Gene therapy, which involves replacement of a defective gene with a functional, healthy copy of that gene, is a potentially beneficial cancer treatment approach particularly over chemotherapy, which often lacks selectivity and can cause non-specific toxicity. Despite significant progress pre-clinically with respect to both enhanced targeting and expression in a tumor-selective manner several hurdles still prevent success in the clinic, including non-specific expression, low-efficiency delivery and biosafety. Various innovative genetic approaches are under development to reconstruct vectors/transgenes to make them safer and more effective. Utilizing cutting-edge delivery technologies, gene expression can now be targeted in a tissue- and organ-specific manner. With these advances, gene therapy is poised to become amenable for routine cancer therapy with potential to elevate this methodology as a first line therapy for neoplastic diseases. This review discusses recent advances in gene therapy and their impact on a pre-clinical and clinical level.
Programmed cell death is well-orchestrated process regulated by multiple pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic genes, particularly those of the Bcl-2 gene family. These genes are well documented in cancer with aberrant expression being strongly associated with resistance to chemotherapy and radiation.
This review focuses on the resistance induced by the Bcl-2 family of anti-apoptotic proteins and current therapeutic interventions currently in preclinical or clinical trials that target this pathway. Major resistance mechanisms that are regulated by Bcl-2 family proteins and potential strategies to circumvent resistance are also examined. Although antisense and gene therapy strategies are used to nullify Bcl-2 family proteins, recent approaches use small molecule inhibitors and peptides. Structural similarity of the Bcl-2 family of proteins greatly favors development of inhibitors that target the BH3 domain, called BH3 mimetics.
Strategies to specifically identify and inhibit critical determinants that promote therapy-resistance and tumor progression represent viable approaches for developing effective cancer therapies. From a clinical perspective, pretreatment with novel, potent Bcl-2 inhibitors either alone or in combination with conventional therapies hold significant promise for providing beneficial clinical outcomes. Identifying small molecule inhibitors with broader and higher affinities for inhibiting all of the Bcl-2 pro-survival proteins will facilitate development of superior cancer therapies.
BH3 domain; apoptosis; Mcl-1; radiation resistance; chemotherapy resistance
Malignant glioma is an aggressive cancer requiring new therapeutic targets. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression post transcriptionally and are implicated in cancer development and progression. Deregulated expressions of several miRNAs, specifically hsa-miR-184, correlate with glioma development.
Bioinformatic approaches were used to identify potential miR-184-regulated target genes involved in malignant glioma progression. This strategy identified a multifunctional nuclease, SND1, known to be overexpressed in multiple cancers, including breast, colon, and hepatocellular carcinoma, as a putative direct miR-184 target gene. SND1 levels were evaluated in patient tumor samples and human-derived cell lines. We analyzed invasion and signaling in vitro through SND1 gain-of-function and loss-of-function. An orthotopic xenograft model with primary glioma cells demonstrated a role of miR-184/SND1 in glioma pathogenesis in vivo.
SND1 is highly expressed in human glioma tissue and inversely correlated with miR-184 expression. Transfection of glioma cells with a miR-184 mimic inhibited invasion, suppressed colony formation, and reduced anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. Similar phenotypes were evident when SND1 was knocked down with siRNA. Additionally, knockdown (KD) of SND1 induced senescence and improved the chemoresistant properties of malignant glioma cells. In an orthotopic xenograft model, KD of SND1 or transfection with a miR-184 mimic induced a less invasive tumor phenotype and significantly improved survival of tumor bearing mice.
Our study is the first to show a novel regulatory role of SND1, a direct target of miR-184, in glioma progression, suggesting that the miR-184/SND1 axis may be a useful diagnostic and therapeutic tool for malignant glioma.
intracranial injection; invasion; malignant glioma; miR-184; SND1
Melanoma differentiation-associated gene – 9 (MDA-9)/Syntenin has become an increasingly popular focus for investigation in numerous cancertypes. Originally implicated in melanoma metastasis, it has diverse cellular roles and is consistently identified as a regulator of tumor invasion and angiogenesis. As a potential target for inhibiting some of the most lethal aspects of cancer progression, further insight into the function of MDA-9/Syntenin is mandatory.
