[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) play crucial roles in tumor initiation, metastasis and therapeutic resistance. A strict dependency between BCSCs and stromal cell components of tumor microenvironment exists. Thus, novel therapeutic strategies aimed to target the crosstalk between activated microenvironment and BCSCs have the potential to improve clinical outcome. Here, we investigated how leptin, as a mediator of tumor-stromal interactions, may affect BCSC activity using patient-derived samples (n = 16) and breast cancer cell lines, and determined the potential benefit of targeting leptin signaling in these model systems. Conditioned media (CM) from cancer-associated fibroblasts and breast adipocytes significantly increased mammosphere formation in breast cancer cells and depletion of leptin from CM completely abrogated this effect. Mammosphere cultures exhibited increased leptin receptor (OBR) expression and leptin exposure enhanced mammosphere formation. Microarray analyses revealed a similar expression profile of genes involved in stem cell biology among mammospheres treated with CM and leptin. Interestingly, leptin increased mammosphere formation in metastatic breast cancers and expression of OBR as well as HSP90, a target of leptin signaling, were directly correlated with mammosphere formation in metastatic samples (r = 0.68/p = 0.05; r = 0.71/p = 0.036, respectively). Kaplan-Meier survival curves indicated that OBR and HSP90 expression were associated with reduced overall survival in breast cancer patients (HR = 1.9/p = 0.022; HR = 2.2/p = 0.00017, respectively). Furthermore, blocking leptin signaling by using a full leptin receptor antagonist significantly reduced mammosphere formation in breast cancer cell lines and patient-derived samples. Our results suggest that leptin/leptin receptor signaling may represent a potential therapeutic target that can block the stromal-tumor interactions driving BCSC-mediated disease progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of unknown 3-(alkyl(dialkyl)amino)benzofuro[2,3-f]quinazolin-1(2H)-ones 4-17 has been synthesized as new ellipticine analogs, in which the carbazole moiety and the pyridine ring were replaced by a dibenzofuran residue and a pyrimidine ring, respectively. The synthesis of these benzofuroquinazolinones 4-17 was performed in a simple one-pot reaction using 3-aminodibenzofuran or its 2-methoxy derivative, as starting materials. From 3-(dipropylamino)-5-methoxybenzofuro[2,3-f] quinazolin-1(2H)-one (13), we prepared 3-(dipropylamino)-5-hydroxybenzofuro[2,3-f]quinazolin-1(2H)-one (18), referred to as DPA-HBFQ-1. The cytotoxic activities of all the synthesized compounds, tested in different human breast cancer cell lines, revealed that DPA-HBFQ-1 was the most active compound. In particular, the latter was able to inhibit anchorage-dependent and -independent cell growth and to induce apoptosis in estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive and -negative breast cancer cells. It did not affect proliferation and apoptotic responses in MCF-10A normal breast epithelial cells. The observed effects have been ascribed to an enhanced p21(Cip1/WAF1) expression in a p53-dependent manner of tumor suppressor and to a selective inhibition of human topoisomerase II. In addition, DPA-HBFQ-1 exerted growth inhibitory effects also in other cancer cell lines, even though with a lower cytotoxic activity. Our results indicate DPA-HBFQ-1 as a good candidate to be useful as cancer therapeutic agent, particularly for breast cancer.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 11/2015; 107. DOI:10.1016/j.ejmech.2015.11.004 · 3.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancers (BCs) typically express estrogen receptors (ERs) but frequently exhibit de novo or acquired resistance to hormonal therapies. Here, we show that short-term treatment with the anti-estrogens tamoxifen or fulvestrant decrease cell proliferation but increase BC stem cell (BCSC) activity through JAG1-NOTCH4 receptor activation both in patient-derived samples and xenograft (PDX) tumors. In support of this mechanism, we demonstrate that high ALDH1 predicts resistance in women treated with tamoxifen and that a NOTCH4/HES/HEY gene signature predicts for a poor response/prognosis in 2 ER+ patient cohorts. Targeting of NOTCH4 reverses the increase in Notch and BCSC activity induced by anti-estrogens. Importantly, in PDX tumors with acquired tamoxifen resistance, NOTCH4 inhibition reduced BCSC activity. Thus, we establish that BCSC and NOTCH4 activities predict both de novo and acquired tamoxifen resistance and that combining endocrine therapy with targeting JAG1-NOTCH4 overcomes resistance in human breast cancers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The global burden of cancer is largely increasing because of population aging and growth alongside an adoption of cancer-causing lifestyle choices. The majority of cancers can be treated, and certain can be cured, depending on their type, location, and stage. Although conventional therapies have changed the natural history of the disease, many tumors exhibit drug resistance and severe adverse effects remain major therapeutic hurdles. On the other hand, clinical trials and meta-analyses have demonstrated that multi-modality treatments may improve patient outcome and have acceptable tolerability profiles as compared with a single-modality therapy. Recently, impaired regulation of cyclic nucleotide signaling by phosphodiesterases (PDEs) has been receiving increased attention as multiple component pathways involved in many aspects of tumor cell functions. In this review, we present studies describing the expression and regulation of the PDE type 5 in tumor progression and provide evidence supporting the use of PDE5 inhibitors as potential effective anticancer agents.