Gene Summary

Gene:MYC; v-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog
Aliases: MRTL, MYCC, c-Myc, bHLHe39
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a multifunctional, nuclear phosphoprotein that plays a role in cell cycle progression, apoptosis and cellular transformation. It functions as a transcription factor that regulates transcription of specific target genes. Mutations, overexpression, rearrangement and translocation of this gene have been associated with a variety of hematopoietic tumors, leukemias and lymphomas, including Burkitt lymphoma. There is evidence to show that alternative translation initiations from an upstream, in-frame non-AUG (CUG) and a downstream AUG start site result in the production of two isoforms with distinct N-termini. The synthesis of non-AUG initiated protein is suppressed in Burkitt's lymphomas, suggesting its importance in the normal function of this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:myc proto-oncogene protein
Source:NCBIAccessed: 08 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 08 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 08 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (8)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Breast CancerMYC and Breast Cancer View Publications248
Colorectal CancerMYC and Colorectal Cancer View Publications170
Lung CancerMYC and Lung Cancer View Publications96
Liver CancerMYC protein, human and Liver Cancer View Publications98
Stomach CancerMYC protein, human and Stomach Cancer View Publications52
MedulloblastomaMYC expression and amplification in Medulloblastoma
MYC is frequently overexpressed and/or amplified in Medulloblastoma. There is a complex relationship between MYC expression and molecular sub-groups of Medulloblastoma (Roussel, 2013). For example MYC overexpression is a downstream consequence of WNT pathway abnormalities (WNT group) but is thought to be a significant contributor to the initiation, maintenance, and progression in Group 3 Medulloblastomas.
View Publications39
Skin CancerMYC and Skin Cancer View Publications36
-MYC and Triple Negative Breast Cancer View Publications3

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: MYC (cancer-related)

Liu W, Selçuk F, Rütgen BC, et al.
Evaluation of Stem Cell Marker Expression in Canine B-Cell Lymphoma Cell Lines, B-Cell Lymphoma-generated Spheres and Primary Samples.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(5):2805-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Canine lymphoma has lately drawn focus as a model of human non-Hodgkin's lymphoma due to its spontaneous occurrence and similar biological behavior. Cells with stem cell-like characteristics are believed to play a key role in therapeutic failure. Thus, an initial characterization and the possibility of specific detection of such cells could bear significant value.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Expression of 12 stem cell markers were analyzed in two canine B-cell lymphoma cell lines, their generated spheres, and in primary lymphoma samples by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and partially by flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry.
RESULTS: Expression of maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase (Melk) was significantly higher in CLBL-1, CLBL-1M and in primary B-cell lymphoma samples compared to non-neoplastic lymph nodes. Spheres displayed a higher expression of v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (Myc) and lower expression of Cd44 compared to original cell lines and primary B-cell lymphoma samples.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest a potential interesting role of Melk in canine B-cell lymphoma. Furthermore, the up-regulation of Myc in serum-free-generated spheres offers interesting possibilities for functional assays characterizing the specific generated sub-population.

Yang J, AlTahan AM, Hu D, et al.
The role of histone demethylase KDM4B in Myc signaling in neuroblastoma.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(6):djv080 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epigenetic alterations, such as histone methylation, modulate Myc signaling, a pathway central to oncogenesis. We investigated the role of the histone demethylase KDM4B in N-Myc-mediated neuroblastoma pathogenesis.
METHODS: Spearman correlation was performed to correlate MYCN and KDM4B expression. RNA interference, microarray analysis, gene set enrichment analysis, and real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to define the functions of KDM4B. Immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence were used to assess protein-protein interactions between N-Myc and KDM4B. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was used to assess the binding of Myc targets. Constitutive and inducible lentiviral-mediated KDM4B knockdown with shRNA was used to assess the effects on tumor growth. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to assess the prognostic value of KDM4B expression. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: KDM4B and MYCN expression were found to be statistically significantly correlated in a variety of cancers, including neuroblastoma (R = 0.396, P < .001). Functional studies demonstrated that KDM4B regulates the Myc pathway. N-Myc was found to physically interact with and recruit KDM4B. KDM4B was found to regulate neuroblastoma cell proliferation and differentiation in vitro and xenograft growth in vivo (5 mice/group, two-tailed t test, P ≤ 0.001). Finally, together with MYCN amplification, KDM4B was found to stratify a subgroup of poor-prognosis patients (122 case patients, P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide insight into the epigenetic regulation of Myc via histone demethylation and proof-of-concept for inhibition of histone demethylases to target Myc signaling in cancers such as neuroblastoma.

Zhang X, Xu Y, He C, et al.
Elevated expression of CCAT2 is associated with poor prognosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
J Surg Oncol. 2015; 111(7):834-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: CCAT2, a novel long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), is found to promote the metastasis and invasion of colon, lung, and breast cancers. This study aimed to investigate the level of CCAT2 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and to elucidate its clinical significance.
METHODS: The expression level of CCAT2 and the status of MYC amplification were examined in 229 ESCC samples using quantitative real- time PCR.
RESULTS: CCAT2 was upregulated in ESCC tissues, especially in cases with lymph node metastasis (LNM), advanced TNM stages, and MYC amplification. Furthermore, the level of CCAT2 was positively correlated with TNM stages, LNM, and the number of positive lymph nodes. High CCAT2 expression and MYC amplification were significantly associated with TNM stages and LNM. Survival analyses revealed that high CCAT2 expression and MYC amplification were significantly associated with poorer overall survival in ESCC patients. Furthermore, patients with high CCAT2 expression and MYC amplification had a 2.199-fold increased risk of death compared with those with low CCAT2 expression and MYC non-amplification.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides the first evidence associating CCAT2 expression and poor survival in ESCC. CCAT2 may be a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target for ESCC.

