[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence support the critical roles of active stromal fibroblasts in breast cancer development and spread. However, the mediators and the mechanisms of regulation are still not well defined. We have shown here that the tumor suppressor p16INK4A protein inhibits the pro-carcinogenic effects of breast stromal fibroblasts through repressing the expression/secretion of IL-6. Indeed, p16INK4A suppresses IL-6 at the mRNA and protein levels. This effect is mediated trough miR-146b-5p, which inhibits IL-6 expression through a specific sequence at the IL-6 3'UTR. In addition, we present clear evidence that miR-146b-5p inhibition is sufficient to transactivate breast stromal fibroblasts, which promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition in breast cancer cells in a paracrine manner. By contrast, ectopic expression of miR-146b-5p in active fibroblasts abrogated their pro-carcinogenic effects. The physiological importance of miR-146b-5p inhibition was revealed by showing that the levels of pre-miR-146b-5p as well as its mature form are reduced in cancer-associated fibroblasts as compared with their normal adjacent counterparts from cancer-free tissues isolated from the same patients. Interestingly, treatment of active breast stromal fibroblasts with curcumin increased the level of the p16INK4A coding CDKN2A mRNA and miR-146b-5p and suppressed IL-6, which confirms the repressive effect of these two tumor suppressor molecules on IL-6, and shows the possible "normalization" of cancer-related active fibroblasts. These results show that miR-146b-5p has non-cell-autonomous tumor suppressor function through inhibition of IL-6, suggesting that targeting this microRNA in breast stromal fibroblasts could be of great therapeutic value.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BRCA1 promoter methylation has been detected in DNA from peripheral blood cells of both breast cancer patients and cancer-free females. However, the pathological significance of this epigenetic change in white blood cells (WBC) remains an open question. In this study, we hypothesized that if constitutional BRCA1 methylation reflects an elevated risk for developing breast cancer (BC), WBC that harbor methylated BRCA1 in both cancer-free females and BC patients should exhibit similar molecular changes.
BRCA1 promoter methylation was examined by methylation-specific PCR in WBC from 155 breast cancer patients and 143 cancer-free females. Furthermore, The Human Breast Cancer EpiTect Methyl II Signature PCR Array and The Human Breast Cancer RT2 ProfilerTM PCR Array were used to study the methylation status and the expression profile of several breast cancer-related genes, respectively. In addition, we used label-free MS-based technique to study protein expression in plasma.
We have shown that 14.2% of BC patients and 9.1% of cancer-free females (carriers) harbored methylated BRCA1 promoter in their WBC. Interestingly, 66.7% of patients harbored methylated BRCA1 promoter in both WBC and tumors. Importantly, we have shown the presence of epigenetic changes in 9 other BC-related genes in WBC of both patients and carriers. Additionally, BRCA1 and 15 other important cancer -related genes were found to be differentially expressed in WBC from patients and carriers as compared to controls. Furthermore, we have shown that the carriers exhibited a unique plasma protein pattern different from those of BC patients and controls, with 10 proteins similarly differentially expressed in patients and carriers as compared to controls.
The present results suggest the presence of a strong link between aberrant methylation of the BRCA1 promoter in WBC and breast cancer -related molecular changes, which indicate the potential predisposition of the carriers for developing breast cancer. This informs the potential use of the aberrant methylation of BRCA1 promoter in WBC as a powerful non-invasive molecular marker for detecting predisposed individuals at a very early age.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer (BC) is the most common malignancy and the leading cause of cancer-related death amongst women worldwide. The risk factors of this disease are numerous, and their prevalence varies between racial and ethnic groups as well as geographical regions. Therefore, we sought to delineate the association of socio-demographic, reproductive and life-style related risk factors with breast cancer in the Arab population.
Unmatched case-control study was conducted in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia using 534 cases of histologically confirmed breast cancer and 638 controls. Controls were randomly selected from primary health care visits and were free of breast cancer. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and to examine the predictive effect of each factor on risk for BC. All study participants were interviewed by trained interviewers at hospital (cases) or at primary health care centers (controls).
