Amplification of human Her2 and its aberrant signaling in 20-30% of early breast cancer patients is responsible for highly aggressive tumors with poor outcome. Grb7 is reported to be co-amplified with Her2. We report a concurrent high expression of mRNA (from FFPE tumor samples; mRNA correlation, Pearson r2= 0.806), and high levels of GRB7 protein (immunoblot) in HER2+ breast cancer cell lines. We demonstrated the signaling mechanism of HER2 and downstream effectors that contributes to proliferation and migration. Using HER2+ and trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer cell lines, we identified the interaction between GRB7 and HER2 in the control of HER2+ cell proliferation. Our co-IP data show that GRB7 recruits SHC into the HER2-GRB7 signaling complex. This complex formation leads to activation of RAS-GTP. We also observed that following integrin engagement, GRB7 is phosphorylated at tyrosine in a p-FAK (Y397) dependent manner. This FAK-GRB7 complex leads to downstream activation of RAC1-GTP (responsible for migration) probably through the recruitment of VAV2. Our CO-IP data demonstrate that GRB7 directly binds with VAV2 following fibronectin engagement in HER2+ cells. To address whether GRB7 could serve as a pathway specific therapeutic target, we used siRNA to suppress GRB7 expression. Knockdown of GRB7 expression in the HER2+ breast cancer cell lines decreases RAS activation, cell proliferation, 2D and 3D colony formation and also blocked integrin-mediated RAC1 activation along with integrin-directed cell migration. These findings dissected the HER2-mediated signaling cascade into (1) HER2+ cell proliferation (HER2-GRB7-SHC-RAS) and (2) HER2+ cell migration (alpha5 beta1/alpha4 beta1-FAK-GRB7-VAV2-RAC1). Our data clearly demonstrate that a coupling of GRB7 with HER2 is required for the proliferative and migratory signals in HER2+ breast tumor cells.
Her2/Neu; GRB7; adapter protein; RAS; RAC; proliferation and migration
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Every year, nearly 1.4 million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed, and about 450.000 women die of the disease. Approximately 15-25% of breast cancer cases exhibit increased quantities of the trans-membrane receptor tyrosine kinase human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) on the tumor cell surface. Previous studies showed that blockade of this HER2 proto-oncogene with the antibody trastuzumab substantially improved the overall survival of patients with this aggressive type of breast cancer. Recruitment of natural killer (NK) cells and subsequent induction of antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) contributed to this beneficial effect. We hypothesized that antibody binding to HER2-positive breast cancer cells and thus ADCC might be further improved by synergistically applying two different HER2-specific antibodies, trastuzumab and pertuzumab. We found that tumor cell killing via ADCC was increased when the combination of trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and NK cells was applied to HER2-positive breast cancer cells, as compared to the extent of ADCC induced by a single antibody. Furthermore, a subset of CD44highCD24lowHER2low cells, which possessed characteristics of cancer stem cells, could be targeted more efficiently by the combination of two HER2-specific antibodies compared to the efficiency of one antibody. These in vitro results demonstrated the immunotherapeutic benefit achieved by the combined application of trastuzumab and pertuzumab. These findings are consistent with the positive results of the clinical studies, CLEOPATRA and NEOSPHERE, conducted with patients that had HER2-positive breast cancer. Compared to a single antibody treatment, the combined application of trastuzumab and pertuzumab showed a stronger ADCC effect and improved the targeting of breast cancer stem cells.
Trastuzumab; pertuzumab; ADCC; tumor stem cells; breast cancer
The prognostic/predictive role of both CD133 and Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) expression in human ovarian cancer remains elusive. This is an observational study that investigated the expression of CD133 and of ALDH enzymatic activity in fresh ovarian cancer samples and their association with different clinic-pathological patient’ characteristics and explored their possible predictive/prognostic role. We analyzed the expression of CD133 and ALDH enzymatic activity in 108 human ovarian cancer samples. We found that among the total patients analyzed, 13% of them was completely negative for ALDH activity and 26% was negative for CD133 staining. Both markers were variably expressed within the samples and when both studied in the same tumor sample, no statistically significant correlation between ALDH enzymatic activity and CD133 expression was found. No statistical significant correlation was found also between the percentage values of positive ALDH and CD133 cells and the number of serial passages patient’s cultures underwent, suggesting that these markers do not confer by themselves a self-renewal growth advantage to the cultures. Lower levels of CD133 were associated with higher tumor grade. No correlation with response to therapy, progression free survival and overall survival was found. Our data suggest that neither ALDH enzymatic activity nor CD133 expression provide additional predictive/prognostic information in ovarian cancer patients.
