We previously identified a region of recurrent amplification on chromosome 22q11.21 in a subset of primary lung adenocarcinomas. Here we show that CRKL, encoding for an adaptor protein, is amplified and overexpressed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells that harbor 22q11.21 amplifications. Overexpression of CRKL in immortalized human airway epithelial cells promoted anchorage independent growth and tumorigenicity. Oncogenic CRKL activates SOS1-RAS-RAF-ERK and SRC-C3G-RAP1 pathways. Suppression of CRKL in NSCLC cells that harbor CRKL amplifications induced cell death. Overexpression of CRKL in EGFR mutant cells induces resistance to gefitinib by activating ERK and AKT signaling. We identified CRKL amplification in an EGFR inhibitor treated lung adenocarcinoma that was not present prior to treatment. These observations show that CRKL overexpression induces cell transformation, credential CRKL as a therapeutic target for a subset of NSCLC that harbor CRKL amplifications and implicate CRKL as an additional mechanism of resistance to EGFR-directed therapy.
non small cell lung cancer; CRKL; cell transformation; RAP1; oncogene
In cancer, proto-oncogenes are often altered by genomic amplification. Here we report recurrent focal amplifications of chromosomal segment 4q12 overlapping the proto-oncogenes PDGFRA and KIT in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis indicate that 4q12 is amplified in 3–7% of lung adenocarcinomas and 8–10% of lung squamous cell carcinomas. In addition, we demonstrate that the NSCLC cell line NCI-H1703 exhibits focal amplification of PDGFRA and is dependent on PDGFRα activity for cell growth. Treatment of NCI-H1703 cells with PDGFRA-specific shRNAs or with the PDGFRα/KIT small molecule inhibitors imatinib or sunitinib leads to cell growth inhibition. However, these observations do not extend to NSCLC cell lines with lower-amplitude and broader gains of chromosome 4q. Together these observations implicate PDGFRA and KIT as potential oncogenes in NSCLC, but further study is needed to define the specific characteristics of those tumors that could respond to PDGFRα/KIT inhibitors.
NSCLC; lung cancer; PDGFRA; KIT; sunitinib; imatinib; amplification; 4q12
Chromosomal abnormalities affecting proto-oncogenes are frequently detected in human cancer. Oncogenes of the myc family are activated in several types of tumors as a result of gene amplification or chromosomal translocation. We have recently found the L-myc gene involved in a gene fusion in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). This results in a chimeric protein with amino-terminal sequences from a novel gene named rif joined to L-myc. Here we present a preliminary structural characterization of the rlf-L-myc fusion gene, which has been found only in cells with an amplified L-myc gene. In addition, we have used somatic cell hybrids to assign the normal rlf locus to the same chromosome (chromosome 1) on which L-myc resides. Finally, we have been able to establish a physical linkage between rif and L-myc with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Our results demonstrate that normal rlf and L-myc genes are separated by less than 800 kb of DNA. Thus, the rlf-L-myc gene fusions are due to similar but not identical intrachromosomal rearrangements at 1p32. The presence of independent genetic lesions that cause the formation of identical chimeric rlf-L-myc proteins suggests a role for the fusion protein in the development of these tumors.
Chromosome 18q is frequently deleted in lung cancers, and a common region of 18q deletions was mapped to chromosome 18q21. Since the DCC candidate tumor suppressor gene has been mapped in this region, mutation and expression of the DCC gene were examined in 46 lung cancer cell lines, consisting of 14 small cell lung carcinomas (SCLCs) and 32 non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs), to elucidate the pathogenetic significance of DCC alterations in human lung carcinogenesis. A heterozygous missense mutation was detected in a NSCLC cell line, Ma26, while homozygous deletion was not detected in any of the cell lines. The DCC gene was expressed in 11 (24%) of the 46 cell lines, and the incidence of DCC expression was significantly higher in SCLCs (7/14, 50%) than in NSCLCs (4/32, 13%) (P = .01, Fisher's exact test). Therefore, genetic alterations of DCC are infrequent; however, the levels of DCC expression vary among lung cancer cells, in particular, between SCLCs and NSCLCs. The present result does not implicate DCC as a specific mutational target of 18q deletions in human lung cancer; however, it suggests that DCC is a potential target of inactivation by genetic defects including intron or promoter mutations and/or epigenetic alterations. The present result also suggests that DCC expression is associated with some properties of SCLCs, such as a neuroendocrine (NE) feature.