Shen L, O'Shea JM, Kaadige MR, et al.
Metabolic reprogramming in triple-negative breast cancer through Myc suppression of TXNIP.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(17):5425-30 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/10/2015 Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are aggressive and lack targeted therapies. Understanding how nutrients are used in TNBCs may provide new targets for therapeutic intervention. We demonstrate that the transcription factor c-Myc drives glucose metabolism in TNBC cells but does so by a previously unappreciated mechanism that involves direct repression of thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP). TXNIP is a potent negative regulator of glucose uptake, aerobic glycolysis, and glycolytic gene expression; thus its repression by c-Myc provides an alternate route to c-Myc-driven glucose metabolism. c-Myc reduces TXNIP gene expression by binding to an E-box-containing region in the TXNIP promoter, possibly competing with the related transcription factor MondoA. TXNIP suppression increases glucose uptake and drives a dependence on glycolysis. Ectopic TXNIP expression decreases glucose uptake, reduces cell proliferation, and increases apoptosis. Supporting the biological significance of the reciprocal relationship between c-Myc and TXNIP, a Mychigh/TXNIPlow gene signature correlates with decreased overall survival and decreased metastasis-free survival in breast cancer. The correlation between the Mychigh/TXNIPlow gene signature and poor clinical outcome is evident only in TNBC, not in other breast cancer subclasses. Mutation of TP53, which is a defining molecular feature of TNBC, enhances the correlation between the Mychigh/TXNIPlow gene signature and death from breast cancer. Because Myc drives nutrient utilization and TXNIP restricts glucose availability, we propose that the Mychigh/TXNIPlow gene signature coordinates nutrient utilization with nutrient availability. Further, our data suggest that loss of the p53 tumor suppressor cooperates with Mychigh/TXNIPlow-driven metabolic dysregulation to drive the aggressive clinical behavior of TNBC.

Thomas LR, Wang Q, Grieb BC, et al.
Interaction with WDR5 promotes target gene recognition and tumorigenesis by MYC.
Mol Cell. 2015; 58(3):440-52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/05/2016 Related Publications
MYC is an oncoprotein transcription factor that is overexpressed in the majority of malignancies. The oncogenic potential of MYC stems from its ability to bind regulatory sequences in thousands of target genes, which depends on interaction of MYC with its obligate partner, MAX. Here, we show that broad association of MYC with chromatin also depends on interaction with the WD40-repeat protein WDR5. MYC binds WDR5 via an evolutionarily conserved "MYC box IIIb" motif that engages a shallow, hydrophobic cleft on the surface of WDR5. Structure-guided mutations in MYC that disrupt interaction with WDR5 attenuate binding of MYC at ∼80% of its chromosomal locations and disable its ability to promote induced pluripotent stem cell formation and drive tumorigenesis. Our data reveal WDR5 as a key determinant for MYC recruitment to chromatin and uncover a tractable target for the discovery of anticancer therapies against MYC-driven tumors.

Abu Aboud O, Donohoe D, Bultman S, et al.
PPARα inhibition modulates multiple reprogrammed metabolic pathways in kidney cancer and attenuates tumor growth.
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2015; 308(11):C890-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2016 Related Publications
Kidney cancer [renal cell carcinoma (RCC)] is the sixth-most-common cancer in the United States, and its incidence is increasing. The current progression-free survival for patients with advanced RCC rarely extends beyond 1-2 yr due to the development of therapeutic resistance. We previously identified peroxisome proliferator-activating receptor-α (PPARα) as a potential therapeutic target for this disease and showed that a specific PPARα antagonist, GW6471, induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 in RCC cell lines associated with attenuation of cell cycle regulatory proteins. We now extend that work and show that PPARα inhibition attenuates components of RCC metabolic reprogramming, capitalizing on the Warburg effect. The specific PPARα inhibitor GW6471, as well as a siRNA specific to PPARα, attenuates the enhanced fatty acid oxidation and oxidative phosphorylation associated with glycolysis inhibition, and PPARα antagonism also blocks the enhanced glycolysis that has been observed in RCC cells; this effect did not occur in normal human kidney epithelial cells. Such cell type-specific inhibition of glycolysis corresponds with changes in protein levels of the oncogene c-Myc and has promising clinical implications. Furthermore, we show that treatment with GW6471 results in RCC tumor growth attenuation in a xenograft mouse model, with minimal obvious toxicity, a finding associated with the expected on-target effects on c-Myc. These studies demonstrate that several pivotal cancer-relevant metabolic pathways are inhibited by PPARα antagonism. Our data support the concept that targeting PPARα, with or without concurrent inhibition of glycolysis, is a potential novel and effective therapeutic approach for RCC that targets metabolic reprogramming in this tumor.