CD133; ALDH activity; ovarian carcinoma
Gene expression profiling reveals elevated Notch1 mRNA expression in triple negative breast cancers (TNBC), both basaloid and claudin-low subtypes. Notch ligands, Jagged1 and Jagged2, have been correlated with poor prognosis in TNBC. AKT, an oncogenic protein kinase family that is activated downstream of Notch in breast cancer cell lines, is frequently activated in breast cancer. Recent publications suggest that inhibition of cell growth, migration, invasion, and induction of apoptosis caused by Notch1 or Jagged1 inhibition may be attributed in part to inactivation of the AKT signaling pathway. There is significant evidence that Notch1 activates NF-κB in several models, and that AKT can mediate NF-κB activation. In this study, we evaluated Notch1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and correlated this with expression of pAKT and nuclear NF-κB p65 (RelA) in TNBC. A tissue microarray (TMA) containing 32 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) TNBC tumor specimens was constructed from the archival tissue database of the Department of Pathology at UMMC and IHC for Notch1 protein, pAKT 1/2/3 (Ser473), and NF-κB, p65 subunit was performed on the TMA with appropriate positive and negative controls. Of the 32 TNBC in our cohort, 100% expressed Notch1 protein by IHC: 24 (75%) showed cytoplasmic expression, 25 (78%) showed membranous expression, and 17 (53%) showed both cytoplasmic and membranous expression. Overall, 29 (91%) expressed pAKT by IHC: 28 (97%) showed cytoplasmic expression, 14 (48%) showed nuclear expression and 13 (45%) showed both cytoplasmic and nuclear expression. Nuclear staining for NF-κB p65 was detected in all 32 TNBC specimens with variable intensities. On bivariate analysis, cytoplasmic Notch1 was significantly correlated with cytoplasmic pAKT (r = 0.373, P = 0.035) and nuclear NF-κB (r = 0.483, P = 0.005); both cytoplasmic and nuclear pAKT significantly correlated with nuclear NF-κB (r = 0.391, P = 0.027; r = 0.525, P = 0.002, respectively). These results suggest that 1) the cross-talk between Notch1, AKT and NF-κB identified in preclinical models may operate in a significant fraction of human TNBC, and 2) combination therapy with agents targeting these pathways warrants further investigation.
Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC); Notch1; AKT; NF-κB; immunohistochemistry (IHC); tissue microarray (TMA)
Central nervous system (CNS) metastasis from breast cancer may be characterized as either parenchymal brain metastasis (BM) or leptomeningeal (LM) metastasis. BM are much more common (about 80% of all CNS metastases), and have been more extensively studied than LM. CNS metastasis in breast cancer has been associated with reduced overall survival, with the shortest survival generally observed in cases of LM. Here, we review the epidemiology, prognostic factors, diagnostic tools, currently available treatments, and potential future therapies for LM from breast cancer.
Leptomeningeal metastases; intrathecal chemotherapy; breast cancer
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most commonly diagnosed male malignancy and the second biggest cause of cancer death in men of the Western world. Higher incidences of PCa occur in men from North America, Oceania and Western countries, whereas men from Asia and North Africa have a much lower PCa incidence rate. Investigations into this population disparity of PCa incidence, in order to identify potential preventive factors or targets for the therapeutic intervention of PCa, have found differences in both environmental and genetic variations between these populations. Environmental variations include both diet and lifestyle, which vary widely between populations. Evidence that diet comes into play has been shown by men who immigrate from Eastern to Western countries. PCa incidence in these men is higher than men in their native countries. However the number of immigrants developing PCa still doesn’t match native black/white men, therefore genetic factors also contribute to PCa risk, which are supported by familial studies. There are a number of genetic polymorphisms that are differentially presented between Western and Eastern men, which are potentially associated with PCa incidence. Androgen and its receptor (AR) play a major role in PCa development and progression. In this study, we focus on genes involved in androgen biosynthesis and metabolism, as well as those associated with AR pathway, whose polymorphisms affect androgen level and biological or physiological functions of androgen. While many of the genetic polymorphisms in this androgen/AR system showed different frequencies between populations, contradictory evidences exist for most of these genes investigated individually as to the true contribution to PCa risk. More accurate measurements of androgen activity within the prostate are required and further studies need to include more African and Asian subjects. As many of these genetic polymorphisms may contribute to different steps in the same biological/physiological function of androgen and AR pathway, an integrated analysis considering the combined effect of all the genetic polymorphisms may be necessary to assess their contribution to PCa initiation and progression.
