[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 46-year-old female presents with a pelvic mass and is diagnosed as having a high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma. During surgery, she is noted to have areas of intussusception of the small bowel secondary to large hamartomatous polyps. The patient had a previous history of small bowel obstruction secondary to what had been thought to be hyperplastic polyps but represented hamartomatous polyps on further review. Additional examination revealed the presence of subtle hyperpigmented macules on the fingers leading to a diagnosis of Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS). The diagnosis was confirmed by the presence of a germ-line STK11 mutation. Immunohistochemistry analysis of the tumor showed decreased expression of STK-11 as compared to one of the patient's hamartomatous polyps. Next generation sequencing of the tumor specimen failed to demonstrate a "second hit" somatic mutation in STK-11. This case represents the first case of endometrial stromal sarcoma associated with PJS and illustrates the importance of increased awareness of this condition among oncologists. PJS is associated with dysregulation of the mTOR pathway; treatment with an mTOR inhibitor was not effective in this case.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ovarian cancer represents the most lethal tumor type among malignancies of the female reproductive system. Overall survival rates remain low. In this study, we identify the serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK1) as a potential therapeutic target for a subset of ovarian cancers. We show that SPINK1 drives ovarian cancer cell proliferation through activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling, and that SPINK1 promotes resistance to anoikis through a distinct mechanism involving protease inhibition. In analyses of ovarian tumor specimens from a Mayo Clinic cohort of 490 patients, we further find that SPINK1 immunostaining represents an independent prognostic factor for poor survival, with the strongest association in patients with nonserous histological tumor subtypes (endometrioid, clear cell, and mucinous). This study provides novel insight into the fundamental processes underlying ovarian cancer progression, and also suggests new avenues for development of molecularly targeted therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disparities in the prognosis and incidence of melanoma between male and female patients have led clinicians to explore the influence of steroid hormones on the development and progression of this malignancy. A better understanding of the disparities of melanoma behavior between sexes and ages could lead to improved prevention and treatment options. There are multiple themes in the literature that unify the physiologic functions of estrogen and androgen receptors; herein we discuss and map their pathways. Overall, it is important to understand that the differences in melanoma behavior between the sexes are multifactorial and likely involve interactions between the immune system, endocrine system, and environment, namely UV-radiation. Melanoma deserves a spot among hormone-sensitive tumors, and if tamoxifen is re-introduced for future therapy, tissue ratios of estrogen receptors should be obtained beforehand to assess their therapeutic predictive value. Because androgens, estrogens, and their receptors are involved in signaling of commonly mutated melanoma pathways, potential synergistic properties of the recently developed molecular kinase inhibitors that target those pathways may exist.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is the rarest subtype of thyroid cancer; however, it disproportionately accounts for a large percentage of all thyroid cancer-related deaths and is considered one of the most lethal solid tumors in humans, having a median survival of only a few months upon diagnosis. Although a variety of treatment options are available including surgery, radiation and targeted therapies, response rates are low, due in part to the drug-resistant nature of this disease; therefore, new avenues for therapeutic intervention are surely needed. Recent investigation into the metabolic profile of ATC has revealed a tumor-specific dependency for increased de novo lipogenesis, offering new insight into the molecular mechanisms that govern disease initiation and progression. Areas covered: Herein we summarize known oncogenic signaling pathways and current therapeutic strategies for the treatment of ATC. We further discuss the unique expression pattern of lipid metabolism constituents in this disease. Additionally, the current literature correlating aberrant lipogenesis with carcinogenesis is reviewed, and the implications of targeting this pathway as an innovative approach for treating ATC and other malignancies are discussed. As stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) is the most differentially expressed constituent of lipid metabolism in ATC, an additional focus on this enzyme as a novel therapeutic target is applied. Expert opinion: This section is used to summarize the current research efforts underway in defining the role of lipid metabolism specifically in thyroid carcinoma. Included is a brief summary of lipid metabolism factors for which inhibitors have been generated and are under current investigation as anti-cancer agents. Finally, research limitations regarding the use of these inhibitors against components of this pathway are discussed.