[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Biomarkers that can be used to accurately assess the residual risk of disease recurrence in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer are clinically valuable. We evaluated the prognostic value of the Breast Cancer Index (BCI), a continuous risk index based on a combination of HOXB13:IL17BR and molecular grade index, in women with early breast cancer treated with either tamoxifen alone or tamoxifen plus octreotide in the NCIC MA.14 phase III clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00002864; registered 1 November 1999). Methods: Gene expression analysis of BCI by real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed blinded to outcome on RNA extracted from archived formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples of 299 patients with both lymph node-negative (LN-) and lymph node-positive (LN+) disease enrolled in the MA.14 trial. Our primary objective was to determine the prognostic performance of BCI based on relapse-free survival (RFS). MA.14 patients experienced similar RFS on both treatment arms. Association of gene expression data with RFS was evaluated in univariate analysis with a stratified log-rank test statistic, depicted with a Kaplan-Meier plot and an adjusted Cox survivor plot. In the multivariate assessment, we used stratified Cox regression. The prognostic performance of an emerging, optimized linear BCI model was also assessed in a post hoc analysis. Results: Of 299 samples, 292 were assessed successfully for BCI for 146 patients accrued in each MA.14 treatment arm. BCI risk groups had a significant univariate association with RFS (stratified log-rank p = 0.005, unstratified log-rank p = 0.007). Adjusted 10-year RFS in BCI low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups was 87.5%, 83.9%, and 74.7%, respectively. BCI had a significant prognostic effect [hazard ratio (HR) 2.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33-4.11; p = 0.004], although not a predictive effect, on RFS in stratified multivariate analysis, adjusted for pathological tumor stage (HR 2.22, 95% CI 1.22-4.07; p = 0.01). In the post hoc multivariate analysis, higher linear BCI was associated with shorter RFS (p = 0.002). Conclusions: BCI had a strong prognostic effect on RFS in patients with early-stage breast cancer treated with tamoxifen alone or with tamoxifen and octreotide. BCI was prognostic in both LN- and LN+ patients. This retrospective study is an independent validation of the prognostic performance of BCI in a prospective trial.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2016 · Breast cancer research: BCR
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown screening of cancer cell cultures is an effective approach to predict drug targets or therapeutic/prognostic biomarkers, interactions among identified targets often remain obscure. Here, we introduce the nodes-and-connections RNAi knockdown screening that generates a map of target interactions through systematic iterations of in silico prediction of targets and their experimental validation. An initial RNAi knockdown screening of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells targeting 6560 proteins identified four signaling molecules required for their fulvestrant-induced apoptosis. Signaling molecules physically or functionally interacting with these four primary node targets were computationally predicted and experimentally validated, resulting in identification of four second-generation nodes. Three rounds of further iterations of the prediction-validation cycle generated third, fourth and fifth generation of nodes, completing a 19-node interaction map that contained three predicted nodes but without experimental validation because of technical limitations. The interaction map involved all three members of the death-associated protein kinases (DAPKs) as well as their upstream and downstream signaling molecules (calmodulins and myosin light chain kinases), suggesting that DAPKs play critical roles in the cytocidal action of fulvestrant. The in silico Kaplan-Meier analysis of previously reported human breast cancer cohorts demonstrated significant prognostic predictive power for five of the experimentally validated nodes and for three of the prediction-only nodes. Immunohistochemical studies on the expression of 10 nodal proteins in human breast cancer tissues not only supported their prognostic prediction power but also provided statistically significant evidence of their synchronized expression, implying functional interactions among these nodal proteins. Thus, the Nodes-and-Connections approach to RNAi knockdown screening yields biologically meaningful outcomes by taking advantage of the existing knowledge of the physical and functional interactions between the predicted target genes. The resulting interaction maps provide useful information on signaling pathways cooperatively involved in clinically important features of the malignant cells, such as drug