Our previous report demonstrated that RSK2 plays an important role in cell proliferation and transformation induced by tumor promoters such as epidermal growth factor mediated through the N-terminal kinase domain of RSK2 in JB6 Cl41 mouse skin epidermal cells in vitro. However, no direct evidence has been reported regarding the relationship of RSK2 activity and human skin cancer. To elucidate the relationship of RSK2 activity and human skin cancer, we examined the effect of knocking down RSK2 expression on epidermal growth factor-induced anchorage-independent transformation in the premalignant HaCaT human skin keratinocyte cell line and on soft agar colony growth of SK-MEL-28 malignant melanoma cells. We found that the phosphorylated protein levels of RSK2 were enhanced in cancer tissues compared with normal tissues in a human skin cancer tissue array. We found that UVB stimulation induced increased in not only the total and phosphorylated protein levels of ERKs and RSK2 but also the nuclear localization and gene expression of RSK2. RSK2 knockdown inhibited proliferation and anchorage-independent transformation of HaCaT cells and soft agar colony growth of malignant melanoma cells. Moreover, RSK2–/– mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) showed enhanced sub-G1 accumulation induced by UVB stimulation compared with RSK2+/+ MEFs, indicating that RSK2 might play an important role in tolerance against stress associated with ultraviolet. Importantly, activated RSK2 protein levels were highly abundant in human skin cancer tissues compared with matched skin normal tissues. Taken together, our results demonstrated that RSK2 plays a key role in neoplastic transformation of human skin cells and in skin cancer growth.
Denial of the appropriate cell-matrix interaction in epithelial cells induces apoptosis and is called ‘anoikis’. Cancer cells are resistant to anoikis and it is believed that the resistance to anoikis helps promote tumor malignancy especially metastasis. We and others have demonstrated that the expression of tight junction protein claudin-1 is highly upregulated in colorectal cancer (CRC) and helps promote tumor progression and metastasis. However, molecular mechanism/s underlying claudin-1-dependent regulation of CRC progression remains poorly understood. In current study, we have determined that claudin-1 expression modulates anoikis in colon cancer cells to influence colon cancer invasion and thus metastasis. We have further provided data that claudin-1 modulates anoikis in a Src-Akt-Bcl-2-dependent manner. Importantly, claudin-1 physically associates with Src/p-Src in a multiprotein complex that also includes ZO-1, a PDZ-binding tight junction protein. Taken together, our data support the role of claudin-1 in the regulation of CRC progression and suggest that the regulation of anoikis may serve as a key regulatory mechanism in claudin-1-dependent regulation of CRC progression. Our findings are of direct clinical relevance and may open new therapeutic opportunity in colon cancer treatment and/or management.
Dysregulated WNT/β-catenin signaling in murine testes results in a phenotype with complete germ cell loss that resembles human Sertoli cell-only syndrome. In other systems, including the ovary, dysregulated WNT/β-catenin induces tumorigenesis but no tumors are observed in the mutant testes without deletion of a tumor suppressor, such as phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). Müllerian inhibiting substance (MIS, also known as AMH), a member of the transforming growth factor-β family of growth factors responsible for Müllerian duct regression in fetal males, has been shown to inhibit tumor growth in vitro and in vivo but its role as an endogenous tumor suppressor has never been reported. We have deleted the MIS type 2 receptor (MISR2), and thus MIS signaling, in mice with dysregulated WNT/β-catenin and show that these mice develop testicular stromal tumors with 100% penetrance within a few months postnatal. The tumors are highly proliferative and have characteristics of either Sertoli cell tumors or progenitor Leydig cell tumors based on their marker profiles and histology. Phosphorylated Sma and mothers against decapentaplegic-related homolog 1/5/8 is absent in the tumors and β-catenin target genes are induced. The tumor suppressor TP53 is also highly expressed in the tumors, as is phosphorylated γH2AX, which is indicative of DNA damage. The phenotype of these tumors closely resembles those observed when PTEN is also deleted in mice with dysregulated WNT/β-catenin. Tumorigenesis in these mice provides conclusive evidence that physiological MIS signaling is a tumor suppressor mechanism and suggests that targeted treatment of MISR2-expressing cancers with therapeutic MIS should have a beneficial effect on tumor progression.
