(searched for: doi:10.1158/1538-7445.transcagen-a2-45)
Frontiers in Oncology, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.701933
Glioblastoma (GB) remains an aggressive malignancy with an extremely poor prognosis. Discovering new candidate drug targets for GB remains an unmet medical need. Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) has been shown to act variously as both a tumour suppressor and tumour promoter in many cancers. The implications of Cav-1 expression in GB remains poorly understood. Using clinical and genomic databases we examined the relationship between tumour Cav-1 gene expression (including its spatial distribution) and clinical pathological parameters of the GB tumour and survival probability in a TCGA cohort (n=155) and CGGA cohort (n=220) of GB patients. High expression of Cav-1 represented a significant independent predictor of shortened survival (HR = 2.985, 5.1 vs 14.9 months) with a greater statistically significant impact in female patients and in the Proneural and Mesenchymal GB subtypes. High Cav-1 expression correlated with other factors associated with poor prognosis: IDH w/t status, high histological tumour grade and low KPS score. A total of 4879 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the GB tumour were found to correlate with Cav-1 expression (either positively or negatively). Pathway enrichment analysis highlighted an over-representation of these DEGs to certain biological pathways. Focusing on those that lie within a framework of epithelial to mesenchymal transition and tumour cell migration and invasion we identified 27 of these DEGs. We then examined the prognostic value of Cav-1 when used in combination with any of these 27 genes and identified a subset of combinations (with Cav-1) indicative of co-operative synergistic mechanisms of action. Overall, the work has confirmed Cav-1 can serve as an independent prognostic marker in GB, but also augment prognosis when used in combination with a panel of biomarkers or clinicopathologic parameters. Moreover, Cav-1 appears to be linked to many signalling entities within the GB tumour and as such this work begins to substantiate Cav-1 or its associated signalling partners as candidate target for GB new drug discovery.
Published: 16 May 2021
GRINA is an emerging target for cancer therapy. However, the role of GRINA expression and its correlation with cancer patient survival has not been comprehensively studied. Here, we found that mRNA and protein expression of GRINA was upregulated in breast, colon, gastric, and prostate cancers and negatively correlated with patient survival. Also, the upregulation of GRINA expression is associated with hypomethylation of its promoter region. Our GRINA-miRNAs network analysis revealed potential regulatory miRNAs regulating the GRINA expression and its downstream pathways. Next, functional enrichment and pathway analysis of genes commonly co-express with GRINA in breast, colon, gastric, and prostate cancers revealed GRINA regulatory pathways. Concurrently, our upstream regulator analysis revealed possible kinases, transcription factors, and proteins that may potentially regulate GRINA. Overall, this study demonstrates the prognostic significance of GRINA expression and identifies potential regulatory mechanisms, which might have significant implications in targeted therapies for human cancers.
Cancers, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123812
We have recently described a class of 756 genes that are widely expressed in cancers, but are normally restricted to adult germ cells, referred to as germ cell cancer genes (GC genes). We hypothesized that carcinogenesis involves the reactivation of biomolecular processes and regulatory mechanisms that, under normal circumstances, are restricted to germline development. This would imply that cancer cells share gene expression profiles with primordial germ cells (PGCs). We therefore compared the transcriptomes of human PGCs (hPGCs) and PGC-like cells (PGCLCs) with 17,382 samples from 54 healthy somatic tissues (GTEx) and 11,003 samples from 33 tumor types (TCGA), and identified 672 GC genes, expanding the known GC gene pool by 387 genes (51%). We found that GC genes are expressed in clusters that are often expressed in multiple tumor types. Moreover, the amount of GC gene expression correlates with poor survival in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. As GC genes specific to the embryonic germline are not expressed in any adult tissue, targeting these in cancer treatment may result in fewer side effects than targeting conventional cancer/testis (CT) or GC genes and may preserve fertility. We anticipate that our extended GC dataset enables improved understanding of tumor development and may provide multiple novel targets for cancer treatment development.
