Transcriptional dysregulation is a hallmark of prostate cancer (PCa). We mapped the RNA Polymerase II (RNA Pol II) associated chromatin interactions in normal prostate cells and PCa cells. We discovered thousands of enhancer-promoter, enhancer-enhancer, as well as promoter-promoter chromatin interactions. These transcriptional hubs operate within the framework set by structural proteins—CTCF and cohesins, and are regulated by the cooperative action of master transcription factors, such as the Androgen Receptor (AR) and FOXA1. By combining analyses from metastatic castration resistant PCa (mCRPC) specimens, we show that AR locus amplification contributes to the transcriptional up-regulation of AR gene by increasing the total number of chromatin interaction modules comprising of the AR gene and its distal enhancer. We deconvoluted the transcription control modules of several PCa genes, notably, the biomarker KLK3, lineage-restricted genes (KRT8, KRT18, HOXB13, FOXA1, ZBTB16), the drug target EZH2, and the oncogene MYC. By integrating clinical PCa data, we defined a novel germline-somatic interplay between the PCa risk allele rs684232 and the somatically acquired TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion in the transcriptional regulation of multiple target genes—VPS53, FAM57A and GEMIN4. Our studies implicate changes in genome organization as a critical determinant of aberrant transcriptional regulation in PCa.
Susmita G. Ramanand, Yong Chen, Jiapei Yuan, Kelly Daescu, Maryou Lambros, Kathleen E. Houlahan, Suzanne Carreira, Wei Yuan, GuemHee Baek, Adam Sharp, Alec Paschalis, Mohammed Kanchwala, Yunpeng Gao, Adam Aslam, Nida Safdar, Xiaowei Zhan, Ganesh V. Raj, Chao Xing, Paul C. Boutros, Johann de Bono, Michael Q. Zhang, Ram S. Mani
Myeloid cells comprise a major component of the tumor-microenvironment (TME) promoting tumor growth and immune evasion. By employing a novel small molecule inhibitor of glutamine metabolism, not only were we able to inhibit tumor growth, but we markedly inhibited the generation and recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Targeting tumor glutamine metabolism led to a decrease in CSF3 and hence recruitment of MDSCs as well immunogenic cell death leading to an increase in inflammatory tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Alternatively, inhibiting glutamine metabolism of the MDSCs themselves led to activation induced cell death and conversion of MDSCs to inflammatory macrophages. Surprisingly, blocking glutamine metabolism also inhibited IDO expression of both the tumor and myeloid derived cells leading to a marked decrease in kynurenine levels. This in turn inhibited the development of metastasis and further enhanced anti-tumor immunity. Indeed, targeting glutamine metabolism rendered checkpoint blockade-resistant tumors susceptible to immunotherapy. Overall, our studies define an intimate interplay between the unique metabolism of tumors and the metabolism of suppressive immune cells.
Min-Hee Oh, Im-Hong Sun, Liang Zhao, Robert D. Leone, Im-Meng Sun, Wei Xu, Samuel L. Collins, Ada J. Tam, Richard L. Blosser, Chirag H. Patel, Judson M. Englert, Matthew L. Arwood, Jiayu Wen, Yee Chan-Li, Lukáš Tenora, Pavel Majer, Rana Rais, Barbara S. Slusher, Maureen R. Horton, Jonathan D. Powell
The Warburg effect is a tumor related phenomenon that may be targeted therapeutically. Here, we showed that glioblastoma cultures and patient tumors harbored super-enhancers in several genes related to the Warburg effect. By conducting a transcriptome analysis followed by chromatin immunoprecipitation (CHIP) sequencing coupled with a comprehensive metabolite analysis in GBM models, we unraveled that FDA-approved global (panobinostat, vorinostat) and selective (romidepsin) histone-deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors elicited metabolic reprogramming in concert with disruption of several Warburg-effect related super-enhancers. Extracellular flux and carbon tracing analyses revealed that HDAC inhibitors blunted glycolysis in a c-Myc dependent manner accompanied by lower ATP levels. This resulted in engagement of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) driven by elevated fatty acid oxidation (FAO), rendering GBM cells dependent on these pathways. Mechanistically, interference with HDAC1/2 elicited a suppression of c-Myc protein levels and a concomitant increase of two transcriptional drivers of oxidative metabolism, PGC1A and PPARD, suggesting an inverse relationship. Rescue and CHIP experiments indicated that c-Myc bound to the promoter regions of PGC1A and PPARD to counteract their up-regulation driven by HDAC1/2 inhibition. Finally, we demonstrated that the combination treatment of HDAC and FAO inhibitors extended animal survival in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model systems in vivo more potently than single treatments in the absence of toxicity.
