Germline mutations are responsible for familial cancer syndromes which account for approximately 5–10% of all types of cancers. These mutations mainly occur at tumor suppressor genes or genome stability genes, such as DNA repair genes. Here we have identified a cancer predisposition family, in which eight members were inflicted with a wide spectrum of cancer including one diagnosed with lung cancer at 22 years old. Sequencing analysis of tumor samples as well as histologically normal specimens identified two germline mutations co-existing in the familial cancer syndrome, the mutation of tumor suppressor gene P53 V157D and mismatch repair gene PMS2 R20Q. We further demonstrate that P53 V157D and/or PMS2 R20Q mutant promotes lung cancer cell proliferation. These two mutants are capable of promoting colony formation in soft agar as well as tumor formation in transgenic drosophila system. Collectively, these data have uncovered the important role of co-existing germline P53 and PMS2 mutations in the familial cancer syndrome development.
P53 V157D; PMS2 R20Q; Germline mutation; Familial cancer syndrome; Co-existing
We performed this analysis to improve the understanding of the clinicopathological characteristics and clinical outcome of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harboring the primary epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) T790M mutation along with activating EGFR mutation.
Resected tumors from 1903 NSCLC patients were analyzed for mutation in EGFR, as well as KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog), BRAF (v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B), HER2 (human epidermal growth factor 2), PIK3CA (phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase, catalytic subunit alpha), and EML4 (echinoderm microtubule associated protein like 4)–ALK (anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase) fusion. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed to define EGFR and c-MET (met proto-oncogene gene amplification. Expression of PIK3CA and p-Akt (phosphorylated protein kinase B) were tested using immunohistochemistry. Clinical and pathological data, including sex, age at diagnosis, stage, tumor differentiation, smoking history, histological subtype, relapse-free and overall survival, were further analyzed.
In all, 16 NSCLC patients were found to harbor primary EGFR T790M mutation, including 14 adenocarcinomas and two adenosquamous carcinomas, accounting for 2.04% of all the EGFR mutant cases and 0.84% of the total. No c-MET amplification was found to coexist with primary EGFR T790M. Fewer EGFR copy-number variations were found in samples harboring EGFR T790M mutations compared with those in patients with exon 19 deletions and L858R. Overall survival was significantly shorter for patients harboring EGFR T790M mutation than it was for patients with exon 19 deletions (logrank P=0.008). When taking patients harboring EGFR L858R or exon 19 deletions as one group, the overall survival was also significantly longer than that in patients with T790M mutation (logrank P=0.012). There was no significant difference in relapse-free survival among three subgroups of patients.
Our study described the clinicopathological and molecular characteristics of NSCLC patients harboring primary EGFR T790M mutations. Its value of being a predictor for worse prognosis was established. Primary EGFR T790M mutation is a rare event in NSCLC cases, but the therapeutic strategies for this subtype of patients should be precisely considered.
driver mutation; survival; clinicopathological profile; EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor; acquired resistance
PIK3CA gene encoding a catalytic subunit of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) is mutated and/or amplified in various neoplasia, including lung cancer. Here we investigated PIK3CA gene alterations, the expression of core components of PI3K pathway, and evaluated their clinical importance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Materials and methods
Oncogenic mutations/rearrangements in PIK3CA, EGFR, KRAS, HER2, BRAF, AKT1 and ALK genes were detected in tumors from 1117 patients with NSCLC. PIK3CA gene copy number was examined by fluorescent in situ hybridization and the expression of PI3K p110 subunit alpha (PI3K p110α), p-Akt, mTOR, PTEN was determined by immunohistochemistry in PIK3CA mutant cases and 108 patients without PIK3CA mutation.
PIK3CA mutation was found in 3.9% of squamous cell carcinoma and 2.7% of adenocarcinoma. Among 34 PIK3CA mutant cases, 17 tumors harbored concurrent EGFR mutations and 4 had KRAS mutations. PIK3CA mutation was significantly associated with high expression of PI3K p110α (p<0.0001), p-Akt (p = 0.024) and mTOR (p = 0.001), but not correlated with PIK3CA amplification (p = 0.463). Patients with single PIK3CA mutation had shorter overall survival than those with PIK3CA-EGFR/KRAS co-mutation or wildtype PIK3CA (p = 0.004). A significantly worse survival was also found in patients with PIK3CA mutations than those without PIK3CA mutations in the EGFR/KRAS wildtype subgroup (p = 0.043)
PIK3CA mutations frequently coexist with EGFR/KRAS mutations. The poor prognosis of patients with single PIK3CA mutation in NSCLC and the prognostic value of PIK3CA mutation in EGFR/KRAS wildtype subgroup suggest the distinct mutation status of PIK3CA gene should be determined for individual therapeutic strategies in NSCLC.
This aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy followed, upon progression, by chemotherapy with the reverse sequence in patients with EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in terms of overall survival.
We performed a meta-analysis of studies that met the following criteria: Phase III clinical trial comparing the sequencing of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors with chemotherapy in the treatment of advanced EGFR-mutated NSCLC; activating mutations reported; and availability of hazard ratio estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for overall survival.
Six clinical trials were included in this study. The pooled hazard ratio for overall survival of the EGFR-mutated population that completed sequential treatment was 1.03 (95% CI 0.86–1.22, P=0.776). There was no statistically significant heterogeneity between the studies (tau2 =0; I2=0, 95% CI 0–0.37, P=0.548). Evidence of marked publication bias for the two treatment sequences was insufficient (P=0.145).
In patients with advanced NSCLC and activating EGFR mutations, first-line chemotherapy followed upon progression by a tyrosine kinase inhibitor was not inferior in terms of overall survival compared with the inverse sequence. This may serve as an indication that chemotherapy could be employed initially if mutation testing results are unavailable.
EGFR mutation; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; chemotherapy; non-small cell lung cancer; clinical trial
Driven by high throughput next generation sequencing technologies and the pressing need to decipher cancer genomes, computational approaches for detecting somatic single nucleotide variants (sSNVs) have undergone dramatic improvements during the past 2 years. The recently developed tools typically compare a tumor sample directly with a matched normal sample at each variant locus in order to increase the accuracy of sSNV calling. These programs also address the detection of sSNVs at low allele frequencies, allowing for the study of tumor heterogeneity, cancer subclones, and mutation evolution in cancer development.
We used whole genome sequencing (Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx platform) of a melanoma sample and matched blood, whole exome sequencing (Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform) of 18 lung tumor-normal pairs and seven lung cancer cell lines to evaluate six tools for sSNV detection: EBCall, JointSNVMix, MuTect, SomaticSniper, Strelka, and VarScan 2, with a focus on MuTect and VarScan 2, two widely used publicly available software tools. Default/suggested parameters were used to run these tools. The missense sSNVs detected in these samples were validated through PCR and direct sequencing of genomic DNA from the samples. We also simulated 10 tumor-normal pairs to explore the ability of these programs to detect low allelic-frequency sSNVs.
Out of the 237 sSNVs successfully validated in our cancer samples, VarScan 2 and MuTect detected the most of any tools (that is, 204 and 192, respectively). MuTect identified 11 more low-coverage validated sSNVs than VarScan 2, but missed 11 more sSNVs with alternate alleles in normal samples than VarScan 2. When examining the false calls of each tool using 169 invalidated sSNVs, we observed >63% false calls detected in the lung cancer cell lines had alternate alleles in normal samples. Additionally, from our simulation data, VarScan 2 identified more sSNVs than other tools, while MuTect characterized most low allelic-fraction sSNVs.
Our study explored the typical false-positive and false-negative detections that arise from the use of sSNV-calling tools. Our results suggest that despite recent progress, these tools have significant room for improvement, especially in the discrimination of low coverage/allelic-frequency sSNVs and sSNVs with alternate alleles in normal samples.
There are several controversies in the surgical management of esophageal cancer including the surgical approach, extent of resection, optimal fields of lymph node dissection, and the ideal location of anastomosis. Optimal surgical treatment strategies must include accurate staging and the selection of an appropriate surgical approach. In addition, other considerations include complete resection, lymph node dissection and evaluation of oncologic and functional outcomes. The objective of this article is to review the literature and discuss our surgical approach to esophageal cancer.
Somatic mutation of the tumor suppressor gene LKB1 occurs frequently in lung cancer where it causes tumor progression and metastasis, but the underlying mechanisms remain mainly unknown. Here, we show that the oncogene NEDD9 is an important downstream mediator of lung cancer progression evoked by LKB1 loss. In de novo mouse models, RNAi-mediated silencing of Nedd9 inhibited lung tumor progression, whereas ectopic NEDD9 expression accelerated this process. Mechanistically, LKB1 negatively regulated NEDD9 transcription by promoting cytosolic translocation of CRTC1 from the nucleus. Notably, ectopic expression of either NEDD9 or CRTC1 partially reversed the inhibitory function of LKB1 on metastasis of lung cancer cells. In clinical specimens, elevated expression of NEDD9 was associated with malignant progression and metastasis. Collectively, our results decipher the mechanism through which LKB1 deficiency promotes lung cancer progression and metastasis, and provide a mechanistic rationale for therapeutic attack of these processes.
Approximately 3–7% of non-small cell lung cancers harbor an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene fusion, constituting a new molecular subtype of lung cancer that responds to crizotinib, an ALK inhibitor. Although previous studies have evaluated ALK-rearranged lung cancers, the comprehensive analysis of lung cancer in Chinese has not well assessed. Herein, we identified 44 cases of ALK-rearranged samples by fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in a large number of surgically resected lung cancers. All 44 ALK-rearranged lung cancers were adenocarcinomas, with 2 cases having additional focal squamous components. The goal was to analyse the clinicopathological features of ALK-rearranged lung adenocarcinomas. Our data showed that a cribriform structure, prominent extracellular mucus and any type of mucous cell pattern may be either sensitive or specific to predict an ALK rearrangement. We used FISH as the standard detection method. We compared the ALK rearrangement accuracy of FISH, RT-PCR and IHC. RT-PCR could define both the ALK fusion partner and the fusion variant, but seemed unable to detect all translocations involving the ALK gene. It is noteworthy that IHC using the D5F3 antibody (Cell Signaling Technology) showed higher sensitivity and specificity than the ALK1 antibody (Dako). Therefore, we conclude that IHC remains a cost-effective and efficient technique for diagnosing ALK rearrangements and that D5F3 can be the optimal screening antibody in clinical practice.
Benign metastasizing leiomyoma (BML) occurs in a low proportion of uterine leiomyomas and treatment methods for BML are diverse and controversial. The study introduces preliminary experiences in the diagnosis and treatment of BML with the purpose of finding a suitable management strategy for these patients.
Three patients with BML were treated in our department from April 2008 to July 2012. Each of these patients presented with multiple nodules in both lungs, where we performed video-assisted thoracoscopic wedge resection to harvest enough tissue for histopathologic and immunohistochemical examination. The patients were treated with medical castration or surgical castration after the diagnosis of BML.
The ultimate pathologic results ruled out the possibility of leiomyosarcoma and other metastatic diseases, and confirmed that the pulmonary lesions were BML. The lung lesions remained stable in two patients who were treated by surgical castration, and the lung nodules regressed in one patient treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues.
The diagnosis of BML is based on the medical history of uterine myomas and histopathologic and immunohistochemical examination of lung nodules. Video-assisted thoracoscopic wedge resection is the best way to harvest tissue for diagnosis. The better outcomes in BML seem to call for medical intervention, either chemical or surgical, after diagnosis is made.
