Activating mutations in the Wnt pathway drive a variety of cancers, but the specific targets and pathways activated by Wnt ligands are not fully understood. To bridge this knowledge gap, we performed a comprehensive time-course analysis of Wnt-dependent signaling pathways in an orthotopic model of Wnt-addicted pancreatic cancer, using a PORCN inhibitor currently in clinical trials, and validated key results in additional Wnt-addicted models. The temporal analysis of the drug-perturbed transcriptome demonstrated direct and indirect regulation of greater than 3,500 Wnt activated genes (23% of the transcriptome). Regulation was both via Wnt/β-catenin, and through the modulation of protein abundance of important transcription factors including MYC via Wnt/STOP. Our study identifies a central role of Wnt /β-catenin and Wnt/STOP signaling in controlling ribosomal biogenesis, a key driver of cancer proliferation.
Babita Madan, Nathan Harmston, Gahyathiri Nallan, Alex Montoya, Peter Faull, Enrico Petretto, David M. Virshup
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is particularly aggressive, with enhanced incidence of tumor relapse, resistance to chemotherapy, and metastases. As the mechanistic basis for this aggressive phenotype is unclear, treatment options are limited. Here, we showed an increased population of myeloid-derived immunosuppressor cells (MDSCs) in TNBC patients compared with non-TNBC patients. We found that high levels of the transcription factor ΔNp63 correlate with an increased number of MDSCs in basal TNBC patients, and that ΔNp63 promotes tumor growth, progression, and metastasis in human and mouse TNBC cells. Furthermore, we showed that MDSC recruitment to the primary tumor and metastatic sites occurs via direct ΔNp63-dependent activation of the chemokines CXCL2 and CCL22. CXCR2/CCR4 inhibitors reduced MDSC recruitment, angiogenesis, and metastasis, highlighting a novel treatment option for this subset of TNBC patients. Finally, we found that MDSCs secrete prometastatic factors such as MMP9 and chitinase 3–like 1 to promote TNBC cancer stem cell function, thereby identifying a nonimmunologic role for MDSCs in promoting TNBC progression. These findings identify a unique crosstalk between ΔNp63+ TNBC cells and MDSCs that promotes tumor progression and metastasis, which could be exploited in future combined immunotherapy/chemotherapy strategies for TNBC patients.
Sushil Kumar, David W. Wilkes, Nina Samuel, Mario Andres Blanco, Anupma Nayak, Kevin Alicea-Torres, Christian Gluck, Satrajit Sinha, Dmitry Gabrilovich, Rumela Chakrabarti
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by clonal proliferation and progressive accumulation of mature, B lymphocytes in the peripheral blood, lymphoid tissues and bone marrow. CLL is characterized by profound immune defects, leading to severe infectious complications. T cells are numerically, phenotypically, and functionally highly abnormal in CLL, with only limited ability to exert antitumor immune responses. Exhaustion of T cells has also been implicated as playing an important role in anti-tumor responses. The CLL-mediated T cell exhaustion is achieved by aberrant expression of several inhibitory molecules on CLL and their environment, prominently the PD-L1/PD-1 receptors. Previously, we showed that CD84, a member of the SLAM family of receptors, bridges between CLL cells and their microenvironment. In the current study, we followed CD84 regulation of T cell function. We showed that a cell-cell interaction mediated through human and mouse CD84 upregulates PDL1 expression on CLL and their microenvironment, and PD1 expression on T cells. This resulted in suppression of T cell response and activity in vitro and in vivo. Thus, our results demonstrated a role for CD84 in regulation of immune checkpoints by leukemia cells, and suggested CD84 blockade as a therapeutic strategy to reverse tumor-induced immune suppression.
Hadas Lewinsky, Avital F. Barak, Victoria Huber, Matthias P. Kramer, Lihi Radomir, Lital Sever, Irit Orr, Vita Mirkin, Nili Dezorella, Mika Shapiro, Yosef Cohen, Lev Shvidel, Martina Seiffert, Yair Herishanu, Shirly Becker-Herman, Idit Shachar
The accrual of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) represents a major obstacle to effective immunotherapy in cancer patients, but the mechanisms underlying this process in the human setting remain elusive. Here, we describe a set of microRNAs (miR-146a, miR-155, miR-125b, miR-100, let-7e, miR-125a, miR-146b, miR-99b) that are associated with MDSCs and with resistance to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors in melanoma patients. The miRs were identified by transcriptional analyses as being responsible for the conversion of monocytes into MDSCs (CD14+HLA-DRneg cells) mediated by melanoma extracellular vesicles (EVs) and were shown to recreate MDSC features upon transfection. In melanoma patients, these miRs are increased in circulating CD14+ monocytes, plasma and tumor samples, where they correlate with the myeloid cell infiltrate. In plasma, their baseline level clusters with the clinical efficacy of CTLA-4 or PD-1 blockade. Hence, MDSC-related miRs represent an indicator of MDSC activity in cancer patients and a potential blood marker of a poor immunotherapy outcome.
