Cancer Research

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN: 00085472 / 15387445
Total articles ≅ 124,017

Latest articles in this journal

Wei Cui, Zhijun Huang, Seung-Gi Jin, Jennifer Johnson, , Galen Hostetter,
Hypermethylation of CpG islands is a common feature of cancer cells and predominantly affects Polycomb-associated genomic regions. Elucidating the underlying mechanisms leading to DNA hypermethylation in human cancer could help identify chemoprevention strategies. Here, we evaluated the role of Polycomb complexes and 5-methylcytosine oxidases in protecting CpG islands from DNA methylation and observed that four genes coding for components of Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) are downregulated in tumors. Inactivation of RYBP, a key activator of variant PRC1 complexes, in combination with all three 5-methylcytosine oxidases (TET proteins) in nontumorigenic bronchial epithelial cells led to widespread hypermethylation of Polycomb-marked CpG islands affecting almost 4,000 target genes, which closely resembled the DNA hypermethylation landscape observed in human squamous cell lung tumors. The RYBP- and TET-deficient cells showed methylation-associated aberrant regulation of cancer-relevant pathways, including defects in the Hippo tumor suppressor network. Notably, the quadruple knockout cells acquired a transformed phenotype, including anchorage-independent growth and formation of squamous cell carcinomas in mice. This work provides a mechanism promoting hypermethylation of CpG islands and shows that such hypermethylation can lead to cell transformation. The breakdown of a two-pronged protection mechanism can be a route towards genome-wide hypermethylation of CpG islands in tumors.
Xiaoqing Cheng, Yirui Sun, Maureen Highkin, Nagalaxmi Vemalapally, Xiaohua Jin, Brandon Zhou, Julie L. Prior, Ashley R. Tipton, Shunqiang Li, , et al.
In metastatic breast cancer, HER2 activating mutations frequently co-occur with mutations in the PIK3CA, TP53, or E-cadherin genes. Of these co-occurring mutations, HER2 and PIK3CA mutations are the most prevalent gene pair, with approximately 40% of HER2 mutated breast cancers also having activating mutations in PIK3CA. To study the effects of co-occurring HER2 and PIK3CA mutations, we bred genetically engineered mice with the HER2V777L; PIK3CAH1047R transgenes (HP mice) and studied the resulting breast cancers both in vivo as well as ex vivo using cancer organoids. HP breast cancers show accelerated tumor formation in vivo and increased invasion and migration in in vitro assays. HP breast cancers have resistance to the pan-HER tyrosine kinase inhibitor, neratinib, but are effectively treated by neratinib plus trastuzumab deruxtecan. Proteomic and RNA-Seq analysis of HP breast cancers showed increased gene expression of Cyclin D1 and p21WAF1/Cip1 and changes in cell cycle markers. Combining neratinib with CDK4/6 inhibitors was another effective strategy for HP breast cancers with neratinib plus palbociclib showing a statistically significant reduction in mouse HP tumors as compared to either drug alone. We validated both the neratinib plus trastuzumab deruxtecan and neratinib plus palbociclib combinations using a human breast cancer patient-derived xenograft with very similar HER2 and PIK3CA mutations. Further, these two drug combinations effectively treated spontaneous lung metastasis in syngeneic mice transplanted with HP breast cancer organoids. Both of these drug combinations are being tested in phase 1 clinical trials and this study provides valuable preclinical evidence for them.
, Tianqin Li, , Yang Wu, Amanda Ferber, Lyuqin Chen, Daniel D. Brown, , , , et al.