Published: 9 September 2020
We have recently described a class of 756 genes that are widely expressed in cancer, while normally restricted to adult germ cells, referred to as germ cell cancer genes (GC-genes). We hypothesized that carcinogenesis involves reactivation of biomolecular processes and regulatory mechanisms that, under normal circumstances, are restricted to germline development. This would imply that cancer cells share gene expression profiles with primordial germ cells (PGCs). We therefore compared the transcriptomes of human PGCs (hPGCs) and PGC-like cells (PGCLCs) with 17 382 samples from 54 healthy somatic tissues (GTEx) and 11 003 samples from 33 tumor types (TCGA), and identified 672 GC-genes, expanding the known GC-gene pool by 387 genes (51%). Because GC-genes specific to the embryonic germline are not expressed in any adult tissue, targeting these in cancer treatment may result in fewer side effects than targeting conventional cancer/testis (CT) or GC-genes and may preserve fertility. We anticipate that our extended GC-dataset enables improved understanding of tumor development and may provide multiple novel targets for cancer treatment development.
Scientific Reports, Volume 10, pp 1-16; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69499-6
Neuroblastoma, an embryonic tumor arising from neuronal crest progenitor cells, has been shown to contain a population of undifferentiated stem cells responsible for the malignant state and the unfavorable prognosis. Although many previous studies have analyzed neuroblastoma stem cells and their therapeutic targeting, this topic appears still open to novel investigations. Here we found that neurospheres derived from neuroblastoma stem-like cells showed a homogeneous staining for several key nucleolar proteins, such as Nucleolin, Nucleophosmin-1, Glypican-2 and PES-1. We investigated the effects of Roniciclib (BAY 1000394), an anticancer stem cells agent, on neurospheres and on an orthotopic neuroblastoma mouse model, discovering an impressive inhibition of tumor growth and indicating good chances for the use of Roniciclib in vivo. We demonstrated that Roniciclib is not only a Wnt/β-catenin signaling inhibitor, but also a nucleolar stress inducer, revealing a possible novel mechanism underlying Roniciclib-mediated repression of cell proliferation. Furthermore, we found that high expression of Nucleophosmin-1 correlates with patients’ short survival. The co-expression of several stem cell surface antigens such as CD44v6 and CD114, together with the nucleolar markers here described, extends new possibilities to isolate undifferentiated subpopulations from neuroblastoma and identify new targets for the treatment of this childhood malignancy.
Cancer Gene Therapy, Volume 27, pp 147-167; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41417-019-0109-7
Prominin 1 (PROM1) is considered a biomarker for cancer stem cells, although its biological role is unclear. Prominin 2 (PROM2) has also been associated with certain cancers. However, the prognostic value of PROM1 and PROM2 in cancer is controversial. Here, we performed a systematic data analysis to examine whether prominins can function as prognostic markers in human cancers. The expression of prominins was assessed and their prognostic value in human cancers was determined using univariate and multivariate survival analyses, via various online platforms. We selected a group of prominent functional protein partners of prominins by protein-protein interaction analysis. Subsequently, we investigated the relationship between mutations and copy number alterations in prominin genes and various types of cancers. Furthermore, we identified genes that correlated with PROM1 and PROM2 in certain cancers, based on their levels of expression. Gene ontology and pathway analyses were performed to assess the effect of these correlated genes on various cancers. We observed that PROM1 was frequently overexpressed in esophageal, liver, and ovarian cancers and its expression was negatively associated with prognosis, whereas PROM2 overexpression was associated with poor overall survival in lung and ovarian cancers. Based on the varying characteristics of prominins, we conclude that PROM1 and PROM2 expression differentially modulates the clinical outcomes of cancers.
