Research IndicatorsGraph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (6)
Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: GPER1 (cancer-related)
Natural killer (NK) cells have increasingly become a target of interest for immunotherapies. NK cells express killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), which play a vital role in immune response to tumors by detecting cellular abnormalities. The genomic region encoding the 16 KIR genes displays high polymorphic variability in human populations, making it difficult to resolve individual genotypes based on next generation sequencing data. As a result, the impact of polymorphic KIR variation on cancer phenotypes has been understudied. Currently, labor-intensive, experimental techniques are used to determine an individual's KIR gene copy number profile. Here, we develop an algorithm to determine the germline copy number of KIR genes from whole exome sequencing data and apply it to a cohort of nearly 5000 cancer patients. We use a k-mer based approach to capture sequences unique to specific genes, count their occurrences in the set of reads derived from an individual and compare the individual's k-mer distribution to that of the population. Copy number results demonstrate high concordance with population copy number expectations. Our method reveals that the burden of inhibitory KIR genes is associated with survival in two tumor types, highlighting the potential importance of KIR variation in understanding tumor development and response to immunotherapy.
BACKGROUND: Autocrine motility factor (AMF) is a critical factor regulating aggressiveness of endometrial cancer (EC). Multiple pieces of evidence indicate that it is through G protein coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) signaling pathway that some growth factors promoted the migration and proliferation of tumor cells. The aim of this study is to explore the role of GPER-1 in AMF mediated regulatory mechanisms of EC recurrence and progression.
METHODS: Real-Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) assays were performed to assess whether AMF depends on Autocrine motility factor recepter (AMFR) signaling in EC cells. A genome-wide expression microarray and Yeast Two-Hybrid assay were used to detect AMF and GPER-1 interaction in the context of AMFR depletion, and co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence experiments were performed to confirm the physical interaction. Isobaric Tags for Relative and Absolute Quantification (iTRAQ) analysis was used for the identification of the target pathway activated by AMF-GPER-1 interaction. Cohorts of mice harboring xenografts derived from modified SPEC2 cell lines were treated with or without exogenous AMF to validate the results of previous experiments. Immunohistochemistry was performed to assess AMF and GPER-1 expression in endometrial cancer specimens and normal endometrium.
RESULTS: Our data showed that GPER-1 binds to AMF and the formed complex translocates from the plasma membrane to the cytoplasm. Mechanistic investigations demonstrated that interaction between AMF and GPER-1 triggers phosphoinositide-3-kinase signaling and promotes EC cell growth. More importantly, through animal experiments and human tissue experiments, we found that AMF contributes to GPER-1-mediated EC progression, which is consistent with the above observations.
CONCLUSIONS: Our work not only delineated the regulatory mechanisms of endometrial cancer progression by AMF-GPER-1-AKT signaling cascade but also laid the foundation of targeting this pathway for treating endometrial cancer.
BACKGROUND: Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a cytoplasmatic protein tyrosine kinase that associates with both integrins and growth factor receptors toward the adhesion, migration and invasion of cancer cells. The G-protein coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) has been involved in the stimulatory action of estrogens in breast tumor. In this study, we have investigated the engagement of FAK by GPER signaling in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells.
METHODS: Publicly available large-scale database and patient data sets derived from "The Cancer Genome Atlas" (TCGA; www.cbioportal.org ) were used to assess FAK expression in TNBC, non-TNBC tumors and normal breast tissues. MDA-MB 231 and SUM159 TNBC cells were used as model system. The levels of phosphorylated FAK, other transduction mediators and target genes were detected by western blotting analysis. Focal adhesion assay was carried out in order to determine the focal adhesion points and the formation of focal adhesions (FAs). Luciferase assays were performed to evaluate the promoters activity of c-FOS, EGR1 and CTGF upon GPER activation. The mRNA expression of the aforementioned genes was measured by real time-PCR. Boyden chamber and wound healing assays were used in order to evaluate cell migration. The statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA.
RESULTS: We first determined by bioinformatic analysis that the mRNA expression levels of the gene encoding FAK, namely PTK2, is higher in TNBC respect to non-TNBC and normal breast tissues. Next, we found that estrogenic GPER signaling triggers Y397 FAK phosphorylation as well as the increase of focal adhesion points (FAs) in TNBC cells. Besides, we ascertained that GPER and FAK activation are involved in the STAT3 nuclear accumulation and gene expression changes. As biological counterpart, we show that FAK inhibition prevents the migration of TNBC cells upon GPER activation.
CONCLUSIONS: The present data provide novel insights regarding the action of FAK in TNBC. Moreover, on the basis of our findings estrogenic GPER signaling may be considered among the transduction mechanisms engaging FAK toward breast cancer progression.
The G-protein coupled estrogen receptor (GPER), an alternate estrogen receptor (ER) with a structure distinct from the two canonical ERs, being ERα, and ERβ, is expressed in 50% to 60% of breast cancer tissues and has been presumed to be associated with the development of tamoxifen resistance in ERα positive breast cancer. On the other hand, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) constitutes 15% to 20% of breast cancers and frequently displays a more aggressive behavior. GPER is prevalent and involved in TNBC and can be a therapeutic target. However, contradictory results exist regarding the function of GPER in breast cancer, proliferative or pro-apoptotic. A better understanding of the GPER, its role in breast cancer, and the interactions with the ER and epidermal growth factor receptor will be beneficial for the disease management and prevention in the future.