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: E-cadherin and p120 catenin (p120) are essential for epithelial homeostasis, but can also exert pro-tumorigenic activities. Here, we resolve this apparent paradox by identifying two spatially and functionally distinct junctional complexes in non-transformed polarized epithelial cells: one growth suppressing at the apical zonula adherens (ZA), defined by the p120 partner PLEKHA7 and a non-nuclear subset of the core microprocessor components DROSHA and DGCR8, and one growth promoting at basolateral areas of cell-cell contact containing tyrosine-phosphorylated p120 and active Src. Recruitment of DROSHA and DGCR8 to the ZA is PLEKHA7 dependent. The PLEKHA7-microprocessor complex co-precipitates with primary microRNAs (pri-miRNAs) and possesses pri-miRNA processing activity. PLEKHA7 regulates the levels of select miRNAs, in particular processing of miR-30b, to suppress expression of cell transforming markers promoted by the basolateral complex, including SNAI1, MYC and CCND1. Our work identifies a mechanism through which adhesion complexes regulate cellular behaviour and reveals their surprising association with the microprocessor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a highly aggressive undifferentiated carcinoma with a mortality rate near 100% that is due to an assortment of genomic abnormalities that impedes the success of therapeutic options. Our laboratory has previously identified that RhoB upregulation serves as a novel molecular therapeutic target and agents upregulating RhoB combined with paclitaxel lead to antitumor synergy. Knowing that histone deacetylase (HDAC) 1 transcriptionally suppresses RhoB, we sought to extend our findings to other HDACs and to identify the HDAC inhibitor (HDACi) that optimally synergize with paclitaxel. Here we identify HDAC6 as a newly discovered RhoB repressor. By using isoform selective HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) and shRNAs, we show that RhoB has divergent downstream signaling partners, which are dependent on the HDAC isoform that is inhibited. When RhoB upregulates only p21(cyclin kinase inhibitor) using a class I HDACi (romidepsin), cells undergo cytostasis. When RhoB upregulates BIMEL using class II/(I) HDACi (belinostat or vorinostat), apoptosis occurs. Combinatorial synergy with paclitaxel is dependent upon RhoB and BIMEL while upregulation of RhoB and only p21 blocks synergy. This bifurcated regulation of the cell cycle by RhoB is novel and silencing either p21 or BIMEL turns the previously silenced pathway on, leading to phenotypic reversal. This study intimates that the combination of belinostat/vorinostat with paclitaxel may prove to be an effective therapeutic strategy via the novel observation that class II/(I) HDACi antagonize HDAC6-mediated suppression of RhoB and subsequent BIMEL, thereby promoting antitumor synergy. These overall observations may provide a mechanistic understanding of optimal therapeutic response.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Endocrine Related Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Altered protein expression and phosphorylation are common events during malignant transformation. These perturbations have been widely explored in the context of E-cadherin cell-cell adhesion complexes, which are central in the maintenance of the normal epithelial phenotype. A major component of these complexes is p120 catenin (p120), which binds and stabilizes E-cadherin to promote its adhesive and tumor suppressing function. However, p120 is also an essential mediator of pro-tumorigenic signals driven by oncogenes, such as Src, and can be phosphorylated at multiple sites. Although alterations in p120 expression have been extensively studied by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in the context of tumor progression, little is known about the status and role of p120 phosphorylation in cancer. Here we show that tyrosine and threonine phosphorylation of p120 in two sites, Y228 and T916, is elevated in renal and breast tumor tissue samples. We also show that tyrosine phosphorylation of p120 at its N-terminus, including at the Y228 site is required for its pro-tumorigenic potential. In contrast, phosphorylation of p120 at T916 does not affect this p120 function. However, phosphorylation of p120 at T916 interferes with epitope recognition of the most commonly used p120 antibody, namely pp120. As a result, this antibody selectively underrepresents p120 levels in tumor tissues, where p120 is phosphorylated. Overall, our data support a role of p120 phosphorylation as a marker and mediator of tumor transformation. Importantly, they also argue that the level and localization of p120 in human cancer tissues immunostained with pp120 needs to be re-evaluated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is one of the most lethal human malignancies that currently has no effective therapy. We performed quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) in three ATC cell lines using 3,282 clinically approved drugs and drug candidates, and identified 100 active agents. Enrichment analysis of active compounds showed that inhibitors of EGFR and histone deacetylase (HDAC) were most active. Of these, the first-in-class dual inhibitor of EGFR, HER2 and HDACs, CUDC-101, had the highest efficacy and lower IC50 than established drugs. We validated that CUDC-101 inhibited cellular proliferation and resulted in cell death by inducing cell cycle arrest and caspase-dependent apoptosis. CUDC-101 also inhibited cellular migration in vitro. Mechanistically, CUDC-101 inhibited MAPK signaling and histone deacetylation in ATC cell lines with multiple driver mutations present in human ATC. The anticancer effect of CUDC-101 was associated with increased expression of p21 and E-cadherin, and reduced expression of survivin, XIAP, β-catenin, N-cadherin, and Vimentin. In an in vivo mouse model of metastatic ATC, CUDC-101 inhibited tumor growth and metastases, and significantly prolonged survival. Response to CUDC-101 treatment in vivo was associated with increased histone 3 acetylation and reduced survivin expression. Our findings provide a preclinical basis to evaluate CUDC-101 therapy in ATC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context: Currently there are no efficacious therapies for patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) that result in long term disease stabilization or regression. Objective: We sought