[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Here we describe a conditional piggyBac transposition system in mice and report the discovery of large sets of new cancer genes through a pancreatic insertional mutagenesis screen. We identify Foxp1 as an oncogenic transcription factor that drives pancreatic cancer invasion and spread in a mouse model and correlates with lymph node metastasis in human patients with pancreatic cancer. The propensity of piggyBac for open chromatin also enabled genome-wide screening for cancer-relevant noncoding DNA, which pinpointed a Cdkn2a cis-regulatory region. Histologically, we observed different tumor subentities and discovered associated genetic events, including Fign insertions in hepatoid pancreatic cancer. Our studies demonstrate the power of genetic screening to discover cancer drivers that are difficult to identify by other approaches to cancer genome analysis, such as downstream targets of commonly mutated human cancer genes. These piggyBac resources are universally applicable in any tissue context and provide unique experimental access to the genetic complexity of cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify factors preferentially necessary for driving tumor expansion, we performed parallel in vitro and in vivo negative-selection short hairpin RNA (shRNA) screens. Melanoma cells harboring shRNAs targeting several DNA damage response (DDR) kinases had a greater selective disadvantage in vivo than in vitro, indicating an essential contribution of these factors during tumor expansion. In growing tumors, DDR kinases were activated following hypoxia. Correspondingly, depletion or pharmacologic inhibition of DDR kinases was toxic to melanoma cells, including those that were resistant to BRAF inhibitor, and this could be enhanced by angiogenesis blockade. These results reveal that hypoxia sensitizes melanomas to targeted inhibition of the DDR and illustrate the utility of in vivo shRNA dropout screens for the identification of pharmacologically tractable targets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RIP140 is a transcriptional coregulator involved in energy homeostasis, ovulation and mammary gland development. Although conclusive evidence is lacking, reports have implicated a role for RIP140 in breast cancer. Here, we explored the mechanistic role of RIP140 in breast cancer and its involvement in Estrogen Receptor alpha (ERα) transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Using ChIP-seq analysis, we demonstrate that RIP140 shares over 80% of its binding sites with ERα, colocalizing with its interaction partners FOXA1, GATA3, p300, CBP and p160 family members at H3K4me1-demarcated enhancer regions. RIP140 is required for ERα-complex formation, ERα-mediated gene expression and ERα-dependent breast cancer cell proliferation. Genes affected following RIP140 silencing could be used stratify tamoxifen-treated breast cancer cohorts, based on clinical outcome. Importantly, this gene signature was only effective in endocrine treated conditions. Cumulatively, our data suggests that RIP140 plays an important role in ERα-mediated transcriptional regulation in breast cancer and response to tamoxifen treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent observations connected DNA cytosine deaminase APOBEC3B to the genetic evolution of breast cancer. We addressed whether APOBEC3B is associated with breast cancer clinical outcomes. APOBEC3B messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were related in 1,491 primary breast cancers to disease-free (DFS), metastasis-free (MFS), and overall survival (OS). For independent validation, APOBEC3B mRNA expression was associated with patient outcome data in five additional cohorts (over 3,500 breast cancer cases). In univariate Cox regression analysis, increasing APOBEC3B expression as a continuous variable was associated with worse DFS, MFS, and OS (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.20, 1.21, and 1.24, respectively; all P < .001). Also, in untreated ER-positive (ER+), but not in ER-, lymph-node-negative patients, high APOBEC3B levels were associated with a poor DFS (continuous variable: HR = 1.29, P = .001; dichotomized at the median level, HR = 1.66, P = .0002). This implies that APOBEC3B is a marker of pure prognosis in ER + disease. These findings were confirmed in the analyses of five independent patient sets. In these analyses, APOBEC3B expression dichotomized at the median level was associated with adverse outcomes (METABRIC discovery and validation, 788 and 706 ER + cases, disease-specific survival (DSS), HR = 1.77 and HR = 1.77, respectively, both P < .001; Affymetrix dataset, 754 ER + cases, DFS, HR = 1.57, P = 2.46E-04; NKI295, 181 ER + cases, DFS, HR = 1.72, P = .054; and BIG 1-98, 1,219 ER + cases, breast-cancer-free interval (BCFI), HR = 1.42, P = 0.0079). APOBEC3B is a marker of pure prognosis and poor outcomes for ER + breast cancer, which strongly suggests that genetic aberrations induced by APOBEC3B contribute to breast cancer progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lymph-node metastasis (LNM) predict high recurrence rates in breast cancer patients. Systemic treatment aims to eliminate (micro)metastatic cells. However decisions regarding systemic treatment depend largely on clinical and molecular characteristics of primary tumours. It remains, however, unclear to what extent metastases resemble the cognate primary breast tumours, especially on a genomic level, and as such will be eradicated by the systemic therapy chosen. In this study we used high-resolution aCGH to investigate DNA copy number differences between primary breast cancers and their paired LNMs. To date, no recurrent LNM-specific genomic aberrations have been identified