Chaturantabut S, Shwartz A, Evason KJ, et al.Estrogen Activation of G-Protein-Coupled Estrogen Receptor 1 Regulates Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase and mTOR Signaling to Promote Liver Growth in Zebrafish and Proliferation of Human Hepatocytes.
Gastroenterology. 2019; 156(6):1788-1804.e13 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients with cirrhosis are at high risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and often have increased serum levels of estrogen. It is not clear how estrogen promotes hepatic growth. We investigated the effects of estrogen on hepatocyte proliferation during zebrafish development, liver regeneration, and carcinogenesis. We also studied human hepatocytes and liver tissues.
METHODS: Zebrafish were exposed to selective modifiers of estrogen signaling at larval and adult stages. Liver growth was assessed by gene expression, fluorescent imaging, and histologic analyses. We monitored liver regeneration after hepatocyte ablation and HCC development after administration of chemical carcinogens (dimethylbenzanthrazene). Proliferation of human hepatocytes was measured in a coculture system. We measured levels of G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER1) in HCC and nontumor liver tissues from 68 patients by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Exposure to 17β-estradiol (E2) increased proliferation of hepatocytes and liver volume and mass in larval and adult zebrafish. Chemical genetic and epistasis experiments showed that GPER1 mediates the effects of E2 via the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-protein kinase B-mechanistic target of rapamycin pathway: gper1-knockout and mtor-knockout zebrafish did not increase liver growth in response to E2. HCC samples from patients had increased levels of GPER1 compared with nontumor tissue samples; estrogen promoted proliferation of human primary hepatocytes. Estrogen accelerated hepatocarcinogenesis specifically in male zebrafish. Chemical inhibition or genetic loss of GPER1 significantly reduced tumor development in the zebrafish.
CONCLUSIONS: In an analysis of zebrafish and human liver cells and tissues, we found GPER1 to be a hepatic estrogen sensor that regulates liver growth during development, regeneration, and tumorigenesis. Inhibitors of GPER1 might be developed for liver cancer prevention or treatment.
TRANSCRIPT PROFILING: The accession number in the Gene Expression Omnibus is GSE92544.
Lei B, Sun S, Zhang X, et al.Bisphenol AF exerts estrogenic activity in MCF-7 cells through activation of Erk and PI3K/Akt signals via GPER signaling pathway.
Chemosphere. 2019; 220:362-370 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The negative health effects of bisphenol A (BPA) due to its estrogenic activity result in the increasing usage of alternative bisphenols (BPs) including bisphenol AF (BPAF). To comprehensive understand health effects of BPAF, the MCF-7 cells were used to investigate the effects of BPAF on cell proliferation, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, and calcium ion (Ca
The tumor microenvironment is fundamental to cancer progression, and the influence of its mechanical properties is increasingly being appreciated. Tamoxifen has been used for many years to treat estrogen-positive breast cancer. Here we report that tamoxifen regulates the level and activity of collagen cross-linking and degradative enzymes, and hence the organization of the extracellular matrix, via a mechanism involving both the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1A). We show that tamoxifen reduces HIF-1A levels by suppressing myosin-dependent contractility and matrix stiffness mechanosensing. Tamoxifen also downregulates hypoxia-regulated genes and increases vascularization in PDAC tissues. Our findings implicate the GPER/HIF-1A axis as a master regulator of peri-tumoral stromal remodeling and the fibrovascular tumor microenvironment and offer a paradigm shift for tamoxifen from a well-established drug in breast cancer hormonal therapy to an alternative candidate for stromal targeting strategies in PDAC and possibly other cancers.
Kaewlert W, Sakonsinsiri C, Namwat N, et al.The Importance of CYP19A1 in Estrogen Receptor-Positive Cholangiocarcinoma.
Horm Cancer. 2018; 9(6):408-419 [PubMed
] Related Publications
CYP19A1, also called aromatase, is a key enzyme for converting androgens to estrogens of estrogen synthesis. Elevated serum estrogen and high expression levels of estrogen-related proteins are found in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA; bile duct cancer). However, the expression of CYP19A1 in relation to estrogen-related proteins, including estrogen receptors (ERα, ERβ, and GPR30) and an estrogen response protein (TFF1), has never been explored in CCA. In this study, we investigated the expressions of CYP19A1 and estrogen-related proteins in CCA tissues (n = 74; 51 males and 23 females) using immunohistochemistry. The results showed that CYP19A1 was overexpressed in CCA cells compared with that in normal bile duct cells in the adjacent tissues. High expression of CYP19A1 was correlated with the metastatic status of the patients. High CYP19A1 expression was also positively correlated with GPR30 expression. Correlation between high CYP19A1 expression in the tumor tissues and shorter survival time was more prominent in male than in female CCA patients. To elucidate further, the effect of CYP19A1 knockdown on a CCA cell line was examined using a specific siRNA. When CYP19A1 gene expression was suppressed, migration and proliferation activities of CCA cells were significantly reduced. Moreover, the cell proliferation of high CYP19A1-expressing KKU-213 cells was more profoundly suppressed by CYP19A1 inhibitors (exemestane and letrozole) than low CYP19A1-expressing KKU-100 cells. Thus, CYP19A1 promotes CCA progression with aggressive clinical outcomes via increased migration and proliferation activities of cancer cells. CYP19A1 can be a potential chemotherapeutic target for CCA, especially in male patients.
Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited condition arising from genetic defects in the Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene. Carriers with mutations in the APC gene develop polyps in the colon and rectum which if not managed, transition into colon cancer. In this study, we identified a novel germline mutation in the APC gene in members of an FAP-affected (Familial adenomatous polyposis) family. This unique heterozygous variant (c.735_736insT; p.Ser246PhefsTer6) was identified in ten out of twenty six family members, ranging in age from 6 to 60 years. Polyps were detected in six of the ten individuals (35-60 years) carrying this mutation. The remaining four members (6-23 years) remain polyp free. A significant fraction of FAP affected individuals eventually develop colon cancer and therapeutic interventions to prevent cancer progression remain elusive. To address this issue, we sought to determine if peptides derived from the novel APC mutation could induce a cytotoxic T cell response, thereby qualifying them as vaccine candidates. Peptides harboring the variant amino acids were first interrogated in silico for their immunogenicity using a proprietary neoepitope prioritization pipeline, OncoPeptVAC. A single 9-mer peptide was predicted to be immunogenic. Remarkably, CD8+ T cells isolated from either an FAP+/ APCmut individual, or from a FAP-/ APCmut individual, failed to respond to the peptide, whereas those from either an unaffected family member (FAP-/ APCwt) or from healthy unrelated donors, showed a robust response, suggesting that CD8+ T cells from individuals carrying this germline APC mutation have been tolerized to the mutation. Furthermore, experimental testing of six additional reported APC gene mutation-derived peptides revealed one of the six to be immunogenic. While not all APC mutant peptides are inmmunogenic, a few qualify as vaccine candidates offering novel treatment opportunities to patients with somatic APC gene mutations to delay/treat colorectal cancer.
Akimoto T, Takasawa A, Takasawa K, et al.Estrogen/GPR30 Signaling Contributes to the Malignant Potentials of ER-Negative Cervical Adenocarcinoma via Regulation of Claudin-1 Expression.
Neoplasia. 2018; 20(10):1083-1093 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cervical adenocarcinomas are believed to lose estrogen response on the basis of no expression of a nuclear estrogen receptor such as ERα in clinical pathology. Here, we demonstrated that cervical adenocarcinoma cells respond to a physiological concentration of estrogen to upregulate claudin-1, a cell surface molecule highly expressed in cervical adenocarcinomas. Knockout of claudin-1 induced apoptosis and significantly inhibited proliferation, migration, and invasion of cervical adenocarcinoma cells and tumorigenicity in vivo. Importantly, all of the cervical adenocarcinoma cell lines examined expressed a membrane-bound type estrogen receptor, G protein-coupled receptor 30 (GPR30/GPER1), but not ERα. Estrogen-dependent induction of claudin-1 expression was mediated by GPR30 via ERK and/or Akt signaling. In surgical specimens, there was a positive correlation between claudin-1 expression and GPR30 expression. Double high expression of claudin-1 and GPR30 predicts poor prognosis in patients with cervical adenocarcinomas. Mechanism-based targeting of estrogen/GPR30 signaling and claudin-1 may be effective for cervical adenocarcinoma therapy.
The Notch signaling pathway acts in both physiological and pathological conditions, including embryonic development and tumorigenesis. In cancer progression, diverse mechanisms are involved in Notch-mediated biological responses, including angiogenesis and epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT). During EMT, the activation of cellular programs facilitated by transcriptional repressors results in epithelial cells losing their differentiated features, like cell–cell adhesion and apical–basal polarity, whereas they gain motility. As it concerns cancer epithelial cells, EMT may be consequent to the evolution of genetic/epigenetic instability, or triggered by factors that can act within the tumor microenvironment. Following a description of the Notch signaling pathway and its major regulatory nodes, we focus on studies that have given insights into the functional interaction between Notch signaling and either hypoxia or estrogen in breast cancer cells, with a particular focus on EMT. Furthermore, we describe the role of hypoxia signaling in breast cancer cells and discuss recent evidence regarding a functional interaction between HIF-1α and GPER in both breast cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). On the basis of these studies, we propose that a functional network between HIF-1α, GPER and Notch may integrate tumor microenvironmental cues to induce robust EMT in cancer cells. Further investigations are required in order to better understand how hypoxia and estrogen signaling may converge on Notch-mediated EMT within the context of the stroma and tumor cells interaction. However, the data discussed here may anticipate the potential benefits of further pharmacological strategies targeting breast cancer progression.
