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BACKGROUND & AIMS - Activating mutation of the KRAS gene is common in some cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, but rare in other cancers. Chronic pancreatitis is a predisposing condition for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), but how it synergizes with KRAS mutation is not known.
METHODS - We used a mouse model to express an activating mutation of Kras in conjunction with obstruction of the main pancreatic duct to recapitulate a common etiology of human chronic pancreatitis. Because the cell of origin of PDAC is not clear, Kras mutation was introduced into either duct cells or acinar cells.
RESULTS - Although Kras expression in both cell types was protective against damage-associated cell death, chronic pancreatitis induced p53, p21, and growth arrest only in acinar-derived cells. Mutant duct cells did not elevate p53 or p21 expression and exhibited increased proliferation driving the appearance of PDAC over time.
CONCLUSIONS - One mechanism by which tissues may be susceptible or resistant to KRAS-initiated tumorigenesis is whether they undergo a p53-mediated damage response. In summary, we have uncovered a mechanism by which inflammation and intrinsic cellular programming synergize for the development of PDAC.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Solute carrier family 7 member 2 (SLC7A2, also known as CAT2) is an inducible transporter of the semi-essential amino acid L-arginine (L-Arg), which has been implicated in wound repair. We have reported that both SLC7A2 expression and L-Arg availability are decreased in colonic tissues from inflammatory bowel disease patients and that mice lacking Slc7a2 exhibit a more severe disease course when exposed to dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) compared to wild-type (WT) mice. Here, we present evidence that SLC7A2 plays a role in modulating colon tumorigenesis in the azoxymethane (AOM)-DSS model of colitis-associated carcinogenesis (CAC). SLC7A2 was localized predominantly to colonic epithelial cells in WT mice. Utilizing the AOM-DSS model, Slc7a2 mice had significantly increased tumor number, burden, and risk of high-grade dysplasia vs. WT mice. Tumors from Slc7a2 mice exhibited significantly increased levels of the proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines IL-1β, CXCL1, CXCL5, IL-3, CXCL2, CCL3, and CCL4, but decreased levels of IL-4, CXCL9, and CXCL10 compared to tumors from WT mice. This was accompanied by a shift toward pro-tumorigenic M2 macrophage activation in Slc7a2-deficient mice, as marked by increased colonic CD11bF4/80ARG1 cells with no alteration in CD11bF4/80NOS2 cells by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence microscopy. The shift toward M2 macrophage activation was confirmed in bone marrow-derived macrophages from Slc7a2 mice. In bone marrow chimeras between Slc7a2 and WT mice, the recipient genotype drove the CAC phenotype, suggesting the importance of epithelial SLC7A2 in abrogating neoplastic risk. These data reveal that SLC7A2 has a significant role in the protection from CAC in the setting of chronic colitis, and suggest that the decreased SLC7A2 in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may contribute to CAC risk. Strategies to enhance L-Arg availability by supplementing L-Arg and/or increasing L-Arg uptake could represent a therapeutic approach in IBD to reduce the substantial long-term risk of colorectal carcinoma.
Chromatin remodeler Brahma related gene 1 (BRG1) is silenced in approximately 10% of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAs). We previously showed that BRG1 inhibits the formation of intraductal pancreatic mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) and that IPMN-derived PDA originated from ductal cells. However, the role of BRG1 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-derived (PanIN-derived) PDA that originated from acinar cells remains elusive. Here, we found that exclusive elimination of Brg1 in acinar cells of Ptf1a-CreER; KrasG12D; Brg1fl/fl mice impaired the formation of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and PanIN independently of p53 mutation, while PDA formation was inhibited in the presence of p53 mutation. BRG1 bound to regions of the Sox9 promoter to regulate its expression and was critical for recruitment of upstream regulators, including PDX1, to the Sox9 promoter and enhancer in acinar cells. SOX9 expression was downregulated in BRG1-depleted ADMs/PanINs. Notably, Sox9 overexpression canceled this PanIN-attenuated phenotype in KBC mice. Furthermore, Brg1 deletion in established PanIN by using a dual recombinase system resulted in regression of the lesions in mice. Finally, BRG1 expression correlated with SOX9 expression in human PDAs. In summary, BRG1 is critical for PanIN initiation and progression through positive regulation of SOX9. Thus, the BRG1/SOX9 axis is a potential target for PanIN-derived PDA.
Although modern radiation therapy delivers a localized distribution of ionizing energy that can be used to cure primary cancers for many patients, the inevitable radiation exposure to non-targeted normal tissue leads to a risk of a radiation-related new cancer. Modern therapies often produce a complex spectrum of secondary particles, both charged and uncharged, that must be considered both in their physical radiation transport throughout the patient and their potential to induce biological damage, which depends on the microscopic energy deposition from the cascade of primary, secondary, and downstream particles. This work summarizes the experimental data for relative biological effectiveness for particles associated with modern radiotherapy in light of their capacity to induce secondary malignancies in patients. A distinction is highlighted between the radiobiological experimental data and the coarser metrics used frequently in radiation protection. For critical assessment of the risks of secondary malignancies for patients undergoing radiation therapy, a detailed description of primary and secondary radiation fields is needed, though not routinely considered for individual patient treatments. Furthermore, not only the particle type, but also the microscopic dose and track structure, must be considered, which points to a demand for detailed physics models and high-performance computing strategies to model the risks.