Recent literature and seminal articles were reviewed to summarize the latest collective understanding of MDA-9/Syntenin’s role in normal and cancerous settings. Insights into its participation in developmental processes are included, as is the functional significance of the N- and C-terminals and PDZ domains of MDA-9/Syntenin. Current reports highlight the clinical significance of MDA-9/Syntenin expression level in a variety of cancers, often correlating directly with reduced patient survival. Also presented are assessments of roles of MDA-9/Syntenin in cancer progression as well as its functions as an intracellular adapter molecule.
Multiple studies demonstrate the importance of MDA-9/ Syntenin in tumor invasion and progression. Through the use of novel drug design approaches, this protein may provide a worthwhile therapeutic target. As many conventional therapies do not address, or even enhance, tumor invasion, an anti-invasive approach would be a worthwhile addition in cancer therapy.
angiogenesis; breast cancer; c-Src; EGFR; exosomes; glioblastoma; glioma; integrin; invasion; melanoma; melanoma differentiation-associated gene – 9; metastasis; PDZ; small cell lung carcinoma; syndecan binding protein; syntenin; urothelial cell carcinoma; uveal melanoma
The oncogene AEG-1 (MTDH) is highly expressed in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and many other types of cancer, where it activates multiple signaling pathways that drive proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, chemoresistance, radioresistance and metastasis. AEG-1 activates the Akt signaling pathway and Akt and c-Myc are positive regulators of AEG-1 transcription, generating a positive feedback loop between AEG-1 and Akt in regulating tumorigenesis. Here we describe in GBM cells a direct interaction between an internal domain of AEG-1 and the PH domain of Akt2, a major driver in GBM. Expression and interaction of AEG-1 and Akt2 are elevated in GBM and contribute to tumor cell survival, proliferation and invasion. Clinically, in silico gene expression and immunohistochemical analyses of patient specimens showed that AEG-1 and Akt2 expression correlated with GBM progression and reduced patient survival. AEG-1-Akt2 interaction prolonged stabilization of Akt2 phosphorylation at S474, regulating downstream signaling cascades which enable cell proliferation and survival. Disrupting AEG-1-Akt2 interaction by competitive binding of the Akt2-PH domain led to reduced cell viability and invasion. When combined with AEG-1 silencing, conditional expression of Akt2-PH markedly increased survival in an orthotopic mouse model of human GBM. Our study uncovers a novel molecular mechanism by which AEG-1 augments glioma progression and offers a rationale to block AEG-1-Akt2 signaling function as a novel GBM treatment.
Glioblastoma; AEG-1; Akt2
As a strategy to identify gene expression changes affected by human polynucleotide phosphorylase (hPNPaseold-35), we performed gene expression analysis of HeLa cells in which hPNPaseold-35 was overexpressed. The observed changes were then compared to those of HO-1 melanoma cells in which hPNPaseold-35 was stably knocked down. Through this analysis, 90 transcripts, which positively or negatively correlated with hPNPaseold-35 expression, were identified. The majority of these genes were associated with cell communication, cell cycle and chromosomal organization gene ontology categories. For a number of these genes, the positive or negative correlations with hPNPaseold-35 expression were consistent with transcriptional data extracted from the TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) expression datasets for colon adenocarcinoma (COAD), skin cutaneous melanoma (SKCM), ovarian serous cyst adenocarcinoma (OV), and prostate adenocarcinoma (PRAD). Further analysis comparing the gene expression changes between Ad.hPNPaseold-35 infected HO-1 melanoma cells and HeLa cells overexpressing hPNPaseold-35 under the control of a doxycycline-inducible promoter, revealed global changes in genes involved in cell cycle and mitosis. Overall, this study provides further evidence that hPNPaseold-35 is associated with global changes in cell cycle-associated genes and identifies potential gene targets for future investigation.