International Journal of Cancer, Volume 145, pp 3402-3413; https://doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32400
The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Scientific Reports, Volume 9, pp 1-10; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-42643-7
High grade gliomas, including glioblastoma (GBM), are the most common and deadly brain cancers in adults. Here, we performed a quantitative and unbiased screening of 70 cancer-related antigens using comparative flow cytometry and, for the first time, identified integrin alpha-2 (ITGA2) as a novel molecular target for GBM. In comparison to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a well-established GBM target, ITGA2 is significantly more expressed on human GBM cells and significantly less expressed on normal human glial cells. We also found that ITGA2 antibody blockade significantly impedes GBM cell migration but not GBM cell proliferation. To investigate the utility of ITGA2 as a therapeutic target in GBM, we designed and engineered an ITGA2 antibody-directed liposome that can selectively deliver doxorubicin, a standard-of-care chemotherapeutic agent, to GBM cells. This novel approach significantly improved antitumor efficacy. We also demonstrated that these ITGA2 antibody-directed liposomes can effectively breach the blood-brain tumor barrier (BBTB) in vitro via GBM-induced angiogenesis effects. These findings support further research into the use of ITGA2 as a novel nanotherapeutic target for GBM.
Oncogene, Volume 37, pp 5694-5700; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-018-0357-2
Cancer cells have been found to frequently express genes that are normally restricted to the testis, often referred to as cancer/testis (CT) antigens or genes. Because germ cell-specific antigens are not recognized as “self” by the innate immune system, CT-genes have previously been suggested as ideal candidate targets for cancer therapy. The use of CT-genes in cancer therapy has thus far been unsuccessful, most likely because their identification has relied on gene expression in whole testis, including the testicular somatic cells, precluding the detection of true germ cell-specific genes. By comparing the transcriptomes of micro-dissected germ cell subtypes, representing the main developmental stages of human spermatogenesis, with the publicly accessible transcriptomes of 2617 samples from 49 different healthy somatic tissues and 9232 samples from 33 tumor types, we here discover hundreds of true germ cell-specific cancer expressed genes. Strikingly, we found these germ cell cancer genes (GC-genes) to be widely expressed in all analyzed tumors. Many GC-genes appeared to be involved in processes that are likely to actively promote tumor viability, proliferation and metastasis. Targeting these true GC-genes thus has the potential to inhibit tumor growth with infertility being the only possible side effect. Moreover, we identified a subset of GC-genes that are not expressed in spermatogonial stem cells. Targeting of this GC-gene subset is predicted to only lead to temporary infertility, as untargeted spermatogonial stem cells can recover spermatogenesis after treatment. Our GC-gene dataset enables improved understanding of tumor biology and provides multiple novel targets for cancer treatment.
Genes & Development, Volume 31, pp 1036-1053; https://doi.org/10.1101/gad.297077.117
We recently identified pathogenic KIF1Bβ mutations in sympathetic nervous system malignancies that are defective in developmental apoptosis. Here we deleted KIF1Bβ in the mouse sympathetic nervous system and observed impaired sympathetic nervous function and misexpression of genes required for sympathoadrenal lineage differentiation. We discovered that KIF1Bβ is required for nerve growth factor (NGF)-dependent neuronal differentiation through anterograde transport of the NGF receptor TRKA. Moreover, pathogenic KIF1Bβ mutations identified in neuroblastoma impair TRKA transport. Expression of neuronal differentiation markers is ablated in both KIF1Bβ-deficient mouse neuroblasts and human neuroblastomas that lack KIF1Bβ. Transcriptomic analyses show that unfavorable neuroblastomas resemble mouse sympathetic neuroblasts lacking KIF1Bβ independent of MYCN amplification and the loss of genes neighboring KIF1B on chromosome 1p36. Thus, defective precursor cell differentiation, a common trait of aggressive childhood malignancies, is a pathogenic effect of KIF1Bβ loss in neuroblastomas. Furthermore, neuropathy-associated KIF1Bβ mutations impede cargo transport, providing a direct link between neuroblastomas and neurodegeneration.