We sought to determine whether PI3K pathway mutation or activation state and rapamycin-induced feedback-loop activation of Akt is associated with rapamycin sensitivity or resistance.
Cancer cell lines were tested for rapamycin-sensitivity, Akt phosphorylation and mTOR target inhibition. Mice injected with breast or neuroendocrine cancer cells and patients with neuroendocrine tumor (NET) were treated with rapalogs, and Akt phosphorylation was assessed.
31 cell lines were rapamycin-sensitive (RS) and 12 were relatively rapamycin-resistant (RR; IC50>100 nM). Cells with PIK3CA and/or PTEN mutations were more likely to be RS (p=0.0123). Akt phosphorylation (S473 and T308) was significantly higher in RS cells (p<0.0001). Rapamycin led to a significantly greater pathway inhibition and greater increase in p-Akt T308 (p<0.0001) and p-Akt S473 (p=0.0009) in RS cells. Rapamycin and everolimus significantly increased Akt phosphorylation but inhibited growth in an in vivo NET model (BON). In patients with NETs treated with everolimus and octreotide, progression-free survival correlated with p-Akt T308 in pretreatment (R=0.4762, p=0.0533) and on-treatment tumor biopsies (R=0.6041, p=0.0102). Patients who had a documented partial response were more likely to have an increase in p-Akt T308 with treatment compared to non-responders (p=0.0146).
PIK3CA/PTEN genomic aberrations and high p-Akt levels are associated with rapamycin sensitivity in vitro. Rapamycin-mediated Akt activation is greater in RS cells, with a similar observation in patients with clinical responses on exploratory biomarker analysis; thus feedback-loop activation of Akt is not a marker of resistance but rather may function as an indicator of rapamycin activity.
Akt; mTOR; rapamycin sensitivity; RPPA; everolimus; pharmacodynamic markers
A central and unresolved question in cancer is how deregulated signaling leads to acquisition of an invasive cellular phenotype. Here, we modeled the invasive transition as a theoretical switch between focal adhesions and extracellular matrix (ECM)-degrading invadopodia and built molecular interaction network models of each structure. To identify upstream regulatory hubs, we added first degree binding partners and applied graph theoretic analyses. Comparison of the results to clustered reverse phase protein array signaling data from head and neck carcinomas led us to choose phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase C alpha (PKCα) for further analysis. Consistent with a previous report, PI3K activity promoted both the formation and activity of invadopodia. Furthermore, PI3K induction of invadopodia was increased by overexpression of SH2 domain-containing inositol 5′-phosphatase 2 (SHIP2), suggesting that a major part of the mechanism is synthesis of PI(3,4,5)P3, a precursor for PI(3,4)P2, which promotes invadopodia formation. Knockdown of PKCα led to divergent effects on invadopodia formation, depending on the activation state of PI3K. Loss of PKCα inhibited invadopodia formation in cells with wild-type PI3K pathway status. Conversely, in cells with either activating PI3K mutants or lacking the endogenous opposing enzyme phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), PKCα knockdown increased invadopodia formation. Investigation of the mechanism revealed that a negative feedback loop from PKCα dampened PI3K activity and invasive behavior in cells with genetic overactivation of the PI3K pathway. These studies demonstrate the potential of network modeling as a discovery tool and identify PI3K and PKCα as critical interacting regulators of invasive behavior.
The interaction of autotaxin with its substrates leads to the production of lysophosphatidic acids (LPA), bioactive lipids with an emerging prominent role in inflammation and cancer. Two papers in this issue tell the previously unknown story of autotaxin, from substrate discrimination to highly efficient local delivery of LPA to target receptors.
To examine gene expression differences between pre- and post-NST specimens of breast cancers and identify biological changers that may lead to new therapeutic insights.
Gene expression data from pre-chemotherapy fine needle aspiration specimens were compared to resected residual cancers in 21 patients after 4-6 months of NST. We removed stroma-associated genes to minimize confounding effects. PAM50 was used to assign molecular class. Paired t-test and gene set analysis were used to identify differentially expressed genes and pathways.
