Drug resistance is a major cause of failure in cancer chemotherapy. Therefore, identification and combined use of adjuvant compounds that can overcome drug resistance may improve the efficacy of cancer therapy. We screened extracts of Verticillium sp-infected mushrooms for anti-tumor compounds and identified the compound Verticillin A as an inducer of hepatoma cell apoptosis in vitro and an inhibitor of tumor xenograft growth in vivo. Verticillin A exhibited a potent apoptosis sensitizing activity in human colon carcinoma cells exposed to TRAIL or Fas in vitro. Furthermore, Verticillin A effectively sensitized metastatic human colon carcinoma xenograft to TRAIL-mediated growth inhibition in vivo. At the molecular level, we observed that Verticillin A induces cell cycle arrest in the G2 phase of the cell cycle in human colon carcinoma cells, markedly upregulating BNIP3 in both hepatoma and colon carcinoma cells. Notably, silencing BNIP3 decreased the sensitivity of tumor cells to Verticillin A-induced apoptosis in the absence or presence of TRAIL. We found that the BNIP3 promoter are methylated in both human hepatoma and colon carcinoma cells and tumor specimens. Verticillin A upregulated the expression of a panel of genes known to be regulated at the level of DNA methylation, in support of the concept that Verticillin A may act by demethylating the BNIP3 promoter to upregulate BNIP3 expression. Taken together, our findings identify Verticillin A as a potent apoptosis sensitizer with great promise for further development as an adjuvant agent to overcome drug resistance in human cancer therapy.
Verticillin A; Drug Resistance; TRAIL; Fas; BNIP3
Trastuzumab shows remarkable efficacy in treatment of ErbB2-positive breast cancers when used alone or in combination with other chemotherapeutics. However, acquired resistance develops in most treated patients, necessitating alternate treatment strategies. Increased aerobic glycolysis is a hallmark of cancer and inhibition of glycolysis may offer a promising strategy to preferentially kill cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the antitumor effects of trastuzumab in combination with glycolysis inhibitors in ErbB2-positive breast cancer. We found that trastuzumab inhibits glycolysis via downregulation of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) and lactate dehydrogenase A (LDH-A) in ErbB2-positive cancer cells, resulting in tumor growth inhibition. Moreover, increased glycolysis via HSF1 and LDH-A contributes to trastuzumab resistance. Importantly, we found that combining trastuzumab with glycolysis inhibition synergistically inhibited trastuzumab-sensitive and -resistant breast cancers in vitro and in vivo, due to more efficient inhibition of glycolysis. Taken together, our findings show how glycolysis inhibition can dramatically enhance the therapeutic efficacy of trastuzumab in ErbB2-positive breast cancers, potentially useful as a strategy to overcome trastuzumab resistance.
Warburg effect; glycolysis; HSF1; LDH-A; trastuzumab; ErbB2; resistance
Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) receptors are centrally involved in TGF-β-mediated cell growth and differentiation and are frequently inactivated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Constitutively decreased type I TGF-β receptor (TGFBR1) expression is emerging as a novel tumor-predisposing phenotype. The association of TGFBR1 haplotypes with risk for NSCLC has not yet been studied. We tested the hypothesis that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and/or TGFBR1 haplotypes are associated with risk of NSCLC. We genotyped six TGFBR1 haplotype tagging SNPs (htSNPs) by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assays and one htSNP by PCR-single strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) assay in two case-control studies. Case-control study 1 included 102 NSCLC patients and 104 healthy controls from Suzhou. Case-control study 2 included 131 patients with NSCLC and 133 healthy controls from Wuxi. Individuals included in both case-control studies were Han Chinese. Haplotypes were reconstructed according to the genotyping data and linkage disequilibrium (LD) status of these seven htSNPs. None of the htSNP was associated with NSCLC risk in either study. However, a four-marker haplotype CTGC was significantly more common among controls than among cases in both studies (P=0.014 and P=0.010, respectively) indicating that this haplotype is associated with decreased NSCLC risk (adjusted OR, 0.09; 95% CI, 0.01-0.61 and adjusted OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.02-0.59, respectively). Combined analysis of both studies shows a strong association of this four-marker haplotype with decreased NSCLC risk (adjusted OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.03-0.39). This is the first evidence of an association between a TGFBR1 haplotype and risk for NSCLC.