Prostate cancer; ethnical disparity; risk factors; genetic polymorphism; androgen; androgen receptor
Objectives: Identification of the most influential scientific publications and directions of mainstream reirradiation research. Methods: A systematic search of the database Scopus (Elsevier B.V., www.scopus.com) was performed, which focused on the time period 1998-2010. Patterns of citation were analysed (total number of citations accumulated independently of their origin and proportion of highly cited articles, arbitrarily defined as those with ≥50 citations). Results: Up to 64 articles were published each year. Numbers increased over time, especially after the year 2007. Among all 76 articles with at least 50 citations, 28 (37%) focused on head and neck cancer, 27 (36%) on brain tumours including metastases, and 5 (7%) on bone metastases. Most articles evaluated external beam approaches while 10 (13%) focused on brachytherapy. Many of the often quoted publications reported on stereotactic and/or intensity-modulated radiotherapy. Two (3%) reported on randomised clinical studies and 10 (13%) on non-randomised prospective clinical studies (single institution or cooperative group). Only two articles (3%) reported on experimental animal studies. Conclusions: The number of published reirradiation studies has increased in recent years. Many studies examined highly conformal and precise radiotherapy, in particular of brain and head and neck tumours. Given that few randomised clinical trials were published, efforts to increase this type of research activity are warranted.
Radiotherapy; radiation oncology; radiation retreatment; reirradiation; citation; research evaluation
Mastocytosis is a rare disease characterized by abnormal expansion and accumulation of tissue mast cells (MC) in one or multiple organs. In most adult patients, systemic mastocytosis (SM) is diagnosed. Based on histopathological findings and organ damage, SM is divided into indolent SM (ISM), smoldering SM (SSM), SM with an associated hematologic non-MC-lineage disease (SM-AHNMD), aggressive SM (ASM), and MC leukemia (MCL). The clinical course and prognosis vary greatly among these groups of patients. In all variants of SM and most patients, neoplastic cells display the KIT mutation D816V. This suggests that additional KIT-independent molecular defects cause progression. Indeed, additional oncogenic lesions, including RAS- and TET2 mutations, have recently been identified in advanced SM. In patients with SM-AHNMD, such additional lesions are often detectable in the ‘AHNMD-component’ of the disease. Clinically relevant symptoms of SM result from i) malignant MC infiltration and the subsequent organ damage seen in advanced SM and/or ii) the release of pro-inflammatory and vasoactive mediators from MC, found in all disease-variants. Therapy of SM has to be adjusted to the individual situation in each patient. In ISM, the aim is to control mediator release and mediator effects. In advanced SM, a major goal is to control MC expansion by using conventional drugs or novel targeted drugs directed against mutant forms of KIT and/or other pro-oncogenic kinase-targets. In rapidly progressing ASM, MCL and drug-resistant AHNMD, chemotherapy and subsequent stem cell transplantation has to be considered.