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extensive research over the past several decades has identified numerous dietary and phytochemical compounds that have chemopreventive potential and could represent an important source of anti-cancer lead molecules. In this scenario several nutritional factors have attracted considerable attention as modifiable risk factor in the prevention of breast cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer and a major cause of death among women worldwide. There is an immediate need for more effective and less toxic therapeutic and preventive strategies for breast cancers able also to counteract the recurrent phenomenon of resistance to hormonal and targeted therapy that represent the first-line treatment in the management of breast cancer patients. The present review focuses on chemopreventive and anti-cancer activities of different bioactive compounds obtained from dietary sources such as Omega-3 fatty acids, naturally present in fish, Resveratrol (3,5,40-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene), a phytoalexin found in grapes and Epigallocatechin Gallate, a polyphenolic compound found in green tea, or purified from medicinal plant (Oldenlandia Diffusa) and fruits (Ziziphus Jujube) highlighting their potential use in breast cancer treatment. Herein, we discuss the molecular mechanisms by which the bioactive compounds can inhibit carcinogenesis by regulating antioxidant enzyme activities, and inducing antiproliferative and apoptotic effects in different breast cancer cell lines. Understanding the mechanism of action of dietary compounds or traditionally used herbs having potential preventive and therapeutic effects on cancer may provide a rationale for further translational studies. This review emphasizes the importance, in the next future, of a proper scientific validation of these natural bioactive compounds for clinical use in the therapeutic portfolio for breast cancer.
Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 07/2015; · 2.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hydrogels have received growing attention as materials for drug delivery systems (DDS) because of their biodegradable and biocompatible properties. DDS were developed to optimize the therapeutic properties of drug products and to render them more safe, effective, and reliable. In the past, drugs were frequently administered orally, as liquids or in powder forms. To avoid problems incurred through the utilization of the oral route of administration, new dosage forms, DDS, containing the drugs were introduced. They can deliver drugs directly to the intended site of action and can also improve treatment efficacy, while minimizing unwanted side effects elsewhere in the body, which often limit the long-term use of many drugs, and provide better efficacy of treatment. Biocompatible hydrogels are an example of such systems available for therapeutic use. In this review, results from recent publications concerning these systems are discussed. Hydrogels show superior effectiveness over conventional methods of treatment providing controlled release of active substances. They are of interest in medical applications such as breast cancer treatment.
Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 07/2015; · 2.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bergapten (5-methoxypsoralen), a natural psoralen derivative present in many fruits and vegetables, has shown antitumoral effects in a variety of cell types. In this study, it has been addressed how Bergapten in breast cancer cells induces autophagic process.
In MCF7 and ZR-75 breast cancer cells Bergapten exhibited anti-survival response by inducing the autophagic process increasing Beclin1, PI3KIII, UVRAG, AMBRA expression and conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II. LC3-GFP, Acridine orange assay and transmission electron microscopy even confirmed the increased autophagosome formations in treated cells. Bergapten-induced autophagy is dependent by PTEN up-regulation, since silencing this gene, the induction of Beclin1 and the p-AKT/p-mTOR signal down-regulation were reversed. PTEN is transcriptionally regulated by Bergapten through the involvement of p38MAPK/NF-Y, as evidenced by the use of p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580, site-direct mutagenesis of NF-Y element and NF-Y siRNA. Furthermore NF-Y knockdown prevented Bergapten-induced acid vesicular organelle accumulations (AVOs), strengthening the role of this element in mediating autophagy.