Xie Y, Tu W, Zhang J, et al.
SirT1 knockdown potentiates radiation-induced bystander effect through promoting c-Myc activity and thus facilitating ROS accumulation.
Mutat Res. 2015; 772:23-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE) has important implications for secondary cancer risk assessment during cancer radiotherapy, but the bystander signaling processes, especially under hypoxic condition, are still largely unclear. The present study found that micronuclei (MN) formation could be induced in the non-irradiated HL-7702 hepatocyte cells after being treated with the conditioned medium from irradiated hepatoma HepG2 and SK-Hep-1 cells under either normoxia or hypoxia. This bystander response was dramatically diminished or enhanced when the SirT1 gene of irradiated hepatoma cells was overexpressed or knocked down, respectively, especially under hypoxia. Meanwhile, SirT1 knockdown promoted transcriptional activity for c-Myc and facilitated ROS accumulation. But both of the increased bystander responses and ROS generation due to SirT1-knockdown were almost completely suppressed by c-Myc interference. Moreover, ROS scavenger effectively abolished the RIBE triggered by irradiated hepatoma cells even with SirT1 depletion. These findings provide new insights that SirT1 has a profound role in regulating RIBE where a c-Myc-dependent release of ROS may be involved.

Walesky C, Apte U
Role of hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) in cell proliferation and cancer.
Gene Expr. 2015; 16(3):101-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) is an orphan nuclear receptor commonly known as the master regulator of hepatic differentiation, owing to the large number of hepatocyte-specific genes it regulates. Whereas the role of HNF4α in hepatocyte differentiation is well recognized and extensively studied, its role in regulation of cell proliferation is relatively less known. Recent studies have revealed that HNF4α inhibits proliferation not only of hepatocytes but also cells in colon and kidney. Further, a growing number of studies have demonstrated that inhibition or loss of HNF4α promotes tumorigenesis in the liver and colon, and reexpression of HNF4α results in decreased cancer growth. Studies using tissue-specific conditional knockout mice, knock-in studies, and combinatorial bioinformatics of RNA/ChIP-sequencing data indicate that the mechanisms of HNF4α-mediated inhibition of cell proliferation are multifold, involving epigenetic repression of promitogenic genes, significant cross talk with other cell cycle regulators including c-Myc and cyclin D1, and regulation of miRNAs. Furthermore, studies indicate that posttranslational modifications of HNF4α may change its activity and may be at the core of its dual role as a differentiation factor and repressor of proliferation. This review summarizes recent findings on the role of HNF4α in cell proliferation and highlights the newly understood function of this old receptor.

Chen Z, Wang Y, Warden C, Chen S
Cross-talk between ER and HER2 regulates c-MYC-mediated glutamine metabolism in aromatase inhibitor resistant breast cancer cells.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015; 149:118-27 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2016 Related Publications
Resistance to endocrine therapies in hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer is a significant clinical problem for a considerable number of patients. The oncogenic transcription factor c-MYC (hereafter referred to as MYC), which regulates glutamine metabolism in cancer cells, has been linked to endocrine resistance. We were interested in whether MYC-mediated glutamine metabolism is also associated with aromatase inhibitor (AI) resistant breast cancer. We studied the expression and regulation of MYC and the effects of inhibition of MYC expression in both AI sensitive and resistant breast cancer cells. Considering the role of MYC in glutamine metabolism, we evaluated the contribution of glutamine to the proliferation of AI sensitive and resistant cells, and performed RNA-sequencing to investigate mechanisms of MYC-mediated glutamine utilization in AI resistance. We found that glutamine metabolism was independent of estrogen but still required estrogen receptor (ER) in AI resistant breast cancer cells. The expression of MYC oncogene was up-regulated through the cross-talk between ER and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in AI resistant breast cancer cells. Moreover, the glutamine transporter solute carrier family (SLC) 1A5 was significantly up-regulated in AI resistant breast cancer cells. ER down-regulator fulvestrant inhibited MYC, SLC1A5, glutaminase (GLS) and glutamine consumption in AI resistant breast cancer cells. Inhibition of MYC, SLC1A5 and GLS decreased AI resistant breast cancer cell proliferation. Our study has uncovered that MYC expression is up-regulated by the cross-talk between ER and HER2 in AI resistant breast cancer cells. MYC-mediated glutamine metabolism is associated with AI resistance of breast cancer.

Dang CV
Web of the extended Myc network captures metabolism for tumorigenesis.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(2):160-2 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this issue of Cancer Cell, Carroll and colleagues describe the role of MondoA, a member of the Myc-Max-Mxd-Mxl transcription factor network (termed the extended Myc network herein), in Myc-mediated alterations in cancer cell metabolism and tumorigenesis.

Kim T, Jeon YJ, Cui R, et al.
Role of MYC-regulated long noncoding RNAs in cell cycle regulation and tumorigenesis.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(4) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The functions of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified in several cancers, but the roles of lncRNAs in colorectal cancer (CRC) are less well understood. The transcription factor MYC is known to regulate lncRNAs and has been implicated in cancer cell proliferation and tumorigenesis.
METHODS: CRC cells and tissues were profiled to identify lncRNAs differentially expressed in CRC, from which we further selected MYC-regulated lncRNAs. We used luciferase promoter assay, ChIP, RNA pull-down assay, deletion mapping assay, LC-MS/MS and RNA immunoprecipitation to determine the mechanisms of MYC regulation of lncRNAs. Moreover, soft agar assay and in vivo xenograft experiments (four athymic nude mice per group) provided evidence of MYC-regulated lncRNAs in cancer cell transformation and tumorigenesis. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analyses. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: We identified lncRNAs differentially expressed in CRC (P < .05, greater than two-fold) and verified four lncRNAs upregulated and two downregulated in CRC cells and tissues. We further identified MYC-regulated lncRNAs, named MYCLos. The MYC-regulated MYCLos may function in cell proliferation and cell cycle by regulating MYC target genes such as CDKN1A (p21) and CDKN2B (p15), suggesting new regulatory mechanisms of MYC-repressed target genes through lncRNAs. RNA binding proteins including HuR and hnRNPK are involved in the function of MYCLos by interacting with MYCLo-1 and MYCLo-2, respectively. Knockdown experiments also showed that MYCLo-2, differentially expressed not only in CRC but also in prostate cancer, has a role in cancer transformation and tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide novel regulatory mechanisms in MYC function through lncRNAs and new potential lncRNA targets of CRC.