DCC; lung cancer; chromosome 18; tumor suppressor gene; mutation
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) tumor progression can involve partial or complete conversion to a more treatment-resistant non-small cell (NSCLC) phenotype. In a cell culture model of this phenomenon, we have previously demonstrated that insertion of the viral Harvey ras gene (v-Ha-ras) into SCLC cell lines with amplification and overexpression of the c-myc gene induced many NSCLC phenotypic features. We now report that the v-Ha-ras gene can also induce morphologic, biochemical, and growth characteristics consistent with the NSCLC phenotype in an N-myc amplified SCLC cell line, NCI-H249. We show that v-Ha-ras has novel effects on these cells, abrogating an SCLC-specific growth requirement for gastrin-releasing peptide, and inducing mRNA expression of three NSCLC-associated growth factors and receptors, platelet-derived growth factor B chain, transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha), and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R). TGF-alpha secretion and EGF-R also appear, consistent with the induction of an autocrine loop previously shown to be growth stimulatory for NSCLC in culture. These data suggest that N-myc and v-Ha-ras represent functional classes of genes that may complement each other in bringing about the phenotypic alterations seen during SCLC tumor progression, and suggest that such alterations might include the appearance of growth factors and receptors of potential importance for the growth of the tumor and its surrounding stroma.
The receptor tyrosine kinase MET has been studied of a large variety of human cancers, including lung and mesothelioma. The MET receptor and its ligand HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) play important roles in cell growth, survival and migration, and dysregulation of the HGF-MET pathway leads to oncogenic changes including tumor proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis. In small cell lung cancer (SCLC), non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), MET is dysregulated via overexpression, constitutive activation, gene amplification, ligand-dependent activation, mutation or epigenetic mechanisms. New drugs targeted against MET and HGF are currently being investigated in vitro and in vivo, with promising results. These drugs function at a variety of steps within the HGF-MET pathway, including MET expression at the RNA or protein level, the ligand-receptor interaction, and tyrosine kinase function. This paper will review the structure, function, mechanisms of tumorigenesis, and potential for therapeutic inhibition of the MET receptor in lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death, where the amplification of oncogenes contributes to tumorigenesis. Genomic profiling of 128 lung cancer cell lines and tumors revealed frequent focal DNA amplification at cytoband 14q13.3, a locus not amplified in other tumor types. The smallest region of recurrent amplification spanned the homeobox transcription factor TITF1 (thyroid transcription factor 1; also called NKX2-1), previously linked to normal lung development and function. When amplified, TITF1 exhibited increased expression at both the RNA and protein levels. Small interfering RNA (siRNA)- mediated knockdown of TITF1 in lung cancer cell lines with amplification led to reduced cell proliferation, manifested by both decreased cell-cycle progression and increased apoptosis. Our findings indicate that TITF1 amplification and overexpression contribute to lung cancer cell proliferation rates and survival and implicate TITF1 as a lineage-specific oncogene in lung cancer.
TITF1; lineage-specific oncogene; genomic profiling; lung cancer; TTF-1; NKX2-1
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an exceptionally aggressive disease with poor prognosis. Here, we obtained exome, transcriptome and copy-number alteration data from approximately 53 samples consisting of 36 primary human SCLC and normal tissue pairs and 17 matched SCLC and lymphoblastoid cell lines. We also obtained data for 4 primary tumors and 23 SCLC cell lines. We identified 22 significantly mutated genes in SCLC, including genes encoding kinases, G protein–coupled receptors and chromatin-modifying proteins. We found that several members of the SOX family of genes were mutated in SCLC. We also found SOX2 amplification in ~27% of the samples. Suppression of SOX2 using shRNAs blocked proliferation of SOX2-amplified SCLC lines. RNA sequencing identified multiple fusion transcripts and a recurrent RLF-MYCL1 fusion. Silencing of MYCL1 in SCLC cell lines that had the RLF-MYCL1 fusion decreased cell proliferation. These data provide an in-depth view of the spectrum of genomic alterations in SCLC and identify several potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
The L-myc gene was first isolated from a human small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell line on the basis of its amplification and sequence similarity to c-myc and N-myc. A new mechanism of L-myc activation which results from the production of rlf-L-myc fusion protein was recently reported. On the basis of our earlier observation of a rearrangement involving amplified L-myc in an SCLC cell line, ACC-LC-49, we decided to investigate this rearrangement in detail along with the structure of L-myc amplification units in five additional SCLC cell lines. We report here the identification of a novel genomic region, termed jal, which is distinct from rlf and is juxtaposed to and amplified with L-myc during the process of DNA amplification of the region encompassing L-myc. Long-range analysis using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed that the amplified L-myc locus is involved in highly complex intrachromosomal rearrangements with jal and/or rlf. Our results also suggest that the simultaneous presence of rearrangements both in rlf intron 1 and in regions immediately upstream of L-myc may be necessary for the expression of rlf-L-myc chimeric transcripts.
