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  1. Lian LH, Lau TP, Ching AS, Chua KH
    Genet. Mol. Res., 2012;11(2):863-71.
    PMID: 22576914 DOI: 10.4238/2012.April.10.2
    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that causes systemic damage, involving auto-reactive antibodies and over-deposition of immune complexes. Susceptibility to SLE is believed to be multifactorial, and genetics is one of the proven etiological factors; it can affect SLE development, severity and prognosis. We investigated a possible association between the angiotensin-converting enzyme gene and susceptibility to SLE in the Malaysian population. PCR was employed for the determination of I/D dimorphism of this gene. The I allele was more frequent than the D allele in both the SLE patients (N = 170) and healthy controls (N = 190). However, there was no significant difference in the distribution of these two alleles between both groups studied (χ(2) = 0.284, P > 0.05). Interestingly, the DD homozygous genotype scored notably higher in the healthy control group (χ(2) = 7.568, P < 0.05), while the ID heterozygote was observed to be significantly associated with SLE (χ(2) = 11.143, P < 0.05). In conclusion, with respect to the Malaysian population, the DD genotype might play a protective role in the development of SLE while in contrast, those who carry the ID genotype might be at potential risk for onset of this disease.
  2. Kong PL, Looi LM, Lau TP, Cheah PL
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(9):e0161720.
    PMID: 27598341 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161720
    Telomeres shorten with physiological aging but undergo substantial restoration during cancer immortalization. Increasingly, cancer studies utilize the archive of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues in diagnostic pathology departments. Conceptually, such studies would be confounded by physiological telomere attrition and loss of DNA integrity from prolonged tissue storage. Our study aimed to investigate these two confounding factors. 145 FFPE tissues of surgically-resected, non-diseased appendixes were retrieved from our pathology archive, from years 2008 to 2014. Cases from 2013 to 2014 were categorized by patient chronological age (0-20 years, 21-40 years, 41-60 years, > 60 years). Telomere lengths of age categories were depicted by telomere/chromosome 2 centromere intensity ratio (TCR) revealed by quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Material from individuals aged 0-20 years from years 2013/2014, 2011/2012, 2009/2010, and 2008 were compared for storage effect. Telomere integrity was assessed by telomere fluorescence intensity (TFI). Epithelial TCRs (mean ± SD) for the respective age groups were 4.84 ± 2.08, 3.64 ± 1.21, 2.03 ± 0.37, and 1.93 ± 0.45, whereas corresponding stromal TCRs were 5.16 ± 2.55, 3.84 ± 1.36, 2.49 ± 1.20, and 2.93 ± 1.24. A trend of inverse correlation with age in both epithelial and stromal tissues is supported by r = -0.69, p < 0.001 and r = -0.42, p < 0.001 respectively. Epithelial TFIs (mean ± SD) of years 2013/2014, 2011/2012, 2009/2010 and 2008 were 852.60 ± 432.46, 353.04 ± 127.12, 209.24 ± 55.57 and 429.22 ± 188.75 respectively. Generally, TFIs reduced with storage duration (r = -0.42, p < 0.001). Our findings agree that age-related telomere attrition occurs in normal somatic tissues, and suggest that an age-based reference can be established for telomere studies on FFPE tissues. We also showed that FFPE tissues archived beyond 2 years are suboptimal for telomere analysis.
  3. Chua KH, Lian LH, Sim XJ, Cheah TE, Lau TP
    Int J Mol Sci, 2015;16(5):9794-803.