resistance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor-stromal interactions are a determining factor in cancer progression. In vivo, the interaction interface is associated with spatially-resolved distributions of cancer and stromal phenotypes. Here, we establish a micropatterned tumor-stromal assay (μTSA) with laser capture microdissection to control the location of co-cultured cells and analyze bulk and interfacial tumor-stromal signaling in driving cancer progression. μTSA reveals a spatial distribution of phenotypes in concordance with human estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer samples, and heterogeneous drug activity relative to the tumor-stroma interface. Specifically, an unknown mechanism of reversine is shown in targeting tumor-stromal interfacial interactions using ER+ MCF-7 breast cancer and bone marrow-derived stromal cells. Reversine suppresses MCF-7 tumor growth and bone metastasis in vivo by reducing tumor stromalization including collagen deposition and recruitment of activated stromal cells. This study advocates μTSA as a platform for studying tumor microenvironmental interactions and cancer field effects with applications in drug discovery and development.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The majority of genetic biomarkers for human cancers are defined by statistical screening of high-throughput genomics data. While a large number of genetic biomarkers have been proposed for diagnostic and prognostic applications, only a small number have been applied in the clinic. Similarly, the use of proteomics methods for the discovery of cancer biomarkers is increasing. The emerging field of proteogenomics seeks to enrich the value of genomics and proteomics approaches by studying the intersection of genomics and proteomics data. This task is challenging due to the complex nature of transcriptional and translation regulatory mechanisms and the disparities between genomic and proteomic data from the same samples. In this study, we have examined tumor antigens as potential biomarkers for breast cancer using genomics and proteomics data from previously reported laser capture microdissected ER+ tumor samples.
We applied proteogenomic analyses to study the genetic aberrations of 32 tumor antigens determined in the proteomic data. We found that tumor antigens that are aberrantly expressed at the genetic level and expressed at the protein level, are likely involved in perturbing pathways directly linked to the hallmarks of cancer. The results found by proteogenomic analysis of the 32 tumor antigens studied here, capture largely the same pathway irregularities as those elucidated from large-scale screening of genomics analyses, where several thousands of genes are often found to be perturbed.
Tumor antigens are a group of proteins recognized by the cells of the immune system. Specifically, they are recognized in tumor cells where they are present in larger than usual amounts, or are physiochemically altered to a degree at which they no longer resemble native human proteins. This proteogenomic analysis of 32 tumor antigens suggests that tumor antigens have the potential to be highly specific biomarkers for different cancers.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · BMC Medical Genomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endometrial cancer (EC) is the 8th leading cause of cancer death amongst American women. Most ECs are endometrioid, serous, or clear cell carcinomas, or an admixture of histologies. Serous and clear ECs are clinically aggressive tumors for which alternative therapeutic approaches are needed. The purpose of this study was to search for somatic mutations in the tyrosine kinome of serous and clear cell ECs, because mutated kinases can point to potential therapeutic targets.
In a mutation discovery screen, we PCR amplified and Sanger sequenced the exons encoding the catalytic domains of 86 tyrosine kinases from 24 serous, 11 clear cell, and 5 mixed histology ECs. For somatically mutated genes, we next sequenced the remaining coding exons from the 40 discovery screen tumors and sequenced all coding exons from another 72 ECs (10 clear cell, 21 serous, 41 endometrioid). We assessed the copy number of mutated kinases in this cohort of 112 tumors using quantitative real time PCR, and we used immunoblotting to measure expression of these kinases in endometrial cancer cell lines.
Overall, we identified somatic mutations in TNK2 (tyrosine kinase non-receptor, 2) and DDR1 (discoidin domain receptor tyrosine kinase 1) in 5.3% (6 of 112) and 2.7% (3 of 112) of ECs. Copy number gains of TNK2 and DDR1 were identified in another 4.5% and 0.9% of 112 cases respectively. Immunoblotting confirmed TNK2 and DDR1 expression in endometrial cancer cell lines. Three of five missense mutations in TNK2 and one of two missense mutations in DDR1 are predicted to impact protein function by two or more in silico algorithms. The TNK2P761Rfs*72 frameshift mutation was recurrent in EC, and the DDR1R570Q missense mutation was recurrent across tumor types.