The ER and HER2 status based on mRNA expression remained stable in all but two cases and there were no changes in proliferation metrics (Ki67 and PCNA expression). Molecular class changed in 8 cases (33.3%) usually to normal-like class and which was associated with low residual cancer cell cellularity. The expression of 200-600 probe sets changed between baseline and post-NST samples. In basal-like cancers, pathways driven by increased expression of PI3K, small G proteins and CAMK2 and energy metabolism were enriched while immune cell-derived and the sonic hedgehog pathways were depleted in residual cancer. In non-basal-like breast cancers, notch signaling and energy metabolism (e.g. fatty acid synthesis) were enriched and sonic hedgehog signaling and immune-related pathways were depleted in residual cancer. There was no increase in epithelial mesenchymal transition or cancer stem cell signatures.
Our data indicates that energy metabolism related processes are up-regulated and immune related signals are depleted in residual cancers. Targeting these biological processes may represent promising adjuvant treatment strategies for patients with residual cancer.
Breast Cancer; Neaodjuvant chemotherapy; Gene expression; Residual disease
The PI3K/mTOR-pathway is the most commonly dysregulated pathway in epithelial cancers and represents an important target for cancer therapeutics. Here we show that dual inhibition of PI3K/mTOR in ovarian cancer-spheroids leads to death of inner matrix-deprived cells, whereas matrix-attached cells are resistant. This matrix-associated resistance is mediated by drug-induced upregulation of cellular survival programs that involve both FOXO-regulated transcription and cap-independent translation. Inhibition of any one of several upregulated proteins, including Bcl-2, EGFR, or IGF1R, abrogates resistance to PI3K/mTOR inhibition. These results demonstrate that acute adaptive responses to PI3K/mTOR inhibition in matrix-attached cells resemble well-conserved stress responses to nutrient and growth factor deprivation. Bypass of this resistance mechanism through rational design of drug combinations could significantly enhance PI3K-targeted drug efficacy.
Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) are heterogeneous mesenchymal tumors with diverse subtypes. STS can be classified into two main categories according to the type of genomic alteration: recurrent translocation driven STS, and non-recurrent translocations. However, little has known about acquired uniparental disomy in STS.
In this study, we analyzed SNP microarray data to determine the frequency and distribution patterns of acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD) in major soft tissue sarcoma (STS) subtypes using CNAG and R softwares.
We identified recurrent aUPD regions specific to alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma with the most frequent at 11p15.4, gastrointestinal stromal tumor at 1p36.11-p35.3, leiomyosarcoma at 17p13.3-p13.1, myxofibrosarcoma at 1p35.1-p34.2 and 16q23.3-q24.1, and pleomorphic liposarcoma at 13q13.2-q13.3 and 13q14.11-q14.2. In contrast, specific recurrent aUPD regions were not identified in dedifferentiated liposarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, myxoid/round cell liposarcoma, and synovial sarcoma. Strikingly total, centromeric and segmental aUPD regions are more frequent in STS that do not exhibit recurrent translocation events.
Our study yields a detailed map of aUPD across 9 diverse STS subtypes and suggests the potential location of several novel tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes.
Acquired uniparental disomy; Soft tissue sarcoma and whole-genome
Tumor cell proliferation requires both growth signals and sufficient cellular bioenergetics.The AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) pathway appears dominant over the oncogenic signaling pathway suppressing cell proliferation. This study investigated the preclinical efficacy of targeting the tumor bioenergetic pathway using a glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxy glucose (2DG) and AMPK agonists, AICAR and metformin. We evaluated the in vitro anti-tumor activity of 2DG, metformin or AICAR alone, and 2DG in combination either with metformin or AICAR. We examined in vivo efficacy using xenograft mouse models. 2DG alone was not sufficient to promote tumor cell death, reflecting the limited efficacy demonstrated in clinical trials. A combined use of 2DG and AICAR also failed to induce cell death. However, 2DG and metformin led to significant cell death associated with decrease in cellular ATP, prolonged activation of AMPK, and sustained autophagy. Gene expression analysis and functional assays revealed that the selective AMPK agonist AICAR augments mitochondrial energy transduction (OXPHOS) while metformin compromises OXPHOS. Importantly, forced energy restoration with methylpyruvate reversed the cell death induced by 2DG and metformin, suggesting a critical role of energetic deprivation in the underlying mechanism of cell death. The combination of 2DG and metformin inhibited tumor growth in mouse xenograft models. Deprivation of tumor bioenergetics by dual inhibition of energy pathways might be an effective novel therapeutic approach for a broad spectrum of human tumors.