Shafei A, Matbouly M, Mostafa E, et al.Stop eating plastic, molecular signaling of bisphenol A in breast cancer.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018; 25(24):23624-23630 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Breast cancer is the second most common fatal cancer in women. Developing a breast cancer is a multi-factorial and hormonal-dependent process, which may be triggered by many risk factors. An endocrine disrupting substance known as bisphenol A (BPA), that is used greatly in the manufacture of plastic products, was suggested as a possible risk factor for developing breast cancer. BPA has a strong binding affinity to non-classical membrane estrogen receptors like estrogen-related and G protein-coupled (GPER) receptors. Based on animal and in vitro studies, results showed a link between BPA exposure and increased incidence of breast cancer. BPA has the ability to alter multiple molecular pathways in cells namely, G protein-coupled receptor (GPER) pathway, estrogen-related receptor gamma (ERRγ) pathway, HOXB9 (homeobox-containing gene) pathway, bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) and (BMP4), immunoregulatory cytokine disturbance in the mammary gland, EGFR-STAT3 pathway, FOXA1 in ER-breast cancer cells, enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), and epigenetic changes. Thus, the aforementioned alterations cause undesired gene stimulation or repression that increase risk of developing breast cancer. So, restricting exposure to BPA should be considered to aid in lowering the risk of developing breast cancer.
BACKGROUND: Although membrane-associated estrogen receptors (mERs) have been known to play important role in steroid-induced signal transmission, we still know little about their function in the estrogen-induced proliferation of breast cancer cells.
METHODS: In our current work we tried to separate membrane-initiated estrogen receptor signaling from the overall estrogenic effect in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells. Re-analyzing expression data from multiple microarray experiments, we selected a set of key regulatory genes involved in proliferation regulation and estrogen signaling to monitor estrogen-induced transcription changes. We then compared these expression changes after 17β-estradiol and a membrane receptor selective estrogen-BSA treatment using quantitative real-time PCR. In order to follow receptor trafficking we used light and electron microscopy.
RESULTS: Our quantitative real-time PCR results confirmed that the selective membrane receptor agonist, estrogen-BSA induces similarly pronounced expression changes regarding these genes as 17β-estradiol. Morphological study revealed that the membrane-bound form of classical estrogen receptor alpha is internalized after ligand binding via dynamin-dependent, caveola-mediated endocytosis. Inhibition of this internalization with dynamin inhibitor, dynasore practically abolished the regulatory effect of E2-BSA, suggesting that interaction and internalization with the scaffold protein is necessary for effective signaling.
CONCLUSIONS: The physiological role of plasma membrane estrogen receptor alpha is intensively studied, yet there are still several aspects of it to be resolved. The dynamin-dependent, ligand-mediated internalization of mERs seems to play an important role in estrogen signaling. Our results may serve as another example of how membrane initiated estrogen signaling and nuclear receptor initiated signaling overlap and form an intertwined system.
Yuan S, Huang C, Ji X, et al.Prediction of the combined effects of multiple estrogenic chemicals on MCF-7 human breast cancer cells and a preliminary molecular exploration of the estrogenic proliferative effects and related gene expression.
Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2018; 160:1-9 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The environmental risks of environmental estrogens (EEs) are often assessed via the same mode of action in the concentration addition (CA) model, neglecting the complex combined mechanisms at the genetic level. In this study, the cell proliferation effects of estrone, 17α-ethinylestradiol, 17β-estradiol, estriol, diethylstilbestrol, estradiol valerate, bisphenol A, 4-tert-octylphenol and 4-nonylphenol were determined individually using the CCK-8 method, and the proliferation effects of a multicomponent mixture of estrogenic chemicals mixed at equipotent concentrations using a fixed-ratio design were studied using estrogen-sensitive MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, transcription factors related to cell proliferation were analyzed using RT-PCR assays to explore the potential molecular mechanisms related to the estrogenic proliferative effects. The results showed that the estrogenic chemicals act together in an additive mode, and the combined proliferative effects could be predicted more accurately by the response addition model than the CA model with regard to their adverse outcomes. Furthermore, different signaling pathways were involved depending on the different mixtures. The RT-PCR analyses showed that different estrogens have distinct avidities and preferences for different estrogen receptors at the gene level. Furthermore, the results indicated that estrogenic mixtures increased ERα, PIK3CA, GPER, and PTEN levels and reduced Akt1 level to display combined estrogenicity. These findings indicated that the potential combined environmental risks were greater than those found in some specific assessment procedures based on a similar mode of action due to the diversity of environmental pollutions and their multiple unknown modes of action. Thus, more efforts are needed for mode-of-action-driven analyses at the molecular level. Furthermore, to more accurately predict and assess the individual responses in vivo from the cellular effects in vitro, more parameters and correction factors should be taken into consideration in the addition model.
Deng Q, Jiang G, Wu Y, et al.GPER/Hippo-YAP signal is involved in Bisphenol S induced migration of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells.
