[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibition of centromere-associated protein-E (CENP-E) has demonstrated preclinical anti-tumor activity in a number of tumor types including neuroblastoma. A potent small molecule inhibitor of the kinesin motor activity of CENP-E has recently been developed (GSK923295). To identify an effective drug combination strategy for GSK923295 in neuroblastoma, we performed a screen of siRNAs targeting a prioritized set of genes that function in therapeutically tractable signaling pathways. We found that siRNAs targeted to extracellular signal-related kinase 1 (ERK1) significantly sensitized neuroblastoma cells to GSK923295-induced growth inhibition (p = 0.01). Inhibition of ERK1 activity using pharmacologic inhibitors of mitogen-activated ERK kinase (MEK1/2) showed significant synergistic growth inhibitory activity when combined with GSK923295 in neuroblastoma, lung, pancreatic and colon carcinoma cell lines. Synergistic growth inhibitory activity of combined MEK/ERK and CENP-E inhibition was a result of increased mitotic arrest and apoptosis. There was a significant correlation between ERK1/2 phosphorylation status in neuroblastoma cell lines and GSK923295 growth inhibitory activity (r = 0.823, p = 0.0006). Consistent with this result we found that lung cancer cell lines harboring RAS mutations, which leads to oncogenic activation of MEK/ERK signaling, were significantly more resistant than cell lines with wild-type RAS to GSK923295-induced growth inhibition (p = 0.047). Here we have identified (MEK/ERK) activity as a potential biomarker of relative GSK923295 sensitivity and have shown the synergistic effect of combinatorial MEK/ERK pathway and CENP-E inhibition across different cancer cell types including neuroblastoma.
International Journal of Cancer 09/2012; · 6.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A systematic understanding of genotype-specific sensitivity or resistance to anticancer agents is required to provide improved patient therapy. The availability of an expansive panel of annotated cancer cell lines enables comparative surveys of associations between genotypes and compounds of various target classes. Thus, one can better predict the optimal treatment for a specific tumor. Here, we present a statistical framework, cell line enrichment analysis (CLEA), to associate the response of anticancer agents with major cancer genotypes. Multilevel omics data, including transcriptome, proteome and phosphatome data, were integrated with drug data based on the genotypic classification of cancer cell lines. The results reproduced known patterns of compound sensitivity associated with particular genotypes. In addition, this approach reveals multiple unexpected associations between compounds and mutational genotypes. The mutational genotypes led to unique protein activation and gene expression signatures, which provided a mechanistic understanding of their functional effects. Furthermore, CLEA maps revealed interconnections between TP53 mutations and other mutations in the context of drug responses. The TP53 mutational status appears to play a dominant role in determining clustering patterns of gene and protein expression profiles for major cancer genotypes. This study provides a framework for the integrative analysis of mutations, drug responses and omics data in cancers.
International Journal of Cancer 03/2012; 131(10):2456-64. · 6.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We aimed to investigate the expression pattern of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), to evaluate the relationship between PTEN expression and clinicopathological characteristics, including fatty acid synthase (FAS) expression, and to determine the correlations of PTEN and FAS expression with survival in Chinese patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The expression patterns of PTEN and FAS were determined using tissue microarrays and immunohistochemistry. The expression of PTEN was compared with the clinicopathological characteristics of HCC, including FAS expression. Receiver operator characteristic curves were used to calculate the clinical sensitivity and specificity of PTEN expression. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed to evaluate the correlations of PTEN loss and FAS overexpression with overall survival. We found that the loss of PTEN expression occurred predominantly in the cytoplasm, while FAS was mainly localized to the cytoplasm. Cytoplasmic and total PTEN expression levels were significantly decreased in HCC compared with adjacent non-neoplastic tissue (both, p < 0.0001). Decreased cytoplasmic and total PTEN expression showed significant clinical sensitivity and specificity for HCC (both, p < 0.0001). Downregulation of PTEN in HCC relative to non-neoplastic tissue was significantly correlated with histological grade (p = 0.043 for histological grades I-II versus grade III). Loss of total PTEN was significantly correlated with FAS overexpression (p = 0.014). Loss of PTEN was also associated with poor prognosis of patients with poorly differentiated HCC (p = 0.049). Moreover, loss of PTEN combined with FAS overexpression was associated with significantly worse prognosis compared with other HCC cases (p = 0.011). Our data indicate that PTEN may serve as a potential diagnostic and prognostic marker of HCC. Upregulating PTEN expression and inhibiting FAS expression may offer a novel therapeutic approach for HCC.