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Importance - African Americans have the highest breast cancer mortality rate. Although racial difference in the distribution of intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer is known, it is unclear if there are other inherent genomic differences that contribute to the survival disparities.
Objectives - To investigate racial differences in breast cancer molecular features and survival and to estimate the heritability of breast cancer subtypes.
Design, Setting, and Participants - Among a convenience cohort of patients with invasive breast cancer, breast tumor and matched normal tissue sample data (as of September 18, 2015) were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Main Outcomes and Measures - Breast cancer–free interval, tumor molecular features, and genetic variants.
Results - Participants were 930 patients with breast cancer, including 154 black patients of African ancestry (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 55.66 [13.01] years; 98.1% [n = 151] female) and 776 white patients of European ancestry (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 59.51 [13.11] years; 99.0% [n = 768] female). Compared with white patients, black patients had a worse breast cancer-free interval (hazard ratio, HR=1.67; 95% CI, 1.02-2.74; P = .043). They had a higher likelihood of basal-like (odds ratio, 3.80; 95% CI, 2.46-5.87; P < .001) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (ERBB2 [formerly HER2])–enriched (odds ratio, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.10-4.47; P = .027) breast cancer subtypes, with the Luminal A subtype as the reference. Blacks had more TP53 mutations and fewer PIK3CA mutations than whites. While most molecular differences were eliminated after adjusting for intrinsic subtype, the study found 16 DNA methylation probes, 4 DNA copy number segments, 1 protein, and 142 genes that were differentially expressed, with the gene-based signature having an excellent capacity for distinguishing breast tumors from black vs white patients (cross-validation C index, 0.878). Using germline genotypes, the heritability of breast cancer subtypes (basal vs nonbasal) was estimated to be 0.436 (P = 1.5 × 10−14). The estrogen receptor–positive polygenic risk score built from 89 known susceptibility variants was higher in blacks than in whites (difference, 0.24; P = 2.3 × 10−5), while the estrogen receptor–negative polygenic risk score was much higher in blacks than in whites (difference, 0.48; P = 2.8 × 10−11).
Conclusions and Relevance - On the molecular level, after adjusting for intrinsic subtype frequency differences, this study found a modest number of genomic differences but a significant clinical survival outcome difference between blacks and whites in The Cancer Genome Atlas data set. Moreover, more than 40% of breast cancer subtype frequency differences could be explained by genetic variants. These data could form the basis for the development of molecular targeted therapies to improve clinical outcomes for the specific subtypes of breast cancers that disproportionately affect black women. Findings also indicate that personalized risk assessment and optimal treatment could reduce deaths from aggressive breast cancers for black women.
The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway plays a crucial role in the regulation of multiple cellular functions including cell growth, proliferation, metabolism and angiogenesis. Emerging evidence has shown that deregulation of this pathway has a role promoting gastric cancer (GC). The aim was to assess the expression of genes involved in this pathway by qPCR in 23 tumor and 23 non-tumor gastric mucosa samples from advanced GC patients, and in AGS, MKN28 and MKN45 gastric cancer cell lines. Results showed a slight overexpression of PIK3CA, PIK3CB, AKT1, MTOR, RPS6KB1, EIF4EBP1 and EIF4E genes, and a slightly decreased PTEN and TSC1 expression. In AGS, MKN28 and MKN45 cells a significant gene overexpression of PIK3CA, PIK3CB, AKT1, MTOR, RPS6KB1 and EIF4E, and a significant repression of PTEN gene expression were observed. Immunoblotting showed that PI3K-β, AKT, p-AKT, PTEN, mTOR, p-mTOR, P70S6K1, p-P70S6K1, 4E-BP1, p-4E-BP1, eIF4E and p-eIF4E proteins were present in cell lines at different levels, confirming activation of this pathway in vitro. This is the first time this extensive panel of 9 genes within PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway has been studied in GC to clarify the biological role of this pathway in GC and develop new strategies for this malignancy.