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/Interleukin-24 (MDA-7/IL-24) is a novel member of the IL-10 gene family that selectively induces apoptosis and toxic autophagy in a broad spectrum of human cancers, including breast cancer, without harming normal cells or tissues. The ability to investigate the critical events underlying cancer initiation and progression, as well as the capacity to test the efficacy of novel therapeutics, has been significantly advanced by the development of genetically engineered mice (GEMs) that accurately recapitulate specific human cancers. We utilized three transgenic mouse models to better comprehend the in vivo role of MDA-7/IL-24 in breast cancer. Using the MMTV-PyMT spontaneous mammary tumor model, we confirmed that exogenously introducing MDA-7/IL-24 using a Cancer Terminator Virus caused a reduction in tumor burden and also produced an antitumor “bystander” effect. Next we performed xenograft studies in a newly created MMTV-MDA-7 transgenic model that over-expresses MDA-7/IL-24 in the mammary glands during pregnancy and lactation, and found that MDA-7/IL-24 overexpression delayed tumor growth following orthotopic injection of a murine PDX tumor cell line (mPDX) derived from a tumor formed in an MMTV-PyMT mouse. We also crossed the MMTV-MDA-7 line to MMTV-Erbb2 transgenic mice and found that MDA-7/IL-24 overexpression delayed the onset of mammary tumor development in this model of spontaneous mammary tumorigenesis as well. Finally, we assessed the role of MDA-7/IL-24 in immune regulation, which can potentially contribute to tumor suppression in vivo. Our findings provide further direct in vivo evidence for the role of MDA-7/IL-24 in tumor suppression in breast cancer in immune-competent transgenic mice.
melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (MDA-7/IL-24); MMTV-PyMT mice; MMTV-MDA-7 mice; MMTV-MDA-7/MMTV-Erbb2 mice; transgenic mice
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) encodes a tumor suppressor gene implicated in the growth of various tumor types including breast cancer. We previously demonstrated that recombinant adenovirus-mediated mda-7/IL-24 expression in the mammary glands of carcinogen-treated (methylnitrosourea, MNU) rats suppressed mammary tumor development. Since most MNU-induced tumors in rats contain activating mutations in Ha-ras, which arenot frequently detected in humans, we presently examined the effect of MDA-7/IL-24 on Her2/Neu-induced mammary tumors, in which the RAS pathway is induced. We generated tet-inducible MDA-7/IL-24 transgenic mice and crossed them with Her2/Neu transgenic mice. Triple compound transgenic mice treated with doxycycline exhibited a strong inhibition of tumor development, demonstrating tumor suppressor activity by MDA-7/IL-24 in immune-competent mice. MDA-7/IL-24 induction also inhibited growth of tumors generated following injection of Her2/Neu tumor cells isolated from triple compound transgenic mice that had not been treated with doxycycline, into the mammary fat pads of isogenic FVB mice. Despite initial growth suppression, tumors in triple compound transgenic mice lost mda-7/IL-24 expression and grew, albeit after longer latency, indicating that continuous presence of this cytokine within tumor microenvironment is crucial to sustain tumor inhibitory activity. Mechanistically, MDA-7/IL-24 exerted its tumor suppression effect on HER2+ breast cancer cells, at least in part, through PERP, a member of PMP-22 family with growth arrest and apoptosis-inducing capacity. Overall, our results establish mda-7/IL-24 as a suppressor of mammary tumor development and provide a rationale for using this cytokine in the prevention/treatment of human breast cancer.
mda-7/IL-24; HER2; breast cancer; prevention; mouse model
First identified almost two decades ago as a novel gene differentially expressed in human melanoma cells induced to terminally differentiate, MDA-7/IL-24 has since shown great potential as an anti-cancer gene. MDA-7/IL24, a secreted protein of the IL-10 family, functions as a cytokine at normal physiological levels and is expressed in tissues of the immune system. At supra-physiological levels, MDA-7/IL-24 plays a prominent role in inhibiting tumor growth, invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis and was recently shown to target tumor stem/initiating cells for death. Much of the attention focused on MDA-7/IL-24 originated from the fact that it can selectively induce cell death in cancer cells without affecting normal cells. Thus, this gene originally shown to be associated with melanoma cell differentiation has now proven to be a multi-functional protein affecting a broad array of cancers. Moreover, MDA-7/IL-24 has proven efficacious in a Phase I/II clinical trial in humans with multiple advanced cancers. As research in the field progresses, we will unravel more of the functions of MDA-7/IL-24 and define novel ways to utilize MDA-7/IL-24 in the treatment of cancer.
