We used a spheroid model of colon carcinoma to analyze integrin dynamics as a function of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that provides a paradigm for understanding how carcinoma cells acquire a more aggressive phenotype. This EMT involves transcriptional activation of the β6 integrin subunit and a consequent induction of αvβ6 expression. This integrin enhances the tumorigenic properties of colon carcinoma, including activation of autocrine TGF-β and migration on interstitial fibronectin. Importantly, this study validates the clinical relevance of the EMT. Kaplan-Meier analysis of β6 expression in 488 colorectal carcinomas revealed a striking reduction in median survival time of patients with high β6 expression. Elevated receptor expression did not simply reflect increasing tumor stage, since log-rank analysis showed a more significant impact on the survival of patients with early-stage, as opposed to late-stage, disease. Cox regression analysis confirmed that this integrin is an independent variable for these tumors. These findings define the αvβ6 integrin as an important risk factor for early-stage disease and a novel therapeutic candidate for colorectal cancer.
Richard C. Bates, David I. Bellovin, Courtney Brown, Elizabeth Maynard, Bingyan Wu, Hisaaki Kawakatsu, Dean Sheppard, Peter Oettgen, Arthur M. Mercurio
The ability of leukemia cells to accumulate methotrexate polyglutamate (MTXPG) is an important determinant of the antileukemic effects of methotrexate (MTX). We measured in vivo MTXPG accumulation in leukemia cells from 101 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and established that B-lineage ALL with either TEL-AML1 or E2A-PBX1 gene fusion, or T-lineage ALL, accumulates significantly lower MTXPG compared with B-lineage ALL without these genetic abnormalities or compared with hyperdiploid (fewer than 50 chromosomes) ALL. To elucidate mechanisms underlying these differences in MTXPG accumulation, we used oligonucleotide microarrays to analyze expression of 32 folate pathway genes in diagnostic leukemia cells from 197 children. This revealed ALL subtype–specific patterns of folate pathway gene expression that were significantly related to MTXPG accumulation. We found significantly lower expression of the reduced folate carrier (SLC19A1, an MTX uptake transporter) in E2A-PBX1 ALL, significantly higher expression of breast cancer resistance protein (ABCG2, an MTX efflux transporter) in TEL-AML1 ALL, and lower expression of FPGS (which catalyzes formation of MTXPG) in T-lineage ALL, consistent with lower MTXPG accumulation in these ALL subtypes. These findings reveal distinct mechanisms of subtype-specific differences in MTXPG accumulation and point to new strategies to overcome these potential causes of treatment failure in childhood ALL.
Leo Kager, Meyling Cheok, Wenjian Yang, Gianluigi Zaza, Qing Cheng, John C. Panetta, Ching-Hon Pui, James R. Downing, Mary V. Relling, William E. Evans
We used bioluminescence imaging to reveal patterns of metastasis formation by human breast cancer cells in immunodeficient mice. Individual cells from a population established in culture from the pleural effusion of a breast cancer patient showed distinct patterns of organ-specific metastasis. Single-cell progenies derived from this population exhibited markedly different abilities to metastasize to the bone, lung, or adrenal medulla, which suggests that metastases to different organs have different requirements. Transcriptomic profiling revealed that these different single-cell progenies similarly express a previously described “poor-prognosis” gene expression signature. Unsupervised classification using the transcriptomic data set supported the hypothesis that organ-specific metastasis by breast cancer cells is controlled by metastasis-specific genes that are separate from a general poor-prognosis gene expression signature. Furthermore, by using a gene expression signature associated with the ability of these cells to metastasize to bone, we were able to distinguish primary breast carcinomas that preferentially metastasized to bone from those that preferentially metastasized elsewhere. These results suggest that the bone-specific metastatic phenotypes and gene expression signature identified in a mouse model may be clinically relevant.
Andy J. Minn, Yibin Kang, Inna Serganova, Gaorav P. Gupta, Dilip D. Giri, Mikhail Doubrovin, Vladimir Ponomarev, William L. Gerald, Ronald Blasberg, Joan Massagué
Genes crucial for cancer development can be mutated via various mechanisms, which may reflect the nature of the mutagen. In thyroid papillary carcinomas, mutations of genes coding for effectors along the MAPK pathway are central for transformation. BRAF point mutation is most common in sporadic tumors. By contrast, radiation-induced tumors are associated with paracentric inversions activating the receptor tyrosine kinases RET and NTRK1. We report here a rearrangement of BRAF via paracentric inversion of chromosome 7q resulting in an in-frame fusion between exons 1–8 of the AKAP9 gene and exons 9–18 of BRAF. The fusion protein contains the protein kinase domain and lacks the autoinhibitory N-terminal portion of BRAF. It has elevated kinase activity and transforms NIH3T3 cells, which provides evidence, for the first time to our knowledge, of in vivo activation of an intracellular effector along the MAPK pathway by recombination. The AKAP9-BRAF fusion was preferentially found in radiation-induced papillary carcinomas developing after a short latency, whereas BRAF point mutations were absent in this group. These data indicate that in thyroid cancer, radiation activates components of the MAPK pathway primarily through chromosomal paracentric inversions, whereas in sporadic forms of the disease, effectors along the same pathway are activated predominantly by point mutations.