BACKGROUND - Gastric cancer (GC) is a deadly malignancy worldwide. In the past, it has been shown that cellular signaling pathway alterations play a crucial role in the development of GC. In particular, deregulation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway seems to affect multiple GC functions including growth, proliferation, metabolism, motility and angiogenesis. Targeting alterations in this pathway by microRNAs (miRNAs) represents a potential therapeutic strategy, especially in inhibitor-resistant tumors. The objective of this study was to evaluate the expression of 3 pre-selected miRNAs, miR-101-2, miR-125b-2 and miR-451a, in a series of primary GC tissues and matched non-GC tissues and in several GC-derived cell lines, and to subsequently evaluate the functional role of these miRNAs.
METHODS - Twenty-five primary GC samples, 25 matched non-GC samples and 3 GC-derived cell lines, i.e., AGS, MKN28 and MKN45, were included in this study. miRNA and target gene expression levels were assessed by quantitative RT-PCR and western blotting, respectively. Subsequently, cell viability, clone formation, cell death, migration and invasion assays were performed on AGS cells.
RESULTS - miR-101-2, miR-125b-2 and miR-451a were found to be down-regulated in the primary GC tissues and the GC-derived cell lines tested. MiRNA mimic transfections significantly reduced cell viability and colony formation, increased cell death and reduced cell migration and invasion in AGS cells. We also found that exogenous expression of miR-101-2, miR-125b-2 and miR-451a decreased the expression of their putative targets MTOR, PIK3CB and TSC1, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS - Our expression analyses and in vitro functional assays suggest that miR-101-2, miR-125b-2 and miR-451a act as potential tumor suppressors in primary GCs as well as in GC-derived AGS cells.
Mutations in PIK3CA, the gene encoding the p110α catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) have been shown to transform human mammary epithelial cells (MECs). These mutations are present in all breast cancer subtypes, including basal-like breast cancer (BLBC). Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we identified 72 protein expression changes in human basal-like MECs with knock-in E545K or H1047R PIK3CA mutations versus isogenic MECs with wild-type PIK3CA. Several of these were secreted proteins, cell surface receptors or ECM interacting molecules and were required for growth of PIK3CA mutant cells as well as adjacent cells with wild-type PIK3CA. The proteins identified by MS were enriched among human BLBC cell lines and pointed to a PI3K-dependent amphiregulin/EGFR/ERK signaling axis that is activated in BLBC. Proteins induced by PIK3CA mutations correlated with EGFR signaling and reduced relapse-free survival in BLBC. Treatment with EGFR inhibitors reduced growth of PIK3CA mutant BLBC cell lines and murine mammary tumors driven by a PIK3CA mutant transgene, all together suggesting that PIK3CA mutations promote tumor growth in part by inducing protein changes that activate EGFR.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
IMPORTANCE - The PIK3CA mutation is one of the most common mutations in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Through this research we attempt to elicit the role of oncogene dependence and effects of targeted therapy on this PIK3CA mutation.
OBJECTIVES - (1) To determine the role of oncogene dependence on PIK3CA-one of the more common and targetable oncogenes in HNSCC, and (2) to evaluate the consequence of this oncogene on the effectiveness of newly developed targeted therapies.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS - This was a cell culture-based, in vitro study performed at an academic research laboratory assessing the viability of PIK3CA-mutated head and neck cell lines when treated with targeted therapy.
EXPOSURES - PIK3CA-mutated head and neck cell lines were treated with 17-AAG, GDC-0941, trametinib, and BEZ-235.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES - Assessment of cell viability of HNSCC cell lines characterized for PIK3CA mutations or SCC25 cells engineered to express the PIK3CA hotspot mutations E545K or H1047R.
RESULTS - Surprisingly, in engineered cell lines, the hotspot E545K and H1047R mutations conferred increased, rather than reduced, IC50 assay measurements when treated with the respective HSP90, PI3K, and MEK inhibitors, 17-AAG, GDC-0941, and trametinib, compared with the SCC25 control cell lines. When treated with BEZ-235, H1047R-expressing cell lines showed increased sensitivity to inhibition compared with control, whereas those expressing E545K showed slightly increased sensitivity of unclear significance.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE - (1) The PIK3CA mutations within our engineered cell model did not lead to enhanced oncogene-dependent cell death when treated with direct inhibition of the PI3K enzyme yet did show increased sensitivity compared with control with dual PI3K/mTOR inhibition. (2) Oncogene addiction to PIK3CA hotspot mutations, if it occurs, is likely to evolve in vivo in the context of additional molecular changes that remain to be identified. Additional study is required to develop new model systems and approaches to determine the role of targeted therapy in the treatment of PI3K-overactive HNSCC tumors.
