BACKGROUND. Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) has achieved remarkable clinical efficacy in metastatic cancers such as melanoma and cervical cancer (CC). Here we explored the safety, feasibility and preliminary tumor response and performed translational investigations of adjuvant immunotherapy using infusion of autogenous (auto)-TILs following concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) in CC patients with locally advanced disease. METHODS. Twenty-seven CC patients with stage III to IV disease were recruited in this single-center, phase I study. TILs were isolated from lesions in the uterine cervix and generated under good manufacturing practices (GMP) conditions and then infused after CCRT plus intramuscular interleukin (IL)-2 injections. RESTULTS. From 27 patients, TILs were successfully expanded from 20 patients, with a feasibility of 74.1%. Twelve patients received TILs following CCRT. Adverse events (AEs) were primarily attributable to CCRT. Only 1 (8.3%) patient experienced severe toxicity with a grade 3 hypersensitivity reaction after TIL infusion. No autoimmune AEs, such as pneumonitis, hepatitis, or myocarditis, occurred, and there was no treatment-related mortality. Nine of 12 patients (75.0%) attained complete response, with a disease control duration of 9 to 22 months. Translational investigation showed that the transcriptomic characteristics of the infused TIL products and some immune biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment and serum of CC patients at baseline were correlated with the clinical response. CONCULSION. TIL-based ACT following CCRT was safe in an academic center setting, with potential effective responses in locally advanced CC patients. ‘Hot’ inflammatory immune environments are beneficial to the clinical efficacy of TIL-based ACT as adjuvant therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04443296. FUNDING. Natinoal Key R&D Program: Sci-Tech Key Program of the Guangzhou City Science Foundation; the Guangdong Provinve Sci-Tech International Key Program; the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
He Huang, Caiping Nie, Xiu-feng Liu, Bin Song, Jian-hui Yue, Jingxiao Xu, Jia He, Kui Li, Yan-ling Feng, Ting Wan, Min Zheng, Yanna Zhang, Wei-jun Ye, Jun-dong Li, Yan-fang Li, Jun-yun Li, Xin-Ping Cao, Zhi-min Liu, Xiao-Shi Zhang, Qing Liu, Xi Zhang, Ji-Hong Liu, Jiang Li
Acquired resistance is inevitable in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) treated with osimertinib (OSI), and the mechanisms are not well defined. The MERTK ligand GAS6 promoted downstream oncogenic signaling in EGFR-mutated (EGFRMT) NSCLC cells treated with OSI, suggesting a role for MERTK activation in OSI resistance. Indeed, treatment with MRX-2843, a first-in-class MERTK kinase inhibitor, re-sensitized GAS6-treated NSCLC cells to OSI. Both GAS6 and EGF stimulated downstream PI3K-AKT and MAPK-ERK signaling in parental cells, but only GAS6 activated these pathways in OSI resistant (OSIR) derivative cell lines. Functionally, OSIR cells were more sensitive to MRX-2843 than parental cells, suggesting acquired dependence on MERTK signaling. Furthermore, MERTK and/or its ligands were dramatically upregulated in EGFRMT tumors after treatment with OSI in both xenograft models and patient samples, consistent with induction of autocrine/paracrine MERTK activation. Moreover, treatment with MRX-2843 in combination with OSI, but not OSI alone, provided durable suppression of tumor growth in vivo, even after treatment was stopped. These data identify MERTK as a driver of bypass signaling in treatment-naïve and EGFRMT-OSIR NSCLC cells and predict that MRX-2843 and OSI combination therapy will provide clinical benefit in patients with EGFRMT NSCLC.
Dan Yan, Justus M. Huelse, Dmitri Kireev, Zikang Tan, Luxiao Chen, Subir Goyal, Xiaodong Wang, Stephen V. Frye, Madhusmita Behera, Frank Schneider, Suresh S. Ramalingam, Taofeek K. Owonikoko, H. Shelton Earp, Deborah DeRyckere, Douglas K. Graham
Aberrant expression of viral-like repeat elements is a common feature in epithelial cancers, but the significant diversity of repeat species provides a distinct view of the cancer transcriptome. Repeatome profiling across ovarian, pancreatic, and colorectal cell lines identifies distinct clustering that is independent of tissue of origin that is seen with coding gene analysis. Deeper analysis of ovarian cancer cell lines demonstrated that HSATII satellite repeat expression was highly associated with epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) and anti-correlated with interferon (IFN) response genes indicative of a more aggressive phenotype. This relationship of HSATII with high EMT and low IFN response genes was also found in RNA-seq of primary ovarian cancers and associated with significantly shorter survival in a second independent cohort of ovarian cancer patients. Repeat RNAs were also found enriched in tumor derived extracellular vesicles that were capable of stimulating monocyte derived macrophages demonstrating a mechanism of altering the tumor microenvironment with these viral-like sequences. Targeting of HSATII with anti-sense locked nucleic acids (LNAs) stimulated IFN response and induced MHC I expression in ovarian cancer cells lines, highlighting a potential strategy of modulating the repeatome to re-establish anti-tumor cell immune surveillance.
