Patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE) are at increased risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), one of the most rapidly increasing cancers in developed nations. The molecular genetics underlying BE- associated neoplastic progression (BEAN) remain unclear, and a more thorough understanding of them would yield several benefits. These include: 1) clues to biological pathways underlying BEAN;2) useful biomarkers of early cancer detection, disease progression, or ultimate prognosis;and 3) therapeutic targets to intervene in the prevention treatment of this process. Small noncoding RNA species known as microRNAs (miRs) are involved in many human cancers, and miR-modulated translational regulation is an important gene-regulatory mechanism to consider along with transcriptional control of mRNA expression. Thus, miR expression analyses will provide biologic and clinical insights into BEAN. In addition, miRs themselves may eventually lead to targeted molecular therapies. We will evaluate the involvement of miRs in BE-associated metaplastic, dysplastic, and cancerous lesions by discovering unique alterations in the expression of miRs and by defining their biologic impact in vitro and in vivo. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that a unique set of miRs is involved in BEAN. To prove this hypothesis, we will compare miR expression levels at all stages of BE-associated metaplasia, dysplasia, and adenocarcinoma as well as in normal squamous esophagus. In addition, we will explore functional pathways by which these miRs are regulated and exert effects in BEAN. To achieve these broader goals, we will pursue the following Specific Aims: 1) To identify BEAN-specific tumor-suppressive miRs (ts-miRs) and oncogenic miRs (oncomiRs). 1a) To perform miR microarray-based comparisons of NE vs. BE vs. LGD vs. HGD vs. EAC to identify miRs that are differentially expressed at each preneoplastic transition. 1b) To confirm dysregulation of miRs identified by microarrays in Aim 1a, using miR RT-PCR. 1c) To evaluate potential mechanisms underlying dysregulation of miRs confirmed in Aim 1b, including DNA amplification and promoter methylation of miR mother genes. 2) To determine the biologic impact of key miRs on BE-associated neoplastic progression. 2a) To test the biologic effects of miRs -25, -93, -106b, - 100, -125b, and -205 in vitro by transfecting miR-mimics and antagomiRs into BEAN-derived cell lines, followed by proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis assays. 2b) To test the biologic effects of miRs -25, -93, - 106b, -100, -125b, and -205 in vivo by transfecting miR-mimics and antagomiRs into BEAN-derived cells and implanting the cells into nude mice. 3) Using complementary approaches, to explore interactions between key miRs and their target gene transcripts. 3a) To identify target gene transcripts of miRs -25, -93, -106b, - 100, -125b, and -205 by combining in-silico database searches, mRNA array data, and iTRAQ data. 3b) To study BEAN-miR target gene transcripts identified in Aim 3a, including p21 and Bim, using luciferase expression vectors containing the 3'-UTRs of these miR target mRNAs.

Public Health Relevance

We will evaluate the involvement of miRs in BE-associated metaplastic, dysplastic, and cancerous adjacent transitions by discovering unique alterations in the expression of miRs and defining their functional impact in vitro and in vivo. In this fashion, we will gain comprehensive insights into the molecular basis of BEAN, while simultaneously establishing a foundation for future potential predictive and diagnostic assays and therapeutic intervention strategies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Gastrointestinal Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section (GCMB)
Program Officer
Rinaudo, Jo Ann S
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Johns Hopkins University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Yang, Xue; Song, Jee Hoon; Cheng, Yulan et al. (2014) Long non-coding RNA HNF1A-AS1 regulates proliferation and migration in oesophageal adenocarcinoma cells. Gut 63:881-90
Joseph, Christine G; Hwang, Heejung; Jiao, Yuchen et al. (2014) Exomic analysis of myxoid liposarcomas, synovial sarcomas, and osteosarcomas. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 53:15-24
Jin, Zhe; Wang, Liang; Zhang, Yuan et al. (2013) MAL hypermethylation is a tissue-specific event that correlates with MAL mRNA expression in esophageal carcinoma. Sci Rep 3:2838
Wang, Li-Dong; Bi, Xiuli; Song, Xin et al. (2013) A sequence variant in the phospholipase C epsilon C2 domain is associated with esophageal carcinoma and esophagitis. Mol Carcinog 52 Suppl 1:E80-6
Merchant, Nipun B; Dutta, Sudhir K; Girotra, Mohit et al. (2013) Evidence for enhanced telomerase activity in Barrett's esophagus with dysplasia and adenocarcinoma. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 14:679-83
You, Yan-Jie; Chen, Yu-Ping; Zheng, Xiao-Xuan et al. (2012) Aberrant methylation of the PTPRO gene in peripheral blood as a potential biomarker in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients. Cancer Lett 315:138-44
Jain, Surbhi; Chen, Sitong; Chang, Kung-Chao et al. (2012) Impact of the location of CpG methylation within the GSTP1 gene on its specificity as a DNA marker for hepatocellular carcinoma. PLoS One 7:e35789
Cheng, Yulan; Jin, Zhe; Agarwal, Rachana et al. (2012) LARP7 is a potential tumor suppressor gene in gastric cancer. Lab Invest 92:1013-9
Jain, Surbhi; Chang, Ting-Tsung; Hamilton, James P et al. (2011) Methylation of the CpG sites only on the sense strand of the APC gene is specific for hepatocellular carcinoma. PLoS One 6:e26799
Orloff, Mohammed; Peterson, Charissa; He, Xin et al. (2011) Germline mutations in MSR1, ASCC1, and CTHRC1 in patients with Barrett esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. JAMA 306:410-9

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications