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1.  Genome-wide association studies identify four ER negative–specific breast cancer risk loci 
Garcia-Closas, Montserrat | Couch, Fergus J | Lindstrom, Sara | Michailidou, Kyriaki | Schmidt, Marjanka K | Brook, Mark N | orr, Nick | Rhie, Suhn Kyong | Riboli, Elio | Feigelson, Heather s | Le Marchand, Loic | Buring, Julie E | Eccles, Diana | Miron, Penelope | Fasching, Peter A | Brauch, Hiltrud | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Carpenter, Jane | Godwin, Andrew K | Nevanlinna, Heli | Giles, Graham G | Cox, Angela | Hopper, John L | Bolla, Manjeet K | Wang, Qin | Dennis, Joe | Dicks, Ed | Howat, Will J | Schoof, Nils | Bojesen, Stig E | Lambrechts, Diether | Broeks, Annegien | Andrulis, Irene L | Guénel, Pascal | Burwinkel, Barbara | Sawyer, Elinor J | Hollestelle, Antoinette | Fletcher, Olivia | Winqvist, Robert | Brenner, Hermann | Mannermaa, Arto | Hamann, Ute | Meindl, Alfons | Lindblom, Annika | Zheng, Wei | Devillee, Peter | Goldberg, Mark S | Lubinski, Jan | Kristensen, Vessela | Swerdlow, Anthony | Anton-Culver, Hoda | Dörk, Thilo | Muir, Kenneth | Matsuo, Keitaro | Wu, Anna H | Radice, Paolo | Teo, Soo Hwang | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Blot, William | Kang, Daehee | Hartman, Mikael | Sangrajrang, Suleeporn | Shen, Chen-Yang | Southey, Melissa C | Park, Daniel J | Hammet, Fleur | Stone, Jennifer | Veer, Laura J Van’t | Rutgers, Emiel J | Lophatananon, Artitaya | Stewart-Brown, Sarah | Siriwanarangsan, Pornthep | Peto, Julian | Schrauder, Michael G | Ekici, Arif B | Beckmann, Matthias W | Silva, Isabel dos Santos | Johnson, Nichola | Warren, Helen | Tomlinson, Ian | Kerin, Michael J | Miller, Nicola | Marme, Federick | Schneeweiss, Andreas | Sohn, Christof | Truong, Therese | Laurent-Puig, Pierre | Kerbrat, Pierre | Nordestgaard, Børge G | Nielsen, Sune F | Flyger, Henrik | Milne, Roger L | Perez, Jose Ignacio Arias | Menéndez, Primitiva | Müller, Heiko | Arndt, Volker | Stegmaier, Christa | Lichtner, Peter | Lochmann, Magdalena | Justenhoven, Christina | Ko, Yon-Dschun | Muranen, Taru A | Aittomäki, Kristiina | Blomqvist, Carl | Greco, Dario | Heikkinen, Tuomas | Ito, Hidemi | Iwata, Hiroji | Yatabe, Yasushi | Antonenkova, Natalia N | Margolin, Sara | Kataja, Vesa | Kosma, Veli-Matti | Hartikainen, Jaana M | Balleine, Rosemary | Tseng, Chiu-Chen | Van Den Berg, David | Stram, Daniel O | Neven, Patrick | Dieudonné, Anne-Sophie | Leunen, Karin | Rudolph, Anja | Nickels, Stefan | Flesch-Janys, Dieter | Peterlongo, Paolo | Peissel, Bernard | Bernard, Loris | Olson, Janet E | Wang, Xianshu | Stevens, Kristen | Severi, Gianluca | Baglietto, Laura | Mclean, Catriona | Coetzee, Gerhard A | Feng, Ye | Henderson, Brian E | Schumacher, Fredrick | Bogdanova, Natalia V | Labrèche, France | Dumont, Martine | Yip, Cheng Har | Taib, Nur Aishah Mohd | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Shrubsole, Martha | Long, Jirong | Pylkäs, Katri | Jukkola-Vuorinen, Arja | Kauppila, Saila | knight, Julia A | Glendon, Gord | Mulligan, Anna Marie | Tollenaar, Robertus A E M | Seynaeve, Caroline M | Kriege, Mieke | Hooning, Maartje J | Van den Ouweland, Ans M W | Van Deurzen, Carolien H M | Lu, Wei | Gao, Yu-Tang | Cai, Hui | Balasubramanian, Sabapathy P | Cross, Simon S | Reed, Malcolm W R | Signorello, Lisa | Cai, Qiuyin | Shah, Mitul | Miao, Hui | Chan, Ching Wan | Chia, Kee Seng | Jakubowska, Anna | Jaworska, Katarzyna | Durda, Katarzyna | Hsiung, Chia-Ni | Wu, Pei-Ei | Yu, Jyh-Cherng | Ashworth, Alan | Jones, Michael | Tessier, Daniel C | González-Neira, Anna | Pita, Guillermo | Alonso, M Rosario | Vincent, Daniel | Bacot, Francois | Ambrosone, Christine B | Bandera, Elisa V | John, Esther M | Chen, Gary K | Hu, Jennifer J | Rodriguez-gil, Jorge L | Bernstein, Leslie | Press, Michael F | Ziegler, Regina G | Millikan, Robert M | Deming-Halverson, Sandra L | Nyante, Sarah | Ingles, Sue A | Waisfisz, Quinten | Tsimiklis, Helen | Makalic, Enes | Schmidt, Daniel | Bui, Minh | Gibson, Lorna | Müller-Myhsok, Bertram | Schmutzler, Rita K | Hein, Rebecca | Dahmen, Norbert | Beckmann, Lars | Aaltonen, Kirsimari | Czene, Kamila | Irwanto, Astrid | Liu, Jianjun | Turnbull, Clare | Rahman, Nazneen | Meijers-Heijboer, Hanne | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Olswold, Curtis | Slager, Susan | Pilarski, Robert | Ademuyiwa, Foluso | Konstantopoulou, Irene | Martin, Nicholas G | Montgomery, Grant W | Slamon, Dennis J | Rauh, Claudia | Lux, Michael P | Jud, Sebastian M | Bruning, Thomas | Weaver, Joellen | Sharma, Priyanka | Pathak, Harsh | Tapper, Will | Gerty, Sue | Durcan, Lorraine | Trichopoulos, Dimitrios | Tumino, Rosario | Peeters, Petra H | Kaaks, Rudolf | Campa, Daniele | Canzian, Federico | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Johansson, Mattias | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Travis, Ruth | Clavel-Chapelon, Françoise | Kolonel, Laurence N | Chen, Constance | Beck, Andy | Hankinson, Susan E | Berg, Christine D | Hoover, Robert N | Lissowska, Jolanta | Figueroa, Jonine D | Chasman, Daniel I | Gaudet, Mia M | Diver, W Ryan | Willett, Walter C | Hunter, David J | Simard, Jacques | Benitez, Javier | Dunning, Alison M | Sherman, Mark E | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Chanock, Stephen J | Hall, Per | Pharoah, Paul D P | Vachon, Celine | Easton, Douglas F | Haiman, Christopher A | Kraft, Peter
Nature genetics  2013;45(4):392-398e2.
Estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors represent 20–30% of all breast cancers, with a higher proportion occurring in younger women and women of African ancestry1. The etiology2 and clinical behavior3 of ER-negative tumors are different from those of tumors expressing ER (ER positive), including differences in genetic predisposition4. To identify susceptibility loci specific to ER-negative disease, we combined in a meta-analysis 3 genome-wide association studies of 4,193 ER-negative breast cancer cases and 35,194 controls with a series of 40 follow-up studies (6,514 cases and 41,455 controls), genotyped using a custom Illumina array, iCOGS, developed by the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS). SNPs at four loci, 1q32.1 (MDM4, P = 2.1 × 10−12 and LGR6, P = 1.4 × 10−8), 2p24.1 (P = 4.6 × 10−8) and 16q12.2 (FTO, P = 4.0 × 10−8), were associated with ER-negative but not ER-positive breast cancer (P > 0.05). These findings provide further evidence for distinct etiological pathways associated with invasive ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancers.
doi:10.1038/ng.2561
PMCID: PMC3771695  PMID: 23535733
2.  A phase II evaluation of lapatinib in the treatment of persistent or recurrent epithelial ovarian or primary peritoneal carcinoma: A gynecologic oncology group study☆ 
Gynecologic oncology  2011;124(3):569-574.
Objective
Activation and dimerization of the ERBB family play a role in the pathogenesis and progression of ovarian cancer. We conducted a phase II trial to evaluate the activity and tolerability of lapatinib in patients with recurrent or persistent epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and to explore the clinical value of expression levels of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR), phosphorylated EGFR, HER-2/neu, and Ki-67, and the presence of EGFR mutations.
Methods
Eligible patients had recurrent or persistent EOC or primary peritoneal carcinoma, measurable disease, and up to 2 prior chemotherapy regimens for recurrent disease. Patients were treated with lapatinib 1500 mg/day. The primary endpoint of efficacy was 6-month progression free survival (PFS).
Results
Twenty-five of 28 patients were eligible and evaluable for analysis of efficacy and toxicity. Two (8.0%) were alive and progression-free at 6 months. No objective responses were observed. There were 1 grade 4 toxicity (fatigue) and few grade 3 toxicities. Associations between Ki-67 with prior platinum-free interval, PFS, and a polymorphism in EGFR were suggested.
Conclusions
Lapatinib has minimal activity in recurrent ovarian cancer. Ki-67 expression may be associated with prior PFS and a polymorphism in EGFR exon 20 (2361G>A, Q787Q).
doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.10.022
PMCID: PMC3971755  PMID: 22037316
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); Ki-67; Lapatinib; Ovarian cancer
3.  Loss of A-type lamin expression compromises nuclear envelope integrity in breast cancer 
Chinese journal of cancer  2011;30(6):415-425.
Through advances in technology, the genetic basis of cancer has been investigated at the genomic level, and many fundamental questions have begun to be addressed. Among several key unresolved questions in cancer biology, the molecular basis for the link between nuclear deformation and malignancy has not been determined. Another hallmark of human cancer is aneuploidy; however, the causes and consequences of aneuploidy are unanswered and are hotly contested topics.
We found that nuclear lamina proteins lamin A/C are absent in a significant fraction (38%) of human breast cancer tissues. Even in lamin A/C–positive breast cancer, lamin A/C expression is heterogeneous or aberrant (such as non-nuclear distribution) in the population of tumor cells, as determined by immunohistology and immunofluorescence microscopy. In most breast cancer cell lines, a significant fraction of the lamin A/C–negative population was observed. To determine the consequences of the loss of lamin A/C, we suppressed their expression by shRNA in non-cancerous primary breast epithelial cells. Down-regulation of lamin A/C in breast epithelial cells led to morphological deformation, resembling that of cancer cells, as observed by immunofluorescence microscopy. The lamin A/C–suppressed breast epithelial cells developed aneuploidy as determined by both flow cytometry and fluorescence in situ hybridization. We conclude that the loss of nuclear envelope structural proteins lamin A/C in breast cancer underlies the two hallmarks of cancer—aberrations in nuclear morphology and aneuploidy.
PMCID: PMC3941915  PMID: 21627864
Nuclear envelope; lamin A/C; aneuploidy; polyploidy; nuclear grade; nuclear morphology; breast cancer
4.  Over-expression of IGF1R and Frequent Mutational Inactivation of SDHA in Wild-type SDHB-negative Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors 
Genes, chromosomes & cancer  2012;52(2):214-224.
Approximately 15% of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) in adults and 85% in children lack mutations in KIT and PDGFRA and are known as wild type GISTs. Wild type GISTs from adults and children express high levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) and exhibit stable genomes compared to mutant GISTs. Pediatric wild type GISTs, GISTs from the multi-tumor Carney-Stratakis syndrome and the Carney triad share other clinico-pathological properties (e.g. early-onset, multifocal GISTs with epitheliod cell morphology) suggesting a common etiology. Carney-Stratakis is an inherited association of GIST and paragangliomas caused by germline mutations in succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) genes. The connection between defective cellular respiration and GIST pathology has been strengthened by the utilization of SDHB immunohistochemistry to identify SDH deficiency in pediatric GISTs, syndromic GISTs, and some adult wild type GISTs. SDHB and IGF1R expression was examined in 12 wild type and 12 mutant GIST cases. Wild type GISTs were screened for coding-region alterations in SDH genes and for chromosomal aberrations using genome-wide SNP and MIP arrays. SDHB-deficiency, identified in 11/12 wild type GIST cases, was tightly associated with over-expression of IGF1R protein and transcript. Biallelic inactivation of the SDHA gene was a surprisingly frequent event, identified in 5/11 SDHB-negative cases, generally due to germline point mutations accompanied by somatic SDHA allelic losses. As a novel finding, inactivation of the SDHC gene from a combination of a heterozygous coding-region mutation and hyper-methylation of the wild type allele was found in one SDHB-negative case.
doi:10.1002/gcc.22023
PMCID: PMC3564228  PMID: 23109135
5.  Aurora Kinase A Mediates Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Cell Migration and Adhesion 
Oncogene  2013;33(5):539-549.
Aurora kinase A (AURKA) localizes to centrosomes and mitotic spindles where it mediates mitotic progression and chromosomal stability. Overexpression of AURKA is common in cancer, resulting in acquisition of alternate non-mitotic functions. In the current study, we identified a novel role for AURKA in regulating ovarian cancer cell dissemination and evaluated the efficacy of an AURKA-selective small molecule inhibitor, alisertib (MLN8237), as a single agent and combined with paclitaxel using an orthotopic xenograft model of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Ovarian carcinoma cell lines were used to evaluate the effects of AURKA inhibition and overexpression on migration and adhesion. Pharmacologic or RNAi-mediated inhibition of AURKA significantly reduced ovarian carcinoma cell migration and adhesion and the activation-associated phosphorylation of the cytoskeletal regulatory protein SRC at tyrosine 416 (pSRCY416). Conversely, enforced expression of AURKA resulted in increased migration, adhesion and activation of SRC in cultured cells. In vivo tumor growth and dissemination were inhibited by alisertib treatment as a single agent. Moreover, combination of alisertib with paclitaxel, an agent commonly used in treatment of EOC, resulted in more potent inhibition of tumor growth and dissemination compared to either drug alone. Taken together, these findings support a role for AURKA in EOC dissemination by regulating migration and adhesion. They also point to the potential utility of combining AURKA inhibitors with taxanes as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of EOC patients.
doi:10.1038/onc.2012.632
PMCID: PMC3640671  PMID: 23334327
Aurora kinase A; SRC; ovarian cancer; migration; alisertib; adhesion
6.  A Phase II Evaluation of Aflibercept in the Treatment of Recurrent or Persistent Endometrial Cancer: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study 
Gynecologic oncology  2012;127(3):538-543.
Purpose
Aflibercept targets vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor. We evaluated activity and toxicity of aflibercept in recurrent/persistent endometrial cancer patients. Biomarkers and association with clinical characteristics and outcome were explored.
Methods
Eligible patients had measurable disease; 1–2 prior cytotoxic regimens; performance status 0–2. Aflibercept 4 mg/kg IV q14 days (28-day cycles) was administered until disease progression or prohibitive toxicity. Primary endpoints were the proportion of patients with progression-free survival at six months (PFS6) and tumor response rate. A flexible two-stage group sequential design to detect 20% increases in the proportion of patients responding or enduring PFS6 with 90% power (α=10%) was employed.
Results
Forty-nine patients were enrolled; five were excluded: wrong primary (2), second primary (1), wrong cell type (1); never treated (1). Median age was 64 (range 48–83). Eighteen patients (41%) had two prior regimens; 61%(27) had prior radiation. The PFS6 rate was 41%; three patients 7%, 90% CI:2–17) had partial response. Of note, 10 patients (23%) met the PFS6 endpoint without starting a subsequent therapy; the remaining eight patients discontinued therapy for toxicity and started another therapy before six months elapsed. Median PFS and overall survival were 2.9 months and 14.6 months, respectively. Significant grade 3/4 toxicities were: cardiovascular (23%/5%), constitutional (7%/0), hemorrhage (2%/5%), metabolic (7%/2%), pain (18%/0). Two treatment-related deaths were recorded: GI perforation (1), arterial rupture (1). FGF1 expression was associated with response.
Conclusions
Aflibercept met pretrial activity parameters, but was associated with significant toxicity at this dose and schedule in this population.
doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2012.08.020
PMCID: PMC3568489  PMID: 22922531
Aflibercept; endometrial cancer; VEGF Trap; Toxicity; Fibroblast growth factor
7.  Evaluation of chromosome 6p22 as a breast cancer risk modifier locus in a follow-up study of BRCA2 mutation carriers 
Several common germline variants identified through genome-wide association studies of breast cancer risk in the general population have recently been shown to be associated with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutation carriers. When combined, these variants can identify marked differences in the absolute risk of developing breast cancer for mutation carriers, suggesting that additional modifier loci may further enhance individual risk assessment for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Recently, a common variant on 6p22 (rs9393597) was found to be associated with increased breast cancer risk for BRCA2 mutation carriers [Hazard ratio (HR)=1.55, 95% CI 1.25–1.92, p=6.0×10−5]. This observation was based on data from GWAS studies in which, despite statistical correction for multiple comparisons, the possibility of false discovery remains a concern. Here we report on an analysis of this variant in an additional 6,165 BRCA1 and 3,900 BRCA2 mutation carriers from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). In this replication analysis, rs9393597 was not associated with breast cancer risk for BRCA2 mutation carriers [HR=1.09, 95% CI 0.96–1.24, p=0.18]. No association with ovarian cancer risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers or with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers was observed. This follow-up study suggests that, contrary to our initial report, this variant is not associated with breast cancer risk among individuals with germline BRCA2 mutations.
doi:10.1007/s10549-012-2255-6
PMCID: PMC3482828  PMID: 23011509
BRCA1; BRCA2; genetic modifier; association study
8.  Lapatinib and Potential Prognostic Value of EGFR Mutations in a Gynecologic Oncology Group Phase II Trial of Persistent or Recurrent Endometrial Cancer 
Gynecologic oncology  2012;127(2):345-350.
BACKGROUND
A phase II trial was performed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2, lapatinib, and to explore EGFR, HER2 (EGFR2), phosphorylated ERK MAP Kinase (pERK), and Ki67 expression, as well as EGFR mutations in persistent/recurrent endometrial cancer (EC).
METHODS
Women with histologically-confirmed, measurable, persistent/recurrent EC following one or two prior regimens were eligible and treated with 1500 mg oral lapatinib daily until progression or severe toxicity. A 2-stage group sequential design was used to evaluate the regimen with 6 month PFS as the primary endpoint. The trial had a 10% type I error rate with 90% power. EGFR, HER2, pERK, and Ki67 were evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) from hysterectomy specimens, pre-treatment biopsies, and post-treatment biopsies (when available). Exons 18-21 of EGFR were sequenced.
RESULTS
Three patients of 30 evaluable had PFS ≥6 months, one had a partial response, seven had stable disease, 21 had progressive disease and one was indeterminate. Three mutations in EGFR were identified. Two of these, L688F and K754E, were not associated with response or PFS. However, a newly identified mutation in exon 18, E690K, occurred in the patient with a partial response and progression-free survival extending past six months.
CONCLUSION
While lapatinib has limited activity in unselected cases, the identification of a previously unreported mutation in EGFR (E690K) with a response, suggests that lapatinib may be beneficial in some cases of EC.
doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2012.07.127
PMCID: PMC3518448  PMID: 22885469
endometrial cancer; epidermal growth factor receptor; mutation; lapatinib; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
9.  Phase II evaluation of Dasatinib in the treatment of recurrent or persistent epithelial ovarian or primary peritoneal carcinoma: A Gynecologic Oncology Group study 
Gynecologic oncology  2012;127(1):70-74.
Objective
Preclinical data suggest an important role for the sarcoma proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase (SRC) in the oncogenesis of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) or primary peritoneal carcinoma (PPC). The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) conducted a Phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of dasatinib, an oral SRC-family inhibitor in EOC/PPC and explored biomarkers for possible association with clinical outcome.
Methods
Eligible women had measurable, recurrent or persistent EOC/PPC and had received one or two prior regimens which must have contained a platinum and a taxane. Patients were treated with 100 mg orally daily of dasatinib continuously until progression of disease or adverse effects prevented further treatment. Primary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) ≥6 months and response rate. Serial plasma samples were assayed for multiple biomarkers. Circulating free DNA was quantified as were circulating tumor and endothelial cells.
Results
Thirty-five (35) patients were enrolled in a two-stage sequential design. Of the 34 eligible and evaluable patients, 20.6% (90% confidence interval: 10.1%, 35.2%) had a PFS ≥6 months; there were no objective responses. Grade 3–4 toxicities were gastrointestinal (mostly nausea and emesis; n=4), pulmonary (dyspnea and/or pleural effusion; n=4) and pain (n=5), and infrequent instances of anemia, malaise, insomnia, rash, and central nervous system hemorrhage. Lack of clinical activity limited any correlation of biomarkers with outcome.
Conclusion
Dasatinib has minimal activity as a single-agent in patients with recurrent EOC/PPC.
doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2012.06.009
PMCID: PMC3748717  PMID: 22710075
dasatinib; ovarian; cancer; SRC; inhibition
10.  Correction: Epimorphin-Induced MET Sensitizes Ovarian Cancer Cells to Platinum 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):10.1371/annotation/9c557fb1-7997-4c21-bd11-03bf5c3d4418.
doi:10.1371/annotation/9c557fb1-7997-4c21-bd11-03bf5c3d4418
PMCID: PMC3810514  PMID: 24204514
11.  Epimorphin-Induced MET Sensitizes Ovarian Cancer Cells to Platinum 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72637.
Distinctive genotypic and phenotypic features of ovarian cancer via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) have been correlated with drug resistance and disease recurrence. We investigated whether therapeutic reversal of EMT could re-sensitize ovarian cancer cells (OCCs) to existing chemotherapy. We report that epimorphin, a morphogenic protein, has pivotal control over mesenchymal versus epithelial cell lineage decision of the putative OCCs. Exposure to epimorphin induced morphological changes reminiscent of mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), but in a dose dependent manner, i.e., at 10 µg/mL of epimorphin cells obtain a more mesenchymal-like morphology while at 20 µg/mL of epimorphin cells display an epithelial morphology. The latter changes were accompanied by suppression of mesenchymal markers, such as vimentin (∼8-fold↓, p<0.02), Twist1 (∼7-fold↓, p<0.03), dystroglycan (∼4-fold↓, p<0.01) and palladin (∼3-fold↓, p<0.01). Conversely, significant elevations of KLF4 (∼28-fold↑, p<0.002), β-catenin (∼6-fold↑, p<0.004), EpCAM (∼6-fold↑, p<0.0002) and occludin (∼15-fold↑, p<0.004) mRNAs as part of the commitment to the epithelial cell lineage were detected in response to 20 µg/mL of exogenous epimorphin. Changes in occludin mRNA levels were accompanied by a parallel, albeit weaker expression at the protein level (∼5-fold↑, p<0.001). Likewise, acquisition of epithelial-like properties, including mucin1, CK19, and β-catenin gene expression, was also obtained following epimorphin treatment. Further, MMP3 production was found to be reduced whereas laminin secretion was strongly amplified upon epimorphin-induced MET. These results suggest there is a dosage window for actions of epimorphin on cellular differentiation, wherein it can either suppress or enhance epithelial differentiation of OCCs. Importantly, induction of epithelial-like phenotypes by epimorphin led to an enhanced sensitivity to carboplatin. Overall, we demonstrate that epimorphin can revert OCCs away from their mesenchymal phenotype and toward an epithelial phenotype, thereby enhancing their sensitivity to a front-line chemotherapeutic agent.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072637
PMCID: PMC3767807  PMID: 24039787
12.  FOXA1 Represses the Molecular Phenotype of Basal Breast Cancer Cells 
Oncogene  2012;32(5):554-563.
Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease comprised of multiple subtypes. Luminal subtype tumors confer a more favorable patient prognosis, which is in part, attributed to estrogen receptor-α (ER) positivity and anti-hormone responsiveness. Expression of the forkhead box transcription factor, FOXA1, similarly correlates with the luminal subtype and patient survival, but is also present in a subset of ER-negative tumors. FOXA1 is also consistently expressed in luminal breast cancer cell lines even in the absence of ER. In contrast, breast cancer cell lines representing the basal subtype do not express FOXA1. To delineate an ER-independent role for FOXA1 in maintaining the luminal phenotype, and hence a more favorable prognosis, we performed cDNA microarray analyses on FOXA1-positive, ER-positive (MCF7, T47D) or FOXA1-positive, ER-negative (MDA-MB-453, SKBR3) luminal cell lines in the presence or absence of transient FOXA1 silencing. This resulted in three FOXA1 transcriptomes: (1) a luminal-signature (consistent across cell lines), (2) an ER-positive signature (restricted to MCF7 and T47D) and (3) an ER-negative signature (restricted to MDA-MB-453 and SKBR3). Gene Set Enrichment Analyses (GSEA) revealed FOXA1 silencing causes a partial transcriptome shift from luminal to basal gene expression signatures. FOXA1 binds to a subset of both luminal and basal genes within luminal breast cancer cells, and loss of FOXA1 increases enhancer RNA (eRNA) transcription for a representative basal gene (CD58). These data suggest FOXA1 directly represses basal signature genes. Functionally, FOXA1 silencing increases migration and invasion of luminal cancer cells, both characteristics of basal subtype cells. We conclude FOXA1 controls plasticity between basal and luminal breast cancer cells, not only by inducing luminal genes, but also by repressing the basal phenotype, and thus aggressiveness. Although it has been proposed that FOXA1-targeting agents may be useful for treating luminal tumors, these data suggest that this approach may promote transitions toward more aggressive cancers.
doi:10.1038/onc.2012.62
PMCID: PMC3371315  PMID: 22391567
FOXA1; luminal; basal; breast cancer
13.  Association Between BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations and Survival in Women with Invasive Epithelial Ovarian Cancer 
Bolton, Kelly L. | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Goh, Cindy | Sadetzki, Siegal | Ramus, Susan J. | Karlan, Beth Y. | Lambrechts, Diether | Despierre, Evelyn | Barrowdale, Daniel | McGuffog, Lesley | Healey, Sue | Easton, Douglas F. | Sinilnikova, Olga | Benitez, Javier | García, María J. | Neuhausen, Susan | Gail, Mitchell H. | Hartge, Patricia | Peock, Susan | Frost, Debra | Evans, D. Gareth | Eeles, Ros | Godwin, Andrew K. | Daly, Mary B. | Kwong, Ava | Ma, Edmond SK | Lázaro, Conxi | Blanco, Ignacio | Montagna, Marco | D’Andrea, Emma | Nicoletto, Ornella | Investigators, kConFab | Johnatty, Sharon E. | Kjær, Susanne Krüger | Jensen, Allan | Høgdall, Estrid | Goode, Ellen L. | Fridley, Brooke L. | Loud, Jennifer T. | Greene, Mark H. | Mai, Phuong L. | Chetrit, Angela | Lubin, Flora | Hirsh-Yechezkel, Galit | Glendon, Gord | Andrulis, Irene L. | Toland, Amanda E. | Senter, Leigha | Gore, Martin E. | Gourley, Charlie | Michie, Caroline O | Song, Honglin | Tyrer, Jonathan | Whittemore, Alice S. | McGuire, Valerie | Sieh, Weiva | Kristoffersson, Ulf | Olsson, Håkan | Borg, Åke | Levine, Douglas A. | Steele, Linda | Beattie, Mary S. | Chan, Salina | Nussbaum, Robert | Moysich, Kirsten B. | Gross, Jenny | Cass, Ilana | Walsh, Christine | Li, Andrew J. | Leuchter, Ronald | Gordon, Ora | Garcia-Closas, Montserrat | Gayther, Simon A. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Antoniou, Antonis C. | Pharoah, Paul D.P.