NSCLC; TGFBR1; Polymorphisms; Haplotypes; Risk
IFN regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) is a key transcription factor for myeloid cell differentiation and its expression is frequently lost in hematopoietic cells of human myeloid leukemia patients. IRF8-deficient mice exhibit uncontrolled clonal expansion of undifferentiated myeloid cells that can progress to a fatal blast crisis, thereby resembling human chronic myelogeneous leukemia (CML). Therefore, IRF8 is a myeloid leukemia suppressor. While the understanding of IRF8 function in CML has recently improved, the molecular mechanisms underlying IRF8 function in CML is still largely unknown. In this study, we identified acid ceramidase (A-CDase) as a general transcription target of IRF8. We demonstrated that IRF8 expression is regulated by IRF8 promoter DNA methylation in myeloid leukemia cells. Restoration of IRF8 expression repressed A-CDase expression, resulting in C16 ceramide accumulation and increased sensitivity of CML cells to FasL-induced apoptosis. In myeloid cells derived from IRF8-deficient mice, A-CDase protein level was dramatically increased. Furthermore, we demonstrated that IRF8 directly bind to the A-CDase promoter. At the functional level, inhibition of A-CDase activity, silencing A-CDase expression or application of exogenous C16 ceramide sensitized CML cells to FasL-induced apoptosis, whereas, overexpression of A-CDase decreased CML cells sensitivity to FasL-induced apoptosis. Consequently, restoration of IRF8 expression suppressed CML development in vivo at least partially through a Fas-dependent mechanism. In summary, our findings determine the mechanism of IRF8 downregulation in CML cells and they determine a primary pathway of resistance to Fas-mediated apoptosis and disease progression.
Defective expression of LATS2, a negative regulator of YAP onco-protein, has been reported in cancer of prostate, breast, liver, brain and blood origins. However, no transcriptional regulators for the LATS2 gene have been identified. Defective expression of LATS2, a negative regulator of YAP oncoprotein, has been reported in prostate, breast, liver, brain and blood cancers. However, the basis for LATS2 dysregulation in cancer is undefined. Here we report that spontaneous mutation of the transcription factor FOXP3 reduces expression of the LATS2 gene in mammary epithelial cells. shRNA-mediated silencing of FOXP3 in normal or malignant mammary epithelial cells of mouse and human origin repressed LATS2 expression and increased YAP protein levels. LATS2 induction required binding of FOXP3 to a specific sequence in the LATS2 promoter, and this interaction contributed to FOXP3-mediated growth inhibition of tumor cells. In support of these results, reduced expression and somatic mutations of FOXP3 correlated strongly with defective LATS2 expression in microdissected prostate cancer tissues. Thus, defective expression of LATS2 is attributable to FOXP3 defects and may be a major independent determinant of YAP protein elevation in cancer. Our findings identify a novel mechanism of LATS2 downregulation in cancer and reveal an important tumor suppressor relay between the FOXP3 and HIPPO pathways which are widely implicated in human cancer.
prostate cancer; breast cancer; Hippo pathway; FoxP3; tumor suppressor genes
CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T-regulatory cells (Tregs) accumulate in tumors, however little is known about how the tumor environment influences this process. Here we show that human melanomas express ICOS-ligand (ICOS-L/B7H) that can provide costimulation through ICOS for the expansion of activated Tregs maintaining high Foxp3 and CD25 expression as well as suppressive function. Thus, ICOS-L expression by melanoma tumor cells may directly drive Treg activation and expansion in the tumor microenvironment as another mechanism of immune evasion.
