Somatic alterations in cellular DNA underlie almost all human cancers1. The prospect of targeted therapies2 and the development of high-resolution, genome-wide approaches3–8 are now spurring systematic efforts to characterize cancer genomes. Here we report a large-scale project to characterize copy-number alterations in primary lung adenocarcinomas. By analysis of a large collection of tumors (n = 371) using dense single nucleotide polymorphism arrays, we identify a total of 57 significantly recurrent events. We find that 26 of 39 autosomal chromosome arms show consistent large-scale copy-number gain or loss, of which only a handful have been linked to a specific gene. We also identify 31 recurrent focal events, including 24 amplifications and 7 homozygous deletions. Only six of these focal events are currently associated with known mutations in lung carcinomas. The most common event, amplification of chromosome 14q13.3, is found in ~12% of samples. On the basis of genomic and functional analyses, we identify NKX2-1 (NK2 homeobox 1, also called TITF1), which lies in the minimal 14q13.3 amplification interval and encodes a lineage-specific transcription factor, as a novel candidate proto-oncogene involved in a significant fraction of lung adenocarcinomas. More generally, our results indicate that many of the genes that are involved in lung adenocarcinoma remain to be discovered.
TUSC2-defective gene expression is detected in the majority of lung cancers and is associated with worse overall survival. We analyzed the effects of TUSC2 re-expression on tumor cell sensitivity to the AKT inhibitor, MK2206, and explored their mutual signaling connections, in vitro and in vivo. TUSC2 transient expression in three LKB1-defective non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines combined with MK2206 treatment resulted in increased repression of cell viability and colony formation, and increased apoptotic activity. In contrast, TUSC2 did not affect the response to MK2206 treatment for two LKB1-wild type NSCLC cell lines. In vivo, TUSC2 systemic delivery, by nanoparticle gene transfer, combined with MK2206 treatment markedly inhibited growth of tumors in a human LKB1-defective H322 lung cancer xenograft mouse model. Biochemical analysis showed that TUSC2 transient expression in LKB1-defective NSCLC cells significantly stimulated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and enzymatic activity. More importantly, AMPK gene knockdown abrogated TUSC2-MK2206 cooperation, as evidenced by reduced sensitivity to the combined treatment. Together, TUSC2 re-expression and MK2206 treatment was more effective in inhibiting the phosphorylation and kinase activities of AKT and mTOR proteins than either single agent alone. In conclusion, these findings support the hypothesis that TUSC2 expression status is a biological variable that potentiates MK2206 sensitivity in LKB1-defective NSCLC cells, and identifies the AMPK/AKT/mTOR signaling axis as an important regulator of this activity.
Access to gene expression data has become increasingly common in recent years; however, analysis has become more difficult as it is often desirable to integrate data from different platforms. Probe mapping across microarray platforms is the first and most crucial step for data integration. In this article, we systematically review and compare different approaches to map probes across seven platforms from different vendors: U95A, U133A and U133 Plus 2.0 from Affymetrix, Inc.; HT-12 v1, HT-12v2 and HT-12v3 from Illumina, Inc.; and 4112A from Agilent, Inc. We use a unique data set, which contains 56 lung cancer cell line samples—each of which has been measured by two different microarray platforms—to evaluate the consistency of expression measurement across platforms using different approaches. Based on the evaluation from the empirical data set, the BLAST alignment of the probe sequences to a recent revision of the Transcriptome generated better results than using annotations provided by Vendors or from Bioconductor's Annotate package. However, a combination of all three methods (deemed the ‘Consensus Annotation’) yielded the most consistent expression measurement across platforms. To facilitate data integration across microarray platforms for the research community, we develop a user-friendly web-based tool, an API and an R package to map data across different microarray platforms from Affymetrix, Illumina and Agilent. Information on all three can be found at http://qbrc.swmed.edu/software/probemapper/.