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2012; 13(8):9980-91. · 2.46 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MEK1 and MEK2 inhibitor GSK1120212 is currently in phase II/III clinical development. To identify predictive biomarkers, sensitivity to GSK1120212 was profiled for 218 solid tumor cell lines and 81 hematologic malignancy cell lines. For solid tumors, RAF/RAS mutation was a strong predictor of sensitivity. Among RAF/RAS mutant lines, co-occurring PIK3CA/PTEN mutations conferred a cytostatic response instead of a cytotoxic response for colon cancer cells that have the biggest representation of the comutations. Among KRAS mutant cell lines, transcriptomics analysis showed that cell lines with an expression pattern suggestive of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition were less sensitive to GSK1120212. In addition, a proportion of cell lines from certain tissue types not known to carry frequent RAF/RAS mutations also seemed to be sensitive to GSK1120212. Among these were breast cancer cell lines, with triple negative breast cancer cell lines being more sensitive than cell lines from other breast cancer subtypes. We identified a single gene DUSP6, whose expression was associated with sensitivity to GSK1120212 and lack of expression associated with resistance irrelevant of RAF/RAS status. Among hematologic cell lines, acute myeloid leukemia and chronic myeloid leukemia cell lines were particularly sensitive. Overall, this comprehensive predictive biomarker analysis identified additional efficacy biomarkers for GSK1120212 in RAF/RAS mutant solid tumors and expanded the indication for GSK1120212 to patients who could benefit from this therapy despite the RAF/RAS wild-type status of their tumors.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 12/2011; 11(3):720-9. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNAi screening holds the promise of systemizing the search for combination therapeutic strategies. Here we performed a pooled shRNA library screen to look for promising targets to inhibit in combination with inhibition of the mitotic regulator polo-like kinase (PLK1). The library contained ~4,500 shRNAs targeting various signaling and cancer-related genes and was screened in four lung cancer cell lines using both high (IC80) and low (IC20) amounts of the PLK1 inhibitor GSK461364. The relative abundance of cells containing individual shRNAs following drug treatment was determined by microarray analysis, using the mock treatment replicates as the normalizing reference. Overall, the inferred influences of individual shRNAs in both high and low drug treatment were remarkably similar in all four cell lines and involved a large percentage of the library. To investigate which functional categories of shRNAs were most prominent in influencing drug response, we used statistical analysis of microarrays (SAM) in combination with a filter for genes that had two or more concordant shRNAs. The most significant functional categories that came out of this analysis included receptor tyrosine kinases and nuclear hormone receptors. Through individual validation experiments, we determined that the two shRNAs from the library targeting the nuclear retinoic acid receptor gene RARA did indeed silence RARA expression and as predicted conferred resistance to GSK461364. This led us to test whether activation of RARA receptor with retinoids could sensitize cells to GSK461364. We found that retinoids did increase the drug sensitivity and enhanced the ability of PLK1 inhibition to induce mitotic arrest and apoptosis. These results suggest that retinoids could be used to enhance the effectiveness of GSK461364 and provide further evidence that RNAi screens can be effective tools to identify combination target strategies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of biomarkers for positive and negative predictors of response to cancer therapeutics can help direct clinical strategies. However, challenges with tissue availability and costs are significant limiting factors for diagnostic assays. To address these challenges, we have customized a high-throughput single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping assay with the objective of simultaneously surveying known somatic mutations and copy number alterations for translational studies in cancer. As constructed, this assay can interrogate 376 known somatic mutations and quantify copy number alterations of genes commonly implicated in tumorigenesis or progression. Validation of this assay on a panel of 321 cell lines demonstrates sensitivity to accurately detect mutations, robust accuracy in the presence of infiltrating normal tissue, and the ability to detect both DNA copy number amplifications and deletions. This technology, with its high sensitivity, small DNA requirements, and low costs is an attractive platform for biomarker exploration in cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aurora kinases play critical roles in mitosis and are being evaluated as therapeutic targets in cancer. GSK1070916 is a potent, selective, ATP competitive inhibitor of Aurora kinase B and C. Translation of predictive biomarkers to the clinic can benefit patients by identifying the tumors that are more likely to respond to therapies, especially novel inhibitors such as GSK1070916.