Melanoma; ICOSL; Treg; Foxp3; ICOS
C19ORF5 is a sequence homologue of microtubule-associated proteins MAP1A/MAP1B of unknown function, except for its association with mitochondria-associated proteins and the paclitaxel-like microtubule stabilizer and candidate tumor suppressor RASSF1A. Here, we show that when overexpressed in mammalian cells the recombinant 393-amino acid residue COOH terminus of C19ORF5 (C19ORF5C) exhibited four types of distribution patterns proportional to expression level. Although normally distributed throughout the cytosol without microtubular association, C19ORF5C specifically accumulated on stabilized microtubules in paclitaxel-treated cells and interacted directly with paclitaxel-stabilized microtubules in vitro. The native 113-kDa full-length C19ORF5 and a shorter 56-kDa form similarly associated with stabilized microtubules in liver cells and stabilized microtubules from their lysates. As C19ORF5 accumulated, it appeared on mitochondria and progressively induced distinct perinuclear aggregates of mitochondria. C19ORF5 overlapped with cytochrome c-deficient mitochondria with reduced membrane potential. Mitochondrial aggregation resulted in gross degradation of DNA, a cell death–related process we refer to as mitochondrial aggregation and genome destruction (MAGD). Deletion muta-genesis revealed that the C19ORF5 hyperstabilized microtubule-binding domain resides in a highly basic sequence of <100 residues, whereas the MAGD activity resides further downstream in a distinct 25-residue sequence (F967–A991). Our results suggest that C19ORF5 mediates communication between the microtubular cytoskeleton and mitochondria in control of cell death and defective genome destruction through distinct bifunctional structural domains. The accumulation of C19ORF5 and resultant MAGD signaled by hyperstabilized microtubules may be involved in the tumor suppression activity of RASSF1A, a natural microtubule stabilizer and interaction partner with C19ORF5, and the taxoid drug family.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays an essential role in colon carcinogenesis. Galectin-3, a β-galactoside-binding protein, has been implicated in Wnt signaling, but the precise mechanisms by which galectin-3 modulates the Wnt pathway are unknown. In the present study, we determined the effects of galectin-3 on the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in colon cancer cells, and the mechanisms involved. Galectin-3 levels were manipulated in human colon cancer cells by stable transfection of galectin-3 antisense, shRNA or full length galectin-3 cDNA, and effects on β-catenin levels, subcellular distribution, and Wnt signaling determined. Galectin-3 levels correlated with β-catenin levels in a variety of colon cancer cell lines. Down-regulation of galectin-3 resulted in decreased β-catenin protein levels but no change in β-catenin mRNA levels, suggesting that galectin-3 modulates β-catenin by another mechanism. Reduction of galectin-3 led to reduced nuclear β-catenin with a concomitant decrease in TCF4 transcriptional activity and expression of its target genes. Conversely, transfection of galectin-3 cDNA into colon cancer cells increased β-catenin expression and TCF4 transcriptional activity. Down-regulation of galectin-3 resulted in AKT and glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β dephosphorylation and increased GSK activity, increasing β-catenin phosphorylation and degradation. Ly294002, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and dominant-negative AKT suppressed TCF4 transcriptional activity induced by galectin-3, while LiCl, a GSK-3β inhibitor, increased TCF4 activity, mimicking the effects of galectin-3. These results suggest that galectin-3 mediates Wnt signaling, at least in part, by regulating GSK-3β phosphorylation and activity via the PI3K/AKT pathway, and thus the degradation of β-catenin in colon cancer cells.