Tumor bioenergetics; Targeted therapy; Cancer energy metabolic pathway
Autotaxin (ATX, nucleotide pyrophosphate/phosphodiesterase-2, NPP2) is an autocrine motility factor initially characterized from A2058 melanoma cell conditioned medium. ATX is known to contribute to cancer cell survival, growth, and invasion. Recently ATX was shown to be responsible for the lysophospholipase D activity that generates lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Production of LPA is sufficient to explain the effects of ATX on tumor cells. Cyclic phosphatidic acid (cPA) is a naturally occurring analog of LPA in which the sn-2 hydroxy group forms a 5-membered ring with the sn-3 phosphate. Cellular responses to cPA generally oppose those of LPA despite activation of apparently overlapping receptor populations, suggesting that cPA also activates cellular targets distinct from LPA receptors. cPA has previously been shown to inhibit tumor cell invasion in vitro and cancer cell metastasis in vivo. However, the mechanism governing this effect remains unresolved. Here we show that 3-carba analogs of cPA lack significant agonist activity at LPA receptors yet are potent inhibitors of ATX activity, LPA production, and A2058 melanoma cell invasion in vitro and B16F10 melanoma cell metastasis in vivo.
Synovial fibroblasts from patients and mice with arthritis express autotaxin, and ablation of autotaxin in fibroblasts ameliorates disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a destructive arthropathy characterized by chronic synovial inflammation that imposes a substantial socioeconomic burden. Under the influence of the proinflammatory milieu, synovial fibroblasts (SFs), the main effector cells in disease pathogenesis, become activated and hyperplastic, releasing proinflammatory factors and tissue-remodeling enzymes. This study shows that activated arthritic SFs from human patients and animal models express significant quantities of autotaxin (ATX; ENPP2), a lysophospholipase D that catalyzes the conversion of lysophosphatidylcholine to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). ATX expression from SFs was induced by TNF, and LPA induced SF activation and effector functions in synergy with TNF. Conditional genetic ablation of ATX in mesenchymal cells, including SFs, resulted in disease attenuation in animal models of arthritis, establishing the ATX/LPA axis as a novel player in chronic inflammation and the pathogenesis of arthritis and a promising therapeutic target.
PTEN is a tumor suppressor that negatively regulates the PI3K-AKT signaling pathway, which is implicated in the pathogenesis of endometrial carcinoma. Sanger sequencing has been considered to be the gold standard for detection of PTEN sequence abnormalities. However, this approach fails to address the epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to functional PTEN loss. Using a study cohort of 154 endometrioid and non-endometrioid endometrial carcinomas, we performed full-length PTEN sequencing and PTEN immunohistochemistry on each tumor. PTEN sequence abnormalities were detected in a significantly lower proportion of cases (43%) than PTEN protein loss (64%, p= 0.0004). Endometrioid tumors had a significantly higher proportion of PTEN sequence abnormalities and PTEN protein loss than non-endometrioid tumors. Within the latter group, PTEN sequence abnormalities and PTEN protein loss were most frequent in undifferentiated carcinomas, followed by mixed carcinomas; they were least frequent in carcinosarcomas. Overall, at least one PTEN sequence abnormality was detected in each exon, and the greatest number of sequence abnormalities was detected in exon 8. Pure endometrioid tumors had a significantly higher frequency of sequence abnormalities in exon 7 than did the non-endometrioid tumors (p=0.0199). Importantly, no mutational hotspots were identified. While PTEN protein loss by immunohistochemistry was identified in 89% of cases with a PTEN sequence abnormality, PTEN protein loss was detected by immunohistochemistry in 44% of cases classified as PTEN wildtype by sequencing. For the first time, we demonstrate that PTEN immunohistochemistry is able to identify the majority of cases with functional PTEN loss. However, PTEN immunohistochemistry also detects additional cases with PTEN protein loss that would otherwise be undetected by gene sequencing. Therefore, for clinical purposes, immunohistochemistry appears to be a preferable technique for identifying endometrial tumors with loss of PTEN function.