Mastocytosis; mast cells; rare disease; KIT mutations; targeted therapy
In the pathogenesis of breast cancer, tumor-associated macrophages have the capacity to impinge upon clinical outcomes. In light of this, reconciling mechanisms by which macrophages are primed to facilitate tumor growth and progression provide clinically relevant therapeutic targets. Given the recent linkage between activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response and breast cancer progression, we postulated that, similar to other carcinomas, mammary carcinoma cells undergoing ER stress re-program macrophages in order to foster both tumor cell growth and survival, and tumor angiogenesis. To test this, we modeled the interaction between ER-stressed tumor cells and macrophages in the tumor microenvironment by culturing macrophages in the conditioned medium of mammary carcinoma cells undergoing ER stress. In response to these stimuli, macrophages not only invoked a similar stress response but also adopted a pro-inflammatory phenotype. Additionally, macrophages produced the pro-angiogenic molecule, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), thereby establishing the macrophage phenotype invoked by ER-stressed breast cancer cells as being pro-angiogenic. In aggregate, these findings delineate a role for ER stress-dependent cross-talk between breast tumor cells and TAMs as a potential catalyst for tumor cell growth and tumor-associated angiogenesis. Hence, by suggesting that mammary carcinoma cells cope with ER stress by influencing TAM functionality, we have partially elucidated why enhanced tumor progression and angiogenesis accompany the ER stress response in breast cancer.
Breast cancer; macrophages; endoplasmic reticulum stress; angiogenesis
Menin acts as contextual a tumor suppressor and a tumor promoter, partly via epigenetic regulation of gene transcription. While menin is phosphorylated, it remains unclear whether wild type menin has other post-translational modifications. Here, we report that menin is SUMOylated by SUMO1 in vivo and in vitro, and the SUMOylation is reduced by a SUMO protease. Lysine 591 of menin was covalently modified by SUMO1 and K591R mutation in menin blocked SUMOylation of the C-terminal part of menin in transfected cells. Full-length menin with K591 mutation was still SUMOylated in vivo, suggesting the existence of multiple SUMOylation sites. Menin K591R mutant or menin-SUMO fusion protein still retains the ability to regulate cell proliferation and the expression of the examined menin target genes.
Menin; SUMOylation; SUMO1; K591R
Clear cell carcinoma of the endometrium (CCC) is an uncommon histotype whose analyses have generally been hampered by its rarity and issues of interobserver diagnostic variability. In this study, we analyzed the clinicopathologic features of 50 CCCs that were assembled from multiple institutions and which we considered to be morphologically unambiguous after a rigorous review process for diagnostic accuracy. Forty-four (88%) of the 50 CCC cases showed an admixture of the classic architectural patterns (glandular, papillary, solid and cystic in decreasing order of prevalence). Mitotic indices were variable but were generally low: 60% of cases had a mitotic index of 3 or lower. The predominant cell type lining glands and papillae was invariably hobnail and/or cuboidal. Stratification of nuclei (greater than 3 cells) or columnar cells on glands and papillae were uncommon and never diffusely present. 82% of cases showed an admixture of polygonal cells with clear and eosinophilic cytoplasm; only clear cells were present in 4% and only eosinophilic cells were present in 10%. Hobnail cells were common, being identifiable in 86% of cases, and being diffuse in 60%. Only 2 cases had a predominance of nuclear grade 3 cells. Psammoma, hyaline and targetoid bodies were identified in 32%, 52% and 20% of cases respectively. Clear cell endometrial intraepithelial carcinoma was identified in 41.7% of cases with evaluable background endometrium. The 5-year progression free survival (PFS) for the entire cohort was 61%, and was 88%, 75%, 22% and 28.6% for stages I to IV respectively. On univariate analyses, age >65 years, advanced FIGO stage, and the presence of any lymph node metastases were associated with reduced PFS (p=0.02, 0.002, and 0.002 respectively). On multivariate analyses, the only variable associated with reduced PFS was age >65 years. The 5-year overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort was 78%, and was 94%, 87.5%, 66.7%, and 42.8% for stages I to IV respectively. On univariate analyses, the following factors were associated with reduced OS: age >65 years (p=0.04), advanced FIGO stage (p=0.003), distant metastases (p=0.003), myometrial invasion >30% (p=0.01), a mitotic index >4 (p=0.014), and a specific architectural pattern (at least 10% of the tumor composed of solid masses or individual infiltrating tumor cells, p=0.02). On multivariate analyses, only age >65 years and advanced stage were associated with reduced OS (p=0.023 and 0.022 respectively). In summary, endometrial CCC has a wide morphologic spectrum that is detailed and illustrated herein, but also has core cytoarchitectural features that are of high diagnostic utility. Morphologically unambiguous CCC apparently have patient outcomes that are more favorable than has previously been reported, indicating that ambiguous tumors should be classified separately. The existence of morphologically ambiguous clear-cell rich carcinomas that do not fit the conventional histotypic groupings, is a likely reflection of the biologic complexity of endometrial carcinomas in general; these cases should be reported descriptively, and studied separately from conventional CCC.