J Hazard Mater. 2018; 355:1-9 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Nowadays, risk factors of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) metastasis are not well identified. Our present study reveals that an industrial chemical, bisphenol S (BPS), can promote the migration, but not the proliferation, of TNBC cells in vitro. BPS activates YAP, a key effector of Hippo pathway, by inhibiting its phosphorylation, which promotes YAP nuclear accumulation and up-regulates its downstream genes such as CTGF and ANKRD1. Inhibition of YAP blocks the BPS-triggered cell migration and up-regulation of fibronectin (FN) and vimentin (Vim). BPS rapidly decreases the phosphorylation levels of LATS1 (Ser909) in TNBC cells, which regulates the activation and functions of YAP. Silencing LATS1/2 by siRNA increases BPS-induced dephosphorylation of YAP and extended the half-life of YAP protein. Inhibition of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) and its downstream PLCβ/PKC signals attenuate the effects of BPS-induced YAP dephosphorylation and CTGF up-regulation. Targeted inhibition of GPER/YAP inhibits BPS-induced migration of TNBC cells. Collectively, we reveal that GPER/Hippo-YAP signal is involved in BPS-induced migration of TNBC cells.
Yeom S, Jeong H, Kim SS, Jang KLHepatitis B virus X protein activates proteasomal activator 28 gamma expression via upregulation of p53 levels to stimulate virus replication.
J Gen Virol. 2018; 99(5):655-666 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Proteasomal activator gamma (PA28γ), frequently overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma, is believed to play important roles in tumourigenesis. However, the underlying mechanism of PA28γ overexpression and its possible roles in hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication are largely unknown. In the present study, we found that hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) activates PA28γ expression by upregulating p53 levels in human hepatoma cells. The elevated PA28γ levels in turn repressed seven in absentia homologue 1 expression via downregulation of p53 levels, thereby inhibiting ubiquitin-dependent proteasomal degradation of HBx, which ultimately led to upregulation of HBx levels. The correlation among HBx, p53 and PA28γ was exactly reproduced in a 1.2-mer HBV replicon system, mimicking the natural course of HBV infection. In particular, knockdown of either p53 or PA28γ in HepG2 cells downregulated HBx levels and thereby inhibited HBV replication, whereas overexpression of p53 or PA28γ in Hep3B cells upregulated HBx levels, which stimulated HBV replication, indicating that p53 and PA28γ act as activators of HBV replication. In conclusion, HBx levels are upregulated via a positive feedback loop involving p53 and PA28γ to stimulate HBV propagation.
Eom H, Kaushik N, Yoo KC, et al.MerTK mediates STAT3-KRAS/SRC-signaling axis for glioma stem cell maintenance.
Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2018; 46(sup2):87-95 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Receptor tyrosine kinase Mer (MerTK) has been shown to be highly expressed in Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in comparison to its healthy counterpart and is implicated in brain tumorigenesis. Clarifying the underlying mechanism of MerTK induced invasiveness would result in novel strategies to improve patient's response to chemotherapeutics. In vitro and in vivo assays were performed to examine the functional role of cancer stem sell (CSC) maintenance in MerTK associated invasiveness. In this article, we demonstrate that apart from GBM cells, MerTK is also upregulated in GBM stem-like cells and associated with an increased infiltrative potential of brain tumors in vivo. Silencing of MerTK suppressed the self-renewal of patient-derived GBM stem-like cells. The signaling mechanisms by which MerTK contributes to CSC maintenance have largely been obscure. Molecular analyses revealed that high expression of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3)- Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) and proto-oncogene tyrosine-protein kinase SRC axis supports MerTK-induced CSC maintenance in GBM spheroids. Furthermore, a short-hairpin RNA-mediated MerTK knockdown effectively blocked invasiveness and N-cadherin expression in mouse xenografts. Collectively, our results uncover a critical function of MerTK in CSC maintenance. Considering the low basal level of MerTK expression in healthy brain cells, evaluation of MerTK as a therapeutic target should advance the research into better therapeutics for GBM.
Shen Y, Chen X, He J, et al.Axl inhibitors as novel cancer therapeutic agents.
Life Sci. 2018; 198:99-111 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Overexpression and activation of Axl receptor tyrosine kinase have been widely accepted to promote cell proliferation, chemotherapy resistance, invasion, and metastasis in several human cancers, such as lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers. Axl, a member of the TAM (Tyro3, Axl, Mer) family, and its inhibitors can specifically break the kinase signaling nodes, allowing advanced patients to regain drug sensitivity with improved therapeutic efficacy. Therefore, the research on Axl is promising and it is worthy of further investigations. In this review, we present an update on the Axl inhibitors and provide new insights into their latent application.
Growth arrest-specific 6, also known as Gas6, is a human gene encoding the Gas6 protein, which was originally found to be upregulated in growth-arrested fibroblasts. Gas6 is a member of the vitamin K-dependent family of proteins expressed in many human tissues and regulates several biological processes in cells, including proliferation, survival and migration, by binding to its receptors Tyro3, Axl and Mer (TAM). In recent years, the roles of Gas6/TAM signalling in cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment have been studied, and some progress has made in targeted therapy, providing new potential directions for future investigations of cancer treatment. In this review, we introduce the Gas6 and TAM receptors and describe their involvement in different cancers and discuss the roles of Gas6 in cancer cells, the tumour microenvironment and metastasis. Finally, we introduce recent studies on Gas6/TAM targeting in cancer therapy, which will assist in the experimental design of future analyses and increase the potential use of Gas6 as a therapeutic target for cancer.