Estrogen receptor α (ER)-positive breast cancers adapt to hormone deprivation and become resistant to antiestrogens. In this study, we sought to identify kinases essential for growth of ER+ breast cancer cells resistant to long term estrogen deprivation (LTED). A kinome-wide siRNA screen showed that the insulin receptor (InsR) is required for growth of MCF7/LTED cells. Knockdown of InsR and/or insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) inhibited growth of 3/4 LTED cell lines. Inhibition of InsR and IGF-1R with the dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor OSI-906 prevented the emergence of hormone-independent cells and tumors in vivo, inhibited parental and LTED cell growth and PI3K/AKT signaling, and suppressed growth of established MCF-7 xenografts in ovariectomized mice, whereas treatment with the neutralizing IGF-1R monoclonal antibody MAB391 was ineffective. Combined treatment with OSI-906 and the ER downregulator fulvestrant more effectively suppressed hormone-independent tumor growth than either drug alone. Finally, an insulin/IGF-1 gene expression signature predicted recurrence-free survival in patients with ER+ breast cancer treated with the antiestrogen tamoxifen. We conclude that therapeutic targeting of both InsR and IGF-1R should be more effective than targeting IGF-1R alone in abrogating resistance to endocrine therapy in breast cancer.
Insulin receptor; IGF-1R; PI3K; ER+ breast cancer; endocrine resistance
Genome wide sequencing studies in breast cancer have recently identified frequent mutations in the zinc finger protein 668 (ZNF668), the function of which is undefined. Here we report that ZNF668 is a nucleolar protein that physically interacts with and regulates p53 and its negative regulator MDM2. Through MDM2 binding ZNF668 regulated autoubiquitination of MDM2 and its ability to mediate p53 ubiquitination and degradation. ZNF668 deficiency also impaired DNA damage-induced stabilization of p53. RNAi-mediated knockdown of ZNF668 was sufficient to transform normal mammary epithelial cells. ZNF668 effectively suppressed breast cancer cell proliferation in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. Taken together, our studies identify ZNF668 as a novel breast tumor suppressor gene that functions in regulating p53 stability.
ZNF668; nucleolus; MDM2; p53; tumor suppression
Triple-negative breast cancers with elevated MYC are sensitized to CDK inhibition.
Estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptor-negative triple-negative breast cancers encompass the most clinically challenging subtype for which targeted therapeutics are lacking. We find that triple-negative tumors exhibit elevated MYC expression, as well as altered expression of MYC regulatory genes, resulting in increased activity of the MYC pathway. In primary breast tumors, MYC signaling did not predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy but was associated with poor prognosis. We exploit the increased MYC expression found in triple-negative breast cancers by using a synthetic-lethal approach dependent on cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibition. CDK inhibition effectively induced tumor regression in triple-negative tumor xenografts. The proapoptotic BCL-2 family member BIM is up-regulated after CDK inhibition and contributes to this synthetic-lethal mechanism. These results indicate that aggressive breast tumors with elevated MYC are uniquely sensitive to CDK inhibitors.
Protein extraction from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues is challenging due to extensive molecular crosslinking that occurs upon formalin fixation. Reverse-phase protein array (RPPA) is a high-throughput technology, which can detect changes in protein levels and protein functionality in numerous tissue and cell sources. It has been used to evaluate protein expression mainly in frozen preparations or FFPE-based studies of limited scope. Reproducibility and reliability of the technique in FFPE samples has not yet been demonstrated extensively. We developed and optimized an efficient and reproducible procedure for extraction of proteins from FFPE cells and xenografts, and then applied the method to FFPE patient tissues and evaluated its performance on RPPA.
Fresh frozen and FFPE preparations from cell lines, xenografts and breast cancer and renal tissues were included in the study. Serial FFPE cell or xenograft sections were deparaffinized and extracted by six different protein extraction protocols. The yield and level of protein degradation were evaluated by SDS-PAGE and Western Blots. The most efficient protocol was used to prepare protein lysates from breast cancer and renal tissues, which were subsequently subjected to RPPA. Reproducibility was evaluated and Spearman correlation was calculated between matching fresh frozen and FFPE samples.
The most effective approach from six protein extraction protocols tested enabled efficient extraction of immunoreactive protein from cell line, breast cancer and renal tissue sample sets. 85% of the total of 169 markers tested on RPPA demonstrated significant correlation between FFPE and frozen preparations (p < 0.05) in at least one cell or tissue type, with only 23 markers common in all three sample sets. In addition, FFPE preparations yielded biologically meaningful observations related to pathway signaling status in cell lines, and classification of renal tissues.
With optimized protein extraction methods, FFPE tissues can be a valuable source in generating reproducible and biologically relevant proteomic profiles using RPPA, with specific marker performance varying according to tissue type.
