[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most aggressive type of advanced breast cancer characterized by rapid proliferation, early metastatic development and poor prognosis. Since there are few preclinical models of IBC, there is a general lack of understanding of the complexity of the disease. Recently, we have developed a new model of IBC derived from the pleural effusion of a woman with metastatic secondary IBC. FC-IBC02 cells are triple negative and form clusters (mammospheres) in suspension that are strongly positive for E-cadherin, β-catenin and TSPAN24, all adhesion molecules that play an important role in cell migration and invasion. FC-IBC02 cells expressed stem cell markers and some, but not all of the characteristics of cells undergoing epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). Breast tumor FC-IBC02 xenografts developed quickly in SCID mice with the presence of tumor emboli and the development of lymph node and lung metastases. Remarkably, FC-IBC02 cells were able to produce brain metastasis in mice on intracardiac or intraperitoneal injections. Genomic studies of FC-IBC02 and other IBC cell lines showed that IBC cells had important amplification of 8q24 where MYC, ATAD2 and the focal adhesion kinase FAK1 are located. MYC and ATAD2 showed between 2.5 and 7 copies in IBC cells. FAK1, which plays important roles in anoikis resistance and tumor metastasis, showed 6-4 copies in IBC cells. Also, CD44 was amplified in triple-negative IBC cells (10-3 copies). Additionally, FC-IBC02 showed amplification of ALK and NOTCH3. These results indicate that MYC, ATAD2, CD44, NOTCH3, ALK and/or FAK1 may be used as potential targeted therapies against IBC.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 06/2013; · 4.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an invariably fatal cancer. Currently, small-molecule inhibitors that target cell-growth, angiogenesis, or nutrient-sensing pathways represent the primary pharmacological interventions for this disease, but these inhibitors only delay tumor progression and are not curative. The cytokine interferon (IFN)-γ showed the potential to provide lasting remission in several phase I/II trials for advanced RCC, but subsequent trials, including a multi-center phase III study using IFN-γ as a monotherapy for RCC, were less promising. Notably, these trials were designed to exploit the indirect immune-modulatory effects of IFN-γ, while its direct anti-tumor properties - including its ability to trigger programmed cell death in tumors - remain mostly untapped. Here, we show that the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (PS-341, Velcade) sensitizes otherwise-resistant RCC cells to direct necrotic death by IFN-γ. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that bortezomib functions at least in part by inhibiting pro-survival NF-κB signaling. In the absence of this signal, IFN-γ triggers programmed necrosis (or 'necroptosis') dependent on the kinase RIP1. When taken together with the observation that NF-κB signaling is elevated in RCC, these results provide rationale for the combined use of IFN-γ and bortezomib in the treatment of metastatic RCC.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 05/2013; · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is recognized as the most metastatic variant of locally advanced breast cancer, the molecular basis for the distinct clinical presentation and accelerated program of metastasis of IBC is unknown. Reverse phase protein arrays revealed activation of the receptor tyrosine kinase, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and biochemically-linked downstream signaling molecules including JAK1/STAT3, AKT, mTor, PDK1, and AMPKβ in pre-clinical models of IBC. To evaluate the clinical relevance of ALK in IBC, analysis of 25 IBC patient tumors using the FDA approved diagnostic test for ALK genetic abnormalities was performed. These studies revealed that 20/25 (80%) had either increased ALK copy number, low level ALK gene amplification, or ALK gene expression, with a prevalence of ALK alterations in basal-like IBC. One of 25 patients was identified as having an EML4-ALK translocation. The generality of gains in ALK copy number in basal-like breast tumors with IBC characteristics was demonstrated by analysis of 479 breast tumors using the TGCA data-base and our newly developed 79 IBC-like gene signature. The small molecule dual tyrosine kinase cMET/ALK inhibitor, Crizotinib (PF-02341066/Xalkori®, Pfizer Inc), induced both cytotoxicity (IC50 = 0.89 μM) and apoptosis, with abrogation of pALK signaling in IBC tumor cells and in FC-IBC01 tumor xenograft model, a new IBC model derived from pleural effusion cells isolated from an ALK(+) IBC patient. Based on these studies, IBC patients are currently being evaluated for the presence of ALK genetic abnormalities and when eligible, are being enrolled into clinical trials evaluating ALK targeted therapeutics.