Galectin-3; β-catenin; TCF4; GSK-3β activity; PI3K/AKT pathway
Recent genome-wide association studies have linked the chromosome 15q24-25.1 locus to nicotine addiction and lung cancer susceptibility. To refine the 15q24-25.1 locus, we performed a haplotype-based association analysis of 194 familial lung cases and 219 cancer-free controls from the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium (GELCC) collection, and used proliferation and apoptosis analyses to determine which gene(s) in the 15q24-25.1 locus mediates effects on lung cancer cell growth in vitro. We identified two distinct subregions, hapL (P = 3.20 × 10−6) and hapN (P = 1.51 × 10−6), which were significantly associated with familial lung cancer. hapL encompasses IREB2, LOC123688,and PSMA4, and hapN encompasses the three nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes CHRNA5, CHRNA3,and CHRNB4. Examination of the genes around hapL revealed that PSMA4 plays a role in promoting cancer cell proliferation. PSMA4 mRNA levels were increased in lung tumors compared with normal lung tissues. Down-regulation of PSMA4 expression decreased proteasome activity and induced apoptosis. Proteasome dysfunction leads to many diseases including cancer, and drugs that inhibit proteasome activity show promise as a form of cancer treatment. Genes around hapN were also investigated, but did not show any direct effect on lung cancer cell proliferation. We concluded that PSMA4 is a strong candidate mediator of lung cancer cell growth,and may directly affect lung cancer susceptibility through its modulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis.
We investigated the genotype-dependent therapeutic potential of targeting the PI3K/Akt pathway for thyroid cancer. Proliferation of TPC1, Hth7, FTC133, OCUT1, K1, and BCPAP cells that harbored PI3K/Akt-activating genetic alterations was potently inhibited by the Akt inhibitor perifosine whereas SW1736, Hth74, WRO, KAT18, and TAD2 cells that harbored no genetic alterations had no or only modest responses. Inhibition of Akt phosphorylation by perifosine was seen in these cells. Genetic-dependent apoptosis was induced by perifosine in cells selectively tested. Similarly, potent inhibition of cell proliferation by the mTOR inhibitor temsirolimus occurred in virtually all the cells harboring genetic alterations whereas modest inhibition was seen in some of the cells not harboring genetic alterations. Temsirolimus inhibited the phosphorylation of p70S6K, a substrate of mTOR. Knockdown of Akt1/2 or mTOR by shRNA approach inhibited the proliferation and colony formation of FTC133 and OCUT1 cells that harbored genetic alterations in the PI3K/Akt pathway but had no effect on SW1736 and KAT18 cells that did not. Transfection with PIK3CA mutants greatly sensitized SW1736 cells to perifosine and temsirolimus. Growth of xenograft tumors derived from FTC133 cells but not SW1736 cells in nude mice was dramatically inhibited by perifosine. Thus, this work for the first time demonstrates that genetic alterations in the PI3K/Akt pathway confer thyroid cancer cells addiction to this pathway and their sensitivity to inhibition by targeting Akt and mTOR. This genotype-based targeting of the PI3K/Akt pathway using Akt and mTOR inhibitors may offer an effective therapeutic strategy for thyroid cancer and warrants further studies.
Thyroid cancer; PI3K/Akt pathway; genetic alteration; perifosine; temsirolimus
FOXP3 is inactivated in breast cancer cells by a number of mechanisms, including somatic mutations, deletion and epigenetic silencing. Since the mutation and deletion are usually heterozygous in the cancer samples, it is of interest to determine whether the gene can be induced for the purpose of cancer therapy. Here we report that anisomycin, a potent activator of ATF2, and JNK, induces expression of FoxP3 in both normal and malignant mammary epithelial cells. The induction is mediated by ATF2 and c-Jun. Targeted mutation of ATF2 abrogates both constitutive and inducible expression of FoxP3 in normal epithelial cells. Both ATF2 and c-Jun interact with a novel enhancer in the intron 1 of the FoxP3 locus. Moreover, shRNA silencing of ATF2 and FoxP3 reveals an important role of ATF2-FoxP3 pathway in the anisomycin-induced apoptosis of breast cancer cells. A low dose of anisomycin was also remarkably effective in treating established mammary tumor in the mice. Our data demonstrated that FoxP3 can be reactivated for cancer therapy.
FoxP3; breast cancer; tumor suppressor gene
p21-loss has been implicated in conferring oncogenic activity to known tumor suppressor gene KLF4 and cancer drug tamoxifen. Regulators of p21 therefore play critical roles in tumorigenesis. Here we report that X-linked tumor suppressor FOXP3 is essential for p21 expression in normal epithelia and that lack of FOXP3 associated with p21 down-regulation in breast cancer samples. A specific FOXP3 binding site in the intron 1 is essential for p21 induction by FOXP3. FOXP3 specifically inhibited binding of histone deacetylase (HDAC) 2 and 4 to the site and increased local histone H3 acetylation. ShRNA silencing of either HDAC2 or HDAC4 is sufficient to induce p21 expression. Our data provides a novel mechanism for transcriptional activation by FOXP3 and a genetic mechanism for lack of p21 in a large proportion of breast cancer.
