[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Former reports demonstrated that P-Rex, a Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), participated in signalling upon activation of the ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Activation of ErbB receptors turned on a phosphorylation/dephosphorylation cycle of P-Rex in which stimulation of serine(1169) phosphorylation played a critical role in the activation of this GEF. This precedent raised the important question of whether this P-Rex1 activation mechanism was restricted to ErbB receptors or could represent a general signalling event shared by several RTKs. To explore that possibility the effect of activation of distinct RTKs on the phosphorylation of P-Rex1 at serine(1169) was analysed. Here we report that IGF-1 and FGF receptors activate serine(1169) phosphorylation of P-Rex1. P-Rex1 phosphorylation was required for IGF-1-induced up-regulation of Rac activity and cell proliferation. Moreover, IGF-1-induced adhesion was impaired in MCF7 breast cancer cells by knocking down P-Rex1. These results demonstrate that phosphorylation P-Rex1 at S(1169) represents a mechanism of activation of P-Rex1 common to multiple RTKs. We suggest that P-Rex proteins may act as novel and important transducers of pro-oncogenic signals that emanate from RTKs, and could even participate in other biological responses, such as metabolic control, which are not strictly related to the proliferation effects of RTKs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: P-Rex proteins are Rho/Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factors which participate in the regulation of several cancer-related cellular functions such as proliferation, motility and invasion. Expectedly, significant part of these actions of P-Rex proteins must be related to their Rac regulatory properties. In addition P-Rex proteins control signaling by the PI3K route by interacting with PTEN and mTOR. The interaction with PTEN inhibits its phosphatase activity, leading to AKT activation. The interaction with mTOR may be important in nutrient-stimulated Rac activation and migration. In humans, several studies have implicated P-Rex proteins in the pathophysiology of various neoplasias. Thus, overexpression of P-Rex proteins has been linked to poor patient outcome in breast cancer, and may facilitate metastatic dissemination of prostate cancer cells. In addition, whole genome sequencing described P-Rex2 as a significantly mutated gene in melanoma. Furthermore, expression in melanocytes of mutated forms of P-Rex2 found in melanoma patients demonstrated the protumorigenic role of these P-Rex mutations in melanoma genesis. These evidences open interesting opportunities for P-Rex targeting in cancer. Moreover, the implication of P-Rex partner proteins such as Rac, mTOR or PTEN in cancer has opened the possibility of acting on P-Rex to restrict protumorigenic signaling through these pathways.
Clinical Cancer Research 06/2013; · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of breast cancer. Despite response to chemotherapy, relapses are frequent and resistance to available treatments is often seen in the metastatic setting. Therefore, identification of new therapeutic targets is required. With this aim, we have profiled the activation status of 44 receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and their major signaling pathways in patient-derived TNBC tumors. Frequent co-activation of several RTKs as well as the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2 (Erk1/2) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) routes was found. Pharmacologic targeting of the activated kinases indicated that agents that attack the mTOR route are more potent and efficient antitumoral treatments than agents targeting RTKs. mTOR signals through two multiprotein complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. We used a genetic approach to explore the contribution of each of the two mTOR branches to the regulation of cell number of TNBC cells. RNA interference experiments indicated that mTORC1 predominated over mTORC2 in the control of TNBC cell proliferation. Moreover, RNA interference of mTOR had a superior antiproliferative action than separately acting on mTORC1 or mTORC2. To analyze the relevance of mTOR targeting in vivo, we used mice with TNBC. Treatment of these mice with BEZ235, a drug that targets mTOR, slowed tumor growth. Mechanistically, BEZ235 delayed cell cycle progression without affecting cell viability. Our results show that TNBCs are particularly sensitive to inhibition of the mTOR pathway, and indicate that mTOR targeting may be a more efficient anti-TNBC therapy than exclusively acting on the mTORC1 branch of the pathway. This is relevant as most mTOR inhibitors used in the clinic act on mTORC1. Collectively with the fact that BEZ235 synergized with drugs commonly used in the treatment of TNBC, our data support the clinical development of agents that act on mTOR as a therapy for this disease.Oncogene advance online publication, 17 December 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.572.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we describe the synthesis of a series of α- and β-lapachone containing hydroxyl or methoxyl groups on the benzene ring, by means of the selective acid promoted cyclization of the appropriate lapachol analog. The evaluation of the antiproliferative activity in human solid tumor cell lines provided 7-hydroxy-β-lapachone as lead with enhanced activity over the parent drug β-lapachone. Cell cycle studies, protein expression experiments, and reactive oxygen species analysis revealed that, similarly to β-lapachone, ROS formation and DNA damage are critical factors in the cellular toxicity of 7-hydroxy-β-lapachone.