Rebecca L. Porter, Siyu Sun, Micayla N. Flores, Emily Berzolla, Eunae You, Ildiko E. Phillips, Neelima KC, Niyati Desai, Eric C. Tai, Annamaria Szabolcs, Evan R. Lang, Amaya Pankaj, Michael J. Raabe, Vishal Thapar, Katherine H. Xu, Linda T. Nieman, Daniel C. Rabe, David L. Kolin, Elizabeth H. Stover, David Pepin, Shannon L. Stott, Vikram Deshpande, Joyce F. Liu, Alexander Solovyov, Ursula A. Matulonis, Benjamin D. Greenbaum, David T. Ting
FOXA2 encodes a transcription factor mutated in 10% of endometrial cancers (ECs), with a higher mutation rate in aggressive variants. FOXA2 has essential roles in embryonic and uterine development. However, FOXA2’s role in EC is incompletely understood. Functional investigations using human and mouse EC cell lines revealed that FOXA2 controls endometrial epithelial gene expression programs regulating cell proliferation, adhesion, and endometrial-epithelial transition. In live animals, conditional inactivation of Foxa2 or Pten alone in endometrial epithelium did not result in ECs, but simultaneous inactivation of both genes resulted in lethal ECs with complete penetrance, establishing potent synergism between Foxa2 and PI3K signaling. Studies in tumor-derived cell lines and organoids highlighted additional invasion and cell growth phenotypes associated with malignant transformation and identified key mediators, including Myc and Cdh1. Transcriptome and cistrome analyses revealed that FOXA2 broadly controls gene expression programs through modification of enhancer activity in addition to regulating specific target genes, rationalizing its tumor suppressor functions. By integrating results from our cell lines, organoids, animal models, and patient data, our findings demonstrated that FOXA2 is an endometrial tumor suppressor associated with aggressive disease and with shared commonalities among its roles in endometrial function and carcinogenesis.
Subhransu S. Sahoo, Susmita G. Ramanand, Yunpeng Gao, Ahmed Abbas, Ashwani Kumar, Ileana C. Cuevas, Hao-Dong Li, Mitzi Aguilar, Chao Xing, Ram S. Mani, Diego H. Castrillon
BACKGROUND. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have modest activity in ovarian cancer (OC). To augment their activity, we used priming with a hypomethylating agent guadecitabine in a phase II study. METHODS. Eligible patients had platinum-resistant OC, normal organ function, measurable disease, and up to 5 prior regimens. Treatment was guadecitabine 30mg/m2 days 1-4, and pembrolizumab 200mg iv day 5, every 21 days. The primary endpoint was response rate. Tumor biopsies, plasma, and PBMCs were obtained at baseline and after treatment. RESULTS. Among 35 evaluable patients, there were 3 partial responses (8.6%) and 8 (22.9%) patients with stable disease, resulting in clinical benefit rate (CBR) of 31.4% (95% CI: 16.9 – 49.3%). Median duration of clinical benefit was 6.8 months. Long-interspersed element-1 (LINE1) was hypomethylated in post-treatment PBMCs; methylomic and transcriptomic analyses showed activation of anti-tumor immunity in post-treatment biopsies. High dimensional immune profiling of PBMCs showed higher frequency of naive and/or central memory CD4+ T cells, and of classical monocytes in patients with durable CBR. Higher baseline density of CD8+ T and CD20+ B cells and presence of tertiary lymphoid structures in tumors were associated with durable CBR. CONCLUSION. Epigenetic priming using a hypomethylating agent with an immune check point inhibitor was feasible and induced durable clinical benefit associated to immune responses in selected patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov registration number: NCT02901899. FUNDING. USAMRMC/CDMRP W81XWH170141 (to DM and BZ), the Diana Princess of Wales endowed Professorship and LCCTRAC funds from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (to DM), the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Immunotherapy Research funds (to BZ), Astex Pharmaceutical, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., NCI CCSG P30 CA060553 (to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center), NCI CCSG P30 CA060553 (to NUSeq Core facility), NCI CA060553 (to NU Flow Cytometry Core Facility).