Clear cell carcinoma; endometrium; morphologic features
Cholesterol is a fundamental molecule for life. Located in the cell membrane, this sterol participates to the cell signaling of growth factors. Inside the cell it can be converted in hormones such as androgens or modulate the immune response. Such important functions could not be solely dependent of external supply by diet hence de novo synthesis could occur from acetate in almost all mammalian cells. If a deficiency in cholesterol sourcing leads to development troubles, overstocking has been associated to various diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancers. Cholesterol homeostasis should thus be tightly regulated at the uptake, de novo synthesis, storage and export processes. Various transcription factors have been described these last years as important to regulate cholesterol levels. Besides, synthetic molecules have been developed for many years to modulate cholesterol synthesis, such as statins. Many articles have associated prostate cancer, whose incidence is constantly increasing, to cholesterol disequilibrium. Targeting cholesterol could thus be a new pharmacological hit to counteract the initiation, development and/or progression of prostate cancer. Among the transcription factors regulating cholesterol homeostasis, the nuclear receptors Liver X Receptors (LXRs) control cholesterol uptake and export. Targeting the LXRs offers a new field of investigation to treat cancer. This review highlights the molecular relationships among LXRs, prostate cancer and cholesterol and why LXRs have good chance to be targeted one day in this tumor. LXRs, prostate cancer and cholesterol, more than a “Ménage à trois”, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
LXR; cholesterol; prostate cancer; lipid raft; pharmacological modulation
Endosulfatases HSulf-1 and -2 (also referred to as Sulf1 and -2) represent a family of enzymes that modulate heparin binding growth factor signaling. Heparan sulfatase 1 (HSulf-1) and heparan sulfatase 2 (HSulf-2) are two important 6-O endosulfatases which remove or edit 6-O sulfate residues of N-glucosamine present on highly sulfated HS. Alteration of heparan sulfatases have been identified in the context of several cancer types. Many cancer types either exhibit increased or decreased HSulfs expression at the transcript levels. Specifically, HSulf-1 was found to be downregulated in early-stage ovarian tumors, hepatocellular carcinoma, and metastatic breast cancer patients. HSulf-2 was found to be upregulated in ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive ductal carcinoma, whereas limited information is present about HSulf-2 expression in different stages of ovarian cancers. Here, we review the important role of these sulfatases play in ovarian and breast cancers in terms of tumorigenesis such as angiogenesis, chemoresistance, apoptosis, growth factor signaling, hypoxia and metastasis. These recent discoveries have added significant understanding about these sulfate editing enzymes.
Ovarian and breast cancer; heparin binding growth factor signaling; tumorigenesis; angiogenesis; chemoresponse and metastasis
Despite remaining uncertainties and ongoing research it is possible to draw up a model for the role of (cancer) stem cells in both the initiation and progression of cancer towards metastasis. The cancer stem cell of origin and the cancer stem cell are, despite phenotypic similarities, genotypically different entities. Given the right circumstances provided by a combination of genomic changes and biochemical and physical interactions with its microenvironment, an epithelial cancer cell may undergo a phenotypic epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) towards a cancer stem cell. This transition conveys upon the cell crucial stem cell-like abilities which facilitate migration into the blood circulation as an individual circulating tumor cell, survive there, and subsequently seed into organ tissue where, once more in close interaction with its microenvironment, the process of clonal self renewal may start, leading to a metastatic tumor. Both in the primary tumor as well as in the metastatic tumor, partial differentiation of the cancer stem cell progeny leads to phenotypic heterogeneity. Throughout this complex process of cancer metastasis similarities with the way stem cells function during embryonic development, including the signaling pathways that mediate these functions, are evident. Deeper insight in the EMT process, plasticity of the resulting cancer stem cells, and the role of cancer stem cells in the metastatic process is expected to lead to novel anti-metastatic cancer therapies. Emerging human in vitro cancer models in the form of “organ-on-a-chip” may contribute valuable novel research tools to achieve this aim.
