[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IntroductionActivation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway in estrogen receptor inverted question mark (ER)-positive breast cancer is associated with reduced ER expression and activity, luminal B subtype, and poor outcome. Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), a negative regulator of this pathway, is typically lost in ER-negative breast cancer. We set out to clarify the role of reduced PTEN levels in endocrine resistance, and to explore the combination of newly developed PI3K downstream kinase inhibitors to overcome this resistance.MethodsAltered cellular signaling, gene expression, and endocrine sensitivity were determined in inducible PTEN-knockdown ER-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer cell and/or xenograft models. Single or two-agent combinations of kinase inhibitors were examined to improve endocrine therapy.ResultsModerate PTEN reduction was sufficient to enhance PI3K signaling, generate a gene signature associated with the luminal B subtype of breast cancer, and cause endocrine resistance in vitro and in vivo. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), protein kinase B (AKT), or mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitors, alone or in combination, improved endocrine therapy, but the efficacy varied by PTEN levels, type of endocrine therapy, and the specific inhibitor(s). A single agent AKT inhibitor combined with fulvestrant conferred superior efficacy in overcoming resistance, inducing apoptosis and tumor regression.ConclusionsModerate reduction in PTEN, without complete loss, can activate the PI3K pathway to cause endocrine resistance in ER-positive breast cancer, which can be overcome by combining endocrine therapy with inhibitors of the PI3K pathway. Our data suggests that the ER degrader fulvestrant, to block both ligand-dependent and -independent ER signaling, combined with an AKT inhibitor is an effective strategy to test in patients.
Breast cancer research: BCR 01/2014; 16(5):430. · 5.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies on well characterized, large populations of estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PgR)/HER2-negative [triple-negative (TN)] breast cancer (BC) patients with long-term follow-up are lacking. In this study, we analyze clinical outcomes of TN BC and implications of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression. Clinical and biologic features, time to first recurrence (TTFR), and overall survival (OS) were compared in 253 TN versus 1,036 ER positive, PgR positive, HER2-negative [estrogen-driven (ED)] BC. Compared to ED, TN tumors were larger (p = 0.02), more proliferative (high S-phase 54 vs. 17 %, p < 0.0001), more aneuploid (64 vs. 43 %, p < 0.0001) and more likely EGFR positive (≥10 fmol/mg by radioligand-binding assay, 49 vs. 7 %, p < 0.0001). Among TN, EGFR-positive BC were larger (p = 0.0018), more proliferative (p < 0.0001), and more aneuploid, (p < 0.0001) than EGFR-negative BC. Adjuvant-treated TN patients had shorter TTFR (p = 0.0003), and OS (p = 0.0017), than ED patients. However, in untreated patients, no differences in TTFR and OS were observed at 8 years median follow-up. Among TN patients, EGFR expression was not associated with worse outcome. TN tumors have a worse outcome in systemically treated patients but not in untreated patients. EGFR expression, does not predict for worse long-term survival.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 11/2012; · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The coregulator steroid receptor coactivator (SRC)-1 increases transcriptional activity of the estrogen receptor (ER) in a number of tissues including bone. Mice deficient in SRC-1 are osteopenic and display skeletal resistance to estrogen treatment. SRC-1 is also known to modulate effects of selective ER modulators like tamoxifen. We hypothesized that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in SRC-1 may impact estrogen and/or tamoxifen action. Because the only nonsynonymous SNP in SRC-1 (rs1804645; P1272S) is located in an activation domain, it was examined for effects on estrogen and tamoxifen action. SRC-1 P1272S showed a decreased ability to coactivate ER compared with wild-type SRC-1 in multiple cell lines. Paradoxically, SRC-1 P1272S had an increased protein half-life. The Pro to Ser change disrupts a putative glycogen synthase 3 (GSK3)β phosphorylation site that was confirmed by in vitro kinase assays. Finally, knockdown of GSK3β increased SRC-1 protein levels, mimicking the loss of phosphorylation at P1272S. These findings are similar to the GSK3β-mediated phospho-ubiquitin clock previously described for the related coregulator SRC-3. To assess the potential clinical significance of this SNP, we examined whether there was an association between SRC-1 P1272S and selective ER modulators response in bone. SRC-1 P1272S was associated with a decrease in hip and lumbar bone mineral density in women receiving tamoxifen treatment, supporting our in vitro findings for decreased ER coactivation. In summary, we have identified a functional genetic variant of SRC-1 with decreased activity, resulting, at least in part, from the loss of a GSK3β phosphorylation site, which was also associated with decreased bone mineral density in tamoxifen-treated women.