Survival outcomes for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma (NB) have significantly improved with anti-disialoganglioside GD2 mAb therapy, which promotes NK cell activation through antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. NK cell activation requires an interaction between inhibitory killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and HLA class I ligands. NK cells lacking KIRs that are specific for self HLA are therefore “unlicensed” and hyporesponsive. mAb-treated NB patients lacking HLA class I ligands for their inhibitory KIRs have significantly higher survival rates, suggesting that NK cells expressing KIRs for non-self HLA are mediating tumor control in these individuals. We found that, in the presence of mAb, both licensed and unlicensed NK cells are highly activated in vitro. However, HLA class I expression on NB cell lines selectively inhibited licensed NK cell activity, permitting primarily unlicensed NK cells to mediate antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. These results indicate that unlicensed NK cells play a key antitumor role in patients undergoing mAb therapy via antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, thus explaining the potent “missing KIR ligand” benefit in patients with NB.
Nidale Tarek, Jean-Benoit Le Luduec, Meighan M. Gallagher, Junting Zheng, Jeffrey M. Venstrom, Elizabeth Chamberlain, Shakeel Modak, Glenn Heller, Bo Dupont, Nai-Kong V. Cheung, Katharine C. Hsu
Metastatic cancer is extremely difficult to treat, and the presence of metastases greatly reduces a cancer patient’s likelihood of long-term survival. The ZEB1 transcriptional repressor promotes metastasis through downregulation of microRNAs (miRs) that are strong inducers of epithelial differentiation and inhibitors of stem cell factors. Given that each miR can target multiple genes with diverse functions, we posited that the prometastatic network controlled by ZEB1 extends beyond these processes. We tested this hypothesis using a mouse model of human lung adenocarcinoma metastasis driven by ZEB1, human lung carcinoma cells, and human breast carcinoma cells. Transcriptional profiling studies revealed that ZEB1 controls the expression of numerous oncogenic and tumor-suppressive miRs, including miR-34a. Ectopic expression of miR-34a decreased tumor cell invasion and metastasis, inhibited the formation of promigratory cytoskeletal structures, suppressed activation of the RHO GTPase family, and regulated a gene expression signature enriched in cytoskeletal functions and predictive of outcome in human lung adenocarcinomas. We identified several miR-34a target genes, including Arhgap1, which encodes a RHO GTPase activating protein that was required for tumor cell invasion. These findings demonstrate that ZEB1 drives prometastatic actin cytoskeletal remodeling by downregulating miR-34a expression and provide a compelling rationale to develop miR-34a as a therapeutic agent in lung cancer patients.
Young-Ho Ahn, Don L. Gibbons, Deepavali Chakravarti, Chad J. Creighton, Zain H. Rizvi, Henry P. Adams, Alexander Pertsemlidis, Philip A. Gregory, Josephine A. Wright, Gregory J. Goodall, Elsa R. Flores, Jonathan M. Kurie
The initiation of breast cancer is associated with increased expression of tumor-promoting estrogen receptor α (ERα) protein and decreased expression of tumor-suppressive ERβ protein. However, the mechanism underlying this process is unknown. Here we show that PES1 (also known as Pescadillo), an estrogen-inducible protein that is overexpressed in breast cancer, can regulate the balance between ERα and ERβ. We found that PES1 modulated many estrogen-responsive genes by enhancing the transcriptional activity of ERα while inhibiting transcriptional activity of ERβ. Consistent with this regulation of ERα and ERβ transcriptional activity, PES1 increased the stability of the ERα protein and decreased that of ERβ through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, mediated by the carboxyl terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP). Moreover, PES1 transformed normal human mammary epithelial cells and was required for estrogen-induced breast tumor growth in nude mice. Further analysis of clinical samples showed that expression of PES1 correlated positively with ERα expression and negatively with ERβ expression and predicted good clinical outcome in breast cancer. Our data demonstrate that PES1 contributes to breast tumor growth through regulating the balance between ERα and ERβ and may be a better target for the development of drugs that selectively regulate ERα and ERβ activities.