using array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) analysis. In our study we employ a high-resolution platform and we stratify on different breast cancer subtypes, both aspects that might have underpowered previously performed studies.To test the possibility that genomic instability in triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) might cause increased random and potentially also recurrent copy number aberrations (CNAs) in their LNMs, we studied 10 primary TNBC-LNM pairs and 10 ER-positive (ER+) pairs and verified our findings adding additionally 5 TNBC-LNM and 22 ER+-LNM pairs. We found that all LNMs clustered nearest to their matched tumour except for two cases, of which one was due to the presence of two distinct histological components in one tumour. We found no significantly altered CNAs between tumour and their LNMs in the entire group or in the subgroups. Within the TNBC subgroup, no absolute increase in CNAs was found in the LNMs compared to their primary tumours, suggesting that increased genomic instability does not lead to more CNAs in LNMs. Our findings suggest a high clonal relationship between primary breast tumours and its LNMs, at least prior to treatment, and support the use of primary tumour characteristics to guide adjuvant systemic chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.
PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e103177. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The influence of local chromatin context on gene expression can be explored by integrating a transcription reporter at different locations in the genome as a sensor. Here we provide a detailed protocol for analyzing thousands of reporters integrated in parallel (TRIP) at a genome-wide level. TRIP is based on tagging each reporter with a unique barcode, which is used for independent reporter expression analysis and integration site mapping. Compared with previous methods for studying position effects, TRIP offers a 100-1,000-fold higher throughput in a faster and less-labor-intensive manner. The entire experimental protocol takes ∼42 d to complete, with high-throughput sequencing and data analysis requiring an additional ∼11 d. TRIP was developed by using transcription reporters in mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells, but because of its flexibility the method can be used to probe the influence of chromatin context on a variety of molecular processes in any transfectable cell line.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genomic information is encoded on a wide range of distance scales, ranging from tens of bases to megabases. We developed a multiscale framework to analyze and visualize the information content of genomic signals. Different types of signals, such as G+C content or DNA methylation, are characterized by distinct patterns of signal enrichment or depletion across scales spanning several orders of magnitude. These patterns are associated with a variety of genomic annotations. By integrating the information across all scales, we demonstrated improved prediction of gene expression from polymerase II chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) measurements, and we observed that gene expression differences in colorectal cancer are related to methylation patterns that extend beyond the single-gene scale. Our software is available at https://github.com/tknijnen/msr/.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are no effective therapies for the ∼30% of human malignancies with mutant RAS oncogenes. Using a kinome-centered synthetic lethality screen, we find that suppression of the ERBB3 receptor tyrosine kinase sensitizes KRAS mutant lung and colon cancer cells to MEK inhibitors. We show that MEK inhibition results in MYC-dependent transcriptional upregulation of ERBB3, which is responsible for intrinsic drug resistance. Drugs targeting both EGFR and ERBB2, each capable of forming heterodimers with ERBB3, can reverse unresponsiveness to MEK inhibition by decreasing inhibitory phosphorylation of the proapoptotic proteins BAD and BIM. Moreover, ERBB3 protein level is a biomarker of response to combinatorial treatment. These data suggest a combination strategy for treating KRAS mutant colon and lung cancers and a way to identify the tumors that are most likely to benefit from such combinatorial treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Treatment of BRAF(V600E) mutant melanoma by small molecule drugs that target the BRAF or MEK kinases can be effective, but resistance develops invariably1, 2. In contrast, colon cancers that harbour the same BRAF(V600E) mutation are intrinsically resistant to BRAF inhibitors, due to feedback activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)3, 4. Here we show that 6 out of 16 melanoma tumours analysed acquired EGFR expression after the development of resistance to BRAF or MEK inhibitors. Using a chromatin-regulator-focused short hairpin RNA (shRNA) library, we find that suppression of sex determining region Y-box 10 (SOX10) in melanoma causes activation of TGF-β signalling, thus leading to upregulation of EGFR and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFRB), which confer resistance to BRAF and MEK inhibitors. Expression of EGFR in melanoma or treatment with TGF-β results in a slow-growth phenotype with cells displaying hallmarks of oncogene-induced senescence. However, EGFR expression or exposure to TGF-β becomes beneficial for proliferation in the presence of BRAF or MEK inhibitors. In a heterogeneous population of melanoma cells having varying levels of SOX10 suppression, cells with low SOX10 and consequently high EGFR expression are rapidly enriched in the presence of drug, but this is reversed when the drug treatment is discontinued. We find evidence for SOX10 loss and/or activation of TGF-β signalling in 4 of the 6 EGFR-positive drug-resistant melanoma patient samples. Our findings provide a rationale for why some BRAF or MEK inhibitor-resistant melanoma patients may regain sensitivity to these drugs after a ‘drug holiday’ and identify patients with EGFR-positive melanoma as a group that may benefit from re-treatment after a drug holiday.