microarray; gene expression; probe; integrated analysis; probe mapping
The Eph family of receptors is the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases, but it remains poorly studied in lung cancer. Our aim was to systematically explore the human Eph receptors and their ligands, the ephrins, in lung adenocarcinoma. The prognostic impact of Eph receptor and ephrin gene expression was analyzed using 2 independent cohorts of lung adenocarcinoma. Gene expression profiles in lung adenocarcinoma versus normal adjacent lung were studied in 3 independent cohorts and in cell lines. Gene expression profiles were validated with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Western blotting in cell lines. Functional studies to assess the role of Eph receptor A4 (EphA4) were performed in vitro. The biological effects of EphA4 in lung cancer cell lines were assayed following overexpression and knockdown. Of the 11 Eph receptors and 8 ephrins analyzed, only EphA4 and ephrin A1 gene expression were consistently associated with an improved outcome in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Expression levels of EphA4 by microarray correlated well with expression levels measured by qPCR and Western blotting. EphA4 overexpression reduced cell migration and invasion but did not affect cell cycle, apoptosis, or drug sensitivity. Surprisingly, EphA4 was expressed at higher levels in cancer versus non-cancer tissues and cell lines. EphA4 gene expression is associated with an improved outcome in patients with resected lung adenocarcinoma, likely by affecting cancer cell migration and invasion.
non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinoma; Eph receptor; ephrin; prognosis
Ionizing radiation composed of accelerated ions of high atomic number (Z) and energy (HZE) deposits energy and creates damage in cells in a discrete manner as compared to the random deposition of energy and damage seen with low energy radiations such as γ- or x-rays. Such radiations can be highly effective at cell killing, transformation, and oncogenesis, all of which are concerns for the manned space program and for the burgeoning field of HZE particle radiotherapy for cancer. Furthermore, there are differences in the extent to which cells or tissues respond to such exposures that may be unrelated to absorbed dose. Therefore, we asked whether the energy deposition patterns produced by different radiation types would cause different molecular responses. We performed transcriptome profiling using human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) after exposure to γ-rays and to two different HZE particles (28Si and 56Fe) with different energy transfer properties to characterize the molecular response to HZE particles and γ-rays as a function of dose, energy deposition pattern, and time post-irradiation.
Clonogenic assay indicated that the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) for 56Fe was 3.91 and for 28Si was 1.38 at 34% cell survival. Unsupervised clustering analysis of gene expression segregated samples according to the radiation species followed by the time after irradiation, whereas dose was not a significant parameter for segregation of radiation response. While a subset of genes associated with p53-signaling, such as CDKN1A, TRIM22 and BTG2 showed very similar responses to all radiation qualities, distinct expression changes were associated with the different radiation species. Gene enrichment analysis categorized the differentially expressed genes into functional groups related to cell death and cell cycle regulation for all radiation types, while gene pathway analysis revealed that the pro-inflammatory Acute Phase Response Signaling was specifically induced after HZE particle irradiation. A 73 gene signature capable of predicting with 96% accuracy the radiation species to which cells were exposed, was developed.
These data suggest that the molecular response to the radiation species used here is a function of the energy deposition characteristics of the radiation species. This novel molecular response to HZE particles may have implications for radiotherapy including particle selection for therapy and risk for second cancers, risk for cancers from diagnostic radiation exposures, as well as NASA’s efforts to develop more accurate lung cancer risk estimates for astronaut safety. Lastly, irrespective of the source of radiation, the gene expression changes observed set the stage for functional studies of initiation or progression of radiation-induced lung carcinogenesis.
Gene expression; HZE particles; Ionizing radiation; Human bronchial epithelial cells
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a valuable, proven, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved tool for smoking cessation. However, the discoveries of functional nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) on lung epithelial and cancer cells and of nAChR polymorphisms associated with lung cancer risk, in addition to a large number of preclinical studies indicating that nicotine may promote or facilitate cancer development and growth, have prompted concern that NRT, although important for smoking cessation, may actually augment lung carcinogenesis. Therefore, it is of great public health interest that two independent studies reported in this issue of the journal (Murphy and colleagues, beginning on page 1752, and Maier and colleagues, beginning on page 1743) showed that nicotine given in drinking water at a dose to achieve blood concentrations in mice similar to those achieved in people receiving NRT did not enhance lung carcinogenesis or tumor growth in several mouse models of lung cancer. Effective non-nicotine alternatives to NRT, such as varenicline and bupropion, are also available and perhaps better than NRT for smoking cessation therapy. In the near future, nicotine vaccines will likely be added to the smoking cessation armamentarium. However, the normal and pathophysiologic role of nicotine, nAChRs, and the signaling pathways they activate in lung epithelial cells and lung cancer still requires elucidation.