Trang Nguyen, Yiru Zhang, Enyuan Shang, Chang Shu, Consuelo Torrini, Junfei Zhao, Elena Bianchetti, Angeliki Mela, Nelson Humala, Aayushi Mahajan, Arif O. Harmanci, Zhengdeng Lei, Mark Maienschein-Cline, Catarina Maria Quinzii, Mike-Andrew Westhoff, Georg Karpel-Massler, Jeffrey N. Bruce, Peter Canoll, Markus D. Siegelin
Cancer cells can develop a strong addiction to discrete molecular regulators, which control the aberrant gene expression programs that drive and maintain the cancer phenotype. Here, we report the identification of the RNA-binding protein HuR/ELAVL1 as a central oncogenic driver for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNSTs), which are highly aggressive sarcomas that originate from cells of the Schwann cell lineage. HuR was found to be highly elevated and bound to a multitude of cancer-associated transcripts in human MPNST samples. Accordingly, genetic and pharmacological inhibition of HuR had potent cytostatic and cytotoxic effects on tumour growth, and strongly supressed metastatic capacity in vivo. Importantly, we linked the profound tumorigenic function of HuR to its ability to simultaneously regulate multiple essential oncogenic pathways in MPNST cells, including the Wnt/beta-Catenin, YAP/TAZ, Rb-E2F and BET proteins, which converge on key transcriptional networks. Given the exceptional dependency of MPNST cells on HuR for survival, proliferation, and dissemination, we propose that HuR represents a promising therapeutic target for MPNST treatment.
Marta Palomo-Irigoyen, Encarnación Pérez-Andrés, Marta Iruarrizaga-Lejarreta, Adrián Barreira Manrique, Miguel Tamayo-Caro, Laura Vila-Vecilla, Leire Moreno-Cugnon, Nagore Beitia Telletxea, Daniela Medrano, David Fernández-Ramos, Juan-Jose Lozano, Satoshi Okawa, José Luis Lavín, Natalia Martin-Martin, James D. Sutherland, Virginia Gutiérrez-de Juan, Monika Gonzalez-Lopez, Nuria Macias-Camara, David Mosén-Ansorena, Liyam Laraba, C. Oliver Hanemann, Emanuela Ercolano, David B. Parkinson, Christopher W. Schultz, Marcos J. Araúzo-Bravo, Alex M. Ascensión, Daniela Gerovska, Haizea Iribar, Ander Izeta, Peter Pytel, Philipp Krastel, Alessandro Provenzani, Pierfausto Seneci, Ruben D. Carrasco, Antonio del Sol, Maria L. Martinez Chantar, Rosa Barrio, Eduard Serra, Conxi Lázaro, Adrienne M. Flanagan, Myriam Gorospe, Nancy Ratner, Arkaitz Carracedo, Ana María Aransay, Marta Varela-Rey, Ashwin Woodhoo
Seizures often herald the clinical appearance of gliomas or appear at later stages. Dissecting their precise evolution and cellular pathogenesis in brain malignancies could inform the development of staged therapies for these highly pharmaco-resistant epilepsies. Studies in immunodeficient xenograft models have identified local interneuron loss and excess glial glutamate release as chief contributors to network disinhibition, but how hyperexcitability in the peritumoral microenvironment evolves in an immunocompetent brain is unclear. We generated gliomas in WT mice via in utero deletion of key tumor suppressor genes and serially monitored cortical epileptogenesis during tumor infiltration with in vivo electrophysiology and GCAMP7 calcium imaging, revealing a reproducible progression from hyperexcitability to convulsive seizures. Long before seizures, coincident with loss of inhibitory cells and their protective scaffolding, gain of glial glutamate antiporter xCT expression, and reactive astrocytosis, we detected local Iba1+ microglial inflammation that intensified and later extended far beyond tumor boundaries. Hitherto unrecognized episodes of cortical spreading depolarization that arose frequently from the peritumoral region may provide a mechanism for transient neurological deficits. Early blockade of glial xCT activity inhibited later seizures, and genomic reduction of host brain excitability by deleting MapT suppressed molecular markers of epileptogenesis and seizures. Our studies confirmed xenograft tumor–driven pathobiology and revealed early and late components of tumor-related epileptogenesis in a genetically tractable, immunocompetent mouse model of glioma, allowing the complex dissection of tumor versus host pathogenic seizure mechanisms.