European journal of medicinal chemistry 04/2012; 53:264-74. · 3.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: mTOR is a serine/threonine kinase that acts by binding different sets of proteins forming two complexes, termed mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTOR is deregulated in a substantial proportion of ovarian tumors. Despite the use of drugs directed to mTOR in ongoing clinical trials, the functional relevance of the individual mTORC branches in ovarian cancer is not known. Here, we show that mTORC1 and mTORC2 were constitutively active in ovarian cancer cell lines. Knockdown of raptor or rictor, proteins required for the function of mTORC1 or mTORC2, respectively, resulted in profound inhibition of ovarian cancer cell proliferation. The knockdown of raptor had a more important inhibitory effect than the knockdown of rictor, indicating mTORC1 had a predominant role over mTORC2 in the control of ovarian cancer cell proliferation. Rapamycin decreased the proliferation of ovarian cancer cells, and this was accompanied by inhibition of the phosphorylation of S6, a protein used as readout of mTORC1 function. However, rapamycin had only a marginal effect on the phosphorylation status of 4E-BP1, another mTORC1 substrate. Therefore, mTORC1 probably controls p4E-BP1 along two distinct pathways, one of them sensitive to rapamycin and another insensitive. The dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor BEZ235 was more efficient than rapamycin in its inhibitory action on ovarian cancer cell proliferation. Biochemically, BEZ235 completely inhibited pS6, p4E-BP1, and pAkt. Our results suggest that broad-spectrum mTOR inhibitors that block mTORC1 and mTORC2 are more desirable for their clinical development in ovarian cancer than agents exclusively targeting one of the mTOR branches.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 04/2012; 11(6):1342-52. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dasatinib is a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets a wide variety of tyrosine kinases implicated in the pathophysiology of several neoplasias. Among the most sensitive dasatinib targets are ABL, the SRC family kinases (SRC, LCK, HCK, FYN, YES, FGR, BLK, LYN, and FRK), and the receptor tyrosine kinases c-KIT, platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) α and β, discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1), c-FMS, and ephrin receptors. Dasatinib inhibits cell duplication, migration, and invasion, and it triggers apoptosis of tumoral cells. As a consequence, dasatinib reduces tumoral mass and decreases the metastatic dissemination of tumoral cells. Dasatinib also acts on the tumoral microenvironment, which is particularly important in the bone, where dasatinib inhibits osteoclastic activity and favors osteogenesis, exerting a bone-protecting effect. Several preclinical studies have shown that dasatinib potentiates the antitumoral action of various drugs used in the oncology clinic, paving the way for the initiation of clinical trials of dasatinib in combination with standard-of-care treatments for the therapy of various neoplasias. Trials using combinations of dasatinib with ErbB/HER receptor antagonists are being explored in breast, head and neck, and colorectal cancers. In hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, trials using combinations of dasatinib with antihormonal therapies are ongoing. Dasatinib combinations with chemotherapeutic agents are also under development in prostate cancer (dasatinib plus docetaxel), melanoma (dasatinib plus dacarbazine), and colorectal cancer (dasatinib plus oxaliplatin plus capecitabine). Here, we review the preclinical evidence that supports the use of dasatinib in combination for the treatment of solid tumors and describe various clinical trials developed following a preclinical rationale.