Shinohara H, Taniguchi K, Kumazaki M, et al.
Anti-cancer fatty-acid derivative induces autophagic cell death through modulation of PKM isoform expression profile mediated by bcr-abl in chronic myeloid leukemia.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 360(1):28-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
The fusion gene bcr-abl develops chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and stimulates PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling, leading to impaired autophagy. PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling also plays an important role in cell metabolism. The Warburg effect is a well-recognized hallmark of cancer energy metabolism, and is regulated by the mTOR/c-Myc/hnRNP/PKM signaling cascade. To develop a new strategy for the treatment of CML, we investigated the associations among bcr-abl, the cascade related to cancer energy metabolism, and autophagy induced by a fatty-acid derivative that we had previously reported as being an autophagy inducer. Here we report that a fatty-acid derivative, AIC-47, induced transcriptional repression of the bcr-abl gene and modulated the expression profile of PKM isoforms, resulting in autophagic cell death. We show that c-Myc functioned as a transcriptional activator of bcr-abl, and regulated the hnRNP/PKM cascade. AIC-47, acting through the PPARγ/β-catenin pathway, induced down-regulation of c-Myc, leading to the disruption of the bcr-abl/mTOR/hnRNP signaling pathway, and switching of the expression of PKM2 to PKM1. This switching caused autophagic cell death through an increase in the ROS level. Our findings suggest that AIC-47 induced autophagic cell death through the PPARγ/β-catenin/bcr-abl/mTOR/hnRNP/PKM cascade.

Carroll PA, Diolaiti D, McFerrin L, et al.
Deregulated Myc requires MondoA/Mlx for metabolic reprogramming and tumorigenesis.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(2):271-85 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 09/02/2016 Related Publications
Deregulated Myc transcriptionally reprograms cell metabolism to promote neoplasia. Here we show that oncogenic Myc requires the Myc superfamily member MondoA, a nutrient-sensing transcription factor, for tumorigenesis. Knockdown of MondoA, or its dimerization partner Mlx, blocks Myc-induced reprogramming of multiple metabolic pathways, resulting in apoptosis. Identification and knockdown of genes coregulated by Myc and MondoA have allowed us to define metabolic functions required by deregulated Myc and demonstrate a critical role for lipid biosynthesis in survival of Myc-driven cancer. Furthermore, overexpression of a subset of Myc and MondoA coregulated genes correlates with poor outcome of patients with diverse cancers. Coregulation of cancer metabolism by Myc and MondoA provides the potential for therapeutics aimed at inhibiting MondoA and its target genes.

Mishra R, Watanabe T, Kimura MT, et al.
Identification of a novel E-box binding pyrrole-imidazole polyamide inhibiting MYC-driven cell proliferation.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(4):421-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
The MYC transcription factor plays a crucial role in the regulation of cell cycle progression, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and cellular transformation. Due to its oncogenic activities and overexpression in a majority of human cancers, it is an interesting target for novel drug therapies. MYC binding to the E-box (5'-CACGTGT-3') sequence at gene promoters contributes to more than 4000 MYC-dependent transcripts. Owing to its importance in MYC regulation, we designed a novel sequence-specific DNA-binding pyrrole-imidazole (PI) polyamide, Myc-5, that recognizes the E-box consensus sequence. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that the Myc-5 binding sequence appeared in 5'- MYC binding E-box sequences at the eIF4G1, CCND1, and CDK4 gene promoters. Furthermore, ChIP coupled with detection by quantitative PCR indicated that Myc-5 has the ability to inhibit MYC binding at the target gene promoters and thus cause downregulation at the mRNA level and protein expression of its target genes in human Burkitt's lymphoma model cell line, P493.6, carrying an inducible MYC repression system and the K562 (human chronic myelogenous leukemia) cell line. Single i.v. injection of Myc-5 at 7.5 mg/kg dose caused significant tumor growth inhibition in a MYC-dependent tumor xenograft model without evidence of toxicity. We report here a compelling rationale for the identification of a PI polyamide that inhibits a part of E-box-mediated MYC downstream gene expression and is a model for showing that phenotype-associated MYC downstream gene targets consequently inhibit MYC-dependent tumor growth.

Ruiz-Pérez MV, Medina MÁ, Urdiales JL, et al.
Polyamine metabolism is sensitive to glycolysis inhibition in human neuroblastoma cells.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(10):6106-19 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/03/2016 Related Publications
Polyamines are essential for cell proliferation, and their levels are elevated in many human tumors. The oncogene n-myc is known to potentiate polyamine metabolism. Neuroblastoma, the most frequent extracranial solid tumor in children, harbors the amplification of n-myc oncogene in 25% of the cases, and it is associated with treatment failure and poor prognosis. We evaluated several metabolic features of the human neuroblastoma cell lines Kelly, IMR-32, and SK-N-SH. We further investigated the effects of glycolysis impairment in polyamine metabolism in these cell lines. A previously unknown linkage between glycolysis impairment and polyamine reduction is unveiled. We show that glycolysis inhibition is able to trigger signaling events leading to the reduction of N-Myc protein levels and a subsequent decrease of both ornithine decarboxylase expression and polyamine levels, accompanied by cell cycle blockade preceding cell death. New anti-tumor strategies could take advantage of the direct relationship between glucose deprivation and polyamine metabolism impairment, leading to cell death, and its apparent dependence on n-myc. Combined therapies targeting glucose metabolism and polyamine synthesis could be effective in the treatment of n-myc-expressing tumors.