Ceftriaxone, an FDA-approved third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic, has antimicrobial activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. Generally, ceftriaxone is used for a variety of infections such as community-acquired pneumonia, meningitis and gonorrhea. Its primary molecular targets are the penicillin-binding proteins. However, other activities of ceftriaxone remain unknown. Herein, we report for the first time that ceftriaxone has antitumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Kinase profiling results predicted that Aurora B might be a potential ‘off’ target of ceftriaxone. Pull-down assay data confirmed that ceftriaxone could bind with Aurora B in vitro and in A549 cells. Furthermore, ceftriaxone (500 µM) suppressed anchorage-independent cell growth by targeting Aurora B in A549, H520 and H1650 lung cancer cells. Importantly, in vivo xenograft animal model results showed that ceftriaxone effectively suppressed A549 and H520 lung tumor growth by inhibiting Aurora B. These data suggest the anticancer efficacy of ceftriaxone for the treatment of lung cancers through its inhibition of Aurora B.
Approximately half of prostate cancers (PCa) carry TMPRSS2-ERG translocations; however, the clinical impact of this genomic alteration remains enigmatic. Expression of v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene like (avian) gene (ERG) promotes prostatic epithelial dysplasia in transgenic mice and acquisition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) characteristics in human prostatic epithelial cells (PrECs). To explore whether ERG-induced EMT in PrECs was associated with therapeutically targetable transformation characteristics, we established stable populations of BPH-1, PNT1B and RWPE-1 immortalized human PrEC lines that constitutively express flag-tagged ERG3 (fERG). All fERG-expressing populations exhibited characteristics of in vitro and in vivo transformation. Microarray analysis revealed >2000 commonly dysregulated genes in the fERG-PrEC lines. Functional analysis revealed evidence that fERG cells underwent EMT and acquired invasive characteristics. The fERG-induced EMT transcript signature was exemplified by suppressed expression of E-cadherin and keratins 5, 8, 14 and 18; elevated expression of N-cadherin, N-cadherin 2 and vimentin, and of the EMT transcriptional regulators Snail, Zeb1 and Zeb2, and lymphoid enhancer-binding factor-1 (LEF-1). In BPH-1 and RWPE-1-fERG cells, fERG expression is correlated with increased expression of integrin-linked kinase (ILK) and its downstream effectors Snail and LEF-1. Interfering RNA suppression of ERG decreased expression of ILK, Snail and LEF-1, whereas small interfering RNA suppression of ILK did not alter fERG expression. Interfering RNA suppression of ERG or ILK impaired fERG-PrEC Matrigel invasion. Treating fERG-BPH-1 cells with the small molecule ILK inhibitor, QLT-0267, resulted in dose-dependent suppression of Snail and LEF-1 expression, Matrigel invasion and reversion of anchorage-independent growth. These results suggest that ILK is a therapeutically targetable mediator of ERG-induced EMT and transformation in PCa.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a complex disease with genetic and epigenetic alterations in many key oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. The active principle of a gum resin from Boswellia serrata, 3-acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), has recently gained attention as a chemopreventive compound due to its ability to target key oncogenic proteins such as 5-lipoxygenase and nuclear factor-kappaB. AKBA has been shown to inhibit the growth of CRC cells; however, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying its anticancer activities in CRC remain unclear. We hypothesized that boswellic acids may achieve their chemopreventive effects by modulating specific microRNA (miRNA) pathways. We found that AKBA significantly up-regulated expression of the let-7 and miR-200 families in various CRC cell lines. Both let-7 and miR-200 are putative tumor-suppressive miRNAs. AKBA modulated the expression of several downstream targets of the let-7 and miR-200 families, such as CDK6, vimentin and E-cadherin. These data were further strengthened by miRNA knockdown studies, which revealed that inhibition of let-7i facilitated enhanced cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion. In addition, AKBA also induced similar modulation of the let-7 and miR-200 downstream genes in CRC tumors orthotopically implanted in nude mice. These results indicate that AKBA-induced antitumor effects in CRC occur, at least partly through the up-regulation of specific miRNA pathways. Our data provide novel evidence that anticancer effects of boswellic acids are due in part to their ability to regulate cellular epigenetic machinery and further highlight the promise for this phytochemical in the preventative and therapeutic applications of CRC.
