[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 3 (STAT3) is hyperactivated in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). Cumulative evidence indicates that IL-6 production by HNSCC cells and/or stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment activates STAT3 and contributes to tumor progression and drug resistance. A library of 94,491 compounds from the Molecular Library Screening Center Network (MLSCN) was screened for the ability to inhibit interleukin-6 (IL-6)-induced pSTAT3 activation. For contractual reasons, the primary high-content screening (HCS) campaign was conducted over several months in 3 distinct phases; 1,068 (1.1%) primary HCS actives remained after cytotoxic or fluorescent outliers were eliminated. One thousand one hundred eighty-seven compounds were cherry-picked for confirmation; actives identified in the primary HCS and compounds selected by a structural similarity search of the remaining MLSCN library using hits identified in phases I and II of the screen. Actives were confirmed in pSTAT3 IC50 assays, and an IFNγ-induced pSTAT1 activation assay was used to prioritize selective inhibitors of STAT3 activation that would not inhibit STAT1 tumor suppressor functions. Two hundred three concentration-dependent inhibitors of IL-6-induced pSTAT3 activation were identified and 89 of these also produced IC50s against IFN-γ-induced pSTAT1 activation. Forty-nine compounds met our hit criteria: they reproducibly inhibited IL-6-induced pSTAT3 activation by ≥70% at 20 μM; their pSTAT3 activation IC50s were ≤25 μM; they were ≥2-fold selective for pSTAT3 inhibition over pSTAT1 inhibition; a cross target query of PubChem indicated that they were not biologically promiscuous; and they were ≥90% pure. Twenty-six chemically tractable hits that passed filters for nuisance compounds and had acceptable drug-like and ADME-Tox properties by computational evaluation were purchased for characterization. The hit structures were distributed among 5 clusters and 8 singletons. Twenty-four compounds inhibited IL-6-induced pSTAT3 activation with IC50s ≤20 μM and 13 were ≥3-fold selective versus inhibition of pSTAT1 activation. Eighteen hits inhibited the growth of HNSCC cell lines with average IC50s ≤ 20 μM. Four chemical series were progressed into lead optimization: the guanidinoquinazolines, the triazolothiadiazines, the amino alcohols, and an oxazole-piperazine singleton.
Assay and Drug Development Technologies 09/2015; 13(7):356-76. DOI:10.1089/adt.2015.663 · 1.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a recently identified causative agent for a subset of head and neck cancers, primarily in the oropharynx, and is largely responsible for the rising worldwide incidence of oropharyngeal cancer (OPC). Patients with HPV-positive OPC have distinct risk factor profiles and generally have a better prognosis than patients with traditional, HPV-negative, head and neck cancer. Concurrent chemotherapy and radiation is a widely accepted primary treatment modality for many patients with HPV-positive OPC. However, recent advances in surgical modalities, including transoral laser and robotic surgery, have led to the reemergence of primary surgical treatment for HPV-positive patients. Clinical trials are under way to determine optimal treatment strategies for the growing subset of patients with HPV-positive OPC. Similarly, identifying those patients with HPV-positive cancer who are at risk for recurrence and poor survival is critical in order to tailor individual treatment regimens and avoid potential undertreatment. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Medicine Volume 67 is January 14, 2016. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
Annual review of medicine 08/2015; 67(1). DOI:10.1146/annurev-med-051914-021907 · 12.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type D (PTPRD) is a putative tumor suppressor in several cancers including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). STAT3 is a frequently hyperactivated oncogene in HNSCC. As STAT3 is a direct substrate of PTPRD, we sought to determine the genetic or epigenetic alterations of PTPRD that contribute to overactive STAT3 in HNSCC.
We analyzed data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and our previous whole-exome sequencing study and summarized the mutation, methylation, and copy number status of PTPRD in HNSCC and other cancers. In vitro studies involved standard transfection and MTT protocols, as well as methylation-specific PCR.
