Menin acts as contextual a tumor suppressor and a tumor promoter, partly via epigenetic regulation of gene transcription. While menin is phosphorylated, it remains unclear whether wild type menin has other post-translational modifications. Here, we report that menin is SUMOylated by SUMO1 in vivo and in vitro, and the SUMOylation is reduced by a SUMO protease. Lysine 591 of menin was covalently modified by SUMO1 and K591R mutation in menin blocked SUMOylation of the C-terminal part of menin in transfected cells. Full-length menin with K591 mutation was still SUMOylated in vivo, suggesting the existence of multiple SUMOylation sites. Menin K591R mutant or menin-SUMO fusion protein still retains the ability to regulate cell proliferation and the expression of the examined menin target genes.
Menin; SUMOylation; SUMO1; K591R
Clear cell carcinoma of the endometrium (CCC) is an uncommon histotype whose analyses have generally been hampered by its rarity and issues of interobserver diagnostic variability. In this study, we analyzed the clinicopathologic features of 50 CCCs that were assembled from multiple institutions and which we considered to be morphologically unambiguous after a rigorous review process for diagnostic accuracy. Forty-four (88%) of the 50 CCC cases showed an admixture of the classic architectural patterns (glandular, papillary, solid and cystic in decreasing order of prevalence). Mitotic indices were variable but were generally low: 60% of cases had a mitotic index of 3 or lower. The predominant cell type lining glands and papillae was invariably hobnail and/or cuboidal. Stratification of nuclei (greater than 3 cells) or columnar cells on glands and papillae were uncommon and never diffusely present. 82% of cases showed an admixture of polygonal cells with clear and eosinophilic cytoplasm; only clear cells were present in 4% and only eosinophilic cells were present in 10%. Hobnail cells were common, being identifiable in 86% of cases, and being diffuse in 60%. Only 2 cases had a predominance of nuclear grade 3 cells. Psammoma, hyaline and targetoid bodies were identified in 32%, 52% and 20% of cases respectively. Clear cell endometrial intraepithelial carcinoma was identified in 41.7% of cases with evaluable background endometrium. The 5-year progression free survival (PFS) for the entire cohort was 61%, and was 88%, 75%, 22% and 28.6% for stages I to IV respectively. On univariate analyses, age >65 years, advanced FIGO stage, and the presence of any lymph node metastases were associated with reduced PFS (p=0.02, 0.002, and 0.002 respectively). On multivariate analyses, the only variable associated with reduced PFS was age >65 years. The 5-year overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort was 78%, and was 94%, 87.5%, 66.7%, and 42.8% for stages I to IV respectively. On univariate analyses, the following factors were associated with reduced OS: age >65 years (p=0.04), advanced FIGO stage (p=0.003), distant metastases (p=0.003), myometrial invasion >30% (p=0.01), a mitotic index >4 (p=0.014), and a specific architectural pattern (at least 10% of the tumor composed of solid masses or individual infiltrating tumor cells, p=0.02). On multivariate analyses, only age >65 years and advanced stage were associated with reduced OS (p=0.023 and 0.022 respectively). In summary, endometrial CCC has a wide morphologic spectrum that is detailed and illustrated herein, but also has core cytoarchitectural features that are of high diagnostic utility. Morphologically unambiguous CCC apparently have patient outcomes that are more favorable than has previously been reported, indicating that ambiguous tumors should be classified separately. The existence of morphologically ambiguous clear-cell rich carcinomas that do not fit the conventional histotypic groupings, is a likely reflection of the biologic complexity of endometrial carcinomas in general; these cases should be reported descriptively, and studied separately from conventional CCC.
Clear cell carcinoma; endometrium; morphologic features
Despite remaining uncertainties and ongoing research it is possible to draw up a model for the role of (cancer) stem cells in both the initiation and progression of cancer towards metastasis. The cancer stem cell of origin and the cancer stem cell are, despite phenotypic similarities, genotypically different entities. Given the right circumstances provided by a combination of genomic changes and biochemical and physical interactions with its microenvironment, an epithelial cancer cell may undergo a phenotypic epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) towards a cancer stem cell. This transition conveys upon the cell crucial stem cell-like abilities which facilitate migration into the blood circulation as an individual circulating tumor cell, survive there, and subsequently seed into organ tissue where, once more in close interaction with its microenvironment, the process of clonal self renewal may start, leading to a metastatic tumor. Both in the primary tumor as well as in the metastatic tumor, partial differentiation of the cancer stem cell progeny leads to phenotypic heterogeneity. Throughout this complex process of cancer metastasis similarities with the way stem cells function during embryonic development, including the signaling pathways that mediate these functions, are evident. Deeper insight in the EMT process, plasticity of the resulting cancer stem cells, and the role of cancer stem cells in the metastatic process is expected to lead to novel anti-metastatic cancer therapies. Emerging human in vitro cancer models in the form of “organ-on-a-chip” may contribute valuable novel research tools to achieve this aim.