Mutations in the v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) play a critical role in cancer cell growth and resistance to therapy. Most mutations occur at codons 12 and 13. In colorectal cancer, the presence of any mutant KRas amino acid substitution is a negative predictor of patient response to targeted therapy. However, in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the evidence that KRAS mutation is a predictive factor is conflicting.
We used data from a molecularly targeted clinical trial for 215 patients with tissues available out of 268 evaluable patients with refractory NSCLC to examine associations between specific mutant KRas proteins and progression-free survival and tumor gene expression. Transcriptome microarray studies of patient tumor samples and reverse-phase protein array studies of a panel of 67 NSCLC cell lines with known substitutions in KRas and in immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells stably expressing different mutant KRas proteins were used to investigate signaling pathway activation. Molecular modeling was used to study the conformations of wild-type and mutant KRas proteins. Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox regression were used to analyze survival data. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Patients whose tumors had either mutant KRas-Gly12Cys or mutant KRas-Gly12Val had worse progression-free survival compared with patients whose tumors had other mutant KRas proteins or wild-type KRas (P = .046, median survival = 1.84 months) compared with all other mutant KRas (median survival = 3.35 months) or wild-type KRas (median survival = 1.95 months). NSCLC cell lines with mutant KRas-Gly12Asp had activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI-3-K) and mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK) signaling, whereas those with mutant KRas-Gly12Cys or mutant KRas-Gly12Val had activated Ral signaling and decreased growth factor–dependent Akt activation. Molecular modeling studies showed that different conformations imposed by mutant KRas may lead to altered association with downstream signaling transducers.
Not all mutant KRas proteins affect patient survival or downstream signaling in a similar way. The heterogeneous behavior of mutant KRas proteins implies that therapeutic interventions may need to take into account the specific mutant KRas expressed by the tumor.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly aggressive neoplasm arising from the mesothelial cells lining the parietal pleura and it exhibits poor prognosis. Although there has been significant progress in MPM treatment, development of more efficient therapeutic approaches is needed. BMAL1 is a core component of the circadian clock machinery and its constitutive overexpression in MPM has been reported. Here, we demonstrate that BMAL1 may serve as a molecular target for MPM. The majority of MPM cell lines and a subset of MPM clinical specimens expressed higher levels of BMAL1 compared to a nontumorigenic mesothelial cell line (MeT-5A) and normal parietal pleural specimens, respectively. A serum shock induced a rhythmical BMAL1 expression change in MeT-5A but not in ACC-MESO-1, suggesting that the circadian rhythm pathway is deregulated in MPM cells. BMAL1 knockdown suppressed proliferation and anchorage-dependent and independent clonal growth in two MPM cell lines (ACC-MESO-1 and H290) but not in MeT-5A. Notably, BMAL1 depletion resulted in cell cycle disruption with a substantial increase in apoptotic and polyploidy cell population in association with downregulation of Wee1, cyclin B and p21WAF1/CIP1 and upregulation of cyclin E expression. BMAL1 knockdown induced mitotic catastrophe as denoted by disruption of cell cycle regulators and induction of drastic morphological changes including micronucleation and multiple nuclei in ACC-MESO-1 cells that expressed the highest level of BMAL1. Taken together, these findings indicate that BMAL1 has a critical role in MPM and could serve as an attractive therapeutic target for MPM.