Long Cheng, Jieping Li, Yongjian Han, Jing Lin, Chang Niu, Zhichao Zhou, Bin Yuan, Ke Huang, Jiezhi Li, Kai Jiang, Hao Zhang, Lihua Ding, Xiaojie Xu, Qinong Ye
MicroRNA-122 (miR-122), which accounts for 70% of the liver’s total miRNAs, plays a pivotal role in the liver. However, its intrinsic physiological roles remain largely undetermined. We demonstrated that mice lacking the gene encoding miR-122a (Mir122a) are viable but develop temporally controlled steatohepatitis, fibrosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These mice exhibited a striking disparity in HCC incidence based on sex, with a male-to-female ratio of 3.9:1, which recapitulates the disease incidence in humans. Impaired expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) contributed to steatosis, which was reversed by in vivo restoration of Mttp expression. We found that hepatic fibrosis onset can be partially attributed to the action of a miR-122a target, the Klf6 transcript. In addition, Mir122a–/– livers exhibited disruptions in a range of pathways, many of which closely resemble the disruptions found in human HCC. Importantly, the reexpression of miR-122a reduced disease manifestation and tumor incidence in Mir122a–/– mice. This study demonstrates that mice with a targeted deletion of the Mir122a gene possess several key phenotypes of human liver diseases, which provides a rationale for the development of a unique therapy for the treatment of chronic liver disease and HCC.
Wei-Chih Tsai, Sheng-Da Hsu, Chu-Sui Hsu, Tsung-Ching Lai, Shu-Jen Chen, Roger Shen, Yi Huang, Hua-Chien Chen, Chien-Hsin Lee, Ting-Fen Tsai, Ming-Ta Hsu, Jaw-Ching Wu, Hsien-Da Huang, Ming-Shi Shiao, Michael Hsiao, Ann-Ping Tsou
miR-122, an abundant liver-specific microRNA (miRNA), regulates cholesterol metabolism and promotes hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication. Reduced miR-122 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) correlates with metastasis and poor prognosis. Nevertheless, the consequences of sustained loss of function of miR-122 in vivo have not been determined. Here, we demonstrate that deletion of mouse Mir122 resulted in hepatosteatosis, hepatitis, and the development of tumors resembling HCC. These pathologic manifestations were associated with hyperactivity of oncogenic pathways and hepatic infiltration of inflammatory cells that produce pro-tumorigenic cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF. Moreover, delivery of miR-122 to a MYC-driven mouse model of HCC strongly inhibited tumorigenesis, further supporting the tumor suppressor activity of this miRNA. These findings reveal critical functions for miR-122 in the maintenance of liver homeostasis and have important therapeutic implications, including the potential utility of miR-122 delivery for selected patients with HCC and the need for careful monitoring of patients receiving miR-122 inhibition therapy for HCV.
Shu-hao Hsu, Bo Wang, Janaiah Kota, Jianhua Yu, Stefan Costinean, Huban Kutay, Lianbo Yu, Shoumei Bai, Krista La Perle, Raghu R. Chivukula, Hsiaoyin Mao, Min Wei, K. Reed Clark, Jerry R. Mendell, Michael A. Caligiuri, Samson T. Jacob, Joshua T. Mendell, Kalpana Ghoshal
Mutations that activate the fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) receptor are among the most prevalent mutations in acute myeloid leukemias. The oncogenic role of FLT3 mutants has been attributed to the abnormal activation of several downstream signaling pathways, such as STAT3, STAT5, ERK1/2, and AKT. Here, we discovered that the cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) pathway is also affected by internal tandem duplication mutations in FLT3. Moreover, we also identified C/EBPα, a granulopoiesis-promoting transcription factor, as a substrate for CDK1. We further demonstrated that CDK1 phosphorylates C/EBPα on serine 21, which inhibits its differentiation-inducing function. Importantly, we found that inhibition of CDK1 activity relieves the differentiation block in cell lines with mutated FLT3 as well as in primary patient–derived peripheral blood samples. Clinical trials with CDK1 inhibitors are currently under way for various malignancies. Our data strongly suggest that targeting the CDK1 pathway might be applied in the treatment of FLT3ITD mutant leukemias, especially those resistant to FLT3 inhibitor therapies.