PTTG-1 (pituitary tumor transforming gene) is a novel oncogene that is overexpressed in tumors, such as pituitary adenoma, breast and gastrointestinal cancers as well as in leukemia. In this study, we examined the role of PTTG-1 expression in lung cancer with regard to histological subtype, the correlation of PTTG-1 to clinical parameters and relation on patients' survival.
Expression of PTTG-1 was examined immunohistochemically on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections of 136 patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and 91 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), retrospectively. The intensity of PTTG-1 expression as well as the proportion of PTTG-1 positive cells within a tumor was used for univariate and multivariate analysis.
PTTG-1 expression was observed in 64% of SCLC tumors and in 97.8% of NSCLC tumors. In patients with SCLC, negative or low PTTG-1 expression was associated with a shorter mean survival time compared with patients with strong PTTG-1 expression (265 ± 18 days vs. 379 ± 66 days; p = 0.0291). Using the Cox regression model for multivariate analysis, PTTG-1 expression was a significant predictor for survival next to performance status, tumor stage, LDH and hemoglobin.
In contrast, in patients with NSCLC an inverse correlation between survival and PTTG-1 expression was seen. Strong PTTG-1 expression was associated with a shorter mean survival of 306 ± 58 days compared with 463 ± 55 days for those patients with no or low PTTG-1 intensities (p = 0.0386). Further, PTTG-1 expression was associated with a more aggressive NSCLC phenotype with an advanced pathological stage, extensive lymph node metastases, distant metastases and increased LDH level. Multivariate analysis using Cox regression confirmed the prognostic relevance of PTTG-1 expression next to performance status and tumor stage in patients with NSCLC.
Lung cancers belong to the group of tumors expressing PTTG-1. Dependent on the histological subtype of lung cancer, PTTG-1 expression was associated with a better outcome in patients with SCLC and a rather unfavourable outcome for patients with NSCLCs. These results may reflect the varying role of PTTG-1 in the pathophysiology of the different histological subtypes of lung cancer.
Recent studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) play roles in tumorigenesis and are reliable classifiers of certain cancer types and subtypes. However, the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis and diagnosis of small cell carcinoma (SCLC), the majority of which represent the most aggressive lung tumors, has not been investigated.
In order to explore miRNA involvement in the pathogenesis of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and the potential role of miRNAs in SCLC diagnosis, we compared the miRNA expression profile of a set of SCLC cell lines to that of a set of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and normal immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) using microarray analysis.
Our results show that miRNA profiles reliably distinguish SCLC cell lines from NSCLC and HBEC cell lines. Further analysis of the miRNA expression profile of the two subtypes of lung cancer cell lines indicates that the expression levels of the majority of the miRNAs that are differentially expressed in SCLC cells relative to NSCLC cells and HBECs show a progressive trend from HBECs to NSCLC cells to SCLC cells.
The distinctive miRNA expression signature of SCLCs relative to NSCLCs and HBECs suggests that miRNA profiles have the potential to serve as a diagnostic marker of SCLC lung tumors. The progressive trend of miRNA profile changes from HBECs to NSCLCs to SCLCs suggests a possible pathological relationship between SCLCs and NSCLCs, and suggests that the increasing dysregulation of miRNA expression may play a role in lung tumor progression. The specific role of these miRNAs in lung tumor pathogenesis and differentiation need to be investigated further in future studies.