Siqi Chen, Ping Xie, Matthew Cowan, Hao Huang, Horacio Cardenas, Russell Keathley, Edward J. Tanner, Gini F. Fleming, John W. Moroney, Alok Pant, Azza M. Akasha, Ramana V. Davuluri, Masha Kocherginsky, Bin Zhang, Daniela Matei
Mitochondrial proteostasis, regulated by the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt), is crucial for maintenance of cellular functions and survival. Elevated oxidative and proteotoxic stress in mitochondria must be attenuated by the activation of ubiquitous UPRmt to promote prostate cancer (PCa) growth. Here we show that the two key components of the UPRmt, heat shock protein 60 (HSP60, a mitochondrial chaperonin) and caseinolytic protease (ClpP, a mitochondrial protease) were required for the development of advanced PCa. HSP60 regulated ClpP expression via c-Myc and physically interacted with ClpP to restore mitochondrial functions promoting cancer cell survival. HSP60 maintained the ATP-producing functions of mitochondria, which activated β-catenin pathway leading to the upregulation of c-Myc. We identified an UPRmt inhibitor that blocked HSP60 interaction with ClpP and abrogated survival signaling without altering HSP60 chaperonin function. Disruption of HSP60-ClpP interaction by UPRmt inhibitor triggered metabolic stress and impeded PCa promoting signaling. Treatment with UPRmt inhibitor, or genetic ablation of Hsp60, inhibited PCa growth and progression. Together, our findings identify that HSP60-ClpP mediated UPRmt is essential for prostate tumorigenesis and HSP60-ClpP interaction represents a therapeutic vulnerability in PCa.
Rahul Kumar, Ajay Kumar Chaudhary, Jordan Woytash, Joseph R. Inigo, Abhiram A. Gokhale, Wiam Bshara, Kristopher Attwood, Jianmin Wang, Joseph A. Spernyak, Eva Rath, Neelu Yadav, Dirk Haller, David W. Goodrich, Dean G. Tang, Dhyan Chandra
Acute megakaryoblastic leukemia of Down syndrome (DS-AMKL) is a model of clonal evolution from a preleukemic transient myeloproliferative disorder requiring both a trisomy 21 (T21) and a GATA1s mutation to a leukemia driven by additional driver mutations. We modelled the megakaryocyte differentiation defect through stepwise gene editing of GATA1s, SMC3+/- and MPLW515K providing 20 different trisomy or disomy 21 iPSC clones. GATA1s profoundly reshaped iPSC-derived hematopoietic architecture with gradual myeloid-to-megakaryocyte shift and megakaryocyte differentiation alteration upon addition of SMC3 and MPL mutations. Transcriptional, chromatin accessibility and GATA1 binding data showed alteration of essential megakaryocyte differentiation genes, including NFE2 downregulation that was associated with loss of GATA1s binding and functionally-involved in megakaryocyte differentiation blockage. T21 enhanced the proliferative phenotype reproducing the cellular and molecular abnormalities of DS-AMKL. Our study provides a unique array of human cell-based models revealing individual contributions of different mutations to DS-AMKL differentiation blockage, a major determinant of leukemic progression.
Brahim Arkoun, Elie Robert, Fabien Boudia, Stefania Mazzi, Virginie Dufour, Aurelie Siret, Yasmine Mammasse, Zakia Aid, Mathieu Vieira, Aygun Imanci, Marine Aglave, Marie Cambot, Rachel Petermann, Sylvie Souquere, Philippe Rameau, Cyril Catelain, Romain Diot, Gerard Tachdjian, Olivier Hermine, Nathalie Droin, Najet Debili, Isabelle Plo, Sebastien Malinge, Eric Soler, Hana Raslova, Thomas Mercher, William Vainchenker
Molecularly targeted cancer therapy has improved outcomes for cancer patients with targetable oncoproteins, such as mutant epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in lung cancer. Yet, long-term patient survival remains limited because treatment responses are typically incomplete. One potential explanation for the lack of complete and durable responses is that oncogene-driven cancers with activating mutations in the EGFR often harbor additional co-occurring genetic alterations. This hypothesis remains untested for most genetic alterations that co-occur with mutant EGFR. Here, we report the functional impact of inactivating genetic alteration of the mRNA splicing factor RBM10 that co-occur with mutant EGFR. RBM10 deficiency decreased EGFR inhibitor efficacy in patient-derived EGFR mutant tumor models. RBM10 modulated mRNA alternative splicing of the mitochondrial apoptotic regulator Bcl-x to regulate tumor cell apoptosis during treatment. Genetic inactivation of RBM10 diminished EGFR inhibitor-mediated apoptosis by decreasing the ratio of Bcl-xS-(pro-apoptotic)-to-Bcl-xL(anti-apoptotic) Bcl-x isoforms. RBM10 deficiency was a biomarker of poor response to EGFR inhibitor treatment in clinical samples. Co-inhibition of Bcl-xL and mutant EGFR overcame resistance induced by RBM10 deficiency. This study sheds light on the role of co-occurring genetic alterations, and on the impact of splicing factor deficiency in the modulation of sensitivity to targeted kinase inhibitor cancer therapy.