A total of 1172 women were eligible for this study, of which 281 (24.0%) were aged ≤35 years, 22.9% illiterate, 43.6% employed, 89.5% married, and 38.1% were obese. Grade III tumors constituted 38.4% of cases. Tumor stage I was 7.5%; II, 50.7%; II, 30.9%; IV, 11.1%. We have shown strong association between breast cancer among Arab females and obesity (OR =2.29, 95% CI 1.68-3.13), positive family history of breast cancer (OR =2.31, 95% CI 1.60 – 3.32), the use of hormonal replacement therapy (OR =2.25, 95% CI 1.65 – 3.08), post-menopause (OR =1.72, 95% CI 1.25 – 2.38), lack of education (OR =9.09, 95% CI 5.88 – 14.29), and never breastfeed (OR =1.89, 95% CI 1.19 – 2.94).
These results indicate the presence of classical risk factors established in the western countries, and also some specific ones, which may result from genetic and/or environmental factors. Thereby, these findings will be of great value to establish adequate evidence-based awareness and preventative measures in the Arab world.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MMiR-141 and miR-146b-5p are two important tumor suppressor microRNAs, which control several cancer-related genes and processes. In the present report, we have shown that these microRNAs bind specific sites at the 3[prime]-untranslated region (UTR) of the mRNA-binding protein AUF1, leading to its down-regulation. This inverse correlation between the levels of these microRNAs and AUF1 has been identified in various osteosarcoma cell lines. Additionally, we present clear evidence that AUF1 promotes mesenchymal features in osteosarcoma cells, and that miR-141 and miR-146b-5p suppress this pro-metastatic process through AUF1 repression. Indeed, both microRNAs suppressed the invasion/migration and proliferation abilities of osteosarcoma cells through inhibiting the AKT protein kinase in an AUF1-dependent manner. We have also shown that AUF1 binds to and stabilizes the mRNA of the AKT activator phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1 (PDK1). Furthermore, miR-141 and miR-146b-5p positively regulate the epithelial markers (E-cadherin and Epcam) and represses the mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin, Vimentin, Twist2 and ZEB1). These effects were mediated via the repression of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT)-inducer ZEB1 through targeting AUF1, which binds the 3[prime]UTR of the ZEB1 mRNA and reduces its turnover. These results indicate that at least some tumor suppressor functions of miR-141 and miR-146b-5p are mediated through the repression of the oncogenic potentials of AUF1. Thereby, these 3[prime]-UTR-directed post-transcriptional gene expression regulators constitute promising new targets for diagnostic and/or therapeutic interventions.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development and spread of mammary carcinomas require synergetic interplay between tumor cells and their microenvironment
through paracrine secretions, which are still not well defined. We have shown here that interleukin-6 (IL-6), either recombinant
or secreted from highly invasive breast cancer cells, down-regulates the tumor suppressor proteins p16INK4A, p21WAF1, and p53 and activates breast stromal fibroblasts in a paracrine manner. The formation of myofibroblasts requires p16INK4A down-regulation and the activation of the JAK2/STAT3 pathway. Indeed, the transcription factor STAT3 positively controls
the expression of the three major myofibroblast markers, SDF-1, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and TGF-β1, and mediates IL-6-related
down-regulation of p16INK4A, p21WAF1, and p53 as well as the activation of stromal fibroblasts. Importantly, these effects were mediated through STAT3-dependent
up-regulation of the mRNA-binding protein AUF1, whose promoter contains three canonical STAT3 binding sites. AUF1 binds the
SDF-1, α-SMA, TGF-β1, and IL-6 mRNAs and reduces their turnover. Consequently, specific AUF1 down-regulation inhibits IL-6-dependent activation of breast
stromal fibroblasts, whereas AUF1 ectopic expression of p37AUF1 activated these cells and enhanced their paracrine induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells,
which shows a non-cell-autonomous oncogenic function of AUF1. Together, these results demonstrate a major role of IL-6 in
activating breast stromal fibroblasts through STAT3-dependent AUF1 induction.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Active cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) or myofibroblasts play important roles not only in the development and progression of breast carcinomas, but also in their prognosis and treatment. Therefore, targeting these cells through suppressing their supportive procarcinogenic paracrine effects is mandatory for improving the current therapies that are mainly targeting tumor cells. To this end, we investigated the effect of the natural and pharmacologically safe molecule, caffeine, on CAF cells and their various procarcinogenic effects.