A long-standing but poorly understood observation in experimental cancer therapy is the heterogeneity in cancer susceptibility to energy deprivation. Here we show that the hexose kinase inhibitor, 2-deoxyl glucose (2-dG), preferentially kills cancer cells with defective Laforin expression and significantly increases the survival of mice with aggressive lymphoma due to a genetic defect of the Laforin-encoding Epm2a gene. Normal cells from Epm2a−/− mice also had greatly increased susceptibility to 2-dG. Thus, Laforin is a novel regulator for cellular response to energy-deprivation and its defects in cancer cells may be targeted for cancer therapy.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a biological sensor for cellular energy status, has been shown to act upstream and downstream of known tumour suppressors. However, whether AMPK itself plays a tumor suppressor role in cancer remains unclear. Here, we found that the α2 catalytic subunit isoform of AMPK is significantly down-regulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Clinicopathological analysis revealed that under-expression of AMPK-α2 was statistically associated with an undifferentiated cellular phenotype and poor patient prognosis. Loss of AMPK-α2 in HCC cells rendered them more tumorigenic than control cells both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, ectopic expression of AMPK enhanced the acetylation and stability of p53 in HCC cells. The p53 deacetylase, SIRT1, was phosphorylated and inactivated by AMPK at Thr-344, promoting p53 acetylation and apoptosis of HCC cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that under-expression of AMPK is frequently observed in HCC, and that inactivation of AMPK promotes hepatocarcinogenesis by destabilising p53 in a SIRT1-dependent manner.
AMPK; SIRT1; HCC; p53; phosphorylation
Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial pediatric solid tumor with an undifferentiated status and generally poor prognosis, but the basis for these characteristics remains unknown. In this study, we show that upregulation of the Polycomb complex histone methytransferase EZH2, which limits differentiation in many tissues, is critical to maintain the undifferentiated state and poor prognostic status of NB by epigenetic repression of multiple tumor suppressor genes. We identified this role for EZH2 by examining the regulation of CASZ1, a recently identified NB tumor suppressor gene whose ectopic restoration inhibits NB cell growth and induces differentiation. Reducing EZH2 expression by RNAi-mediated knockdown or pharmacological inhibiton with 3-deazaneplanocin A (DZNep) increased CASZ1 expression, inhibited NB cell growth and induced neurite extension. Similarly, EZH2−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) displayed 3-fold higher levels of CASZ1 mRNA compared to EZH2+/+ MEFs. In cells with increased expression of CASZ1, treatment with HDAC inhibitors decreased expression of EZH2 and the Polycomb complex component SUZ12. Under steady-state conditions H3K27me3 and PRC2 components bound to the CASZ1 gene were enriched, but this enrichment was decreased after HDAC inhibitor treatment. We determined that the tumor suppressors CLU, NGFR and RUNX3 were also directly repressed by EZH2 like CASZ1 in NB cells. Together, our findings establish that aberrant upregulation of EZH2 in NB cells silences several tumor suppressors, which contribute to the genesis and maintenance of the undifferentiated phenotype of NB tumors.
