Desmoplasia describes the deposition of extensive extracellular matrix and defines primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). The acellular component of this stroma has been implicated in PDA pathogenesis and is being targeted therapeutically in clinical trials. By analyzing the stromal content of PDA samples from numerous annotated PDA data sets and correlating stromal content with both anatomic site and clinical outcome, we found PDA metastases in the liver, the primary cause of mortality to have less stroma, have higher tumor cellularity than primary tumors. Experimentally manipulating stromal matrix with an anti– lysyl oxidase like-2 (anti-LOXL2) antibody in syngeneic orthotopic PDA mouse models significantly decreased matrix content, led to lower tissue stiffness, lower contrast retention on computed tomography, and accelerated tumor growth, resulting in diminished overall survival. These studies suggest an important protective role of stroma in PDA and urge caution in clinically deploying stromal depletion strategies.
Honglin Jiang, Robert J. Torphy, Katja Steiger, Henry Hongo, Alexa J. Ritchie, Mark Kriegsmann, David Horst, Sarah E. Umetsu, Nancy M. Joseph, Kimberly McGregor, Michael J. Pishvaian, Edik M. Blais, Brian Lu, Mingyu Li, Michael Hollingsworth, Connor Stashko, Keith Volmar, Jen Jen Yeh, Valerie M. Weaver, Zhen J. Wang, Margaret A. Tempero, Wilko Weichert, Eric A. Collisson
Women with dense breasts have an increased lifetime risk to malignancy that has been attributed to a higher epithelial density. Quantitative proteomics, collagen analysis and mechanical measurements in normal tissue revealed that stroma in the high density breast contains more oriented, fibrillar collagen, that is stiffer and correlates with higher epithelial cell density. MicroRNA profiling of breast tissue identified microRNA-203 (miR-203) as a matrix stiffness-repressed transcript that is downregulated by collagen density and reduced in the breast epithelium of women with high mammographic density. Culture studies demonstrated that ZNF217 mediates a matrix stiffness and collagen density-induced increase in Akt activity and mammary epithelial cell proliferation. Manipulation of the epithelium in a mouse model of mammographic density supported a causal relationship between stromal stiffness, reduced miR-203, higher levels of the murine homologue Zfp217, and increased Akt activity and mammary epithelial proliferation. ZNF217 was also increased in the normal breast epithelium of women with high mammographic density, correlated positively with epithelial proliferation and density, and inversely with miR-203. The findings identify ZNF217 as a potential target towards which preexisting therapies, such as the Akt inhibitor triciribine, could be used as a chemoprevention agent to reduce cancer risk in women with high mammographic density.
Jason J. Northey, Alexander S. Barrett, Irene Acerbi, Mary-Kate Hayward, Stephanie Talamantes, Ivory S. Dean, Janna K. Mouw, Suzanne M. Ponik, Johnathon N. Lakins, Po-Jui Huang, Junmin Wu, Quanming Shi, Susan Samson, Patricia J. Keely, Rita A. Mukhtar, Jan T. Liphardt, John A. Shepherd, E. Shelley Hwang, Yunn-Yi Chen, Kirk C. Hansen, Laurie E. Littlepage, Valerie M. Weaver
While cancer is commonly perceived as a disease of dedifferentiation, the hallmark of early stage prostate cancer is paradoxically the loss of more plastic basal cells and the abnormal proliferation of more differentiated secretory luminal cells. However, the mechanism of prostate cancer pro-luminal differentiation is largely unknown. Through integrating analysis of the transcription factors (TFs) from 806 human prostate cancers, we have identified that ERG highly correlated with prostate cancer luminal subtyping. ERG overexpression in luminal epithelial cells inhibits its normal plasticity to transdifferentiate into basal lineage and ERG supersedes PTEN-loss which favors basal differentiation. ERG knock-out disrupted prostate cell luminal differentiation, whereas AR knock-out had no such effects. Trp63 is a known master regulator of prostate basal lineage. Through analysis of 3D chromatin architecture, we found that ERG binds and inhibits the enhancer activity and chromatin looping of a Trp63 distal enhancer, thereby silencing its gene expression. Specific deletion of the distal ERG binding site resulted in the loss of ERG-mediated inhibition of basal differentiation. Thus, ERG orchestrates chromatin interactions and regulates prostate cell lineage toward pro-luminal program, as its fundamental role on lineage differentiation in prostate cancer initiation.