MDA-7; IL-24; Cytokine; Cancer; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Bystander antitumor activity; Cancer terminator virus
Polyinosine-polycytidylic acid (pIC) is a synthetic dsRNA that acts as an immune agonist of TLR3 and RLR to activate dendritic and NK cells that can kill tumor cells. pIC can also trigger apoptosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells but its mechanism of action is obscure. In this study, we investigated the potential therapeutic activity of a formulation of pIC with polyethylenimine ([pIC]PEI) in PDAC and investigated its mechanism of action. [pIC]PEI stimulated apoptosis in PDAC cells without affecting normal pancreatic epithelial cells. Mechanistically, [pIC]PEI repressed XIAP and survivin expression and activated an immune response by inducing MDA-5, RIG-I and NOXA. Phosphorylation of AKT was inhibited by [pIC]PEI in PDAC and this event was critical for stimulating apoptosis through XIAP and survivin degradation. In vivo administration of [pIC]PEI inhibited tumor growth via AKT-mediated XIAP degradation in both subcutaneous and quasi-orthotopic-models of PDAC. Taken together, these results offer a preclinical proof-of-concept for the evaluation of [pIC]PEI as an immunochemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer.
[pI:C]; [pIC]PEI; jetPEI; Pancreatic cancer; PDAC; AKT; XIAP
Human melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) displays potent growth suppressing and cell killing activity against a wide variety of human and rodent cancer cells. In this study, we identified a canine ortholog of the human mda-7/IL-24 gene located within a cluster of IL-10 family members on chromosome 7. The full-length mRNA sequence of canine mda-7 was determined, which encodes a 186-amino acid protein that has 66% similarity to human MDA-7/IL-24. Canine MDA-7 is constitutively expressed in cultured normal canine epidermal keratinocytes (NCEKs), and its expression levels are increased after lipopolysaccharide stimulation. In cultured NCEKs, the canine mda-7 pre-mRNA is differentially spliced, via exon skipping and alternate 5′-splice donor sites, to yield five splice variants (canine mda-7sv1, canine mda-7sv2, canine mda-7sv3, canine mda-7sv4 and canine mda-7sv5) that encode four protein isoforms of the canine MDA-7 protein. These protein isoforms have a conserved N-terminus (signal peptide sequence) and are dissimilar in amino acid sequences at their C-terminus. Canine MDA-7 is not expressed in primary canine tumor samples, and most tumor derived cancer cell lines tested, like its human counterpart. Unlike human MDA-7/IL-24, canine mda-7 mRNA is not expressed in unstimulated or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), concanavalin A (ConA) or phytohemagglutinin (PHA) stimulated canine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Furthermore, in-silico analysis revealed that canonical canine MDA-7 has a potential 28 amino acid signal peptide sequence that can target it for active secretion. This data suggests that canine mda-7 is indeed an ortholog of human mda-7/IL-24, its protein product has high amino acid similarity to human MDA-7/IL-24 protein and it may possess similar biological properties to human MDA-7/IL-24, but its expression pattern is more restricted than its human ortholog.
Low pH in the tumor micromilieu is a recognized pathological feature of cancer. This attribute of cancerous cells has been targeted herein for the controlled release of chemotherapeutics at the tumour site, while sparing healthy tissues. To this end, pH-sensitive, hollow ZnO-nanocarriers loaded with paclitaxel were synthesized and their efficacy studied in breast cancer in vitro and in vivo. The nanocarriers were surface functionalized with folate using click-chemistry to improve targeted uptake by the malignant cells that over-express folate-receptors. The nanocarriers released ~75% of the paclitaxel payload within six hours in acidic pH, which was accompanied by switching of fluorescence from blue to green and a 10-fold increase in the fluorescence intensity. The fluorescence-switching phenomenon is due to structural collapse of the nanocarriers in the endolysosome. Energy dispersion X-ray mapping and whole animal fluorescent imaging studies were carried out to show that combined pH and folate-receptor targeting reduces off-target accumulation of the nanocarriers. Further, a dual cell-specific and pH-sensitive nanocarrier greatly improved the efficacy of paclitaxel to regress subcutaneous tumors in vivo. These nanocarriers could improve chemotherapy tolerance and increase anti-tumor efficacy, while also providing a novel diagnostic read-out through fluorescent switching that is proportional to drug release in malignant tissues.