59 Hematological cancer-derived cell lines were used as models for response where in vitro sensitivity to GSK1070916 was based on both time and degree of cell death. The response data was analyzed along with karyotype, transcriptomics and somatic mutation profiles to determine predictors of response.
20 cell lines were sensitive and 39 were resistant to treatment with GSK1070916. High chromosome number was more prevalent in resistant cell lines (p-value = 0.0098, Fisher Exact Test). Greater resistance was also found in cell lines harboring polyploid subpopulations (p-value = 0.00014, Unpaired t-test). A review of NOTCH1 mutations in T-ALL cell lines showed an association between NOTCH1 mutation status and chromosome number (p-value = 0.0066, Fisher Exact Test).
High chromosome number associated with resistance to the inhibition of Aurora B and C suggests cells with a mechanism to bypass the high ploidy checkpoint are resistant to GSK1070916. High chromosome number, a hallmark trait of many late stage hematological malignancies, varies in prevalence among hematological malignancy subtypes. The high frequency and relative ease of measurement make high chromosome number a viable negative predictive marker for GSK1070916.
Journal of Translational Medicine 01/2011; 9:110. · 3.46 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polo-like kinases are a family of serine threonine kinases that are critical regulators of cell cycle progression and DNA damage response. Predictive biomarkers for the Plk1-selective inhibitor GSK461364A were identified by comparing the genomics and genetics of a panel of human cancer cell lines with their response to a drug washout followed by an outgrowth assay. In this assay, cell lines that have lost p53 expression or carry mutations in the TP53 gene tended to be more sensitive to GSK461364A. These more sensitive cell lines also had increased levels of chromosome instability, a characteristic associated with loss of p53 function. Further mechanistic studies showed that p53 wild-type (WT) and not mutant cells can activate a postmitotic tetraploidy checkpoint and arrest at pseudo-G(1) state after GSK461364A treatment. RNA silencing of WT p53 increased the antiproliferative activity of GSK461364A. Furthermore, silencing of p53 or p21/CDKN1A weakened the tetraploidy checkpoint in cells that survived mitotic arrest and mitotic slippage. As many cancer therapies tend to be more effective in p53 WT patients, the higher sensitivity of p53-deficient tumors toward GSK461364A could potentially offer an opportunity to treat tumors that are refractory to other chemotherapies as well as early line therapy for these genotypes.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 07/2010; 9(7):2079-89. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preclinical cellular response profiling of tumor models has become a cornerstone in the development of novel cancer therapeutics. As efforts to predict clinical efficacy using cohorts of in vitro tumor models have been successful, expansive panels of tumor-derived cell lines can recapitulate an "all comers" efficacy trial, thereby identifying which tumors are most likely to benefit from treatment. The response profile of a therapy is most often studied in isolation; however, drug treatment effect patterns in tumor models across a diverse panel of compounds can help determine the value of unique molecular target classes in specific tumor cohorts. To this end, a panel of 19 compounds was evaluated against a diverse group of cancer cell lines (n = 311). The primary oncogenic targets were a key determinant of concentration-dependent proliferation response, as a total of five of six, four of four, and five of five phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR), and mitotic inhibitors, respectively, clustered with others of that common target class. In addition, molecular target class was correlated with increased responsiveness in certain histologies. A cohort of PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors was more efficacious in breast cancers compared with other tumor types, whereas IGF-IR inhibitors more selectively inhibited growth in colon cancer lines. Finally, specific phenotypes play an important role in cellular response profiles. For example, luminal breast cancer cells (nine of nine; 100%) segregated from basal cells (six of seven; 86%). The convergence of a common cellular response profile for different molecules targeting the same oncogenic pathway substantiates a rational clinical path for patient populations most likely to benefit from treatment. Cancer Res; 70(9); 3677-86. (c)2010 AACR.