apoptosis; BMAL1; mesothelioma; targeted therapy; mitotic catastrophe
Inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) are key regulators of apoptosis and are inhibited by the second mitocondrial activator of caspases (SMAC). Previously, a small subset of TNFα-expressing non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) was found to be sensitive to SMAC mimetics alone. In this study we determined if a SMAC mimetic (JP1201) could sensitize non-responsive NSCLC cell lines to standard chemotherapy. We found that JP1201 sensitized NSCLCs to doxorubicin, erlotinib, gemcitabine, paclitaxel, vinorelbine, and the combination of carboplatin with paclitaxel in a synergistic manner at clinically achievable drug concentrations. Sensitization did not occur with platinum alone. Furthermore, sensitization was specific for tumor compared to normal lung epithelial cells, increased in NSCLCs harvested after chemotherapy treatment, and did not induce TNFα secretion. Sensitization also was enhanced in vivo with increased tumor inhibition and increased survival of mice carrying xenografts. These effects were accompanied by caspase 3, 4, and 9 activation, indicating that both mitochondrial and ER stress-induced apoptotic pathways are activated by the combination of vinorelbine and JP1201. Chemotherapies that induce cell death through the mitochondrial pathway required only inhibition of XIAP for sensitization, while chemotherapies that induce cell death through multiple apoptotic pathways required inhibition of cIAP1, cIAP2, and XIAP. Therefore, the data suggest that IAP-targeted therapy using a SMAC mimetic provides a new therapeutic strategy for synergistic sensitization of NSCLCs to standard chemotherapy agents, which appears to occur independently of TNFα secretion.
non-small cell lung cancer; smac mimetic; vinorelbine; gemcitabine; IAPs
Loss of terminal cell differentiation promotes tumorigenesis. 15-LOX-1 contributes to terminal cell differentiation in normal cells. The mechanistic significance of 15-LOX-1 expression loss in human cancers to terminal cell differentiation suppression is unknown. In a screen of 128 cancer cell lines representing more than 20 types of human cancer, we found that 15-LOX-1 mRNA expression levels were markedly lower than levels in terminally differentiated cells. Relative expression levels of 15-LOX-1 (relative to the level in terminally differentiated primary normal human-derived bronchial epithelial cells) were lower in 79% of the screened cancer cell lines than relative expression levels of p16 (INK4A), which promotes terminal cell differentiation and is considered one of the most commonly lost tumor suppressor genes in cancer cells. 15-LOX-1 was expressed during terminal differentiation in three-dimensional air-liquid interface cultures, and 15-LOX-1 expression and terminal differentiation occurred in immortalized non-transformed bronchial epithelial but not lung cancer cell lines. 15-LOX-1 expression levels were lower in human tumors than paired normal lung epithelia. Short hairpin RNA-mediated downregulation of 15-LOX-1 in Caco-2 cells blocked enterocyte-like differentiation, disrupted tight junction formation, and blocked E-cadherin and ZO-1 localization to the cell wall membrane. 15-LOX-1 episomal expression in Caco-2 and HT-29 colon cancer cells induced differentiation. Our findings indicate that 15-LOX-1 downregulation in cancer cells is an important mechanism for terminal cell differentiation dysregulation and support the potential therapeutic utility of 15-LOX-1 re-expression to inhibit tumorigenesis.
15-lipoxygenase-1; terminal cell differentiation; tumorigenesis
On June 27–28, 2011 scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), NASA, and academia met in Bethesda to discuss major lung cancer issues confronting each organization. For NASA – available data suggest lung cancer is the largest potential cancer risk from space travel for both men and women and quantitative risk assessment information for mission planning is needed. In space the radiation risk is from high energy and charge (HZE) nuclei (such as Fe) and high energy protons from solar flares and not from gamma radiation. By contrast the NCI is endeavoring to estimate the increased lung cancer risk from the potential wide-spread implementation of computed tomography (CT) screening in individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer based on the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST). For the latter, exposure will be x-rays from CT scans from the screening (which uses “low dose” CT scans) and also from follow-up scans used to evaluate abnormalities found during initial screening. Topics discussed included the risk of lung cancer arising after HZE particle, proton, and low dose Earth radiation exposure. The workshop examined preclinical models, epidemiology, molecular markers, “omics” technology, radiobiology issues, and lung stem cells (LSC) that relate to the development of lung cancer.
We have developed a method for the parallel analysis of multiple CpG sites in genomic DNA for their state of methylation. Hypermethylation of CpG islands within the promoters and 5′ exons of genes has been found to be a mechanism of transcriptional inactivation associated with a variety of tumors. The method that we developed relies on the differential reactivity of methylated and unmethylated cytosines with sodium bisulfite, which exclusively converts unmethylated cytosines to deoxyuracils. The resulting sequence changes are determined with single-nucleotide resolution by hybridization to an oligonucleotide array. Cohybridization with a reference sample containing a different label provides an internal standard for assessment of methylation state. This method provides advantages in parallelism over existing methods of methylation analysis. We have demonstrated this technique with a region from the promoter of the tumor suppressor gene p16, which is hypermethylated in many cancers.