Shigeki Nanjo, Wei Wu, Niki Karachaliou, Collin M. Blakely, Junji Suzuki, Yu-Ting Chou, Siraj M. Ali, D. Lucas Kerr, Victor R. Olivas, Jonathan Shue, Julia Rotow, Manasi K. Mayekar, Franziska Haderk, Nilanjana Chatterjee, Anatoly Urisman, Jia Chi Yeo, Anders J. Skanderup, Aaron C. Tan, Wai Leong Tam, Oscar Arrieta, Kazuyoshi Hosomichi, Akihiro Nishiyama, Seiji Yano, Yuriy Kirichok, Daniel S.W. Tan, Rafael Rosell, Ross A. Okimoto, Trever G. Bivona
Lymph node (LN) metastasis occurs frequently in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and predicts poor prognosis for patients. The KRASG12D mutation confers an aggressive PDAC phenotype that is susceptible to lymphatic dissemination. However, the regulatory mechanism underlying KRASG12D mutation-driven LN metastasis in PDAC remains unclear. Herein, we identified that PDAC with KRASG12D mutation (KRASG12D PDAC) sustained extracellular vesicle (EV)-mediated transmission of hnRNPA1 in a SUMOylation-dependent manner and promoted lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, hnRNPA1 bound with SUMO2 at the lysine 113 residue via KRASG12D-induced hyperactivation of SUMOylation, which enabled its interaction with TSG101 to enhance hnRNPA1 packaging and transmission via EVs. Subsequently, SUMOylation induced EV-packaged hnRNPA1 anchoring to the adenylate and uridylate-rich elements of PROX1 in lymphatic endothelial cells, thus stabilizing PROX1 mRNA. Importantly, impeding SUMOylation of EV-packaged hnRNPA1 dramatically inhibited LN metastasis of KRASG12D PDAC in a genetically engineered KrasG12D/+; Trp53R172H/+; Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) mice model. Our findings highlight the mechanism by which KRAS mutant-driven SUMOylation triggers EV-packaged hnRNPA1 transmission to promote lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis, shedding light on the potential application of hnRNPA1 as a therapeutic target in patients with KRASG12D PDAC.
Yuming Luo, Zhihua Li, Yao Kong, Wang He, Hanhao Zheng, Mingjie An, Yan Lin, Dingwen Zhang, Jiabin Yang, Yue Zhao, Changhao Chen, Rufu Chen
Wnt signaling regulates the balance between stemness and differentiation in multiple tissues and in cancer. RNF43-mutant pancreatic cancers are dependent on Wnt production, and pharmacologic blockade of the pathway, e.g., by PORCN inhibitors, leads to tumor differentiation. However, primary resistance to these inhibitors has been observed. To elucidate potential mechanisms, we performed in vivo CRISPR screens in PORCN inhibitor-sensitive RNF43-mutant pancreatic cancer xenografts. As expected, genes in the Wnt pathway whose loss conferred drug resistance were identified, including APC, AXIN1, and CTNNBIP1. Unexpectedly, the screen also identified the histone acetyltransferase EP300 (p300), but not its paralog CREBBP (CBP). We found that EP300 is silenced due to genetic alterations in all the existing RNF43-mutant pancreatic cancer cell lines that are resistant to PORCN inhibitors. Mechanistically, loss of EP300 directly down-regulated GATA6 expression, thereby silencing the GATA6-regulated differentiation program and leading to a phenotypic transition from the classical subtype to the dedifferentiated basal-like/squamous subtype of pancreatic cancer. EP300 mutation and loss of GATA6 function bypassed the anti-differentiation activity of Wnt signaling, rendering these cancer cells resistant to Wnt inhibition.
Zheng Zhong, Nathan Harmston, Kris C. Wood, Babita Madan, David M. Virshup