Our findings indicate that PTPRD mutation, rather than methylation or copy number alteration, is the primary mechanism by which PTPRD function is lost in HNSCC. We demonstrate that overexpression of wild-type PTPRD in HNSCC cells significantly inhibits growth and STAT3 activation while PTPRD mutants do not, suggesting that mutation may lead to loss of function and subsequent hyper-phosphorylation of PTPRD substrates, especially STAT3. Importantly, we determined that HNSCC cells harboring an endogenous PTPRD mutation are more sensitive to STAT3 blockade than PTPRD wild-type cells. We additionally found that PTPRD mRNA expression does not correlate with pSTAT3 expression, suggesting that alterations that manifest through altered mRNA expression, including hypermethylation and gene copy number alterations, do not significantly contribute to STAT3 overactivation in HNSCC.
PTPRD mutation, but not methylation or copy number loss, may serve as a predictive biomarker of sensitivity to STAT3 inhibitors in HNSCC.
PLoS ONE 08/2015; 10(8):e0135750. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0135750 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) overactivation is a common event in many cancers, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), where STAT3 represents a promising therapeutic target. HNSCC is not characterized by frequent kinase mutations, in contrast to some malignancies where mutational activation of kinases upstream of STAT3 is common. Instead, STAT3 may be activated by loss-of-function of negative regulators of STAT3, including by promoter hypermethylation of PTPRT. Here we first analyzed The Cancer Genome Atlas data and determined that the PTPRT promoter is frequently hypermethylated in several cancers, including HNSCC (60.1% of tumors analyzed) in association with downregulation of PTPRT mRNA expression and upregulation of pSTAT3 expression. These findings were confirmed in an independent cohort of HNSCC tumors by methylation-specific PCR and immunohistochemistry. We demonstrate that PTPRT promoter methylation and gene silencing is reversible in HNSCC cells, leading to PTPRT-specific downregulation of pSTAT3 expression. We further show that PTPRT promoter methylation is significantly associated with sensitivity to STAT3 inhibition in HNSCC cells, suggesting that PTPRT promoter methylation may serve as a predictive biomarker for responsiveness to STAT3 inhibitors in clinical development.Oncogene advance online publication, 18 May 2015; doi:10.1038/onc.2015.171.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Randomized clinical trials demonstrate no benefit for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors in unselected patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, a patient with stage IVA HNSCC received 13 days of neoadjuvant erlotinib and experienced a near-complete histologic response.
To determine a mechanism of exceptional response to erlotinib therapy in HNSCC.
Single patient with locally advanced HNSCC who received erlotinib monotherapy in a window-of-opportunity clinical trial (patients scheduled to undergo primary cancer surgery are treated briefly with an investigational agent). Whole-exome sequencing of pretreatment tumor and germline patient samples was performed at a quaternary care academic medical center, and a candidate somatic variant was experimentally investigated for mediating erlotinib response.
A brief course of erlotinib monotherapy followed by surgical resection.
Identification of pretreatment tumor somatic alterations that may contribute to the exceptional response to erlotinib. Hypotheses were formulated regarding enhanced erlotinib response in preclinical models harboring the patient tumor somatic variant MAPK1 E322K following the identification of tumor somatic variants.
No EGFR alterations were observed in the pretreatment tumor DNA. Paradoxically, the tumor harbored an activating MAPK1 E322K mutation (allelic fraction 0.13), which predicts ERK activation and erlotinib resistance in EGFR-mutant lung cancer. The HNSCC cells with MAPK1 E322K exhibited enhanced EGFR phosphorylation and erlotinib sensitivity compared with wild-type MAPK1 cells.
Selective erlotinib use in HNSCC may be informed by precision oncology approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Despite improvements in treatment, survival rates of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are stagnant. The existing chemotherapeutic agents are non-selective and associated with toxicities. Combinations of the only the US FDA-approved epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted agent, cetuximab, with chemotherapy or radiation improves overall survival. However, the response rates to cetuximab are modest. Thus, there is an urgent need for new agents that can be safely integrated into current treatment regimens to improve outcome.
