[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biallelic inactivation of cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 leads to breast and ovarian carcinogenesis. Paradoxically, BRCA1 deficiency in mice results in early embryonic lethality, and similarly, lack of BRCA1 in human cells is thought to result in cellular lethality in view of BRCA1's essential function. To survive homozygous BRCA1 inactivation during tumorigenesis, precancerous cells must accumulate additional genetic alterations, such as p53 mutations, but this requirement for an extra genetic "hit" contradicts the two-hit theory for the accelerated carcinogenesis associated with familial cancer syndromes. Here, we show that heterozygous BRCA1 inactivation results in genomic instability in nontumorigenic human breast epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. Using somatic cell gene targeting, we demonstrated that a heterozygous BRCA1 185delAG mutation confers impaired homology-mediated DNA repair and hypersensitivity to genotoxic stress. Heterozygous mutant BRCA1 cell clones also showed a higher degree of gene copy number loss and loss of heterozygosity in SNP array analyses. In BRCA1 heterozygous clones and nontumorigenic breast epithelial tissues from BRCA mutation carriers, FISH revealed elevated genomic instability when compared with their respective controls. Thus, BRCA1 haploinsufficiency may accelerate hereditary breast carcinogenesis by facilitating additional genetic alterations.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2011; 108(43):17773-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A high frequency of somatic mutations has been found in breast cancers within the gene encoding the catalytic p110α subunit of PI3K, PIK3CA. Using isogenic human breast epithelial cells, we have previously demonstrated that oncogenic PIK3CA "hotspot" mutations predict for response to the toxic effects of lithium. However, other somatic genetic alterations occur within this pathway in breast cancers, and it is possible that these changes may also predict for lithium sensitivity. We overexpressed the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) into the non-tumorigenic human breast epithelial cell line MCF-10A, and compared these cells to isogenic cell lines previously created via somatic cell gene targeting to model Pten loss, PIK3CA mutations, and the invariant AKT1 mutation, E17K. EGFR overexpressing clones were capable of cellular proliferation in the absence of EGF and were sensitive to lithium similar to the results previously seen with cells harboring PIK3CA mutations. In contrast, AKT1 E17K cells and PTEN -/- cells displayed resistance or partial sensitivity to lithium, respectively. Western blot analysis demonstrated that lithium sensitivity correlated with significant decreases in both PI3K and MAPK signaling that were observed only in EGFR overexpressing and mutant PIK3CA cell lines. These studies demonstrate that EGFR overexpression and PIK3CA mutations are predictors of response to lithium, whereas Pten loss and AKT1 E17K mutations do not predict for lithium sensitivity. Our findings may have important implications for the use of these genetic lesions in breast cancer patients as predictive markers of response to emerging PI3K pathway inhibitors.
Cancer biology & therapy 02/2011; 11(3):358-67. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase subunit PIK3CA is frequently mutated in human cancers. Here we used gene targeting to "knock in" PIK3CA mutations into human breast epithelial cells to identify new therapeutic targets associated with oncogenic PIK3CA. Mutant PIK3CA knockin cells were capable of epidermal growth factor and mTOR-independent cell proliferation that was associated with AKT, ERK, and GSK3beta phosphorylation. Paradoxically, the GSK3beta inhibitors lithium chloride and SB216763 selectively decreased the proliferation of human breast and colorectal cancer cell lines with oncogenic PIK3CA mutations and led to a decrease in the GSK3beta target gene CYCLIN D1. Oral treatment with lithium preferentially inhibited the growth of nude mouse xenografts of HCT-116 colon cancer cells with mutant PIK3CA compared with isogenic HCT-116 knockout cells containing only wild-type PIK3CA. Our findings suggest GSK3beta is an important effector of mutant PIK3CA, and that lithium, an FDA-approved therapy for bipolar disorders, has selective antineoplastic properties against cancers that harbor these mutations.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2009; 106(8):2835-40. · 9.74 Impact Factor