Hypermethylation; CpG island; Oligonucleotide array; Sodium bisulfite; Tumor suppressor
We have positionally cloned and characterized a new calcium channel auxiliary subunit, α2δ-2 (CACNA2D2), which shares 56% amino acid identity with the known α2δ-1 subunit. The gene maps to the critical human tumor suppressor gene region in chromosome 3p21.3, showing very frequent allele loss and occasional homozygous deletions in lung, breast, and other cancers. The tissue distribution of α2δ-2 expression is different from α2δ-1, and α2δ-2 mRNA is most abundantly expressed in lung and testis and well expressed in brain, heart, and pancreas. In contrast, α2δ-1 is expressed predominantly in brain, heart, and skeletal muscle. When co-expressed (via cRNA injections) with α1B and β3 subunits in Xenopus oocytes, α2δ-2 increased peak size of the N-type Ca2+ currents 9-fold, and when co-expressed with α1C or α1G subunits in Xenopus oocytes increased peak size of L-type channels 2-fold and T-type channels 1.8-fold, respectively. Anti-peptide antibodies detect the expression of a 129-kDa α2δ-2 polypeptide in some but not all lung tumor cells. We conclude that the α2δ-2 gene encodes a functional auxiliary subunit of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. Because of its chromosomal location and expression patterns, CACNA2D2 needs to be explored as a potential tumor suppressor gene linking Ca2+ signaling and lung, breast, and other cancer pathogenesis. The homologous location on mouse chromosome 9 is also the site of the mouse neurologic mutant ducky (du), and thus, CACNA2D2 is also a candidate gene for this inherited idiopathic generalized epilepsy syndrome.
RASSF1A is a recently identified 3p21.3 tumor suppressor gene. The high frequency of epigenetic inactivation of this gene in a wide range of human sporadic cancers including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and neuroblastoma suggests that RASSF1A inactivation is important for tumor development. Although little is known about the function of RASSF1A, preliminary data suggests that it may have multiple functions. To gain insight into RASSF1A functions in an unbiased manner, we have characterized the expression profile of a lung cancer cell line (A549) transfected with RASSF1A. Initially we demonstrated that transient expression of RASSF1A into the NSCLC cell line A549 induced G1 cell cycle arrest, as measured by propidium iodide staining. Furthermore, an-nexin-V staining showed that RASSF1A-expressing cells had an increased sensitivity to staurosporine-induced apoptosis. We then screened a cDNA microarray containing more than 6000 probes to identify genes differentially regulated by RASSF1A. Sixty-six genes showed at least a 2-fold change in expression. Among these were many genes with relevance to tumorigenesis involved in transcription, cytoskeleton, signaling, cell cycle, cell adhesion, and apoptosis. For 22 genes we confirmed the microarray results by real-time RT-PCR and/or Northern blotting. In silico, we were able to confirm the majority of these genes in other NSCLC cell lines using published data on gene expression profiles. Furthermore, we confirmed 10 genes at the RNA level in two neuroblastoma cell lines, indicating that these RASSF1A target genes have relevance in non-lung cell backgrounds. Protein analysis of six genes (ETS2, Cyclin D3, CDH2, DAPK1, TXN, and CTSL) showed that the changes induced by RASSF1A at the RNA level correlated with changes in protein expression in both non-small cell lung cancer and neuroblastoma cell lines. Finally, we have used a transient assay to demonstrate the induction of CDH2 and TGM2 by RASSF1A in NSCLC cell lines. We have identified several novel targets for RASSF1A tumor suppressor gene both at the RNA and the protein levels in two different cellular backgrounds. The identified targets are involved in diverse cellular processes; this should help toward understanding mechanisms that contribute to RASSF1A biological activity.
