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Using an ORF kinome screen in MCF-7 cells treated with the CDK4/6 inhibitor ribociclib plus fulvestrant, we identified FGFR1 as a mechanism of drug resistance. FGFR1-amplified/ER+ breast cancer cells and MCF-7 cells transduced with FGFR1 were resistant to fulvestrant ± ribociclib or palbociclib. This resistance was abrogated by treatment with the FGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) lucitanib. Addition of the FGFR TKI erdafitinib to palbociclib/fulvestrant induced complete responses of FGFR1-amplified/ER+ patient-derived-xenografts. Next generation sequencing of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in 34 patients after progression on CDK4/6 inhibitors identified FGFR1/2 amplification or activating mutations in 14/34 (41%) post-progression specimens. Finally, ctDNA from patients enrolled in MONALEESA-2, the registration trial of ribociclib, showed that patients with FGFR1 amplification exhibited a shorter progression-free survival compared to patients with wild type FGFR1. Thus, we propose breast cancers with FGFR pathway alterations should be considered for trials using combinations of ER, CDK4/6 and FGFR antagonists.
Chemotherapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment for patients with aggressive and lethal triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs), which often develop chemoresistance. A recent study combined single nucleus sequencing, single cell RNA sequencing, and evolutionary biology to understand how tumor cells use genetic and phenotypic diversity to evade the selective pressures of neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Targeted therapy is an effective standard of care in BRAF-mutated malignant melanoma. However, the duration of tumor remission varies unpredictably among patients, and relapse is almost inevitable. Here, we examine the responses of several BRAF-mutated melanoma cell lines (including isogenic subclones) to BRAF inhibitors. We observe complex response dynamics across cell lines, with short-term responses (<100 h) varying from cell line to cell line. In the long term, however, we observe equilibration of all drug-treated populations into a nonquiescent state characterized by a balanced rate of death and division, which we term the "idling" state, and to our knowledge, this state has not been previously reported. Using mathematical modeling, we propose that the observed population-level dynamics are the result of cells transitioning between basins of attraction within a drug-modified phenotypic landscape. Each basin is associated with a drug-induced proliferation rate, a recently introduced metric of an antiproliferative drug effect. The idling population state represents a new dynamic equilibrium in which cells are distributed across the landscape such that the population achieves zero net growth. By fitting our model to experimental drug-response data, we infer the phenotypic landscapes of all considered melanoma cell lines and provide a unifying view of how BRAF-mutated melanomas respond to BRAF inhibition. We hypothesize that the residual disease observed in patients after targeted therapy is composed of a significant number of idling cells. Thus, defining molecular determinants of the phenotypic landscape that idling populations occupy may lead to "targeted landscaping" therapies based on rational modification of the landscape to favor basins with greater drug susceptibility.
Copyright © 2018 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
De novo and acquired resistance, which are largely attributed to genetic alterations, are barriers to effective anti-epidermal-growth-factor-receptor (EGFR) therapy. To generate cetuximab-resistant cells, we exposed cetuximab-sensitive colorectal cancer cells to cetuximab in three-dimensional culture. Using whole-exome sequencing and transcriptional profiling, we found that the long non-coding RNA MIR100HG and two embedded microRNAs, miR-100 and miR-125b, were overexpressed in the absence of known genetic events linked to cetuximab resistance. MIR100HG, miR-100 and miR-125b overexpression was also observed in cetuximab-resistant colorectal cancer and head and neck squamous cell cancer cell lines and in tumors from colorectal cancer patients that progressed on cetuximab. miR-100 and miR-125b coordinately repressed five Wnt/β-catenin negative regulators, resulting in increased Wnt signaling, and Wnt inhibition in cetuximab-resistant cells restored cetuximab responsiveness. Our results describe a double-negative feedback loop between MIR100HG and the transcription factor GATA6, whereby GATA6 represses MIR100HG, but this repression is relieved by miR-125b targeting of GATA6. These findings identify a clinically actionable, epigenetic cause of cetuximab resistance.
Most patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) develop drug resistance. MYC and MCL1 are frequently co-amplified in drug-resistant TNBC after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Herein, we demonstrate that MYC and MCL1 cooperate in the maintenance of chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells (CSCs) in TNBC. MYC and MCL1 increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (mtOXPHOS) and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), processes involved in maintenance of CSCs. A mutant of MCL1 that cannot localize in mitochondria reduced mtOXPHOS, ROS levels, and drug-resistant CSCs without affecting the anti-apoptotic function of MCL1. Increased levels of ROS, a by-product of activated mtOXPHOS, led to the accumulation of HIF-1α. Pharmacological inhibition of HIF-1α attenuated CSC enrichment and tumor initiation in vivo. These data suggest that (1) MYC and MCL1 confer resistance to chemotherapy by expanding CSCs via mtOXPHOS and (2) targeting mitochondrial respiration and HIF-1α may reverse chemotherapy resistance in TNBC.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.