Fei Li, Qiuyue Yuan, Wei Di, Xinyi Xia, Zhuang Liu, Ninghui Mao, Lin Li, Chunfeng Li, Juan He, Yunguang Li, Wangxin Guo, Xiaoyu Zhang, Yiqin Zhu, Rebiguli Aji, Shangqian Wang, Xinyuan Tong, Hongbin Ji, Ping Chi, Brett Carver, Yong Wang, Yu Chen, Dong Gao
To improve the clinical outcome of adoptive NK cell therapy in patients with solid tumors, NK cells need to persist within the tumor microenvironment (TME) in which the abundance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) could dampen anti-tumor immune responses. In the present study, we demonstrated that IL-15 primed NK cells acquire resistance against oxidative stress through thioredoxin system activated by mTOR. Mechanistically, the activation of thioredoxin showed dependence on localization of thioredoxin-interacting protein. For the first time, we showed that NK cells residing in the tumor core expressed higher thiol density which could aid to protect other lymphocytes against ROS within the TME. Furthermore, the prognostic value of IL15 and NK cell gene signature in tumors may be influenced by tobacco smoking history in NSCLC patients. Collectively, the levels of reducing antioxidants in NK cells may not only predict for better tumor penetrance but even potentially response to immune therapy.
Ying Yang, Shi Yong Neo, Ziqing Chen, Weiyingqi Cui, Yi Chen, Min Guo, Yongfang Wang, Haiyan Xu, Annina Kurzay, Evren Alici, Lars Holmgren, Felix Haglund, Kai Wang, Andreas Lundqvist
Chronic inflammation is deeply involved in various human disorders, such as cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and metabolic disorders. Induction of epigenetic alterations, especially aberrant DNA methylation, is one of the major mechanisms, but how it is induced is still unclear. Here, we found that expression of TET genes, methylation erasers, was down-regulated in inflamed mouse and human tissues, and that this was caused by up-regulation of TET-targeting miRNAs, such as MIR20A, MIR26B, and MIR29C, likely due to activation of NF-kB signaling, downstream of IL-1b and TNF-a. However, TET knockdown induced only mild aberrant methylation. Nitric oxide (NO), produced by NOS2, enhanced enzymatic activity of DNMTs, methylation writers, and NO exposure induced minimal aberrant methylation. In contrast, a combination of TET knockdown and NO exposure synergistically induced aberrant methylation, involving genomic regions not methylated by either alone. The results showed that a vicious combination of TET repression, due to NF-kB activation, and DNMT activation, due to NO production, is responsible for aberrant methylation induction in human tissues.
Hideyuki Takeshima, Tohru Niwa, Satoshi Yamashita, Takeji Takamura-Enya, Naoko Iida, Mika Wakabayashi, Sohachi Nanjo, Masanobu Abe, Toshiro Sugiyama, Young-Joon Kim, Toshikazu Ushijima
Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) has revolutionized cancer therapeutics. Desmoplastic malignancies such as cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) have an abundant tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). However, to date ICB monotherapy in such malignancies has been ineffective. Herein, we identify that tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are the primary source of PD-L1 in human and murine CCA. In a murine model of CCA, recruited PD-L1+ TAMs facilitate CCA progression. However, TAM blockade failed to decrease tumor progression due to a compensatory emergence of granulocytic-myeloid-derived suppressor cells (G-MDSCs) that mediated immune escape by impairing T-cell response. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of murine tumor G-MDSCs highlighted a novel ApoE G-MDSC subset enriched with TAM blockade; further analysis of a human scRNA-seq dataset demonstrated the presence of a similar G-MDSC subset in human CCA. Finally, dual inhibition of TAMs and G-MDSCs potentiated ICB. In summary, our findings highlight the therapeutic potential of coupling ICB with immunotherapies targeting immunosuppressive myeloid cells in CCA.
Emilien Loeuillard, Jingchun Yang, EeeLN Buckarma, Juan Wang, Yuanhang Liu, Caitlin B. Conboy, Kevin D. Pavelko, Ying Li, Daniel O'Brien, Chen Wang, Rondell P. Graham, Rory L. Smoot, Haidong Dong, Sumera Rizvi
Tumor immunosuppression is a limiting factor for successful cancer therapy. The lipid Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which signals through five distinct G-protein-coupled receptors (S1PR1-5), emerged as an important regulator of carcinogenesis. However, the utility of targeting S1P in tumors is hindered by its impact on immune cell trafficking. Here we report that ablation of the immune cell-specific receptor S1PR4, which plays a minor role in immune cell trafficking, delayed tumor development and improved therapy success in murine models of mammary and colitis-associated colorectal cancer due to an increased CD8+ T cell abundance. Transcriptome analysis revealed that S1PR4 affected proliferation and survival of CD8+ T cells in a cell-intrinsic manner via the expression of Pik3ap1 and Lta4h. Accordingly, PIK3AP1 expression was connected to increased CD8+ T cell proliferation and clinical parameters in human breast and colon cancer. Our data indicate a so far unappreciated tumor-promoting role of S1P by restricting CD8+ T cell expansion via S1PR4.