de la Parra C, Borrero-Garcia LD, Cruz-Collazo A, et al.
Equol, an isoflavone metabolite, regulates cancer cell viability and protein synthesis initiation via c-Myc and eIF4G.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(10):6047-57 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/03/2016 Related Publications
Epidemiological studies implicate dietary soy isoflavones as breast cancer preventives, especially due to their anti-estrogenic properties. However, soy isoflavones may also have a role in promoting breast cancer, which has yet to be clarified. We previously reported that equol, a metabolite of the soy isoflavone daidzein, may advance breast cancer potential via up-regulation of the eukaryotic initiation factor 4GI (eIF4GI). In estrogen receptor negative (ER-) metastatic breast cancer cells, equol induced elevated levels of eIF4G, which were associated with increased cell viability and the selective translation of mRNAs that use non-canonical means of initiation, including internal ribosome entry site (IRES), ribosome shunting, and eIF4G enhancers. These mRNAs typically code for oncogenic, survival, and cell stress molecules. Among those mRNAs translationally increased by equol was the oncogene and eIF4G enhancer, c-Myc. Here we report that siRNA-mediated knockdown of c-Myc abrogates the increase in cancer cell viability and mammosphere formation by equol, and results in a significant down-regulation of eIF4GI (the major eIF4G isoform), as well as reduces levels of some, but not all, proteins encoded by mRNAs that are translationally stimulated by equol treatment. Knockdown of eIF4GI also markedly reduces an equol-mediated increase in IRES-dependent mRNA translation and the expression of specific oncogenic proteins. However, eIF4GI knockdown did not reciprocally affect c-Myc levels or cell viability. This study therefore implicates c-Myc as a potential regulator of the cancer-promoting effects of equol via up-regulation of eIF4GI and selective initiation of translation on mRNAs that utilize non-canonical initiation, including certain oncogenes.

Chisholm KM, Bangs CD, Bacchi CE, et al.
Expression profiles of MYC protein and MYC gene rearrangement in lymphomas.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2015; 39(3):294-303 [PubMed] Related Publications
MYC translocations are a defining feature of Burkitt lymphoma and a group of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with inferior outcome. However, the clinical relevance of MYC gene rearrangement and its relationship with MYC protein expression has not been well characterized in lymphomas. Tissue microarrays containing 1214 lymphomas were successfully evaluated by immunohistochemistry using anti-MYC clone Y69 and a dual-color break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization probe to detect MYC gene rearrangements. Aggressive B-cell lymphomas including Burkitt lymphoma and DLBCL showed the highest level of MYC protein staining defined as staining in >50% of lymphoma cells. A significant proportion of plasmablastic, B-lymphoblastic and T-lymphoblastic, and extranodal NK/T-cell lymphomas also showed staining in >50% of cells, whereas only occasional plasma cell myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, and classical Hodgkin lymphoma showed a high level of staining. Small B-cell lymphomas, when positive, showed MYC protein in <50% of cells. In aggressive B-cell lymphomas, MYC rearrangement and MYC immunohistochemistry showed a high concordance rate; however, some DLBCL and all T-cell and NK-cell lymphomas with MYC protein expression lacked MYC gene rearrangements. Our results provide a baseline for MYC protein expression in lymphomas and indicate that its expression is not specific to lymphoma subtypes, cell lineage, or expected clinical behavior and is highly variable. In addition, MYC protein expression is not necessarily correlated with MYC gene rearrangements and suggests the need for caution in the interpretation of MYC immunohistochemistry in the differential diagnosis of lymphomas.

Guo Z, Liu D, Su Z
CIP2A mediates prostate cancer progression via the c-MYC signaling pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(5):3583-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent evidence suggests that cancerous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) is an oncoprotein that acts as a novel therapeutic target in a variety of tumors. In this study, we investigated the clinical significance of CIP2A and its function in our large collection of prostate samples. Between August 2000 and December 2013, 126 patients with histologically confirmed PCa and 92 with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) were recruited into the study. Quantitative RT-PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry analyses were used to quantify CIP2A expression in PCa clinical samples and cell lines. The relationships between CIP2A expression and clinicopathological features were analyzed. The functional role of CIP2A in PCa cells was evaluated by small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of the protein followed by analyses of cell proliferation and invasion. High expression of CIP2A staining was 86.51 % (109/126) in 126 cases of PCa and 17.39 % (16/92) in 92 cases of BPH, and the difference of CIP2A expression between PCa and BPH was statistically significant. CIP2A was significantly elevated in all five PCa cell lines when compared to the RWPE-1 cells at both the messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels. Silencing of CIP2A inhibited the proliferation of DU-145 cells which have a relatively high level of CIP2A in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, and the invasion and migration of DU-145 cells were distinctly suppressed. Furthermore, CIP2A knockdown led to substantial reductions in c-Myc levels in PCa cell lines, but no significant change in phosphorylated Akt expression after CIP2A knockdown in DU-145 cells. Our data suggest that the pathogenesis of human PCa maybe mediated by CIP2A, and CIP2A inhibition treatment may provide a promising strategy for the antitumor therapy of PCa, and thus CIP2A could represent selective targets for the molecularly targeted treatments of PCa.

