Ectopic gene expression in tumors versus normal somatic tissues provides opportunities for the specific immunotargeting of cancer cells. SSX gene products are expressed in tumors of different histological types and can be recognized by tumor-reactive CTLs from cancer patients. Here, we report the identification of an SSX-2–derived immunodominant T cell epitope recognized by CD4+ T cells from melanoma patients in association with HLA-DR. The epitope maps to the 37–58 region of the protein, encompassing the sequence of the previously defined HLA-A2–restricted immunodominant epitope SSX-241–49. SSX-237–58–specific CD4+ T cells were detected among circulating lymphocytes from the majority of melanoma patients analyzed and among tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, but not in healthy donors. Together, our data suggest a dominant role of the 37–58 sequence in the induction of cellular CD4+ T cell responses against SSX antigens and will be instrumental for both the onset and the monitoring of upcoming cancer-vaccine trials using SSX-derived immunogens.
Maha Ayyoub, Charles S. Hesdorffer, Monica Montes, Andrea Merlo, Daniel Speiser, Donata Rimoldi, Jean-Charles Cerottini, Gerd Ritter, Matthew Scanlan, Lloyd J. Old, Danila Valmori
Accurate diagnosis of thyroid tumors is challenging. A particular problem is distinguishing between follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) and benign follicular thyroid adenoma (FTA), where histology of fine-needle aspirates is not conclusive. It is often necessary to remove healthy thyroid to rule out carcinoma. In order to find markers to improve diagnosis, we quantified gene transcript expression from FTC, FTA, and normal thyroid, revealing 73 differentially expressed transcripts (P ≤ 0.0001). Using an independent set of 23 FTCs, FTAs, and matched normal thyroids, 17 genes with large expression differences were tested by real-time RT-PCR. Four genes (DDIT3, ARG2, ITM1, and C1orf24) differed between the two classes FTC and FTA, and a linear combination of expression levels distinguished FTC from FTA with an estimated predictive accuracy of 0.83. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry for DDIT3 and ARG2 showed consistent staining for carcinoma in an independent set 59 follicular tumors (estimated concordance, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, [0.59, 0.93]). A simple test based on a combination of these markers might improve preoperative diagnosis of thyroid nodules, allowing better treatment decisions and reducing long-term health costs.
Janete M. Cerutti, Rosana Delcelo, Marcelo João Amadei, Claudia Nakabashi, Rui M.B. Maciel, Bercedis Peterson, Jennifer Shoemaker, Gregory J. Riggins
Lymphangiogenesis, an important initial step in tumor metastasis and transplant sensitization, is mediated by the action of VEGF-C and -D on VEGFR3. In contrast, VEGF-A binds VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 and is an essential hemangiogenic factor. We re-evaluated the potential role of VEGF-A in lymphangiogenesis using a novel model in which both lymphangiogenesis and hemangiogenesis are induced in the normally avascular cornea. Administration of VEGF Trap, a receptor-based fusion protein that binds and neutralizes VEGF-A but not VEGF-C or -D, completely inhibited both hemangiogenesis and the outgrowth of LYVE-1+ lymphatic vessels following injury. Furthermore, both lymphangiogenesis and hemangiogenesis were significantly reduced in mice transgenic for VEGF-A164/164 or VEGF-A188/188 (each of which expresses only one of the three principle VEGF-A isoforms). Because VEGF-A is chemotactic for macrophages and we demonstrate here that macrophages in inflamed corneas release lymphangiogenic VEGF-C/VEGF-D, we evaluated the possibility that macrophage recruitment plays a role in VEGF-A–mediated lymphangiogenesis. Either systemic depletion of all bone marrow–derived cells (by irradiation) or local depletion of macrophages in the cornea (using clodronate liposomes) prior to injury significantly inhibited both hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. We conclude that VEGF-A recruitment of monocytes/macrophages plays a crucial role in inducing inflammatory neovascularization by supplying/amplifying signals essential for pathological hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis.
Claus Cursiefen, Lu Chen, Leonardo P. Borges, David Jackson, Jingtai Cao, Czeslaw Radziejewski, Patricia A. D’Amore, M. Reza Dana, Stanley J. Wiegand, J. Wayne Streilein
One of the major problems in management of prostate cancer is the lack of reliable genetic markers predicting the clinical course of the disease. We analyzed expression profiles of 12,625 transcripts in prostate tumors from patients with distinct clinical outcomes after therapy as well as metastatic human prostate cancer xenografts in nude mice. We identified small clusters of genes discriminating recurrent versus nonrecurrent disease with 90% and 75% accuracy in two independent cohorts of patients. We examined one group of samples (21 tumors) to discover the recurrence predictor genes and then validated the predictive power of these genes in a different set (79 tumors). Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that recurrence predictor signatures are highly informative (P < 0.0001) in stratification of patients into subgroups with distinct relapse-free survival after therapy. A gene expression–based recurrence predictor algorithm was informative in predicting the outcome in patients with early-stage disease, with either high or low preoperative prostate-specific antigen levels and provided additional value to the outcome prediction based on Gleason sum or multiparameter nomogram. Overall, 88% of patients with recurrence of prostate cancer within 1 year after therapy were correctly classified into the poor-prognosis group. The identified algorithm provides additional predictive value over conventional markers of outcome and appears suitable for stratification of prostate cancer patients at the time of diagnosis into subgroups with distinct survival probability after therapy.