Cancer stem cell Wnt signaling pathway circulating tumor evolution metastasis
FDA approval of new therapies in 2011 has greatly expanded the treatment options for metastatic melanoma. Patients with V600 mutant v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (B-RAF) positive metastatic melanoma are now treated with the RAF inhibitor, vemurafenib (Zelboraf) as a first line therapy. Vemurafenib decreases tumor size by at least 30% in approximately 50% of patients and increases progression-free survival and overall patient survival compared to the previous standard-of-care, dacarbazine. However, some patients treated with vemurafenib fail to show significant tumor shrinkage, and most patients who initially respond to the drug eventually show disease progression. Therefore, there is a clinical need to improve efficacy and prevent resistance to vemurafenib. It has been previously shown that cell death resulting from RAF/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibition is largely dependent on increased expression of pro-apoptotic, Bcl-2 homology domain (BH3)-only proteins, such as Bcl-2-like 11 (Bim-EL) and Bcl-2 modifying factor (Bmf). Here, we show that contrary to expression of Bim-EL and Bmf, the pro-apoptotic, BH3-only protein, phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate-induced protein 1 (Noxa), is strongly downregulated after RAF/MEK inhibition. This downregulation occurs at both the protein and mRNA level of expression and is associated with the inhibition of cell cycle progression. Restoring expression of Noxa in combination with RAF/MEK inhibition enhances cell death. Co-expression of the pro-survival, B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family member, myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (Mcl-1), with Noxa fully mitigates the enhanced cell death associated with increased Noxa expression. These data indicate that manipulating the Noxa/Mcl-1 axis may enhance the efficacy of RAF/MEK inhibitors.
Melanoma; B-RAF; Noxa; RAF/MEK inhibition
There are over 150 human proteins that have been categorized as bona fide DNA repair proteins. These DNA repair proteins maintain the integrity of the genome, reducing the onset of cancer, disease and aging phenotypes. Variations in expression and/or function would therefore impact genome integrity as well as the cellular response to genotoxins. Global gene expression analysis is an effective approach to uncover defects in DNA repair gene expression and to discover cellular and/or organismal effects brought about by external stimuli such as environmental genotoxicants, chemotherapeutic regimens, viral infections as well as developmental and age-related stimuli. Given the significance of genome stability in cell survival and response to stimuli, we have hypothesized that cells may undergo transcriptional re-programming to accommodate defects in basal DNA repair capacity to promote survival. As a test of this hypothesis, we have compared the transcriptome in three DNA polymerase ß knockout (Polß-KO) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and the corresponding wild-type (WT) littermate control cell lines. Each Polß-KO cell line was found to have a range of genes up-regulated, when compared to its WT littermate control cell line. Interestingly, six (6) genes were commonly up regulated in all three Polß-KO cell lines, including Sox2, one of several genes associated with the induction of pluripotent stem cells. Herein, we present these findings and suggest that loss of DNA repair and the induction of cellular transcriptional re-programming may, in part, contribute to tumor formation and the cellular response to external stimuli.
DNA polymerase ß; mouse embryonic fibroblast; Sox2; gene expression profiling; transcriptional reprogramming
The Drosophila DNA replication-related element-binding factor (dDREF) has been identified as a master regulator of cell proliferation-related genes via its binding to the DRE sequence, 5′-TATCGATA. However, the biological roles of DREF are still to be clarified. Here, we show that DREF mutant females have steroid hormone ecdysone-deficient phenotypes, such as the loss of vitellogenic egg chambers. Furthermore, DREF knockdown in the prothoracic gland of larva prevented pupation and this was rescued via 20-hydroxyecdysone treatment. We found a DRE-like sequence (-625 to -632) in the 5′-flanking region of the Drosophila shadow gene, which catalyzes the conversion of 2-deoxyecdysone to ecdysone, and demonstrated that shadow is a novel target gene of dDREF using quantitative RT-PCR and Chip assays. In addition, we show that the level of dDREF protein correlated with age-related changes in the level of shadow mRNA in the ovaries of wild-type flies. Taken together, our data indicate that dDREF plays a key role in steroid synthesis via regulation of the shadow gene.