We recently described a new targeted delivery system based on specific EphA2 receptor targeting peptides conjugated with the chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel. In this manuscript we investigate the chemical determinants responsible for the stability and degradation of these agents in plasma. Introducing modifications in both the peptide and the linker between the peptide and paclitaxel, resulted in drug conjugates that are both long-lived in rat plasma and that markedly reduced tumor size in a prostate cancer xenograft model compared to paclitaxel alone treatment. These studies identify critical rate-limiting degradation sites on the peptide-drug conjugates, enabling the design of agents with increased stability and efficacy. These results provide support for our central hypothesis that peptide-drug conjugates targeting the EphA2 receptor represent an innovative and potentially effective strategy to selectively deliver cytotoxic drugs to cancer cells.
Targeted delivery; drug discovery; EphA2; ephrin; chemotherapy
Oral and oropharyngeal cancers are the sixth most common cancers worldwide. Despite intensive investigation, oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) represent a clinical challenge resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Resistance to cell death is common in OSCC and is often mediated by the Bcl-2 family proteins. Among all anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, Mcl-1 functions as a major survival factor, particularly in solid cancers. Despite the confirmed importance of Mcl-1 in several neoplasms, the role of Mcl-1 in OSCC survival has yet to be explored. In this study, we found that knocking down Mcl-1 sensitized OSCC cells to ABT-737, which binds to Bcl-2/Bcl-xL but not Mcl-1. We report for the first time that a BH3 mimetic, Sabutoclax, which functions as an inhibitor of all anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins, induced cancer-specific cell death in an Mcl-1-dependent manner through both apoptosis and toxic mitophagy. In vivo studies demonstrated that Sabutoclax alone decreased tumor growth in a carcinogen-induced tongue OSCC mouse model. In a combination regimen, Sabutoclax and COX-2 inhibitor, Celecoxib, synergistically inhibited the growth of OSCC in vitro and also significantly reduced OSCC tumor growth in vivo. Overall, these results identify Mcl-1 as a therapeutic prospective target in OSCC.
Mcl-1; OSCC; mitophagy; sabutoclax; 4-NQO
Despite recent advances, treatment options for advanced prostate cancer (CaP) remain limited. We are pioneering approaches to treat advanced CaP that employ conditionally replication-competent oncolytic adenoviruses that simultaneously produce a systemically active cancer-specific therapeutic cytokine, mda-7/IL-24, Cancer Terminator Viruses (CTV). A truncated version of the CCN1/CYR61 gene promoter, tCCN1-Prom, was more active than progression elevated gene-3 promoter (PEG-Prom) in regulating transformation-selective transgene expression in CaP and oncogene-transformed rat embryo cells. Accordingly, we developed a new CTV, Ad.tCCN1-CTV-m7, which displayed dose-dependent killing of CaP without harming normal prostate epithelial cells in vitro with significant anti-cancer activity in vivo in both nude mouse CaP xenograft and transgenic Hi-Myc mice (using ultrasound-targeted microbubble (MB)-destruction, UTMD, with decorated MBs). Resistance to mda-7/IL-24-induced cell deathcorrelated with overexpression of Bcl-2 family proteins. Inhibiting Mcl-1 using an enhanced BH3 mimetic, BI-97D6, sensitized CaP cell lines to mda-7/IL-24-induced apoptosis. Combining BI-97D6 with Ads expressing mda-7/IL-24promoted ER stress, decreased anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 expression and enhanced mda-7/IL-24expression through mRNA stabilization selectively in CaP cells. In Hi-myc mice, the combination induced enhanced apoptosis and tumor growth suppression. These studies highlight therapeutic efficacy of combining a BH3 mimetic with a novel CTV, supporting potential clinical applications for treating advanced CaP.