Interactions between CXCL12 and its receptors CXCR4 or CXCR7 are involved in tumor growth and metastasis in various types of human cancer. However, CXCL12 expression and its role in lung cancer are not fully elucidated. Here we examined the expression of CXCL12 in 54 lung cancer cell lines consisting of 23 small cell lung cancers (SCLCs) and 31 non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). CXCL12 was overexpressed in lung cancer cell lines compared to non-malignant human bronchial epithelial cell lines (N = 6). CXCL12 expression was positively but weakly correlated with the expression of CXCR4 or CXCR7. We also examined CXCL12 expression in 89 NSCLC specimens and found that CXCL12 expression was significantly higher in tumor specimens from female patients, non-smokers and adenocarcinoma patients. Small interfering RNAs targeting CXCL12 inhibited cellular proliferation, colony formation and migration of CXCL12-overexpressing lung cancer cells; however, this inhibition did not occur in lung cancer cells that lacked CXCL12. Furthermore, the anti-CXCL12 neutralizing antibody mediated inhibitory effects in three lung cancer cell lines that overexpressed CXCL12, but not in two CXCL12 non-expressing lung cancer cell lines nor two non-malignant bronchial epithelial cell lines. The present study demonstrates that: CXCL12 is concomitantly overexpressed with CXCR4 or CXCR7 in lung cancers; CXCL12 is highly expressed in NSCLCs from females, non-smokers and adenocarcinoma patients; and disruption of CXCL12 inhibits the growth and migration of lung cancer cells. Our findings indicate that CXCL12 is required for tumor growth and provide a rationale for the anti-CXCL12 treatment strategy in lung cancer.
CXCL12; CXCR4; CXCR7; overexpression; lung cancer
Detecting divergence between oncogenic tumors plays a pivotal role in cancer diagnosis and therapy. This research work was focused on designing a computational strategy to predict the class of lung cancer tumors from the structural and physicochemical properties (1497 attributes) of protein sequences obtained from genes defined by microarray analysis. The proposed methodology involved the use of hybrid feature selection techniques (gain ratio and correlation based subset evaluators with Incremental Feature Selection) followed by Bayesian Network prediction to discriminate lung cancer tumors as Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC), Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and the COMMON classes. Moreover, this methodology eliminated the need for extensive data cleansing strategies on the protein properties and revealed the optimal and minimal set of features that contributed to lung cancer tumor classification with an improved accuracy compared to previous work. We also attempted to predict via supervised clustering the possible clusters in the lung tumor data. Our results revealed that supervised clustering algorithms exhibited poor performance in differentiating the lung tumor classes. Hybrid feature selection identified the distribution of solvent accessibility, polarizability and hydrophobicity as the highest ranked features with Incremental feature selection and Bayesian Network prediction generating the optimal Jack-knife cross validation accuracy of 87.6%. Precise categorization of oncogenic genes causing SCLC and NSCLC based on the structural and physicochemical properties of their protein sequences is expected to unravel the functionality of proteins that are essential in maintaining the genomic integrity of a cell and also act as an informative source for drug design, targeting essential protein properties and their composition that are found to exist in lung cancer tumors.
Lineage survival oncogenes are activated by somatic DNA alterations in cancers arising from the cell lineages in which these genes play a role in normal development.1,2 Here we show that a peak of genomic amplification on chromosome 3q26.33, found in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the lung and esophagus, contains the transcription factor gene SOX2—which is mutated in hereditary human esophageal malformations3 and necessary for normal esophageal squamous development4, promotes differentiation and proliferation of basal tracheal cells5 and co-operates in induction of pluripotent stem cells.6,7,8
SOX2 expression is required for proliferation and anchorage-independent growth of lung and esophageal cell lines, as shown by RNA interference experiments. Furthermore, ectopic expression of SOX2 cooperated with FOXE1 or FGFR2 to transform immortalized tracheobronchial epithelial cells. SOX2-driven tumors show expression of markers of both squamous differentiation and pluripotency. These observations identify SOX2 as a novel lineage survival oncogene in lung and esophageal SCC.
Copy gains involving chromosome 7p represent one of the most common genomic alterations found in melanomas, suggesting the presence of “driver” cancer genes. We identified several tumor samples that harbored focal amplifications situated at the peak of common chromosome 7p gains, in which the minimal common overlapping region spanned the ETV1 oncogene. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed copy gains spanning the ETV1 locus in >40% of cases, with ETV1 amplification present in 13% of primary and 18% of metastatic melanomas. Melanoma cell lines, including those with ETV1 amplification, exhibited dependency on ETV1 expression for proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. Moreover, over-expression of ETV1 in combination with oncogenic NRASG12D transformed primary melanocytes and promoted tumor formation in mice. ETV1 overexpression elevated MITF expression in immortalized melanocytes, which was necessary for ETV1-dependent oncogenicity. These observations implicate deregulated ETV1 in melanoma genesis and suggest a pivotal lineage dependency mediated by oncogenic ETS transcription factors in this malignancy.
melanoma; amplification; ETV1; oncogene; ETS factors
Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factors (TRAFs) are important signaling molecules for a variety of pro-atherogenic cytokines including CD40L, TNF α, and IL1β. Several lines of evidence identified TRAF6 as a pro-inflammatory signaling molecule in vitro and we previously demonstrated overexpression of TRAF6 in human and Murine atherosclerotic plaques. This study investigated the role of TRAF6-deficiency in mice developing atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease.