Context
Approximately 10 percent of women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) carry deleterious germline mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2. A recent report suggested that BRCA2 related EOC was associated with an improved prognosis, but the effect of BRCA1 remains unclear.
Objective
To characterize the survival of BRCA carriers with EOC compared to non-carriers and to determine whether BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers show similar survival patterns.
Design, Setting, and Participants
We pooled data from 26 studies on the survival of women with ovarian cancer. This included data on 1,213 EOC cases with pathogenic germline mutations in BRCA1 (909) or BRCA2 (304) and 2,666 non-carriers recruited and followed for variable times between 1987 and 2010; the median year of diagnosis was 1998.
Main Outcome Measures
Five year overall mortality.
Results
The five-year overall survival was 36 percent (95% CI: 34–38) for non-carriers, 44 percent (95% CI: 40–48) for BRCA1 carriers and 52 percent (95% CI: 46–58) for BRCA2 carriers. After adjusting for study and year of diagnosis, BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers showed a more favorable survival than non-carriers (BRCA1, HR=0.78; 95% CI=0.68–0.89, P=2×10−4; BRCA2, HR = 0.61; 95% CI=0.50–0.76, P=6×10−6). These survival differences remained after additional adjustment for stage, grade, histology and age at diagnosis (BRCA1, HR=0.73, 95% CI=0.64–0.84, P=2×10−5; BRCA2, HR = 0.49, 95% CI=0.39–0.61, P=3×10−10).
Conclusions
Among patients with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, having a germline mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 was associated with improved 5-year overall survival.
doi:10.1001/jama.2012.20
PMCID: PMC3727895  PMID: 22274685
14.  Sequencing of Candidate Chromosome Instability Genes in Endometrial Cancers Reveals Somatic Mutations in ESCO1, CHTF18, and MRE11A 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e63313.
Most endometrial cancers can be classified histologically as endometrioid, serous, or clear cell. Non-endometrioid endometrial cancers (NEECs; serous and clear cell) are the most clinically aggressive of the three major histotypes and are characterized by aneuploidy, a feature of chromosome instability. The genetic alterations that underlie chromosome instability in endometrial cancer are poorly understood. In the present study, we used Sanger sequencing to search for nucleotide variants in the coding exons and splice junctions of 21 candidate chromosome instability genes, including 19 genes implicated in sister chromatid cohesion, from 24 primary, microsatellite-stable NEECs. Somatic mutations were verified by sequencing matched normal DNAs. We subsequently resequenced mutated genes from 41 additional NEECs as well as 42 endometrioid ECs (EECs). We uncovered nonsynonymous somatic mutations in ESCO1, CHTF18, and MRE11A in, respectively, 3.7% (4 of 107), 1.9% (2 of 107), and 1.9% (2 of 107) of endometrial tumors. Overall, 7.7% (5 of 65) of NEECs and 2.4% (1 of 42) of EECs had somatically mutated one or more of the three genes. A subset of mutations are predicted to impact protein function. The co-occurrence of somatic mutations in ESCO1 and CHTF18 was statistically significant (P = 0.0011, two-tailed Fisher's exact test). This is the first report of somatic mutations within ESCO1 and CHTF18 in endometrial tumors and of MRE11A mutations in microsatellite-stable endometrial tumors. Our findings warrant future studies to determine whether these mutations are driver events that contribute to the pathogenesis of endometrial cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063313
PMCID: PMC3670891  PMID: 23755103
15.  Exome sequencing of serous endometrial tumors identifies recurrent somatic mutations in chromatin-remodeling and ubiquitin ligase complex genes 
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1310-1315.
Endometrial cancer is the 6th most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide, causing ~74,000 deaths annually 1. Serous endometrial cancers are a clinically aggressive subtype with a poorly defined genetic etiology 2-4. We used whole exome sequencing (WES) to comprehensively search for somatic mutations within ~22,000 protein-encoding genes among 13 primary serous endometrial tumors. We subsequently resequenced 18 genes that were mutated in more than one tumor, and/or were genes that formed an enriched functional grouping, from 40 additional serous tumors. We identified high frequencies of somatic mutations in CHD4 (17%), EP300 (8%), ARID1A (6%), TSPYL2 (6%), FBXW7 (29%), SPOP (8%), MAP3K4 (6%) and ABCC9 (6%). Overall, 36.5% of serous tumors had mutated a chromatin-remodeling gene and 35% had mutated a ubiquitin ligase complex gene, implicating the frequent mutational disruption of these processes in the molecular pathogenesis of one of the deadliest forms of endometrial cancer.
doi:10.1038/ng.2455
PMCID: PMC3515204  PMID: 23104009
16.  ACRIN 6665/RTOG 0132 Phase II Trial of Neoadjuvant Imatinib Mesylate for Operable Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor: Monitoring with 18F-FDG PET and Correlation with Genotype and GLUT4 Expression 
We investigated the correlation between metabolic response by 18F-FDG PET and objective response, glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4) expression, and KIT/PDGFRA mutation status in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumor undergoing neoadjuvant imatinib mesylate therapy.
Methods
18F-FDG PET was performed at baseline, 1–7 d, and 4 or 8 wk after imatinib mesylate initiation. Best objective response was defined by version 1.0 of the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST). Mutational analysis and tumor GLUT4 expression by immunohistochemistry were done on tissue obtained at baseline or surgery.
