[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 46-year-old female presents with a pelvic mass and is diagnosed as having a high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma. During surgery, she is noted to have areas of intussusception of the small bowel secondary to large hamartomatous polyps. The patient had a previous history of small bowel obstruction secondary to what had been thought to be hyperplastic polyps but represented hamartomatous polyps on further review. Additional examination revealed the presence of subtle hyperpigmented macules on the fingers leading to a diagnosis of Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS). The diagnosis was confirmed by the presence of a germ-line STK11 mutation. Immunohistochemistry analysis of the tumor showed decreased expression of STK-11 as compared to one of the patient's hamartomatous polyps. Next generation sequencing of the tumor specimen failed to demonstrate a "second hit" somatic mutation in STK-11. This case represents the first case of endometrial stromal sarcoma associated with PJS and illustrates the importance of increased awareness of this condition among oncologists. PJS is associated with dysregulation of the mTOR pathway; treatment with an mTOR inhibitor was not effective in this case.
Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice 12/2015; 13(1):6. DOI:10.1186/s13053-015-0027-0 · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a highly aggressive undifferentiated carcinoma with a mortality rate near 100% that is due to an assortment of genomic abnormalities that impedes the success of therapeutic options. Our laboratory has previously identified that RhoB upregulation serves as a novel molecular therapeutic target and agents upregulating RhoB combined with paclitaxel lead to antitumor synergy. Knowing that histone deacetylase (HDAC) 1 transcriptionally suppresses RhoB, we sought to extend our findings to other HDACs and to identify the HDAC inhibitor (HDACi) that optimally synergize with paclitaxel. Here we identify HDAC6 as a newly discovered RhoB repressor. By using isoform selective HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) and shRNAs, we show that RhoB has divergent downstream signaling partners, which are dependent on the HDAC isoform that is inhibited. When RhoB upregulates only p21(cyclin kinase inhibitor) using a class I HDACi (romidepsin), cells undergo cytostasis. When RhoB upregulates BIMEL using class II/(I) HDACi (belinostat or vorinostat), apoptosis occurs. Combinatorial synergy with paclitaxel is dependent upon RhoB and BIMEL while upregulation of RhoB and only p21 blocks synergy. This bifurcated regulation of the cell cycle by RhoB is novel and silencing either p21 or BIMEL turns the previously silenced pathway on, leading to phenotypic reversal. This study intimates that the combination of belinostat/vorinostat with paclitaxel may prove to be an effective therapeutic strategy via the novel observation that class II/(I) HDACi antagonize HDAC6-mediated suppression of RhoB and subsequent BIMEL, thereby promoting antitumor synergy. These overall observations may provide a mechanistic understanding of optimal therapeutic response.
Endocrine Related Cancer 07/2015; DOI:10.1530/ERC-14-0302 · 4.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Altered protein expression and phosphorylation are common events during malignant transformation. These perturbations have been widely explored in the context of E-cadherin cell-cell adhesion complexes, which are central in the maintenance of the normal epithelial phenotype. A major component of these complexes is p120 catenin (p120), which binds and stabilizes E-cadherin to promote its adhesive and tumor suppressing function. However, p120 is also an essential mediator of pro-tumorigenic signals driven by oncogenes, such as Src, and can be phosphorylated at multiple sites. Although alterations in p120 expression have been extensively studied by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in the context of tumor progression, little is known about the status and role of p120 phosphorylation in cancer. Here we show that tyrosine and threonine phosphorylation of p120 in two sites, Y228 and T916, is elevated in renal and breast tumor tissue samples. We also show that tyrosine phosphorylation of p120 at its N-terminus, including at the Y228 site is required for its pro-tumorigenic potential. In contrast, phosphorylation of p120 at T916 does not affect this p120 function. However, phosphorylation of p120 at T916 interferes with epitope recognition of the most commonly used p120 antibody, namely pp120. As a result, this antibody selectively underrepresents p120 levels in tumor tissues, where p120 is phosphorylated. Overall, our data support a role of p120 phosphorylation as a marker and mediator of tumor transformation. Importantly, they also argue that the level and localization of p120 in human cancer tissues immunostained with pp120 needs to be re-evaluated.