Lethally irradiated low density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice (TRAF6+/+/LDLR−/−) were reconstituted with TRAF6-deficient fetal liver cells (FLC) and consumed high cholesterol diet for 18 weeks to assess the relevance of TRAF6 in hematopoietic cells for atherogenesis. Additionally, TRAF6+/−/LDLR−/− mice received TRAF6-deficient FLC to gain insight into the role of TRAF6 deficiency in resident cells. Surprisingly, atherosclerotic lesion size did not differ between the three groups in both aortic roots and abdominal aortas. Similarly, no significant differences in plaque composition could be observed as assessed by immunohistochemistry for macrophages, lipids, smooth muscle cells, T-cells, and collagen. In accord, in a small clinical study TRAF6/GAPDH total blood RNA ratios did not differ between groups of patients with stable coronary heart disease (0.034±0.0021, N = 178), acute coronary heart disease (0.029±0.0027, N = 70), and those without coronary heart disease (0.032±0.0016, N = 77) as assessed by angiography.
Our study demonstrates that TRAF6 is not required for atherogenesis in mice and does not associate with clinical disease in humans. These data suggest that pro- and anti-inflammatory features of TRAF6 signaling outweigh each other in the context of atherosclerosis.
The tumor suppressor gene TP53 is frequently mutated in human cancers. Abnormality of the TP53 gene is one of the most significant events in lung cancers and plays an important role in the tumorigenesis of lung epithelial cells. Human lung cancers are classified into two major types, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The latter accounts for approximately 80% of all primary lung cancers, and the incidence of NSCLC is increasing yearly. Most clinical studies suggest that NSCLC with TP53 alterations carries a worse prognosis and may be relatively more resistant to chemotherapy and radiation. A deep understanding of the role of TP53 in lung carcinogenesis may lead to a more reasonably targeted clinical approach, which should be exploited to enhance the survival rates of patients with lung cancer. This paper will focus on the role of TP53 in the molecular pathogenesis, epidemiology, and therapeutic strategies of TP53 mutation in NSCLC.
Radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for glioblastoma and locally advanced lung cancer, but radioresistance of these two types of cancer remains a significant therapeutic hindrance. To identify molecular target(s) for radiosensitization, we screened a siRNA library targeting all protein kinases and E3 ubiquitin ligases in the human genome and identified TRAF2 (TNF Receptor-associated factor 2). Silencing of TRAF2 using siRNA caused a significant growth suppression of glioblastoma U251 cells and moderately sensitized these radioresistant cells to radiation. Overexpression of a RING deleted dominant negative TRAF2 mutant, also conferred radiosensitivity; whereas over-expression of wild type TRAF2 significantly protected cells from radiation-induced killing. Likewise, siRNA silencing of TRAF2 in radioresistant lung cancer H1299 cells caused growth suppression and radiosensitization, whereas overexpression of wild type TRAF2 enhanced radioresistance in a RING ligase-dependent manner. Moreover, siRNA silencing of TRAF2 in UM-SCC-1 head and neck cancer cells also conferred radiosensitization. Further support for the role of TRAF2 in cancer comes from the observations that TRAF2 is overexpressed in both lung adenocarcinoma tissues and multiple lung cancer cell lines. Importantly, TRAF2 expression was very low in normal bronchial epithelial NL20 cells, and TRAF2 silencing had a minimal effect on NL20 growth and radiation sensitivity. Mechanistically, TRAF2 silencing blocks the activation of the NF-kB signaling pathway, and down-regulates a number of G2/M cell cycle control proteins, resulting in enhanced G2/M arrest, growth suppression, and radiosensitization. Our studies suggest that TRAF2 is an attractive drug target for anti-cancer therapy and for radiosensitization.