Clinical Cancer Research 06/2011; 17(17):5546-52. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuregulins (NRGs) play important roles in animal development and homeostasis, and their deregulation has been linked to diseases such as cancer and schizophrenia. The NRGs belong to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family of transmembrane growth factors. Although NRGs may be synthesized as transmembrane proteins (the pro-NRGs), some of them lack an N-terminal signal sequence, raising the question of how these pro-NRGs are directed to the plasma membrane. Here we have explored the domains of pro-NRGs that are required for their membrane anchoring, cell surface exposure, and biological activity. We show that an internal hydrophobic region acts as a membrane-anchoring domain, but other regions of pro-NRG are required for proper sorting to the plasma membrane. Using mutants that are located in different subcellular compartments, we show that only plasma membrane-exposed pro-NRG is biologically active. At this location, the pro-NRGs may act as transautocrine molecules (i.e. as membrane factors able to activate receptors present in cells that are in physical contact with the pro-NRG-producing cells (in trans) or capable of activating receptors present in the pro-NRG-producing cells (in cis)).
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2011; 286(27):24350-63. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Neuregulins and their receptors, the ErbB/HER subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases, have critical roles in animal physiology, and their deregulation is frequent in cancer. Here we report the identification of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor, phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate-dependent Rac exchanger 1 (P-Rex1), as a novel mediator in signalling by ErbB/HER receptors. P-Rex1 was formerly described as a phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Gβγ activated protein that regulates Rac function. We define how ErbB/HER receptors regulate P-Rex1 function, which involves dephosphorylation of inhibitory residues, and phosphorylation of activating residues of P-Rex. The net balance resulting from activation of this phosphorylation/dephosphorylation cycle of P-Rex1 favours Rac activation. Molecular and biological studies indicated that P-Rex1 phosphorylation regulated the proliferation of breast cancer cells, and P-Rex1 knockdown affected their migration or invasiveness, as well as their in vivo tumourigenic potential. Moreover, as we found correlation between high P-Rex1 expression and poor patient outcome in breast cancer, P-Rex1 targeting may be therapeutically relevant in cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The receptor tyrosine kinase, HER2, is overexpressed in approximately 25% of patients with breast cancer and is implicated in the aggressiveness of cancer. Targeting of HER2 signaling with trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody that inhibits HER2 activity, has demonstrated clinical benefits.
We investigated whether the antitumor activity of trastuzumab can be potentiated by dasatinib, a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, on breast cancer cell lines that overexpress HER2 (BT474 and SKBR3) or have normal HER2 expression (MCF7 and T47D). Functional, biochemical, and gene expression microarray studies were performed to test the effect of trastuzumab, dasatinib, or a combination of trastuzumab and dasatinib on cell proliferation; HER activation; cell cycle; DNA damage; and apoptosis. The effect of drugs on mice (n = 6 per group) bearing xenograft tumors originating from HER2-overexpressing BT474 cells was assessed, and tumors were evaluated for an effect on volume, HER signaling, and DNA damage. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Trastuzumab and dasatinib combination showed a synergistic effect on the proliferation of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells (combination index = 0.44, 95% confidence interval = 0.30 to 0.58). The drug combination also induced a stronger inhibitory effect on HER2 activation than the individual drugs, decreased the level of proteins involved in DNA damage response, induced DNA double-strand breaks, cell cycle arrest, and caspase-independent apoptosis. Mice (n = 6 per group) bearing xenograft tumors originating from HER2-overexpressing BT474 cells showed statistically significantly reduced tumor volume on day 28 when treated with the drug combination (control vs trastuzumab and dasatinib combination; mean volume = 2.6 vs 0.5 cm(3), difference = 2.1 cm(3), 95% confidence interval = 0.76 to 3.51 cm(3), P = .01) and total regression of tumors by day 36 with no later relapse.