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe genomic findings in a case of CLL with del(17p13.1) by FISH, in which SNP array analysis revealed chromothripsis, a phenomenon by which regions of the cancer genome are shattered and recombined to generate frequent oscillations between two DNA copy number states. The findings illustrate the value of SNP arrays for precise whole genome profiling in CLL and for the detection of alterations that would be overlooked with a standard FISH panel. This second report of chromothripsis in CLL indicates that this phenomenon is a recurrent change in this disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because only a small fraction of asbestos-exposed individuals develop malignant mesothelioma, and because mesothelioma clustering is observed in some families, we searched for genetic predisposing factors. We discovered germline mutations in the gene encoding BRCA1 associated protein-1 (BAP1) in two families with a high incidence of mesothelioma, and we observed somatic alterations affecting BAP1 in familial mesotheliomas, indicating biallelic inactivation. In addition to mesothelioma, some BAP1 mutation carriers developed uveal melanoma. We also found germline BAP1 mutations in 2 of 26 sporadic mesotheliomas; both individuals with mutant BAP1 were previously diagnosed with uveal melanoma. We also observed somatic truncating BAP1 mutations and aberrant BAP1 expression in sporadic mesotheliomas without germline mutations. These results identify a BAP1-related cancer syndrome that is characterized by mesothelioma and uveal melanoma. We hypothesize that other cancers may also be involved and that mesothelioma predominates upon asbestos exposure. These findings will help to identify individuals at high risk of mesothelioma who could be targeted for early intervention.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The CDKN2A/ARF locus encompasses overlapping tumor suppressor genes p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF), which are frequently co-deleted in human malignant mesothelioma (MM). The importance of p16(INK4A) loss in human cancer is well established, but the relative significance of p14(ARF) loss has been debated. The tumor predisposition of mice singly deficient for either Ink4a or Arf, due to targeting of exons 1α or 1β, respectively, supports the idea that both play significant and nonredundant roles in suppressing spontaneous tumors. To further test this notion, we exposed Ink4a(+/-) and Arf(+/-) mice to asbestos, the major cause of MM. Asbestos-treated Ink4a(+/-) and Arf(+/-) mice showed increased incidence and shorter latency of MM relative to wild-type littermates. MMs from Ink4a(+/-) mice exhibited biallelic inactivation of Ink4a, loss of Arf or p53 expression and frequent loss of p15(Ink4b). In contrast, MMs from Arf(+/-) mice exhibited loss of Arf expression, but did not require loss of Ink4a or Ink4b. Mice doubly deficient for Ink4a and Arf, due to deletion of Cdkn2a/Arf exon 2, showed accelerated asbestos-induced MM formation relative to mice deficient for Ink4a or Arf alone, and MMs exhibited biallelic loss of both tumor suppressor genes. The tumor suppressor function of Arf in MM was p53-independent, since MMs with loss of Arf retained functional p53. Collectively, these in vivo data indicate that both CDKN2A/ARF gene products suppress asbestos carcinogenicity. Furthermore, while inactivation of Arf appears to be crucial for MM pathogenesis, the inactivation of both p16(Ink4a) and p19(Arf) cooperate to accelerate asbestos-induced tumorigenesis.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18828. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The distal-less homeobox gene (dlx) 5 encodes a transcription factor that controls jaw formation and appendage differentiation during embryonic development. We had previously found that Dlx5 is overexpressed in an Akt2 transgenic model of T-cell lymphoma. To investigate if DLX5 is involved in human cancer, we screened its expression in the NCI 60 cancer cell line panel. DLX5 was frequently upregulated in cell lines derived from several tumor types, including ovarian cancer. We next validated its upregulation in primary ovarian cancer specimens. Stable knockdown of DLX5 by lentivirus-mediated transduction of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) resulted in reduced proliferation of ovarian cancer cells due to inhibition of cell cycle progression in connection with the downregulation of cyclins A, B1, D1, D2, and E, and decreased phosphorylation of AKT. Cell proliferation resumed following introduction of a DLX5 cDNA harboring wobbled mutations at the shRNA-targeting sites. Cell proliferation was also rescued by transduction of a constitutively active form of AKT. Intriguingly, downregulation of IRS-2 and MET contributed to the suppression of AKT signaling. Moreover, DLX5 was found to directly bind to the IRS-2 promoter and augmented its transcription. Knockdown of DLX5 in xenografts of human ovarian cancer cells resulted in markedly diminished tumor size. In addition, DLX5 was found to cooperate with HRAS in the transformation of human ovarian surface epithelial cells. Together, these data suggest that DLX5 plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of some ovarian cancers.