Cancer stem cell Wnt signaling pathway circulating tumor evolution metastasis
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths worldwide. Breast cancer-related mortality is associated with the development of metastatic potential of primary tumor lesions. The chemokine receptor CXCR4 has been found to be a prognostic marker in various types of cancer, including breast cancer. Recent advances in the field of cancer biology has pointed to the critical role that CXCR4 receptor and its ligand CXCL12 play in the metastasis of various types of cancer, including breast cancer. Breast tumors preferentially metastasize to the lung, bones and lymph nodes, all of which represent organs that secrete high levels of CXCL12. CXCL12 acts as a chemoattractant that drives CXCR4-positive primary tumor cells towards secondary metastatic sites leading to the onset of metastatic lesions. Since its discovery in 2001, the CXCR4 field has progressed at a very fast rate and further studies have pointed to the role of CXCR4 in dissemination of tumor cells from primary sites, transendothelial migration of tumor cells as well as the trafficking and homing of cancer stem cells. This review summarizes the information that has been obtained over the years regarding the role of CXCL12-CXCR4 signaling in breast cancer, discusses its potential application to the development of new therapeutic tools for breast cancer control, and elucidates the potential therapeutic challenges which lie ahead and the future directions that this field can take for the improvement of prognosis in breast cancer patients.
CXCR4; CXCL12; breast cancer
High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), an evolutionarily highly conserved and abundant nuclear protein also has roles within the cytoplasm and as an extracellular damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecule. Extracellular HMGB1 is the prototypic endogenous ‘danger signal’ that triggers inflammation and immunity. Recent findings suggest that posttranslational modifications dictate the cellular localization and secretion of HMGB1. HMGB1 is actively secreted from immune cells and stressed cancer cells, or passively released from necrotic cells. During cancer development or administration of therapeutic agents including chemotherapy, radiation, epigenetic drugs, oncolytic viruses, or immunotherapy, the released HMGB1 may either promote or limit cancer growth, depending on the state of progression and vascularization of the tumor. Extracellular HMGB1 enhances autophagy and promotes persistence of surviving cancer cells following initial activation. When oxidized, it chronically suppresses the immune system to promote cancer growth and progression, thereby enhancing resistance to cancer therapeutics. In its reduced form, it can facilitate and elicit innate and adaptive anti-tumor immunity, recruiting and activating immune cells, in conjunction with cytotoxic agents, particularly in early transplantable tumor models. We hypothesize that HMGB1 also functions as an epigenetic modifier, mainly through regulation of NF-kB-dependent signaling pathways, to modulate the behavior of surviving cancer cells as well as the immune cells found within the tumor microenvironment. This has significant implications for developing novel cancer therapeutics.
Cancer; HMGB1; NF-kB signaling; activation; innate immunity; dendritic cells; CD8+ T cells; epigenetic pathways
During carcinogenesis, tumors induce dysfunctional development of hematopoietic cells. Myeloid lineage cells, in the form of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and alternatively polarized M2 macrophages, influence almost all types of cancers by regulating diverse facets of immunosuppression, angiogenesis, cell proliferation, growth and metastasis. One-third of Americans are obese, and accumulating evidence suggests that obesity is a risk factor for various cancers. However, the relationship between these immune players and obesity are not well-described. In this review, we evaluate potential mechanisms through which different aspects of obesity, namely insulin resistance, increased estrogen, adiposity and low grade chronic inflammation from adipose tissue macrophages, may coalesce to promote MDSC induction and M2 macrophage polarization, thereby facilitating cancer development. Detailed understanding of the interplay between obesity and myeloid mediated immunosuppression may provide novel avenues for therapeutic targeting, with the goal to reduce the challenge obesity presents towards gains made in cancer outcomes.