Formalin-fixed; Paraffin-embedded tissue; Protein extraction; Reverse phase protein array; Breast cancer; Renal cancer
Most estrogen receptor α (ER)-positive breast cancers initially respond to antiestrogens, but many eventually become estrogen-independent and recur. We identified an estrogen-independent role for ER and the CDK4/Rb/E2F transcriptional axis in the hormone-independent growth of breast cancer cells. ER downregulation with fulvestrant or siRNA inhibited estrogen-independent growth. Chromatin immunoprecipitation identified ER genomic binding activity in estrogen-deprived cells and primary breast tumors treated with aromatase inhibitors. Gene expression profiling revealed an estrogen-independent, ER/E2F-directed transcriptional program. An E2F activation gene signature correlated with a lesser response to aromatase inhibitors in patients' tumors. siRNA screening showed that CDK4, an activator of E2F, is required for estrogen-independent cell growth. Long-term estrogen-deprived cells hyperactivate phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) independently of ER/E2F. Fulvestrant combined with the pan-PI3K inhibitor BKM120 induced regression of ER+ xenografts. These data support further development of ER downregulators and CDK4 inhibitors, and their combination with PI3K inhibitors for treatment of antiestrogen-resistant breast cancers.
Estrogen receptor; breast; aromatase inhibitor; resistance; CDK4
Aberrant endocytosis, vesicle targeting, and receptor recycling represent emerging hallmarks of cancer. In this issue of the JCI, Zhang and colleagues demonstrate that RAB-coupling protein (RCP; also known as RAB11FIP1) is a “driver” of the 8p11–12 amplicon in human breast cancer and mouse xenograft models of mammary carcinogenesis (see the related article beginning on page 2171). Their finding that RAB GTPase function enables genomic amplification to confer aggressiveness to mammary tumors adds significantly to the body of evidence supporting pivotal roles for receptor trafficking in the proliferation and metastasis of cancer.
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) acts through the cell surface G protein–coupled receptors, LPA1, LPA2, or LPA3, to elicit a wide range of cellular responses. It is present at high levels in intraperitoneal effusions of human ovarian cancer increasing cell survival, proliferation, and motility as well as stimulating production of neovascularizing factors. LPA2 and LPA3 and enzymes regulating the production and degradation of LPA are aberrantly expressed by ovarian cancer cells, but the consequences of these expression changes in ovarian cancer cells were unknown.
Expression of LPA1, LPA2, or LPA3 was inhibited or increased in ovarian cancer cells using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and lentivirus constructs, respectively. We measured the effects of changes in LPA receptor expression on cell proliferation (by crystal violet staining), cell motility and invasion (using Boyden chambers), and cytokines (interleukin 6 [IL-6], interleukin 8 [IL-8], and vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]) production by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The role of LPA receptors in tumor growth, ascites formation, and cytokine production was assessed in a mouse xenograft model. All statistical tests were two-sided.
SKOV-3 cells with increased expression of LPA receptors showed increased invasiveness, whereas siRNA knockdown inhibited both migration (P < .001, Student t test) and invasion. Knockdown of the LPA2 or LPA3 receptors inhibited the production of IL-6, IL-8, and VEGF in SKOV-3 and OVCAR-3 cells. SKOV-3 xenografts expressing LPA receptors formed primary tumors of increased size and increased ascites volume. Invasive tumors in the peritoneal cavity occurred in 75% (n = 4) of mice injected with LPA1 expressing SKOV-3 and 80% (n = 5) of mice injected with LPA2 or LPA3 expressing SKOV-3 cells. Metastatic tumors expressing LPA1, LPA2, and LPA3 were identified in the liver, kidney, and pancreas; tumors expressing LPA2 and LPA3 were detected in skeletal muscle; and tumors expressing LPA2 were also found in the cervical lymph node and heart. The percent survival of mice with tumors expressing LPA2 or LPA3 was reduced in comparison with animals with tumors expressing β-galactosidase.