As one of the most successful cancer therapeutic targets, estrogen receptor-α (ER/ESR1) has been extensively studied over the past few decades. Sequencing technological advances have enabled genome-wide analysis of ER action. However, comparison of individual studies is limited by different experimental designs, and few meta-analyses are available. Here, we established the EstroGene database through unified processing of data from 246 experiments including 136 transcriptomic, cistromic, and epigenetic datasets focusing on estradiol (E2)-triggered ER activation across 19 breast cancer cell lines. A user-friendly browser ( was generated for multi-omic data visualization involving gene inquiry under user-defined experimental conditions and statistical thresholds. Notably, annotation of metadata associated with public datasets revealed a considerable lack of experimental details. Comparison of independent RNA-seq or ER ChIP-seq data with the same design showed large variability and only strong effects could be consistently detected. Temporal estrogen response metasignatures were defined, and the association of E2 response rate with temporal transcriptional factors, chromatin accessibility, and heterogeneity of ER expression was evaluated. Unexpectedly, harmonizing 146 E2-induced transcriptomic datasets uncovered a subset of genes harboring bidirectional E2-regulation, which was linked to unique transcriptional factors and highly associated with immune surveillance in the clinical setting. Furthermore, the context dependent E2 response programs were characterized in MCF7 and T47D cell lines, the two most frequently used models in the EstroGene database. Collectively, the EstroGene database provides an informative and practical resource to the cancer research community to uniformly evaluate key reproducible features of ER regulomes and unravels modes of ER signaling.
, , Marielle Nebout, Claudie Bosc, Estelle Saland, Emeline Boet, , , Delphine Debayle, Lucile Fleuriot, et al.
Dependency on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) is a potential weakness for leukemic stem cells (LSCs) that can be exploited for therapeutic purposes. Fatty acid oxidation (FAO) is a crucial OxPhos-fueling catabolic pathway for some acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells, particularly chemotherapy-resistant AML cells. Here, we identified cold sensitivity at 4°C (cold killing challenge; CKC4), commonly used for sample storage, as a novel vulnerability that selectively kills AML LSCs with active FAO-supported OxPhos while sparing normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Cell death of OxPhos-positive leukemic cells was induced by membrane permeabilization at 4°C; by sharp contrast, leukemic cells relying on glycolysis were resistant. Forcing glycolytic cells to activate OxPhos metabolism sensitized them to CKC4. Lipidomic and proteomic analyzes showed that OxPhos shapes the composition of the plasma membrane and introduces variation of 22 lipid subfamilies between cold-sensitive and cold-resistant cells. Together, these findings indicate that steady-state energy metabolism at body temperature predetermines the sensitivity of AML LSCs to cold temperature, suggesting that cold sensitivity could be a potential OxPhos biomarker. These results could have important implications for designing experiments for AML research to avoid cell storage at 4°C.
Sayanika Dutta, Girijesh Patel, Hamed Khedmatgozar, Daniel Latour, Manisha Tripathi, Srinivas Nandana
Background: A major obstacle in the treatment of metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is acquired resistance to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). It is now recognized that ADT, particularly the 2nd generation androgen receptor (AR) antagonists, such as enzalutamide, orchestrate plasticity changes/molecular alterations leading to therapy resistance. It is hypothesized in the field that the emergence of castrate resistance to 2nd generation ADT is driven by a switch/bypass from AR signaling to the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling. Therefore, identifying the molecular mechanisms that concurrently drive the loss of AR and gain of GR signaling may be crucial in devising novel and effective therapeutic modalities against mCRPC. We have previously reported that TBX2, a T-box transcription factor (TF) with both repressor and activator functions, is over-expressed in CRPC and that TBX2 drives PCa bone metastatic progression. In agreement with our findings, a recent report showed that TBX2 is a key TF that drives plasticity associated with CRPC. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which TBX2 drives plasticity associated with enzalutamide resistance. Methods: We genetically modulated TBX2 using the dominant negative (DN), sh-RNA, and overexpression (OE) approaches. RNA-seq was performed, and qRT-PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses were used for validation. Further, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and site directed mutagenesis (SDM). Results: Using publicly available databases, we observed a negative correlation between TBX2 and AR; and a positive correlation between TBX2 and GR. Strikingly, blocking TBX2 expression in wildtype PC3 human PCa cells that do not express AR mRNA or protein led to a marked elevation of AR signature as assessed by RNA-seq analysis. These results were confirmed/validated at the protein level using additional human PCa cell lines. Further, these results were validated using all three approaches to genetically modulate TBX2, i.e. DN, shRNA, and OE. Further, ChIP and SDM analyses confirmed that TBX2 directly binds and transcriptionally represses AR. Conversely, genetic modulation of TBX2 was positively associated with GR expression, and TBX2 was found to directly bind to the GR promoter. Further, we found that knock-down of GR in LNCaP cells overexpressing TBX2 (LNCaPTBX2OE) reversed enzalutamide resistance that is associated with elevated TBX2 expression. Conclusions: Our studies suggest that TBX2 acts as the molecular switch that on one hand represses AR and on the other hand activates GR. Further our study paves the way for potential therapeutic strategies against the AR/GR switch/bypass in CRPC wherein AR and GR signaling could be co-inhibited through targeting TBX2. Citation Format: Sayanika Dutta, Girijesh Patel, Hamed Khedmatgozar, Daniel Latour, Manisha Tripathi, Srinivas Nandana. TBX2 acts as a molecular switch to downregulate androgen receptor and upregulate glucocorticoid receptor signaling in castrate resistant prostate cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Advances in Prostate Cancer Research; 2023 Mar 15-18; Denver, Colorado. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2023;83(11 Suppl):Abstract nr A011.
Aishwarya Tagat, Hiresh Ayoubian, Angela Zaccagnino, Michael Stöckle, Johannes Linxweiler, Kerstin Junker
The unique tumor microenvironment (TME) of the prostate and in particular fibroblasts are known to play an essential role in the growth and progression of prostate cancer (PCa). Earlier studies from our group have shown that co-injection of patient-derived prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and non-cancer associated fibroblasts (NCAFs) with tumor cells stimulated tumor growth in xenograft models compared to the injection of tumor cells alone. Our present study aims to investigate the effect of patient-derived prostate CAFs and NCAFs on the functional aspects of tumor cells in-vitro and their role in epigenetic regulation. Three prostate CAFs and NCAFs pairs were isolated from tissues of patients who had undergone radical prostatectomy and cultivated in-vitro. We then examined the influence of these fibroblast pairs on the viability, proliferation and migration of prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and LNCaP C4-2. Cells were co-cultured in a transwell system with tumor cells in the lower chamber and fibroblasts in the upper chamber for 2 and 4 days and the viability of the tumor cells was measured using WST-1 assay and proliferation using BrdU colorimetric assay. For migration assay, the tumor cells were pretreated with serum-deficient medium and were co-cultured in a transwell system as mentioned above for 4 days. The tumor cells were collected after co-culture and the migration was measured using the transwell migration system as well as Xcelligence real-time assays in parallel. Further, extracellular vesicles (EV) were enriched from fibroblasts by ultracentrifugation. The expression of miRNAs isolated from cells and EVs was studied by microarray analysis and RT-qPCR. Patient-derived fibroblasts significantly increased the viability and proliferation of the tumor cells compared to the tumor cells alone. The influence of NCAFs on both viability and proliferation was more pronounced compared to CAFs on the LNCaP cells. However, the influence of the fibroblasts was vice versa on the LNCaP-C4-2 cells. The LNCaP cells exhibited no migration whereas the LNCaP C4-2 cells exhibited slight migration. The effect of different fibroblast pairs on the migration of LNCaP C4-2 cells varied among the pairs. 103 miRNAs and 6 miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed between CAFs and NCAFs and between their EVs, respectively. miR-10b-5p and miR-210-3p were confirmed by RT-qPCR to be upregulated in the CAFs. Our in-vitro data confirmed the in-vivo results. Fibroblasts modulate viability, proliferation and migration of PCa. However, the effects are heterogeneous due to patient and cell line-specific characteristics. Further studies will focus on the possible effects of fibroblasts on apoptosis in correlation to viability and invasion. CAFs and their EVs are characterized by specific miRNA expression supporting an epigenetic regulation of fibroblast characteristics and functions. Therefore, we will further investigate the mechanism of tumor progression induced by fibroblasts and their EVs via miRNA regulation. Citation Format: Aishwarya Tagat, Hiresh Ayoubian, Angela Zaccagnino, Michael Stöckle, Johannes Linxweiler, Kerstin Junker. Influence of tumor-associated fibroblasts and their exosomes in the development and progression of prostate cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Advances in Prostate Cancer Research; 2023 Mar 15-18; Denver, Colorado. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2023;83(11 Suppl):Abstract nr B039.