Obesity; inflammation; myeloid derived suppressor cells; alternately activated macrophage; cancer
FDA approval of new therapies in 2011 has greatly expanded the treatment options for metastatic melanoma. Patients with V600 mutant v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (B-RAF) positive metastatic melanoma are now treated with the RAF inhibitor, vemurafenib (Zelboraf) as a first line therapy. Vemurafenib decreases tumor size by at least 30% in approximately 50% of patients and increases progression-free survival and overall patient survival compared to the previous standard-of-care, dacarbazine. However, some patients treated with vemurafenib fail to show significant tumor shrinkage, and most patients who initially respond to the drug eventually show disease progression. Therefore, there is a clinical need to improve efficacy and prevent resistance to vemurafenib. It has been previously shown that cell death resulting from RAF/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibition is largely dependent on increased expression of pro-apoptotic, Bcl-2 homology domain (BH3)-only proteins, such as Bcl-2-like 11 (Bim-EL) and Bcl-2 modifying factor (Bmf). Here, we show that contrary to expression of Bim-EL and Bmf, the pro-apoptotic, BH3-only protein, phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate-induced protein 1 (Noxa), is strongly downregulated after RAF/MEK inhibition. This downregulation occurs at both the protein and mRNA level of expression and is associated with the inhibition of cell cycle progression. Restoring expression of Noxa in combination with RAF/MEK inhibition enhances cell death. Co-expression of the pro-survival, B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family member, myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (Mcl-1), with Noxa fully mitigates the enhanced cell death associated with increased Noxa expression. These data indicate that manipulating the Noxa/Mcl-1 axis may enhance the efficacy of RAF/MEK inhibitors.
Melanoma; B-RAF; Noxa; RAF/MEK inhibition
Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that target the CD20 antigen on B cells are successfully used in the clinic for the depletion of B cells to treat various forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The first CD20 mAb, approved by the FDA in 1998, was rituximab (RTX) and since then it has been widely used to treat more than one million patients thus far. The success of RTX has led to a general interest in the mechanism of action of CD20 mAbs. CD20 mAbs can induce tumor killing via various mechanisms, such as direct induction of apoptosis, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) or complement-dependent lysis (CDC). Although we now understand these mechanisms better, it is still unclear which of these mechanisms is the most important for in vivo RTX action. Not every patient respond to RTX treatment and eventually the overwhelming majority will experience a relapse. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve the efficacy of CD20 mAbs. This review aims to summarize our current understanding on the mechanism of action of CD20 mAbs.
Antibodies; CD20; effector mechanisms; Fc receptors; complement; complement receptors; apoptosis
Recent technological advancements in gene expression analysis have led to the discovery of a promising new group of prostate cancer (PCa) biomarkers that have the potential to influence diagnosis and the prediction of disease severity. The accumulation of deleterious changes in gene expression is a fundamental mechanism of prostate carcinogenesis. Aberrant gene expression can arise from changes in epigenetic regulation or mutation in the genome affecting either key regulatory elements or gene sequences themselves. At the epigenetic level, a myriad of abnormal histone modifications and changes in DNA methylation are found in PCa patients. In addition, many mutations in the genome have been associated with higher PCa risk. Finally, over- or underexpression of key genes involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, cell adhesion and regulation of transcription has been observed. An interesting group of biomarkers are emerging from these studies which may prove more predictive than the standard prostate specific antigen (PSA) serum test. In this review, we discuss recent results in the field of gene expression analysis in PCa including the most promising biomarkers in the areas of epigenetics, genomics and the transcriptome, some of which are currently under investigation as clinical tests for early detection and better prognostic prediction of PCa.
Prostate cancer; biomarker; epigenetics; methylation; acetylation; ncRNA; genomics; SNP; transcriptomics; miRNA; lncRNA
There are over 150 human proteins that have been categorized as bona fide DNA repair proteins. These DNA repair proteins maintain the integrity of the genome, reducing the onset of cancer, disease and aging phenotypes. Variations in expression and/or function would therefore impact genome integrity as well as the cellular response to genotoxins. Global gene expression analysis is an effective approach to uncover defects in DNA repair gene expression and to discover cellular and/or organismal effects brought about by external stimuli such as environmental genotoxicants, chemotherapeutic regimens, viral infections as well as developmental and age-related stimuli. Given the significance of genome stability in cell survival and response to stimuli, we have hypothesized that cells may undergo transcriptional re-programming to accommodate defects in basal DNA repair capacity to promote survival. As a test of this hypothesis, we have compared the transcriptome in three DNA polymerase ß knockout (Polß-KO) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and the corresponding wild-type (WT) littermate control cell lines. Each Polß-KO cell line was found to have a range of genes up-regulated, when compared to its WT littermate control cell line. Interestingly, six (6) genes were commonly up regulated in all three Polß-KO cell lines, including Sox2, one of several genes associated with the induction of pluripotent stem cells. Herein, we present these findings and suggest that loss of DNA repair and the induction of cellular transcriptional re-programming may, in part, contribute to tumor formation and the cellular response to external stimuli.
