[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A family of conserved serine/threonine kinases known as cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) drives orderly cell cycle progression in mammalian cells. Prior studies have suggested that CDK2 regulates S-phase entry and progression, and frequently shows increased activity in a wide spectrum of human tumors. Genetic KO/knockdown approaches, however, have suggested that lack of CDK2 protein does not prevent cellular proliferation, both during somatic development in mice as well as in human cancer cell lines. Here, we use an alternative, chemical-genetic approach to achieve specific inhibition of CDK2 kinase activity in cells. We directly compare small-molecule inhibition of CDK2 kinase activity with siRNA knockdown and show that small-molecule inhibition results in marked defects in proliferation of nontransformed cells, whereas siRNA knockdown does not, highlighting the differences between these two approaches. In addition, CDK2 inhibition drastically diminishes anchorage-independent growth of human cancer cells and cells transformed with various oncogenes. Our results establish that CDK2 activity is necessary for normal mammalian cell cycle progression and suggest that it might be a useful therapeutic target for treating cancer.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2012; 109(17):E1019-27. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptor-negative triple-negative breast cancers encompass the most clinically challenging subtype for which targeted therapeutics are lacking. We find that triple-negative tumors exhibit elevated MYC expression, as well as altered expression of MYC regulatory genes, resulting in increased activity of the MYC pathway. In primary breast tumors, MYC signaling did not predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy but was associated with poor prognosis. We exploit the increased MYC expression found in triple-negative breast cancers by using a synthetic-lethal approach dependent on cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibition. CDK inhibition effectively induced tumor regression in triple-negative tumor xenografts. The proapoptotic BCL-2 family member BIM is up-regulated after CDK inhibition and contributes to this synthetic-lethal mechanism. These results indicate that aggressive breast tumors with elevated MYC are uniquely sensitive to CDK inhibitors.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 03/2012; 209(4):679-96. · 13.91 Impact Factor