Gennadi V. Glinsky, Anna B. Glinskii, Andrew J. Stephenson, Robert M. Hoffman, William L. Gerald
Oncogenic ras alleles are among the most common mutations found in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Previously, the role of oncogenic ras in cancer was assessed in model systems overexpressing oncogenic ras from heterologous promoters. However, there is increasing evidence that subtle differences in gene dosage and regulation of gene expression from endogenous promoters play critical roles in cancer pathogenesis. We characterized the role of oncogenic K-ras expressed from its endogenous promoter in the hematopoietic system using a conditional allele and IFN-inducible, Cre-mediated recombination. Mice developed a completely penetrant myeloproliferative syndrome characterized by leukocytosis with normal maturation of myeloid lineage cells; myeloid hyperplasia in bone marrow; and extramedullary hematopoiesis in the spleen and liver. Flow cytometry confirmed the myeloproliferative phenotype. Genotypic and Western blot analysis demonstrated Cre-mediated excision and expression, respectively, of the oncogenic K-ras allele. Bone marrow cells formed growth factor–independent colonies in methylcellulose cultures, but the myeloproliferative disease was not transplantable into secondary recipients. Thus, oncogenic K-ras induces a myeloproliferative disorder but not AML, indicating that additional mutations are required for AML development. This model system will be useful for assessing the contribution of cooperating mutations in AML and testing ras inhibitors in vivo.
Iris T. Chan, Jeffery L. Kutok, Ifor R. Williams, Sarah Cohen, Lauren Kelly, Hirokazu Shigematsu, Leisa Johnson, Koichi Akashi, David A. Tuveson, Tyler Jacks, D. Gary Gilliland
Avicins are proapoptotic and anti-inflammatory triterpene electrophiles isolated from an Australian desert tree, Acacia victoriae. The presence of two α,β unsaturated carbonyl groups (Michael reaction sites) in the side chain of the avicin molecule prompted us to study its effects on NF-E2–related factor 2 (Nrf2), a redox-regulated transcription factor that controls the expression of a battery of detoxification and antioxidant proteins via its binding to antioxidant response element (ARE). Avicin D–treated Hep G2 cells showed translocation of Nrf2 into the nucleus and a time-dependent increase in ARE activity. These properties were sensitive to DTT, suggesting that avicins affect one or more critical cysteine residues, probably on the Keap1 molecule. Downstream of ARE, an activation of a battery of stress-induced proteins occurred. The implications of these findings were evaluated in vivo in mouse skin exposed to an ancient stressor, UV light. Avicins inhibited epidermal hyperplasia, reduced p53 mutation, enhanced apoptosis, decreased generation of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine, and enhanced expression of NADPH:quinone oxidoreductase 1 and heme oxygenase-1. These data, combined with our earlier published work, demonstrate that avicins represent a new class of plant stress metabolites capable of activating stress adaptation and suppressing proinflammatory components of the innate immune system in human cells by redox regulation. The relevance for treatment of clinical diseases in which stress responses are dysfunctional or deficient is discussed.
Valsala Haridas, Margaret Hanausek, Goshi Nishimura, Holly Soehnge, Amos Gaikwad, Maciej Narog, Erick Spears, Robert Zoltaszek, Zbigniew Walaszek, Jordan U. Gutterman
Malignant cells often display defects in autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved pathway for degrading long-lived proteins and cytoplasmic organelles. However, as yet, there is no genetic evidence for a role of autophagy genes in tumor suppression. The beclin 1 autophagy gene is monoallelically deleted in 40–75% of cases of human sporadic breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Therefore, we used a targeted mutant mouse model to test the hypothesis that monoallelic deletion of beclin 1 promotes tumorigenesis. Here we show that heterozygous disruption of beclin 1 increases the frequency of spontaneous malignancies and accelerates the development of hepatitis B virus–induced premalignant lesions. Molecular analyses of tumors in beclin 1 heterozygous mice show that the remaining wild-type allele is neither mutated nor silenced. Furthermore, beclin 1 heterozygous disruption results in increased cellular proliferation and reduced autophagy in vivo. These findings demonstrate that beclin 1 is a haplo-insufficient tumor-suppressor gene and provide genetic evidence that autophagy is a novel mechanism of cell-growth control and tumor suppression. Thus, mutation of beclin 1 or other autophagy genes may contribute to the pathogenesis of human cancers.