The CACNA2D2 gene, a new subunit of the Ca2+-channel complex, was identified in the homozygous deletion region of chromosome 3p21.3 in human lung and breast cancers. Expression deficiency of the CACNA2D2 in cancer cells suggests a possible link of it to Ca2+ signaling in the pathogenesis of lung cancer and other cancers. We investigated the effects of overexpression of CACNA2D2 on intracellular Ca2+ contents, mitochondria homeostasis, cell proliferation, and apoptosis by adenoviral vector-mediated wild-type CACNA2D2 gene transfer in 3p21.3-deficient nonsmall cell lung cancer cell lines. Exogenous expression of CACNA2D2 significantly inhibited tumor cell growth compared with the controls. Overexpression of CACNA2D2 induced apoptosis in H1299 (12.5%), H358 (13.7%), H460 (22.3%), and A549 (50.1%) cell lines. Levels of intracellular free Ca2+ were elevated in AdCACNA2D2-transduced cells compared with the controls. Mitochondria membrane depolarization was observed prior to apoptosis in Ad-CACNA2D2 and Adp53-transduced H460 and A549 cells. Release of cyt c into the cytosol, caspase 3 activation, and PARP cleavage were also detected in these cells. Together, these results suggest that one of the pathways in CACNA2D2-induced apoptosis is mediated through disruption of mitochondria membrane integrity, the release of cyt c, and the activation of caspases, a process that is associated with regulation of cytosolic free Ca2+ contents.
tumor suppressor genes; apoptosis; calcium channel proteins; human chromosome 3p21.3; lung cancer
A group of candidate tumor suppressor genes (designated CACNA2D2, PL6, 101F6, NPRL2, BLU, RASSF1, FUS1, HYAL2, and HYAL1) has been identified in a 120-kb critical tumor homozygous deletion region (found in lung and breast cancers) of human chromosome 3p21.3. We studied the effects of six of these 3p21.3 genes (101F6, NPRL2, BLU, FUS1, HYAL2, and HYAL1) on tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis in human lung cancer cells by recombinant adenovirus-mediated gene transfer in vitro and in vivo. We found that forced expression of wild-type FUS1, 101F6, and NPRL2 genes significantly inhibited tumor cell growth by induction of apoptosis and alteration of cell cycle processes in 3p21.3 120-kb region-deficient (homozygous) H1299 and A549 cells but not in the 3p21.3 120-kb region-heterozygous H358 and the normal human bronchial epithelial cells. Intratumoral injection of Ad-101F6, Ad-FUS1, Ad-NPRL2, and Ad-HYAL2 vectors or systemic administration of protamine-complexed vectors significantly suppressed growth of H1299 and A549 tumor xenografts and inhibited A549 experimental lung metastases in nu/nu mice. Together, our results, coupled with other studies demonstrating a tumor suppressor role for the RASSSF1A isoform, suggest that multiple contiguous genes in the 3p21.3 120-kb chromosomal region may exhibit tumor suppressor activity in vitro and in vivo.
The requirement of frozen tissues for microarray experiments limits the clinical usage of genome-wide expression profiling using microarray technology. The goal of this study is to test the feasibility of developing lung cancer prognosis gene signatures using genome-wide expression profiling of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples, which are widely available and provide a valuable rich source for studying the association of molecular changes in cancer and associated clinical outcomes.
We randomly selected 100 Non-Small-Cell lung cancer (NSCLC) FFPE samples with annotated clinical information from the UT-Lung SPORE Tissue Bank. We micro dissected tumor area from FFPE specimens, and used Affymetrix U133 plus 2.0 arrays to attain gene expression data. After strict quality control and analysis procedures, a supervised principal component analysis was used to develop a robust prognosis signature for NSCLC. Three independent published microarray data sets were used to validate the prognosis model.
This study demonstrated that the robust gene signature derived from genome-wide expression profiling of FFPE samples is strongly associated with lung cancer clinical outcomes, can be used to refine the prognosis for stage I lung cancer patients and the prognostic signature is independent of clinical variables. This signature was validated in several independent studies and was refined to a 59-gene lung cancer prognosis signature.
We conclude that genome-wide profiling of FFPE lung cancer samples can identify a set of genes whose expression level provides prognostic information across different platforms and studies, which will allow its application in clinical settings.