Our data indicate PTEN as a key target of Bergapten action in breast cancer cells for the induction of autophagy. These findings add further details on the mechanism of action of Bergapten, therefore suggesting that phytochemical compounds may be implemented in the novel strategies for breast cancer treatment.
Molecular Cancer 07/2015; 14(1):130. DOI:10.1186/s12943-015-0403-4 · 4.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity is a chronic and multifactorial disorder that is reaching epidemic proportions. It is characterized by an enlarged mass of adipose tissue caused by a combination of size increase of preexisting adipocytes (hypertrophy) and de novo adipocyte differentiation (hyperplasia). Obesity is related to many metabolic disorders like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease, and it is associated with an increased risk of cancer development in different tissues including breast. Adipose tissue is now regarded as not just a storage reservoir for excess energy, but rather as an endocrine organ, secreting a large number of bioactive molecules called adipokines. Among these, adiponectin represents the most abundant adipose tissue-excreted protein, which exhibits insulin sensitizing, anti-inflammatory, and antiatherogenic properties. The serum concentrations of adiponectin are inversely correlated with body mass index. Recently, low levels of plasma adiponectin have been associated with an increased risk for obesity-related cancers and development of more aggressive phenotype, concomitantly with alterations in the bioavailability of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) signaling pathways. In this review, we discuss the cross-talk between adiponectin/AdipoR1 and IGF-I/IGF-IR in breast cancer.
Frontiers in Oncology 07/2015; 5:157. DOI:10.3389/fonc.2015.00157
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to discover novel nuclear receptor targets in triple-negative breast cancer. Expression microarray, Western blot, qRT-PCR analyses, MTT growth assay, soft agar anchorage-independent growth assay, TRE reporter transactivation assay, and statistical analysis were performed in this study. We performed microarray analysis using 227 triple-negative breast tumors, and clustered the tumors into five groups according to their nuclear receptor expression. Thyroid hormone receptor beta (TRβ) was one of the most differentially expressed nuclear receptors in group 5 compared to other groups. TRβ low expressing patients were associated with poor outcome. We evaluated the role of TRβ in triple-negative breast cancer cell lines representing group 5 tumors. Knockdown of TRβ increased soft agar colony and reduced sensitivity to docetaxel and doxorubicin treatment. Docetaxel or doxorubicin long-term cultured cell lines also expressed decreased TRβ protein. Microarray analysis revealed cAMP/PKA signaling was the only KEGG pathways upregulated in TRβ knockdown cells. Inhibitors of cAMP or PKA, in combination with doxorubicin further enhanced cell apoptosis and restored sensitivity to chemotherapy. TRβ-specific agonists enhanced TRβ expression, and further sensitized cells to both docetaxel and doxorubicin. Sensitization was mediated by increased apoptosis with elevated cleaved PARP and caspase 3. TRβ represents a novel nuclear receptor target in triple-negative breast cancer; low TRβ levels were associated with enhanced resistance to both docetaxel and doxorubicin treatment. TRβ-specific agonists enhance chemosensitivity to these two agents. Mechanistically enhanced cAMP/PKA signaling was associated with TRβ's effects on response to chemotherapy.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 03/2015; 150(3). DOI:10.1007/s10549-015-3354-y · 3.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leydig cell tumors (LCTs) of the testis are steroid-secreting tumors associated with various steroid biosynthetic abnormalities and endocrine dysfunctions. Despite their overall rarity, LCTs are still of substantial interest owing to the paucity of information regarding their exact nature and malignant potential. In the present study we disclose the ability of androgens to inhibit Leydig tumor cell proliferation by opposing to self-sufficient in situ estrogen production. In rat Leydig tumor cells, R2C, androgen treatment significantly decreases the expression and the enzymatic activity of P450 aromatase, responsible for the local conversion of androgens into estrogens. This inhibitory effect relies on androgen receptor activation and involves negative regulation of the CYP19 gene transcriptional activity through the nuclear orphan receptor DAX-1. Ligand-activated androgen receptor up-regulates the expression of DAX-1 and promotes its increased recruitment within the SF-1-containing region of the PII-aromatase proximal promoter in association with the corepressor N-CoR. The biological relevance in LCTs of the newly highlighted functional interplay between androgen receptor, DAX-1 and aromatase is underlined by our in vivo observations revealing a marked down-regulation of AR and DAX-1 expression and a strong increase in aromatase levels in testes tissues from old Fisher rats with spontaneously developed Leydig cell neoplasia, compared to normal testes tissues from younger animals. In elucidating a mechanism by which androgens modulate the growth of Leydig tumor cells, our finding support the hypothesis that maintaining the adequate balance between androgen and estrogens may represent the key for blocking estrogen-secreting Leydigioma development, opening new prospects for therapeutic intervention.