Benign neoplasms; Castration; Metastasis; Pulmonary; Rare diseases
Our previous study revealed that 90% (47 of 52; 95% CI: 0.79–0.96) of Chinese never-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma harbor known oncogenic driver mutations in just four genes: EGFR, ALK, HER2, and KRAS. Here, we examined the status of known driver mutations specifically in female never-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma.
Tumors were genotyped for mutations in EGFR, KRAS, ALK, HER2, and BRAF. Data on age, stage, tumor differentiation, histological subtypes, and molecular alterations were recorded from 349 resected lung adenocarcinomas from female never-smokers. We further compared the clinicopathological parameters according to mutational status of these genes.
Two hundred and sixty-six (76.2%) tumors harbored EGFR mutations, 16 (4.6%) HER2 mutations, 15 (4.3%) EML4-ALK fusions, seven (2.0%) KRAS mutations, and two (0.6%) BRAF mutations. In univariate analysis, patients harboring EGFR mutations were significantly older (p<0.001), whereas patients harboring HER2 mutations were significantly younger (p=0.036). Higher prevalence of KRAS (p=0.028) and HER2 (p=0.021) mutations was found in invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma (IMA). The frequency of EGFR mutations was positively correlated with acinar predominant tumors (p=0.002). Multivariate analysis revealed that older age at diagnosis (p=0.013) and acinar predominant subtype (p=0.005) were independent predictors of EGFR mutations. Independent predictors of HER2 mutations included younger age (p=0.030) and IMA (p=0.017). IMA (p=0.006) and poor differentiation (p=0.028) were independently associated with KRAS mutations.
The frequency of driver mutations in never-smoking female lung adenocarcinoma varies with histological subtypes and age at diagnosis. These data have implications for both clinical trial design and therapeutic strategies.
Lung adenocarcinoma; Female; Never smoker; EGFR mutation; HER2 mutation; Acinar; Mucinous; Age
Chromosomal rearrangements involving the ROS1 receptor tyrosine kinase gene have recently been described in a subset of non–small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). Because little is known about these tumors, we examined the clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients with NSCLC with ROS1 rearrangement.
Patients and Methods
Using a ROS1 fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) assay, we screened 1,073 patients with NSCLC and correlated ROS1 rearrangement status with clinical characteristics, overall survival, and when available, ALK rearrangement status. In vitro studies assessed the responsiveness of cells with ROS1 rearrangement to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor crizotinib. The clinical response of one patient with ROS1-rearranged NSCLC to crizotinib was investigated as part of an expanded phase I cohort.
Of 1,073 tumors screened, 18 (1.7%) were ROS1 rearranged by FISH, and 31 (2.9%) were ALK rearranged. Compared with the ROS1-negative group, patients with ROS1 rearrangements were significantly younger and more likely to be never-smokers (each P < .001). All of the ROS1-positive tumors were adenocarcinomas, with a tendency toward higher grade. ROS1-positive and -negative groups showed no difference in overall survival. The HCC78 ROS1-rearranged NSCLC cell line and 293 cells transfected with CD74-ROS1 showed evidence of sensitivity to crizotinib. The patient treated with crizotinib showed tumor shrinkage, with a near complete response.
ROS1 rearrangement defines a molecular subset of NSCLC with distinct clinical characteristics that are similar to those observed in patients with ALK-rearranged NSCLC. Crizotinib shows in vitro activity and early evidence of clinical activity in ROS1-rearranged NSCLC.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Clinically, the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can be improved by the early detection and risk screening among population. To meet this need, here we describe the application of extensive peptide level fractionation coupled with label free quantitative proteomics for the discovery of potential serum biomarkers for lung cancer, and the usage of Tissue microarray analysis (TMA) and Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) assays for the following up validations in the verification phase. Using these state-of-art, currently available clinical proteomic approaches, in the discovery phase we confidently identified 647 serum proteins, and 101 proteins showed a statistically significant association with NSCLC in our 18 discovery samples. This serum proteomic dataset allowed us to discern the differential patterns and abnormal biological processes in the lung cancer blood. Of these proteins, Alpha-1B-glycoprotein (A1BG) and Leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein (LRG1), two plasma glycoproteins with previously unknown function were selected as examples for which TMA and MRM verification were performed in a large sample set consisting about 100 patients. We revealed that A1BG and LRG1 were overexpressed in both the blood level and tumor sections, which can be referred to separate lung cancer patients from healthy cases.