Lung Cancer Prognosis; Gene Expression Signature; Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded Samples
To investigate the predictive role and association of nuclear survivin and the DNA double-strand breaks repair genes in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), Ku heterodimeric regulatory complex 70-KD subunit (Ku70) and ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM).
The protein expression of nuclear survivin, DNA-PKcs, Ku70 and ATM were investigated using immunohistochemistry in tumors from 256 patients with surgically resected NSCLC. Furthermore, we analyzed the correlation between the expression of nuclear survivin, DNA-PKcs, Ku70 and ATM. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the prognostic factors that inuenced the overall survival and disease-free survival of NSCLC.
The expression of nuclear survivin, DNA-PKcs, Ku70 and ATM was significantly higher in tumor tissues than in normal tissues. By dichotomizing the specimens as expressing low or high levels of nuclear survivin, nuclear survivin correlated significantly with the pathologic stage (P = 0.009) and lymph node status (P = 0.004). The nuclear survivin levels were an independent prognostic factor for both the overall survival and the disease-free survival in univariate and multivariate analyses. Patients with low Ku70 and DNA-PKcs expression had a greater benefit from radiotherapy than patients with high expression of Ku70 (P = 0.012) and DNA-PKcs (P = 0.02). Nuclear survivin expression positively correlated with DNA-PKcs (P<0.001) and Ku70 expression (P<0.001).
Nuclear survivin may be a prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with resected stage I-IIIA NSCLC. DNA-PKcs and Ku70 could predict the effect of radiotherapy in patients with NSCLC. Nuclear survivin may also stimulates DNA double-strand breaks repair by its interaction with DNA-PKcs and Ku70.
Lung carcinogenesis is a complex, stepwise process that involves the acquisition of genetic mutations and epigenetic changes that alter cellular processes, such as proliferation, differentiation, invasion, and metastasis. Here, we review some of the latest concepts in the pathogenesis of lung cancer and highlight the roles of inflammation, the “field of cancerization,” and lung cancer stem cells in the initiation of the disease. Furthermore, we review how high throughput genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, and proteomics are advancing the study of lung carcinogenesis. Finally, we reflect on the potential of current in vitro and in vivo models of lung carcinogenesis to advance the field and on the areas of investigation where major breakthroughs will lead to the identification of novel chemoprevention strategies and therapies for lung cancer.
Field of cancerization; inflammation; stem cells; genomics; epigenomics; proteomics
Vascular endothelial growth factor-2 (VEGFR-2 or KDR) is a known endothelial target also expressed in NSCLC tumor cells. We investigated the association between alterations in the KDR gene and clinical outcome in patients with resected NSCLC (n=248). KDR copy number gains (CNGs), measured by quantitative PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization, were detected in 32% of tumors and associated with significantly higher KDR protein and higher microvessel density than tumors without CNGs. KDR CNGs were also associated with significantly increased risk of death (HR=5.16; P=0.003) in patients receiving adjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy, but no differences were observed in patients not receiving adjuvant therapy. To investigate potential mechanisms for these associations we assessed NSCLC cell lines and found that KDR CNGs were significantly associated with in vitro resistance to platinum chemotherapy as well as increased levels of nuclear HIF-1α in both NSCLC tumor specimens and cell lines. Furthermore, KDR knockdown experiments using small interfering RNA reduced platinum resistance, cell migration, and HIF-1α levels in cells bearing KDR CNGs, providing evidence for direct involvement of KDR. No KDR mutations were detected in exons 7, 11 and 21 by PCR-based sequencing; however, two variant SNP genotypes were associated with favorable overall survival in adenocarcinoma patients. Our findings suggest that tumor cell KDR CNGs may promote a more malignant phenotype including increased chemoresistance, angiogenesis, and HIF-1α levels, and that KDR CNGs may be a useful biomarker for identifying patients at high risk for recurrence after adjuvant therapy, a group that may benefit from VEGFR-2 blockade.