We have shown here that caffeine up-regulates the tumor suppressor proteins p16, p21, p53 and Cav-1, and reduces the expression/secretion of various cytokines (IL-6, TGF-β, SDF-1 and MMP-2), and down-regulates α-SMA. Furthermore, caffeine suppressed the migratory/invasiveness abilities of CAF cells through PTEN-dependent Akt/Erk1/2 inactivation. Moreover, caffeine reduced the paracrine pro-invasion/-migration effects of CAF cells on breast cancer cells. These results indicate that caffeine can inactivate breast stromal myofibroblasts. This has been confirmed by showing that caffeine also suppresses the paracrine pro-angiogenic effect of CAF cells through down-regulating HIF-1αand its downstream effector VEGF-A. Interestingly, these effects were sustained in absence of caffeine.
The present findings provide a proof of principle that breast cancer myofibroblasts can be inactivated, and thereby caffeine may provide a safe and effective prevention against breast tumor growth/recurrence through inhibition of the procarcinogenic effects of active stromal fibroblasts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is a major health problem that threatens the lives of millions of women worldwide each year. Most of the chemotherapeutic agents that are currently used to treat this complex disease are highly toxic with long-term side effects. Therefore, novel generation of anti-cancer drugs with higher efficiency and specificity are urgently needed.
Breast cancer cell lines were treated with eugenol and cytotoxicity was measured using the WST-1 reagent, while propidium iodide/annexinV associated with flow cytometry was utilized in order to determine the induced cell death pathway. The effect of eugenol on apoptotic and pro-carcinogenic proteins, both in vitro and in tumor xenografts was assessed by immunoblotting. While RT-PCR was used to determine eugenol effect on the E2F1 and survivin mRNA levels. In addition, we tested the effect of eugenol on cell proliferation using the real-time cell electronic sensing system.
Eugenol at low dose (2 muM) has specific toxicity against different breast cancer cells. This killing effect was mediated mainly through inducing the internal apoptotic pathway and strong down-regulation of E2F1 and its downstream antiapoptosis target survivin, independently of the status of p53 and ERalpha. Eugenol inhibited also several other breast cancer related oncogenes, such as NF-kappaB and cyclin D1. Moreover, eugenol up-regulated the versatile cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1 protein, and inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells in a p53-independent manner. Importantly, these anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects were also observed in vivo in xenografted human breast tumors.
Eugenol exhibits anti-breast cancer properties both in vitro and in vivo, indicating that it could be used to consolidate the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer through targeting the E2F1/survivin pathway, especially for the less responsive triple-negative subtype of the disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is evidence that normal breast stromal fibroblasts (NBFs) suppress tumour growth while cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) promote tumourigenesis through functional interactions with tumour cells. Little is known about the biology and the carcinogenic potential of stromal fibroblasts present in histologically normal surgical margins (TCFs). Therefore, we first undertook gene expression analysis on five CAF/TCF pairs from breast cancer patients and three NBFs (derived from mammoplasties). This comparative analysis revealed variation in gene expression between these three categories of cells, with a TCF-specific gene expression profile. This variability was higher in TCFs than in their paired CAFs and also NBFs. Cytokine arrays show that TCFs have a specific secretory cytokine profile. In addition, stromal fibroblasts from surgical margins expressed high levels of α-SMA and SDF-1and exhibited higher migratory/invasiveness abilities. Indirect co-culturing showed that TCF cells enhance the proliferation of noncancerous mammary epithelial cells, and the epithelial to mesenchymal transition of breast cancer cells. Moreover, TCF and CAF cells increased the level of PCNA, MMP-2 and the phosphorylated/activated form of Akt in normal breast luminal fibroblasts in a paracrine manner. Furthermore, TCFs were able to promote the formation and growth of humanized orthotopic breast tumours in nude mice. Interestingly, these TCF phenotypes and the extent of their effects were intermediate between NBFs and CAFs. Together, these results indicate that stromal fibroblasts located in noncancerous tissues exhibit a tumour-promoting phenotype, indicating that their presence post-surgery may play important roles in cancer recurrence.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · The Journal of Pathology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: p16INK4a is a tumor suppressor protein involved in several stress-related cellular responses, including apoptosis. Recent lines of
evidence indicate that p16INK4a is also a modulator of gene expression. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this novel function are still obscure.