Cancer Research 11/2010; 70(22):9197-206. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A case of the rare, benign, Wilms' tumor (WT) variant, metanephric adenofibroma (MAF), is presented.
The patient is a 21-year-old female with an incidentally discovered enhancing renal mass. The diagnosis, workup and treatment are outlined.
The 19 cm renal mass was ultimately resected via robot-assisted partial nephrectomy. Pathologic diagnosis at our institution was confirmed as a MAF by the National Wilms' Tumor Study Group (NWTSG).
Difficult to differentiate from WT, it is imperative that MAF be recognized and appropriately diagnosed because unlike adult WT, the natural history of MAF is indolent and adjuvant chemo/radiation therapy is rarely necessary. This case reinforces the importance of review of potential WT variants by the NWTSG.
The Canadian Journal of Urology 08/2010; 17(4):5309-12. · 0.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Karyotypic analysis and genomic copy number analysis with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based microarrays were compared with regard to the detection of recurrent genomic imbalances in 20 clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCCs). Genomic imbalances were identified in 19 of 20 tumors by DNA copy number analysis and in 15 tumors by classical cytogenetics. A statistically significant correlation was observed between the number of genomic imbalances and tumor stage. The most common genomic imbalances were loss of 3p and gain of 5q. Other recurrent genomic imbalances seen in at least 15% of tumors included losses of 1p32.3-p33, 6q23.1-qter and 14q and gain of chromosome 7. The SNP-based arrays revealed losses of 3p in 16 of 20 tumors, with the highest frequency being at 3p21.31-p22.1 and 3p24.3-p25.3, the latter encompassing the VHL locus. One other tumor showed uniparental disomy of chromosome 3. Thus, altogether loss of 3p was identified in 17 of 20 (85%) cases. Fourteen tumors showed both overlapping losses of 3p and overlapping gains of 5q, and the karyotypic assessment performed in parallel revealed that these imbalances arose via unbalanced 3;5 translocations. Among the latter, there were common regions of loss at 3p21.3-pter and gain at 5q34-qter. These data suggest that DNA copy number analysis will supplant karyotypic analysis of tumor types such as ccRCC that are characterized by recurrent genomic imbalances, rather than balanced rearrangements. These findings also suggest that the 5q duplication/3p deficiency resulting from unbalanced 3;5 translocations conveys a proliferative advantage of particular importance in ccRCC tumorigenesis.
Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 07/2010; 49(7):610-9. · 3.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Onconase represents a new class of RNA-damaging drugs. Mechanistically, Onconase is thought to internalize, where it degrades intracellular RNAs such as tRNA and double-stranded RNA, and thereby suppresses protein synthesis. However, there may be additional or alternative mechanism(s) of action.
In this study, microarray analysis was used to compare gene expression profiles in untreated human malignant mesothelioma (MM) cell lines and cells exposed to 5 microg/ml Onconase for 24 h. A total of 155 genes were found to be regulated by Onconase that were common to both epithelial and biphasic MM cell lines. Some of these genes are known to significantly affect apoptosis (IL-24, TNFAIP3), transcription (ATF3, DDIT3, MAFF, HDAC9, SNAPC1) or inflammation and the immune response (IL-6, COX-2). RT-PCR analysis of selected up- or down-regulated genes treated with varying doses and times of Onconase generally confirmed the expression array findings in four MM cell lines.