BH3 mimetic; cancer terminator virus (CTV; prostate cancer (CaP); truncated CCN1 (tCCN1)-Prom; PEG-Prom
The functional relevance of autophagy in tumor formation and progression remains controversial. Autophagy can promote tumor suppression during cancer initiation and protect tumors during progression. Autophagy-associated cell death may act as a tumor suppressor, with several autophagy-related genes deleted in cancers. Loss of autophagy induces genomic instability and necrosis with inflammation in mouse tumor models. Conversely, autophagy enhances survival of tumor cells subjected to metabolic stress and may promote metastasis by enhancing tumor cell survival under environmental stress. Unraveling the complex molecular regulation and multiple diverse roles of autophagy is pivotal in guiding development of rational and novel cancer therapies.
Elucidating the mechanism of pathogenesis of breast cancer has greatly benefited from breakthrough advances in both genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models and xenograft transplantation technologies. The vast array of breast cancer mouse models currently available is testimony to the complexity of mammary tumorigenesis and attempts by investigators to accurately portray the heterogeneity and intricacies of this disease. Distinct molecular changes that drive various aspects of tumorigenesis, such as alterations in tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis, invasion and metastasis, angiogenesis, and drug resistance have been evaluated using the currently available GEM breast cancer models. GEM breast cancer models are also being exploited to evaluate and validate the efficacy of novel therapeutics, vaccines, and imaging modalities for potential use in the clinic. This review provides a synopsis of the various GEM models that are expanding our knowledge of the nuances of breast cancer development and progression and can be instrumental in the development of novel prevention and therapeutic approaches for this disease.
No single or combinatorial therapeutic approach has proven effective in decreasing morbidity or engendering a cure of metastatic cancer. In principle, conditionally replication-competent adenoviruses that induce tumor oncolysis through cancer-specific replication hold promise for cancer therapy. However, a single-agent approach may not be adequate to completely eradicate cancer in a patient because most cancers arise from abnormalities in multiple genetic and signal transduction pathways and targeting disseminated metastases is difficult to achieve. Based on these considerations, a novel class of cancer destroying adenoviruses have been produced, cancer terminator viruses (CTVs), in which cancer-specific replication is controlled by the progression-elevated gene-3 promoter and replicating viruses produce a second transgene encoding an apoptosis-inducing and immunomodulatory cytokine, either melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) or interferon-γ. This review focuses on these viruses and ways to improve their delivery systemically and enhance their therapeutic efficacy.
Molecular-genetic imaging of cancer using nonviral delivery systems has great potential for clinical application as a safe, efficient, noninvasive tool for visualization of various cellular processes including detection of cancer, and its attendant metastases. In recent years, significant effort has been expended in overcoming technical hurdles to enable clinical adoption of molecular-genetic imaging. This chapter will provide an introduction to the components of molecular-genetic imaging and recent advances on each component leading to safe, efficient clinical applications for detecting cancer. Combination with therapy, namely, generating molecular-genetic theranostic constructs, will provide further impetus for clinical translation of this promising technology.
Melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) displays a broad range of antitumor properties including cancer-specific induction of apoptosis, inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and modulation of antitumor immune responses. In our study, we elucidated the role of MDA-7/IL-24 in inhibiting growth of breast cancer-initiating/stem cells. Ad.mda-7 infection decreased proliferation of breast cancer-initiating/stem cells without affecting normal breast stem cells. Ad.mda-7 induced apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum stress in breast cancer-initiating/stem cells similar to unsorted breast cancer cells and inhibited the self-renewal property of breast cancer-initiating/stem cells by suppressing Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Prevention of inhibition of Wnt signaling by LiCl increased cell survival upon Ad.mda-7 treatment, suggesting that Wnt signaling inhibition might play a key role in MDA-7/IL-24-mediated death of breast cancer-initiating/stem cells. In a nude mouse subcutaneous xenograft model, Ad.mda-7 injection profoundly inhibited growth of tumors generated from breast cancer-initiating/stem cells and also exerted a potent “bystander” activity inhibiting growth of distant uninjected tumors. Further studies revealed that tumor growth inhibition by Ad.mda-7 was associated with a decrease in proliferation and angiogenesis, two intrinsic features of MDA-7/IL-24, and a reduction in vivo in the percentage of breast cancer-initiating/stem cells. Our findings demonstrate that MDA-7/IL-24 is not only nontoxic to normal cells and normal stem cells but also can kill both unsorted cancer cells and enriched populations of cancer-initiating/stem cells, providing further documentation that MDA-7/IL-24 might be a safe and effective way to eradicate cancers and also potentially establish disease-free survival.