Results
18F-FDG PET showed high baseline tumor glycolytic activity (mean SUVmax, 14.2; range, 1.3–53.2), decreasing after 1 wk of imatinib mesylate (mean, 5.5; range, −0.5–47.7, P < 0.001, n = 44), and again before surgery (mean, 3.0; range, −0.5–36.1, P < 0.001, n = 40). At week 1, there were 3 patients with complete metabolic response (CMR), 33 with partial metabolic response (PMR), 6 with stable metabolic disease (SMD), and 2 with progressive metabolic disease (PMD). Before surgery, there were 3 with CMR, 33 with PMR, 4 with SMD, and none with PMD. The best response according to RECIST was 2 with partial response, 36 with stable disease, and 1 with progressive disease (n = 39). Of the patients with a posttreatment decrease in GLUT4 expression, 1 had CMR, 15 had PMR, 2 had SMD, and 1 had PMD at week 1, whereas before surgery 1 patient had CMR, 16 had PMR, 2 had SMD, and none had PMD. Among 27 patients with KIT exon 11 mutations, 1 had CMR, 22 had PMR, 3 had SMD, and 1 had PMD at week 1, whereas 1 had CMR, 22 had PMR, 2 had SMD, and 2 were unknown before surgery; among 4 patients with a wild-type genotype, 2 had PMR and 2 SMD at week 1, whereas 1 had CMR, 2 had PMR, and 1 had SMD before surgery.
Conclusion
After imatinib mesylate initiation, metabolic response by 18F-FDG PET was documented earlier (1–7 d) and was of much greater magnitude (36/44) than that documented by RECIST (2/39). Immunohistochemistry data suggest that GLUT4 may play a role in 18F-FDG uptake in gastrointestinal stromal tumor, GLUT4 levels decrease after imatinib mesylate therapy in most patients with PMR, and the biologic action of imatinib mesylate interacts with glycolysis and GLUT4 expression. A greater than 85% metabolic response was observed as early as days 1–7 in patients with exon 11 mutations.
doi:10.2967/jnumed.111.094425
PMCID: PMC3635677  PMID: 22381410
GIST; FDG-PET; GLUT4; genotype; therapeutic response
17.  The KL-VS sequence variant of Klotho and cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers 
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment  2012;132(3):1119-1126.
Klotho (KL) is a putative tumor suppressor gene in breast and pancreatic cancers located at chromosome 13q12. A functional sequence variant of Klotho (KL-VS) was previously reported to modify breast cancer risk in Jewish BRCA1 mutation carriers. The effect of this variant on breast and ovarian cancer risks in non-Jewish BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers has not been reported. The KL-VS variant was genotyped in women of European ancestry carrying a BRCA mutation: 5,741 BRCA1 mutation carriers (2,997 with breast cancer, 705 with ovarian cancer, and 2,039 cancer free women) and 3,339 BRCA2 mutation carriers (1,846 with breast cancer, 207 with ovarian cancer, and 1,286 cancer free women) from 16 centers. Genotyping was accomplished using TaqMan® allelic discrimination or matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Data were analyzed within a retrospective cohort approach, stratified by country of origin and Ashkenazi Jewish origin. The per-allele hazard ratio (HR) for breast cancer was 1.02 (95% CI 0.93–1.12, P = 0.66) for BRCA1 mutation carriers and 0.92 (95% CI 0.82–1.04, P = 0.17) for BRCA2 mutation carriers. Results remained unaltered when analysis excluded prevalent breast cancer cases. Similarly, the per-allele HR for ovarian cancer was 1.01 (95% CI 0.84–1.20, P = 0.95) for BRCA1 mutation carriers and 0.9 (95% CI 0.66–1.22, P = 0.45) for BRCA2 mutation carriers. The risk did not change when carriers of the 6174delT mutation were excluded. There was a lack of association of the KL-VS Klotho variant with either breast or ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
doi:10.1007/s10549-011-1938-8
PMCID: PMC3352679  PMID: 22212556
Breast cancer; Ovarian cancer-Klotho; BRCA; Modifier gene
18.  Dual inhibition of SRC and Aurora kinases induces post-mitotic attachment defects and cell death 
Oncogene  2011;31(10):1217-1227.
Increased activity of SRC family kinases promotes tumor invasion and metastasis, and overexpression of the mitotic regulator Aurora kinase A (AURKA) drives tumor aneuploidy and chromosomal instability. These actions nominate SRC and AURKA as valuable therapeutic targets for cancer, and inhibitors for SRC and Aurora kinases are now being employed in the clinic. In this study, we demonstrate potent synergy between multiple inhibitors of Aurora and SRC kinases in ovarian and colorectal cancer cell lines, but not in normal ovarian epithelial cell lines. Combination of Aurora and SRC inhibitors selectively killed cells that have undergone a preceding aberrant mitosis, and was associated with a post-mitotic reattachment defect, and selective removal of aneuploid cell populations. Combined inhibition of Aurora kinase and SRC potentiated dasatinib-dependent loss of activated (Y416-phosphorylated) SRC. SRC and AURKA share a common interaction partner, NEDD9, which serves as a scaffolding protein with activities in cell attachment and mitotic control, suggesting SRC and AURKA might interact directly. In vitro, we observed physical interaction and mutual cross-phosphorylation between SRC and AURKA that enhanced SRC kinase activity. Together, these findings suggest that combination of SRC and Aurora-targeting inhibitors in the clinic may be a productive strategy.
doi:10.1038/onc.2011.314
PMCID: PMC3204164  PMID: 21785464
19.  ZNF-Mediated Resistance to Imatinib Mesylate in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54477.
Although imatinib mesylate (IM) has transformed the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), many patients experience primary/secondary drug resistance. In a previous study, we identified a gene signature, consisting mainly of Kruppel-associated box (KRAB) domain containing zinc finger (ZNF) transcriptional repressors that predict short-term response to IM. To determine if these genes have functional significance, a siRNA library targeting these genes was constructed and applied to GIST cells in vitro. These screens identified seventeen “IM sensitizing genes” in GIST cells (sensitization index (SI) <0.85 ratio of drug/vehicle) with a false discovery rate (FDR) <15%, including twelve ZNF genes, the majority of which are located within the HSA19p12–13.1 locus. These genes were shown to be highly specific to IM and another tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), sunitinib, in GIST cells. In order to determine mechanistically how these ZNFs might be modulating response to IM, RNAi approaches were used to individually silence genes within the predictive signature in GIST cells and expression profiling was performed. Knockdown of the 14 IM-sensitizing genes (10 ZNFs) universally led to downregulation of six genes, including TGFb3, periostin, and NEDD9. These studies implicate a role of KRAB-ZNFs in modulating response to TKIs in GIST.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054477
PMCID: PMC3556080  PMID: 23372733
20.  An RNA Interference Lethality Screen of the Human Druggable Genome to Identify Molecular Vulnerabilities in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47086.