Onconase treatment consistently resulted in up-regulation of IL-24, previously shown to have tumor suppressive activity, as well as ATF3 and IL-6. Induction of ATF3 and the pro-apoptotic factor IL-24 by Onconase was highest in the two most responsive MM cell lines, as defined by DNA fragmentation analysis. In addition to apoptosis, gene ontology analysis indicated that pathways impacted by Onconase include MAPK signaling, cytokine-cytokine-receptor interactions, and Jak-STAT signaling.
These results provide a broad picture of gene activity after treatment with a drug that targets small non-coding RNAs and contribute to our overall understanding of MM cell response to Onconase as a therapeutic strategy. The findings provide insights regarding mechanisms that may contribute to the efficacy of this novel drug in clinical trials of MM patients who have failed first line chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA copy number analysis was performed, using single-nucleotide polymorphism mapping arrays, to fine map genomic imbalances in human malignant mesothelioma (MM) cell lines derived from primary tumors. Chromosomal losses accounted for the majority of genomic imbalances. All 22 cell lines examined showed homozygous deletions of 9p21.3, centering at the CDKN2A/ARF and CDKN2B loci. Other commonly underrepresented segments included 1p36, 1p22, 3p21-22, 4q13, 4q34, 11q23, 13q12-13, 14q32, 15q15, 18q12, and 22q12, each observed in 55-90% of cell lines. Focal deletions of 11q23 encompassed the transcriptional repressor gene promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF), which was validated by analysis of genomic DNA using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Semi-quantitative RT-PCR and immunoblot analysis revealed that PLZF is greatly downregulated in MM cell lines compared with non-malignant mesothelial cells. Ectopic expression of PLZF in PLZF-deficient MM cells resulted in decreased cell viability, reduced colony formation, as well as increased apoptosis, the latter based on results of various cell death assays and the observation of increased cleavage of caspase 3, PARP, and Mcl-1. These data indicate that deletions of PLZF are a common occurrence in MM and that downregulation of PLZF may contribute to MM pathogenesis by promoting cell survival.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) generally harbor activating mutations in KIT or platelet-derived growth facter receptor (PDGFRA). Mutations in these receptor tyrosine kinases lead to dysregulation of downstream signaling pathways that contribute to GIST pathogenesis. GISTs with KIT or PDGFRA mutations also undergo secondary cytogenetic alterations that may indicate the involvement of additional genes important in tumor progression. Approximately 10-15% of adult and 85% of pediatric GISTs do not have mutations in KIT or in PDGFRA. Most mutant adult GISTs display large-scale genomic alterations, but little is known about the mutation-negative tumors. Using genome-wide DNA arrays, we investigated genomic imbalances in a set of 31 GISTs, including 10 KIT/PDGFRA mutation-negative tumors from nine adults and one pediatric case and 21 mutant tumors. Although all 21 mutant GISTs exhibited multiple copy number aberrations, notably losses, eight of the 10 KIT/PDGFRA mutation-negative GISTs exhibited few or no genomic alterations. One KIT/PDGFRA mutation-negative tumor exhibiting numerous genomic changes was found to harbor an alternate activating mutation, in the serine-threonine kinase BRAF. The only other mutation-negative GIST with significant chromosomal imbalances was a recurrent metastatic tumor found to harbor a homozygous deletion in chromosome arm 9p. Similar findings in several KIT-mutant GISTs identified a minimal overlapping region of deletion of approximately 0.28 Mbp in 9p21.3 that includes only the CDKN2A/2B genes, which encode inhibitors of cell-cycle kinases. These results suggest that GISTs without activating kinase mutations, whether pediatric or adult, generally exhibit a much lower level of cytogenetic progression than that observed in mutant GISTs.
Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 08/2009; 48(10):886-96. · 3.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oncogene v-akt was isolated from a retrovirus that induced naturally occurring thymic lymphomas in AKR mice. We hypothesized that constitutive activation of Akt2 could serve as a first hit for the clonal expansion of malignant T-cells by promoting cell survival and genomic instability, leading to chromosome alterations. Furthermore, genes that cooperate with Akt2 to promote malignant transformation may reside at translocation/inversion junctions found in spontaneous thymic lymphomas from transgenic mice expressing constitutively active Akt2 specifically in T cells. Cytogenetic analysis revealed that thymic tumors from multiple founder lines exhibited either of two recurrent chromosomal rearrangements, inv(6)(A2B1) or t(14;15)(C2;D1). Fluorescence in situ hybridization, array CGH, and PCR analysis were used to delineate the inv(6) and t(14;15) breakpoints. Both rearrangements involved T-cell receptor loci. The inv(6) results in robust upregulation of the homeobox/transcription factor gene Dlx5 because of its relocation near the Tcrb enhancer. The t(14;15) places the Tcra enhancer in the vicinity of the Myc proto-oncogene, resulting in upregulated Myc expression. These findings suggest that activation of the Akt pathway can act as the initial hit to promote cell survival and genomic instability, whereas the acquisition of T-cell-specific overexpression of Dlx5 or Myc leads to lymphomagenesis.
Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 07/2009; 48(9):786-94. · 3.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human CDKN2A locus encodes 2 distinct proteins, p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF) [mouse p19(Arf)], designated INK4A (inhibitor of cyclin dependent kinase 4) and ARF (alternative reading frame) here, that are translated from alternatively spliced mRNAs. Human ARF is implicated as a tumor suppressor gene, mainly in association with the simultaneous deletion of INK4A. However, questions remain as to whether loss of ARF alone is sufficient to drive tumorigenesis. Here, we report that mice deficient for Arf are susceptible to accelerated asbestos-induced malignant mesothelioma (MM). MMs arising in Arf (+/-) mice consistently exhibit biallelic inactivation of Arf, but, unexpectedly, do not acquire additional recurrent genetic alterations that we previously identified in asbestos-induced MMs arising in Nf2 (+/-) mice. Array CGH analysis was used to detect a recurrent deletion at chromosome 4C6 in MMs from Arf (+/-) mice. A candidate gene in this region, Faf1 (FAS-associated factor 1), was further explored, because it encodes a protein implicated in tumor cell survival and in the pathogenesis of some human tumor types. We confirmed hemizygous loss of Faf1 and down-regulation of Faf1 protein in a series of MMs from Arf (+/-) mice, and we then showed that Faf1 regulates TNF-alpha-mediated NF-kappaB signaling, a pathway previously implicated in asbestos-induced oncogenesis of human mesothelial cells. Collectively, these data indicate that Arf inactivation has a significant role in driving MM pathogenesis, and implicate Faf1 as a key component in the TNF-alpha/NF-kappaB signaling node that has now been independently implicated in asbestos-induced oncogenesis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2009; 106(9):3420-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pleural malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive cancer with a very long latency and a very short median survival. Little is known about the genetic events that trigger MM and their relation to poor outcome. The goal of our study was to characterize major genomic gains and losses associated with MM origin and progression and assess their clinical significance. We performed Representative Oligonucleotide Microarray Analysis (ROMA) on DNA isolated from tumors of 22 patients who recurred at variable interval with the disease after surgery. The total number of copy number alterations (CNA) and frequent imbalances for patients with short time (<12 months from surgery) and long time to recurrence were recorded and mapped using the Analysis of Copy Errors algorithm. We report a profound increase in CNA in the short-time recurrence group with most chromosomes affected, which can be explained by chromosomal instability associated with MM. Deletions in chromosomes 22q12.2, 19q13.32 and 17p13.1 appeared to be the most frequent events (55-74%) shared between MM patients followed by deletions in 1p, 9p, 9q, 4p, 3p and gains in 5p, 18q, 8q and 17q (23-55%). Deletions in 9p21.3 encompassing CDKN2A/ARF and CDKN2B were characterized as specific for the short-term recurrence group. Analysis of the minimal common areas of frequent gains and losses identified candidate genes that may be involved in different stages of MM: OSM (22q12.2), FUS1 and PL6 (3p21.3), DNAJA1 (9p21.1) and CDH2 (18q11.2-q12.3). Imbalances seen by ROMA were confirmed by Affymetrix genome analysis in a subset of samples.