Veronica Huber, Viviana Vallacchi, Viktor Fleming, Xiaoying Hu, Agata Cova, Matteo Dugo, Eriomina Shahaj, Roberta Sulsenti, Elisabetta Vergani, Paola Filipazzi, Angela De Laurentiis, Luca Lalli, Lorenza Di Guardo, Roberto Patuzzo, Barbara Vergani, Elena Casiraghi, Mara Cossa, Ambra Gualeni, Valentina Bollati, Flavio Arienti, Filippo De Braud, Luigi Mariani, Antonello Villa, Peter Altevogt, Viktor Umansky, Monica Rodolfo, Licia Rivoltini
Concordant activation of MYC and BCL-2 oncoproteins in double-hit lymphoma (DHL) results in aggressive disease that is refractory to treatment. By integrating activity-based proteomic profiling and drug screens, polo-like kinase-1 (PLK1) was identified as an essential regulator of the MYC-dependent kinome in DHL. Notably, PLK1 was expressed at high levels in DHL, correlated with MYC expression and connoted poor outcome. Further, PLK1 signaling augmented MYC protein stability and, in turn, MYC directly induced PLK1 transcription, establishing a feed-forward MYC-PLK1 circuit in DHL. Finally, inhibition of PLK1 triggered degradation of MYC and of the anti-apoptotic protein MCL1, and PLK1 inhibitors showed synergy with BCL-2 antagonists in blocking DHL cell growth, survival and tumorigenicity, supporting clinical targeting of PLK1 in DHL.
Yuan Ren, Chengfeng Bi, Xiaohong Zhao, Tint Lwin, Cheng Wang, Ji Yuan, Ariosto S. Silva, Bijal D. Shah, Bin Fang, Tao Li, John M. Koomen, Huijuan Jiang, Julio C. Chavez, Lan Pham, Praneeth R. Sudalagunta, Lixin Wan, Xuefeng Wang, William S. Dalton, Lynn C. Moscinski, Kenneth H. Shain, Julie Vose, John L. Cleveland, Eduardo M. Sotomayor, Kai Fu, Jianguo Tao
The E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF8 plays critical roles in maintaining genomic stability by promoting the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) through ubiquitin signaling. Abnormal activation of Notch signaling and defective repair of DSBs promote breast cancer risk. Here, we found that low expression of the full-length RNF8 correlated with poor prognosis for breast cancer patients. Our data revealed that in addition to its role in the repair of DSBs, RNF8 regulated Notch1 signaling and cell-fate determination of mammary luminal progenitors. Mechanistically, RNF8 acted as a negative regulator of Notch signaling by ubiquitylating the active NOTCH1 protein (N1ICD), leading to its degradation. Consistent with abnormal activation of Notch signaling and impaired repair of DSBs in Rnf8-mutant mammary epithelial cells, we observed increased risk of mammary tumorigenesis in mouse models for RNF8 deficiency. Notably, deficiency of RNF8 sensitized breast cancer cells to combination of pharmacological inhibitors of Notch signaling and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), suggesting implications for treatment of breast cancer associated with impaired RNF8 expression or function.
Li Li, Kiran Kumar Naidu Guturi, Brandon Gautreau, Parasvi S. Patel, Amine Saad, Mayako Morii, Francesca Mateo, Luis Palomero, Haithem Barbour, Antonio Gomez, Deborah Ng, Max Kotlyar, Chiara Pastrello, Hartland W. Jackson, Rama Khokha, Igor Jurisica, El Bachir Affar, Brian Raught, Otto Sanchez, Moulay Alaoui-Jamali, Miguel A. Pujana, Anne Hakem, Razq Hakem
Breast cancer (BrCa) is the malignant tumor that most seriously threatens female health; however, the molecular mechanism underlying its progression remains unclear. Here, we found that conditional deletion of HIC1 in the mouse mammary gland might contribute to premalignant transformation in the early stage of tumor formation. Moreover, the chemokine CXCL14 secreted by HIC1-deleted BrCa cells bound to its novel cognate receptor GPR85 on mammary fibroblasts in the microenvironment and was responsible for activating these fibroblasts via the ERK1/2, Akt, and neddylation pathways, whereas the activated fibroblasts promoted BrCa progression via the induction of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) by the CCL17/CCR4 axis. Finally, we confirmed that the HIC1-CXCL14-CCL17 loop was associated with the malignant progression of BrCa. Therefore, the crosstalk between HIC1-deleted BrCa cells and mammary fibroblasts might play a critical role in BrCa development. Taken together, exploring the progression of BrCa from the perspective of microenvironment will be beneficial for identifying the potential prognostic marker of breast tumor and providing the more effective treatment strategy.