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that a subset of sporadic triple negative (TN) breast cancer patients whose tumors have defective DNA repair similar to BRCA1-associated tumors are more likely to exhibit up-regulation of DNA repair-related genes, anthracycline-sensitivity, and taxane-resistance. We derived a defective DNA repair gene expression signature of 334 genes by applying a previously published BRCA1-associated expression pattern to three datasets of sporadic TN breast cancers. We confirmed a subset of 69 of the most differentially expressed genes by quantitative RT-PCR, using a low density custom array (LDA). Next, we tested the association of this DNA repair microarray signature expression with pathologic response in neoadjuvant anthracycline trials of FEC (n = 50) and AC (n = 16), or taxane-based TET chemotherapy (n = 39). Finally, we collected paraffin-fixed, formalin-embedded biopsies from TN patients who had received neoadjuvant AC (n = 28), and tested the utility of the LDA to discriminate response. Correlation between RNA expression measured by the microarrays and 69-gene LDA was ascertained. This defective DNA repair microarray gene expression pattern was significantly associated with anthracycline response and taxane resistance, with the area under the ordinary receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.61 (95% CI = 0.45-0.77), and 0.65 (95% CI = 0.46-0.85), respectively. From the FFPE samples, the 69-gene LDA could discriminate AC responders, with AUC of 0.79 (95% CI = 0.59-0.98). In conclusion, a promising defective DNA repair gene expression signature appears to differentiate TN breast cancers that are sensitive to anthracyclines and resistant to taxane-based chemotherapy, and should be tested in clinical trials with other DNA-damaging agents and PARP-1 inhibitors.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 08/2010; 123(1):189-96. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether the hormone receptor status of the primary breast cancer (PBC) is predictive of the hormone receptor status of the subsequent contralateral breast cancer (CBC).
We identified patients in our database with known estrogen receptor (ER; n = 193) and/or progesterone receptor (PgR; n = 178) status in their PBC and in their subsequent CBC. One hundred twenty-six of these patients had received no adjuvant therapy, 34 had received adjuvant tamoxifen, and 33 had received adjuvant chemotherapy alone. The median interval between the first diagnosis of PBC and the development of the subsequent CBC was 3 years. ER and PgR assays were assessed biochemically in two central reference laboratories using identical quality-controlled ligand-binding methods.
Among systemically untreated patients (n = 126), 88% of patients with ER-positive PBC and 75% of patients with ER-negative PBC developed an ER-positive CBC (P = .11). Among the tamoxifen-treated patients, those with an ER-positive PBC were almost equally likely to develop an ER-positive (47%) or ER-negative (53%) CBC (P = .99). PgR status was similar. In the untreated group (n = 112), 59% of patients with a PgR-positive PBC and 66% with a PgR-negative PBC developed a PgR-positive CBC (P = .48). Among tamoxifen-treated patients (n = 33), 50% of patients with a PgR-positive PBC versus 27% of patients with a PgR-negative PBC developed a PgR-positive CBC (P = .28).
ER and PgR status of the primary tumor does not predict the hormone receptor status of the subsequent CBC in the absence of selective pressure of adjuvant therapy. Thus, other reasons should be considered to clarify the failure of tamoxifen to reduce the incidence of CBC in patients with a receptor-negative PBC.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 08/2005; 23(21):4687-94. · 18.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: De novo resistance to endocrine therapy is a near-universal feature of oestrogen receptor (ER)- negative breast cancer. Although many ER-positive breast cancers also show no response to tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors on objective clinical grounds the large majority show reduced proliferation indicating that some oestrogen dependence is present in almost all ER-positive breast cancer. In neoadjuvant studies HER2 positivity is associated with poor response rates to tamoxifen but not aromatase inhibitors, consistent with preclinical models. Acquired resistance to tamoxifen is associated with decreases in ER positivity but most recurrent lesions remain ER-positive. A small proportion of these show increased HER2 expression and in these patients increased phospho-p38 may contribute to the tamoxifen-resistant phenotype. There is an unfortunate paucity of clinical and biological data on acquired resistance to aromatase inhibitors.