Drosophila; DRE; DREF; transcriptional regulation; ecdysone; shadow; steroidogenesis
We have previously reported genetic differences between Western and Chinese prostate cancers, including different frequencies of ERG rearrangements. We investigated further ERG expression and rearrangements in prostate cancers and high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) from the UK and China to determine differences between these two populations by tissue microarray based immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization. In keeping with our previous observation, that ERG was rearranged at a higher frequency in UK prostate cancer samples (38%, 58/155) than Chinese ones (8%, 7/93), ERG rearrangements were also found in 21% (4/19) and 0% (0/19) foci of HGPIN in UK and Chinese samples respectively. ERG nuclear expression in UK cancers (34%, 54/160) was significantly higher than that in Chinese ones (10%, 9/88) (p<0.001). ERG nuclear expression in UK HGPIN (28%, 11/39) was higher than that in Chinese HGPIN (0%, 0/9), but without statistical significance (p=0.193). ERG nuclear expression was correlated to ERG rearrangements in both UK (Kappa=0.686) and Chinese (Kappa=0.565) cancers. These data demonstrate that ERG rearrangement and expression frequencies are different in prostate cancers from UK and China as early as the precursor lesion, HGPIN. The nuclear expression is associated with ERG rearrangements which mainly occur in the Western samples. UK and Chinese prostate cancers may be the result of different genetic mechanisms.
ERG; prostate cancer; high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia; genomic rearrangement; protein expression
The development of new cancer therapeutics would benefit from incorporating efficient tumor models that mimic human disease. We have developed a subcutaneous bladder tumor regeneration system that recapitulates primary human bladder tumor architecture by recombining benign human fetal bladder stromal cells with SW780 bladder carcinoma cells. As a first step, SW780 cells were seeded in ultra low attachment cultures in order to select for sphere-forming cells, the putative cancer stem cell (CSC) phenotype. Spheroids were combined with primary human fetal stromal cells or vehicle control and injected subcutaneously with Matrigel into NSG mice. SW780 bladder tumors that formed in the presence of stroma showed accelerated growth, muscle invasion, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), decreased differentiation, and greater activation of growth pathways compared to tumors formed in the absence of fetal stroma. Tumors grown with stroma also demonstrated a greater similarity to typical malignant bladder architecture, including the formation of papillary structures. In an effort to determine if cancer cells from primary tumors could form similar structures in vivo using this recombinatorial approach, putative CSCs, sorted based on the CD44+CD49f+ antigenic profile, were collected and recombined with fetal bladder stromal cells and Matrigel prior to subcutaneous implantation. Retrieved grafts contained tumors that exhibited the same structure as the original primary human tumor. Primary bladder tumor regeneration using human fetal bladder stroma may help elucidate the influences of stroma on tumor growth and development, as well as provide an efficient and accessible system for therapeutic testing.
Bladder cancer; cancer stem cell (CSC); subcutaneous tumor model; stroma; sphere
Accumulated evidence suggests that thyroid hormone receptor β (TRβ) could function as a tumor suppressor, but the detailed mechanisms by which TRβ inhibits tumorigenesis are not fully understood. The present studies explored the mechanisms by which TRβ acted to inhibit thyroid tumor development mediated by simian virus-40 (SV40). In mouse xenograft models, SV40 large T antigen (SV40Tag)-immortalized human thyroid epithelial (HTori) cells rapidly induced tumors, but the tumor development was totally blocked by TRβ stably expressed in HTori cells. Previous studies showed that the SV40Tag oncoprotein binds to and inactivates tumor suppressors p53 and retinoblastoma protein (Rb), thereby inducing tumorigenesis. Here we showed that one of the mechanisms by which TRβ suppressed tumor development was by competing with p53 and Rb for binding to SV40Tag. The interaction of TRβ with SV40Tag led to reactivation of Rb to inhibit cell cycle progression. TRβ- SV40Tag interaction also resulted in reactivating p53 to increase the expression of Pten, thus attenuating PI3K-AKT signaling to decrease cell proliferation and to induce apoptosis. The present study uncovered a novel action of TRβ as a tumor suppressor initiated via interfering with the recruitment of Rb and p53 by SV40Tag oncoprotein through protein-protein interaction, thereby acting to block tumor development.
Thyroid hormone receptor; tumor suppressor; tumorigenesis; thyroid hormone; xenograft models
Our purpose is to develop a serum assay to determine an individual’s probability of having colorectal cancer (CRC). We have discovered a protein panel yielding encouraging, clinically significant results. We evaluated 431 serum samples from donors screened for CRC by colonoscopy. We compared the concentration of seven proteins in individuals with CRC versus individuals found to be CRC free. The assay monitored a single peptide from each of seven proteins. Comparing CRC to normal samples in univariate two-sample t-tests, 6 of the 7 proteins yielded a p-value less than 0.01. Logistic regression was used to construct a model for determination of CRC probability. The model was fit on a randomly chosen training set of 321 samples. Using 6 of the 7 proteins (ORM1, GSN, C9, HABP2, SAA2, and C3) and a cut point of 0.4, an independent test set of 110 samples yielded a sensitivity of 93.75%, a specificity of 82.89% and a prevalence-adjusted negative predictive value (NPV) of 99.9775% for the assay. The results demonstrate that the assay has promise as a sensitive, non-invasive diagnostic test to provide individuals with an understanding of their own probability of having CRC.