Asante Hatcher, Kwanha Yu, Jochen Meyer, Isamu Aiba, Benjamin Deneen, Jeffrey L. Noebels
The mechanisms by which prostate cancer shifts from an indolent castration-sensitive phenotype to lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) are poorly understood. Identification of clinically relevant genetic alterations leading to CRPC may reveal potential vulnerabilities for cancer therapy. Here we find that CUB domain-containing protein 1 (CDCP1), a transmembrane protein that acts as a substrate for SRC family kinases (SFKs), is overexpressed in a subset of CRPC. Notably, CDCP1 cooperates with the loss of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN to promote the emergence of metastatic prostate cancer. Mechanistically, we find that androgens suppress CDCP1 expression and that androgen deprivation in combination with loss of PTEN promotes the upregulation of CDCP1 and the subsequent activation of the SRC/MAPK pathway. Moreover, we demonstrate that anti-CDCP1 immunoliposomes (anti–CDCP1 ILs) loaded with chemotherapy suppress prostate cancer growth when administered in combination with enzalutamide. Thus, our study identifies CDCP1 as a powerful driver of prostate cancer progression and uncovers different potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of metastatic prostate tumors.
Abdullah Alajati, Mariantonietta D’Ambrosio, Martina Troiani, Simone Mosole, Laura Pellegrini, Jingjing Chen, Ajinkya Revandkar, Marco Bolis, Jean-Philippe Theurillat, Ilaria Guccini, Marco Losa, Arianna Calcinotto, Gaston De Bernardis, Emiliano Pasquini, Rocco D’Antuono, Adam Sharp, Ines Figueiredo, Daniel Nava Rodrigues, Jonathan Welti, Veronica Gil, Wei Yuan, Tatjana Vlajnic, Lukas Bubendorf, Giovanna Chiorino, Letizia Gnetti, Verónica Torrano, Arkaitz Carracedo, Laura Camplese, Susumu Hirabayashi, Elena Canato, Gianfranco Pasut, Monica Montopoli, Jan Hendrik Rüschoff, Peter Wild, Holger Moch, Johann De Bono, Andrea Alimonti
Immune microenvironment plays a critical role in lung cancer control versus progression and metastasis. In this investigation, we explored the impact of tumor-infiltrating-lymphocyte subpopulations on lung cancer biology by studying in vitro co-cultures, in vivo mouse models and human lung cancer tissue. Lymphocyte conditioned media-(CM) induced epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT), and migration in both primary human lung cancer cells and cell lines. Correspondingly, major accumulation of Th9 and Th17 cells was detected in human lung cancer tissue, and correlated with poor survival. Co-culturing lung cancer cells with Th9/Th17 cells or exposing them to the respective-CM induced-EMT in cancer cells and modulated the expression profile of genes implicated in EMT and metastasis. These features were reproduced by the signatory cytokines IL–9 and IL–17, with gene regulatory profiles evoked by these cytokines partly overlapping and partly complementary. Co-injection of Th9 and/or Th17 cells with tumor cells in wildtype, Rag1-/-, Il9r-/- and Il17ra-/- mice altered tumor growth and metastasis. Accordingly, inhibition of IL–9 or IL–17 cytokines by neutralizing antibodies decreased EMT and slowed lung cancer progression and metastasis. In conclusion, Th9 and Th17 lymphocytes induce lung cancer cell EMT, thereby promoting migration, and metastatic spreading and offering for novel therapeutic strategies.