Results showed that HER2 and dasatinib-sensitive tyrosine kinases act in a synergistic manner to safeguard the breast cancer cells from DNA damage. The therapeutic targeting of multikinase inhibition opens new avenues for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A small structure-focused library of propargylic enol ethers was prepared by means of a modular and efficient chemodifferentiating organocatalyzed multicomponent reaction. The most active compound (GI(50) 0.25 microM) against solid tumor cells was selected as lead. Cell cycle analysis and immunoblotting demonstrated arrest at the metaphase, pointing out human topoisomerase II as plausible molecular target. In vitro assays were carried out, showing that the lead behaves as a catalytic inhibitor of the enzyme.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 05/2010; 53(9):3835-9. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two iridoid scaffolds were synthesized enantioselectively using as key step an l-proline-catalyzed alpha-formyl oxidation. The in vitro antiproliferative activities were evaluated against a representative panel of human solid tumor cell lines. Both iridoids induced considerably growth inhibition in the range 0.38-1.86muM. Cell cycle studies for these compounds showed the induction of cell cycle arrest at the G(1) phase. This result was consistent with a decrease in the expression of cyclin D1. Damaged cells underwent apoptosis as indicated by specific Annexin V staining.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is the most common neoplasia in women. Even though advances in its treatment have improved disease outcome, some patients relapse. Therefore, attempts to better define the molecular determinants that drive breast cancer cell proliferation may help in defining potential therapeutic targets. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) play important roles in tumorigenesis. One of them, Erk5, has been linked to the proliferation of breast cancer cells in vitro. Here we have investigated the expression and prognostic value of Erk5 in human breast cancer.
Animal and cellular models were used to study Erk5 expression and function in breast cancer. In 84 human breast tumours the expression of Erk5 was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Active Erk5 (pErk5) was studied by Western blotting. Correlation of Erk5 with clinicopathological parameters and with disease-free survival in early stage breast cancer patients was analyzed. Expression of Erk5 was detected in most patients, and overexpression was found in 20%. Active Erk5 was present in a substantial number of samples, as well as in tumours from an animal breast cancer model. Overexpression of Erk5 was associated with a decrease in disease-free survival time, which was independent of other clinicopathological parameters of prognosis. Transient transfection of a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting Erk5, and a stable cell line expressing a dominant negative form of Erk5 (Erk5(AEF)), were used to investigate the influence of Erk5 on drugs used in the clinic to treat breast tumours. We found that inhibition of Erk5 decreased cancer cell proliferation and also sensitized these cells to the action of anti-HER2 therapies.
Overexpression of Erk5 is an independent predictor of disease-free survival in breast cancer, and may represent a future therapeutic target.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(5):e5565. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple myeloma (MM) remains incurable, and new drugs with novel mechanisms of action are still needed. In this report, we have analyzed the action of Zalypsis, an alkaloid analogous to certain natural marine compounds, in MM. Zalypsis turned out to be the most potent antimyeloma agent we have tested so far, with IC(50) values from picomolar to low nanomolar ranges. It also showed remarkable ex vivo potency in plasma cells from patients and in MM cells in vivo xenografted in mice. Besides the induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, Zalypsis provoked DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), evidenced by an increase in phospho-histone-H2AX and phospho-CHK2, followed by a striking overexpression of p53 in p53 wild-type cell lines. In addition, in those cell lines in which p53 was mutated, Zalypsis also provoked DSBs and induced cell death, although higher concentrations were required. Immunohistochemical studies in tumors also demonstrated histone-H2AX phosphorylation and p53 overexpression. Gene expression profile studies were concordant with these results, revealing an important deregulation of genes involved in DNA damage response. The potent in vitro and in vivo antimyeloma activity of Zalypsis uncovers the high sensitivity of tumor plasma cells to DSBs and strongly supports the use of this compound in MM patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite recent progress in its treatment, multiple myeloma (MM) remains incurable, thus necessitating identification of novel anti-MM agents. We report that the marine-derived cyclodepsipeptide Aplidin exhibits, at clinically achievable concentrations, potent in vitro activity against primary MM tumor cells and a broad spectrum of human MM cell lines, including cells resistant to conventional (e.g., dexamethasone, alkylating agents, and anthracyclines) or novel (e.g., thalidomide and bortezomib) anti-MM agents. Aplidin is active against MM cells in the presence of proliferative/antiapoptotic cytokines or bone marrow stromal cells and has additive or synergistic effects with some of the established anti-MM agents. Mechanistically, a short in vitro exposure to Aplidin induces MM cell death, which involves activation of p38 and c-jun NH(2)-terminal kinase signaling, Fas/CD95 translocation to lipid rafts, and caspase activation. The anti-MM effect of Aplidin is associated with suppression of a constellation of proliferative/antiapoptotic genes (e.g., MYC, MYBL2, BUB1, MCM2, MCM4, MCM5, and survivin) and up-regulation of several potential regulators of apoptosis (including c-JUN, TRAIL, CASP9, and Smac). Aplidin exhibited in vivo anti-MM activity in a mouse xenograft model. The profile of the anti-MM activity of Aplidin in our preclinical models provided the framework for its clinical testing in MM, which has already provided favorable preliminary results.