International Journal of Cancer 10/2008; 124(3):589-99. · 6.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Telomere attrition ultimately leads to the activation of protective cellular responses, such as apoptosis or senescence. Impairment of such mechanisms can allow continued proliferation despite the presence of dysfunctional telomeres. Under such conditions, high levels of genome instability are often engendered. Data from both mouse and human model systems indicate that a period of genome instability might facilitate tumorigenesis. Here, we use a liposarcoma model system to assay telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM)-specific genetic alterations. A multiassay approach was used to assess the TMMs active in tumors. Genomic DNA from these samples was then analyzed by high-resolution DNA mapping array to identify genetic alterations. Our data reveal a higher level of genome instability in alternative lengthening of telomere (ALT)-positive tumors compared with telomerase-positive tumors, whereas tumors lacking both mechanisms have relatively low levels of genome instability. The bulk of the genetic changes are amplifications, regardless of the mode of telomere maintenance used. We also identified genetic changes specific to the ALT mechanism (e.g., deletion of chromosome 1q32.2-q44) as well as changes that are underrepresented among ALT-positive tumors, such as amplification of chromosome 12q14.3-q21.2. Taken together, these studies provide insight into the molecular pathways involved in the regulation of ALT and reveal several loci that might be exploited either as prognostic markers or targets of chemotherapeutic intervention.
Cancer Research 11/2007; 67(19):9221-8. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mapping arrays were used to perform DNA copy number analysis of five human cancer cell lines (four malignant mesotheliomas; one non-small cell lung carcinoma) to identify and map the end-points of deletions of 9p. All five cell lines exhibited homozygous deletions encompassing the CDKN2A (alias INK4A/ARF) and CDKN2B loci. The DNA analysis profiles demarcated precisely two different, but overlapping, deletions in each mesothelioma cell line, but the lung cancer cells showed two copies of a single deletion. In the latter cell line, allele analysis revealed that virtually all SNPs for chromosome 9 were homozygous, suggestive of uniparental disomy. These findings demonstrate the utility of SNP-based mapping arrays for high-resolution analysis of genomic imbalances in cancer cells.
Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics 11/2006; 170(1):65-8. · 1.93 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AKT is frequently activated in various cancers, but its involvement in lung tumor development and progression is not well established. We examined AKT activity by immunohistochemistry in 110 non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs) using tissue microarrays. AKT activation was observed in 56 (51%) tumors. To further validate activation of the AKT pathway in this series, we examined the phosphorylation status of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and forkhead (FKHR), two downstream targets of AKT. Positive staining for phospho-mTOR and phospho-FKHR were detected in 74% and 68% of tumors, respectively, and was significantly associated with activation of AKT. Tumors positive for phosphorylated (active) AKT were present with a similar frequency in low stage (I/II) and high stage (III/IV) tumors, raising the possibility that AKT activation occurs early in tumor progression. We therefore examined AKT activity in 25 bronchial epithelial lesions from 12 patients at high risk of lung cancer. Metaplastic/dysplastic areas showed AKT activity, whereas normal and hyperplastic bronchial epithelia exhibited little or no activity. Since some bronchial epithelial lesions may develop into invasive cancers, we examined the effect of AKT on invasiveness of lung cancer cells, using an in vitro cell invasion assay. Transfection of NSCLC cells with wild-type AKT increased invasiveness in response to hepatocyte growth factor, whereas transfection with dominant negative AKT abrogated this effect. Collectively, these data suggest that AKT activation is a frequent and early event in lung tumorigenesis, which may enhance risk of progression to malignancy. Thus, AKT represents a potentially important target for chemoprevention in individuals at high risk of NSCLC.