Lanshan Huang, Sophia Halliday, Linnea Olsson, Alina Hamilton, Erin Kirk, Laura Farnan, Adrian Gerstel, Stephanie Craig, Stephen Finn, Melissa Wilson, et al.
Vigorous physical activity has been associated with lower risk of fatal prostate cancer and improved cancer-specific outcomes. However, the mechanisms contributing to this relationship are not understood. The current study characterized inflammation in prostate cancer tissue and evaluated features of the immune microenvironment related to physical activity and prostate cancer aggressiveness. We studied 119 men with prostate cancer participating in the University of North Carolina Health Registry/Cancer Survivorship Cohort who underwent radical prostatectomy. Structured questionnaires were administered at patients' study entry to assess physical activity. Digital image analysis of H&E-stained tissue sections using QuPath was applied to quantify Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TILs) in glands and stroma of tumor and adjacent normal regions. Nanostring gene expression profiling was performed on tumour tissue and a 50-gene signature utilized to predict immune cell types. ERG gene expression was used as a surrogate of TMPRSS2:ERG fusion status. Logistic regression was used to test associations of inflammation features with tumour aggressiveness and recreational physical activity measures. Cox proportional hazards analysis was applied to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between immune cell types and risk of prostate cancer progression, with validation in a separate study of 101 radiation-treated prostate cancer patients. Our study comprised 77% white and 23% black men, and 25% of men had Gleason grade ≥4+3, 29% men reported recreational vigorous activity prior to diagnosis of prostate cancer. Acute tumour inflammation affected 30% of men, while 53% showed acute inflammation of adjacent tissue. TILs were more abundant in glands than stroma; two-fold more in tumour and five-fold more in adjacent tissue. Frequency of inflammation was similar between ERG-positive and ERG-negative tumours. An inverse relationship was observed between recreational vigorous activity and TILs abundance. Expression of the immune gene signature was also significantly lower in men reporting any recreational vigorous activity compared to those reporting none (P=0.044), driven by reduced gene expression-predicted abundance of Th cells, exhausted CD8 T cells, macrophages and neutrophils. Moreover, T cells, Tfh, Treg, exhausted CD8 T cells and macrophages were significantly increased in men with Gleason grade ≥4+3 or clinical stage ≥III. Treg abundance was positively associated with prostate cancer progression (HR, 1.35; 95%CI 1.03-1.78) after adjusting for age and race, which was further strengthened in ERG-positive patients (HR, 1.60; 95%CI 1.03-2.47). We show that the immune landscape in prostate cancer is altered in men reporting vigorous physical activity. Immune cell types associated with an immunosuppressive microenvironment, including exhausted CD8 T cells, Tregs, and macrophages, may be potential candidate mechanisms linking recreational vigorous activity with reduced prostate tumour aggressiveness and improved outcomes. Citation Format: Lanshan Huang, Sophia Halliday, Linnea Olsson, Alina Hamilton, Erin Kirk, Laura Farnan, Adrian Gerstel, Stephanie Craig, Stephen Finn, Melissa Wilson, Melissa Troester, Eboneé Butler, Jeannette Bensen, Sara Wobker, Emma Allott. Vigorous physical activity associated changes in immune cell infiltrate are linked with reduced prostate tumour aggressiveness [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Advances in Prostate Cancer Research; 2023 Mar 15-18; Denver, Colorado. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2023;83(11 Suppl):Abstract nr B028.