CASZ1; neuroblastoma; EZH2; NGFR; CLU; RUNX3
Cyclin D1 regulates cell proliferation and is a candidate molecular target for breast cancer therapy. The current work addresses whether Cyclin D1 is indispensable for ErbB2-associated mammary tumor initiation and progression using a breast cancer model in which this cell cycle regulator can be genetically ablated prior to or after neoplastic transformation. Deficiency in Cyclin D1 delayed tumor onset but did not prevent the occurrence of mammary cancer in mice overexpressing wildtype ErbB2. The lack of Cyclin D1 was associated with a compensatory upregulation of Cyclin D3, which explains why the targeted downregulation of Cyclin D1 in established mammary tumors had no effect on cancer cell proliferation. Cyclin D1 and D3 are overexpressed in human breast cancer cell lines and primary invasive breast cancers, and Cyclin D3 frequently exceeded the expression of Cyclin D1 in ErbB2-positive cases. The simultaneous inhibition of both cyclins in mammary tumor cells reduced cancer cell proliferation in vitro and decreased the tumor burden in vivo. Collectively, the results of this study suggest that only the combined inhibition of Cyclin D1 and D3 might be a suitable strategy for breast cancer prevention and therapy.
Cyclin D; Gene Targeting; Tetracycline Transactivator; ErbB2; Mammary Gland Development; Breast Cancer
Gliomas, which generally have a poor prognosis, are the most common primary malignant brain tumors in adults. Recent genome-wide association studies have demonstrated that inherited susceptibility plays a role in the development of glioma. Although first-degree relatives of patients exhibit a two-fold increased risk of glioma, the search for susceptibility loci in familial forms of the disease has been challenging because the disease is relatively rare, fatal, and heterogeneous, making it difficult to collect sufficient biosamples from families for statistical power. To address this challenge, the Genetic Epidemiology of Glioma International Consortium (Gliogene) was formed to collect DNA samples from families with two or more cases of histologically confirmed glioma. In this study, we present results obtained from 46 U.S. families in which multipoint linkage analyses were undertaken using nonparametric (model-free) methods. After removal of high linkage disequilibrium SNPs, we obtained a maximum nonparametric linkage score (NPL) of 3.39 (P=0.0005) at 17q12–21.32 and the Z-score of 4.20 (P=0.000007). To replicate our findings, we genotyped 29 independent U.S. families and obtained a maximum NPL score of 1.26 (P=0.008) and the Z-score of 1.47 (P=0.035). Accounting for the genetic heterogeneity using the ordered subset analysis approach, the combined analyses of 75 families resulted in a maximum NPL score of 3.81 (P=0.00001). The genomic regions we have implicated in this study may offer novel insights into glioma susceptibility, focusing future work to identify genes that cause familial glioma.
Glioma; family studies; linkage; haplotype pattern; NPL
Dysfunctional autophagy is associated with tumorigenesis, yet the relationship between the two processes remains unclear. Here, we show that MAP1S levels immediately become elevated in response to diethylnitrosamine-induced or genome instability-driven metabolic stress in a murine model of hepatocarcinoma. Upregulation of MAP1S enhanced autophagy to remove aggresomes and dysfunctional organelles that trigger DNA double strand breaks and genome instability. The early accumulation of an unstable genome prior to signs of tumorigenesis suggested that genome instability caused tumorigenesis. After tumorigenesis, tumor development then triggered the activation of autophagy to reduce genome instability in tumor foci. We therefore conclude that an increase in MAP1S levels triggers autophagy in order to suppress genome instability, so that both the incidence of diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis and malignant progression are suppressed. Taken together, the data establish a link between MAP1S-enhanced autophagy and suppression of genomic instability and tumorigenesis.
Histone modification determines epigenetic patterns of gene expression with methylation of histone H3 at lysine 4 (H3K4) often associated with active promoters. LSD1/KDM1 is a histone demethylase that suppresses gene expression by converting di-methylated H3K4 to mono- and un-methylated H3K4. LSD1 is essential for metazoan development but its pathophysiological functions in cancer remain mainly uncharacterized. In this study, we developed specific bioactive small inhibitors of LSD1 that enhance H3K4 methylation and derepress epigenetically suppressed genes in vivo. Strikingly, these compounds inhibited the proliferation of pluripotent cancer cells including teratocarcinoma, embryonic carcinoma, and seminoma or embryonic stem cells that express the stem cell markers Oct4 and Sox2, while displaying minimum growth inhibitory effects on non-pluripotent cancer or normal somatic cells. RNAi-mediated knockdown of LSD1 expression phenocopied these effects, confirming the specificity of small molecules and further establishing the high degree of sensitivity and selectivity of pluripotent cancer cells to LSD1 ablation. In support of these results, we found that LSD1 protein level is highly elevated in pluripotent cancer cells and in human testicular seminoma tissues that express Oct4. Using these novel chemical inhibitors as probes, our findings establish LSD1 and histone H3K4 methylation as essential cancer-selective epigenetic targets in pluripotent cancer cells that have stem cell properties.