A critical step in detecting variants from next-generation sequencing data is post hoc filtering of putative variants called or predicted by computational tools. Here, we highlight four critical parameters that could enhance the accuracy of called single nucleotide variants and insertions/deletions: quality and deepness, refinement and improvement of initial mapping, allele/strand balance, and examination of spurious genes. Use of these sequence features appropriately in variant filtering could greatly improve validation rates, thereby saving time and costs in next-generation sequencing projects.
We previously showed that 90% (47 of 52; 95% CI, 0.79 to 0.96) of lung adenocarcinomas from East Asian never-smokers harbored well-known oncogenic mutations in just four genes: EGFR, HER2, ALK, and KRAS. Here, we sought to extend these findings to more samples and identify driver alterations in tumors negative for these mutations.
We have collected and analyzed 202 resected lung adenocarcinomas from never smokers seen at Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center. Since mutations were mutually exclusive in the first 52 examined, we determined the status of EGFR, KRAS, HER2, ALK, and BRAF in stepwise fashion as previously described. Samples negative for mutations in these 5 genes were subsequently examined for known ROS1 fusions by RT-PCR and direct sequencing.
152 tumors (75.3%) harbored EGFR mutations, 12 (6%) had HER2 mutations, 10 (5%) had ALK fusions all involving EML4 as the 5′ partner, 4 (2%) had KRAS mutations, and 2 (1%) harbored ROS1 fusions. No BRAF mutation were detected.
The vast majority (176 of 202; 87.1%, 95% CI: 0.82 to 0.91) of lung adenocarcinomas from never smokers harbor mutant kinases sensitive to available TKIs. Interestingly, patients with EGFR mutant patients tend to be older than those without EGFR mutations (58.3 Vs 54.3, P = 0.016) and patient without any known oncogenic driver tend to be diagnosed at a younger age (52.3 Vs 57.9, P = 0.013). Collectively, these data indicate that the majority of never smokers with lung adenocarcinoma could benefit from treatment with a specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
To determine the proportion of lung adenocarcinomas from East Asian never-smokers who harbor known oncogenic driver mutations.
Patients and Methods
In this surgical series, 52 resected lung adenocarcinomas from never-smokers (< 100 cigarettes in a lifetime) at a single institution (Fudan University, Shanghai, China) were analyzed concurrently for mutations in EGFR, KRAS, NRAS, HRAS, HER2, BRAF, ALK, PIK3CA, TP53 and LKB1.
Forty-one tumors harbored EGFR mutations, three harbored EML4-ALK fusions, two harbored HER2 insertions, and one harbored a KRAS mutation. All mutations were mutually exclusive. Thus, 90% (47 of 52; 95% CI, 0.7896 to 0.9625) of lung adenocarcinomas from never-smokers were found to harbor well-known oncogenic mutations in just four genes. No BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, or LKB1 mutations were detected, while 15 had TP53 mutations. Four tumors contained PIK3CA mutations, always together with EGFR mutations.
To our knowledge, this study represents the first comprehensive and concurrent analysis of major recurrent oncogenic mutations found in a large cohort of lung adenocarcinomas from East Asian never-smokers. Since drugs are now available that target mutant EGFR, HER2, and ALK, respectively, this result indicates that prospective mutation testing in these patients should successfully assign a targeted therapy in the majority of cases.
Monocyte recruited into the tumor and maturation to tumor-associated macrophage (TAM). Interleukin-10(IL-10) is a potent immunosuppressive cytokine, which can be secreted from both primary tumor and stromal cells. However, there are controversies regarding its role in the progression of cancer. So it is important to isolate TAM from tumor cells to study the role of IL-10 in the progress of cancer. The aim of our study was to determine whether IL-10 expressed by TAM correlated with clinicopathological factors in NSCLC.
TAM in NSCLC was isolated by short-term culture in serum free medium with the modification to literature reports. The mRNA expression levels of IL-10, cathepsin B, cathepsin S, which were closely related with TAM according to the literatures, were evaluated by Quantitative real-time RT-PCR in 63 NSCLC. The relationships between their expression levels and clinicopathological features were investigated.
We successfully achieved up to 95% purity of TAM, derived from 63 primary lung cancer tissues. TAM expressed high levels of IL-10, cathepsin B in NSCLC. High levels of IL-10 in TAM significantly correlated with stage, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, lymphovascular invasion or histologic poor differentiation.
Our results revealed that TAM with high levels of IL-10 expression may play an important role in the progression of non-small cell lung cancer. The data also suggested that TAMs may involve in tumor immunosuppression through overexpressed IL-10. Additionally, the phenotype of isolated TAM can be potentially used to predict clinicopathological features as well.
Lung cancer; Tumor associated macrophages; IL-10
Recently EBUS-TBNA, which has a sensitivity of 94.6%, specificity of 100% and diagnostic accuracy rate of 96.3% as previously reported, has been widely used for patients with mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy or suspected lung cancer to get accurate diagnosis. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the usefulness of EBUS-TBNA in obtaining cytological and histological diagnosis of mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes compared to the results obtained with conventional mediastinoscopy as previously reported, and to assess the relationship of diagnostic accuracy and number of passes and size of lymph nodes.
101 patients with mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy or suspected lung cancer in our institution were included in this prospective study. EBUS-TBNA was performed in all cases. The final diagnosis was confirmed by cytology, surgical results, and/or clinical follow-up for at least 6 months. Sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and positive and negative predictive values were calculated using standard formulas.
In 101 patients, EBUS-TBNA was successfully performed to obtain samples from 225 lymph nodes, 7 lung masses, 1 mediastinal mass and 2 esophageal masses. 63 malignant tumors and 38 benign diseases were confirmed. Epidermal growth factor receptor mutation was detected in 10 biopsy samples, and epidermal growth factor receptor mutation was detected in 4 cases. With respect to the correct diagnosis of mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy, EBUS-TBNA had a sensitivity of 95.08%, specificity of 100%, positive predictive value of 100%, negative predictive value of 93.02%, and overall accuracy of 97.02%. The relationship of diagnostic accuracy and number of lymph node passes or size of lymph nodes was both insignificant (p = 0.27; p = 0.23). The procedure was uneventful without complications.
EBUS-TBNA is an accurate and safe tool in diagnosis of mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy. It cannot completely replace mediastinoscopy, it may indeed reduce the number of mediastinoscopy procedures. In some cases, it can necessarily be the first-line procedure before mediastinoscopy.
Whether tumor size and stage distribution are correlated remains controversial. The objective is to assess the relationship between tumor size and disease stage distribution in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
We conducted a retrospective analysis of 917 cases of NSCLC that were resected in the Cancer Hospital of Fudan University and Shanghai Sixth Hospital between January 2000 and February 2009. Tumor sizes were grouped into five categories: ≤20 mm, 21 to 30 mm, 31 to 50 mm, 51 to 70 mm and ≥71 mm.