Cancer Research 05/2010; 70(9):3677-86. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA sequence and bioinformatics technology have enabled the analysis of the cancer genome, revealing the vast genetic complexity of this disease. The patterns of somatic mutations are a rich archaeological record of the insults received by the genome that have added to our understanding of the mutagenic process. However, very few frequently mutated genes have been identified with the majority of somatic mutational events occurring infrequently. These infrequent mutations, however, have been shown to effect well-defined biological pathways that are critical in driving the development and progression of human tumours, for example the MAPK and PI3K pathways. Current cancer sequencing studies are now providing somatic mutation data for distinct tumour types and subtypes, leading to the identification of disease-specific alterations and potential therapeutic targets.
Current opinion in genetics & development 04/2010; 20(3):336-41. · 8.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer genomic studies that rely on analysis of biopsies from primary tumors may not fully identify the molecular events associated with tumor progression. We hypothesized that characterizing the transcriptome during tumor progression in the TH-MYCN transgenic model would identify oncogenic drivers that would be targetable therapeutically. We quantified expression of 32,381 murine genes in nine hyperplastic ganglia harvested at three time points and four tumor cohorts of progressively larger size in mice homozygous for the TH-MYCN transgene. We found 93 genes that showed a linearly increasing or decreasing pattern of expression from the preneoplastic ganglia to end stage tumors. Cross-species integration identified 24 genes that were highly expressed in human MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas. The genes prioritized were not exclusively driven by increasing Myc transactivation or proliferative rate. We prioritized three targets [centromere-associated protein E (Cenpe), Gpr49, and inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase type II] with previously determined roles in cancer. Using siRNA knockdown in human neuroblastoma cell lines, we further prioritized CENPE due to inhibition of cellular proliferation. Targeting CENPE with the small molecular inhibitor GSK923295 showed inhibition of in vitro proliferation of 19 neuroblastoma cell lines (median IC(50), 41 nmol/L; range, 27-266 nmol/L) and delayed tumor growth in three xenograft models (P values ranged from P < 0.0001 to P = 0.018). We provide preclinical validation that serial transcriptome analysis of a transgenic mouse model followed by cross-species integration is a useful method to identify therapeutic targets and identify CENPE as a novel therapeutic candidate in neuroblastoma.
Cancer Research 03/2010; 70(7):2749-58. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Met receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), are overexpressed and/or activated in a wide variety of human malignancies. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors are expressed on the surface of vascular endothelial cells and cooperate with Met to induce tumor invasion and vascularization. EXEL-2880 (XL880, GSK1363089) is a small-molecule kinase inhibitor that targets members of the HGF and VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase families, with additional inhibitory activity toward KIT, Flt-3, platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta, and Tie-2. Binding of EXEL-2880 to Met and VEGF receptor 2 (KDR) is characterized by a very slow off-rate, consistent with X-ray crystallographic data showing that the inhibitor is deeply bound in the Met kinase active site cleft. EXEL-2880 inhibits cellular HGF-induced Met phosphorylation and VEGF-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation and prevents both HGF-induced responses of tumor cells and HGF/VEGF-induced responses of endothelial cells. In addition, EXEL-2880 prevents anchorage-independent proliferation of tumor cells under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. In vivo, these effects produce significant dose-dependent inhibition of tumor burden in an experimental model of lung metastasis. Collectively, these data indicate that EXEL-2880 may prevent tumor growth through a direct effect on tumor cell proliferation and by inhibition of invasion and angiogenesis mediated by HGF and VEGF receptors.