Colon cancer; proteomics; cancer; colon; mass spec; MRM; colorectal; CRC
The p53 tumor suppressor pathway is inactivated in cancer either via direct mutation or via deregulation of upstream regulators or downstream effectors. P53 mutations are rare in uveal melanoma. Here we investigated the role of the p53 inhibitor Hdmx in uveal melanoma. We found Hdmx over-expression in a subset of uveal melanoma cell lines and fresh-frozen tumor samples. Hdmx depletion resulted in cell-line dependent growth inhibition, apparently correlating with differential Hdm2 levels. Surprisingly, p53 knockdown hardly rescued cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction upon Hdmx knockdown, whereas it effectively prevented growth suppression induced by the potent p53 activator Nutlin-3. In addition, two compounds inhibiting Hdmx function or expression, SAH-p53-8 and XI-011, also elicited a growth inhibitory effect in a partly p53-independent manner. These findings suggest a novel, growth-promoting function of Hdmx that does not rely on its ability to inhibit p53. We provide evidence for a contribution of p27 protein induction to the observed p53-independent G1 arrest in response to Hdmx knockdown. In conclusion, our study establishes the importance of Hdmx as an oncogene in a subset of uveal melanomas and widens the spectrum of its function beyond p53 inhibition.
Uveal melanoma; Hdmx; p53; Nutlin-3; p27; SAH-p53-8; XI-011; retinoblastoma
The behavior of tumor cells is influenced by the composition of the surrounding tumor environment. The importance of ascites in ovarian cancer (OC) progression is being increasingly recognized. The characterization of soluble factors in ascites is essential to understand how this environment affects OC progression. The development of cytokine arrays now allows simultaneous measurement of multiple cytokines per ascites using a single array.
We applied a multiplex cytokine array technology that simultaneously measures the level of 120 cytokines in ascites from 10 OC patients. The ascites concentration of a subset (n = 5) of cytokines that was elevated based on the multiplex array was validated by commercially available ELISA. The ascites level of these 5 cytokines was further evaluated by ELISA in a cohort of 38 patients. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to assess the association of cytokine expression with progression-free survival (PFS) in this cohort.
We observed a wide variability of expression between different cytokines and levels of specific cytokines also varied in the 10 malignant ascites tested. Fifty-three (44%) cytokines were not detected in any of the 10 ascites. The level of several factors including, among others, angiogenin, angiopoietin-2, GRO, ICAM-1, IL-6, IL-6R, IL-8, IL-10, leptin, MCP-1, MIF NAP-2, osteprotegerin (OPG), RANTES, TIMP-2 and UPAR were elevated in most malignant ascites. Higher levels of OPG, IL-10 and leptin in OC ascites were associated with shorter PFS. IL-10 was shown to promote the anti-apoptotic activity of malignant ascites whereas OPG did not.
Our data demonstrated that there is a complex network of cytokine expression in OC ascites. Characterization of cytokine profiles in malignant ascites may provide information from which to prioritize key functional cytokines and understand the mechanism by which they alter tumor cells behavior. A better understanding of the cytokine network is essential to determine the role of ascites in OC progression.
Ascites; ovarian cancer; tumor environment; cytokines; mulitplex array; IL-10
RanBPM is a ubiquitous protein that has been reported to regulate several cellular processes through interactions with various proteins. However, it is not known whether RanBPM may regulate gene expression patterns. As it has been shown that RanBPM interacts with a number of transcription factors, we hypothesized that it may have wide ranging effects on gene expression that may explain its function. To test this hypothesis, we generated stable RanBPM shRNA cell lines to analyze the effect of RanBPM on global gene expression. Microarray analyses were conducted comparing the gene expression profile of Hela and HCT116 RanBPM shRNA cells versus control shRNA cells. We identified 167 annotated genes significantly up- or down-regulated in the two cell lines. Analysis of the gene set revealed that down-regulation of RanBPM led to gene expression changes that affect regulation of cell, tissue, and organ development and morphology, as well as biological processes implicated in tumorigenesis. Analysis of Transcription Factor Binding Sites (TFBS) present in the gene set identified several significantly over-represented transcription factors of the Forkhead, HMG, and Homeodomain families of transcription factors, which have previously been demonstrated as having important roles in development and tumorigenesis. In addition, the combined results of these analyses suggested that several signaling pathways were affected by RanBPM down-regulation, including ERK1/2, Wnt, Notch, and PI3K/Akt pathways. Lastly, analysis of selected target genes by quantitative RT-qPCR confirmed the changes revealed by microarray. Several of the genes up-regulated in RanBPM shRNA cells encode proteins with known oncogenic functions, such as the RON tyrosine kinase, the adhesion molecule L1CAM, and transcription factor ELF3/ESE-1, suggesting that RanBPM functions as a tumor suppressor to prevent deregulated expression of these genes. Altogether, these results suggest that RanBPM does indeed function to regulate many genomic events that regulate embryonic, tissue, and cellular development as well as those involved in cancer development and progression.