Age and tumor size affected stage distribution: patients 60 years or older had a higher percentage of N0M0 disease than patients younger than 60 years (61.67% vs. 44.85%, p < 0.01). The smaller the tumor, the more likely the disease was N0M0 status (p < 0.05). For tumors ≤20 mm in diameter, the proportion of cases with N0M0 status was 70.79%, compared to 58.88% for 21 to 30 mm, 48.03% for 31 to 50 mm, 47.55% for 51 to 70 mm, 33.33% for ≥71 mm. The mean (± SD) tumor size of cases with N0M0 status was 37.17 ± 21.34 mm, compared to 45.75 ± 23.19 mm for cases with other status.
There is a statistically significant relationship between tumor size and distribution of disease stage of primary NSCLC tumors: the smaller the tumor, the more likely the disease is N0M0 status.
Despite multidisciplinary treatment, lung cancer remains a highly lethal disease due to poor response to chemotherapy. The identification of therapeutic agents with synergistic effects with traditional drugs is an alternative for lung cancer therapy. In this study, the synergistic effects of arsenic trioxide (As2O3) with cisplatin (DDP) on A549 and H460 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells were explored.
A549 and H460 human lung cancer cells were treated with As2O3 and/or DDP. Cell growth curves, cell proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis of human cancer cell lines were determined by the 3-(4,5)-dimethylthiahiazo (-z-y1)-3,5-di-phenytetrazoliumromide (MTT) method, clonogenic assay, and flow cytometry (FCM). Apoptosis was further assessed by TUNEL staining. Cell cycle and apoptosis related protein p21, cyclin D1, Bcl-2, bax, clusterin, and caspase-3 were detected by western blot.
MTT and clonogenic assay showed As2O3 within 10-2 μM to 10 μM exerted inhibition on the proliferation of NSCLC cells, and 2.5 μM As2O3 exerted synergistic inhibition on proliferation with 3 μg/ml DDP. The combination indices (CI) for A549 and H460 were 0.5 and 0.6, respectively, as confirmed by the synergism of As2O3 with DDP. FCM showed As2O3 did not affect the cell cycle. The G0/G1 fraction ranged from 57% to 62% for controlled A549 cells and cells treated with As2O3 and/or DDP. The G0/G1 fraction ranged from 37% to 42% for controlled H460 cells and cells treated with As2O3 and/or DDP. FCM and TUNEL staining illustrated that the combination of As2O3 and DDP provoked synergistic effects on apoptosis induction based on the analysis of the apoptosis index. Western blotting revealed that the expression of cell cycle related protein p21 and cyclin D1 were not affected by the treatments, whereas apoptosis related protein bax, Bcl-2, and clusterin were significantly regulated by As2O3 and/or DDP treatments compared with controls. The expression of caspase-3 in cells treated with the combination of As2O3 and DDP did not differ from that in cells treated with a single agent.
As2O3 exerted synergistic effects with DDP on NSCLC cells, and the synergistic effects were partly due to the induction of caspase-independent apoptosis.
Lineage transition in adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of non-small cell lung cancer, as implicated by clinical observation of mixed ADC and SCC pathologies in adenosquamous cell carcinoma, remains a fundamental yet unsolved question. Here we provide in vivo evidence showing the transdifferentiation of lung cancer from ADC to SCC in mice: Lkb1-deficient lung ADC progressively transdifferentiates into SCC, via a pathologically mixed mAd-SCC intermediate. We find that reduction of lysyl oxidase (Lox) in Lkb1-deficient lung ADC decreases collagen disposition and triggers extracellular matrix remodelling and upregulates p63 expression, a SCC lineage survival oncogene. Pharmacological Lox inhibition promotes the transdifferentiation, whereas ectopic Lox expression significantly inhibits this process. Notably, ADC and SCC show differential responses to Lox inhibition. Collectively, our findings demonstrate the de novo transdifferentiation of lung ADC to SCC in mice and provide mechanistic insight that may have important implications for lung cancer treatment.
Non-small cell lung cancer manifests as adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma but tumours of mixed lineage are often found in humans. Here, the authors show that adenocarcinoma can transdifferentiate into squamous cell carcinomas in mice.