Surendra Gulla, Jonathan E. Bard, David J. VanderWeele, Kathleen Kelly, Remi Adelaiye-Ogala
Androgen receptor (AR) remains active in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), and AR cistrome can become extensively reprogrammed with disease progression. Recent findings from our group and others have shown an association with non-canonical AR signature with resistance to enzalutamide. However, the complete mechanism is not fully revealed. EVI1 belongs to the zinc-finger transcription factor family, and overexpression of EVI1 is associated with poor patient outcomes. However, its role in the context of resistance to AR-targeted therapy remains unclear. Our preliminary data from ChIP-seq and GSEA analysis shows a significant enrichment of EVI1 target gene-set captured from annotated enzalutamide-resistant AR binding sites. Hypothesis: EVI1 cooperates in regulating the non-canonical AR activity associated with resistance to AR targeted therapy and blocking EVI1 may overcome resistance to target therapy. Methods: Using a PDX model of advanced enzalutamide-resistant CRPC, we performed single-cell ATAC-seq + gene expression multi-omic assay. Next, we determined the enrichment of canonical vs. non-canonical AR signatures across cell populations. Using motif analysis and transcription factor foot printing, we determine EVI1 (MECOM) motif z score and enrichment. Results: Our findings demonstrate enrichment of non-canonical AR signatures in distinct population of cells following exposure to enzalutamide. In addition, the subpopulation of cells enriched for non-canonical AR cistrome also exhibited high EVI1 (MECOM) motif z-scores. Conclusion: Our data suggests a potential link between EVI1 and non-canonical AR signaling. Ongoing mechanistic studies will provide insight mechanism by which EVI1 controls non canonical AR activity and its vulnerabilities. Citation Format: Surendra Gulla, Jonathan E. Bard, David J. VanderWeele, Kathleen Kelly, Remi Adelaiye-Ogala. EVI1 oncogenic role in non-canonical AR driven lethal prostate cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Advances in Prostate Cancer Research; 2023 Mar 15-18; Denver, Colorado. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2023;83(11 Suppl):Abstract nr B003.
Latese Evans, Moriah Cunningham, Jasibel Vasquez Gonzalez, Matthew Schiewer
Retinoblastoma (RB) protein is a tumor suppressor that represses the transcriptional activity of E2Fs by forming an RB-E2F repressor complex. The phosphorylation of RB by CDK4/6 results in dissociation of the complex and subsequent E2F transcriptional activity, leading to cell cycle progression. RB loss occurs in 10-15% of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) which is associated tumor aggressiveness and poor clinical outcomes. RB loss is also associated differential treatment response to an array of treatment modalities, including hormone therapy and DNA damage inducing chemotherapy. RB depletion leads to enhanced expression of DNA repair proteins due to increased transcriptional activity of E2F1. PARP-1 is an enzyme that plays a role in multiple nuclear processes including DNA repair, transcriptional regulation, and chromatin dynamics. Increased PARP-1 activity is associated with and correlates to poor clinical outcomes in CRPC. E2F1 transcriptional activity is supported by PARP enzymatic activity, but the consequences of the functional interaction between the RB/E2F axis and PARP remains an open line of inquiry, which may yield novel treatment strategies and/or biomarkers of response. Isogenic models of RB1 knockdown were used to evaluate the impact of RB loss on PARP enzymatic activity. PARP-1 protein increases upon RB1 depletion with a concomitant increase in PARP activity. Growth curve assays were conducted to examine the biological response to PARP inhibition in the isogenic models. Results suggest a differential response between control and RB1 depleted cells when treated with Olaparib. RB1depleted cells also exhibit differential PARP activity in response to treatment with the IC50 dose of Olaparib. Future studies have been designed to evaluate the impact of RB alteration and manipulation of PARP activity on biological and molecular processes that are governed by RB/E2F and PARP. Citation Format: Latese Evans, Moriah Cunningham, Jasibel Vasquez Gonzalez, Matthew Schiewer. Interplay between PARP and the RB/E2F axis in prostate cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Advances in Prostate Cancer Research; 2023 Mar 15-18; Denver, Colorado. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2023;83(11 Suppl):Abstract nr B063.