Checkpoint controls; Growth inhibition; NF-κB; Radiosensitization; siRNA library screen; TRAF2
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective local cancer treatment that involves light activation of a photosensitizer, resulting in oxygen-dependent, free radical-mediated cell death. Little is known about the comparative efficacy of PDT in treating non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), despite ongoing clinical trials treating lung cancers. The present study evaluated the potential use of chlorin e6 – polyvinylpyrrolidone (Ce6-PVP) as a multimodality photosensitizer for fluorescence detection and photodynamic therapy (PDT) on NSCLC and SCLC xenografts.
Human NSCLC (NCI-H460) and SCLC (NCI-H526) tumor cell lines were used to establish tumor xenografts in the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model as well as in the Balb/c nude mice. In the CAM model, Ce6-PVP was applied topically (1.0 mg/kg) and fluorescence intensity was charted at various time points. Tumor-bearing mice were given intravenous administration of Ce6-PVP (2.0 mg/kg) and laser irradiation at 665 nm (fluence of 150 J/cm2 and fluence rate of 125 mW/cm2). Tumor response was evaluated at 48 h post PDT. Studies of temporal fluorescence pharmacokinetics in CAM tumor xenografts showed that Ce6-PVP has a selective localization and a good accuracy in demarcating NSCLC compared to SCLC from normal surrounding CAM after 3 h post drug administration. Irradiation at 3 h drug-light interval showed greater tumor necrosis against human NSCLC xenografts in nude mice. SCLC xenografts were observed to express resistance to photosensitization with Ce6-PVP.
The formulation of Ce6-PVP is distinctly advantageous as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent for fluorescence diagnosis and PDT of NSCLC.
Recent studies have established that amplification of the MET proto-oncogene can cause resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines with EGFR-activating mutations. The role of non-amplified MET in EGFR-dependent signaling before TKI resistance, however, is not well understood. Using NSCLC cell lines and transgenic models, we demonstrate here that EGFR activation by either mutation or ligand binding increases MET gene expression and protein levels. Our analysis of 202 NSCLC patient specimens was consistent with these observations: levels of MET were significantly higher in NSCLC with EGFR mutations than in NSCLC with wild-type EGFR. EGFR regulation of MET levels in cell lines occurred through the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α pathway in a hypoxia-independent manner. This regulation was lost, however, after MET gene amplification or overexpression of a constitutively active form of HIF-1α. EGFR- and hypoxia-induced invasiveness of NSCLC cells, but not cell survival, were found to be MET dependent. These findings establish that, absent MET amplification, EGFR signaling can regulate MET levels through HIF-1α and that MET is a key downstream mediator of EGFR-induced invasiveness in EGFR-dependent NSCLC cells.
EGFR; MET; non-small cell lung cancer; HIF-1α; invasiveness
The production of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF-I binding proteins (BPs) by human lung tumour cell lines in vitro has been examined and the levels of these substances in the serum of lung cancer patients investigated. While small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines secreted both IGF-I and BPs, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines secreted BPs only. No evidence of increased serum IGF-I levels was obtained in a cohort of 52 lung cancer patients having SCLC and NSCLC histologies. In contrast, serum levels of low molecular weight BPs were markedly elevated in the majority of lung cancer patients.
Lung cancers consist of four major types that and for clinical-pathological reasons are often divided into two broad categories: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). All major histological types of lung cancer are associated with smoking, although the association is stronger for SCLC and squamous cell carcinoma than adenocarcinoma. To date, epidemiological studies have identified several environmental, genetic, hormonal and viral factors associated with lung cancer risk. It has been estimated that 15-25% of human cancers may have a viral etiology. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a proven cause of most human cervical cancers, and might have a role in other malignancies including vulva, skin, oesophagus, head and neck cancer. HPV has also been speculated to have a role in the pathogenesis of lung cancer. To validate the hypothesis of HPV involvement in small cell lung cancer pathogenesis we performed a gene expression profile of transgenic mouse model of SCLC induced by HPV-16 E6/E7 oncoproteins.
Gene expression profile of SCLC has been performed using Agilent whole mouse genome (4 × 44k) representing ~ 41000 genes and mouse transcripts. Samples were obtained from two HPV16-E6/E7 transgenic mouse models and from littermate's normal lung. Data analyses were performed using GeneSpring 10 and the functional classification of deregulated genes was performed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (Ingenuity® Systems, http://www.ingenuity.com).
Analysis of deregulated genes induced by the expression of E6/E7 oncoproteins supports the hypothesis of a linkage between HPV infection and SCLC development. As a matter of fact, comparison of deregulated genes in our system and those in human SCLC showed that many of them are located in the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Signal transduction pathway.