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retroviral insertional mutagenesis is a powerful tool for identifying putative cancer genes in mice. To uncover the regulatory mechanisms by which common insertion loci affect downstream processes, we supplemented genotyping data with genome-wide mRNA expression profiling data for 97 tumors induced by retroviral insertional mutagenesis. We developed locus expression signature analysis, an algorithm to construct and interpret the differential gene expression signature associated with each common insertion locus. Comparing locus expression signatures to promoter affinity profiles allowed us to build a detailed map of transcription factors whose protein-level regulatory activity is modulated by a particular locus. We also predicted a large set of drugs that might mitigate the effect of the insertion on tumorigenesis. Taken together, our results demonstrate the potential of a locus-specific signature approach for identifying mammalian regulatory mechanisms in a cancer context.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of retroviruses and transposons to insert their genetic material into host DNA makes them widely used tools in molecular biology, cancer research and gene therapy. However, these systems have biases that may strongly affect research outcomes. To address this issue, we generated very large datasets consisting of [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] unselected integrations in the mouse genome for the Sleeping Beauty (SB) and piggyBac (PB) transposons, and the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV). We analyzed [Formula: see text] (epi)genomic features to generate bias maps at both local and genome-wide scales. MMTV showed a remarkably uniform distribution of integrations across the genome. More distinct preferences were observed for the two transposons, with PB showing remarkable resemblance to bias profiles of the Murine Leukemia Virus. Furthermore, we present a model where target site selection is directed at multiple scales. At a large scale, target site selection is similar across systems, and defined by domain-oriented features, namely expression of proximal genes, proximity to CpG islands and to genic features, chromatin compaction and replication timing. Notable differences between the systems are mainly observed at smaller scales, and are directed by a diverse range of features. To study the effect of these biases on integration sites occupied under selective pressure, we turned to insertional mutagenesis (IM) screens. In IM screens, putative cancer genes are identified by finding frequently targeted genomic regions, or Common Integration Sites (CISs). Within three recently completed IM screens, we identified 7%-33% putative false positive CISs, which are likely not the result of the oncogenic selection process. Moreover, results indicate that PB, compared to SB, is more suited to tag oncogenes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite continuous efforts, not a single predictor of breast cancer chemotherapy resistance has made it into the clinic yet. However, it has become clear in recent years that breast cancer is a collection of molecularly distinct diseases. With ever increasing amounts of breast cancer data becoming available, we set out to study if gene expression based predictors of chemotherapy resistance that are specific for breast cancer subtypes can improve upon the performance of generic predictors.
We trained predictors of resistance that were specific for a subtype and generic predictors that were not specific for a particular subtype, i.e. trained on all subtypes simultaneously. Through a rigorous double-loop cross-validation we compared the performance of these two types of predictors on the different subtypes on a large set of tumors all profiled on the same expression platform (n = 394). We evaluated predictors based on either mRNA gene expression or clinical features.
For HER2+, ER- breast cancer, subtype specific predictor based on clinical features outperformed the generic, non-specific predictor. This can be explained by the fact that the generic predictor included HER2 and ER status, features that are predictive over the whole set, but not within this subtype. In all other scenarios the generic predictors outperformed the subtype specific predictors or showed equal performance.
Since it depends on the specific context which type of predictor - subtype specific or generic- performed better, it is highly recommended to evaluate both specific and generic predictors when attempting to predict treatment response in breast cancer.
PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e88551. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The most common risk factor for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). To better understand the evolutionary forces driving HCC, we performed a near-saturating transposon mutagenesis screen in a mouse HBV model of HCC. This screen identified 21 candidate early stage drivers and a very large number (2,860) of candidate later stage drivers that were enriched for genes that are mutated, deregulated or functioning in signaling pathways important for human HCC, with a striking 1,199 genes being linked to cellular metabolic processes. Our study provides a comprehensive overview of the genetic landscape of HCC.