Goutam Chakraborty, Rahim Hirani, Subhiksha Nandakumar, Nabila Zaman, Teja Muralidhar Kalidindi, Sai Harisha Rajanala, Gwo-Shu M. Lee, Konrad H. Stopsack, Naga Vara Kishore Pillarsetty, Lorelei A. Mucci, et al.
Introduction: A leading contributor to the significant mortality burden of prostate cancer (PC) is the resistance to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Although most PCs are initially sensitive to ADT, the duration of response is variable, and relapse invariably occurs in the transition to metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), the lethal form of the disease. Therefore, it is essential to discover and validate early resistance mechanisms that initially protect castration sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC) cells from ADT and to develop novel combination therapies that can block or delay the ADT-induced shift from CSPC to mCRPC. Overexpression of the hallmark antiapoptotic gene B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) is a potential mechanism of resistance to ADT. Methods: To discover the molecular drivers of castration resistance, we analyzed the tumor transcriptomic profile of a cohort of localized PC patients (N=58) treated with neoadjuvant-intensive ADT (NCT00924469; Taplin et al, 2014, Sowalsky et al, 2018). Experimentally, we treated CSPC cells and genetically engineered mice (GEM) prostate tumors with ADT and analyzed the signaling pathways, which were enriched post-ADT treatment compared untreated samples. Results: We discovered ~10-fold increased mRNA expression of BCL2 (p<0.001) in ADT-treated localized PC patients compared to untreated (standard of care surgery) patients in NCT00924469 samples. Our experimental study showed that treatment with AR inhibitors strongly augments BCL2 expression in human CSPC cell lines and GEM PC model, indicating possible direct negative regulation of BCL2 by the AR-signaling pathway. Mechanistically, our preliminary data reveal a striking induction of cell metabolism pathways (fatty acid and xenobiotic metabolism), including activation of PI3K/AKT signaling in BCL2-overexpressing CSPC cells. We used siRNA-mediated BCL2 knockdown in LNCaP cells and showed that loss of BCL2 strongly suppressed ADT-induced AKT- phosphorylation. We also showed increased Bcl2 mRNA expression in PTEN-knockout mice-derived prostate organoids compared to the wild-type control. Furthermore, we observed that AKT kinase -inhibitor MK2206 strongly inhibits enzalutamide-induced BCL2 expression in LNCaP cells. Conclusion: Together our data indicate a non-canonical role of BCL2 in activating PI3K/AKT signaling in prostate cancer. For the first time, we demonstrate the crucial importance of AR-BCL2-AKT signaling pathway crosstalk in CSPC biology and reveal this complex signaling crosstalk may act as a key driver of CSPC transformation to lethal CRPC. Citation Format: Goutam Chakraborty, Rahim Hirani, Subhiksha Nandakumar, Nabila Zaman, Teja Muralidhar Kalidindi, Sai Harisha Rajanala, Gwo-Shu M. Lee, Konrad H. Stopsack, Naga Vara Kishore Pillarsetty, Lorelei A. Mucci, Daniel C. Danila, Philip W. Kantoff. A reciprocal signaling crosstalk between the AR and BCl2-AKT pathways induces castration resistance in castration sensitive prostate cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Advances in Prostate Cancer Research; 2023 Mar 15-18; Denver, Colorado. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2023;83(11 Suppl):Abstract nr A002.
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