DNA polymerase ß; mouse embryonic fibroblast; Sox2; gene expression profiling; transcriptional reprogramming
The c-Jun N-terminal Kinases (JNK), along with Erk and p38, constitute the principle members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family. JNK functions primarily through AP1 family transcription factors to regulate a plethora of cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and migration. It also cross-talks and integrates with other signaling pathways in a cell context-specific and cell type-specific manner. The current views of JNK function in various skin cancers and the need of developing JNK subunit-specific inhibitors for cancer type-specific applications have been summarized in this review.
JNK; skin cancer; squamous cell carcinoma; basal cell carcinoma; cylindroma
The Drosophila DNA replication-related element-binding factor (dDREF) has been identified as a master regulator of cell proliferation-related genes via its binding to the DRE sequence, 5′-TATCGATA. However, the biological roles of DREF are still to be clarified. Here, we show that DREF mutant females have steroid hormone ecdysone-deficient phenotypes, such as the loss of vitellogenic egg chambers. Furthermore, DREF knockdown in the prothoracic gland of larva prevented pupation and this was rescued via 20-hydroxyecdysone treatment. We found a DRE-like sequence (-625 to -632) in the 5′-flanking region of the Drosophila shadow gene, which catalyzes the conversion of 2-deoxyecdysone to ecdysone, and demonstrated that shadow is a novel target gene of dDREF using quantitative RT-PCR and Chip assays. In addition, we show that the level of dDREF protein correlated with age-related changes in the level of shadow mRNA in the ovaries of wild-type flies. Taken together, our data indicate that dDREF plays a key role in steroid synthesis via regulation of the shadow gene.
Drosophila; DRE; DREF; transcriptional regulation; ecdysone; shadow; steroidogenesis
We have previously reported genetic differences between Western and Chinese prostate cancers, including different frequencies of ERG rearrangements. We investigated further ERG expression and rearrangements in prostate cancers and high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) from the UK and China to determine differences between these two populations by tissue microarray based immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization. In keeping with our previous observation, that ERG was rearranged at a higher frequency in UK prostate cancer samples (38%, 58/155) than Chinese ones (8%, 7/93), ERG rearrangements were also found in 21% (4/19) and 0% (0/19) foci of HGPIN in UK and Chinese samples respectively. ERG nuclear expression in UK cancers (34%, 54/160) was significantly higher than that in Chinese ones (10%, 9/88) (p<0.001). ERG nuclear expression in UK HGPIN (28%, 11/39) was higher than that in Chinese HGPIN (0%, 0/9), but without statistical significance (p=0.193). ERG nuclear expression was correlated to ERG rearrangements in both UK (Kappa=0.686) and Chinese (Kappa=0.565) cancers. These data demonstrate that ERG rearrangement and expression frequencies are different in prostate cancers from UK and China as early as the precursor lesion, HGPIN. The nuclear expression is associated with ERG rearrangements which mainly occur in the Western samples. UK and Chinese prostate cancers may be the result of different genetic mechanisms.
ERG; prostate cancer; high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia; genomic rearrangement; protein expression
Genome-wide studies have revealed that human and other mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed and produce thousands of regulatory non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), including miRNAs, siRNAs, piRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Emerging evidences suggest that these ncRNAs also play a pivotal role in genome integrity and stability via the regulation of DNA damage response (DDR). In this review, we discuss the recent finding on the interplay of ncRNAs with the canonical DDR signaling pathway, with a particular emphasis on miRNAs and lncRNAs. While the expression of ncRNAs is regulated in the DDR, the DDR is also subjected to regulation by those DNA damage-responsive ncRNAs. In addition, the roles of those Dicer- and Drosha-dependent small RNAs produced in the vicinity of double-strand breaks sites are also described.
DNA damage response; ncRNAs; miRNAs; lncRNAs; crosstalk