Targeted therapies have been used to combat many tumor types; however, few have effectively improved the overall survival in women with epithelial ovarian cancer, begging for a better understanding of this deadly disease and identification of essential drivers of tumorigenesis that can be targeted effectively. Therefore, we used a loss-of-function screening approach to help identify molecular vulnerabilities that may represent key points of therapeutic intervention. We employed an unbiased high-throughput lethality screen using a 24,088 siRNA library targeting over 6,000 druggable genes and studied their effects on growth and/or survival of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cell lines. The top 300 “hits” affecting the viability of A1847 cells were rescreened across additional EOC cell lines and non-tumorigenic, human immortalized ovarian epithelial cell lines. Fifty-three gene candidates were found to exhibit effects in all tumorigenic cell lines tested. Extensive validation of these hits refined the list to four high quality candidates (HSPA5, NDC80, NUF2, and PTN). Mechanistic studies show that silencing of three genes leads to increased apoptosis, while HSPA5 silencing appears to alter cell growth through G1 cell cycle arrest. Furthermore, two independent gene expression studies show that NDC80, NUF2 and PTN were significantly aberrantly overexpressed in serous adenocarcinomas. Overall, our functional genomics results integrated with the genomics data provide an important unbiased avenue towards the identification of prospective therapeutic targets for drug discovery, which is an urgent and unmet clinical need for ovarian cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047086
PMCID: PMC3467214  PMID: 23056589
21.  Wnt5a Suppresses Epithelial Ovarian Cancer by Promoting Cellular Senescence 
Cancer research  2011;71(19):6184-6194.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains the most lethal gynecological malignancy in the US. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutics for this disease. Cellular senescence is an important tumor suppression mechanism that has recently been suggested as a novel mechanism to target for developing cancer therapeutics. Wnt5a is a non-canonical Wnt ligand that plays a context-dependent role in human cancers. Here, we investigate the role of Wnt5a in regulating senescence of EOC cells. We demonstrate that Wnt5a is expressed at significantly lower levels in human EOC cell lines and in primary human EOCs (n = 130) compared with either normal ovarian surface epithelium (n = 31; p = 0.039) or fallopian tube epithelium (n = 28; p < 0.001). Notably, a lower level of Wnt5a expression correlates with tumor stage (p = 0.003) and predicts shorter overall survival in EOC patients (p = 0.003). Significantly, restoration of Wnt5a expression inhibits the proliferation of human EOC cells both in vitro and in vivo in an orthotopic EOC mouse model. Mechanistically, Wnt5a antagonizes canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling and induces cellular senescence by activating the histone repressor A (HIRA)/promyelocytic leukemia (PML) senescence pathway. In summary, we show that loss of Wnt5a predicts poor outcome in EOC patients and Wnt5a suppresses the growth of EOC cells by triggering cellular senescence. We suggest that strategies to drive senescence in EOC cells by reconstituting Wnt5a signaling may offer an effective new strategy for EOC therapy.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-1341
PMCID: PMC3185156  PMID: 21816908
Ovarian Cancer; Cellular senescence; Wnt5a; HIRA; PML
22.  19p13.1 is a triple negative-specific breast cancer susceptibility locus 
Stevens, Kristen N. | Fredericksen, Zachary | Vachon, Celine M. | Wang, Xianshu | Margolin, Sara | Lindblom, Annika | Nevanlinna, Heli | Greco, Dario | Aittomäki, Kristiina | Blomqvist, Carl | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Vrieling, Alina | Flesch-Janys, Dieter | Sinn, Hans-Peter | Wang-Gohrke, Shan | Nickels, Stefan | Brauch, Hiltrud | Ko, Yon-Dschun | Fischer, Hans-Peter | Schmutzler, Rita K. | Meindl, Alfons | Bartram, Claus R. | Schott, Sarah | Engel, Christof | Godwin, Andrew K. | Weaver, JoEllen | Pathak, Harsh B. | Sharma, Priyanka | Brenner, Hermann | Müller, Heiko | Arndt, Volker | Stegmaier, Christa | Miron, Penelope | Yannoukakos, Drakoulis | Stavropoulou, Alexandra | Fountzilas, George | Gogas, Helen J. | Swann, Ruth | Dwek, Miriam | Perkins, Annie | Milne, Roger L. | Benítez, Javier | Zamora, M Pilar | Pérez, José Ignacio Arias | Bojesen, Stig E. | Nielsen, Sune F. | Nordestgaard, Børge G | Flyger, Henrik | Guénel, Pascal | Truong, Thérèse | Menegaux, Florence | Cordina-Duverger, Emilie | Burwinkel, Barbara | Marmé, Frederick | Schneeweiss, Andreas | Sohn, Christof | Sawyer, Elinor | Tomlinson, Ian | Kerin, Michael J. | Peto, Julian | Johnson, Nichola | Fletcher, Olivia | Silva, Isabel dos Santos | Fasching, Peter A. | Beckmann, Matthias W. | Hartmann, Arndt | Ekici, Arif B. | Lophatananon, Artitaya | Muir, Kenneth | Puttawibul, Puttisak | Wiangnon, Surapon | Schmidt, Marjanka K | Broeks, Annegien | Braaf, Linde M | Rosenberg, Efraim H | Hopper, John L. | Apicella, Carmel | Park, Daniel J. | Southey, Melissa C. | Swerdlow, Anthony J. | Ashworth, Alan | Orr, Nicholas | Schoemaker, Minouk J. | Anton-Culver, Hoda | Ziogas, Argyrios | Bernstein, Leslie | Dur, Christina Clarke | Shen, Chen-Yang | Yu, Jyh-Cherng | Hsu, Huan-Ming | Hsiung, Chia-Ni | Hamann, Ute | Dünnebier, Thomas | Rüdiger, Thomas | Ulmer, Hans Ulrich | Pharoah, Paul P. | Dunning, Alison M | Humphreys, Manjeet K. | Wang, Qin | Cox, Angela | Cross, Simon S. | Reed, Malcom W. | Hall, Per | Czene, Kamila | Ambrosone, Christine B. | Ademuyiwa, Foluso | Hwang, Helena | Eccles, Diana M. | Garcia-Closas, Montserrat | Figueroa, Jonine D. | Sherman, Mark E. | Lissowska, Jolanta | Devilee, Peter | Seynaeve, Caroline | Tollenaar, R.A.E.M. | Hooning, Maartje J. | Andrulis, Irene L. | Knight, Julia A. | Glendon, Gord | Mulligan, Anna Marie | Winqvist, Robert | Pylkäs, Katri | Jukkola-Vuorinen, Arja | Grip, Mervi | John, Esther M. | Miron, Alexander | Alnæs, Grethe Grenaker | Kristensen, Vessela | Børresen-Dale, Anne-Lise | Giles, Graham G. | Baglietto, Laura | McLean, Catriona A | Severi, Gianluca | Kosel, Matthew L. | Pankratz, V.S. | Slager, Susan | Olson, Janet E. | Radice, Paolo | Peterlongo, Paolo | Manoukian, Siranoush | Barile, Monica | Lambrechts, Diether | Hatse, Sigrid | Dieudonne, Anne-Sophie | Christiaens, Marie-Rose | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Beesley, Jonathan | Chen, Xiaoqing | Mannermaa, Arto | Kosma, Veli-Matti | Hartikainen, Jaana M. | Soini, Ylermi | Easton, Douglas F. | Couch, Fergus J.
Cancer Research  2012;72(7):1795-1803.