PURPOSE - To determine the frequency of PIK3CA mutations in a Peruvian cohort with HER2-amplified and triple negative breast cancers (TNBC).
METHODS - We analyzed two cohorts of 134 primary non-metastatic breast cancer patients from Peru. Cohorts consisted of 51 hormone receptors (+)/HER2-amplified breast tumor patients surgically resected as first treatment included in the ALTTO trial (ALTTO cohort) and 81 TNBC patients with residual disease after neoadjuvant treatment (neoadjuvant cohort). Genomic DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded tumor samples. Samples from the ALTTO and neoadjuvant cohorts were taken at biopsies and from residual tumors, respectively. PIK3CA mutations were detected by sequencing DNA fragments obtained by PCR amplification of exons and their flanking introns. All of the detected PIK3CA mutations were confirmed in a second independent run of sample testing.
RESULTS - PIK3CA mutations were present in 21/134 cases (15.7%). Mutations in exon 9 and 20 were present in 10/134 (7.5%) and 11/134 (8.2%), respectively. No cases had mutations in both exons. Mutations in exon 9 consisted of E545A (seven cases), E545K (two cases) and E545Q (one case); while in exon 20, mutations consisted of H1047R (10 cases) and H1047L (one case). Compared to TNBC patients, HER2-amplified patients were more likely to have PIK3CA mutated (23% vs 9.6%; P=0.034). There were no associations between mutational status of PIK3CA with estrogen receptor status (P=0.731), progesterone receptor status (P=0.921), age (P=0.646), nodal status (P=0.240) or histological grade (P=1.00). No significant associations were found between PIK3CA mutational status and clinicopathological features.
CONCLUSIONS - We found a similar frequency of PIK3CA mutations to that reported in other series. Although we did not include HR+/HER2 patients, those with HER2-amplified tumors were more likely to present PIK3CA mutations compared to patients with triple negative tumors.
Copyright © 2014 King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
INTRODUCTION - Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous collection of biologically diverse cancers, which contributes to variable clinical outcomes. Previously, we identified a TNBC subtype that has a luminal phenotype and expresses the androgen receptor (AR+). TNBC cells derived from these luminal AR + tumors have high frequency phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA) mutations. The purpose of this study was to determine if targeting phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) alone or in combination with an AR antagonist is effective in AR + TNBC.
METHODS - We determined the frequency of activating PIK3CA mutations in AR + and AR- TNBC clinical cases. Using AR + TNBC cell line and xenograft models we evaluated the effectiveness of PI3K inhibitors, used alone or in combination with an AR antagonist, on tumor cell growth and viability.
RESULTS - PIK3CA kinase mutations were highly clonal, more frequent in AR + vs. AR- TNBC (40% vs. 4%), and often associated with concurrent amplification of the PIK3CA locus. PI3K/mTOR inhibitors had an additive growth inhibitory effect when combined with genetic or pharmacological AR targeting in AR + TNBC cells. We also analyzed the combination of bicalutamide +/- the pan-PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 or the dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor GDC-0980 in xenograft tumor studies and observed additive effects.
CONCLUSIONS - While approximately one third of TNBC patients respond to neoadjuvant/adjuvant chemotherapy, recent studies have shown that patients with AR + TNBC are far less likely to benefit from the current standard of care chemotherapy regimens and novel targeted approaches need to be investigated. In this study, we show that activating PIK3CA mutations are enriched in AR + TNBC; and, we show that the growth and viability of AR + TNBC cell line models is significantly reduced after treatment with PI3K inhibitors used in combination with an AR antagonist. These results provide rationale for pre-selection of TNBC patients with a biomarker (AR expression) to investigate the use of AR antagonists in combination with PI3K/mTOR inhibitors.