Endocrine Related Cancer 08/2005; 12 Suppl 1:S113-7. · 5.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to their favourable tolerability profiles, endocrine therapies have long been considered the treatment of choice for hormone-sensitive metastatic breast cancer. However, the oestrogen agonist effects of the available selective oestrogen receptor modulators, such as tamoxifen, and the development of cross-resistance between endocrine therapies with similar modes of action have led to the need for new treatments that act through different mechanisms. Fulvestrant ('Faslodex') is the first of a new type of endocrine treatment--an oestrogen receptor (ER) antagonist that downregulates the ER and has no agonist effects. This article provides an overview of the current understanding of ER signalling and illustrates the unique mode of action of fulvestrant. Preclinical and clinical study data are presented in support of the novel mechanism of action of this new type of ER antagonist.
British Journal of Cancer 04/2004; 90 Suppl 1:S2-6. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The efficacy of fulvestrant (Faslodex), a novel oestrogen receptor (ER) antagonist that downregulates the ER and has no known agonist effects, was compared with the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole (Arimidex) for the second-line treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women with visceral and non-visceral metastases. Assessment was by means of a retrospective subgroup analysis of combined data from two randomised, phase III trials. Objective response (OR) rates were similar in patients treated with fulvestrant and anastrozole, respectively (21.9% versus 19.3%-patients with no visceral metastases; 15.7% versus 13.2%-all of the patients with visceral metastases; 18.8% versus 14.0%-patients with visceral metastases only). The proportion of patients with clinical benefit (CB) was also similar between treatments and between subgroups with and without visceral disease. Fulvestrant is at least as effective as anastrozole, providing a valuable treatment option for advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women with visceral metastases who have failed on prior endocrine therapy.
European Journal of Cancer 07/2003; 39(9):1228-33. · 5.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This retrospective evaluation of data from two randomized, multicenter trials examined whether tumor responses to further endocrine therapy were seen in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer who had progressed on both initial endocrine therapy, usually tamoxifen, and on the estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist fulvestrant ('Faslodex').
A combined total of 423 patients received fulvestrant 250 mg as a monthly intramuscular injection. After progression on fulvestrant, some patients received another endocrine therapy. Responses to subsequent endocrine therapy were assessed using a questionnaire sent to the trial investigators. Best responses were classified as a complete or partial response (CR or PR), stable disease (SD) lasting > or = 24 weeks, or disease progression.
Follow-up data were available for 54 patients who derived clinical benefit (CB, defined as CR, PR or SD) from fulvestrant and who received subsequent endocrine therapy, resulting in a PR in 4 patients, SD in 21 patients, and disease progression in 29 patients. Data were available for 51 patients who derived no CB from fulvestrant and who received further endocrine therapy, resulting in a PR in 1 patient, SD in 17 patients, and disease progression in 33 patients. Aromatase inhibitors were used as subsequent endocrine therapy in > 80% of patients.
After progression on fulvestrant, patients may retain sensitivity to other endocrine agents. Fulvestrant provides an additional option to existing endocrine therapies for the treatment of advanced or metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and may provide the opportunity to extend the sequence of endocrine regimens before cytotoxic chemotherapy is required.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 05/2003; 79(2):207-11. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare the efficacy and tolerability of fulvestrant (formerly ICI 182,780) with anastrozole in the treatment of advanced breast cancer in patients whose disease progresses on prior endocrine treatment.
In this double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group study, postmenopausal patients were randomized to receive either an intramuscular injection of fulvestrant 250 mg once monthly or a daily oral dose of anastrozole 1 mg. The primary end point was time to progression (TTP). Secondary end points included objective response (OR) rate, duration of response (DOR), and tolerability.
Patients (n = 400) were followed for a median period of 16.8 months. Fulvestrant was as effective as anastrozole in terms of TTP (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95.14% confidence interval [CI], 0.74 to 1.14; P =.43); median TTP was 5.4 months with fulvestrant and 3.4 months with anastrozole. OR rates were 17.5% with both treatments. Clinical benefit rates (complete response + partial response + stable disease > or = 24 weeks) were 42.2% for fulvestrant and 36.1% for anastrozole (95% CI, -4.00% to 16.41%; P =.26). In responding patients, median DOR (from randomization to progression) was 19.0 months for fulvestrant and 10.8 months for anastrozole. Using all patients, DOR was significantly greater for fulvestrant compared with anastrozole; the ratio of average response durations was 1.35 (95% CI, 1.10 to 1.67; P < 0.01). Both treatments were well tolerated.
