[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose: Tumor metastasis is the leading cause of death in cancer patients. However, the mechanisms that underlie metastatic progression remain unclear. We examined TMEM16A (ANO1) expression as a key factor shifting tumors between growth and metastasis. Experimental Design: We evaluated 26 pairs of primary and metastatic lymph node tissue from patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) for differential expression of TMEM16A. Additionally, we identified mechanisms by which TMEM16A expression influences tumor cell motility via proteomic screens of cell lines and in vivo mouse studies of metastasis. Results: Compared to primary tumors, TMEM16A expression decreases in metastatic lymph nodes of patients with SCCHN. Stable reduction of TMEM16A expression enhances cell motility and increases metastases while decreasing tumor proliferation in an orthotopic mouse model. Evaluation of human tumor tissues suggests an epigenetic mechanism for decreasing TMEM16A expression through promoter methylation that correlated with a transition between an epithelial and a mesenchymal phenotype. These effects of TMEM16A expression on tumor cell size and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) required the amino acid residue, serine 970 (S970); however, mutation of S970 to alanine does not disrupt the proliferative advantages of TMEM16A overexpression. Further, S970 mediates the association of TMEM16A with Radixin, an actin-scaffolding protein implicated in EMT. Conclusions: Together, our results identify TMEM16A, an eight trans-membrane domain Ca2+-activated Cl- channel, as a primary driver of the "Grow" or "Go" model for cancer progression, in which TMEM16A expression acts to balance tumor proliferation and metastasis via its promoter methylation.
Clinical Cancer Research 06/2014; 20(17). DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0363 · 8.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genomic findings underscore the heterogeneity of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)1,2. Identification of mutations that predict therapeutic response would be a major advance. We determined the mutationally altered, targetable mitogenic pathways in a large HNSCC cohort. Analysis of whole-exome sequencing data from 151 tumors revealed the PI3K pathway to be the most frequently mutated oncogenic pathway (30.5%). PI3K pathway-mutated HNSCC tumors harbored a significantly higher rate of mutations in known cancer genes. In a subset of HPV-positive tumors, PIK3CA or PIK3R1 was the only mutated cancer gene. Strikingly, all tumors with concurrent mutation of multiple PI3K pathway genes were advanced (stage IV), implicating concerted PI3K pathway aberrations in HNSCC progression. Patient-derived tumorgrafts with canonical and non-canonical PIK3CA mutations were sensitive to an m-TOR/PI3K inhibitor (BEZ-235) in contrast to PIK3CA wildtype tumorgrafts. These results suggest that PI3K pathway mutations may serve as predictive biomarkers for treatment selection.
Cancer Discovery 04/2013; 3(7). DOI:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0103 · 19.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frequent gene amplification of the receptor-activated calcium-dependent chloride channel TMEM16A (TAOS2 or ANO1) has been reported in several malignancies. However, its involvement in human tumorigenesis has not been previously studied. Here, we show a functional role for TMEM16A in tumor growth. We found TMEM16A overexpression in 80% of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCCHN), which correlated with decreased overall survival in patients with SCCHN. TMEM16A overexpression significantly promoted anchorage-independent growth in vitro, and loss of TMEM16A resulted in inhibition of tumor growth both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, TMEM16A-induced cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth were accompanied by an increase in extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 activation and cyclin D1 induction. Pharmacologic inhibition of MEK/ERK and genetic inactivation of ERK1/2 (using siRNA and dominant-negative constructs) abrogated the growth effect of TMEM16A, indicating a role for mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation in TMEM16A-mediated proliferation. In addition, a developmental small-molecule inhibitor of TMEM16A, T16A-inh01 (A01), abrogated tumor cell proliferation in vitro. Together, our findings provide a mechanistic analysis of the tumorigenic properties of TMEM16A, which represents a potentially novel therapeutic target. The development of small-molecule inhibitors against TMEM16A may be clinically relevant for treatment of human cancers, including SCCHN.
Cancer Research 05/2012; 72(13):3270-81. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-0475-T · 9.28 Impact Factor