LSD1/KDM1; Histone H3 Methylation at K4 (H3K4); Histone Demethylase; Pluripotent Cancer Cell; Cancer Stem Cell
Epidemiological studies have linked shortened telomeres with the development of many cancers. However, recent studies have suggested that longer telomeres may lead to prolonged senescence in melanocytes, providing increased opportunity for malignant transformation. We therefore examined whether shorter pre-diagnostically measured relative telomere length in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) was associated with a decreased risk of cutaneous melanoma. Telomere length in prospectively collected PBLs was measured in incident melanoma cases and age-matched controls selected from participants in three large prospective cohorts: the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS), the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), and the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS). Shorter telomere lengths were associated with decreased risk of melanoma in each cohort. The p for trend across quartiles was 0.03 in the WHI-OS and 0.008 in the HPFS. When combining these two datasets with published data in the NHS (p for trend, 0.09), compared with individuals in the fourth quartile (the longest telomere lengths), those in the first quartile had an odds ratio of 0.43 (95% CI, 0.28–0.68) (p for trend, 0.0003). Unlike findings for other tumors, shorter telomeres were significantly associated with a decreased risk of melanoma in this study, suggesting a unique role of telomeres in melanoma development.
Telomere length; peripheral blood leukocytes; melanoma; skin cancer; prospective study
Estrogen receptor α (ER)-positive breast cancers adapt to hormone deprivation and become resistant to antiestrogens. In this study, we sought to identify kinases essential for growth of ER+ breast cancer cells resistant to long term estrogen deprivation (LTED). A kinome-wide siRNA screen showed that the insulin receptor (InsR) is required for growth of MCF7/LTED cells. Knockdown of InsR and/or insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) inhibited growth of 3/4 LTED cell lines. Inhibition of InsR and IGF-1R with the dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor OSI-906 prevented the emergence of hormone-independent cells and tumors in vivo, inhibited parental and LTED cell growth and PI3K/AKT signaling, and suppressed growth of established MCF-7 xenografts in ovariectomized mice, whereas treatment with the neutralizing IGF-1R monoclonal antibody MAB391 was ineffective. Combined treatment with OSI-906 and the ER downregulator fulvestrant more effectively suppressed hormone-independent tumor growth than either drug alone. Finally, an insulin/IGF-1 gene expression signature predicted recurrence-free survival in patients with ER+ breast cancer treated with the antiestrogen tamoxifen. We conclude that therapeutic targeting of both InsR and IGF-1R should be more effective than targeting IGF-1R alone in abrogating resistance to endocrine therapy in breast cancer.
Insulin receptor; IGF-1R; PI3K; ER+ breast cancer; endocrine resistance
Mutant p53 is frequently detected in cancers lose of its ability in tumor suppression and gain of function in promoting tumor progression. Restoration of p53 functions by replacement of wild-type p53 and inhibition of its degradation or increment of its transcriptional activity has been applied in prevention and treatment of cancers. Recent evidence indicates that disrupting ceramide glycosylation can resuscitate wild-type p53 expression and p53-dependent apoptosis in mutant p53 tumors. Acting in posttranscriptional process that can turn on wild-type p53 expression and abrogate mutant p53 presents a tractable new strategy to eradicate mutant p53 cancers.