Xueping Qu, Jie Yu, Govind Bhagat, Norihiko Furuya, Hanina Hibshoosh, Andrea Troxel, Jeffrey Rosen, Eeva-Liisa Eskelinen, Noboru Mizushima, Yoshinori Ohsumi, Giorgio Cattoretti, Beth Levine
The NF1 tumor suppressor gene encodes a GTPase-activating protein called neurofibromin that negatively regulates Ras signaling. Mutations in NF1 cause neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The development of neurofibromas, which are complex tumors composed of multiple cell types, is a hallmark of NF1. Somatic inactivation of murine Nf1 in Schwann cells is necessary, but not sufficient, to initiate neurofibroma formation. Neurofibromas occur with high penetrance in mice in which Nf1 is ablated in Schwann cells in the context of a heterozygous mutant (Nf1+/–) microenvironment. Mast cells infiltrate neurofibromas, where they secrete proteins that can remodel the ECM and initiate angiogenesis. Thus, identification of mechanisms responsible for mast cell migration to tumor microenvironments is important for understanding tumorigenesis and for designing potential therapies. Here, we show that homozygous Nf1 mutant (Nf1–/–) Schwann cells secrete Kit ligand (KitL), which stimulates mast cell migration, and that Nf1+/– mast cells are hypermotile in response to KitL. Furthermore, we link hyperactivation of the Ras-class IA-PI3K-Rac2 pathway to increased Nf1+/– mast cell migration. Thus, these studies identify a novel interaction between Nf1–/– Schwann cells and Nf1+/– mast cells that is likely to be important in neurofibroma formation.
Yang Feng-Chun, David A. Ingram, Shi Chen, Cynthia M. Hingtgen, Nancy Ratner, Kelly R. Monk, Travis Clegg, Hilary White, Laura Mead, Mary Jo Wenning, David A. Williams, Reuben Kapur, Simon J. Atkinson, D. Wade Clapp
Chronic infection and associated inflammation are key contributors to human carcinogenesis. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an oxyradical overload disease and is characterized by free radical stress and colon cancer proneness. Here we examined tissues from noncancerous colons of ulcerative colitis patients to determine (a) the activity of two base excision–repair enzymes , AAG, the major 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase, and APE1, the major apurinic site endonuclease; and (b) the prevalence of microsatellite instability (MSI). AAG and APE1 were significantly increased in UC colon epithelium undergoing elevated inflammation and MSI was positively correlated with their imbalanced enzymatic activities. These latter results were supported by mechanistic studies using yeast and human cell models in which overexpression of AAG and/or APE1 was associated with frameshift mutations and MSI. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the adaptive and imbalanced increase in AAG and APE1 is a novel mechanism contributing to MSI in patients with UC and may extend to chronic inflammatory or other diseases with MSI of unknown etiology.
Lorne J. Hofseth, Mohammed A. Khan, Mark Ambrose, Olga Nikolayeva, Meng Xu-Welliver, Maria Kartalou, S. Perwez Hussain, Richard B. Roth, Xiaoling Zhou, Leah E. Mechanic, Irit Zurer, Varda Rotter, Leona D. Samson, Curtis C. Harris
Prostate cancer is one of the most diagnosed and mortal cancers in western countries. A major clinical problem is the development of androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC) during antihormonal treatment. The molecular mechanisms underlying the change from androgen dependence to independence of these tumors are poorly understood and represent a challenge to develop new therapies. Based on genetic data showing amplification of the c-myc gene in AIPC, we studied the ability of c-myc to confer AIPC cell growth. Human androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells overexpressing c-myc grew independently of androgens and presented tumorigenic properties in androgen-depleted conditions. Analysis of signalling pathways by pharmacological inhibitors of the androgen receptor (AR) or by RNA interference directed against AR or c-myc showed that c-myc acted downstream of AR through multiple growth effectors. Thus c-myc is required for androgen-dependent growth and following ectopic expression can induce androgen-independent growth. Moreover, RNA interference directed against c-myc showed that growth of human AIPC cells, AR-positive or -negative, required c-myc expression. Furthermore, we showed that c-myc–overexpressing cells retain a functional p53 pathway and thus respond to etoposide.
David Bernard, Albin Pourtier-Manzanedo, Jesús Gil, David H. Beach