This is the first study to systematically search for mutations in the tyrosine kinome in clear cell endometrial tumors. Our findings indicate that high-frequency somatic mutations in the catalytic domains of the tyrosine kinome are rare in clear cell ECs. We uncovered ten new mutations in TNK2 and DDR1 within serous and endometrioid ECs, thus providing novel insights into the mutation spectrum of each gene in EC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The feasibility of performing broad and deep tumour genome sequencing has shed new light into tumour heterogeneity and provided important insights into the evolution of metastases arising from different clones1,2. To add an additional layer of complexity, tumour evolution may be influenced by selective pressure provided by therapy, in a similar fashion as it occurs in infectious diseases. Here, we have studied the tumour genomic evolution in a patient with metastatic breast cancer bearing an activating PIK3CA mutation. The patient was treated with the PI3Kα inhibitor BYL719 and achieved a lasting clinical response, although eventually progressed to treatment and died shortly thereafter. A rapid autopsy was performed and a total of 14 metastatic sites were collected and sequenced. All metastatic lesions, when compared to the pre-treatment tumour, had a copy loss of PTEN, and those lesions that became refractory to BYL719 had additional and different PTEN genetic alterations, resulting in the loss of PTEN expression. Acquired bi-allelic loss of PTEN was found in one additional patient treated with BYL719 whereas in two patients PIK3CA mutations present in the primary tumour were no longer detected at the time of progression. To functionally characterize our findings, inducible PTEN knockdown in sensitive cells resulted in resistance to BYL719, while simultaneous PI3Kp110β blockade reverted this resistance phenotype, both in cell lines and in PTEN-null xenografts derived from our patient. We conclude that parallel genetic evolution of separate sites with different PTEN genomic alterations leads to a convergent PTEN- null phenotype resistant to PI3Kα inhibition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are present at low concentrations in the peripheral blood of patients with solid tumors. It
has been proposed that the isolation, ex vivo culture, and characterization of CTCs may provide an opportunity to noninvasively
monitor the changing patterns of drug susceptibility in individual patients as their tumors acquire new mutations. In a proof-of-concept
study, we established CTC cultures from six patients with estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer. Three of five CTC lines
tested were tumorigenic in mice. Genome sequencing of the CTC lines revealed preexisting mutations in the PIK3CA gene and newly acquired mutations in the estrogen receptor gene (ESR1), PIK3CA gene, and fibroblast growth factor receptor gene (FGFR2), among others. Drug sensitivity testing of CTC lines with multiple mutations revealed potential new therapeutic targets.
With optimization of CTC culture conditions, this strategy may help identify the best therapies for individual cancer patients
over the course of their disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endocrine therapies targeting cell proliferation and survival mediated by estrogen receptor α
(ERα) are among the most effective systemic treatments for ERα-positive breast cancer.
