Treatments with INH and SM were therefore stopped, and treatment with ethambutol and ethionamide was started in addition to rifampicin and pyrazinamide. After this change to the treatment regimen, symptoms and laboratory data gradually improved. The patient was treated with these four drugs for 18 months, and then pyrazinamide was stopped. After another 2 months, ethambutol was stopped. Treatment of tuberculosis was completed in 24 months. No adverse effects of these anti-TB drugs were observed. The patient achieved a full recovery without any sequelae. On the other hand, the infectious source for this patient remained unidentified, despite the extensive contact investigations. The incidence of drug-resistant TB is increasing in many areas of the world. Continuous monitoring for pediatric patients with drug-resistant TB is therefore needed.
New-onset diabetes after transplantation (NODAT) is a serious complication after kidney transplantation. Obesity was widely identified as a modifiable risk factor for NODAT. Body mass index (BMI) is the most frequently used diagnostic indication of obesity, and higher pretransplant BMI has been reported to be an independent risk factor of NODAT. However, the influence of posttransplant increase in BMI on the development of NODAT during outpatient follow-up has not been established. This is a single-centered retrospective study in Japan. We identified 158 consecutive patients who received living donor kidney transplantation in Sendai Shakaihoken Hospital from September 2000 to December 2009. Of these, 101 patients were included in this study. NODAT was defined based on the American Diabetes Association definitions. Fifteen patients developed NODAT with a median follow-up period of 27 (3-109) months. Of these 15 patients with NODAT, 13 patients were diagnosed after the first year of transplantation, with a median follow-up of 29 months, and 2 patients were diagnosed at 3 months after transplantation. Recipient age (HR: 1.06 [1.01-1.13]) and increase in BMI (HR: 1.12 [1.01-1.26]) proved to be independent risk factors of NODAT in multivariate logistic analysis after adjustments for pretransplant 2-hour OGTT level, pretransplant BMI, and use of tacrolimus. This is the first study showing the association between an increase in BMI and the development of NODAT. The increase in BMI might be a risk factor for NODAT. These findings underline the importance of routine BMI measurements in medical practice.
The shortage of physicians has become a serious problem in Japan. It has been pointed out that an increase in the number of female doctors may contribute to the aggravation of this shortage because it is known that women work fewer hours than male doctors. Here, we investigated how many female doctors had ever resigned from a full-time position, and elucidated the reasons why female doctors find it difficult to stay in full-time employment. An alumnae survey of 2 private medical schools was conducted in 2007. A self-administered questionnaire was sent to 1423 graduates and 711 responded with informed consent (response rate, 50%; mean age, 39 years). Overall, 55% of the respondents had previously resigned from full-time employment, of which 90% resigned within 10 years of graduating from medical school. The difficulty in balancing work, childbirth and child rearing (45%) were the top 2 reasons for resignation, followed by physical problems (12%) and long working hours (8%). Among those who resigned, only 33% returned to full-time employment. Women who had at least 1 child were only 30% of those who had never resigned and 84% of those who had previously resigned. The majority of study subjects, regardless of experience of resignation (88%), agreed that women should continue to work even after childbirth. In conclusion, the results of this study suggested that many female doctors resigned from a full-time position within 10 years of graduating from medical school, largely because of the gender role stereotype and poor working conditions.