PLoS ONE 06/2015; 10(6):e0129964. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0129964 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context: Currently there are no efficacious therapies for patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) that result in long term disease stabilization or regression. Objective: We sought to identify pathways critical for ATC cell progression and viability in an effort to develop new therapeutic strategies. We investigated the effects of targeted inhibition of stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), a constituent of fatty acid metabolism over-expressed in ATC. Design: Gene-array of ATC and normal thyroid tissue was performed to identify gene transcripts demonstrating altered expression in tumor samples. Effects of pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of SCD1 on tumor cell viability as well as cell signaling responses to therapy were evaluated in in vitro and in vivo models of this rare, lethal malignancy. Results: Gene-array analysis revealed consistent distortion of fatty acid metabolism and overexpression of SCD1 in ATC and well-differentiated thyroid carcinomas. SCD1 is critical for ATC cell survival and proliferation, inhibition of which induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), and apoptosis. Combined suppression of ER-associated degradation (ERAD), a pro-survival component of the UPR, using proteasome inhibitors resulted in a synergistic decrease in tumor cell proliferation and increased cell death. Conclusions: SCD1 is a novel oncogenic factor specifically required for tumor cell viability in ATC. Furthermore, expression of SCD1 appears to be correlated with thyroid tumor aggressiveness, and may serve as a prognostic biomarker. These findings substantiate SCD1 as a novel tumor-specific target for therapy in patients with ATC, and should be further investigated in a clinical setting.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context and Objective: Oncocytic thyroid carcinoma, also known as Hürthle cell thyroid carcinoma, accounts for only a small percentage of all thyroid cancers. However, this malignancy often presents at an advanced stage and poses unique challenges to patients and clinicians. Surgical resection of the tumor accompanied in some cases by radioactive iodine treatment, radiation and chemotherapy are the established modes of therapy. Knowledge of the perturbed oncogenic pathways can provide better understanding of the mechanism of disease and thus opportunities for more effective clinical management. Design and Patients: Initially, two oncocytic thyroid carcinomas and their matched normal tissues were profiled using whole genome sequencing. Subsequently, 72 oncocytic thyroid carcinomas, one cell line and 5 Hürthle cell adenomas were examined by targeted sequencing for the presence of mutations in the multiple endocrine neoplasia I (MEN1) gene. Results: Here we report the identification of MEN1 loss-of-function mutations in 4% of patients diagnosed with oncocytic thyroid carcinoma. Whole genome sequence data also revealed large regions of copy number variation encompassing nearly the entire genomes of these tumors. Conclusion: Menin, a ubiquitously expressed nuclear protein, is a well-characterized tumor suppressor whose loss is the cause of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome. Menin is involved in several major cellular pathways such as regulation of transcription, control of cell cycle, apoptosis and DNA damage repair pathways. Mutations of this gene in a subset of Hürthle cell tumors point to a potential role for this protein and its associated pathways in thyroid tumorigenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is one of the most deadly human malignancies. It is 99 percent lethal, and patients have a median survival of only 6 months after diagnosis. Despite these grim statistics, the mechanism underlying the tumorigenic capability of ATC cells is unclear. Objective: S100A8 and S100A9 proteins have emerged as critical mediators in cancer. The aim was to investigate the expression and function of S100A8 and S100A9 in ATC and the mechanisms involved. Design: We determined the expression of S100A8 and S100A9 in human ATC by gene array analysis and immunohistochemistry. Using RNAi-mediated stable gene knockdown in human ATC cell lines and bioluminescent imaging of orthotopic and lung metastasis mouse models of human ATC, we investigated the effects of S100A8 and S100A9 on tumorigenesis and metastasis. Results: We demonstrated that S100A8 and S100A9 were overexpressed in ATC but not in other types of thyroid carcinomas. In vivo analysis in mice using ATC cells that had S100A8 knocked down revealed reduced tumor growth and lung metastasis, as well as significantly prolonged animal survival. Mechanistic investigations showed that S100A8 promotes ATC cell proliferation through an interaction with RAGE, which activates the p38, ERK1/2 and JNK signaling pathways in the tumor cells. Conclusions: These findings establish a novel role for S100A8 in the promoting and enhancing of ATC progression. They further suggest that the inhibition of S100A8 could represent a relevant therapeutic target, with the potential of enabling a more effective treatment path for this deadly disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common type of thyroid cancer. Here, we describe the genomic landscape of 496 PTCs. We observed a low frequency of somatic alterations (relative to other carcinomas) and extended the set of known PTC driver alterations to include EIF1AX, PPM1D, and CHEK2 and diverse gene fusions. These discoveries reduced the fraction of PTC cases with unknown oncogenic driver from 25% to 3.5%. Combined analyses of genomic variants, gene expression, and methylation demonstrated that different driver groups lead to different pathologies with distinct signaling and differentiation characteristics. Similarly, we identified distinct molecular subgroups of BRAF-mutant tumors, and multidimensional analyses highlighted a potential involvement of oncomiRs in less-differentiated subgroups. Our results propose a reclassification of thyroid cancers into molecular subtypes that better reflect their underlying signaling and differentiation properties, which has the potential to improve their pathological classification and better inform the management of the disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common subtype of kidney cancer, and has the highest propensity to manifest as metastatic disease. Recent characterizations of the genetic signature of ccRCC have revealed several factors correlated with tumor cell migration and invasion; however the specific events driving malignancy are not well defined. Furthermore, there remains a lack of targeted therapies that result in long-term, sustainable response in patients with metastatic disease. We show here that neuronal pentraxin 2 (NPTX2) is over-expressed specifically in ccRCC primary tumors and metastases, and that it contributes to tumor cell viability and promotes cell migration through its interaction with the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor subunit GluR4. We propose NPTX2 as a novel molecular target for therapy for ccRCC patients diagnosed with or at risk of developing metastatic disease.
