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Title: TOPK as a novel determinant of radiosensitivity
Author: Pirovano, Giacomo Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 7383
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Radiotherapy is the use of ionising radiation to induce localised DNA damage to cancerous tissues, leading to cell death and disease control. In order to maximise tumour growth control and to limit damage of the healthy surrounding tissues and the consequent side effects for the patient, molecular determinants of tumour radioresistance are investigated as potential clinical targets. A high-throughput siRNA colony formation assay screen in HeLa cervical carcinoma cells previously published by our laboratory identified modulators of radiosensitivity. From the list CSF1R, EPHB2, GAK and TOPK, were selected and validated. TOPK (T-LAK cell-originated protein kinase, also known as PDZ-binding kinase, PBK) was selected for further investigation because it is overexpressed in most malignancies but not in normal tissues, apart from testis and placenta. Knockdown of TOPK was shown to induce radiosensitisation in a panel of cancer cell lines with no significant effects on normal cells. A role for TOPK in the cell cycle response to ionising radiation (IR) was discovered in HCT116 colorectal cancer cells, with alterations in the G1/S and G2/M checkpoints. Furthermore, immunoprecipitation experiments identified a physical interaction between TOPK and CDKN1A (p21) at 8 hours after IR. Apoptosis and the number of multinucleated cells were significantly increased in TOPK depleted cells exposed to IR, suggesting the possibility of aberrant mitosis and mitotic catastrophe in these cells. High TOPK expression in early breast cancer patients was shown to be associated with poor recurrence-free survival. In addition, immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis on samples from prostate cancer patients identified a strong correlation between high levels of TOPK and poor clinical response to radiotherapy. In order to facilitate future in vivo experiments, an HCT116 shRNA stable knockdown cell line was developed and two commercially available TOPK inhibitors were tested and optimised. Taken together, these data suggest that TOPK is a molecular determinant of radiosensitivity with a great potential for future clinical applications.
Supervisor: McKenna, Gillies Sponsor: University of Oxford ; Cancer Research UK
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Radiobiology ; Biomedical Physics ; Cancer Research ; Oncology ; TOPK ; Radiotherapy ; therapeutic window ; PBK ; Radiation ; disease ; Tumour ; Ionising ; gene therapy