The role of sex hormone receptors in human cancer development and progression has been well documented in numerous studies, as has the success of sex hormone antagonists in the biological therapy of many human tumors. In salivary gland tumors (SGTs), little and conflicting information about the role of the estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), progesterone receptor (PgR) and androgen receptor (AR) has been described and in most cases the use of sex hormone antagonists is not contemplated in clinical practice. In this study, we analyzed a panel of sex hormone receptors that have not been widely investigated in SGTs-ERα, PgR, AR, but also ERβ and GPR30-to define their expression pattern and their prognostic and predictive value in a case series of 69 benign and malignant SGTs. We showed the aberrant expression of AR in mucoepidermoid and oncocytic carcinoma, a strong relation between cytoplasmic ERβ expression and tumor grade, and a strong correlation between nuclear GPR30 expression and disease-free survival (DFS) of SGT patients.
TTK protein kinase (TTK), also known as Monopolar spindle 1 (MPS1), is a key regulator of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), which functions to maintain genomic integrity. TTK has emerged as a promising therapeutic target in human cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Several TTK inhibitors (TTKis) are being evaluated in clinical trials, and an understanding of the mechanisms mediating TTKi sensitivity and resistance could inform the successful development of this class of agents. We evaluated the cellular effects of the potent clinical TTKi CFI-402257 in TNBC models. CFI-402257 induced apoptosis and potentiated aneuploidy in TNBC lines by accelerating progression through mitosis and inducing mitotic segregation errors. We used genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screens in multiple TNBC cell lines to identify mechanisms of resistance to CFI-402257. Our functional genomic screens identified members of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) complex, which promotes mitotic progression following inactivation of the SAC. Several screen candidates were validated to confer resistance to CFI-402257 and other TTKis using CRISPR/Cas9 and siRNA methods. These findings extend the observation that impairment of the APC/C enables cells to tolerate genomic instability caused by SAC inactivation, and support the notion that a measure of APC/C function could predict the response to TTK inhibition. Indeed, an APC/C gene expression signature is significantly associated with CFI-402257 response in breast and lung adenocarcinoma cell line panels. This expression signature, along with somatic alterations in genes involved in mitotic progression, represent potential biomarkers that could be evaluated in ongoing clinical trials of CFI-402257 or other TTKis.
Oji Y, Inoue M, Takeda Y, et al.WT1 peptide-based immunotherapy for advanced thymic epithelial malignancies.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 142(11):2375-2382 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Thymic epithelial tumors are rare malignancies, and no optimal therapeutic regimen has been defined for patients with advanced disease. Patients with advanced thymic epithelial tumors, which were resistant or intolerable to prior therapies, were eligible for this study. Patients received 9 mer-WT1-derived peptide emulsified with Montanide ISA51 adjuvant via intradermal administration once a week as a monotherapy. After the 3-month-protocol treatment, the treatment was continued mostly at intervals of 2-4 weeks until disease progression or intolerable adverse events occurred. Of the 15 patients enrolled, 11 had thymic carcinoma (TC) and 4 had invasive thymoma (IT). Median period from diagnosis to the start of treatment was 13.3 and 65.5 months for TC and IT, respectively. No patients achieved a complete or partial response. Of the 8 evaluable TC patients, 6 (75.0%) had stable disease (SD) and 2 had progressive disease (PD). Of the 4 evaluable IT patients, 3 (75.0%) had SD and 1 (25.0%) had PD. Median period of monotherapy treatment was 133 and 683 days in TC and IT patients, respectively. No severe adverse events occurred during the 3-month-protocol treatment. As adverse events in long responders, thymoma-related autoimmune complications, pure red cell aplasia and myasthenia gravis occurred in two IT patients. Cerebellar hemorrhage developed in a TC patient complicated with Von Willebrand disease. Induction of WT1-specific immune responses was observed in the majority of the patients. WT1 peptide vaccine immunotherapy may have antitumor potential against thymic malignancies.
Koda Y, Itoh M, Tohda SEffects of MERTK Inhibitors UNC569 and UNC1062 on the Growth of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2018; 38(1):199-204 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MER proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase (MERTK) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that affects cancer cell proliferation. This study evaluated the effects of the synthetic MERTK inhibitors UNC569 and UNC1062 on in vitro growth of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Four AML cell lines expressing MERTK were treated with UNC569 and UNC1062 and analyzed for cell proliferation, immunoblotting, and gene expression. The effects of MERTK knockdown were also evaluated.
RESULTS: Treatment with the inhibitors suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis in all cell lines. OCI/AML5 and TMD7 cells, in which MERTK was constitutively phosphorylated by autocrine mechanisms, were highly susceptible to these inhibitors. The treatment reduced the phosphorylation of MERTK and its down-stream signalling molecules, v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1 (AKT) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Similar effects were observed after MERTK knockdown. The inhibitors and the knockdown caused similar changes in mRNA expression.