Plumbagin (PL), 5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone, is a quinoid constituent isolated from the roots of the medicinal plant Plumbago zeylanica L. (also known as chitrak). PL has also been found in Juglans regia (English Walnut), Juglans cinerea (whitenut) and Juglans nigra (blacknut). The roots of P. zeylanica have been used in Indian and Chinese systems of medicine for more than 2500 years for the treatment of various types of ailments. We were the first to report that PL inhibits the growth and invasion of hormone refractory prostate cancer (PCa) cells [Aziz,M.H. et al. (2008) Plumbagin, a medicinal plant-derived naphthoquinone, is a novel inhibitor of the growth and invasion of hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Cancer Res., 68, 9024–9032.]. Now, we present that PL inhibits in vivo PCa development in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP). PL treatment (2mg/kg body weight i.p. in 0.2ml phosphate-buffered saline, 5 days a week) to FVB–TRAMP resulted in a significant (P < 0.01) decrease in prostate tumor size and urogenital apparatus weights at 13 and 20 weeks. Histopathological analysis revealed that PL treatment inhibited progression of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) to poorly differentiated carcinoma (PDC). No animal exhibited diffuse tumor formation in PL-treated group at 13 weeks, whereas 75% of the vehicle-treated mice elicited diffuse PIN and large PDC at this stage. At 20 weeks, 25% of the PL-treated animals demonstrated diffuse PIN and 75% developed small PDC, whereas 100% of the vehicle-treated mice showed large PDC. PL treatment inhibited expression of protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε), signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 phosphorylation, proliferating cell nuclear antigen and neuroendocrine markers (synaptophysin and chromogranin-A) in excised prostate tumor tissues. Taken together, these results further suggest PL could be a novel chemopreventive agent against PCa.
Long-term treatment with thiopurines, such as the widely used anticancer, immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory agent azathioprine, combined with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is associated with increased oxidative stress, hyperphotosensitivity and high risk for development of aggressive squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. Sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate derived from broccoli, is a potent inducer of endogenous cellular defenses regulated by transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), including cytoprotective enzymes and glutathione, which in turn act as efficient indirect and direct antioxidants that have long-lasting effects. Treatment with 6-thioguanine, a surrogate for azathioprine, leads to profound sensitization to oxidative stress and glutathione depletion upon exposure to UVA radiation, the damaging effects of which are primarily mediated by generation of reactive oxygen species. The degree of sensitization is greater for irradiation exposures spanning the absorption spectrum of 6-thioguanine, and is dependent on the length of treatment and the level of guanine substitution with 6-thioguanine, suggesting that the 6-thioguanine that is incorporated in genomic DNA is largely responsible for this sensitization. Sulforaphane provides protection against UVA, but not UVB, radiation without affecting the levels of 6-thioguanine incorporation into DNA. The protective effect is lost under conditions of Nrf2 deficiency, implying that it is due to induction of Nrf2-dependent cytoprotective proteins, and that this strategy could provide protection against any potentially photosensitizing drugs that generate electrophilic or reactive oxygen species. Thus, our findings support the development of Nrf2 activators as protectors against drug-mediated photooxidative stress and encourage future clinical trials in populations at high risk for cutaneous photodamage and photocarcinogenesis.
Epidemiological data and studies in rodent models strongly support the role of estrogens in the development of breast cancers. Oxidative stress has been implicated in this carcinogenic process. We have recently demonstrated that antioxidants vitamin C or butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) severely inhibit 17β-estradiol (E2)-induced breast tumor development in female ACI rats. The objective of this study was to characterize the mechanism of antioxidant-mediated prevention of breast cancer. Female August Copenhagen Irish (ACI) rats were treated with E2, vitamin C, vitamin C + E2, BHA and BHA + E2 for up to 8 months. Superoxide dismutase 3 (SOD3) was suppressed in E2-exposed mammary tissues and in mammary tumors of rats treated with E2. This suppression was overcome by co-treatment of rats with E2 and vitamin C or BHA. 8-Hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) levels determined as a marker of oxidative DNA damage were higher in E2-exposed mammary tissues and in mammary tumors compared with age-matched controls. Vitamin C or BHA treatment significantly decreased E2-mediated increase in 8-OHdG levels in the mammary tissues and in MCF-10A cells. Increased DNA damage, colony and mammosphere formation, and migration in SOD3 knocked down MCF-10A cells, and nuclear translocation of SOD3 in vitamin C-treated mammary tissues and in MCF-10A cells suggest protective role of SOD3 against DNA damage and mammary carcinogenesis. Our studies further demonstrate that SOD3, but not SOD2 and SOD1, is induced by antioxidants and is regulated through NRF2. SOD3 may thus be an important gene in defense against oxidative stress and in the prevention of estrogen-mediated breast cancer.