Here, we present clear evidence that p16INK4a modulates the levels of various microRNAs, with marked positive effect on miR-141 and miR-146b-5p. This effect is mediated
through the formation of the p16-CDK4-Sp1 heterocomplex, which binds to Sp1 consensus-binding motifs present in the promoters
of miR-141 and miR-146b-5p, and it enables their transcription. In addition, we have shown that p16INK4a interacts with Sp1 through the fourth ankyrin repeat, which is crucial for Sp1 binding to the miR-141 and miR-146b-5p promoters
and their transcriptional activation. The physiological importance of this association was revealed by the inability of cancer-related
p16INK4a mutants to interact with Sp1. Moreover, we have shown p16-CDK4-Sp1-dependent up-regulation of miR-141 and miR-146b-5p following
UV light-induced DNA damage and the role of these two microRNAs in mediating p16-related induction of apoptosis in response
to this genotoxic stress. Together, these results indicate that p16INK4a associates with CDK4 not only to inhibit the cell cycle but also to enable the transcription of two important onco-microRNAs,
which act as downstream effectors.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carcinomas initiate and progress due to genetic and epigenetic alterations in epithelial cells. However, recently, these alterations have also been reported in stromal fibroblasts. The gain-of-function mutations in the PI3K p110 catalytic subunit (PIK3CA) have been identified in many cancers with a current global incidence of 26% (18-40%) in breast carcinomas. We analyzed the mutational frequency of PIK3CA of three hotspots (exons 1, 9, and 20) in 81 primary invasive breast cancers (BC) and 25 cultured breast cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF) samples by Sanger sequencing in Arab breast cancer patients. Associations between the incidence of any PIK3CA mutation and several clinicopathologic characteristics were assessed using chi-square tests for categorical or t-test for continuous variables. Furthermore, survival curves were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method with the log rank test to evaluate the significance of their differences. We identified a total of 21 PIK3CA missense mutations with a frequency of 25.9%. The majority of the mutations, 17 out of 21 (81%), were in exon 20 (p.His1047Arg, p.His1047Lys, p.Thr1025Ala, p.Gly1049Arg, p.Asp1056Asn) while the remainder, 4 out of 21 (19%) were in exon 9 (p.Glu545Lys). PIK3CA mutations were significantly associated with lower grade and hormone receptor positivity. Although there was a favorable trend in overall survival for patients whose tumor harbored PIK3CA mutations, the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.10). However, we did not detect any somatic mutations in CAFs. Furthermore, we have shown a high prevalence (8.2-fold) of a silent variant (SNP, rs17849079) in the Arab breast cancer population compared with disease-free individuals.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer biology & therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: p16(INK4a) and p21(WAF1) are two independent cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors encoded by the CDKN2A and CDKN1A genes, respectively. p16(INK4a) and p21(WAF1) are similarly involved in various anti-cancer processes, including the regulation of the critical G1 to S phase transition of the cell cycle, senescence and apoptosis. Therefore, we sought to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the link between these two important tumor suppressor proteins.
We have shown here that the p16(INK4a) protein positively controls the expression of p21(WAF1) in both human and mouse cells. p16(INK4a) stabilizes the CDKN1A mRNA through negative regulation of the mRNA decay-promoting AUF1 protein. Immunoprecipitation of AUF1-associated RNAs followed by quantitative RT-PCR indicated that endogenous AUF1 binds to the CDKN1A mRNA in a p16(INK4A)-dependent manner. Furthermore, while AUF1 down-regulation increased the expression level of the CDKN1A mRNA, the concurrent knockdown of AUF1 and CDKN2A, using specific silencing RNAs, restored the normal expression of the gene. Moreover, we used EGFP reporter fused to the CDKN2A AU-rich element (ARE) to demonstrate that p16(INK4A) regulation of the CDKN1A mRNA is AUF1- and ARE-dependent. Furthermore, ectopic expression of p16(INK4A) in p16(INK4A)-deficient breast epithelial MCF-10A cells significantly increased the level of p21(WAF1), with no effect on cell proliferation. In addition, we have shown direct correlation between p16(INK4a) and p21(WAF1) levels in various cancer cell lines.