In this study, the global gene expression of transgenic mouse model of SCLC induced by HPV-16 E6/E7 oncoproteins led us to identification of several genes involved in SCLC tumor development. Furthermore, our study reveled that the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Signaling is the primarily affected pathway by the E6/E7 oncoproteins expression and that this pathway is also deregulated in human SCLC. Our results provide the basis for the development of new therapeutic approaches against human SCLC.
DNA amplifications, leading to the overexpression of oncogenes, are a cardinal feature of lung cancer and directly contribute to its pathogenesis. To uncover novel such alterations, we performed an array-based comparative genomic hybridization survey of 128 non-small cell lung cancer cell lines and tumors. Prominent among our findings, we identified recurrent high-level amplification at cytoband 22q11.21 in 3% of lung cancer specimens, with another 11% of specimens exhibiting low-level gain spanning that locus. The 22q11.21 amplicon core contained eight named genes, only four of which were overexpressed (by transcript profiling) when amplified. Among these, CRKL encodes an adaptor protein functioning in signal transduction, best known as a substrate of the BCR-ABL kinase in chronic myelogenous leukemia. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of CRKL in lung cancer cell lines with (but not without) amplification led to significantly decreased cell proliferation, cell-cycle progression, cell survival, and cell motility and invasion. In addition, overexpression of CRKL in immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells led to EGF-independent cell growth. Our findings indicate that amplification and resultant overexpression of CRKL contributes to diverse oncogenic phenotypes in lung cancer, with implications for targeted therapy, and highlighting a role of adapter proteins as primary genetic drivers of tumorigenesis.
CRKL; lung cancer; DNA amplification; genomic profiling; adapter protein
We investigated the frequency and function of mutations and increased copy number of the PIK3CA gene in lung cancers. PIK3CA mutations are one of the most common gene changes present in human cancers. We analyzed the mutational status of exons 9 and 20 and gene copy number of PIK3CA using 86 non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, 43 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines, 3 extrapulmonary small cell cancer (ExPuSC) cell lines, and 691 resected NSCLC tumors and studied the relationship between PIK3CA alterations and mutational status of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway genes (EGFR, KRAS, HER2, and BRAF). We also determined PIK3CA expression and activity and correlated the findings with effects on cell growth. We identified mutations in 4.7% of NSCLC cell lines and 1.6% of tumors of all major histologic types. Mutations in cell lines of small cell origin were limited to two ExPuSC cell lines. PIK3CA copy number gains were more frequent in squamous cell carcinoma (33.1%) than in adenocarcinoma (6.2%) or SCLC lines (4.7%). Mutational status of PIK3CA was not mutually exclusive to EGFR or KRAS. PIK3CA alterations were associated with increased phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity and phosphorylated Akt expression. RNA interference–mediated knockdown of PIK3CA inhibited colony formation of cell lines with PIK3CA mutations or gains but was not effective in PIK3CA wild-type cells. PIK3CA mutations or gains are present in a subset of lung cancers and are of functional importance.
Multiple cell lines (estimated at 300–400) have been established from human small cell (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). These cell lines have been widely dispersed to and used by the scientific community worldwide, with over 8000 citations resulting from their study. However, there remains considerable skepticism on the part of the scientific community as to the validity of research resulting from their use. These questions center around the genomic instability of cultured cells, lack of differentiation of cultured cells and absence of stromal–vascular–inflammatory cell compartments. In this report we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the use of cell lines, address the issues of instability and lack of differentiation. Perhaps the most important finding is that every important, recurrent genetic and epigenetic change including gene mutations, deletions, amplifications, translocations and methylation-induced gene silencing found in tumors has been identified in cell lines and vice versa. These “driver mutations” represented in cell lines offer opportunities for biological characterization and application to translational research. Another potential shortcoming of cell lines is the difficulty of studying multistage pathogenesis in vitro.To overcome this problem, we have developed cultures from central and peripheral airways that serve as models for the multistage pathogenesis of tumors arising in these two very different compartments. Finally the issue of cell line contamination must be addressed and safeguarded against. A full understanding of the advantages and shortcomings of cell lines is required for the investigator to derive the maximum benefit from their use.
Lung cancer; Cell lines; Preneoplasia; Oncogenes; Tumor suppressor genes; Genetic instability