Fulvestrant was at least as effective as anastrozole, with efficacy end points slightly favoring fulvestrant. Fulvestrant represents an additional treatment option for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer whose disease progresses on tamoxifen therapy.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 08/2002; 20(16):3386-95. · 18.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer development and progression are directly related to the effects of the female hormone estrogen. The nuclear receptor for estrogen (ER) functions as a transcription factor controlling estrogen-regulated genes. Receptor conformation on ligand binding, its interaction with various coregulators, and response elements in the promoter region of target genes all contribute to the net estrogenic effects in a cell. ER is an important diagnostic and therapeutic target in breast cancer. Various polypeptide growth factors and their membrane receptors also contribute to breast cancer development and progression. Pathways mediating cell survival, cell proliferation, and response to stress not only generate signals through various protein kinase pathways to enhance cell survival and proliferation, but these pathways also interact with ERs. Kinases in the growth factor cascade can phosphorylate and activate ER, and ER in turn activates and augments signaling through the growth factor pathways. Signaling through the growth factor pathways may contribute to hormonal resistance states by ligand-independent activation of ER. Targeting growth factor pathways, in addition to ER, is a developing strategy that hypothetically may represent optimal therapy by preventing the development of resistance to endocrine therapy.
Clinical Cancer Research 01/2002; 7(12 Suppl):4338s-4342s; discussion 4411s-4412s. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogen can increase insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) and insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) expression, two key components of IGF-I-mediated signaling. The result is sensitization of breast cancer cells to IGF-I and synergistic growth in the presence of estrogen and IGF-I. We hypothesized that loss of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) would result in reduced IGF-mediated signaling and growth. To test this hypothesis, we examined IGF-I effects in MCF-7 breast cancer cell sublines that have been selected for loss of ERalpha (C4 and C4-12 cells are ERalpha-negative) by long-term estrogen withdrawal. C4 and C4-12 cells had reduced IGF-IR and IRS-1 mRNA and protein expression (compared with MCF-7 cells) that was not inducible by estrogen. Furthermore, C4 and C4-12 cells showed reduced IGF-I signaling and failed to show any growth response to either estrogen or IGF-I. To prove that loss of IGF and estrogen-mediated signaling and growth was a consequence of loss of ERalpha, we re-expressed ERalpha in C4-12 cells by stable transfection with HA-tagged ERalpha. Three independent C4-12 ERalpha-HA clones expressed a functional ERalpha that (a) was down-regulated by estrogen, (b) conferred estrogen-induction of cyclin D1 expression, and (c) caused estrogen-mediated increase in the number of cells in S phase. All of the effects were completely blocked by antiestrogens. Interestingly, ERalpha-HA expression in C4-12 cells did not restore estrogen induction of progesterone receptor expression. However, ERalpha-positive C4-12 cells now exhibited estrogen-induction of IGF-IR and IRS-1 levels and responded mitogenically to both estrogen and IGF-I. These data show that ERalpha is a critical requirement for IGF signaling, and to our knowledge this is the first report of functional ERalpha expression that confers estrogen-mediated growth of an ER-negative breast cancer cell line.
Cancer Research 09/2001; 61(15):5771-7. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer mortality is seldom attributable to the primary tumor, but rather to the presence of systemic (metastatic) disease. Axillary lymph node dissection can identify the presence of metastatic breast cancer cells and serves as a marker for systemic disease. Previous work in our laboratory determined that rates of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of a 1.6-Mb region of chromosome 14q 31.2 is much higher in axillary lymph node-negative primary breast tumors than in axillary lymph node-positive primary breast tumors (P. O'Connell et al., J. NATL: Cancer INST:, 91: 1391-1397, 1999.). This unusual observation suggests that, whereas the LOH of this region promotes primary breast cancer formation, some gene(s) mapping to this 1.6-Mb region is rate-limiting for breast cancer metastasis. Thus, if primary breast cancers delete this region, their ability to metastasize decreases. To identify this gene(s), we have physically mapped this area of chromosome 14q, confirmed the position of two known genes and 13 other expressed sequence tags into this 1.6-Mb region. One of these, the metastasis-associated 1 (MTA1) gene, previously identified as a metastasis-promoting gene (Y. Toh et al., J. BIOL: CHEM:, 269: 22958-22963, 1994.), mapped to the center of our 1.6-Mb target region. Thus, MTA1 represents a strong candidate for this breast cancer metastasis-promoting gene.