Expression of LPA2 or LPA3 during ovarian carcinogenesis contributes to ovarian cancer aggressiveness, suggesting that the targeting of LPA production and action may have potential for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Since the molecular cloning of the vzg-1/Edg-2/LPA1 gene, studies have attempted to characterize LPA1 receptor functionality into a single categorical role, different from the other Edg-family LPA receptors. The desire to categorize LPA1 function has highlighted its complexity and demonstrated that the LPA1 receptor does not have one absolute function throughout every system. The central nervous system is highly enriched in the LPA1 receptor, suggesting an integral role in neuronal processes. Metastatic and invasive breast cancer also appears to have LPA-mediated LPA1 receptor functions that enhance phenotypes associated with tumorigenesis. LPA1 possesses a number of motifs conserved among G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs): a DRY-like motif, a PDZ domain, Ser/Thr predicted sites of phosphorylation, a dileucine motif, double cysteines in the tail and conserved residues that stabilize structure and determine ligand binding. The third intracellular loop of the LPA1 receptor may be the crux of receptor signaling and attenuation with phosphorylation of Thr-236 potentially a key determinant of basal LPA1 signaling. Mutagenesis data supports the notion that Thr-236 regulates this process since mutating Thr-236 to Ala-236 increased basal and LPA-mediated serum response factor (SRF) signaling activity and Lys-236 further increased this basal signaling. Here we describe progress on defining the major functions of the LPA1 receptor, discuss a context dependent dualistic role as both a negative regulator in cancer and a proto-oncogene, outline its structural components at the molecular amino-acid level and present mutagenesis data on the third intracellular loop of the receptor.
LPA1 receptor; LPA; AKT; mutagenesis; ovarian cancer; breast cancer; ICL3
Endocytotic pathways ensure that internalized receptor complexes are routed in a highly orchestrated manner to the correct subcellular destinations. This, in turn, determines the consequences of receptor activation through targeting receptors and ligand for recycling or degradation as well as by the formation of signaling complexes within the cell that alter the kinetics and magnitude of activation of specific downstream signal transduction cascades. Thus the control of the fate of activated receptor complexes has profound physiologic and pathophysiologic implications. Rab GTPases, the largest subfamily of the RAS small GTPase superfamily, are the key regulators of endocytosis through decorating and targeting intracellular vesicles and cargoes to appropriate subcellular compartments. The six-fold increase in Rab family members from yeast to man correlates closely with the evolutionary increase in endomembrane complexity compatible with a rapid diversification of function of Rab GTPase decorated vesicles. As the vesicular cargo includes growth factors, nutrients, cytokines, integrins and even pathogens, aberrations in the pathway are likely to exhibit dire consequences. Several genetic diseases driven by mutations in Rab GTPases or their interacting proteins have been identified , , . Aberrant Rab GTPase function has been implicated in diverse pathophysiologies including loss of hair, skin and eye pigmentation, loss of vision, loss of renal function, mental retardation, muscle skeletal degeneration, immune deficiency, infection, obesity, diabetes and cancer.
The identification of key pathways dysregulated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is an important step toward understanding lung pathogenesis and developing new therapeutic approaches.
Toward this goal, reverse-phase protein lysate arrays (RPPA) were used to compare signaling pathways between NSCLC tumors and paired normal lung tissue from 46 patients and assess their association with clinical outcome.
After RPPA quantification of 63 proteins and phosphoproteins, tissue pairs were randomized to a training set (n = 25 pairs) and test set (n = 21 pairs). In the training set, 15 protein markers were differentially expressed between tumors and normal lung (p ≤ 0.01), including markers in the PI3K/AKT and p38 MAPK signaling pathways (e.g., p70S6K, S6, p38, and phospho-p38), as well as caveolin-1 and β-catenin. A four-protein signature (p70S6K, cyclin B1, pSrc(Y527), and caveolin-1) independent of histology classified specimens as tumor versus normal with a predicted accuracy of 83%, sensitivity of 67%, and specificity of 100%. The signature was validated in the test set, correctly classifying all normal tissues and 14 of 21 tumor tissues. RPPA results were confirmed by immunohistochemistry for caveolin-1 and p70S6K. In tumors from patients with resected NSCLC, expression of proteins in the energy-sensing AMPK pathway (pLKB1, AMPK, p-Acetyl-CoA, pTSC2), adhesion, EGFR, and Rb signaling pathways was inversely associated with NSCLC recurrence.
These data provide evidence for dysregulation of several pathways including those involving energy sensing and adhesion that are potentially associated with NSCLC pathogenesis and disease recurrence.