The 19p13.1 breast cancer susceptibility locus is a modifier of breast cancer risk in BRCA1 mutation carriers and is also associated with risk of ovarian cancer. Here we investigated 19p13.1 variation and risk of breast cancer subtypes, defined by estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) status, using 48,869 breast cancer cases and 49,787 controls from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Variants from 19p13.1 were not associated with breast cancer overall or with ER-positive breast cancer but were significantly associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk [rs8170 Odds Ratio (OR)=1.10, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.05 – 1.15, p=3.49 × 10-5] and triple negative (TN) (ER, PR and HER2 negative) breast cancer [rs8170 OR=1.22, 95% CI 1.13 – 1.31, p=2.22 × 10-7]. However, rs8170 was no longer associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk when TN cases were excluded [OR=0.98, 95% CI 0.89 – 1.07, p=0.62]. In addition, a combined analysis of TN cases from BCAC and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC) (n=3,566) identified a genome-wide significant association between rs8170 and TN breast cancer risk [OR=1.25, 95% CI 1.18 – 1.33, p=3.31 × 10-13]. Thus, 19p13.1 is the first triple negative-specific breast cancer risk locus and the first locus specific to a histological subtype defined by ER, PR, and HER2 to be identified. These findings provide convincing evidence that genetic susceptibility to breast cancer varies by tumor subtype and that triple negative tumors and other subtypes likely arise through distinct etiologic pathways.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3364
PMCID: PMC3319792  PMID: 22331459
genetic susceptibility; association study; subtype; neoplasms; common variant
23.  Phase II trial of the mTOR inhibitor, temsirolimus and evaluation of circulating tumor cells and tumor biomarkers in persistent and recurrent epithelial ovarian and primary peritoneal malignancies: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study 
Gynecologic Oncology  2011;123(1):19-26.
Purpose
Patients with persistent/recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer/primary peritoneal cancer (EOC/PPC) have limited treatment options. AKT and PI3K pathway activation is common in EOC/PPC, resulting in constitutive activation of downstream mTOR. The GOG conducted a phase II evaluation of efficacy and safety for the mTOR inhibitor, temsirolimus in EOC/PPC and explored circulating tumor cells (CTC) and AKT/mTOR/downstream tumor markers.
Methods
Eligible women with measurable, persistent/recurrent EOC/PPC who had received 1–3 prior regimens were treated with 25 mg weekly IV temsirolimus until progression or intolerable toxicity. Primary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) ≥6-months, tumor response, and toxicity. CellSearch® system was used to examine CTC, and AKT/mTOR/downstream markers were evaluated by archival tumor immunohistochemistry. Kendall’s tau-b correlation coefficient (r) and Cox regression modeling were used to explore marker associations with baseline characteristics and outcome.
Results
Sixty patients were enrolled in a two-stage sequential design. Of 54 eligible and evaluable patients, 24.1% (90%CI 14.9%–38.6%) had PFS ≥6 months (median 3.1 months), 9.3% (90%CI 3.7%–23.4%) experienced a partial response. Grade 3/4 adverse events included metabolic(8), gastrointestinal(8), pain(6), constitutional(5) and pulmonary(4). Suggested associations were between cyclin D1 and PFS ≥6 months, PFS or survival; positive CTC pre-treatment and lack of response; and high CTC expression of M30 and PFS ≥6 months/longer PFS.
Conclusions
Temsirolimus appears to have modest activity in persistent/recurrent EOC/PPC; however, PFS is just below that required to warrant inclusion in phase III studies in unselected patients. Cyclin D1 as a selection marker and CTC measures merit further study.
doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.06.022
PMCID: PMC3336961  PMID: 21752435
Circulating tumor cells; ovarian clinical trial; AKT/PI3K pathway; mTOR inhibitor
24.  Transcriptional Regulation of hTREX84 in Human Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43610.
TREX (transcription/export) is a multiprotein complex that plays a key role in the transcriptional elongation and transport of mRNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. We previously reported the purification of the human TREX protein and found that expression of a member of this complex, p84N5 (referred to as hTREX84 or hHPR1), a RB binding protein, correlated with breast tumor size and metastasis. Here we examine the mechanisms of aberrant expression of hTREX84 in breast and ovarian cancer cells and evaluate its role in tumorigenesis. We show that ovarian tumor cells over-express hTREX84 4-fold and 10-fold compared to immortal, non-tumorigenic and primary ovarian surface epithelial cells, respectively. Reduction of hTREX84 levels by small interfering RNA result in inhibition of cellular proliferation and G2/M arrest. Even though we observed that hTREX84 expression was induced by treatment with a demethylation agent, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC), sodium bisulfite DNA sequencing and methylation specific PCR found no evidence of changes in DNA methylation in the CpG islands in the regulator region of hTREX84. We subsequently identify several transcriptional factors, including NF-κB binding sites in the hTREX84 gene promoter and demonstrate by chromatin immunoprecipation (ChIP) and site directed mutagenesis that RelA/p65 binds the NF-kB binding sites and induces hTREX84 expression. Finally, we show by immunohistochemistry (IHC) that RelA/p65 is abundantly expressed in malignant cells that aberrantly express hTREX84 indicating that RelA/p65 might play a pivotal role in regulating hTREX84 expression in cancer. Our results indicate that overexpression of hTREX84 is associated with cancer cell transformation, proliferation and may be regulated by RelA/p65.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043610
PMCID: PMC3428327  PMID: 22952718
25.  Frequent genetic abnormalities of the PI3K/AKT pathway in primary ovarian cancer predict patient outcome 
Genes, chromosomes & cancer  2011;50(8):606-618.
Identification and characterization of underlying genetic aberrations could facilitate diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. Copy number analysis using array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH) on 93 primary ovarian tumors identified PI3K/AKT pathway as the most frequently altered cancer related pathway. Furthermore, survival analyses to correlate gene copy number and mutation data with patient outcome showed that copy number gains of PIK3CA, PIK3CB and PIK3R4 in these tumors were associated with decreased survival. To confirm these findings at the protein level, immunohistochemistry (IHC) for PIK3CA product p110α and p-Akt was performed on tissue microarrays from 522 independent serous ovarian cancers. Overexpression of either of these two proteins was found to be associated with decreased survival. Multivariant analysis from these samples further showed that overexpression of p-AKT and /or p110α is an independent prognostic factor for these tumors. siRNAs targeting altered PI3K/AKT pathway genes inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cell lines. In addition, the effect of the siRNAs in different cell lines seemed to correlate with the particular genetic alterations that the cell line carries. These results strongly support the utilization of PI3K pathway inhibitors in ovarian cancer. They also suggest identifying the specific component in the PI3K pathway that is genetically altered has the potential to help select the most effective therapy. Both mutation as well as copy number changes can be used as predictive markers for this purpose.
doi:10.1002/gcc.20883
PMCID: PMC3110626  PMID: 21563232

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