mutant p53; resuscitation; glucosylceramide synthase; ceramide; apoptosis
Although the molecular changes that characterize gliomas have been studied, the pathogenesis of tumor development remains unclear. p21 contributes to gliomagenesis by stabilizing cyclin D1-cdk4 kinase complexes, suggesting that cyclin D1 and cdk4 may also be required for glial tumor development. In this study, we used a mouse model to attempt to confirm this hypothesis, finding that cyclin D1 and cdk4 played active roles in not only the tumor but also the tumor microenvironment. Loss of cdk4 blocked tumor development, but loss of cyclin D1 did not prevent gliomas from developing. Instead, loss of cyclin D1 impeded progression to higher stages of malignancy. Enforcing expression of cyclin D1 was insufficient to correct the progression defect observed in cyclin D1 deficient animals. In contrast, restoration of cdk4 in the cdk4 deficient animals restored cell proliferation and tumor formation, although at lower tumor grades. Notably, the failure of tumors in the cyclin D1 and cdk4 deficient animals to progress to higher grades was correlated with a failure to fully activate microglia in the tumor microenvironment. Moreover, when PDGF-transformed glial cells were engrafted orthotopically into the mice, the tumors that formed progressed to high grades in wild type mice but not cyclin D1 deficient animals. Together, our findings establish that the cyclinD1-cdk4 axis is not only critical in glial tumor cells, but also in stromal-derived cells in the surrounding tumor microenvironment that are vital to sustain tumor outgrowth.
glioma; cyclin; cdk; tumor-associated microglia
Prostate specific promoters are frequently employed in gene mediated molecular imaging and therapeutic vectors to diagnose and treat castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) that emerges from hormone ablation therapy. Many of the conventional prostate specific promoters rely on the androgen axis to drive gene expression. However, considering the cancer heterogeneity and varying androgen receptor status, we herein evaluated the utility of prostate specific enhancing sequence (PSES), an androgen-independent promoter in CRPC. The PSES is a fused enhancer derived from the prostate specific antigen (PSA) and prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) gene regulatory region. We augmented the activity of PSES by the two-step transcriptional amplification (TSTA) system to drive the expression of imaging reporter genes for either bioluminescent or positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. The engineered PSES-TSTA system exhibits greatly elevated transcriptional activity, androgen-independency and strong prostate specificity, verified in cell culture and preclinical animal experimentations. These advantageous features of PSES-TSTA elicit superior gene expression capability for CRPC in comparison to the androgen-dependent PSA promoter driven system. In preclinical settings, we demonstrated robust PET imaging capacity of PSES-TSTA in a castrated prostate xenograft model. Moreover, intravenous administrated PSES-TSTA bioluminescent vector correctly identified tibial bone marrow metastases in 9 out of 9 animals while NaF- and FDG-PET was unable to detect the lesions. Taken together, this study demonstrated that the promising utility of a potent, androgen-independent and prostate cancer-specific expression system in directing gene-based molecular imaging in CRPC even in the context of androgen deprivation therapy.
androgen independent; castration resistant; molecular imaging; bone metastasis; two step transcriptional amplification
Ewing's sarcoma family tumors (ESFTs) are aggressive malignancies which frequently harbor characteristic EWS-FLI1 or EWS-ERG genomic fusions. Here we report that these fusion products interact with the DNA damage response protein and transcriptional co-regulator PARP-1. ESFT cells, primary tumor xenografts and tumor metastases were all highly sensitive to PARP1 inhibition. Addition of a PARP1 inhibitor to the second-line chemotherapeutic agent temozolamide resulted in complete responses of all treated tumors in an EWS-FLI1-driven mouse xenograft model of ESFT. Mechanistic investigations revealed that DNA damage induced by expression of EWS-FLI1 or EWS-ERG fusion genes was potentiated by PARP1 inhibition in ESFT cell lines. Notably, EWS-FLI1 fusion genes acted in a positive feedback loop to maintain the expression of PARP1, which was required for EWS-FLI-mediated transcription, thereby enforcing oncogene-dependent sensitivity to PARP-1 inhibition. Together, our findings offer a strong preclinical rationale to target the EWS-FLI1: PARP1 intersection as a therapeutic strategy to improve the treatment of Ewing's sarcoma family tumors.
Ewing’s Sarcoma; Prostate cancer; Gene Fusion; FLI1; PARP1