RanBPM; ERK; Wnt; Notch; microarray; cancer; development
Mutation in the BRCA1 gene is associated with increased risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. In sporadic ovarian tumors, BRCA1 dysfunction is thought to be common. BRCA1 is a nuclear-cytoplasm shuttling protein. Our group has previously reported that BRCA1 proteins, unlike K109R and cancer-predisposing mutant C61G BRCA1 proteins, bind the sole SUMO E2-conjugating enzyme Ubc9. In this study, we examined the result of altered Ubc9 binding and knockdown on the sub-cellular localization and growth inhibitory function of BRCA1 proteins in ovarian cancer cells. Using live imaging of YFP, RFP-tagged BRCA1 and BRCA1a proteins, our results show enhanced cytoplasmic localization of K109R and C61G mutant BRCA1 proteins in ES-2, NIHOVCAR3 and UWB 1.289 ovarian cancer cells. Down-regulation of Ubc9 in ovarian cancer cells using Ubc9 siRNA resulted in cytoplasmic localization of BRCA1 and BRCA1a proteins. These mutant BRCA1a proteins were impaired in their capacity to inhibit growth of ES-2 ovarian cancer cells. Several ovarian cancer cells, including a BRCA1-null ovarian cancer cell line, showed higher levels of expression of Ubc9. This is the first study demonstrating the physiological link between loss of Ubc9 binding and loss of growth suppression of disease-associated mutant BRCA1a proteins in ovarian cancer cells. BRCA1, by turning off or on Ubc9 binding, regulates growth of ovarian cancers.
BRCA1; BRCA1a; Ubc9; Ovarian cancer; RING domain mutants; nuclear import; Growth suppression
Dissemination of cancer cells is strongly associated with reduction in quality of life, worsening of prognosis, and remains the primary cause of therapeutic failure and high mortality in cancer. A crucial factor in the progression of metastases is the ability to establish a functioning blood vessel network. Consequently therapeutic strategies which selectively target tumor vasculature may hold promise for the treatment of metastatic disease. A complicating factor in the assessment of the efficacy of vascular targeting therapies is that the metastatic process can result in multiple neoplastic lesions at various stages of growth and vascularity in a single organ. The goal of this project was to utilize a rodent squamous cell carcinoma (SCCVII) model to characterize the development of metastatic lung lesions and their associated vasculature. Mice were injected with tumor cells via the tail vein to introduce a reproducible number of lung metastases. At various times after cell injection, lungs were removed and serial sections were taken throughout the lobes for morphometric analysis. Tumor volumes were calculated for each nodule using 2 hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained sections that were a known distance apart. Sections adjacent to those used for size determination were reserved for immunohistochemical staining with CD31 to identify blood vessels associated with each nodule. The results showed that although the median tumor volume increased from 0.006 to 0.51 mm3 between 7 and 18 days post SCCVII cell injection, a range of tumor sizes existed at all-times. Irrespective of the time of assessment, nodules with volumes ≤ 0.5 mm3 had a constant vessel density while those with volumes >0.5 mm3 showed increasing vessel densities with increasing size. These findings indicate that the methodology outlined in this study can identify metastases in various stages of vascular development and could therefore be applied to evaluate and distinguish therapeutic interventions that seek to prevent the initiation of blood vessel networks and those targeting already established expanding tumor vasculature. Examining the efficacy of such approaches, alone or in combination, in the treatment of metastases in a preclinical model could lead to the development of more effective therapeutic strategies for metastatic disease.