Raffaele Ciampi, Jeffrey A. Knauf, Roswitha Kerler, Manoj Gandhi, Zhaowen Zhu, Marina N. Nikiforova, Hartmut M. Rabes, James A. Fagin, Yuri E. Nikiforov
The role of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in cancer is poorly understood. Here we provide evidence for a role of LPA in the progression of breast cancer bone metastases. LPA receptors LPA1, LPA2, and LPA3 were expressed in human primary breast tumors and a series of human breast cancer cell lines. The inducible overexpression of LPA1 in MDA-BO2 breast cancer cells specifically sensitized these cells to the mitogenic action of LPA in vitro. In vivo, LPA1 overexpression in MDA-BO2 cells enhanced the growth of subcutaneous tumor xenografts and promoted bone metastasis formation in mice by increasing both skeletal tumor growth and bone destruction. This suggested that endogenous LPA was produced in the tumor microenvironment. However, MDA-BO2 cells or transfectants did not produce LPA. Instead, they induced the release of LPA from activated platelets which, in turn, promoted tumor cell proliferation and the LPA1-dependent secretion of IL-6 and IL-8, 2 potent bone resorption stimulators. Moreover, platelet-derived LPA deprivation in mice, achieved by treatment with the platelet antagonist Integrilin, inhibited the progression of bone metastases caused by parental and LPA1-overexpressing MDA-BO2 cells and reduced the progression of osteolytic lesions in mice bearing CHO-β3wt ovarian cancer cells. Overall, our data suggest that, at the bone metastatic site, tumor cells stimulate the production of LPA from activated platelets, which enhances both tumor growth and cytokine-mediated bone destruction.
Ahmed Boucharaba, Claire-Marie Serre, Sandra Grès, Jean Sébastien Saulnier-Blache, Jean-Claude Bordet, Julien Guglielmi, Philippe Clézardin, Olivier Peyruchaud
Prostate cancer is currently the most commonly diagnosed noncutaneous malignancy in American men. When metastatic, usually to the bone, the disease is no longer curable and is usually treated palliatively with androgen ablation. However, after conversion to androgen-independent disease, there is no effective therapy currently available. The “T body” approach, which uses genetically reprogrammed lymphocytes derived from the patient and expressing chimeric receptor genes, combines the effector functions of T lymphocytes and NK cells with the ability of antibodies to recognize predefined surface antigens with high specificity and in a non–MHC-restricted manner. We show here the therapeutic efficacy of human lymphocytes bearing erbB2-specific chimeric receptors on human prostate cancer BM lesions in a SCID mouse model after conditioning of the recipient to allow homing and persistent functioning of the adoptively transferred cells. Induction of stromal cell–derived factor-1 production within the BM using low-dose irradiation or cyclophosphamide combined with IL-2 administration enhanced the homing of systemically delivered T bodies, resulting in decreased tumor growth and prostate-specific antigen secretion, prolongation of survival, and even cure of the treated mice. These preclinical studies strongly support the idea that the T body approach has therapeutic potential in disseminated prostate cancer.
Jehonathan H. Pinthus, Tova Waks, Victoria Malina, Keren Kaufman-Francis, Alon Harmelin, Itzhak Aizenberg, Hannah Kanety, Jacob Ramon, Zelig Eshhar
Aberrant activation of the JAK-STAT pathway has been implicated in tumor formation; for example, constitutive activation of JAK2 kinase or the enforced expression of STAT5 induces leukemia in mice. We show here that the Janus kinase TYK2 serves an opposite function. Mice deficient in TYK2 developed Abelson-induced B lymphoid leukemia/lymphoma as well as TEL-JAK2–induced T lymphoid leukemia with a higher incidence and shortened latency compared with WT controls. The cell-autonomous properties of Abelson murine leukemia virus–transformed (A-MuLV–transformed) TYK2–/– cells were unaltered, but the high susceptibility of TYK2–/– mice resulted from an impaired tumor surveillance, and accordingly, TYK2–/– A-MuLV–induced lymphomas were easily rejected after transplantation into WT hosts. The increased rate of leukemia/lymphoma formation was linked to a decreased in vitro cytotoxic capacity of TYK2–/– NK and NKT cells toward tumor-derived cells. RAG2/TYK2 double-knockout mice succumbed to A-MuLV–induced leukemia/lymphoma faster than RAG2–/–TYK2+/– mice. This defines NK cells as key players in tumor surveillance in Abelson-induced malignancies. Our observations provide compelling evidence that TYK2 is an important regulator of lymphoid tumor surveillance.