Sarveswaran S, Chakraborty D, Chitale D, et al.
Inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase selectively triggers disruption of c-Myc signaling in prostate cancer cells.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(8):4994-5006 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Myc is up-regulated in almost all cancer types and is the subject of intense investigation because of its pleiotropic effects controlling a broad spectrum of cell functions. However, despite its recognition as a stand-alone molecular target, development of suitable strategies to block its function is hindered because of its nonenzymatic nature. We reported earlier that arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase (5-Lox) plays an important role in the survival and growth of prostate cancer cells, although details of the underlying mechanisms have yet to be characterized. By whole genome gene expression array, we observed that inhibition of 5-Lox severely down-regulates the expression of c-Myc oncogene in prostate cancer cells. Moreover, inhibition of 5-Lox dramatically decreases the protein level, nuclear accumulation, DNA binding, and transcriptional activities of c-Myc. Both the 5-Lox inhibition-induced down-regulation of c-Myc and induction of apoptosis are mitigated when the cells are treated with 5-oxoeicosatetraenoic acid, a metabolite of 5-Lox, confirming a role of 5-Lox in these processes. c-Myc is a transforming oncogene widely expressed in prostate cancer cells and maintains their transformed phenotype. Interestingly, MK591, a specific 5-Lox inhibitor, strongly affects the viability of Myc-overactivated prostate cancer cells and completely blocks their invasive and soft agar colony-forming abilities, but it spares nontransformed cells where expression of 5-Lox is undetectable. These findings indicate that the oncogenic function of c-Myc in prostate cancer cells is regulated by 5-Lox activity, revealing a novel mechanism of 5-Lox action and suggesting that the oncogenic function of c-Myc can be suppressed by suitable inhibitors of 5-Lox.

Baratta MG, Schinzel AC, Zwang Y, et al.
An in-tumor genetic screen reveals that the BET bromodomain protein, BRD4, is a potential therapeutic target in ovarian carcinoma.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(1):232-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) is the most common and aggressive form of epithelial ovarian cancer, for which few targeted therapies exist. To search for new therapeutic target proteins, we performed an in vivo shRNA screen using an established human HGSOC cell line growing either subcutaneously or intraperitoneally in immunocompromised mice. We identified genes previously implicated in ovarian cancer such as AURKA1, ERBB3, CDK2, and mTOR, as well as several novel candidates including BRD4, VRK1, and GALK2. We confirmed, using both genetic and pharmacologic approaches, that the activity of BRD4, an epigenetic transcription modulator, is necessary for proliferation/survival of both an established human ovarian cancer cell line (OVCAR8) and a subset of primary serous ovarian cancer cell strains (DFs). Among the DFs tested, the strains sensitive to BRD4 inhibition revealed elevated expression of either MYCN or c-MYC, with MYCN expression correlating closely with JQ1 sensitivity. Accordingly, primary human xenografts derived from high-MYCN or c-MYC strains exhibited sensitivity to BRD4 inhibition. These data suggest that BRD4 inhibition represents a new therapeutic approach for MYC-overexpressing HGSOCs.

Hill RM, Kuijper S, Lindsey JC, et al.
Combined MYC and P53 defects emerge at medulloblastoma relapse and define rapidly progressive, therapeutically targetable disease.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(1):72-84 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
We undertook a comprehensive clinical and biological investigation of serial medulloblastoma biopsies obtained at diagnosis and relapse. Combined MYC family amplifications and P53 pathway defects commonly emerged at relapse, and all patients in this group died of rapidly progressive disease postrelapse. To study this interaction, we investigated a transgenic model of MYCN-driven medulloblastoma and found spontaneous development of Trp53 inactivating mutations. Abrogation of p53 function in this model produced aggressive tumors that mimicked characteristics of relapsed human tumors with combined P53-MYC dysfunction. Restoration of p53 activity and genetic and therapeutic suppression of MYCN all reduced tumor growth and prolonged survival. Our findings identify P53-MYC interactions at medulloblastoma relapse as biomarkers of clinically aggressive disease that may be targeted therapeutically.

Cheah CY, Oki Y, Westin JR, Turturro F
A clinician's guide to double hit lymphomas.
Br J Haematol. 2015; 168(6):784-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Double hit lymphomas (DHL) represent a subset of highly aggressive B-cell malignancies characterized by the presence of recurrent cytogenetic rearrangements affecting MYC and either BCL2 and/or BCL6. Recent studies have expanded the concept to include MYC/BCL2 protein co-expressing lymphomas. Around 5-10% of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas are 'double hit' using the cytogenetic definition, whilst around 30-40% are MYC/BCL2 protein co-expressing. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of this condition written with the practicing clinician in mind, covering the definition and classification, when DHL should be suspected and how to make the diagnosis, the prognostic factors and a detailed discussion of recent evidence regarding optimal therapy. In particular, we discuss choice of induction regimen, the role of central nervous system-directed prophylaxis, stem cell transplantation and relapsing or refractory disease and provide our opinions based on the currently available evidence. Finally, we highlight some of the more exciting therapies currently in development for this highly aggressive disease.