Metastasis; vascular development; carcinoma
Dysregulation of mechanisms that govern the control of epithelial cell polarity, morphology and plasticity are emerging as key processes in tumor progression. In this study we report amplification and overexpression of PAR6B, an essential component in epithelial cell tight junction (TJ) formation and maintenance of apico-basal polarity, in breast cancer cell lines. Analysis of chromosome 20q13.13 in 11 breast cancer cell lines by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) identified a novel small amplicon centered at PARD6B in 5 cell lines, with copy number ranging from 7 to 27. The presence of the PARD6B amplicon correlated with PARD6B transcript and PAR6B protein abundance. Expression of related isoforms PARD6A and PARD6G were detectable at significantly lower levels. PARD6B overexpression correlated with TJ network formation in cultured cell monolayers. SiRNA-mediated inhibition of PAR6B in MCF7 resulted in loss of TJ assembly and membrane localization of atypical PKCζ (aPKC), but did not affect adherens junction formation. SiRNA-mediated inhibition of CDC42 in MCF7 also resulted in loss of TJ networks, confirming the requirement of a complete PAR6-aPKC-CDC42-PAR3 complex to activate and stabilize TJs. Immunohistochemical analysis of PAR6B expression on breast tumor microarrays indicated exquisite epithelial cell-specificity. Few quantitative differences in staining were observed between normal epithelium and adjacent tumor margins. However staining appeared reduced and cytoplasmic in more poorly differentiated tumors. We propose that quantitative imbalances in the components of pathways governing normal epithelial cell polarity arising from gain or loss of function may radically alter epithelial cell architecture and contribute to tumor progression.
Breast Cancer; DNA amplification; tight junction; siRNA; polarity; adhesion; PARD6B; PAR6B; CDC42; PKCζ
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most aggressive forms of squamous cell carcinomas. Common genetic lesions in ESCC include p53 mutations and EGFR overexpression, both of which have been implicated in negative regulation of Notch signaling. In addition, cyclin D1 is overexpressed in ESCC and can be activated via EGFR, Notch and Wnt signaling. To elucidate how these genetic lesions may interact during the development and progression of ESCC, we tested a panel of genetically engineered human esophageal cells (keratinocytes) in organotypic 3D culture (OTC), a form of human tissue engineering. Notch signaling was suppressed in culture and mice by dominant negative Mastermind-like1 (DNMAML1), a genetic pan-Notch inhibitor. DNMAML1 mice were subjected to 4-Nitroquinoline 1-oxide-induced oral-esophageal carcinogenesis. Highly invasive characteristics of primary human ESCC were recapitulated in OTC as well as DNMAML1 mice. In OTC, cyclin D1 overexpression induced squamous hyperplasia. Concurrent EGFR overexpression and mutant p53 resulted in transformation and invasive growth. Interestingly, cell proliferation appeared to be regulated differentially between those committed to squamous-cell differentiation and those invading into the stroma. Invasive cells exhibited Notch-independent activation of cyclin D1 and Wnt signaling. Within the oral-esophageal squamous epithelia, Notch signaling regulated squamous-cell differentiation to maintain epithelial integrity, and thus may act as a tumor suppressor by preventing the development of a tumor-promoting inflammatory microenvironment.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; organotypic 3D culture; EGFR; P53; cyclin D1; Wnt; Notch; squamous-cell differentiation; invasion; 4-Nitroquinoline 1-oxide
Endocrine therapy resistance is a primary cause of clinical breast cancer treatment failure. The p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is known to promote ligand independent tumor growth and resistance to endocrine therapy. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of the p38 inhibitor RWJ67657 in the treatment of tamoxifen resistant MDA-MB-361 cells. RWJ67657 dose-dependently decreased both basal and stimulated activation of p38 MAPK signaling in this drug resistant cell system. Decreased activation of p38 by RWJ67657 resulted in inhibition of the downstream p38 targets hsp27 and MAPKAPK. Diminished p38 signaling resulted in inhibition of p38-medated gene transcription. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of p38 by RWJ67657 decreased biological effects of p38, including ER-mediated gene expression and clonogenic survival in a dose-dependent manner. Animal studies revealed significantly decreased p38 signaling in vivo following exposure to RWJ67657. Treatment with the inhibitor markedly decreased phosphorylation of p38 in MDA-MB-361 tumors, leading to decreased transcription of both Fra-1 and progesterone receptor. Utilizing well-established xenograft tumor models, we demonstrated that RWJ67657 exhibits potent anti-tumor properties. Treatment with RWJ67657 markedly decreased tamoxifen resistant tumor growth, both in the presence and absence of estrogen. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the therapeutic potential of targeting the p38-MAPK signaling cascade in the treatment of endocrine resistant breast cancer.