    PMID: 25938972 DOI: 10.3390/ijms16059794
    The programmed cell death 1 (PDCD1) gene encodes for the PD-1 (programmed death 1) molecule, which negatively regulates self-reactive T- and B-cells in the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. A previous report had shown the development of lupus-like phenotypes in PD-1-deficient C57BL/6 mice, was suggestive to the role of PDCD1 in predisposing to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Hence, we aimed to investigate the association between PDCD1 and SLE susceptibility in the Malaysian population. A TaqMan-based real-time PCR was employed to screen for PD1.1, PD1.3, PD1.5 and PD1.6 in both SLE and healthy control groups of 200 samples each. The observed frequency for PD1.5C/C genotype was significantly higher in Indian SLE patients and Malay controls (p < 0.01). On the other hand, the PD1.5C/T genotype might predispose the Malays to SLE, but confer a protective effect among the Indians (p < 0.01). The PD1.1, PD1.3 and PD1.6 were, however, not correlated to genetic predisposition of SLE in our Malaysian population. In conclusion, PD1.5 variant was significantly associated to SLE susceptibility in our Malaysian cohort. Our failure in replicating the association between other investigated PDCD1 variants and risk of getting SLE might due to ethnic and geographic variations in the distribution of these genetic variants.
  4. Lau TP, Roslani AC, Lian LH, Lee PC, Hilmi I, Goh KL, et al.
    Genet. Mol. Res., 2014;13(3):5555-61.
    PMID: 25117311 DOI: 10.4238/2014.July.25.9
    Growth factors are polypeptides that are critical for the initiation, progression, and metastasis of cancer. Most tumor cells are capable of synthesizing particular growth factors leading to constitutive pathway activation in these cells through autocrine signaling. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a potent mitogenic peptide that exerts direct effects on the proliferation and differentiation of tumor cells in carcinogenesis. By contrast, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is vital for the invasion and metastasis of neoplasms through the formation of new blood vessels from mature endothelial cells. In this study, we investigated the association between functional polymorphisms of both the EGF and VEGF genes and colorectal cancer (CRC) susceptibility. A total of 130 CRC patients and 212 healthy controls were recruited for this case-control study. Genotyping of genetic variants was conducted via real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification with allele-specific TaqMan probes. None of the genotypes of the EGF +61 A>G and VEGF +936 C>T variants was significantly associated with CRC susceptibility among the Malaysian subjects evaluated (P > 0.05). The observed frequency distributions of the EGF +61 A>G polymorphism genotypes showed ethnic heterogeneity, which was not the case for the VEGF +936 C>T genotypes. In conclusion, no positive correlation between these functional polymorphisms and CRC risk was found in this Malaysian population. Studies of the EGF and VEGF genes and CRC susceptibility are scarce, and the results reported thus far differ from one population to another. Hence, more replication studies are warranted before any firm conclusions can be made.
  5. Chua KH, Lim SC, Ng CC, Lee PC, Lim YA, Lau TP, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2015;5:15671.
    PMID: 26507008 DOI: 10.1038/srep15671
    Molecular detection has overcome limitations of microscopic examination by providing greater sensitivity and specificity in Plasmodium species detection. The objective of the present study was to develop a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction coupled with high-resolution melting (qRT-PCR-HRM) assay for rapid, accurate and simultaneous detection of all five human Plasmodium spp. A pair of primers targeted the 18S SSU rRNA gene of the Plasmodium spp. was designed for qRT-PCR-HRM assay development. Analytical sensitivity and specificity of the assay were evaluated. Samples collected from 229 malaria suspected patients recruited from Sabah, Malaysia were screened using the assay and results were compared with data obtained using PlasmoNex(TM), a hexaplex PCR system. The qRT-PCR-HRM assay was able to detect and discriminate the five Plasmodium spp. with lowest detection limits of 1-100 copy numbers without nonspecific amplifications. The detection of Plasmodium spp. in clinical samples using this assay also achieved 100% concordance with that obtained using PlasmoNex(TM). This indicated that the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of this assay in Plasmodium spp. detection is comparable with those of PlasmoNex(TM). The qRT-PCR-HRM assay is simple, produces results in two hours and enables high-throughput screening. Thus, it is an alternative method for rapid and accurate malaria diagnosis.
  6. Lau TP, Roslani AC, Lian LH, Lee PC, Hilmi I, Goh KL, et al.
    Genet. Mol. Res., 2014;13(3):7079-85.