Avdulov S, Herrera J, Smith K, et al.
eIF4E threshold levels differ in governing normal and neoplastic expansion of mammary stem and luminal progenitor cells.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(4):687-97 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2016 Related Publications
Translation initiation factor eIF4E mediates normal cell proliferation, yet induces tumorigenesis when overexpressed. The mechanisms by which eIF4E directs such distinct biologic outputs remain unknown. We found that mouse mammary morphogenesis during pregnancy and lactation is accompanied by increased cap-binding capability of eIF4E and activation of the eIF4E-dependent translational apparatus, but only subtle oscillations in eIF4E abundance. Using a transgenic mouse model engineered so that lactogenic hormones stimulate a sustained increase in eIF4E abundance in stem/progenitor cells of lactogenic mammary epithelium during successive pregnancy/lactation cycles, eIF4E overexpression increased self-renewal, triggered DNA replication stress, and induced formation of premalignant and malignant lesions. Using complementary in vivo and ex vivo approaches, we found that increasing eIF4E levels rescued cells harboring oncogenic c-Myc or H-RasV12 from DNA replication stress and oncogene-induced replication catastrophe. Our findings indicate that distinct threshold levels of eIF4E govern its biologic output in lactating mammary glands and that eIF4E overexpression in the context of stem/progenitor cell population expansion can initiate malignant transformation by enabling cells to evade DNA damage checkpoints activated by oncogenic stimuli. Maintaining eIF4E levels below its proneoplastic threshold is an important anticancer defense in normal cells, with important implications for understanding pregnancy-associated breast cancer.

Hung CL, Wang LY, Yu YL, et al.
A long noncoding RNA connects c-Myc to tumor metabolism.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(52):18697-702 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2016 Related Publications
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been implicated in a variety of physiological and pathological processes, including cancer. In prostate cancer, prostate cancer gene expression marker 1 (PCGEM1) is an androgen-induced prostate-specific lncRNA whose overexpression is highly associated with prostate tumors. PCGEM1's tumorigenic potential has been recently shown to be in part due to its ability to activate androgen receptor (AR). Here, we report a novel function of PCGEM1 that provides growth advantages for cancer cells by regulating tumor metabolism via c-Myc activation. PCGEM1 promotes glucose uptake for aerobic glycolysis, coupling with the pentose phosphate shunt to facilitate biosynthesis of nucleotide and lipid, and generates NADPH for redox homeostasis. We show that PCGEM1 regulates metabolism at a transcriptional level that affects multiple metabolic pathways, including glucose and glutamine metabolism, the pentose phosphate pathway, nucleotide and fatty acid biosynthesis, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. The PCGEM1-mediated gene regulation takes place in part through AR activation, but predominantly through c-Myc activation, regardless of hormone or AR status. Significantly, PCGEM1 binds directly to target promoters, physically interacts with c-Myc, promotes chromatin recruitment of c-Myc, and enhances its transactivation activity. We also identified a c-Myc binding domain on PCGEM1 that contributes to the PCGEM1-dependent c-Myc activation and target induction. Together, our data uncover PCGEM1 as a key transcriptional regulator of central metabolic pathways in prostate cancer cells. By being a coactivator for both c-Myc and AR, PCGEM1 reprograms the androgen network and the central metabolism in a tumor-specific way, making it a promising target for therapeutic intervention.

Kulic I, Robertson G, Chang L, et al.
Loss of the Notch effector RBPJ promotes tumorigenesis.
J Exp Med. 2015; 212(1):37-52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2016 Related Publications
Aberrant Notch activity is oncogenic in several malignancies, but it is unclear how expression or function of downstream elements in the Notch pathway affects tumor growth. Transcriptional regulation by Notch is dependent on interaction with the DNA-binding transcriptional repressor, RBPJ, and consequent derepression or activation of associated gene promoters. We show here that RBPJ is frequently depleted in human tumors. Depletion of RBPJ in human cancer cell lines xenografted into immunodeficient mice resulted in activation of canonical Notch target genes, and accelerated tumor growth secondary to reduced cell death. Global analysis of activated regions of the genome, as defined by differential acetylation of histone H4 (H4ac), revealed that the cell death pathway was significantly dysregulated in RBPJ-depleted tumors. Analysis of transcription factor binding data identified several transcriptional activators that bind promoters with differential H4ac in RBPJ-depleted cells. Functional studies demonstrated that NF-κB and MYC were essential for survival of RBPJ-depleted cells. Thus, loss of RBPJ derepresses target gene promoters, allowing Notch-independent activation by alternate transcription factors that promote tumorigenesis.

Woroniecka R, Rymkiewicz G, Grygalewicz B, et al.
Cytogenetic and flow cytometry evaluation of Richter syndrome reveals MYC, CDKN2A, IGH alterations with loss of CD52, CD62L and increase of CD71 antigen expression as the most frequent recurrent abnormalities.
Am J Clin Pathol. 2015; 143(1):25-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Richter syndrome (RS) is a transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) into high-grade lymphoma. There are only limited data on flow cytometry (FCM) and cytogenetics in RS.
METHODS: In this study, FCM, classic cytogenetics (CC), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were performed in eight RS cases.
RESULTS: Most cases of RS were characterized by a loss/decrease of CD52 and CD62L and increased CD71 expression. CC identified complex karyotypes, with losses of 9/9p and 17/17p as the most frequent in four of seven cases. Seven RS cases demonstrated MYC abnormalities. Disruptions of CDKN2A and IGH were identified in five of seven and four of seven RS cases, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Newly diagnosed RS is an oncologic emergency, and a quick diagnostic decision is crucial in clinical practice. Therefore, in patients with CLL/SLL and rapidly enlarging asymmetric lymphadenopathy and/or extranodal tumors, we strongly advise FCM of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) material, including CD62L, CD52, and CD71 analysis as well as assessment of karyotype and at least MYC abnormalities by FISH of the same FNAB material. Loss of CD52 expression in RS most likely predicts resistance to alemtuzumab therapy, which is frequently used in CLL.