p38; mitogen-activated protein kinase; endocrine resistance; breast cancer; drug discovery; cancer biology; hormone independence; kinase inhibitors; estrogen receptor; gene transcription
The persistent infection with high risk human papillomaviruses (hrHPV) is a necessary risk factor for the development of cervical cancer, which is the second most frequent cancer in women worldwide. Cisplatin-based radiotherapy represents the current treatment regimen. However, the results for advanced and recurrent disease are far from optimal. Since almost all cervical cancers contain wild type (wt) p53, which is degraded by the complex of hrHPV E6 and the ubiquitin ligase E6AP, we addressed if the reconstitution of p53 via silencing of E6AP sensitizes cervical cancer cells towards cisplatin treatment. For this we established and characterized two novel cervical cancer cell lines that contain integrated HPV16 genomes. Long-term established HeLa and SiHa cells and the novel cervical cancer cell lines at low passage numbers were treated with different concentrations of cisplatin. Cell viability was measured by the WST-1 assay. In addition, single cisplatin treatment was combined with the silencing of E6AP or p53. The comparison to HeLa and SiHa cells revealed a higher sensitivity of the novel cell lines to cisplatin treatment, which caused p53 accumulation and transcriptional induction of p21. Silencing of E6AP further increased p53 protein levels, but had no effect on cell viability when combined with cisplatin treatment. Interestingly, silencing of p53 had also no effect. We therefore conclude that reactivation of p53 via silencing of E6AP does not increase the sensitivity of cervical cancer cells towards cisplatin treatment.
Cervical cancer; HPV; cisplatin; p53; E6AP; chemoresistance
Myc protein plays a fundamental role in regulation of cell cycle, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis by modulating the expression of a large number of targets. Here we report the transactivation ability of the human Myc protein to activate the SUMO-activating enzyme SAE1 transcription. We found that Myc activates SAE1 transcription via direct binding to canonical E-Boxes sequences located close to the SAE1 transcription start site. A recent report has highlighted the crucial role of the SAE gene expression in Myc mediated oncogenesis. Our study adds new insight in this context since we show here that Myc directly activates SAE1 transcription, suggesting that Myc oncogenic activity which depends on SAE1 is ensured by Myc itself through direct binding and transcriptional activation of SAE1 expression.
Myc; SUMOylation; SAE1; transcription
Epithelial ovarian cancer is a malignancy with high rate of death due to an advanced disease at diagnosis and frequent relapse after chemotherapy. Nowadays, there is a lack of knowledge for clear risk factors and predictive and/or prognostic genetic markers although genomic alterations such as mutations in p53, PTEN, BRCA1/BRCA2, HER2, KRAS and PI3K genes have been associated to this pathology. A genomic variant in the 3’ untraslated region of cancer related gene KRAS, is able to disrupt the let-7 miRNA binding site. The SNP, commonly named KRAS-LCS6, determines the substitution of the more abundant T-allele to a G-allele which was observed to increase the KRAS expression and in turn to activate the downstream pathway at higher levels if compared to the T-allele. In this study we assessed the role of the KRAS-LCS6 polymorphism (rs61764370) in 97 early (stages I and II) and 232 advanced (stages III and IV) ovarian cancer patients in order to associate this SNP to any physiopathological characteristic of the patients cohort, including progression free survival and overall survival, with a follow up data longer than ten years. Our data indicate that KRAS-LCS6 polymorphism is not relevant in ovarian cancer, in fact, in our cohort of patients, is not associated to any outcome or physiopathological characteristic.
KRAS; let-7; ovarian cancer; LCS6; miRNA; rs61764370
Heterotrimeric G protein is composed of a Gα-subunit and a Gβγ-dimer. Previous studies have revealed that Gβγ-dimers including the Gγ2 subunit (Gng2/GNG2) are associated with cell proliferation, differentiation, invasion and angiogenesis. At present, however, there is no information on the expression level of Gng2/GNG2 alone in any kind of tumor. In this study, we performed DNA microarray analysis in a benign melanocytic tumor and a malignant melanoma from RET-transgenic mice (RET-mice). Gng2 transcript expression levels in a malignant melanoma were less than 1/10 of the level in a benign tumor. The difference in Gng2 transcript expression levels between benign tumors and malignant melanomas was greatest among all of the G protein γ subunits examined in this study. Moreover, protein expression levels of Gng2 were decreased in malignant melanomas compared with those in benign melanocytic tumors in RET-mice. Analysis of human malignant melanomas also showed reduced GNG2 protein expression levels in five human malignant melanoma cell lines compared with the expression levels in normal human epithelial melanocytes (NHEM). Thus, we demonstrated for the first time that Gng2/GNG2 expression levels are reduced in malignant melanoma, suggesting that GNG2 could be a novel biomarker for malignant melanoma.