Cancer Research 06/2014; DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0210 · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Currently there is a lack of targeted therapies that lead to long-term attenuation or regression of disease in patients with advanced clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Our group has implemented a high-throughput genetic analysis coupled with a high-throughput proliferative screen in order to investigate the genetic contributions of a large cohort of overexpressed genes at the functional level in an effort to better understand factors involved in tumor initiation and progression.
Patient gene array analysis identified transcripts that are consistently elevated in patient ccRCC as compared to matched normal renal tissues. This was followed by a high-throughput lentivirus screen, independently targeting 195 overexpressed transcripts identified in the gene array in four ccRCC cell lines. This revealed 31 ‘hits’ that contribute to ccRCC cell proliferation.
Many of the hits identified are not only presented in the context of ccRCC for the first time, but several have not been previously linked to cancer. We further characterize the function of a group of hits in tumor cell invasion. Taken together these findings reveal pathways that may be critical in ccRCC tumorigenicity, and identifies novel candidate factors that could serve as targets for therapeutic intervention or diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers for patients with advanced ccRCC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context:The BRAF V600E mutation (BRAF-MUT) confers an aggressive phenotype in papillary thyroid carcinoma, but unidentified additional genomic abnormalities may be required for full phenotypic expression.Objective:RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed to identify genes differentially expressed between BRAF-MUT and BRAF wild-type (BRAF-WT) tumors and to correlate changes to patient clinical status.Design:BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors were identified in patients with T1N0 and T2-3N1 tumors. Gene expression levels were determined (RNA-Seq) and fusion transcripts were detected. Multiplexed capture/detection and digital counting of mRNA transcripts (nCounter, NanoString Technologies) validated RNA-Seq data for immune system-related genes.Setting:Referral medical center.Patients:BRAF-MUT patients included nine women, three men; nine were TNM stage I and three were stage III. Three (25%) had tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. BRAF-WT included five women, three men; all were stage I, and five (62.5%) had tumor infiltrating lymphocytes.Results:RNA-Seq identified 560 of 13 t085 genes differentially expressed between BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors. Approximately 10% of these genes were related to MetaCore immune function pathways; 51 were underexpressed in BRAF-MUT tumors, whereas 4 (HLAG, CXCL14, TIMP1, IL1RAP) were overexpressed. The four most differentially overexpressed immune genes in BRAF-WT tumors (IL1-B; CCL19; CCL21; CXCR4) correlated with lymphocyte infiltration. nCounter confirmed the RNA-Seq expression level data. Eleven different high-confidence fusion transcripts were detected (four interchromosomal; seven intrachromosomal) in 13 of 20 tumors. All in-frame fusions were validated by RT-PCR.Conclusion:BRAF-MUT papillary thyroid cancers have reduced expression of immune/inflammatory response genes compared with BRAF-WT tumors and correlate with lymphocyte infiltration. In contrast, HLA-G and CXCL14 are overexpressed in BRAF-MUT tumors. Sixty-five percent of tumors had between one and three fusion transcripts. Functional studies will be required to determine the potential role of these newly identified genomic abnormalities in contributing to the aggressiveness of BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 12/2013; 99(2). DOI:10.1210/jc.2013-2792 · 6.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the ability of dual mTORc1/c2 inhibitors in conjunction with lapatinib to function in a synergistic manner to inhibit cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth in bladder cancer cell lines.
We examined patient tumor samples for overexpression of pS6, p4EBP1, pAkt, and phosphorylated epidermal growth factor receptor (pEGFR) using a tissue microarray containing 84 cases. Three bladder cancer cell lines, T24, HT1376, and UM-UC-3, were analyzed for cell proliferation after treatment with mTORc1/c2 inhibitors OSI-027 or PP242. Western blots were used to verify that the drugs were inhibiting phosphorylation of target proteins within the mTOR pathway, and they were compared with rapamycin inhibition. We also analyzed cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth after treatment with OSI-027 and lapatinib in combination. PARP cleavage and autophagic flux were measured by examining levels of LC3B and p62 by western blotting.
Tumor samples show increased expression of pEGFR (38% vs. 8%) and HER2 (38% vs. 4%) and decreased expression of pAkt S473 (7.5% vs. 29%) and pAkt T308 (50% vs. 84%) relative to normal tissue. Significant differences between normal and tumor samples for staining with pEGFR (P = 0.0188), HER 2 (P = 0.0017), pATK S473 (P = 0.0128), and pAkt T308 (P = 0.0015) is observed. Expression of proteins within the EGFR/HER2 pathway or within the mTOR pathway is correlated. No correlation was found between staining and tumor stage. OSI-027 and PP242 diminish cell proliferation in all 3 cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 0.63 to 17.95µM. Both drugs inhibit phosphorylation of both mTORc1 and mTORc2 pathway components. OSI-027 and lapatinib inhibit cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth in a synergistic manner. One cell line exhibited apoptosis in response to combination drug treatment, whereas the other 2 cell lines have increased levels of autophagy indicative of resistance to apoptosis.
The combination of OSI-027 and lapatinib results in antitumor synergy and further exploration of this combination should be undertaken.