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways regulate many cellular functions including cell proliferation, differentiation, migration and apoptosis. We evaluate genetic variation in the c-Jun-N-terminal kinases, p38, and extracellular regulated kinases 1/2 MAPK-signaling pathways and colon and rectal cancer risk using data from population-based case-control studies (colon: n = 1555 cases, 1956 controls; rectal: n = 754 cases, 959 controls). We assess 19 genes (DUSP1, DUSP2, DUSP4, DUSP6, DUSP7, MAP2K1, MAP3K1, MAP3K2, MAP3K3, MAP3K7, MAP3K9, MAP3K10, MAP3K11, MAPK1, MAPK3, MAPK8, MAPK12, MAPK14 and RAF1). MAP2K1 rs8039880 [odds ratio (OR) = 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.38, 0.83; GG versus AA genotype] and MAP3K9 rs11625206 (OR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.14, 1.76; recessive model) were associated with colon cancer (P
adj value < 0.05). DUSP1 rs322351 (OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.09, 1.88; TT versus CC) and MAPK8 rs10857561 (OR = 1.48, 95% CI 1.08, 2.03; AA versus GG/GA) were associated with rectal cancer (P
adj < 0.05). Aspirin/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, cigarette smoking and body mass index interacted with several genes to alter cancer risk. Genetic variants had unique associations with KRAS, TP53 and CIMP+ tumors. DUSP2 rs1724120 [hazard rate ratio (HRR) = 0.72, 95%CI = 0.54, 0.96; AA versus GG/GA), MAP3K10 rs112956 (HRR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.10, 1.76; CT/TT versus CC) and MAP3K11 (HRR = 1.76, 95% CI 1.18, 2.62 TT versus GG/GT) influenced survival after diagnosis with colon cancer; MAP2K1 rs8039880 (HRR = 2.53, 95% CI 1.34, 4.79 GG versus AG/GG) and Raf1 rs11923427 (HRR = 0.59 95% CI = 0.40, 0.86; AA versus TT/TA) were associated with rectal cancer survival. These data suggest that genetic variation in the MAPK-signaling pathway influences colorectal cancer risk and survival after diagnosis. Associations may be modified by lifestyle factors that influence inflammation and oxidative stress.
Most colorectal cancers originate from polyps, however, only a small proportion of polyps progress to carcinomas. Genome-wide association studies have identified multiple single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in relation to colorectal cancer. Using these genetic risk variants, we evaluated whether colorectal cancer genetic factors may determine certain polyp phenotypes with different malignant potential. We analyzed 20 SNPs in 15 colorectal cancer susceptibility loci in a case–control study including 2473 cases (1831 with adenomas and 642 with hyperplastic polyps only) and 4019 controls. These patients were recruited from participants who received colonoscopy at two major hospitals in Nashville. A weighted genetic risk score (wGRS) was created to measure the cumulative association of multiple SNPs with polyp subtypes. Thirteen SNPs in 10 loci showed a statistically significant (P < 0.05, n = 9) or marginally significant (P < 0.10, n = 4) association with the risk of adenomas or hyperplastic polyps in the same direction as reported previously for colorectal cancer. A dose–response relation was observed between the wGRS and adenoma risk [per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.15, 95 confidence interval (CI): 1.10–1.20, P
trend = 7.3×10−10], with the association stronger for advanced than non-advanced adenomas (P
heterogeneity = 0.038), for multiple adenomas than a single adenoma (P
heterogeneity = 0.039), and for proximal than distal adenomas (P
heterogeneity = 0.038) and for adenomas diagnosed at younger than older age (P
heterogeneity = 0.031). A similar, but weak association between the wGRS and hyperplastic polyps was also observed (OR = 1.11, 95% CI: 1.04–1.18, P
trend = 0.002). These findings suggest that genetic factors play a significant role in the development of polyps with different malignant potential.
Genetic susceptibility to two-stage skin carcinogenesis is known to vary significantly among different stocks and strains of mice. In an effort to identify specific protein changes or altered signaling pathways associated with skin tumor promotion susceptibility, a proteomic approach was used to examine and identify proteins that were differentially expressed in epidermis between promotion-sensitive DBA/2 and promotion-resistant C57BL/6 mice following treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). We identified 19 differentially expressed proteins of which 5 were the calcium-binding proteins annexin A1, parvalbumin α, S100A8, S100A9, and S100A11. Further analyses revealed that S100A8 and S100A9 protein levels were also similarly differentially upregulated in epidermis of DBA/2 versus C57BL/6 mice following topical treatment with two other skin tumor promoters, okadaic acid and chrysarobin. Pathway analysis of all 19 identified proteins from the present study suggested that these proteins were components of several networks that included inflammation-associated proteins known to be involved in skin tumor promotion (e.g. TNF-α, NFκB). Follow-up studies revealed that Tnf, Nfkb1, Il22, Il1b, Cxcl1, Cxcl2 and Cxcl5 mRNAs were highly expressed in epidermis of DBA/2 compared with C57BL/6 mice at 24h following treatment with TPA. Furthermore, NFκB (p65) was also highly activated at the same time point (as measured by phosphorylation at ser276) in epidermis of DBA/2 mice compared with C57BL/6 mice. Taken together, the present data suggest that differential expression of genes involved in inflammatory pathways in epidermis may play a key role in genetic differences in susceptibility to skin tumor promotion in DBA/2 and C57BL/6 mice.
Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling pathways contain both tumor suppressor and tumor promoting activities. We have demonstrated that Nodal, another member of the TGF-β superfamily, and its receptors are expressed in prostate cancer cells. Nodal and TGF-β exerted similar biological effects on prostate cells; both inhibited proliferation in WPE, RWPE1 and DU145 cells, whereas neither had any effect on the proliferation of LNCaP or PC3 cells. Interestingly, Nodal and TGF-β induced migration in PC3 cells, but not in DU145 cells. TGF-β induced predominantly phosphorylation of Smad3, whereas Nodal induced phosphorylation of only Smad2. We also determined the expression and differential role of Ski, a corepressor of Smad2/3, in Nodal and TGF-β signaling in prostate cancer cells. Similar levels of Ski mRNA were found in several established prostate cell lines; however, high levels of Ski protein were only detected in prostate cancer cells and prostate cancer tissue samples. Exogenous Nodal and TGF-β had no effects on Ski mRNA levels. On the other hand, TGF-β induced a rapid degradation of Ski protein mediated by the proteasomal pathway, whereas Nodal had no effect on Ski protein. Reduced Ski levels correlated with increased basal and TGF-β-induced Smad2/3 phosphorylation. Knockdown of endogenous Ski reduced proliferation in DU145 cells and enhanced migration of PC3 cells. We conclude that high levels of Ski expression in prostate cancer cells may be responsible for repression of TGF-β and Smad3 signaling, but Ski protein levels do not influence Nodal and Smad2 signaling.
Biallelic germline mutations in the base excision repair enzyme gene MUTYH lead to multiple colorectal adenomas and carcinomas referred to as MUTYH-associated polyposis. MUTYH removes adenine misincorporated opposite the DNA oxidation product, 8-oxoguanine (OG), thereby preventing accumulation of G:C to T:A transversion mutations. The most common cancer-associated MUTYH variant proteins when expressed in bacteria exhibit reduced OG:A mismatch affinity and adenine removal activity. However, direct evaluation of OG:A mismatch repair efficiency in mammalian cells has not been assessed due to the lack of an appropriate assay. To address this, we developed a novel fluorescence-based assay of OG:A repair and measured the repair capacity of MUTYH-associated polyposis variants expressed in Mutyh−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). The repair of a single site–specific synthetic lesion in a green fluorescent protein reporter leads to green fluorescent protein expression with co-expression of a red fluorescent protein serving as the transfection control. Cell lines that stably express the MUTYH-associated polyposis variants G382D and Y165C have significantly lower OG:A repair versus wild-type MEFs and MEFs expressing human wild-type MUTYH. The MUTYH allele that encodes the Q324H variant is found at a frequency above 40% in samples from different ethnic groups and has long been considered phenotypically silent but has recently been associated with increased cancer risk in several clinical studies. In vitro analysis of Q324H MUTYH expressed in insect cells showed that it has reduced enzyme activity similar to that of the known cancer variant G382D. Moreover, we find that OG:A repair in MEFs expressing Q324H was significantly lower than wild-type controls, establishing that Q324H is functionally impaired and providing further evidence that this common variant may lead to increased cancer risk.
Using a mouse skin tumor model, we reported previously that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) deficiency reduced papilloma formation. However, this model did not differentiate between the effects of systemic COX-2-deficiency and keratinocyte-specific COX-2 deficiency on tumor formation. To determine whether keratinocyte-specific COX-2 deficiency reduced papilloma formation, v-H-ras-transformed COX-2+/+ and COX-2−/− keratinocytes were grafted onto nude mice and tumor development was compared. Transformed COX-2+/+ and COX-2−/− keratinocytes expressed similar levels of H-ras, epidermal growth factor receptor and phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 in vitro; and COX-2-deficiency did not reduce uninfected or v-H-ras infected keratinocyte replication. In contrast, tumors arising from grafted transformed COX-2+/+ and COX-2−/− keratinocytes expressed similar levels of H-ras, but COX-2 deficiency reduced phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and epidermal growth factor receptor levels 50–60% and tumor volume by 80% at 3 weeks. Two factors appeared to account for the reduced papilloma size. First, papillomas derived from COX-2−/− keratinocytes showed about 70% decreased proliferation, as measured by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, compared with papillomas derived from COX-2+/+ keratinocytes. Second, keratin 1 immunostaining of papillomas indicated that COX-2−/− keratinocytes prematurely initiated terminal differentiation. Differences in the levels of apoptosis and vascularization did not appear to be contributing factors as their levels were similar in tumors derived from COX-2−/− and COX-2+/+ keratinocytes. Overall, the data are in agreement with our previous observations that decreased papilloma number and size on COX-2−/− mice resulted from reduced keratinocyte proliferation and accelerated keratinocyte differentiation. Furthermore, the data indicate that deficiency/inhibition of COX-2 in the initiated keratinocyte is an important determinant of papilloma forming ability.