CONCLUSION: These MERTK inhibitors are potential molecular-targeted drugs for treating AML expressing constitutively phosphorylated MERTK.
Objective To demonstrate the correlation between nuclear and cytoplasmic G protein-coupled oestrogen receptor (GPR30) expression and clinicopathological features and outcome in patients with ovarian cancer. Methods Nuclear and cytoplasmic GPR30 expressions were determined using immunohistochemistry to identify the intracellular location in tissues from patients with ovarian cancer. Data were correlated with clinicopathological characteristics and outcomes. Results Tissue samples were obtained from 110 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer between 2005 and 2010. Nuclear GPR30 was significantly more frequent in the group of patients with recurrence. The presence of nuclear GPR30 predicted lower overall survival) and 5-year progression-free survival in all patients with ovarian cancer and overall survival in patients with high grade ovarian cancer. Cytoplasmic GPR30 was observed significantly more often in advanced ovarian cancer and did not predict survival. Conclusion This study showed that nuclear GPR30 is an independent negative prognostic indicator in patients with ovarian cancer, especially in those with a high grade malignancy.
Ringleb J, Strack E, Angioni C, et al.Apoptotic Cancer Cells Suppress 5-Lipoxygenase in Tumor-Associated Macrophages.
J Immunol. 2018; 200(2):857-868 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) is key in the synthesis of leukotrienes, which are potent proinflammatory lipid mediators involved in chronic inflammatory diseases including cancer. 5-LO is expressed in immune cells but also found in cancer cells. Although the role of 5-LO in tumor cells is beginning to emerge, with the notion that tumor-promoting functions are attributed to its products, the function of 5-LO in the tumor microenvironment remains unclear. To understand the role of 5-LO and its products in the tumor microenvironment, we analyzed its expression and function in tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). TAMs were generated by coculturing primary human macrophages (MΦ) with human MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells, which caused cell death of cancer cells followed by phagocytosis of cell debris by MΦ. Expression and activity of 5-LO in TAMs were reduced upon coculture with cancer cells. Downregulation of 5-LO in TAMs required tumor cell death and the direct contact between MΦ and dying cancer cells via Mer tyrosine kinase. Subsequently, upregulation of proto-oncogene c-Myb in TAMs induced a stable transcriptional repression of 5-LO. Reduced 5-LO expression in TAMs was mechanistically coupled to an attenuated T cell recruitment. In primary TAMs from human and murine breast tumors, 5-LO expression was absent or low when compared with monocyte-derived MΦ. Our data reveal that 5-LO, which is required for leukotriene production and subsequent T cell recruitment, is downregulated in TAMs through Mer tyrosine kinase-dependent recognition of apoptotic cancer cells. Mechanistically, we noticed transcriptional repression of 5-LO by proto-oncogene c-Myb and conclude that loss of stromal 5-LO expression favors tumor progression.
BACKGROUND: The G protein estrogen receptor GPER/GPR30 mediates estrogen action in breast cancer cells as well as in breast cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which are key components of microenvironment driving tumor progression. GPER is a transcriptional target of hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) and activates VEGF expression and angiogenesis in hypoxic breast tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, IGF1/IGF1R signaling, which has angiogenic effects, has been shown to activate GPER in breast cancer cells.
METHODS: We analyzed gene expression data from published studies representing almost 5000 breast cancer patients to investigate whether GPER and IGF1 signaling establish an angiocrine gene signature in breast cancer patients. Next, we used GPER-positive but estrogen receptor (ER)-negative primary CAF cells derived from patient breast tumours and SKBR3 breast cancer cells to investigate the role of GPER in the regulation of VEGF expression and angiogenesis triggered by IGF1. We performed gene expression and promoter studies, western blotting and immunofluorescence analysis, gene silencing strategies and endothelial tube formation assays to evaluate the involvement of the HIF-1α/GPER/VEGF signaling in the biological responses to IGF1.
RESULTS: We first determined that GPER is co-expressed with IGF1R and with the vessel marker CD34 in human breast tumors (n = 4972). Next, we determined that IGF1/IGF1R signaling engages the ERK1/2 and AKT transduction pathways to induce the expression of HIF-1α and its targets GPER and VEGF. We found that a functional cooperation between HIF-1α and GPER is essential for the transcriptional activation of VEGF induced by IGF1. Finally, using conditioned medium from CAFs and SKBR3 cells stimulated with IGF1, we established that HIF-1α and GPER are both required for VEGF-induced human vascular endothelial cell tube formation.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings shed new light on the essential role played by GPER in IGF1/IGF1R signaling that induces breast tumor angiogenesis. Targeting the multifaceted interactions between cancer cells and tumor microenvironment involving both GPCRs and growth factor receptors has potential in future combination anticancer therapies.