Current EGFR-targeted drugs under clinical development include mAbs and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The modest efficacy of these drugs implicates intrinsic or acquired resistance. Novel molecular agents inhibiting alternative targets to overcome anti-EGFR resistance in HNSCC are under investigation. Gene therapy and immunotherapy are also promising strategies to improve efficacy and reduce toxicity.
To date, only six drugs have been FDA-approved for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Cetuximab is the only approved molecular targeting agent for HNSCC and despite ubiquitous expression of EGFR in HNSCC tumors, clinical responses are limited. Genetic and epigenetic characterization of HNSCC tumors, coupled with improved preclinical models, should facilitate the development of more effective drugs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) accounts for more than 5% of all cancers worldwide. The mortality rate of HNSCC has remained unchanged (approximately 50%) over the last few decades. Ubiquitous overexpression of wild type EGFR in many solid tumors has led to the development of EGFR targeted therapies. EGFR can be constitutively activated via several mechanisms including the truncated, EGFR variant III isoform (EGFRvIII). EGFRvIII lacks exons 2-7 and has been reported to be present in up to 20-40% of HNSCC. EGFRvIII has been shown to contribute to cetuximab resistance. The mechanisms leading to EGFRvIII expression in HNSCC are unknown. The present investigation was undertaken to determine the etiology of EGFRvIII in HNSCC.
Fixed HNSCC and glioma tissues were analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization for EGFR amplification. DNA and RNA from fresh frozen specimens were used to determine the presence of EGFRvIII transcripts and the mechanisms of expression via PCR, RT-PCR and RNA sequencing.
Unlike glioma, EGFRvIII expression in HNSCC did not correlate with EGFR amplification. We found evidence of genomic deletion of the exon 2-7 in 6 of 7 HNSCC cases examined, however, the presence of genomic deletion did not always result in mRNA expression of EGFRvIII. RNA sequencing with automated alignment did not identify EGFRvIII due to microhomology between intron 1 and exon 8. RNA sequencing analyzed by manual alignment methods did not correlate well with RT-PCR and PCR findings.
These findings suggest that genomic deletion as well as additional regulatory mechanisms may contribute to EGFRvIII expression in HNSCC. Further, large scale automated alignment of sequencing are unlikely to identify EGFRvIII and an assay specifically designed to detect EGFRvIII may be necessary to detect this altered form of EGFR in HNSCC tumors.
PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0117781. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117781 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cancer Genome Atlas profiled 279 head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) to provide a comprehensive landscape of somatic genomic alterations. Here we show that human-papillomavirus-associated tumours are dominated by helical domain mutations of the oncogene PIK3CA, novel alterations involving loss of TRAF3, and amplification of the cell cycle gene E2F1. Smoking-related HNSCCs demonstrate near universal loss-of-function TP53 mutations and CDKN2A inactivation with frequent copy number alterations including amplification of 3q26/28 and 11q13/22. A subgroup of oral cavity tumours with favourable clinical outcomes displayed infrequent copy number alterations in conjunction with activating mutations of HRAS or PIK3CA, coupled with inactivating mutations of CASP8, NOTCH1 and TP53. Other distinct subgroups contained loss-of-function alterations of the chromatin modifier NSD1, WNT pathway genes AJUBA and FAT1, and activation of oxidative stress factor NFE2L2, mainly in laryngeal tumours. Therapeutic candidate alterations were identified in most HNSCCs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) play an important role in regulating cell signaling events in coordination with tyrosine kinases to control cell proliferation, apoptosis, survival, migration, and invasion. Receptor-type protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPRs) are a subgroup of PTPs that share a transmembrane domain with resulting similarities in function and target specificity. In this review, we summarize genetic and epigenetic alterations including mutation, deletion, amplification, and promoter methylation of PTPRs in cancer and consider the consequences of PTPR alterations in different type of cancers. We also summarize recent developments using PTPRs as prognostic or predictive biomarkers and/or direct targets. Increased understanding of the role of PTPRs in cancer may provide opportunities to improve therapeutic approaches.
Ai zheng = Aizheng = Chinese journal of cancer 10/2014; 34(2). DOI:10.5732/cjc.014.10146 · 2.16 Impact Factor