Cancer Research 06/2001; 61(9):3578-80. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesize that elevation of Nm23-H1 expression in micrometastatic breast cancer cells may inhibit their metastatic colonization and further invasion, and induce differentiation, thus resulting in a clinical benefit. The current study investigated the possible contribution of DNA methylation to the regulation of Nm23-H1 expression, based on the observation that two CpG islands are present in its promoter. 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR), a DNA methylation inhibitor, increased the Nm23-H1 expression of 5 of 11 human breast carcinoma cell lines in vitro, including 3 of 3 metastatically competent lines. Increased Nm23-H1 expression was accompanied by a reduction in motility in vitro, with minimal effect on proliferation. Both increased Nm23-H1 expression and decreased motility were observed using low (75 nM) concentrations of 5-Aza-CdR. Array analysis of MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cells treated with 5-Aza-CdR confirmed the elevation of nm23-H1 mRNA, whereas relatively few other genes exhibited altered expression. Bisulfite sequencing of the two CpG islands in a panel of cell lines and in 20 infiltrating ductal carcinomas revealed that one island (-3090 bp to -3922 bp) exhibited infrequent differential methylation. The data indicate that DNA methylation inhibitors can directly or indirectly cause both elevation of Nm23-H1 expression and decreased function in one aspect of metastasis, motility.
Cancer Research 04/2001; 61(5):2320-7. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have recently discovered that the nuclear matrix protein SAFB is an oestrogen receptor corepressor. Since it has become clear that many steroid receptor cofactors play important roles in breast tumorigenesis, we investigated whether SAFB could also be involved in breast cancer. To address this question, the gene locus was examined for structural alterations in breast cancer tissue. Laser capture microdissection was used for isolating DNA from paired primary breast tumour and normal tissue specimens, and the loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome 19p13.2-3 was determined by use of microsatellite markers. LOH was detected at the marker D19S216, which colocalizes with the SAFB locus, in specimens from 29 (78.4%) of 37 informative patients. The peak LOH rate occurred at D19S216 near the SAFB locus, with LOH frequencies ranging from 21.6% to 47.2% at other markers. The finding of a very high LOH rate at the marker D19S216 strongly indicates the presence of a breast tumour-suppressor gene locus. While preliminary findings of mutations in SAFB suggest that this indeed may be a promising candidate, other potential candidate genes are located at this locus.
British Journal of Cancer 03/2001; 84(4):493-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most breast cancers, even those that are initially responsive to tamoxifen, ultimately become resistant. The molecular basis for this resistance, which in some patients is thought to involve stimulation of tumor growth by tamoxifen, is unclear. Tamoxifen induces cellular oxidative stress, and because changes in cell redox state can activate signaling pathways leading to the activation of activating protein-1 (AP-1), we investigated whether tamoxifen-resistant growth in vivo is associated with oxidative stress and/or activation of AP-1 in a xenograft model system where resistance is caused by tamoxifen-stimulated growth.
Control estrogen-treated, tamoxifen-sensitive, and tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7 xenograft tumors were assessed for oxidative stress by measuring levels of antioxidant enzyme (e.g., superoxide dismutase [SOD], glutathione S-transferase [GST], and hexose monophosphate shunt [HMS]) activity, glutathione, and lipid peroxidation. AP-1 protein levels, phosphorylated c-jun levels, and phosphorylated Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) levels were examined by western blot analyses, and AP-1 DNA-binding and transcriptional activities were assessed by electrophoretic mobility shift assays and a reporter gene system. All statistical tests are two-sided.
Compared with control estrogen-treated tumors, tamoxifen resistant tumors had statistically significantly increased SOD (more than threefold; P=.004) and GST (twofold; P=.004) activity and statistically significantly reduced glutathione levels (greater than twofold; P<.001) and HMS activity (10-fold; P<.001). Lipid peroxides were not significantly different between control and tamoxifen-resistant tumors. We observed no differences in AP-1 protein components or DNA-binding activity. However, AP-1-dependent transcription (P=.04) and phosphorylated c-Jun and JNK levels (P<.001) were statistically significantly increased in the tamoxifen-resistant tumors.
Our results suggest that the conversion of breast tumors to a tamoxifen-resistant phenotype is associated with oxidative stress and the subsequent antioxidant response and with increased phosphorylated JNK and c-Jun levels and AP-1 activity, which together could contribute to tumor growth.
JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute 12/2000; 92(23):1926-34. · 14.34 Impact Factor