G-protein; gamma subunit; malignant melanoma
A molecular cytogenetic analysis was performed on HS-RMS-2, a cell line established in this laboratory from a rare pleomorphic type of rhabdomyosarcoma. G-banding and multicolor-FISH analyses revealed that the cells have a complex chromosomal composition. Comparative genomic in situ hybridization (CGH) detected eight highly amplified regions at 1p36.1-p36.2, 1p31-p32, 1q21-q31, 8q12-q21, 8q24-qter, 11q12-q13, 12q13-q14 and 18q12-q22, suggesting the co-existence of multiple amplified oncogenes in these tumor cells. Reverse chromosome painting, using a probe regenerated by microdissection of a long marker chromosome, revealed the native location of three of eight possible genes to be on chromosomes 1p31-32, 12q14 and 18q21. FISH using BAC and cosmid probes revealed amplification of JUN (1p31), MYC (8q24), CCND1 (11q13), INT2 (11q13.3), MDM2 (12q14.3-q15) and MALT (18q21). These findings indicate that at least eight amplified oncogenes may contribute to the pathogenesis of a rare pleomorphic type of rhabdomyosarcoma. This new cell line should prove useful for in vitro preclinical studies of molecularly targeted therapies
Rhabdomyosarcoma; oncogenes; homogeneously staining region; co-amplification; FISH; CGH
The objective of this study was to create a clinically applicable mathematical model of immunotherapy for cancer and use it to explore differences between successful and unsuccessful treatment scenarios. The simplified predator-prey model includes four lumped parameters: tumor growth rate, g; immune cell killing efficiency, k; immune cell signaling factor, λ; and immune cell half-life decay, μ. The predator-prey equations as functions of time, t, for normalized tumor cell numbers, y, (the prey) and immunocyte numbers, ×, (the predators) are: dy/dt = gy - kx and dx/dt = λxy - μx. A parameter estimation procedure that capitalizes on available clinical data and the timing of clinically observable phenomena gives mid-range benchmarks for parameters representing the unstable equilibrium case in which the tumor neither grows nor shrinks. Departure from this equilibrium results in oscillations in tumor cell numbers and in many cases complete elimination of the tumor. Several paradoxical phenomena are predicted, including increasing tumor cell numbers prior to a population crash, apparent cure with late recurrence, one or more cycles of tumor growth prior to eventual tumor elimination, and improved tumor killing with initially weaker immune parameters or smaller initial populations of immune cells. The model and the parameter estimation techniques are easily adapted to various human cancers that evoke an immune response. They may help clinicians understand and predict certain strange and unexpected effects in the world of tumor immunity and lead to the design of clinical trials to test improved treatment protocols for patients.
Adoptive; basal cell carcinoma; imiquimod; immune modulation; Lotka-Volterra; lymphoma; melanoma; predator-prey; tumor infiltrating lymphocytes
Tumor progression depends on the support of cells in the microenvironment, and is driven in part by the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS can damage DNA, and the repair of damaged DNA is a well-known process involved in tumor initiation and promotion, but the role of DNA repair in tumor progression is not fully understood. In this regard the X-ray cross complementing 1 (XRCC1) protein is known to orchestrate the assembly of repair complexes at sites of DNA single strand breaks either directly or indirectly through repair of damaged bases, largely as the result of ROS-induced damage. XRCC1 polymorphisms have been shown to be associated with increased cancer. It was therefore of interest to investigate the effect of XRCC1 gene mutations on cancer progression. In an attempt to make XRCC1 point mutant mice, we generated a truncated protein (XRCC1tp) by the insertion of a neomycin cassette in intron12 of the XRCC1 gene. This unique finding allowed us to investigate cellular and tumor progression phenotypes in mice associated with expression and function of an altered XRCC1 protein on one allele. XRCC1tp cells showed increased toxicity to MMS, enhanced MMS-induced depletion of NADH suggesting increased PARP activity, and normal functional repair of MMS-induced DNA damage. Six months following treatment with the alkylating carcinogen azoxymethane (AOM) at 10 mg/kg once a week for 6 weeks, XRCC1tp mice had a decrease in average colon tumor volume of 14±3 mm3 compared to 34±4 mm3 in WT littermates (p ≤ 0.03, N= 20/genotype). XRCC1tp mice had a 72 per cent decrease in B16 melanoma tumor burden compared to wt littermates. Average tumor volume in transgenic PyMT metastatic breast cancer mice expressing XRCC1tp was 359 cubic mm in PyMT mice expressing XRCC1tp compared to 730 cubic mm in PyMT mice expressing XRCC1wt (p ≤ 0.001, N= 20/genotype). These data suggest that the presence of an XRCC1 truncated protein alters XRCC1 function independent of DNA repair, and is associated with anti-tumor activity.
Tumor suppression; XRCC1; melanoma; colon cancer; breast cancer; PARP; apoptosis