[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a well-known cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the regulators effectively driving virus production and HCC progression remain unclear. By using genetically engineered mouse models, we show that overexpression of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) accelerated HCC progression, supporting the genomic analysis that an up-regulated HGF signature is associated with poor prognosis in HBV-positive HCC patients. We show that for both liver regeneration and spontaneous HCC development there is an inclusive requirement for MET expression, and when HGF induces autocrine activation the tumor displays sensitivity to a small-molecule Met inhibitor. Our results demonstrate that HGF is a driver of HBV-induced HCC progression and may serve as an effective biomarker for Met-targeted therapy. MET inhibitors are entering clinical trials against cancer, and our data provide a molecular basis for targeting the Met pathway in hepatitis B-induced HCC.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pituitary tumor transforming gene (PTTG1) is a recently discovered oncogene implicated in malignant progression of both endocrine and nonendocrine malignancies. Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is cytogenetically characterized by chromosome 3p deletions that harbor the ccRCC-related von Hippel-Lindau, PBRM1, BAP1, and SETD2 tumor suppressor genes, along with chromosome 5q amplifications where the significance has been unclear. PTTG1 localizes to the chromosome 5q region where amplifications occur in ccRCC. In this study, we report a functional role for PTTG1 in ccRCC tumorigenesis. PTTG1 was amplified in ccRCC, overexpressed in tumor tissue, and associated with high-grade tumor cells and poor patient prognosis. In preclinical models, PTTG1 ablation reduced tumorigenesis and invasion. An analysis of gene expression affected by PTTG1 indicated an association with invasive and metastatic disease. PTTG1-dependent expression of the RhoGEF proto-oncogene ECT2 was observed in a number of ccRCC cell lines. Moreover, ECT2 expression correlated with PTTG1 expression and poor clinical features. Together, our findings reveal features of PTTG1 that are consistent with its identification of an oncogene amplified on chromsome 5q in ccRCC, where it may offer a novel therapeutic target of pathologic significance in this disease.
Cancer Research 07/2012; 72(17):4361-71. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because oncogene MET and EGF receptor (EGFR) inhibitors are in clinical development against several types of cancer, including glioblastoma, it is important to identify predictive markers that indicate patient subgroups suitable for such therapies. We investigated in vivo glioblastoma models characterized by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) autocrine or paracrine activation, or by MET or EGFR amplification, for their susceptibility to MET inhibitors. HGF autocrine expression correlated with high phospho-MET levels in HGF autocrine cell lines, and these lines showed high sensitivity to MET inhibition in vivo. An HGF paracrine environment may enhance glioblastoma growth in vivo but did not indicate sensitivity to MET inhibition. EGFRvIII amplification predicted sensitivity to EGFR inhibition, but in the same tumor, increased copies of MET from gains of chromosome 7 did not result in increased MET activity and did not predict sensitivity to MET inhibitors. Thus, HGF autocrine glioblastoma bears an activated MET signaling pathway that may predict sensitivity to MET inhibitors. Moreover, serum HGF levels may serve as a biomarker for the presence of autocrine tumors and their responsiveness to MET therapeutics.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2011; 109(2):570-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The receptor tyrosine kinase MET is frequently amplified in human tumors, resulting in high cell surface densities and constitutive activation even in the absence of growth factor stimulation by its endogenous ligand, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). We sought to identify mechanisms of signaling crosstalk that promote MET activation by searching for kinases that are coordinately dysregulated with wild-type MET in human tumors. Our bioinformatic analysis identified leucine-rich repeat kinase-2 (LRRK2), which is amplified and overexpressed in papillary renal and thyroid carcinomas. Down-regulation of LRRK2 in cultured tumor cells compromises MET activation and selectively reduces downstream MET signaling to mTOR and STAT3. Loss of these critical mitogenic pathways induces cell cycle arrest and cell death due to loss of ATP production, indicating that MET and LRRK2 cooperate to promote efficient tumor cell growth and survival in these cancers.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2011; 108(4):1439-44. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the signaling pathways that drive aggressive breast cancers is critical to the development of effective therapeutics. The oncogene MET is associated with decreased survival in breast cancer, yet the role that MET plays in the various breast cancer subtypes is unclear. We describe a knockin mouse with mutationally activated Met (Met(mut)) that develops a high incidence of diverse mammary tumors with basal characteristics, including metaplasia, absence of progesterone receptor and ERBB2 expression, and expression of cytokeratin 5. With gene expression and tissue microarray analysis, we show that high MET expression in human breast cancers significantly correlated with estrogen receptor negative/ERBB2 negative tumors and with basal breast cancers. Few treatment options exist for breast cancers of the basal or trastuzumab-resistant ERBB2 subtypes. We conclude from these studies that MET may play a critical role in the development of the most aggressive breast cancers and may be a rational therapeutic target.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2009; 106(31):12909-14. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While many genetic alterations have been identified in melanoma, the relevant molecular events that contribute to disease progression are poorly understood. Most primary human melanomas exhibit loss of expression of the CDKN2A locus in addition to activation of the canonical mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. In this study, we used a Cdkn2a-deficient mouse melanocyte cell line to screen for secondary genetic events in melanoma tumor progression. Upon investigation, intrachromosomal gene amplification of Met, a receptor tyrosine kinase implicated in melanoma progression, was identified in Cdkn2a-deficient tumors. RNA interference targeting Met in these tumor cells resulted in a significant delay in tumor growth in vivo compared with the control cells. MET expression is rarely detected in primary human melanoma but is frequently observed in metastatic disease. This study validates a role for Met activation in melanoma tumor progression in the context of Cdkn2a deficiency.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromosomal abnormalities, such as structural and numerical abnormalities, are a common occurrence in cancer. The close association of homologous chromosomes during interphase, a phenomenon termed somatic chromosome pairing, has been observed in cancerous cells, but the functional consequences of somatic pairing have not been established. Gene expression profiling studies revealed that somatic pairing of chromosome 19 is a recurrent chromosomal abnormality in renal oncocytoma, a neoplasia of the adult kidney. Somatic pairing was associated with significant disruption of gene expression within the paired regions and resulted in the deregulation of the prolyl-hydroxylase EGLN2 [corrected] a key protein that regulates the oxygen-dependent degradation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). Overexpression of EGLN2 [corrected] in renal oncocytoma increased ubiquitin-mediated destruction of HIF and concomitantly suppressed the expression of several HIF-target genes, including the pro-death BNIP3L gene. The transcriptional changes that are associated with somatic pairing of chromosome 19 mimic the transcriptional changes that occur following DNA amplification. Therefore, in addition to numerical and structural chromosomal abnormalities, alterations in chromosomal spatial dynamics should be considered as genomic events that are associated with tumorigenesis. The identification of EGLN2 as a significantly deregulated gene that maps within the paired chromosome region directly implicates defects in the oxygen-sensing network to the biology of renal oncocytoma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report and characterize the copy number alterations (CNAs) in 35 clear cell and 12 papillary renal cell carcinomas (RCC) using Affymetrix 100K SNP arrays. Novel gain and loss regions are identified in both subtypes. In addition, statistically significant CNA are detected and associated with the pathological features: VHL mutation status, tumor grades, and sarcomatoid component in clear cell RCC and in types 1 and 2 of papillary RCC. Florescence in situ hybridization confirmed the copy number gain in the transforming growth factor, beta-induced gene (TGFBI), which is a possible oncogene for clear cell RCC.
Cancer letters 09/2008; 272(2):260-7. · 4.86 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromosome instability and aneuploidy are hallmarks of cancer, but it is not clear how changes in the chromosomal content of a cell contribute to the malignant phenotype. Previously we have shown that we can readily isolate highly proliferative tumor cells and their revertants from highly invasive tumor cell populations, indicating how phenotypic shifting can contribute to malignant progression. Here we show that chromosome instability and changes in chromosome content occur with phenotypic switching. Further, we show that changes in the copy number of each chromosome quantitatively impose a proportional change in the chromosome transcriptome ratio. This correlation also applies to subchromosomal regions of derivative chromosomes. Importantly, we show that the changes in chromosome content and the transcriptome favor the expression of a large number of genes appropriate for the specific tumor phenotype. We conclude that chromosome instability generates the necessary chromosome diversity in the tumor cell populations and, therefore, the transcriptome diversity to allow for environment-facilitated clonal expansion and clonal evolution of tumor cell populations.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2007; 104(21):8995-9000. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Papillary renal cell carcinoma (RCC) represents 10% to 15% of adult renal neoplasms; however, the molecular genetic events that are associated with the development and progression of sporadic papillary RCC remain largely unclear. Papillary RCCs can be divided into two subtypes based on histologic, cytogenetic, and gene expression differences. Type 1 tumors ( approximately 60-70%) are generally low grade with favorable outcome, whereas type 2 tumors ( approximately 30-40%) are associated with increased cytogenetic complexity, high tumor grade, and poor prognosis. In this study, computational analysis of gene expression data derived from papillary RCC revealed that a transcriptional signature indicative of MYC pathway activation is present in high-grade type 2 papillary RCC. The MYC signature is associated with amplification of chromosome 8q and overexpression of MYC that maps to chromosome 8q24. The importance of MYC activation was confirmed by both pharmacologic and short interfering RNA-mediated inhibition of active Myc signaling in a cell line model of type 2 papillary RCC. These results provide both computational and genetic evidence that activation of Myc is associated with the aggressiveness of papillary type 2 RCC. Therefore, it will be useful to consider inhibition of components of the MYC signaling pathway as avenues for therapeutic intervention in high-grade papillary RCC.