Cancer Research 10/2009; 69(20):8009-16. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large-scale systematic resequencing has been proposed as the key future strategy for the discovery of rare, disease-causing sequence variants across the spectrum of human complex disease. We have sequenced the coding exons of the X chromosome in 208 families with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR), the largest direct screen for constitutional disease-causing mutations thus far reported. The screen has discovered nine genes implicated in XLMR, including SYP, ZNF711 and CASK reported here, confirming the power of this strategy. The study has, however, also highlighted issues confronting whole-genome sequencing screens, including the observation that loss of function of 1% or more of X-chromosome genes is compatible with apparently normal existence.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A common aim of pharmacogenomic studies that use genome-wide assays on panels of cancers is the unbiased discovery of genomic alterations that are associated with clinical outcome and drug response. Previous studies of lapatinib, a selective dual-kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2 tyrosine kinases, have shown predictable relationships between the activity of these target genes and response. Under the hypothesis that additional genes may play a role in drug sensitivity, a predictive model for lapatinib response was constructed from genome-wide DNA copy number data from 24 cancer cell lines. An optimal predictive model which consists of aberrations at nine distinct genetic loci, includes gains of HER2, EGFR, and loss of CDKN2A. This model achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of approximately 0.85 (80% confidence interval, 0.70-0.98; P < 0.01), and correctly classified the sensitivity status of 8 of 10 head and neck cancer cell lines. This study shows that biomarkers predictive for lapatinib sensitivity, including the previously described copy number gains of EGFR and HER2, can be discovered using novel genomic assays in an unbiased manner. Furthermore, these results show the utility of DNA copy number profiles in pharmacogenomic studies.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 05/2008; 7(4):935-43. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: New technologies as well as concerted brute-force approaches have increased the content (number of genes) that can be characterized for genomic DNA alterations. Recent advances include the detection of activating point mutations in key kinase genes (BRAF, EGFR, and PIK3CA) in multiple cancer types: preliminary insight into the entire repertoire of genes that can be mutated in cancer; the discovery of new oncogenes by high-resolution profiling of DNA copy number alterations; and the bioinformatic-driven discovery of oncogenic gene fusions. High-content promoter methylation detection systems have been used to discover additional methylated genes and have provided evidence for a stem cell origin for certain tumors. Some of these advances have had significant impact on the development and clinical testing of new therapeutics.
Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 03/2008; 18(1):68-72. · 7.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For decades, cytogenetic studies have demonstrated that somatically acquired structural rearrangements of the genome are a common feature of most classes of human cancer. However, the characteristics of these rearrangements at sequence-level resolution have thus far been subject to very limited description. One process that is dependent upon somatic genome rearrangement is gene amplification, a mechanism often exploited by cancer cells to increase copy number and hence expression of dominantly acting cancer genes. The mechanisms underlying gene amplification are complex but must involve chromosome breakage and rejoining. We sequenced 133 different genomic rearrangements identified within four cancer amplicons involving the frequently amplified cancer genes MYC, MYCN, and ERBB2. The observed architectures of rearrangement were diverse and highly distinctive, with evidence for sister chromatid breakage-fusion-bridge cycles, formation and reinsertion of double minutes, and the presence of bizarre clusters of small genomic fragments. There were characteristic features of sequences at the breakage-fusion junctions, indicating roles for nonhomologous end joining and homologous recombination-mediated repair mechanisms together with nontemplated DNA synthesis. Evidence was also found for sequence-dependent variation in susceptibility of the genome to somatic rearrangement. The results therefore provide insights into the DNA breakage and repair processes operative in somatic genome rearrangement and illustrate how the evolutionary histories of individual cancers can be reconstructed from large-scale cancer genome sequencing.
Genome Research 10/2007; 17(9):1296-303. · 14.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is of universal biological significance. It has emerged as an important global RNA, DNA and translation regulatory pathway. By systematically sequencing 737 genes (annotated in the Vertebrate Genome Annotation database) on the human X chromosome in 250 families with X-linked mental retardation, we identified mutations in the UPF3 regulator of nonsense transcripts homolog B (yeast) (UPF3B) leading to protein truncations in three families: two with the Lujan-Fryns phenotype and one with the FG phenotype. We also identified a missense mutation in another family with nonsyndromic mental retardation. Three mutations lead to the introduction of a premature termination codon and subsequent NMD of mutant UPF3B mRNA. Protein blot analysis using lymphoblastoid cell lines from affected individuals showed an absence of the UPF3B protein in two families. The UPF3B protein is an important component of the NMD surveillance machinery. Our results directly implicate abnormalities of NMD in human disease and suggest at least partial redundancy of NMD pathways.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the course of systematic screening of the X-chromosome coding sequences in 250 families with nonsyndromic X-linked mental retardation (XLMR), two families were identified with truncating mutations in BRWD3, a gene encoding a bromodomain and WD-repeat domain-containing protein. In both families, the mutation segregates with the phenotype in affected males. Affected males have macrocephaly with a prominent forehead, large cupped ears, and mild-to-moderate intellectual disability. No truncating variants were found in 520 control X chromosomes. BRWD3 is therefore a new gene implicated in the etiology of XLMR associated with macrocephaly and may cause disease by altering intracellular signaling pathways affecting cellular proliferation.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2007; 81(2):367-74. · 11.20 Impact Factor