Ylia Salazar, Xiang Zheng, David Brunn, Hartmann Raifer, Felix S.R. Picard, Yajuan Zhang, Hauke Winter, Stefan Günther, Andreas Weigert, Benno Weigmann, Laure Dumoutier, Jean-Christophe Renauld, Ari Waisman, Anja Schmall, Amanda Tufman, Ludger Fink, Bernhard Brüne, Tobias Bopp, Friedrich Grimminger, Werner Seeger, Soni Savai Pullamsetti, Magdalena Huber, Rajkumar Savai
Children and adults with Philadelphia chromosome-like B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like B-ALL) experience high relapse rates despite best-available conventional chemotherapy. Ph-like ALL is driven by genetic alterations that activate constitutive cytokine receptor and kinase signaling, and early-phase trials are investigating the potential of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) addition to chemotherapy to improve clinical outcomes. However, preclinical studies have shown that JAK or PI3K pathway inhibition is insufficient to eradicate the most common cytokine receptor-like factor 2 (CRLF2)-rearranged Ph-like ALL subset. We thus sought to define additional essential signaling pathways required in Ph-like leukemogenesis for improved therapeutic targeting. Herein, we describe a novel adaptive signaling plasticity of CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL following selective TKI pressure, which occurs in the absence of genetic mutations. Interestingly, we observed that Ph-like ALL cells have activated SRC, ERK and PI3K signaling consistent with activated B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling, although they do not express cell surface mu heavy chain (uHC). Combinatorial targeting of JAK/STAT, PI3K, and ‘BCR-like’ signaling with multiple TKIs and/or dexamethasone prevented this signaling plasticity and induced complete cell death, demonstrating a more optimal and clinically pragmatic therapeutic strategy for CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL.
Christian Hurtz, Gerald B. Wertheim, Joseph P. Loftus, Daniel Blumenthal, Anne Lehman, Yong Li, Asen Bagashev, Bryan Manning, Katherine D. Cummins, Janis K. Burkhardt, Alexander E. Perl, Martin Carroll, Sarah K. Tasian
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC), the major producers of Type I interferon, are principally recognized as key mediators of antiviral immunity. However, their role in tumor immunity is less clear. Depending on the context, pDC can both promote or suppress antitumor immune responses. In this study, we identified a naturally occurring pDC subset expressing high levels of OX40 (OX40+ pDC) enriched in the tumor microenvironment (TME) of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. OX40+ pDC were distinguished by a distinct immunostimulatory phenotype, cytolytic function and ability to synergize with conventional dendritic cells (cDC) in generating potent tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Transcriptomically, we found they selectively utilized EIF2 signaling and oxidative phosphorylation pathways. Moreover, depletion of pDC in the murine OX40+ pDC-rich tumor model accelerated tumor growth. Collectively, we present evidence of a pDC subset in the TME that favors antitumor immunity.
Kate O. Poropatich, Donye Dominguez, Wen-Ching Chan, Jorge Andrade, Yuanyuan Zha, Brian D. Wray, Jason Miska, Lei Qin, Lisa E. Cole, Sydney Coates, Urjeet A. Patel, Sandeep Samant, Bin Zhang
Glioblastoma (GBM) contains a subpopulation of cells, GBM stem cells (GSCs), that maintain the bulk tumor and represent a key therapeutic target. Norrin is a Wnt ligand that binds the Frizzled4 (FZD4) receptor to activate canonical Wnt signaling. While Norrin, encoded by NDP, has a well- described role in vascular development, its function in human tumorigenesis is largely unexplored. Here, we show that NDP expression is enriched in neurological cancers, including GBM, and its levels positively correlated with survival in a GBM subtype defined by low expression of ASCL1, a proneural factor. We investigated the function of Norrin and FZD4 in GSCs and found that it mediated opposing tumor-promoting and -suppressive effects on ASCL1lo and ASCL1hi GSCs. Consistent with a potential tumor suppressive effect of Norrin suggested by the tumour outcome data, we found that Norrin signaling through FZD4 inhibited growth in ASCL1lo GSCs. In contrast, in ASCL1hi GSCs Norrin promoted Notch signaling, independently of WNT, to promote tumor progression. Forced ASCL1 expression reversed the tumor suppressive effects of Norrin in ASCL1lo GSCs. Our results identify Norrin as a modulator of human brain cancer progression and reveal an unanticipated Notch mediated function of Norrin in regulating cancer stem cell biology.
Ahmed El-Sehemy, Hayden J. Selvadurai, Arturo Ortin-Martinez, Neno T. Pokrajac, Yasin Mamatjan, Nobuhiko Tachibana, Katherine J. Rowland, Lilian Lee, Nicole I. Park, Kenneth D. Aldape, Peter Dirks, Valerie A. Wallace