Chemoresistance is a major cause of treatment failure in patients with lung cancer. Although the extensive efforts have been made in overcoming chemoresistance, the underlying mechanisms are still elusive. Cancer cells reprogram cellular metabolism to satisfy the demands of malignant phenotype. To reveal roles of cancer metabolism in regulating chemoresistance, we profiled the metabolic characteristics in paclitaxel-resistant lung cancer cells by flux assay. Glucose and oleate metabolism were significantly different between resistant and non-resistant cells. In addition, targeting metabolism as a strategy to overcome drug resistance was investigated using specific metabolic inhibitors. Inhibition of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation by 2-deoxyglucose and malonate, respectively, potentiated the effects of paclitaxel on nonresistant lung adenocarcinoma cells but not paclitaxel-resistant cells. By contrast, inhibition of lipolysis by mercaptoacetate or etomoxir synergistically inhibited drug-resistant lung adenocarcinoma cell proliferation. We conclude that lipolysis inhibition potentially be a therapeutic strategy to overcome drug resistance in lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive malignancy distinct from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in its metastatic potential and treatment response. Using an integrative proteomic and transcriptomic analysis, we investigated molecular differences contributing to the distinct clinical behavior of SCLC and NSCLC. SCLC demonstrated lower levels of several receptor tyrosine kinases and decreased activation of PI3K and Ras/MEK pathways, but significantly increased levels of E2F1-regulated factors including EZH2, thymidylate synthase, apoptosis mediators, and DNA repair proteins. Additionally, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1), a DNA repair protein and E2F1 co-activator, was highly expressed at the mRNA and protein levels in SCLC. SCLC growth was inhibited by PARP1 and EZH2 knockdown. Furthermore, SCLC was significantly more sensitive to PARP inhibitors than NSCLC, and PARP inhibition downregulated key components of the DNA repair machinery and enhanced the efficacy of chemotherapy.
Using a custom CGH-like oligonucleotide array to measure the global microsatellite content in the genomes of 72 cancer, cancer-free, and high risk patient and cell line samples (56 germline DNA and 16 in tumor or tumor cell line DNA) we found a unique, reproducible, and statistically significant pattern of 18 motif-specific microsatellite families (out of 962 possible 1-6 mer repeats) in breast cancer patient germline and tumor DNA, but not in germline DNA of cancer-free volunteer controls or in breast cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations. These high-similarity A/T rich repetitive motifs were also more pronounced in the germlines and tumors of colon cancer tumor patients (3/6 samples) and microsatellite unstable colon cancer cell lines; however, germline DNA of sporadic breast cancer patients exhibited the largest global content shift for those motifs with extreme AT/GC ratios. These results indicate that global microsatellite variability is complex, suggest the existence of a previously unknown genomic destabilization mechanism in breast cancer patients' germline DNA, and warrant further testing of such microsatellite variability as a predictor of future breast cancer development.
AZD6244 is a small molecule inhibitor of the MEK kinase pathway currently in clinical trials. However, the mechanisms mediating intrinsic resistance to MEK inhibition are not fully characterized. To define molecular mechanisms of MEK inhibitor resistance, we analyzed responses of 38 lung cancer cell lines following AZD6244 treatment and their genome-wide gene expression profiles and identified a panel of genes correlated with sensitivity or resistance to AZD6244 treatment. In particular, Ingenuity pathway analysis revealed that activation of the STAT3 pathway was associated with MEK inhibitor resistance. Inhibition of this pathway by JSI-124, a STAT3-specific small molecule inhibitor, or with STAT3-specific siRNA sensitized lung cancer cells to AZD6244 and induced apoptosis. Moreover, combining a STAT3 inhibitor with AZD6244 induced expression of BIM and polyADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage, whereas activation of the STAT3 pathway inhibited BIM expression and elicited resistance to MEK inhibitors. We found that the STAT3-regulated microRNA miR-17 played a critical role in MEK inhibitor resistance, such that miR-17 inhibition sensitized resistant cells to AZD6244 by inducing BIM and PARP cleavage. Together, these results indicated that STAT3-mediated overexpression of miR-17 blocked BIM expression and caused resistance to AZD6244. Our findings suggest novel approaches to overcome resistance to MEK inhibitors by combining AZD6244 with STAT3 or miR-17 inhibitors.
Gene expression profiling; MEK inhibitor resistance; AZD6244; STAT3 pathway; miR-17