Dagmar Stoiber, Boris Kovacic, Christian Schuster, Carola Schellack, Marina Karaghiosoff, Rita Kreibich, Eva Weisz, Michaela Artwohl, Olaf C. Kleine, Mathias Muller, Sabina Baumgartner-Parzer, Jacques Ghysdael, Michael Freissmuth, Veronika Sexl
Scatter factor (SF), also known as hepatocyte growth factor, is ubiquitously present in the extracellular matrix of tissues in the form of an inactive precursor (pro-SF). In order to acquire biological activity, pro-SF must be cleaved by specific proteases present on the cell surface. The mature form of SF controls invasive cues in both physiological and pathological processes through activation of its receptor, the Met tyrosine kinase. By substituting a single amino acid in the proteolytic site, we engineered an unprocessable form of pro-SF (uncleavable SF). Using lentivirus vector technology, we achieved local or systemic delivery of uncleavable SF in mice. We provide evidence that (a) uncleavable SF inhibits both protease-mediated pro-SF conversion and active SF–induced Met activation; (b) local expression of uncleavable SF in tumors suppresses tumor growth, impairs tumor angiogenesis, and prevents metastatic dissemination; and (c) systemic expression of uncleavable SF dramatically inhibits the growth of transplanted tumors and abolishes the formation of spontaneous metastases without perturbing vital physiological functions. These data show that proteolytic activation of pro-SF is a limiting step in tumor progression, thus suggesting a new strategy for the treatment or prevention of the malignant conversion of neoplastic lesions.
Massimiliano Mazzone, Cristina Basilico, Silvia Cavassa, Selma Pennacchietti, Mauro Risio, Luigi Naldini, Paolo M. Comoglio, Paolo Michieli
Multiple myeloma in humans is frequently associated with mast cell infiltration and neovascularization, which correlate directly with disease severity, but the mechanisms underlying this relationship remain unclear. Here, we report that primary murine mast cells express angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) and low levels of VEGF-A but not Ang-2 and that 2 established murine plasmacytoma cell lines express high levels of VEGF-A but little or no Ang-1 or Ang-2. An in vivo angiogenesis assay using extracellular matrix components shows that mast cells and plasmacytoma cells, together, promote marked neovascularization composed of dilated vessels, which is prevented by neutralization of VEGF-A and Ang-1 but is only partially reduced by neutralization of either VEGF-A or Ang-1. Mast cells within extracellular matrix components express Ang-1, and recombinant Ang-1 together with plasmacytoma cells promotes extracellular matrix neovascularization similar to that induced by mast cells. A transplantation assay shows that primary mast cells accelerate tumor growth by established plasmacytoma cell lines and that neutralization of Ang-1 alone or with VEGF-A reduces significantly the growth of plasmacytomas containing mast cells. These results demonstrate that mast cell–derived Ang-1 promotes the growth of plasmacytomas by stimulating neovascularization and provide further evidence supporting a causal relationship between inflammation and tumor growth.
Takayuki Nakayama, Lei Yao, Giovanna Tosato
Peptide deformylase activity was thought to be limited to ribosomal protein synthesis in prokaryotes, where new peptides are initiated with an N-formylated methionine. We describe here a new human peptide deformylase (Homo sapiens PDF, or HsPDF) that is localized to the mitochondria. HsPDF is capable of removing formyl groups from N-terminal methionines of newly synthesized mitochondrial proteins, an activity previously not thought to be necessary in mammalian cells. We show that actinonin, a peptidomimetic antibiotic that inhibits HsPDF, also inhibits the proliferation of 16 human cancer cell lines. We designed and synthesized 33 chemical analogs of actinonin; all of the molecules with potent activity against HsPDF also inhibited tumor cell growth, and vice versa, confirming target specificity. Small interfering RNA inhibition of HsPDF protein expression was also antiproliferative. Actinonin treatment of cells led to a tumor-specific mitochondrial membrane depolarization and ATP depletion in a time- and dose-dependent manner; removal of actinonin led to a recovery of the membrane potential consistent with indirect effects on the electron transport chain. In animal models, oral or parenteral actinonin was well tolerated and inhibited human prostate cancer and lung cancer growth. We conclude that HsPDF is a new human mitochondrial enzyme that may provide a novel selective target for anticancer therapy by use of actinonin-based antibiotics.
Mona D. Lee, Yuhong She, Michael J. Soskis, Christopher P. Borella, Jeffrey R. Gardner, Paula A. Hayes, Benzon M. Dy, Mark L. Heaney, Mark R. Philips, William G. Bornmann, Francis M. Sirotnak, David A. Scheinberg