Becerikli M, Wieczorek S, Stricker I, et al.
Numerical and structural chromosomal anomalies in undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(12):7119-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) or undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma of late adult life. Further advances in genetic characterization are warranted. The aim of this study was to search for numerical and structural chromosomal anomalies in UPS.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated five sarcoma-specific chromosomal translocations, five oncogene amplifications as well as the numerical karyotype of 19 UPS samples and one UPS/MFH cell line (U2197) using FISH probes on interphase nuclei.
RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that chromosomal translocations involving CHOP, SYT, EWS, FUS and FKHR genes are absent. Furthermore, amplification of ERBB2 (10.5%) and MDM2 (10.5%) was observed whereas the EGFR, C-MYC and N-MYC genes were not amplified. Interestingly, predominant aneuploidies were found in eight chromosomes.
CONCLUSION: The data demonstrate rarity of sarcoma-specific chromosomal breaks and oncogene amplifications in UPS, yet polysomic chromosomes appear more characteristically in this condition.

Fog CK, Asmar F, Côme C, et al.
Loss of PRDM11 promotes MYC-driven lymphomagenesis.
Blood. 2015; 125(8):1272-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
The PR-domain (PRDM) family of genes encodes transcriptional regulators, several of which are deregulated in cancer. By using a functional screening approach, we sought to identify novel tumor suppressors among the PRDMs. Here we demonstrate oncogenic collaboration between depletion of the previously uncharacterized PR-domain family member Prdm11 and overexpression of MYC. Overexpression of PRDM11 inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis. Prdm11 knockout mice are viable, and loss of Prdm11 accelerates MYC-driven lymphomagenesis in the Eµ-Myc mouse model. Moreover, we show that patients with PRDM11-deficient diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs) have poorer overall survival and belong to the nongerminal center B-cell-like subtype. Mechanistically, genome-wide mapping of PRDM11 binding sites coupled with transcriptome sequencing in human DLBCL cells evidenced that PRDM11 associates with transcriptional start sites of target genes and regulates important oncogenes such as FOS and JUN. Hence, we characterize PRDM11 as a putative novel tumor suppressor that controls the expression of key oncogenes, and we add new mechanistic insight into B-cell lymphomagenesis.

Selmi A, de Saint-Jean M, Jallas AC, et al.
TWIST1 is a direct transcriptional target of MYCN and MYC in neuroblastoma.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 357(1):412-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
In neuroblastoma, MYCN amplification is associated with a worse prognosis and is a criterion used in the clinic to provide intensive treatments to children even with localized disease. In correlation with MYCN amplification, upregulation of TWIST1, a transcription factor playing a crucial role in inhibition of apoptosis and differentiation, was previously reported. Clinical data set analysis of MYCN, MYC and TWIST1 expression permits us to confirm that TWIST1 expression is upregulated in MYCN amplified neuroblastoma but also in a subset of neuroblastoma harboring high expression of MYCN or MYC without gene amplification. In silico analyses reveal the presence of several MYC regulatory motifs (E-Boxes and INR) within the TWIST1 promoter. Using gel shift assay and reporter activity assays, we demonstrate that both N-Myc and c-Myc proteins can bind and activate the TWIST1 promoter. Therefore, we propose TWIST1 as a direct MYC transcriptional target.

Wang Z, Xu Y, Meng X, et al.
Suppression of c-Myc is involved in multi-walled carbon nanotubes' down-regulation of ATP-binding cassette transporters in human colon adenocarcinoma cells.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015; 282(1):42-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
Over-expression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, a large family of integral membrane proteins that decrease cellular drug uptake and accumulation by active extrusion, is one of the major causes of cancer multi-drug resistance (MDR) that frequently leads to failure of chemotherapy. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs)-based drug delivery devices hold great promise in enhancing the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy. However, CNTs' effects on the ABC transporters remain under-investigated. In this study, we found that multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) reduced transport activity and expression of ABC transporters including ABCB1/Pgp and ABCC4/MRP4 in human colon adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cells. Proto-oncogene c-Myc, which directly regulates ABC gene expression, was concurrently decreased in MWCNT-treated cells and forced over-expression of c-Myc reversed MWCNTs' inhibitory effects on ABCB1 and ABCC4 expression. MWCNT-cell membrane interaction and cell membrane oxidative damage were observed. However, antioxidants such as vitamin C, β-mecaptoethanol and dimethylthiourea failed to antagonize MWCNTs' down-regulation of ABC transporters. These data suggest that MWCNTs may act on c-Myc, but not through oxidative stress, to down-regulate ABC transporter expression. Our findings thus shed light on CNTs' novel cellular effects that may be utilized to develop CNTs-based drug delivery devices to overcome ABC transporter-mediated cancer chemoresistance.

Roussel MF, Robinson GW
Role of MYC in Medulloblastoma.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2013; 3(11) [PubMed] Related Publications
Since its discovery as an oncogene carried by the avian acute leukemia virus MC29 in myelocytomatosis (Roussel et al. 1979) and its cloning (Vennstrom et al. 1982), c-MYC (MYC), as well as its paralogs MYCN and MYCL1, has been shown to play essential roles in cycling progenitor cells born from proliferating zones during embryonic development, and in all proliferating cells after birth. MYC deletion induces cell-cycle exit or cell death, depending on the cell type and milieu, whereas MYC and MYCN amplification or overexpression promotes cell proliferation and occurs in many cancers. Here, we review the relationship of MYC family proteins to the four molecularly distinct medulloblastoma subgroups, discuss the possible roles MYC plays in each of these subgroups and in the developing cells of the posterior fossa, and speculate on possible therapeutic strategies targeting MYC.

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