    PMID: 24682985 DOI: 10.4238/2014.March.19.3
    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common types of cancer in both developed and developing countries. This disease is triggered by and progresses via the sequential accumulation of multiple genetic alterations. In addition, the interaction between low-penetrance genes and environmental factors can also increase the risk of developing CRC. Since inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are one of the predisposing factors for CRC, IBD-related genes might, to a certain extent, be associated with cancer initiation. The nucleotide oligomerization domain 2/caspase activating recruitment domain 15 gene (NOD2/CARD15) is the most well-established gene to be associated with increased susceptibility to Crohn's disease. Thus, various studies have been performed to investigate the potential contribution of this gene to CRC risk. In this study, we aimed to determine the frequency of the Arg702Trp, Gly908Arg, 3020insC, Pro268Ser, and JW1 variants of NOD2/CARD15, and to investigate their association with CRC susceptibility. A total of 130 CRC patients and 212 healthy controls were recruited for this study. Subsequently, real-time polymerase chain reaction with TaqMan was performed for the genotyping of these NOD2/ CARD15 variants. None of the NOD2/CARD15 variants was statistically associated to CRC susceptibility in our Malaysian population. Our findings were remarkably similar to those of other Asian cohorts, which indicated that these NOD2/CARD15 variants exhibit genetic heterogeneity between Caucasian and Asian populations.
  7. Lian LH, Lau TP, Lee VL, Lee WS, Hilmi I, Goh KL, et al.
    Genet. Mol. Res., 2013;12(1):167-74.
    PMID: 23408403 DOI: 10.4238/2013.January.24.9
    This study aimed to investigate the potential association of TYK2 and STAT3 genes with the susceptibility to Crohn's disease (CD) among Malaysians. DNA samples were obtained from 80 CD patients and 100 healthy controls. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism methods were employed for genotyping, followed by statistical analysis. In our current study, none of the single nucleotide polymorphisms of either TYK2 or STAT3 was statistically associated with the susceptibility to CD in our local population (P > 0.05). In contrast, there was a statistically significant association between the G/G homozygotes of the STAT3 rs2293152 and the healthy control group (χ(2) = 6.229, P < 0.05). In conclusion, our study does not support the role of the TYK2 and STAT3 genes influencing CD susceptibility.
  8. Lau TP, Roslani AC, Lian LH, Chai HC, Lee PC, Hilmi I, et al.
    BMJ Open, 2014;4(8):e004930.
    PMID: 25107436 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-004930
    To characterise the mRNA expression patterns of early and advanced stage colorectal adenocarcinomas of Malaysian patients.
  9. Lau TP, Lian LH, Cheah PL, Looi LM, Roslani AC, Goh KL, et al.
    Eur. J. Cancer Prev., 2017 11;26(6):506-510.
    PMID: 28059856 DOI: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000336
    X-ray repair cross-complementing group 1 (XRCC1) is one of the key components in the base excision repair pathway that repairs erroneous DNA lesions and removes nonbulky base adducts for the maintenance of genome integrity. Studies have revealed that differences in individual DNA repair capacity can impact the interindividual variation in cancer susceptibility, tumour aggressiveness and treatment response. The relationship between XRCC1 and sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC) susceptibility, which is hitherto inconclusive, has been explored in many association studies of different populations. In view of the conflicting findings generated, we aimed to investigate the association between XRCC1 and genetic predisposition to CRC among Malaysians. The present case-control association study was conducted on 130 CRC patients and 212 age-matched healthy controls. The genotyping of XRCC1 Arg194Trp, Arg280His and Arg399Gln single nucleotide polymorphisms was performed with allele-specific real-time PCR approach. This was followed by basic statistical analysis on the single nucleotide polymorphisms and haplotype data obtained. No significant difference in the allele and genotype frequencies was observed between CRC patients and healthy controls (P>0.05). There was also no association observed between XRCC1 haplotypes and CRC (P>0.05). In conclusion, a positive association between XRCC1 gene polymorphisms and CRC risk was not established in our Malaysian population.
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