These findings show that p16(INK4a) stabilizes the CDKN1A mRNA in an AUF1-dependent manner, and further confirm the presence of a direct link between the 2 important cancer-related pathways, pRB/p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF)/p53/p21(WAF1).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activated cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) or myofibroblasts not only facilitate tumor growth and spread but also affect tumor response to therapeutic agents. Therefore, it became clear that efficient therapeutic regimens should also take into account the presence of these supportive cells and inhibit their paracrine effects. To this end, we tested the effect of low concentrations of curcumin, a pharmacologically safe natural product, on patient-derived primary breast CAF cells. We have shown that curcumin treatment upregulates p16(INK4A) and other tumor suppressor proteins while inactivates the JAK2/STAT3 pathway. This reduced the level of alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and the migration/invasion abilities of these cells. Furthermore, curcumin suppressed the expression/secretion of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, and transforming growth factor-β, which impeded their paracrine procarcinogenic potential. Intriguingly, these effects were sustained even after curcumin withdrawal and cell splitting. Therefore, using different markers of senescence [senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) activity, Ki-67 and Lamin B1 levels, and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation], we have shown that curcumin markedly suppresses Lamin B1 and triggers DNA damage-independent senescence in proliferating but not quiescent breast stromal fibroblasts. Importantly, this curcumin-related senescence was p16(INK4A)-dependent and occurred with no associated inflammatory secretory phenotype. These results indicate the possible inactivation of cancer-associated myofibroblasts and present the first indication that curcumin can trigger DNA damage-independent and safe senescence in stromal fibroblasts.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer constitutes a major health problem for women worldwide. However, its incidence varies between populations and geographical locations. These variations could be diet-related, since there are several carcinogenic compounds in the modern diet, while natural products contain various anti-cancer elements. Several lines of evidence indicate that, in addition to their clear preventive effect, these compounds could also be used as therapeutic agents. In the present report we have shown that oleuropein, a pharmacologically safe natural product of olive leaf, has potent anti-breast cancer properties. Indeed, oleuropein exhibits specific cytotoxicity against breast cancer cells, with higher effect on the basal-like MDA-MB-231 cells than on the luminal MCF-7 cells. This effect is mediated through the induction of apoptosis via the mitochondrial pathway. Moreover, oleuropein inhibits cell proliferation by delaying the cell cycle at S phase and up-regulated the cyclin-dependent inhibitor p21. Furthermore, oleuropein inhibited the anti-apoptosis and pro-proliferation protein NF-κB and its main oncogenic target cyclin D1. This inhibition could explain the great effect of oleuropein on cell proliferation and cell death of breast cancer cells. Therefore, oleuropein warrants further investigations to prove its utility in preventing/treating breast cancer, especially the less-responsive basal-like type.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Food and chemical toxicology: an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stromal fibroblasts, the most abundant and probably the most active cellular component of breast cancer-associated stroma, become active and promote angiogenesis through paracrine effects. However, it still unclear how these processes are regulated. Here, we have shown that down-regulation of the tumor suppressor p16(INK4A) protein enhances the migration/invasion abilities of breast stromal fibroblasts, which form dendritic network of extensions into matrigel. Furthermore, we present clear evidence that p16(INK4A) represses the expression/secretion of the proangiogenesis protein vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Consequently, p16(INK4A)-deficient breast stromal fibroblasts and mouse embryonic fibroblasts enhanced endothelial cell differentiation into capillary-like structures in a paracrine manner. This effect was suppressed by adding bevacizumab, a specific VEGF-A inhibitor. Additionally, p16(INK4A)-defective mouse embryonic fibroblasts enhanced angiogenesis in breast cancer xenografts in mice. Furthermore, we have shown that p16(INK4A) suppresses the Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway and its downstream effector hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1α), which transactivates VEGF-A. Consequently, Akt inactivation suppressed both the p16(INK4A)-dependent autocrine effect on fibroblast migration/invasion and the paracrine effect on angiogenesis, showing the important role of this protein kinase in mediating the various effects related to p16(INK4A) deficiency. These results indicate that p16(INK4A) is an efficient inhibitor of the migration/invasion abilities of breast stromal fibroblasts and also their paracrine proangiogenic effects, through inhibition of Akt. Therefore, pharmacologic restoration of p16(INK4A) level in stromal fibroblasts may be exploited as therapeutic strategy to help eradicate tumor cells and/or prevent their recurrence, through suppressing cell non-autonomous procarcinogenic mediators.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)