We have evaluated DNA damage (DNA adduct formation) after feeding benzo[a]pyrene (BP) to wild-type (WT) and cancer-susceptible Xpa(−/−)p53(+/−) mice deficient in nucleotide excision repair and haploinsufficient for the tumor suppressor p53. DNA damage was evaluated by high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/ES-MS/MS), which measures r7,t8,t9-trihydroxy-c-10-(N
2-deoxyguanosyl)-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene (BPdG), and a chemiluminescence immunoassay (CIA), using anti-r7,t8-dihydroxy-t-9,10-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene (BPDE)–DNA antiserum, which measures both BPdG and the other stable BP-DNA adducts. When mice were fed 100 ppm BP for 28 days, BP-induced DNA damage measured in esophagus, liver and lung was typically higher in Xpa(−/−)p53(+/−) mice, compared with WT mice. This result is consistent with the previously observed tumor susceptibility of Xpa(−/−)p53(+/−) mice. BPdG, the major DNA adduct associated with tumorigenicity, was the primary DNA adduct formed in esophagus (a target tissue in the mouse), whereas total BP-DNA adducts predominated in higher levels in the liver (a non-target tissue in the mouse). In an attempt to lower BP-induced DNA damage, we fed the WT and Xpa(−/−)p53(+/−) mice 0.3% chlorophyllin (CHL) in the BP-containing diet for 28 days. The addition of CHL resulted in an increase of BP–DNA adducts in esophagus, liver and lung of WT mice, a lowering of BPdG in esophagi of WT mice and livers of Xpa(−/−)p53(+/−) mice and an increase of BPdG in livers of WT mice. Therefore, the addition of CHL to a BP-containing diet showed a lack of consistent chemoprotective effect, indicating that oral CHL administration may not reduce PAH–DNA adduct levels consistently in human organs.
Increasing evidence shows that estrogens are involved in lung cancer proliferation and progression, and most human lung tumors express estrogen receptor β (ERβ) as well as aromatase. To determine if the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole prevents development of lung tumors induced by a tobacco carcinogen, alone or in combination with the ER antagonist fulvestrant, ovariectomized female mice received treatments with the tobacco carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) along with daily supplements of androstenedione, the substrate for aromatase. Placebo, anastrozole and/or fulvestrant were administered in both an initiation and a promotion protocol of lung tumorigenesis. The combination of fulvestrant and anastrozole given during NNK exposure resulted in significantly fewer NNK-induced lung tumors (mean = 0.5) compared with placebo (mean = 4.6, P < 0.001), fulvestrant alone (mean = 3.4, P < 0.001) or anastrozole alone (mean = 2.8, P = 0.002). A significantly lower Ki67 cell proliferation index was also observed compared with single agent and control treatment groups. Beginning antiestrogen treatment after NNK exposure, when preneoplastic lesions had already formed, also yielded maximum antitumor effects with the combination. Aromatase expression was found mainly in macrophages infiltrating preneoplastic and tumorous areas of the lungs, whereas ERβ was found in both macrophages and tumor cells. Antiestrogens, especially in combination, effectively inhibited tobacco carcinogen-induced murine lung tumorigenesis and may have application for lung cancer prevention. An important source of estrogen synthesis may be inflammatory cells that infiltrate the lungs in response to carcinogens, beginning early in the carcinogenesis process. ERβ expressed by inflammatory and neoplastic epithelial cells in the lung may signal in response to local estrogen production.
DNA polymerase eta (pol η) is the only DNA polymerase causally linked to carcinogenesis in humans. Inherited deficiency of pol η in the variant form of xeroderma pigmentosum (XPV) predisposes to UV-light-induced skin cancer. Pol η-deficient cells demonstrate increased sensitivity to cisplatin and oxaliplatin chemotherapy. We have found that XP30R0 fibroblasts derived from a patient with XPV are more resistant to cell kill by ionising radiation (IR) than the same cells complemented with wild-type pol η. This phenomenon has been confirmed in Burkitt’s lymphoma cells, which either expressed wild-type pol η or harboured a pol η deletion. Pol η deficiency was associated with accumulation of cells in S-phase, which persisted after IR. Cells deficient in pol η demonstrated increased homologous recombination (HR)-directed repair of double strand breaks created by IR. Depletion of the HR protein, X-ray repair cross-complementing protein 3 (XRCC3), abrogated the radioresistance observed in pol η-deficient cells as compared with pol η-complemented cells. These findings suggest that HR mediates S-phase-dependent radioresistance associated with pol η deficiency. We propose that pol η protein levels in tumours may potentially be used to identify patients who require treatment with chemo-radiotherapy rather than radiotherapy alone for adequate tumour control.
Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) has a high prevalence in the Black and Mixed Ancestry populations of South Africa. Recently, three genome-wide association studies in Chinese populations identified five new OSCC susceptibility loci, including variants at PLCE1, C20orf54, PDE4D, RUNX1 and UNC5CL, but their contribution to disease risk in other populations is unknown. In this study, we report testing variants from these five loci for association with OSCC in the South African Black (407 cases and 849 controls) and Mixed Ancestry (257 cases and 860 controls) populations. The RUNX1 variant rs2014300, which reduced risk in the Chinese population, was associated with an increased risk of OSCC in the Mixed Ancestry population [odds ratio (OR) = 1.33, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.09–1.63, P = 0.0055], and none of the five loci were associated in the Black population. Since PLCE1 variants increased the risk of OSCC in all three Chinese studies, this gene was investigated further by sequencing in 46 Black South Africans. This revealed 48 variants, 10 of which resulted in amino acid substitutions, and much lower linkage disequilibrium across the PLCE1 locus than in the Chinese population. We genotyped five PLCE1 variants in cases and controls, and found association of Arg548Leu (rs17417407) with a reduced risk of OSCC (OR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.60–0.93, P = 0.008) in the Black population. These findings indicate several differences in the genetic contribution to OSCC between the South African and Chinese populations that may be related to differences in their genetic architecture.
Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem, has a wide range of medicinal properties. Neem extracts and its purified products have been examined for induction of apoptosis in multiple cancer cell types; however, its underlying mechanisms remain undefined. We show that neem oil (i.e., neem), which contains majority of neem limonoids including azadirachtin, induced apoptotic and autophagic cell death. Gene silencing demonstrated that caspase cascade was initiated by the activation of caspase-9, whereas caspase-8 was also activated late during neem-induced apoptosis. Pretreatment of cancer cells with pan caspase inhibitor, z-VAD inhibited activities of both initiator caspases (e.g., caspase-8 and -9) and executioner caspase-3. Neem induced the release of cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) from mitochondria, suggesting the involvement of both caspase-dependent and AIF-mediated apoptosis. p21 deficiency caused an increase in caspase activities at lower doses of neem, whereas p53 deficiency did not modulate neem-induced caspase activation. Additionally, neem treatment resulted in the accumulation of LC3-II in cancer cells, suggesting the involvement of autophagy in neem-induced cancer cell death. Low doses of autophagy inhibitors (i.e., 3-methyladenine and LY294002) did not prevent accumulation of neem-induced LC3-II in cancer cells. Silencing of ATG5 or Beclin-1 further enhanced neem-induced cell death. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) or autophagy inhibitors increased neem-induced caspase-3 activation and inhibition of caspases enhanced neem-induced autophagy. Together, for the first time, we demonstrate that neem induces caspase-dependent and AIF-mediated apoptosis, and autophagy in cancer cells.
Red meat, processed and unprocessed, has been considered a potential prostate cancer (PCA) risk factor; epidemiological evidence, however, is inconclusive. An association between meat intake and PCA may be due to potent chemical carcinogens that are generated when meats are cooked at high temperatures. We investigated the association between red meat and poultry intake and localized and advanced PCA taking into account cooking practices and polymorphisms in enzymes that metabolize carcinogens that accumulate in cooked meats. We analyzed data for 1096 controls, 717 localized and 1140 advanced cases from the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study, a multiethnic, population-based case–control study. We examined nutrient density-adjusted intake of red meat and poultry and tested for effect modification by 12 SNPs and 2 copy number variants in 10 carcinogen metabolism genes: GSTP1, PTGS2, CYP1A2, CYP2E1, EPHX1, CYP1B1, UGT1A6, NAT2, GSTM1 and GSTT1. We observed a positive association between risk of advanced PCA and high intake of red meat cooked at high temperatures (trend P = 0.026), cooked by pan-frying (trend P = 0.035), and cooked until well-done (trend P = 0.013). An inverse association was observed for baked poultry and advanced PCA risk (trend P = 0.023). A gene-by-diet interaction was observed between an SNP in the PTGS2 gene and the estimated levels of meat mutagens (interaction P = 0.008). Our results support a role for carcinogens that accumulate in meats cooked at high temperatures as potential PCA risk factors, and may support a role for heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in PCA etiology.