Mutations in the PIK3CA gene are common in breast cancer and represent a clinically useful therapeutic target. Several larger, population-based studies have shown a positive prognostic significance associated with these mutations. This study aims to further identify characteristics of patients harboring PIK3CA mutations while evaluating the clinical impact of genomic testing for these mutations. Tumors from 312 patients at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center were analyzed for PIK3CA mutations using a multiplex screening assay (SNaPshot). Mutation rates, receptor status, histopathologic characteristics, and time to recurrence were assessed. The number of patients participating in clinical trials, specifically trials relating to the PIK3CA mutation, was examined. Statistically significant differences between wild-type and mutated tumors were determined using the Wilcoxon, Pearson, and Fischer exact tests. The PIK3CA mutation was found in 25 % of tumors tested. Patients with PIK3CA mutations were significantly more likely to express hormone receptors, be of lower combined histological grade, and have a reduced time to recurrence. Patients found to have a PIK3CA mutation were significantly more likely to enter a PIK3CA-specific clinical trial. In addition to confirming previously established positive prognostic characteristics of tumors harboring PIK3CA mutations, this study demonstrates the feasibility and utility of mutation profiling in a clinical setting. PIK3CA mutation testing impacted treatment and resulted in more patients entering mutation-specific clinical trials.
PURPOSE - Buparlisib, an oral reversible inhibitor of all class I phosphoinositide-3-kinases, has shown antitumoral activity against estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cell lines and xenografts, alone and with endocrine therapy. This phase Ib study evaluated buparlisib plus letrozole's safety, tolerability, and preliminary activity in patients with metastatic ER-positive breast cancer refractory to endocrine therapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - Patients received letrozole and buparlisib in two different administration schedules. Outcomes were assessed by standard solid-tumor phase I methods. [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography ([(18)F]FDG-PET/CT) scans were done at baseline and 2 weeks after treatment initiation. Tumor blocks were collected for phosphoinositide-3-kinase pathway mutation analysis.
RESULTS - Fifty-one patients were allocated sequentially to continuous or intermittent (five on/two off days) buparlisib administration on an every-4-week schedule. Buparlisib's maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) was 100 mg/d. Common drug-related adverse events included ≤ grade 2 hyperglycemia, nausea, fatigue, transaminitis, and mood disorders. The clinical benefit rate (lack of progression ≥ 6 months) among all patients treated at the MTD was 31%, including two objective responses in the continuous dose arm. Of seven patients remaining on treatment ≥ 12 months, three had tumors with PIK3CA hot-spot mutation. Patients exhibiting metabolic disease progression by [(18)F]FDG-PET/CT scan at 2 weeks progressed rapidly on therapy.
CONCLUSION - The letrozole and buparlisib combination was safe, with reversible toxicities regardless of schedule administration. Clinical activity was observed independent of PIK3CA mutation status. No metabolic response by [(18)F]FDG-PET/CT scan at 2 weeks was associated with rapid disease progression. Phase III trials of buparlisib and endocrine therapy in patients with ER-positive breast cancer are ongoing.
Scribble (SCRIB) localizes to cell-cell junctions and regulates establishment of epithelial cell polarity. Loss of expression of SCRIB functions as a tumor suppressor in Drosophila and mammals; conversely, overexpression of SCRIB promotes epithelial differentiation in mammals. Here, we report that SCRIB is frequently amplified, mRNA overexpressed, and protein is mislocalized from cell-cell junctions in human breast cancers. High levels of SCRIB mRNA are associated with poor clinical prognosis, identifying an unexpected role for SCRIB in breast cancer. We find that transgenic mice expressing a SCRIB mutant [Pro 305 to Leu (P305L)] that fails to localize to cell-cell junctions, under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus long terminal repeat promoter, develop multifocal hyperplasia that progresses to highly pleomorphic and poorly differentiated tumors with basal characteristics. SCRIB interacts with phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and the expression of P305L, but not wild-type SCRIB, promotes an increase in PTEN levels in the cytosol. Overexpression of P305L, but not wild-type SCRIB, activates the Akt/mTOR/S6K signaling pathway. Human breast tumors overexpressing SCRIB have high levels of S6K but do not harbor mutations in PTEN or PIK3CA, identifying SCRIB amplification as a mechanism of activating PI3K signaling in tumors without mutations in PIK3CA or PTEN. Thus, we demonstrate that high levels of mislocalized SCRIB functions as a neomorph to promote mammary tumorigenesis by affecting subcellular localization of PTEN and activating an Akt/mTOR/S6kinase signaling pathway.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.