Cancer Research 08/2008; 68(13):5216-25. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: c-Kit is expressed in the plasma cells from 30% of patients with multiple myeloma. Two different isoforms of c-Kit, characterized by the presence or absence of the tetrapeptide sequence GNNK in the extracellular domain, have been described. However, their expression and function in myeloma cells are unknown. We explored the function and expression of these c-Kit isoforms in myeloma cells.
Expression of c-Kit isoforms was investigated by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in fresh plasma cells from patients and cell lines. The function of these c-Kit isoforms was analyzed upon expression in myeloma cells. Signaling was investigated by western blotting using antibodies specific for activated forms of several signaling proteins. The impact of c-Kit on the action of drugs commonly used in the treatment of multiple myeloma was investigated by MTT proliferation assays.
Fresh plasma cells from patients as well as myeloma cell lines expressed the two isoforms of c-Kit. Retroviral infection of myeloma cells with vectors that code for c-Kit-GNNK+ or c-Kit-GNNK- forms demonstrated differences in the kinetics of phosphorylation between these isoforms. Stem cell factor-induced activation of the GNNK- form was faster and more pronounced than that of the GNNK+ form, whose activation, however, lasted for longer. The c-Kit receptors weakly activated the Erk1/2 and Erk5 pathways. Both receptors, however, efficiently coupled to the PI3K/Akt pathway, and stimulated p70S6K activation. The latter was sensitive to the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin. Studies of drug sensitivity indicated that cells expressing the GNNK- form were more resistant to the anti-myeloma action of bortezomib and melphalan.
Our data indicate that c-Kit expression in multiple myeloma cells is functional, and coupled to survival pathways that may modulate cell death in response to therapeutic compounds used in the treatment of this disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuregulins represent the largest subclass of polypeptide factors of the epidermal growth factor family of ligands. These molecules are synthesized as membrane-bound, biologically active growth factors that act by binding to the HER/ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases. Preclinical data have indicated that increased expression and function of neuregulins may provoke cancer. Furthermore, neuregulin expression has been detected in several neoplasias, and their presence may correlate with response to treatments that target the HER receptors such as trastuzumab. In addition, the neuregulins have also been implicated in resistance to anti-HER therapies. Therefore, targeting of the neuregulins may be helpful in neoplastic diseases in which these polypeptide factors contribute to tumor generation and/or maintenance.
Clinical Cancer Research 06/2008; 14(11):3237-41. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B-cell malignancy characterized by accumulation of monoclonal plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM). Despite recent advances in the treatment, MM represents an incurable disease for which development of new therapies is required. We report the antimyeloma effect of NVP-AEW541, a small molecule that belongs to the pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine class, identified as a selective inhibitor of the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) in vitro kinase activity. NVP-AEW541 had a potent cytotoxic effect on fresh cells and in a murine MM model. NVP-AEW541 partially abrogated the proliferative advantage conferred by the coculture with BM stromal cells and the presence of growth factors produced by the BM microenvironment. In addition, NVP-AEW541 potentiated the action of drugs, such as bortezomib, lenalidomide, dexamethasone or melphalan. Moreover the triple combination of NVP-AEW541, dexamethasone and bortezomib resulted in a significant increase in growth inhibition. Mechanistic studies indicated that NVP-AEW541 provoked a marked cell cycle blockade accompanied by pRb downregulation. Interestingly, NVP-AEW541 increased the levels of p27 associated with a reduction in the CDK2 activity. Finally, NVP-AEW541 induced cell death through caspase-dependent and -independent mechanisms. All these data, suggest the potential effect of IGF-IR kinase inhibitors as therapeutic agents for MM patients.