Multiple lines of evidence support a role for curcumin in cancer chemoprevention. Nonetheless, despite its reported efficacy and safety profile, clinical translation of curcumin has been hampered by low oral bioavailability, requiring infeasible ‘mega’ doses for achieving detectable tissue levels. We have engineered a polymeric nanoparticle encapsulated formulation of curcumin (NanoCurc) to harness its full therapeutic potential. In the current study, we assessed the chemoprevention efficacy of NanoCurc administered via direct intraductal (i.duc) injection in a chemical carcinogen-induced rodent mammary cancer model. Specifically, Sprague–Dawley rats exposed to systemic N-methyl-N-nitrosourea were randomized to receive either oral free curcumin at a previously reported ‘mega’ dose (200mg/kg) or by direct i.duc injection of free curcumin or NanoCurc, respectively, each delivering 168 µg equivalent of curcumin per rodent teat (a ~20-fold lower dose per animal compared to oral administration). All three chemoprevention modalities resulted in significantly lower mammary tumor incidence compared with control rats; however, there was no significant difference in cancer incidence between the oral dosing and either i.duc arms. On the other hand, mean tumor size, was significantly smaller in the i.duc NanoCurc cohort compared with i.duc free curcumin (P < 0.0001), suggesting the possibility of better resectability for ‘breakthrough’ cancers. Reduction in cancer incidence was associated with significant decrease in nuclear factor -κB activation in the NanoCurc treated mammary epithelium explants, compared to either control or oral curcumin-administered rats. Our studies confirm the potential for i.duc NanoCurc as an alternative to the oral route for breast cancer chemoprevention in high-risk cohorts.
Increasing evidence shows the beneficial effects of fish oil on breast cancer growth and invasion in vitro and in animal models. Expression of CSF-1 (colony stimulating factor-1) by breast cancer cells acts as potent activator of malignancy and metastasis. In this report, we used two human breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7, to show that the bioactive fish oil component DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) inhibits expression of CSF-1 and its secretion from these cancer cells. We found that the tumor suppressor protein PTEN regulates CSF-1 expression through PI 3 kinase/Akt signaling via a transcriptional mechanism. The enhanced abundance of microRNA-21 (miR-21) in breast cancer cells contributes to the growth and metastasis. Interestingly, DHA significantly inhibited expression of miR-21. miR-21 Sponge, which derepresses the miR-21 targets, markedly decreased expression of CSF-1 and its secretion. Furthermore, miR-21-induced upregulation of CSF-1 mRNA and its transcription were prevented by expression of PTEN mRNA lacking 3′-untranslated region (UTR) and miR-21 recognition sequence. Strikingly, miR-21 reversed DHA-forced reduction of CSF-1 expression and secretion. Finally, we found that expression of miR-21 as well as CSF-1 was significantly attenuated in breast tumors of mice receiving a diet supplemented with fish oil. Our results reveal a novel mechanism for the therapeutic function of fish oil diet that blocks miR-21, thereby increasing PTEN levels to prevent expression of CSF-1 in breast cancer.
Understanding the initial mechanisms by which epithelial cells transform to an invasive phenotype is critical to the development of diagnostics that can identify the metastatic potential of cancers as well as therapeutic agents that can prevent metastases. Changes in cellular response to the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) cytokine are known to promote epithelial cell invasion and metastasis in part through induction of epithelial–mesenchymal transitions (EMTs). In this report, we demonstrate that non-metastatic human prostate cancer cell lines of increasing Gleason score can be induced to undergo EMT when treated with TGF-β in combination with epidermal growth factor. Mechanistic studies revealed that in cells stably transfected with activated Ras, TGF-β alone induced EMT and that a Ras-Raf-MEK1, but not MEK2, signaling cascade is necessary and sufficient for Erk2 nuclear localization that works in concert with TGF-β to promote EMT. Furthermore, we show for the first time that expression of the transcription factor c-myc, which is phosphorlyated by Erk2, is required for EMT. Characteristically, EMT involved adoption of a spindle-shaped morphology, loss of E-cadherin and increased expression of Vimentin, Fibronectin and Fibroblast Specific Protein-1 (S100A4). Prostate cells undergoing EMT became invasive and expressed several genes associated with metastasis, including MT-MMP1, MMP-2/9, the MMP-9 homodimer, Slug and Twist2. In sum, we demonstrate a novel mechanism by which non-invasive primary prostate tumor cells transition to an invasive phenotype characteristic of malignant tumor cells in response to TGF-β signaling.