amplification occurs in approximately 15% of estrogen receptor-positive (ER) human breast cancers. We investigated mechanisms by which amplification confers antiestrogen resistance to ER breast cancer. ER tumors from patients treated with letrozole before surgery were subjected to Ki67 IHC, FGFR1 FISH, and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). ER/-amplified breast cancer cells, and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) were treated with FGFR1 siRNA or the FGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor lucitanib. Endpoints were cell/xenograft growth, FGFR1/ERα association by coimmunoprecipitation and proximity ligation, ER genomic activity by ChIP sequencing, and gene expression by RT-PCR. ER/-amplified tumors in patients treated with letrozole maintained cell proliferation (Ki67). Estrogen deprivation increased total and nuclear FGFR1 and FGF ligands expression in ER/amplified primary tumors and breast cancer cells. In estrogen-free conditions, FGFR1 associated with ERα in tumor cell nuclei and regulated the transcription of ER-dependent genes. This association was inhibited by a kinase-dead FGFR1 mutant and by treatment with lucitanib. ChIP-seq analysis of estrogen-deprived ER/-amplified cells showed binding of FGFR1 and ERα to DNA. Treatment with fulvestrant and/or lucitanib reduced FGFR1 and ERα binding to DNA. RNA-seq data from -amplified patients' tumors treated with letrozole showed enrichment of estrogen response and E2F target genes. Finally, growth of ER/amplified cells and PDXs was more potently inhibited by fulvestrant and lucitanib combined than each drug alone.s These data suggest the ERα pathway remains active in estrogen-deprived ER/-amplified breast cancers. Therefore, these tumors are endocrine resistant and should be candidates for treatment with combinations of ER and FGFR antagonists. .
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.
RAD51 promotes homology-directed repair (HDR), replication fork reversal, and stalled fork protection. Defects in these functions cause genomic instability and tumorigenesis but also generate hypersensitivity to cancer therapeutics. Here we describe the identification of RADX as an RPA-like, single-strand DNA binding protein. RADX is recruited to replication forks, where it prevents fork collapse by regulating RAD51. When RADX is inactivated, excessive RAD51 activity slows replication elongation and causes double-strand breaks. In cancer cells lacking BRCA2, RADX deletion restores fork protection without restoring HDR. Furthermore, RADX inactivation confers chemotherapy and PARP inhibitor resistance to cancer cells with reduced BRCA2/RAD51 pathway function. By antagonizing RAD51 at forks, RADX allows cells to maintain a high capacity for HDR while ensuring that replication functions of RAD51 are properly regulated. Thus, RADX is essential to achieve the proper balance of RAD51 activity to maintain genome stability.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Monoclonal antibodies targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), cetuximab and panitumumab, are a mainstay of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treatment. However, a significant number of patients suffer from primary or acquired resistance. RAS mutations are negative predictors of clinical efficacy of anti-EGFR antibodies in patients with mCRC. Oncogenic RAS activates the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways, which are considered the main effectors of resistance. However, the relative impact of these pathways in RAS-mutant CRC is less defined. A better mechanistic understanding of RAS-mediated resistance may guide development of rational intervention strategies. To this end we developed cancer models for functional dissection of resistance to anti-EGFR therapy in vitro and in vivo. To selectively activate MAPK- or AKT-signaling we expressed conditionally activatable RAF-1 and AKT in cancer cells. We found that either pathway independently protected sensitive cancer models against anti-EGFR antibody treatment in vitro and in vivo. RAF-1- and AKT-mediated resistance was associated with increased expression of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins. Biomarkers of MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathway activation correlated with inferior outcome in a cohort of mCRC patients receiving cetuximab-based therapy. Dual pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K and MEK successfully sensitized primary resistant CRC models to anti-EGFR therapy. In conclusion, combined targeting of MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling, but not single pathways, may be required to enhance the efficacy of anti-EGFR antibody therapy in patients with RAS-mutated CRC as well as in RAS wild type tumors with clinical resistance.
Proteasomal degradation of topoisomerase I (topoI) is one of the most remarkable cellular phenomena observed in response to camptothecin (CPT). Importantly, the rate of topoI degradation is linked to CPT resistance. Formation of the topoI-DNA-CPT cleavable complex inhibits DNA re-ligation resulting in DNA-double strand break (DSB). The degradation of topoI marks the first step in the ubiquitin proteasome pathway (UPP) dependent DNA damage response (DDR). Here, we show that the Ku70/Ku80 heterodimer binds with topoI, and that the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs) phosphorylates topoI on serine 10 (topoI-pS10), which is subsequently ubiquitinated by BRCA1. A higher basal level of topoI-pS10 ensures rapid topoI degradation leading to CPT resistance. Importantly, PTEN regulates DNA-PKcs kinase activity in this pathway and PTEN deletion ensures DNA-PKcs dependent higher topoI-pS10, rapid topoI degradation and CPT resistance.
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.