One Allele's Loss Is Another's Gain: Alterations of NKX2-8 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Stanford Cancer Center, Stanford, California, USA.
Clinical Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 8.19). 02/2011; 17(4):638-9. DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-3081
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Large-scale genetic changes such as loss or gain of chromosomes are important drivers of solid tumor carcinogenesis. Recent technological advances in genomic profiling have allowed quantitative detection of gene copy numbers, leading to identification of the 14q13.3 gene locus as functionally important in non-small cell lung cancers.

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    ABSTRACT: Nkx2.8, a homeodomain transcription factor, has been characterized in liver cancer and in the developing central nervous system. We now show that this factor is also expressed in the lung, where it localizes in adults to a discrete population of tracheobronchial basal cells. To target the mouse gene, the first exon was replaced by a LacZ marker gene joined to the intact 5'-untranslated region. Marker expression was observed throughout the lower respiratory tract, beginning on E11 in a few cells of the distal lung buds. The region of expression then spread upward. By neonatal day 1, expression was greatest in the large airways and the Nkx2.8-/- mice exhibited generalized tracheobronchial hyperplasia. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) labeling studies showed that a higher rate of bronchial cell proliferation persisted at 6 to 8 months. In adults, Nkx2.8 marker expression decreased with progressive differentiation into ciliated and secretory cells. The cell localizations and patterns of coexpression with BrdUrd and differentiation markers suggest a progenitor relationship: the cells that most strongly express Nkx2.8 seem to function as tracheobronchial stem cells. Moreover, Nkx2.8 acts to limit the number of these progenitor cells because the marker-expressing population was greatly expanded in Nkx2.8-/- mice. Increased proliferation and an altered progenitor relationship caused progressive bronchial pathology, which manifested as widespread dysplasia in the large airways of 1-year-old Nkx2.8-/- mice.
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    ABSTRACT: We used high-resolution array analysis to discover a recurrent lung cancer amplicon located at 14q13.3. Low-level gain of this region was detected in 15% of lung cancer samples, and high-level amplification was detected in an additional 4% of samples. High-level focal amplification appears to be specific to lung cancers, because it was not detected in >500 samples of other tumor types. Mapping of the commonly amplified region revealed there are three genes in the core region, all of which encode transcription factors with either established lung developmental function (TTF1/NKX2-1, NKX2-8) or potential lung developmental function (PAX9). All three genes were overexpressed to varying degrees in amplified samples, although TTF1/NKX2-1 was not expressed in the squamous cancer subtype, consistent with previous reports. Remarkably, overexpression of any pairwise combination of these genes showed pronounced synergy in promoting the proliferation of immortalized human lung epithelial cells. Analysis of human lung cancer cell lines by both RNAi and ectopic overexpression further substantiates an oncogenic role for these transcription factors. These results, taken together with previous reports of oncogenic alterations of transcription factors involved in lung development (p63, CEBPA), suggest genetic alterations that directly interfere with transcriptional networks normally regulating lung development may be a more common feature of lung cancer than previously realized.
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    ABSTRACT: Because loss of Nkx2-8 increases lung cancer in the mouse, we studied suppressive mechanisms in human lung cancer. NKX2-8 is located within 14q13.3, adjacent to its close relative TTF1/NKX2-1. We first analyzed LOH of 14q13.3 in forty-five matched human lung cancer and control specimens. DNA from tumors with LOH was then analyzed with high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. For correlation with this genetic analysis, we quantified expression of Nkx2-8 and TTF1 mRNA in tumors. Finally, suppressive function of Nkx2-8 was assessed via colony formation assays in five lung cancer cell lines. Thirteen of forty-five (29%) tumors had LOH. In six tumors, most adenocarcinomas, LOH was caused by gene amplification. The 0.8-Mb common region of amplification included MBIP, SFTA, TTF1, NKX2-8, and PAX9. In 4 squamous or adenosquamous cancers, LOH was caused by deletion. In three other tumors, LOH resulted from whole chromosome mechanisms (14(-), 14(+), or aneuploidy). The 1.2-Mb common region of deletion included MBIP, SFTA, TTF1, NKX2-8, PAX9, SLC25A21, and MIPOL1. Most tumors had low expression of Nkx2-8. Nevertheless, sequencing did not show NKX2-8 mutations that could explain the low expression. TTF1 overexpression, in contrast, was common and usually independent of Nkx2-8 expression. Finally, stable transfection of Nkx2-8 selectively inhibited growth of H522 lung cancer cells. 14q13.3, which contains NKX2-8, is subject to both amplification and deletion in lung cancer. Most tumors have low expression of Nkx2-8, and its expression can inhibit growth of some lung cancer cells.
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