Hanna S. Radomska, Meritxell Alberich-Jordà, Britta Will, David Gonzalez, Ruud Delwel, Daniel G. Tenen
The DNA damage response (DDR) is a complex regulatory network that is critical for maintaining genome integrity. Posttranslational modifications are widely used to ensure strict spatiotemporal control of signal flow, but how the DDR responds to environmental cues, such as changes in ambient oxygen tension, remains poorly understood. We found that an essential component of the ATR/CHK1 signaling pathway, the human homolog of the Caenorhabditis elegans biological clock protein CLK-2 (HCLK2), associated with and was hydroxylated by prolyl hydroxylase domain protein 3 (PHD3). HCLK2 hydroxylation was necessary for its interaction with ATR and the subsequent activation of ATR/CHK1/p53. Inhibiting PHD3, either with the pan-hydroxylase inhibitor dimethyloxaloylglycine (DMOG) or through hypoxia, prevented activation of the ATR/CHK1/p53 pathway and decreased apoptosis induced by DNA damage. Consistent with these observations, we found that mice lacking PHD3 were resistant to the effects of ionizing radiation and had decreased thymic apoptosis, a biomarker of genomic integrity. Our identification of HCLK2 as a substrate of PHD3 reveals the mechanism through which hypoxia inhibits the DDR, suggesting hydroxylation of HCLK2 is a potential therapeutic target for regulating the ATR/CHK1/p53 pathway.
Liang Xie, Xinchun Pi, Ashutosh Mishra, Guohua Fong, Junmin Peng, Cam Patterson
Cancer is principally considered a genetic disease, and numerous mutations are thought essential to drive its growth. However, the existence of genomically stable cancers and the emergence of mutations in genes that encode chromatin remodelers raise the possibility that perturbation of chromatin structure and epigenetic regulation are capable of driving cancer formation. Here we sequenced the exomes of 35 rhabdoid tumors, highly aggressive cancers of early childhood characterized by biallelic loss of SMARCB1, a subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. We identified an extremely low rate of mutation, with loss of SMARCB1 being essentially the sole recurrent event. Indeed, in 2 of the cancers there were no other identified mutations. Our results demonstrate that high mutation rates are dispensable for the genesis of cancers driven by mutation of a chromatin remodeling complex. Consequently, cancer can be a remarkably genetically simple disease.
Ryan S. Lee, Chip Stewart, Scott L. Carter, Lauren Ambrogio, Kristian Cibulskis, Carrie Sougnez, Michael S. Lawrence, Daniel Auclair, Jaume Mora, Todd R. Golub, Jaclyn A. Biegel, Gad Getz, Charles W.M. Roberts
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic illness caused by complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors that propagate inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal epithelium. This state of chronic inflammation increases the risk for development of colitis-associated cancer in IBD patients. Thus, the development of targeted therapeutics that can disrupt the cycle of inflammation and epithelial injury is highly attractive. However, such biological therapies, including those targeting epidermal growth factor receptor pathways, pose a risk of increasing cancer rates. Using two mouse models of colitis-associated cancer, we found that epidermal growth factor receptor inactivation accelerated the incidence and progression of colorectal tumors. By modulating inflammation and epithelial regeneration, epidermal growth factor receptor optimized the response to chronic inflammation and limited subsequent tumorigenesis. These findings provide important insights into the pathogenesis of colitis-associated cancer and suggest that epidermal growth factor–based therapies for IBD may reduce long-term cancer risk.
Philip E. Dubé, Fang Yan, Shivesh Punit, Nandini Girish, Steven J. McElroy, M. Kay Washington, D. Brent Polk
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are heterogeneous and aggressive skin tumors for which innovative, targeted therapies are needed. Here, we identify a p53/TACE pathway that is negatively regulated by FOS and show that the FOS/p53/TACE axis suppresses SCC by inducing differentiation. We found that epidermal Fos deletion in mouse tumor models or pharmacological FOS/AP-1 inhibition in human SCC cell lines induced p53 expression. Epidermal cell differentiation and skin tumor suppression were caused by a p53-dependent transcriptional activation of the metalloprotease TACE/ADAM17 (TNF-α–converting enzyme), a previously unknown p53 target gene that was required for NOTCH1 activation. Although half of cutaneous human SCCs display p53-inactivating mutations, restoring p53/TACE activity in mouse and human skin SCCs induced tumor cell differentiation independently of the p53 status. We propose FOS/AP-1 inhibition or p53/TACE reactivating strategies as differentiation-inducing therapies for SCCs.
Juan Guinea-Viniegra, Rainer Zenz, Harald Scheuch, María Jiménez, Latifa Bakiri, Peter Petzelbauer, Erwin F. Wagner