MDA-7/IL-24; apoptosis; Wnt signaling; cancer-initiating/stem cells; breast cancer
Few options are available for treating patients with advanced prostate cancer (PC). As PC is a slow growing disease and accessible by ultrasound, gene therapy could provide a viable option for this neoplasm. Conditionally replication-competent adenoviruses (CRCAs) represent potentially useful reagents for treating PC. We previously constructed a CRCA, cancer terminator virus (CTV), which showed efficacy both in vitro and in vivo for PC. The CTV was generated on a serotype 5-background (Ad.5-CTV) with infectivity depending on Coxsackie-Adenovirus Receptors (CARs). CARs are frequently reduced in many tumor types, including PCs thereby limiting effective Ad-mediated therapy. Using serotype chimerism, a novel CTV (Ad.5/3-CTV) was created by replacing the Ad.5 fiber knob with the Ad.3 fiber knob thereby facilitating infection in a CAR-independent manner. We evaluated Ad.5/3-CTV in comparison with Ad.5-CTV in low CAR human PC cells, demonstrating higher efficiency in inhibiting cell viability in vitro. Moreover, Ad.5/3-CTV potently suppressed in vivo tumor growth in a nude mouse xenograft model and in a spontaneously induced PC that develops in Hi-myc transgenic mice. Considering the significant responses in a Phase I clinical trial of a non-replicating Ad.5-mda-7 in advanced cancers, Ad.5/3-CTV may exert improved therapeutic benefit in a clinical setting.
Subtraction-hybridization combined with induction of cancer cell terminal differentiation in human melanoma cells identified melanoma differentiation associated gene-7 (mda-7/IL-24) and SARI (Suppressor of AP-1, induced by IFN) that display potent antitumor activity. These genes are not constitutively expressed in cancer cells and forced expression of mda-7/IL-24 (Ad.mda-7) or SARI(Ad.SARI) promotes cancer-specific cell death. Ectopic expression of mda-7/IL-24 induces SARI mRNA and protein in a panel of different cancer cells leading to cell death, without harming corresponding normal cells. Simultaneous inhibition of K-ras downstream extracellular regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signaling in pancreatic cancer cells reverses the translational block of MDA-7/IL-24 and induces SARI expression and cell death. Using SARI-antisense-based approaches we demonstrate that SARI expression is necessary for mda-7/IL-24 antitumor effects. Secreted MDA-7/IL-24 protein induces antitumor ‘bystander’ effects by promoting its own expression. Recombinant MDA-7/IL-24 (His-MDA-7) induces SARI expression, supporting the involvement of SARI in the MDA-7/IL-24-driven autocrine loop culminating in antitumor effects. Moreover, His-MDA-7 after binding to its cognate receptors (IL-20R1/IL-20R2 or IL-22R/IL-20R2) induces intracellular signaling by phosphorylation of p38 MAPK leading to transcription of a family of growth arrest and DNA damage inducible (GADD) genes, culminating in apoptosis. Inhibition of p38 MAPK fails to induce SARI following Ad.mda-7 infection. These findings reveal the significance of the mda-7/IL-24-SARI axis in cancer-specific killing, and provide a potential strategy for treating both local and metastatic disease.
SARI; MDA-7/IL-24; apoptosis; IL-20/IL-22 receptors
The extraordinary invasiveness of human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) contributes to treatment failure and the grim prognosis of patients diagnosed with this tumor. Consequently, it is imperative to define further the cellular mechanisms that control GBM invasion and identify promising novel therapeutic targets. Melanoma differentiation associated gene–9 (MDA-9/syntenin) is a highly conserved PDZ domain–containing scaffolding protein that promotes invasion and metastasis in vitro and in vivo in human melanoma models. To determine whether MDA-9/syntenin is a relevant target in GBM, we investigated its expression in tumor samples and involvement in GBM invasion and angiogenesis.