to identify pathways critical for ATC cell progression and viability in an effort to develop new therapeutic strategies. We investigated the effects of targeted inhibition of stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), a constituent of fatty acid metabolism over-expressed in ATC. Design: Gene-array of ATC and normal thyroid tissue was performed to identify gene transcripts demonstrating altered expression in tumor samples. Effects of pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of SCD1 on tumor cell viability as well as cell signaling responses to therapy were evaluated in in vitro and in vivo models of this rare, lethal malignancy. Results: Gene-array analysis revealed consistent distortion of fatty acid metabolism and overexpression of SCD1 in ATC and well-differentiated thyroid carcinomas. SCD1 is critical for ATC cell survival and proliferation, inhibition of which induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), and apoptosis. Combined suppression of ER-associated degradation (ERAD), a pro-survival component of the UPR, using proteasome inhibitors resulted in a synergistic decrease in tumor cell proliferation and increased cell death. Conclusions: SCD1 is a novel oncogenic factor specifically required for tumor cell viability in ATC. Furthermore, expression of SCD1 appears to be correlated with thyroid tumor aggressiveness, and may serve as a prognostic biomarker. These findings substantiate SCD1 as a novel tumor-specific target for therapy in patients with ATC, and should be further investigated in a clinical setting.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context and objective:
Oncocytic thyroid carcinoma, also known as Hürthle cell thyroid carcinoma, accounts for only a small percentage of all thyroid cancers. However, this malignancy often presents at an advanced stage and poses unique challenges to patients and clinicians. Surgical resection of the tumor accompanied in some cases by radioactive iodine treatment, radiation, and chemotherapy are the established modes of therapy. Knowledge of the perturbed oncogenic pathways can provide better understanding of the mechanism of disease and thus opportunities for more effective clinical management.
Design and patients:
Initially, two oncocytic thyroid carcinomas and their matched normal tissues were profiled using whole genome sequencing. Subsequently, 72 oncocytic thyroid carcinomas, one cell line, and five Hürthle cell adenomas were examined by targeted sequencing for the presence of mutations in the multiple endocrine neoplasia I (MEN1) gene.
Here we report the identification of MEN1 loss-of-function mutations in 4% of patients diagnosed with oncocytic thyroid carcinoma. Whole genome sequence data also revealed large regions of copy number variation encompassing nearly the entire genomes of these tumors.
Menin, a ubiquitously expressed nuclear protein, is a well-characterized tumor suppressor whose loss is the cause of MEN1 syndrome. Menin is involved in several major cellular pathways such as regulation of transcription, control of cell cycle, apoptosis, and DNA damage repair pathways. Mutations of this gene in a subset of Hürthle cell tumors point to a potential role for this protein and its associated pathways in thyroid tumorigenesis.
No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is one of the most deadly human malignancies. It is 99 percent lethal, and patients have a median survival of only 6 months after diagnosis. Despite these grim statistics, the mechanism underlying the tumorigenic capability of ATC cells is unclear. Objective: S100A8 and S100A9 proteins have emerged as critical mediators in cancer. The aim was to investigate the expression and function of S100A8 and S100A9 in ATC and the mechanisms involved. Design: We determined the expression of S100A8 and S100A9 in human ATC by gene array analysis and immunohistochemistry. Using RNAi-mediated stable gene knockdown in human ATC cell lines and bioluminescent imaging of orthotopic and lung metastasis mouse models of human ATC, we investigated the effects of S100A8 and S100A9 on tumorigenesis and metastasis. Results: We demonstrated that S100A8 and S100A9 were overexpressed in ATC but not in other types of thyroid carcinomas. In vivo analysis in mice using ATC cells that had S100A8 knocked down revealed reduced tumor growth and lung metastasis, as well as significantly prolonged animal survival. Mechanistic investigations showed that S100A8 promotes ATC cell proliferation through an interaction with RAGE, which activates the p38, ERK1/2 and JNK signaling pathways in the tumor cells. Conclusions: These findings establish a novel role for S100A8 in the promoting and enhancing of ATC progression. They further suggest that the inhibition of S100A8 could represent a relevant therapeutic target, with the potential of enabling a more effective treatment path for this deadly disease.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common type of thyroid cancer. Here, we describe the genomic landscape of 496 PTCs. We observed a low frequency of somatic alterations (relative to other carcinomas) and extended the set of known PTC driver alterations to include EIF1AX, PPM1D, and CHEK2 and diverse gene fusions. These discoveries reduced the fraction of PTC cases with unknown oncogenic driver from 25% to 3.5%. Combined analyses of genomic variants, gene expression, and methylation demonstrated that different driver groups lead to different pathologies with distinct signaling and differentiation characteristics. Similarly, we identified distinct molecular subgroups of BRAF-mutant tumors, and multidimensional analyses highlighted a potential involvement of oncomiRs in less-differentiated subgroups. Our results propose a reclassification of thyroid cancers into molecular subtypes that better reflect their underlying signaling and differentiation properties, which has the potential to improve their pathological classification and better inform the management of the disease.