Genome based cell population heterogeneity promotes tumorigenicity: the evolutionary mechanism of cancer.
ABSTRACT Cancer progression represents an evolutionary process where overall genome level changes reflect system instability and serve as a driving force for evolving new systems. To illustrate this principle it must be demonstrated that karyotypic heterogeneity (population diversity) directly contributes to tumorigenicity. Five well characterized in vitro tumor progression models representing various types of cancers were selected for such an analysis. The tumorigenicity of each model has been linked to different molecular pathways, and there is no common molecular mechanism shared among them. According to our hypothesis that genome level heterogeneity is a key to cancer evolution, we expect to reveal that the common link of tumorigenicity between these diverse models is elevated genome diversity. Spectral karyotyping (SKY) was used to compare the degree of karyotypic heterogeneity displayed in various sublines of these five models. The cell population diversity was determined by scoring type and frequencies of clonal and non-clonal chromosome aberrations (CCAs and NCCAs). The tumorigenicity of these models has been separately analyzed. As expected, the highest level of NCCAs was detected coupled with the strongest tumorigenicity among all models analyzed. The karyotypic heterogeneity of both benign hyperplastic lesions and premalignant dysplastic tissues were further analyzed to support this conclusion. This common link between elevated NCCAs and increased tumorigenicity suggests an evolutionary causative relationship between system instability, population diversity, and cancer evolution. This study reconciles the difference between evolutionary and molecular mechanisms of cancer and suggests that NCCAs can serve as a biomarker to monitor the probability of cancer progression.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Increased mammary epithelial expression of the human growth hormone (hGH) gene is associated with the acquisition of pathological proliferation. We report here that autocrine hGH production by human mammary carcinoma cells increased the expression and transcriptional activity of the homeobox domain containing protein HOXA1. Forced expression of HOXA1 in human mammary carcinoma cells resulted in increased total cell number primarily by the promotion of cell survival mediated by the transcriptional up-regulation of Bcl-2. HOXA1 also abrogated the apoptotic response of mammary carcinoma cells to doxorubicin. Forced expression of HOXA1 in mammary carcinoma cells, in a Bcl-2-dependent manner, resulted in dramatic enhancement of anchorage-independent proliferation and colony formation in soft agar. Finally, forced expression of HOXA1 was sufficient to result in the oncogenic transformation of immortalized human mammary epithelial cells with aggressive in vivo tumor formation. Herein, we have therefore provided a molecular mechanism by which autocrine hGH stimulation of human mammary epithelial cells may result in oncogenic transformation.Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2003; 278(9):7580-90. · 4.77 Impact Factor