We assessed MDA-9/syntenin levels in available databases, patient tumor samples, and human-derived cell lines. Through gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies, we analyzed changes in invasion, angiogenesis, and signaling in vitro. We used orthotopic xenografts with GBM6 cells to demonstrate the role of MDA-9/syntenin in GBM pathogenesis in vivo.
MDA-9/syntenin expression in high-grade astrocytomas is significantly higher than normal tissue counterparts. Forced overexpression of MDA-9/syntenin enhanced Matrigel invasion, while knockdown inhibited invasion, migration, and anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. Moreover, overexpression of MDA-9/syntenin increased activation of c-Src, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and nuclear factor kappa-B, leading to elevated expression of matrix metalloproteinase 2 and secretion of interleukin-8 with corresponding changes observed upon knockdown. GBM6 cells that stably express small hairpin RNA for MDA-9/syntenin formed smaller tumors and had a less invasive phenotype in vivo.
Our findings indicate that MDA-9/syntenin is a novel and important mediator of invasion in GBM and a key regulator of pathogenesis, and we identify it as a potential target for anti-invasive treatment in human astrocytoma.
MDA-9/syntenin; GBM; glioma; invasion; intracranial injection
Urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC) rapidly progresses from superficial to muscle-invasive tumors. The key molecules involved in metastatic progression and its early detection require clarification. The present study defines a seminal role of the metastasis-associated gene MDA-9/Syntenin in UCC progression.
Expression pattern of MDA-9/Syntenin was examined in 44 primary UCC and the impact of its overexpression and knock down was examined in multiple cells lines and key findings were validated in primary tumors.
Significantly higher (p= 0.002–0.003) expression of MDA-9/Syntenin was observed in 64% (28/44) of primary tumors and an association was evident with stage (p=0.01), grade (p=0.03) and invasion status (p=0.02). MDA-9/Syntenin overexpression in non-tumorigenic HUC-1 cells increased proliferation (p=0.0012), invasion (p=0.0001) and EGFR, AKT, PI3K and c-Src expression. Alteration of Beta-catenin, E-Cadherin, Vimentin, Claudin-1, ZO-1 and TCF4 expression were also observed. MDA-9/Syntenin knock down in 3 UCC cell lines reversed phenotypic and molecular changes observed in the HUC-1 cells and reduced in vivo metastasis. Key molecular changes observed in the cell lines were confirmed in primary tumors. A physical interaction and co-localization of MDA-9/Syntenin and EGFR was evident in UCC cell lines and primary tumors. A logistic regression model analysis revealed a significant correlation between MDA-9/Syntenin:EGFR and MDA-9/Syntenin: AKT expressions with stage (p=0.04, EGFR), (p=0.01, AKT). A correlation between MDA-9/Syntenin: β-catenin co-expression with stage (p=0.03) and invasion (p=0.04) was also evident.
Our findings indicate that MDA-9/Syntenin might provide an attractive target for developing detection, monitoring and therapeutic strategies for managing UCC.
Urothelial cancer; MDA-9/Syntenin; invasion; EGFR signaling
MDA-9 (melanoma differentiation associated gene-9)/Syntenin is a PDZ domain-containing adaptor protein involved in multiple diverse cellular processes including organization of protein complexes in the plasma membrane, intracellular trafficking and cell surface targeting, synaptic transmission, and cancer metastasis. In the present study, we analyzed the expression pattern of MDA-9/syntenin during mouse development. MDA-9/syntenin was robustly expressed with tight regulation of its temporal and spatial expression during fetal development in the developing skin, spinal cord, heart, lung and liver, which are regulated by multiple signaling pathways in the process of organogenesis. Recent studies also indicate that MDA-9/syntenin is involved in the signaling pathways crucial during development such as Wnt, Notch and FGF. Taken together, these results suggest that MDA-9/syntenin may play a prominent role during normal mouse development in the context of cell proliferation as well as differentiation through modulating multiple signaling pathways as a crucial adaptor protein. Additionally, temporal regulation of MDA-9/syntenin expression may be required during specific stages and in specific tissues during development.
MDA-9/syntenin; development; mouse embryo; adaptor protein