[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is emerging evidence that, beyond their cholesterol-lowering properties, statins exhibit important antileukemic effects in vitro and in vivo, but the precise mechanisms by which they generate such responses remain to be determined. We have previously shown that statins promote differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukemia cells and enhance generation of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-dependent antileukemic responses. We now provide evidence that statin-dependent leukemic cell differentiation requires engagement and activation of the c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase kinase pathway. In addition, in experiments, to define the molecular targets and mediators of statin-induced differentiation, we found a remarkable effect of statins on ATRA-dependent gene transcription, evidenced by the selective induction of over 400 genes by the combination of atorvastatin and ATRA. Altogether, our studies identify novel statin molecular targets linked to differentiation, establish that statins modulate ATRA-dependent transcription, and suggest that combined use of statins with retinoids may provide a novel approach to enhance antileukemic responses in acute promyelocytic leukemia and possibly other leukemias.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 03/2009; 8(3):615-25. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High expression of Notch-1 and Jagged-1 mRNA correlates with poor prognosis in breast cancer. Elucidating the cross-talk between Notch and other major breast cancer pathways is necessary to determine which patients may benefit from Notch inhibitors, which agents should be combined with them, and which biomarkers indicate Notch activity in vivo. We explored expression of Notch receptors and ligands in clinical specimens, as well as activity, regulation, and effectors of Notch signaling using cell lines and xenografts. Ductal and lobular carcinomas commonly expressed Notch-1, Notch-4, and Jagged-1 at variable levels. However, in breast cancer cell lines, Notch-induced transcriptional activity did not correlate with Notch receptor levels and was highest in estrogen receptor alpha-negative (ERalpha(-)), Her2/Neu nonoverexpressing cells. In ERalpha(+) cells, estradiol inhibited Notch activity and Notch-1(IC) nuclear levels and affected Notch-1 cellular distribution. Tamoxifen and raloxifene blocked this effect, reactivating Notch. Notch-1 induced Notch-4. Notch-4 expression in clinical specimens correlated with proliferation (Ki67). In MDA-MB231 (ERalpha(-)) cells, Notch-1 knockdown or gamma-secretase inhibition decreased cyclins A and B1, causing G(2) arrest, p53-independent induction of NOXA, and death. In T47D:A18 (ERalpha(+)) cells, the same targets were affected, and Notch inhibition potentiated the effects of tamoxifen. In vivo, gamma-secretase inhibitor treatment arrested the growth of MDA-MB231 tumors and, in combination with tamoxifen, caused regression of T47D:A18 tumors. Our data indicate that combinations of antiestrogens and Notch inhibitors may be effective in ERalpha(+) breast cancers and that Notch signaling is a potential therapeutic target in ERalpha(-) breast cancers.
Cancer Research 08/2008; 68(13):5226-35. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elevations of serum prolactin (PRL) are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. PRL signaling through its prolactin receptor (PRLr) involves the Jak2/Stat5 pathway. Luciferase-based reporter assays have been widely used to evaluate the activity of this pathway. However, the existing reporters are often not sensitive enough to monitor the effect of PRL in this pathway.
In this study, a new biologically relevant reporter, pGL4-CISH, was generated to study the PRL/Jak2/Stat5 signaling pathway. The sensitivity of pGL4-CISH to detect PRL was superior to that of several other commonly utilized Stat5-responsive reporters. Interestingly, the enhanced function pGL4-CISH was restricted to the estrogen receptor positive (ER+) human breast cancer cell lines T47D and MCF7, but not in the ER-MDA-231, BT-474, or MCF10A cell lines. Overexpression of Stat5 further enhanced the effect of PRL on pGL4-CISH.
These studies demonstrate that pGL4-CISH is a novel and sensitive reporter for assessing the activity of the PRL/Stat5 signaling pathway in the ER+ human breast cancer cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prolactin (PRL) stimulates the cytoskeletal re-organization and motility of breast cancer cells. During PRL receptor signaling, Vav2 becomes phosphorylated and activated, an event regulated by the serine/threonine kinase Nek3. Given the regulatory role of Vav2, the function of Nek3 in PRL-mediated motility and invasion was examined. Overexpression of Nek3 in Chinese hamster ovary transfectants potentiated cytoskeletal re-organization in response to PRL. In contrast, downregulation of Nek3 expression by small-interfering RNA (siRNA) attenuated PRL-mediated cytoskeletal reorganization, activation of GTPase Rac1, cell migration and invasion of T47D cells. In addition, PRL stimulation induced an interaction between Nek3 and paxillin and significantly increased paxillin serine phosphorylation, whereas Nek3 siRNA-transfected cells showed a marked reduction in paxillin phosphorylation. Analysis of breast tissue microarrays also demonstrated a significant up-regulation of Nek3 expression in malignant versus normal specimens. These data suggest that Nek3 contributes to PRL-mediated breast cancer motility through mechanisms involving Rac1 activation and paxillin phosphorylation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The family of statins includes pharmacologic inhibitors of the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase that are potent regulators of cholesterol biosynthesis. In addition to their cholesterol-lowering effects, statins inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis of malignant cells in vitro, but their potential therapeutic roles in the treatment of malignancies remain to be defined. We examined the effects of statins on the growth and differentiation of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. Atorvastatin and fluvastatin were found to be potent inducers of cell differentiation and apoptosis of the NB4 acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cell line. Such effects correlated with activation of the small G-proteins Rac1/Cdc42 and downstream engagement of the c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase kinase pathway, whose function was found to be essential for the generation of proapoptotic responses. Importantly, different statins were found to enhance all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA)-dependent differentiation of APL blasts and reverse resistance to the antileukemic effects of ATRA. In addition, fluvastatin exhibited growth-inhibitory properties on primary bone marrow-derived leukemic progenitors from patients with AML and enhanced the suppressive effects of ATRA on leukemic progenitor colony formation. Altogether, these studies establish that statins exhibit potent antileukemic properties in vitro and raise the possibility that combinations of statins with ATRA may be an effective approach to overcome the development of ATRA resistance by the leukemic cells.
Cancer Research 06/2007; 67(9):4524-32. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Uteroglobin (UG) or Clara Cell 10 kDa protein (CC10) is a small, stable, epithelial secretory anti-inflammatory protein. Uteroglobin has been shown to inhibit neointimal formation in vivo after balloon angioplasty through an unknown mechanism. An interaction between UG and plasma fibronectin (Fn) has been demonstrated in mice. Since Fn plays a key role in endothelial cell (EC) migration and angiogenesis, we investigated whether recombinant human UG (rhUG) affects EC migration via Fn binding. In this report, we show a saturable binding of rhUG to Fn depending on Fn conformation and that rhUG is covalently cross-linked to Fn by transglutaminase (TGase). Additionally, our study highlights that rhUG can also bind to exogenously added or self-secreted Fn on the membrane of human primary microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC), although these complexes are weakly associated with the plasmalemma. Upon the interaction with Fn in solid phase, rhUG strongly inhibits HMVEC attachment on Fn, but not on other ECM proteins. Consequently, rhUG also inhibits cell migration in a dose dependent fashion (I.C.50 = 65 nM) and hinders the "wound healing" in vitro. The small size, stability and human tolerability of rhUG suggest that rhUG in slow-release form or genetically delivered could be used in humans to modulate cell/Fn interactions in the context of tumor microenvironment or in the context of inflammation and fibrosis.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 06/2006; 207(2):553-61. · 4.22 Impact Factor