However, most tumors initially responsive to these therapies acquire resistance through
mechanisms that involve ERα transcriptional regulatory plasticity. Here, we identify VAV3
as a critical component in this process.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Breast Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER), or GPR30, is a membrane receptor reported to mediate non-genomic estrogen responses. Tamoxifen is a partial agonist at GPER in vitro. Here, we investigated if GPER expression is prognostic in primary breast cancer, if the receptor is treatment-predictive for adjuvant tamoxifen, and if receptor subcellular localization has any impact on the prognostic value. Total and plasma membrane (PM) GPER expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in breast tumors from 742 postmenopausal lymph node-negative patients subsequently randomized for tamoxifen treatment for 2-5 years versus no systemic treatment, regardless of estrogen receptor (ER) status, and with a median follow-up of 17 years for patients free of event. PM GPER expression was a strong independent prognostic factor for poor prognosis in breast cancer without treatment-predictive information for tamoxifen. In the tamoxifen-treated ER-positive and progesterone receptor (PgR)-positive patient subgroup, the absence of PM GPER (53 % of all ER-positive tumors) predicted 91 % 20-year distant disease-free survival, compared to 73 % in the presence of GPER (p = 0.001). Total GPER expression showed positive correlations with ER and PgR and negative correlation with histological grade, but the correlations were biphasic. On the other hand, PM GPER expression showed strong negative correlations with ER and PgR, and strong positive correlation with HER2 overexpression and high histological grade. GPER overexpression and PM localization are critical events in breast cancer progression, and lack of GPER in the PM is associated with excellent long-term prognosis in ER-positive and PgR-positive tamoxifen-treated primary breast cancer.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is an unmet clinical need for biomarkers to identify breast cancer patients at an increased risk of developing brain metastases. The objective is to identify gene signatures and biological pathways associated with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) brain metastasis.
We combined laser capture microdissection and gene expression microarrays to analyze malignant epithelium from HER2+ breast cancer brain metastases with that from HER2+ nonmetastatic primary tumors. Differential gene expression was performed including Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) using publicly available breast cancer gene expression data sets.
In a cohort of HER2+ breast cancer brain metastases, we identified a gene expression signature that anti-correlates with overexpression of BRCA1. Sequence analysis of the HER2+ brain metastases revealed no pathogenic mutations of BRCA1, and therefore the aforementioned signature was designated BRCA1 Deficient-Like (BD-L). Evaluation of an independent cohort of breast cancer metastases demonstrated that BD-L values are significantly higher in brain metastases as compared to other metastatic sites. Although the BD-L signature is present in all subtypes of breast cancer, it is significantly higher in BRCA1 mutant primary tumors as compared with sporadic breast tumors. Additionally, BD-L signature values are significantly higher in HER2-/ER- primary tumors as compared with HER2+/ER + and HER2-/ER + tumors. The BD-L signature correlates with breast cancer cell line pharmacologic response to a combination of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor and temozolomide, and the signature outperformed four published gene signatures of BRCA1/2 deficiency.
A BD-L signature is enriched in HER2+ breast cancer brain metastases without pathogenic BRCA1 mutations. Unexpectedly, elevated BD-L values are found in a subset of primary tumors across all breast cancer subtypes. Evaluation of pharmacological sensitivity in breast cancer cell lines representing all breast cancer subtypes suggests the BD-L signature may serve as a biomarker to identify sporadic breast cancer patients who might benefit from a therapeutic combination of PARP inhibitor and temozolomide and may be indicative of a dysfunctional BRCA1-associated pathway.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Breast cancer research: BCR
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whether wide excision with margins ≥1 cm is sufficient treatment for small low- or intermediate-grade ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is unclear. This is an updated analysis of a phase II, single-arm, prospective trial testing this hypothesis. A total of 158 patients with low- or intermediate-grade DCIS who underwent wide excision alone (without radiation or tamoxifen) were entered onto the trial from 1995 to 2002. Entry criteria included mammographic extent ≤2.5 cm, predominantly low or intermediate nuclear grade, and excision with final microscopic margins ≥1 cm. Eight-year minimum potential follow-up was required for inclusion in the analysis; the final population comprised 143 patients. Cumulative incidence curves were generated to assess rates of local recurrence (LR) or other events. Median follow-up time was 11 years. Nineteen patients (13 %) had LR as a first event within 8 years. Thirteen LR (68 %) were DCIS only and six (32 %) were invasive. Fourteen (74 %) occurred in the original quadrant. The 10-year estimated cumulative incidence of LR was 15.6 %. The estimated annual percentage rate of LR was 1.9 % per patient-year. With longer follow-up, there remains a substantial and ongoing risk of LR in patients with favorable DCIS treated with wide excision margins without radiation. This information should be useful as patients and clinicians weigh the options of wide excision with and without radiation.