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) play an important role in a variety of cellular processes including growth, motility, differentiation, and metabolism. As such, dysregulation of RTK signaling leads to an assortment of human diseases, most notably, cancers. Recent large-scale genomic studies have revealed the presence of various alterations in the genes encoding RTKs such as EGFR, HER2/ErbB2, and MET, amongst many others. Abnormal RTK activation in human cancers is mediated by four principal mechanisms: gain-of-function mutations, genomic amplification, chromosomal rearrangements, and / or autocrine activation. In this manuscript, we review the processes whereby RTKs are activated under normal physiological conditions and discuss several mechanisms whereby RTKs can be aberrantly activated in human cancers. Understanding of these mechanisms has important implications for selection of anti-cancer therapies.
The hyperactivated Wnt/β-catenin signaling acts as a switch to induce epithelial to mesenchymal transition and promote colorectal cancer. However, due to its essential role in gut homeostasis, therapeutic targeting of this pathway has proven challenging. Additionally, IL-6/Stat-3 signaling, activated by microbial translocation through the dysregulated mucosal barrier in colon adenomas, facilitates the adenoma to adenocarcinomas transition. However, inter-dependence between these signaling pathways and key mucosal barrier components in regulating colon tumorigenesis and cancer progression remains unclear. In current study, we have discovered, using a comprehensive investigative regimen, a novel and tissue-specific role of claudin-3, a tight junction integral protein, in inhibiting colon cancer progression by serving as the common rheostat of Stat-3 and Wnt-signaling activation. Loss of claudin-3 also predicted poor patient survival. These findings however contrasted an upregulated claudin-3 expression in other cancer types and implicated role of the epigenetic regulation. Claudin-3-/- mice revealed dedifferentiated and leaky colonic epithelium, and developed invasive adenocarcinoma when subjected to colon cancer. Wnt-signaling hyperactivation, albeit in GSK-3β independent manner, differentiated colon cancer in claudin-3-/- mice versus WT-mice. Claudin-3 loss also upregulated the gp130/IL6/Stat3 signaling in colonic epithelium potentially assisted by infiltrating immune components. Genetic and pharmacological studies confirmed that claudin-3 loss induces Wnt/β-catenin activation, which is further exacerbated by Stat-3-activation and help promote colon cancer. Overall, these novel findings identify claudin-3 as a therapeutic target for inhibiting overactivation of Wnt-signaling to prevent CRC malignancy.
A cell's phenotype is the observable actualization of complex interactions between its genome, epigenome, and local environment. While traditional views in cancer have held that cellular and tumor phenotypes are largely functions of genomic instability, increasing attention has recently been given to epigenetic and microenvironmental influences. Such non-genetic factors allow cancer cells to experience intrinsic diversity and plasticity, and at the tumor level can result in phenotypic heterogeneity and treatment evasion. In 2006, Takahashi and Yamanaka exploited the epigenome's plasticity by "reprogramming" differentiated cells into a pluripotent state by inducing expression of a cocktail of four transcription factors. Recent advances in cancer biology have shown not only that cellular reprogramming is possible for malignant cells, but it may provide a foundation for future therapies. Nevertheless, cell reprogramming experiments are frequently plagued by low efficiency, activation of aberrant transcriptional programs, instability, and often rely on expertise gathered from systems which may not translate directly to cancer. Here, we review a theoretical framework tracing back to Waddington's epigenetic landscape which may be used to derive quantitative and qualitative understanding of cellular reprogramming. Implications for tumor heterogeneity, evolution and adaptation are discussed in the context of designing new treatments to re-sensitize recalcitrant tumors. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Evolutionary principles - heterogeneity in cancer?, edited by Dr. Robert A. Gatenby.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common renal neoplasm of childhood and affects 1 in 10 000 children aged less than 15 years. These embryonal tumors are thought to arise from primitive nephrogenic rests that derive from the metanephric mesenchyme during kidney development and are characterized partly by increased Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We previously showed that coordinate activation of Ras and β-catenin accelerates the growth and metastatic progression of a murine WT model. Here, we show that activating KRAS mutations can be found in human WT. In addition, high levels of phosphorylated AKT are present in the majority of WT. We further show in a mouse model and in renal epithelial cells that Ras cooperates with β-catenin to drive metastatic disease progression and promotes in vitro tumor cell growth, migration, and colony formation in soft agar. Cellular transformation and metastatic disease progression of WT cells are in part dependent on PI3K/AKT activation and are inhibited via pharmacological inhibition of this pathway. Our studies suggest both KRAS mutations and AKT activation are present in WT and may represent novel therapeutic targets for this disease.
© 2017 The Authors. Published by FEBS Press and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Dysregulation of iron metabolism in cancer is well documented and it has been suggested that there is interdependence between excess iron and increased cancer incidence and progression. In an effort to better understand the linkages between iron metabolism and breast cancer, a predictive mathematical model of an expanded iron homeostasis pathway was constructed that includes species involved in iron utilization, oxidative stress response and oncogenic pathways. The model leads to three predictions. The first is that overexpression of iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2) recapitulates many aspects of the alterations in free iron and iron-related proteins in cancer cells without affecting the oxidative stress response or the oncogenic pathways included in the model. This prediction was validated by experimentation. The second prediction is that iron-related proteins are dramatically affected by mitochondrial ferritin overexpression. This prediction was validated by results in the pertinent literature not used for model construction. The third prediction is that oncogenic Ras pathways contribute to altered iron homeostasis in cancer cells. This prediction was validated by a combination of simulation experiments of Ras overexpression and catalase knockout in conjunction with the literature. The model successfully captures key aspects of iron metabolism in breast cancer cells and provides a framework upon which more detailed models can be built.