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adipokines represent likely candidates to mediate the increased breast cancer risk and the enhanced progression associated with obesity. Other contributors to obesity-related cancer progression are insulin/IGF-1 pathways and hormones. Among these, the adipokine leptin is the most intensively studied in both metabolism in general and in cancer due to the fact that leptin levels increase in proportion of fat mass. Leptin is primarily synthesized from adipocytes but it is also produced by other cells including fibroblasts. In this latter case, it has been well demonstrated how cancer-associated fibroblasts express leptin receptor and secrete leptin, which sustains a short autocrine loop and is able to target tumor epithelial cells enhancing breast cancer cell motility and invasiveness. In addition, it has been reported that leptin may induce breast cancer to undergo a transition from epithelial to spindle-like mesenchymal morphology, activating the signaling pathways devoted to the EMT. Thus, it emerges how leptin may play a crucial role in mediating malignant cell and tumor microenvironment interactions. Here, we present an overview of the role of leptin in breast cancer, covering the following topics: (1) leptin as an amplifier of estrogen signaling in tumor epithelial cells contributing to the promotion of carcinogenesis; (2) leptin as a crucial player in mediating tumor-stroma interaction and influencing EMT-linked mechanisms, that may sustain breast cancer growth and progression; (3) leptin and leptin receptor targeting as novel therapeutic strategies for breast cancer treatment.
Frontiers in Oncology 11/2014; 4:340. DOI:10.3389/fonc.2014.00340
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Local estrogen production by aromatase plays a more important role than circulating estradiol in breast tumor promotion. Recently, it has been reported that the activity of the aromatase enzyme is tightly regulated by posttranscriptional modifications, such as phosphorylation. Estrogen stimulation of hormone-dependent breast cancer cells rapidly enhances aromatase enzymatic activity through an increase of tyrosine protein phosphorylation. Here, we describe a novel assay protocol to detect changes in the phosphorylation status of the purified six tandem histidine-tagged form of human aromatase transiently expressed in breast cancer cells. This method overcomes the limitations of current immunoprecipitation techniques performed using commercial available aromatase antibodies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Androgen receptor (AR) is an attractive target in breast cancer because of its frequent expression in all the molecular subtypes, especially in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive luminal breast cancers. We have previously shown a role for AR overexpression in tamoxifen resistance. We engineered ER-positive MCF-7 cells to overexpress aromatase and AR (MCF-7 AR Arom cells) to explore the role of AR in aromatase inhibitor (AI) resistance. Androstendione (AD) was used as a substrate for aromatization to estrogen. The nonsteroidal AI anastrazole (Ana) inhibited AD-stimulated growth and ER transcriptional activity in MCF-7 Arom cells, but not in MCF-7 AR Arom cells. Enhanced activation of pIGF-1R and pAKT was found in AR-overexpressing cells, and their inhibitors restored sensitivity to Ana, suggesting that these pathways represent escape survival mechanisms. Sensitivity to Ana was restored with AR antagonists, or the antiestrogen fulvestrant. These results suggest that both AR and ERα must be blocked to restore sensitivity to hormonal therapies in AR-overexpressing ERα-positive breast cancers. AR contributed to ERα transcriptional activity in MCF-7 AR Arom cells, and AR and ERα co-localized in AD + Ana-treated cells, suggesting cooperation between the two receptors. AR-mediated resistance was associated with a failure to block ER transcriptional activity and enhanced up-regulation of AR and ER-responsive gene expression. Clinically, it may be necessary to block both AR and ERα in patients whose tumors express elevated levels of AR. In addition, inhibitors to the AKT/IGF-1R signaling pathways may provide alternative approaches to block escape pathways and restore hormone sensitivity in resistant breast tumors.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 09/2014; 147(3). DOI:10.1007/s10549-014-3082-8 · 3.94 Impact Factor