No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: mTOR and its downstream effectors the 4E-binding protein 1 (4EBP1) and the p70 ribosomal S6 kinases (S6K1 and S6K2) are frequently upregulated in breast cancer, and assumed to be driving forces in tumourigenesis, in close connection with oestrogen receptor (ER) networks. Here, we investigated these factors as clinical markers in five different cohorts of breast cancer patients.
The prognostic significance of 4EBP1, S6K1 and S6K2 mRNA expression was assessed with real-time PCR in 93 tumours from the treatment randomised Stockholm trials, encompassing postmenopausal patients enrolled between 1976 and 1990. Three publicly available breast cancer cohorts were used to confirm the results. Furthermore, the predictive values of 4EBP1 and p4EBP1_S65 protein expression for both prognosis and endocrine treatment benefit were assessed by immunohistochemical analysis of 912 node-negative breast cancers from the Stockholm trials.
S6K2 and 4EBP1 mRNA expression levels showed significant correlation and were associated with a poor outcome in all cohorts investigated. 4EBP1 protein was confirmed as an independent prognostic factor, especially in progesterone receptor (PgR)-expressing cancers. 4EBP1 protein expression was also associated with a poor response to endocrine treatment in the ER/PgR positive group. Cross-talk to genomic as well as non-genomic ER/PgR signalling may be involved and the results further support a combination of ER and mTOR signalling targeted therapies.
This study suggests S6K2 and 4EBP1 as important factors for breast tumourigenesis, interplaying with hormone receptor signalling. We propose S6K2 and 4EBP1 as new potential clinical markers for prognosis and endocrine therapy response in breast cancer.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Breast cancer research: BCR
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biomarkers to improve the risk–benefit of extended adjuvant endocrine therapy for late recurrence in patients with oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer would be clinically valuable. We compared the prognostic ability of the breast-cancer index (BCI) assay, 21-gene recurrence score (Oncotype DX), and an immunohistochemical prognostic model (IHC4) for both early and late recurrence in patients with oestrogen-receptor-positive, node-negative (N0) disease who took part in the Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination (ATAC) clinical trial.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · The Lancet Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biomarkers to optimize extended adjuvant endocrine therapy for women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer are limited. The HOXB13/IL17BR (H/I) biomarker predicts recurrence risk in ER-positive, lymph node-negative breast cancer patients. H/I was evaluated in MA.17 trial for prognostic performance for late recurrence and treatment benefit from extended adjuvant letrozole.
A prospective-retrospective, nested case-control design of 83 recurrences matched to 166 nonrecurrences from letrozole- and placebo-treated patients within MA.17 was conducted. Expression of H/I within primary tumors was determined by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction with a prespecified cutpoint. The predictive ability of H/I for ascertaining benefit from letrozole was determined using multivariable conditional logistic regression including standard clinicopathological factors as covariates. All statistical tests were two-sided.
High H/I was statistically significantly associated with a decrease in late recurrence in patients receiving extended letrozole therapy (odds ratio [OR] = 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.16 to 0.75; P = .007). In an adjusted model with standard clinicopathological factors, high H/I remained statistically significantly associated with patient benefit from letrozole (OR = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.15 to 0.73; P = .006). Reduction in the absolute risk of recurrence at 5 years was 16.5% for patients with high H/I (P = .007). The interaction between H/I and letrozole treatment was statistically significant (P = .03).
In the absence of extended letrozole therapy, high H/I identifies a subgroup of ER-positive patients disease-free after 5 years of tamoxifen who are at risk for late recurrence. When extended endocrine therapy with letrozole is prescribed, high H/I predicts benefit from therapy and a decreased probability of late disease recurrence.
Preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of the National Cancer Institute