Most molecular cancer therapies act on protein targets but data on the proteome status of patients and cellular models for proteome-guided pre-clinical drug sensitivity studies are only beginning to emerge. Here, we profiled the proteomes of 65 colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines to a depth of > 10,000 proteins using mass spectrometry. Integration with proteomes of 90 CRC patients and matched transcriptomics data defined integrated CRC subtypes, highlighting cell lines representative of each tumour subtype. Modelling the responses of 52 CRC cell lines to 577 drugs as a function of proteome profiles enabled predicting drug sensitivity for cell lines and patients. Among many novel associations, MERTK was identified as a predictive marker for resistance towards MEK1/2 inhibitors and immunohistochemistry of 1,074 CRC tumours confirmed MERTK as a prognostic survival marker. We provide the proteomic and pharmacological data as a resource to the community to, for example, facilitate the design of innovative prospective clinical trials.
BACKGROUND: Clinically, breast cancer is generally classified into estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) or estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) subtypes. The phytoestrogen calycosin has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of ER+ cells, which may be mediated by a feedback loop that involves miR-375, RAS dexamethasone-induced 1 (RASD1), and ERα. However, how calycosin acts on ER- breast cancer cells remains unclear.
RESULTS: Here, we show that calycosin inhibited the proliferation of both ER- (MDA-MB-468 and SKBR3) and ER+ breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and T47D) and that these inhibitory effects were associated with the up-regulation of the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) WDR7-7. For the first time, we demonstrate that the expression of WDR7-7 is reduced in breast cancer cell lines and that the overexpression of WDR7-7 inhibits growth through a mechanism that involves G-protein coupled estrogen receptor 30 (GPR30). Meanwhile, we show that calycosin stimulated the WDR7-7-GPR30 signaling pathway in MCF-7, T47D, MDA-MB-468, and SKBR3 breast cancer cells. In contrast, in MCF10A and GPR30-deficient MDA-MB-231 cells, due to a lack of WDR7-7-GPR30 for activation, calycosin failed to inhibit cell growth. Additionally, in all four GPR30-positive breast cancer lines, calycosin decreased the phosphorylation levels of SRC, EGFR, ERK1/2 and Akt, but the inhibition of WDR7-7 blocked these changes and increased proliferation. In mice bearing MCF-7 or SKBR3 xenografts, tumor growth was inhibited by calycosin, and changes in expression the levels of WDR7-7 and GPR30 in tumor tissues were similar to those in cultured MCF-7 and SKBR3 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest the possibility that calycosin inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells, at least partially, through WDR7-7-GPR30 signaling, which may explain why calycosin can exert inhibitory effects on ER- breast cancer.
Bonkhoff HEstrogen receptor signaling in prostate cancer: Implications for carcinogenesis and tumor progression.
Prostate. 2018; 78(1):2-10 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The androgen receptor (AR) is the classical target for prostate cancer prevention and treatment, but more recently estrogens and their receptors have also been implicated in prostate cancer development and tumor progression.
METHODS: Recent experimental and clinical data were reviewed to elucidate pathogenetic mechanisms how estrogens and their receptors may affect prostate carcinogenesis and tumor progression.
RESULTS: The estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) is the most prevalent ER in the human prostate, while the estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) is restricted to basal cells of the prostatic epithelium and stromal cells. In high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), the ERα is up-regulated and most likely mediates carcinogenic effects of estradiol as demonstrated in animal models. The partial loss of the ERβ in HGPIN indicates that the ERβ acts as a tumor suppressor. The tumor promoting function of the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion, a major driver of prostate carcinogenesis, is triggered by the ERα and repressed by the ERβ. The ERβ is generally retained in hormone naïve and metastatic prostate cancer, but is partially lost in castration resistant disease. The progressive emergence of the ERα and ERα-regulated genes (eg, progesterone receptor (PR), PS2, TMPRSS2-ERG fusion, and NEAT1) during prostate cancer progression and hormone refractory disease suggests that these tumors can bypass the AR by using estrogens and progestins for their growth. In addition, nongenomic estrogen signaling pathways mediated by orphan receptors (eg, GPR30 and ERRα) has also been implicated in prostate cancer progression.
CONCLUSIONS: Increasing evidences demonstrate that local estrogen signaling mechanisms are required for prostate carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Despite the recent progress in this research topic, the translation of the current information into potential therapeutic applications remains highly challenging and clearly warrants further investigation.
Duployez N, Abou Chahla W, Lejeune S, et al.Detection of a new heterozygous germline ETV6 mutation in a case with hyperdiploid acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Eur J Haematol. 2018; 100(1):104-107 [PubMed
] Related Publications
ETV6 is a target of recurrent aberrations in sporadic and familial acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Here, we report on a new pedigree with a germline ETV6 mutation in which the index patient and his father developed high hyperdiploid (HeH) ALL and polycythemia vera at age 13 and 51, respectively. The index patient achieved durable complete remission without transplantation but had persistent moderate thrombocytopenia without bleeding tendency. To determine the prevalence of ETV6 alterations in HeH-ALL, we screened 81 unrelated subjects with HeH-ALL by single nucleotide polymorphism array and high-throughput sequencing for the ETV6 gene. Overall, ETV6 microdeletions and mutations were identified in 9% of cases, all of which were somatic and considered as secondary events. Apart from the index patient, no germline ETV6 aberration was identified. Finally, we reviewed the literature for ETV6 germline aberrations and predispositions to ALL.