NSCLC; Proteomics; Recurrence; AMPK; Adhesion
The purpose of this work was to determine whether there are differences in PIK3CA mutation status and PTEN protein expression between primary and matched metastatic breast tumors as this could influence patient management. Fifty-micron paraffin sections were used for DNA extraction and 3-micron slides for immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH). ER, PR and HER2 IHC were repeated in a central laboratory for both primary and metastasis. PTEN levels were assessed by IHC and PI3K pathway mutations detected by a mass spectroscopy-based approach. Median age was 48 years (range, 30 to 83 years). Tumor subtype included 72% hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative, 20% HER2-positive, and less than 7.8% triple receptor negative. Tissues were available for PTEN IHC in 46 primary tumors and 52 metastases. PTEN was lost in 14 (30%) primary tumors and 13 (25%) metastases. There were 5 cases of PTEN loss and eight cases of PTEN gain from primary to metastasis (26% discordance). Adequate DNA was obtained on 46 primary tumors and on 50 metastases for PIK3CA analysis. PIK3CA mutations were detected in 19 (40%) of primary tumors and 21 (42%) of metastases. There were five cases of PIK3CA mutation loss, and four cases of mutation gain (18% discordance). There was an increase of the level of PIK3CA mutations in four cases, and decrease in one from primary to metastasis. There is a high level of discordance in PTEN level, PIK3CA mutations, and receptor status between primary and metastatic disease that may influence patient selection and response to PI3K-targeted therapies.
PIK3CA mutations; PTEN loss; Breast Cancer; Metastasis
Normal cells require continuous exposure to growth factors, in order to cross a restriction point and commit to cell cycle progression. This can be replaced by two short, appropriately spaced pulses of growth factors, where the first pulse primes a process, which is completed by the second pulse, and enables restriction point crossing. Through integration of comprehensive proteomic and transcriptomic analyses of each pulse, we identified three processes that regulate restriction point crossing: (i) The first pulse induces essential metabolic enzymes and activates p53-dependent restraining processes. (ii) The second pulse eliminates, via the PI3K/AKT pathway, the suppressive action of p53, as well as (iii) sets an ERK-EGR1 threshold mechanism, which digitizes graded external signals into an all-or-none decision obligatory for S-phase entry. Together, our findings uncover two gating mechanisms, which ensure that cells ignore fortuitous growth factors, and undergo proliferation only in response to consistent mitogenic signals.
AKT; cell cycle; EGR1; growth factor; p53; restriction point
To identify regulators of intracellular signaling we targeted 541 kinases and kinase-related molecules with siRNAs and determined their effects on signaling with a functional proteomics reverse phase protein array (RPPA) platform assessing 42 phospho and total proteins. The kinome wide screen demonstrated a strong inverse correlation between phosphorylation of AKT and MAPK with 115 genes that when targeted by siRNAs demonstrated opposite effects on MAPK and AKT phosphorylation. Network based analysis identified the MAPK subnetwork of genes along with p70S6K and FRAP1 as the most prominent targets that increased phosphorylation of AKT, a key regulator of cell survival. The regulatory loops induced by the MAPK pathway are dependent on TSC2 but demonstrate a lesser dependence on p70S6K than the previously identified FRAP1 feedback loop. The siRNA screen also revealed novel bi-directionality in the AKT and GSK3 interaction, whereby genetic ablation of GSK3 significantly blocks AKT phosphorylation, an unexpected observation as GSK3 has only been predicted to be downstream of AKT. This method uncovered novel modulators of AKT phosphorylation and facilitated the mapping of regulatory loops.
AKT; MAPK; proteomics; signaling networks; siRNA
Point mutations in the KIT receptor tyrosine kinase gene have recently been identified in mucosal, acral lentiginous, and chronically sun-damaged melanomas. We have identified the first human melanoma cell line with an endogenous L576P mutation, the most common KIT mutation in melanoma (∼30-40%). In vitro testing demonstrated that the cell viability of the L576P mutant cell line was not reduced by imatinib, nilotinib or sorafenib small molecule KIT inhibitors effective in non-melanoma cells with other KIT mutations. However, the viability of the mutant cells was reduced by dasatinib at concentrations as low as 10 nM (P =0.004). Molecular modeling studies found that the L576P mutation induces structural changes in KIT that reduce the affinity for imatinib (ΔΔGbind = -2.52 kcal/mol) but not for dasatinib (ΔΔGbind = +0.32 kcal/mol). Two metastatic melanoma patients with the L576P KIT mutation were treated with dasatinib, including one patient previously treated with imatinib. Both patients had marked reduction (>50%) and elimination of tumor FDG-avidity by PET imaging after dasatinib treatment. This data supports the selective inhibitory effect of dasatinib against cells harboring the most common KIT mutation in melanoma, and thus has therapeutic implications for acral lentiginous, chronic sun damaged, and mucosal melanomas.
KIT; acral lentiginous; mucosal; chronic sun-damaged; melanoma; dasatinib