British Journal of Haematology 06/2008; 141(4):470-82. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteasome inhibition represents a promising novel anticancer therapy, and bortezomib is a highly selective reversible inhibitor of the proteasome complex. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an immnunophenotypically heterogeneous group of diseases, with CD34(+) cases being associated with drug resistance and poor outcome. We investigated the effects of bortezomib on the growth and survival of AML cells.
We studied the in vitro activity and mechanism of action of bortezomib on both cell lines and fresh cells from 28 AML patients including CD34(+) and CD34(-) cases.
Bortezomib showed potent anti-AML activity (IC(50) < 50 nM), which was greater than that of conventional agents (doxorubicin, cytarabine and fludarabine). Moreover, synergistic effects were observed when bortezomib was administered in combination with doxorubicin and cytarabine. Mechanistically, bortezomib induced accumulation of cells in the G(2)/M phase, with up-regulation of p27, together with cell death through an increase in the mitochondrial outer membrane permeability involving caspase-dependent and -independent pathways. The apoptotic activity of bortezomib on fresh CD34(+) blast cells from patients was similar to that observed on CD34(-)blast cells. Importantly, bortezomib was significantly more active than doxorubicin in the immature CD34(+) cells, while there were no differences in its action on CD34(-) cells.
Bortezomib induces apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia cells in vitro. Whether this drug might be useful in the treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia can be established only in ad hoc clinical trials.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Erk5 is a recently discovered MAPK claimed to be responsible for some of the roles attributed to Erk1/2; here we report that it is activated in mitosis in comparison to G1/S. When Erk5 is inactivated pharmacologically or largely ablated by RNAi, cell survival in mitosis is diminished. We have previously shown Bim, a BH3-only protein of the Bcl-2 family, to be phosphorylated in mitosis, in a MEK-dependent manner (M. Grãos, A. D. Almeida, S. Chatterjee, Biochem. J. 388 (2005) 185). Inactivation of Erk5 in mitosis causes dephosphorylation of Bim. Bim is in the mitochondria in mitosis and when dephosphorylated interacts with Bax, inducing caspase activation. We also show that in mitosis Bim co-immunoprecipitates with Erk5 and Erk5 phosphorylates GST-Bim in in vitro kinase reaction. Taken together, our results identify a new target of the still largely mysterious Erk5 and suggest that Erk5 in mitosis may be a decisive step for the survival of proliferating cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) overexpression has been associated with the genesis and progression of a subset of breast cancers. The function of HER-2 may be upregulated by overexpression or by the availability of neuregulins (NRGs), a group of transmembrane growth factors. Transmembrane NRGs strongly activated HER-2 and cell proliferation in breast cancer cells that did not overexpress HER-2, and treatment with trastuzumab prevented the proliferative action of transmembrane NRG. This raised the relevant clinical question of whether patients considered as HER-2 negative, but expressing transmembrane NRG, may benefit from treatment with trastuzumab.
MCF7 cells expressing transmembrane NRG (MCF7-NRG2c) were injected into mice, and their sensitivity to trastuzumab was assessed. A retrospective study of 124 patients with early-stage or metastatic breast cancer was conducted. Expression of transmembrane NRG was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. In 11 patients, Western blot for NRGs was also carried out. Statistics were performed to analyze possible correlations between NRG expression and response to trastuzumab-based therapies, event-free survival, and overall survival (OS).
Trastuzumab inhibited tumor growth in mice injected with MCF7-NRG2c cells. Transmembrane NRG was frequently expressed in breast cancer patients. Overexpression of transmembrane NRG significantly correlated with a longer event-free survival and OS in patients with low or normal HER-2 expression who were treated with trastuzumab-based therapies but not in patients with HER-2 overexpression.
We suggest that the spectrum of patients who may benefit from trastuzumab-based therapies may be widened to include patients with metastatic breast cancer without HER-2 amplification but who express transmembrane NRGs.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 08/2007; 25(19):2656-63. · 18.04 Impact Factor