Cancer Research 05/2007; 67(7):3171-6. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invasive and proliferative phenotypes are fundamental components of malignant disease, yet basic questions persist about whether tumor cells can express both phenotypes simultaneously and, if so, what are their properties. Suitable in vitro models that allow characterization of cells that are purely invasive are limited because proliferation is required for cell maintenance. Here, we describe glioblastoma cells that are highly invasive in response to hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF). From this cell population, we selected subclones that were highly proliferative or displayed both invasive and proliferative phenotypes. The biological activities of invasion, migration, urokinase-type plasminogen activation, and branching morphogenesis exclusively partitioned with the highly invasive cells, whereas the highly proliferative subcloned cells uniquely displayed anchorage independent growth in soft agar and were highly tumorigenic as xenografts in immune-compromised mice. In response to HGF/SF, the highly invasive cells signal through the MAPK pathway, whereas the selection of the highly proliferative cells coselected for signaling through Myc. Moreover, in subcloned cells displaying both invasive and proliferative phenotypes, both signaling pathways are activated by HGF/SF. These results show how the mitogen-activated protein kinase and Myc pathways can cooperate to confer both invasive and proliferative phenotypes on tumor cells and provide a system for studying how transitions between invasion and proliferation can contribute to malignant progression.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2005; 102(30):10528-33. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Ink4a/Arf locus is functionally linked to the Rb and p53 pathways through the action of its two gene products. Mouse models null for this locus show rapid onset of cancer with a preponderance of lymphomas and sarcomas. We report on a study of cell lines derived from sarcomas arising in Ink4a/Arf null mice. The cytogenetics of these lines was monitored over the course of serial passage. Results indicate that early passage cells are relatively normal. However, after multiple passages chromosomal instability becomes apparent as evidenced by increasing tetraploidy and aneuploidy, and the concomitant loss of clonality. To further evaluate the effect of Ink4a/Arf-deficiency on chromosomal stability in vitro, we isolated Ink4a/Arf deficient primary murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), serially passaged them, and analyzed their chromosomal stability by spectral karyotyping (a 24-color chromosome paint-FISH technique). We found that chromosomal instability in Ink4a/Arf deficient MEFs developed with the same timing as seen in cell lines derived from Ink4a/Arf deficient sarcomas. Thus, chromosomal instability seen in Ink4a/Arf deficient tumors in vitro may be unrelated to the original phenotype of the tumor in vivo. Therefore, interpretation of cytogenetic data from cell lines derived from Ink4a/Arf deficient tumors should be done on early passage cells.
International Journal of Oncology 04/2005; 26(3):629-34. · 2.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tyrosine kinase-activating mutations in Met have been observed in hereditary papillary renal carcinomas as well as in other cancers. These mutations have been examined in several in vitro systems, where they cause constitutive Met activation, focus formation, and cell motility, and are tumorigenic in xenografts. To study the influence of these mutations on tumorigenesis in vivo, we generated mice with targeted mutations in the murine met locus. The following five mouse lines with mutant Met were created: WT, D1226N, Y1228C, M1248T, and M1248T/L1193V. We observed that mice harboring D1226N, Y1228C(,) and M1248T/L1193V mutations developed a high frequency of sarcomas and some lymphomas, whereas the M1248T mice developed carcinomas and lymphomas. Of considerable interest, we observed trisomy of chromosome 6 and duplication of the mutant met allele in a majority of the tumors, similar to what has been reported in patients with hereditary renal papillary carcinomas. These results demonstrate that activating Met mutations and met amplification play key roles in promoting tumorigenesis in vivo. Moreover, our findings show that different mutations in the Met kinase domain can influence the types of cancers that develop.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2005; 101(49):17198-203. · 9.74 Impact Factor