Elevated cutaneous Smad activation associates with enhanced skin tumor susceptibility in organ transplant recipients.
ABSTRACT Nonmelanoma skin cancer incidence is enhanced >50-fold in patients taking antirejection drugs (ARD) following organ transplantation. Preclinical studies suggest that ARD treatment increases transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) levels, which contribute to enhanced tumor susceptibility independent of the immunosuppressive effects of ARDs. This study investigates whether TGF-beta signaling is elevated in transplant patients.
Immunohistochemical tissue microarray analysis was used to determine the levels of TGF-beta1, TGF-beta2, TGF-beta3, TbetaRII, and activated P-Smad2/3 and P-Smad1/5/8, which are phosphorylated directly by distinct TGF-beta/BMP receptor complexes. We analyzed >200 cutaneous lesions and adjacent nonlesional skin samples from 87 organ transplant recipients, and 184 cutaneous lesions and adjacent skin samples from 184 individuals who had never received ARDs.
We found significantly higher levels of P-Smad2 in both nonlesional and lesional tissue from transplant recipients compared with those not exposed to ARDs (P < or = 0.001). In contrast, P-Smad1/5/8, a marker of activation of the bone morphogenetic protein signaling pathway, was generally not expressed at higher levels in patients taking ARDs, including analysis of nonlesional skin, actinic keratoses, carcinoma in situ, or squamous cell carcinoma but was differentially expressed between keratoacanthoma from transplant recipients compared with those from non-transplant recipients (P < or = 0.005).
Observation of elevated P-Smad2 levels in transplant recipients is consistent with the notion that elevated TGF-beta signaling may contribute to malignancy in organ transplant recipients. Disparate P-Smad1/5/8 expression levels between keratoacanthoma from the two patient groups might reflect the distinct BMP-responsive cell of origin for this hair follicle-derived lesion.
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ABSTRACT: Cancer cells often gain advantage by reducing the tumor-suppressive activity of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) together with stimulation of its oncogenic activity as in Ras-transformed cells; however, molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. TGF-beta activates both its type I receptor (TbetaRI) and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), which phosphorylate Smad2 and Smad3 at the COOH-terminal (pSmad2/3C) and linker regions (pSmad2/3L). Here, we report that Ras transformation suppresses TbetaRI-mediated pSmad3C signaling, which involves growth inhibition by down-regulating c-Myc. Instead, hyperactive Ras constitutively stimulates JNK-mediated pSmad2/3L signaling, which fosters tumor invasion by up-regulating plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), MMP-2, and MMP-9. Conversely, selective blockade of linker phosphorylation by a mutant Smad3 lacking JNK-dependent phosphorylation sites results in preserved tumor-suppressive function via pSmad3C in Ras-transformed cells while eliminating pSmad2/3L-mediated invasive capacity. Thus, specific inhibition of the JNK/pSmad2/3L pathway should suppress cancer progression by shifting Smad-dependent signaling from oncogenesis to tumor suppression.Cancer Research 07/2007; 67(11):5090-6. · 7.86 Impact Factor