Catherine Olesch, Evelyn Sirait-Fischer, Matthias Berkefeld, Annika F. Fink, Rosa Martha Susen, Birgit Ritter, Birgitta E. Michels, Dieter Steinhilber, Florian R. Greten, Rajkumar Savai, Kazuhiko Takeda, Bernhard Brüne, Andreas Weigert
Nearly all breast cancer deaths result from metastatic disease. Despite this, the genomic events that drive metastatic recurrence are poorly understood. We performed whole-exome and shallow whole-genome sequencing to identify genes and pathways preferentially mutated or copy-number altered in metastases compared with the paired primary tumors from which they arose. Seven genes were preferentially mutated in metastases — MYLK, PEAK1, SLC2A4RG, EVC2, XIRP2, PALB2, and ESR1 — 5 of which are not significantly mutated in any type of human primary cancer. Four regions were preferentially copy-number altered: loss of STK11 and CDKN2A/B, as well as gain of PTK6 and the membrane-bound progesterone receptor, PAQR8. PAQR8 gain was mutually exclusive with mutations in the nuclear estrogen and progesterone receptors, suggesting a role in treatment resistance. Several pathways were preferentially mutated or altered in metastases, including mTOR, CDK/RB, cAMP/PKA, WNT, HKMT, and focal adhesion. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that metastases preferentially inactivate pRB, upregulate the mTORC1 and WNT signaling pathways, and exhibit nuclear localization of activated PKA. Our findings identify multiple therapeutic targets in metastatic recurrence that are not significantly mutated in primary cancers, implicate membrane progesterone signaling and nuclear PKA in metastatic recurrence, and provide genomic bases for the efficacy of mTORC1, CDK4/6, and PARP inhibitors in metastatic breast cancer.
Matt R. Paul, Tien-chi Pan, Dhruv K. Pant, Natalie N.C. Shih, Yan Chen, Kyra L. Harvey, Aaron Solomon, David Lieberman, Jennifer J.D. Morrissette, Danielle Soucier-Ernst, Noah G. Goodman, S. William Stavropoulos, Kara N. Maxwell, Candace Clark, George K. Belka, Michael Feldman, Angela DeMichele, Lewis A. Chodosh
Therapy-induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer (t-NEPC) is a highly aggressive subtype of prostate cancer with poor patient survival. Emerging evidence indicates that t-NEPC can develop when prostate adenocarcinoma cells acquire cancer stem-like cell signaling in the presence of androgen receptor inhibition, followed by re-differentiation toward neuroendocrine lineage and subsequent t-NEPC progression. Whether the stem-like signaling is controlled by the core pluripotency stem cell genes (e.g., LIN28 and SOX2) remains unknown. Here, we report that the transcription of LIN28B isoform and SOX2 are co-upregulated in t-NEPC patient tumors, patient-derived xenografts, transgenic mice, and cell models. Immunohistochemistry validated that LIN28B and SOX2 protein expression are elevated in t-NEPC patient biopsies. Using prostate adenocarcinoma and t-NEPC cell models, we demonstrated that LIN28B induces a stem-like gene network, neuroendocrine biomarkers, and neuroendocrine cell morphology. LIN28B depletion by CRISPR inhibited t-NEPC tumorigenesis and xenograft growth. These LIN28B functions were mediated mainly through the suppression of let-7 miRNA expression, resulting in de-repression of the transcription factors HMGA2 and HMGA2-mediated SOX2 expression. This study reveals a mechanism by which t-NEPC can develop through the LIN28B/let-7/SOX2 axis that regulates a cancer cell stem-like gene network, highlighting LIN28B as a potential therapeutic target in t-NEPC.
Jessica M. Lovnicki, Yu Gan, Tingting Feng, Yinan Li, Ning Xie, Chia-Hao Ho, Ahn R. Lee, Xufeng Chen, Lucia Nappi, Bo Han, Ladan Fazli, Jiaoti Huang, Martin Gleave, Xuesen Dong
Immunotherapeutic strategies are increasingly important in neuro-oncology and the elucidation of escape mechanisms which lead to treatment resistance is crucial. We investigated the impact of immune pressure on the clonal dynamics and immune escape signature by comparing glioma growth in immunocompetent versus immunodeficient mice. Glioma-bearing wildtype and Pd-1-/- mice survived significantly longer than immunodeficient Pfp-/- Rag2-/- mice. While tumors in Pfp-/- Rag2-/- mice were highly polyclonal, immunoedited tumors in WT and Pd-1-/- mice displayed reduced clonality with emergence of immune escape clones. Tumor cells in wildtype mice were distinguished by an interferon-γ-mediated response signature with upregulation of genes involved in immunosuppression. Tumor-infiltrating stromal cells, which include macrophages/microglia, contributed even stronger to the immunosuppressive signature than the actual tumor cells. The identified murine immune escape signature was reflected in human patients and correlated with poor survival. In conclusion, immune pressure profoundly shapes the clonal composition and gene regulation in malignant gliomas.
Cecile L. Maire, Malte Mohme, Michael Bockmayr, Krystian D. Fita, Kristoffer Riecken, Daniela Börnigen, Malik Alawi, Antonio Virgilio Failla, Katharina Kolbe, Svenja Zapf, Mareike Holz, Katrin Neumann, Lasse Dührsen, Tobias Lange, Boris Fehse, Manfred Westphal, Katrin Lamszus