Yingying Wang, Xiaoling Weng, Luoyang Wang, Mingang Hao, Yue Li, Lidan Hou, Yu Liang, Tianqi Wu, Mengfei Yao, Guowen Lin, Yiwei Jiang, Guohui Fu, Zhaoyuan Hou, Xiangjun Meng, Jinsong Lu, Jianhua Wang
Polyamine inhibition for cancer therapy is, conceptually, an attractive approach but has yet to meet success in the clinical setting. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is the central transcriptional regulator of the xenobiotic response. Our study revealed that AHR also positively regulates intracellular polyamine production via direct transcriptional activation of 2 genes, ODC1 and AZIN1, which are involved in polyamine biosynthesis and control, respectively. In patients with multiple myeloma (MM), AHR levels were inversely correlated with survival, suggesting that AHR inhibition may be beneficial for the treatment of this disease. We identified clofazimine (CLF), an FDA-approved anti-leprosy drug, as a potent AHR antagonist and a suppressor of polyamine biosynthesis. Experiments in a transgenic model of MM (Vk*Myc mice) and in immunocompromised mice bearing MM cell xenografts revealed high efficacy of CLF comparable to that of bortezomib, a first-in-class proteasome inhibitor used for the treatment of MM. This study identifies a previously unrecognized regulatory axis between AHR and polyamine metabolism and reveals CLF as an inhibitor of AHR and a potentially clinically relevant anti-MM agent.
Anna Bianchi-Smiraglia, Archis Bagati, Emily E. Fink, Hayley C. Affronti, Brittany C. Lipchick, Sudha Moparthy, Mark D. Long, Spencer R. Rosario, Shivana M. Lightman, Kalyana Moparthy, David W. Wolff, Dong Hyun Yun, Zhannan Han, Anthony Polechetti, Matthew V. Roll, Ilya I. Gitlin, Katerina I. Leonova, Aryn M. Rowsam, Eugene S. Kandel, Andrei V. Gudkov, P. Leif Bergsagel, Kelvin P. Lee, Dominic J. Smiraglia, Mikhail A. Nikiforov
Despite the success of T cell checkpoint blockade against melanoma, many “cold” tumors such as prostate cancer remain unresponsive. We find that hypoxic zones are prevalent across pre-clinical prostate cancer and resist T cell infiltration even in the context of CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade. We show that the hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 reduces or eliminates hypoxia in these tumors. Combination therapy with this hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade cooperate to cure more than 80% of TRAMP-C2 prostate tumors. Immunofluorescence imaging shows that TH-302 drives an influx of T cells into hypoxic zones, which are then amplified by checkpoint blockade. Further, combination therapy reduces myeloid-derived suppressor cell density by more than 50%, and causes a persistent defect in the capacity of the tumor to replenish the granulocytic subset. Spontaneous prostate tumors in TRAMP transgenic mice, which are completely resistant to checkpoint blockade, show minimal adenocarcinoma tumor burden at 36 weeks of age and no evidence of neuroendocrine tumors. Survival of Pb-Cre4, Ptenpc−/−Smad4pc−/− mice with highly aggressive prostate adenocarcinoma is also significantly extended by the combination of hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade. This combination of hypoxia disruption and T cell checkpoint blockade may render some of the most therapeutically resistant cancers sensitive to immunotherapy.
Priyamvada Jayaprakash, Midan Ai, Arthur Liu, Pratha Budhani, Todd Bartkowiak, Jie Sheng, Casey R. Ager, Courtney Nicholas, Ashvin R. Jaiswal, Yanqiu Sun, Krishna Shah, Sadhana Balasubramanyam, Nan Li, Guocan Wang, Jing Ning, Anna Zal, Tomasz Zal, Michael A. Curran
Lysyl-tRNA synthetase (KRS) functions canonically in cytosolic translational processes. However, KRS is highly expressed in colon cancer, and localizes to distinct cellular compartments upon phosphorylations (i.e., the plasma membranes after T52-phosphorylation and the nucleus after S207-phosphorylation), leading to probably alternative non-canonical functions. It is unknown how other subcellular KRSs crosstalk with environmental cues during cancer progression. Here, we demonstrate that the KRS-dependent metastatic behavior of colon cancer spheroids within three-dimensional gels requires communication between cellular molecules and extracellular soluble factors and neighboring cells. Membranous and nuclear KRS were found to participate in invasive cell dissemination of colon cancer spheroids in three dimensional gels. Cancer spheroids secreted GAS6 via a KRS-dependent mechanism and caused the M2 polarization of macrophages, which activated the neighboring cells via secretion of FGF2/GROα/M-CSF to promote cancer dissemination under environmental remodeling via fibroblast-mediated laminins production. Analyses of tissues from clinical colon cancer patients and Krs–/+ animal models for cancer metastasis supported the roles of KRS, GAS6, and M2 macrophages in KRS-dependent positive feedback between tumors and environmental factors. Altogether, KRS in colon cancer cells remodels the microenvironment to promote metastasis, which can thus be therapeutically targeted at these bidirectional KRS-dependent communications of cancer spheroids with environmental cues.
Seo Hee Nam, Doyeun Kim, Doohyung Lee, Hye-Mi Lee, Dae-Geun Song, Jae Woo Jung, Ji Eon Kim, Hye-Jin Kim, Nam Hoon Kwon, Eun-Kyeong Jo, Sunghoon Kim, Jung Weon Lee