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Metastasis is the most lethal aspect of cancer, yet current therapeutic strategies do not target its key rate-limiting steps. We have previously shown that the entry of cancer cells into the blood stream, or intravasation, is highly dependent upon in vivo cancer cell motility, making it an attractive therapeutic target. To systemically identify genes required for tumor cell motility in an in vivo tumor microenvironment, we established a novel quantitative in vivo screening platform based on intravital imaging of human cancer metastasis in ex ovo avian embryos. Utilizing this platform to screen a genome-wide shRNA library, we identified a panel of novel genes whose function is required for productive cancer cell motility in vivo, and whose expression is closely associated with metastatic risk in human cancers. The RNAi-mediated inhibition of these gene targets resulted in a nearly total (>99.5%) block of spontaneous cancer metastasis in vivo.
We characterized the epigenetic landscape of genes encoding long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) across 6,475 tumors and 455 cancer cell lines. In stark contrast to the CpG island hypermethylation phenotype in cancer, we observed a recurrent hypomethylation of 1,006 lncRNA genes in cancer, including EPIC1 (epigenetically-induced lncRNA1). Overexpression of EPIC1 is associated with poor prognosis in luminal B breast cancer patients and enhances tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, EPIC1 promotes cell-cycle progression by interacting with MYC through EPIC1's 129-283 nt region. EPIC1 knockdown reduces the occupancy of MYC to its target genes (e.g., CDKN1A, CCNA2, CDC20, and CDC45). MYC depletion abolishes EPIC1's regulation of MYC target and luminal breast cancer tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cancer cells consume glucose and secrete lactate in culture. It is unknown whether lactate contributes to energy metabolism in living tumors. We previously reported that human non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) oxidize glucose in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Here, we show that lactate is also a TCA cycle carbon source for NSCLC. In human NSCLC, evidence of lactate utilization was most apparent in tumors with high fluorodeoxyglucose uptake and aggressive oncological behavior. Infusing human NSCLC patients with C-lactate revealed extensive labeling of TCA cycle metabolites. In mice, deleting monocarboxylate transporter-1 (MCT1) from tumor cells eliminated lactate-dependent metabolite labeling, confirming tumor-cell-autonomous lactate uptake. Strikingly, directly comparing lactate and glucose metabolism in vivo indicated that lactate's contribution to the TCA cycle predominates. The data indicate that tumors, including bona fide human NSCLC, can use lactate as a fuel in vivo.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) accounts for more than 300,000 deaths worldwide per year as a consequence of tumor cell invasion of adjacent structures or metastasis. LIM-only protein 4 (LMO4) and LIM-domain binding protein 1 (LDB1), two directly interacting transcriptional adaptors that have important roles in normal epithelial cell differentiation, have been associated with increased metastasis, decreased differentiation, and shortened survival in carcinoma of the breast. Here, we implicate two LDB1-binding proteins, single-stranded binding protein 2 (SSBP2) and 3 (SSBP3), in controlling LMO4 and LDB1 protein abundance in HNSCC and in regulating specific tumor cell functions in this disease. First, we found that the relative abundance of LMO4, LDB1, and the two SSBPs correlated very significantly in a panel of human HNSCC cell lines. Second, expression of these proteins in tumor primaries and lymph nodes involved by metastasis were concordant in 3 of 3 sets of tissue. Third, using a Matrigel invasion and organotypic reconstruct assay, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated deletion of LDB1 in the VU-SCC-1729 cell line, which is highly invasive of basement membrane and cellular monolayers, reduced tumor cell invasiveness and migration, as well as proliferation on tissue culture plastic. Finally, inactivation of the LDB1 gene in these cells decreased growth and vascularization of xenografted human tumor cells in vivo. These data show that LMO4, LDB1, and SSBP2 and/or SSBP3 regulate metastasis, proliferation, and angiogenesis in HNSCC and provide the first evidence that SSBPs control LMO4 and LDB1 protein abundance in a cancer context.
Somatic mutations in CREBBP occur frequently in B-cell lymphoma. Here, we show that loss of CREBBP facilitates the development of germinal center (GC)-derived lymphomas in mice. In both human and murine lymphomas, CREBBP loss-of-function resulted in focal depletion of enhancer H3K27 acetylation and aberrant transcriptional silencing of genes that regulate B-cell signaling and immune responses, including class II MHC. Mechanistically, CREBBP-regulated enhancers are counter-regulated by the BCL6 transcriptional repressor in a complex with SMRT and HDAC3, which we found to bind extensively to MHC class II loci. HDAC3 loss-of-function rescued repression of these enhancers and corresponding genes, including MHC class II, and more profoundly suppressed CREBBP-mutant lymphomas in vitro and in vivo Hence, CREBBP loss-of-function contributes to lymphomagenesis by enabling unopposed suppression of enhancers by BCL6/SMRT/HDAC3 complexes, suggesting HDAC3-targeted therapy as a precision approach for CREBBP-mutant lymphomas.
SIGNIFICANCE - Our findings establish the tumor suppressor function of CREBBP in GC lymphomas in which CREBBP mutations disable acetylation and result in unopposed deacetylation by BCL6/SMRT/HDAC3 complexes at enhancers of B-cell signaling and immune response genes. Hence, inhibition of HDAC3 can restore the enhancer histone acetylation and may serve as a targeted therapy for CREBBP-mutant lymphomas. Cancer Discov; 7(1); 38-53. ©2016 AACR.See related commentary by Höpken, p. 14This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.
Representing an enormous health care and socioeconomic challenge, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world and the second most common cause of cancer-related death. Although many of the challenges associated with preventing, treating, and ultimately curing breast cancer are addressable in the laboratory, successful translation of groundbreaking research to clinical populations remains an important barrier. Particularly when compared with research on other types of solid tumors, breast cancer research is hampered by a lack of tractable in vivo model systems that accurately recapitulate the relevant clinical features of the disease. A primary objective of this article was to provide a generalizable overview of the types of in vivo model systems, with an emphasis primarily on murine models, that are widely deployed in preclinical breast cancer research. Major opportunities to advance precision cancer medicine facilitated by molecular imaging of preclinical breast cancer models are discussed.
© 2016 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Inc.
The non-canonical Wnt/planar cell polarity (Wnt/PCP) pathway plays a crucial role in embryonic development. Recent work has linked defects of this pathway to breast cancer aggressiveness and proposed Wnt/PCP signalling as a therapeutic target. Here we show that the archetypal Wnt/PCP protein VANGL2 is overexpressed in basal breast cancers, associated with poor prognosis and implicated in tumour growth. We identify the scaffold p62/SQSTM1 protein as a novel VANGL2-binding partner and show its key role in an evolutionarily conserved VANGL2-p62/SQSTM1-JNK pathway. This proliferative signalling cascade is upregulated in breast cancer patients with shorter survival and can be inactivated in patient-derived xenograft cells by inhibition of the JNK pathway or by disruption of the VANGL2-p62/SQSTM1 interaction. VANGL2-JNK signalling is thus a potential target for breast cancer therapy.
Primary tumor organoids grown in three-dimensional culture provide an excellent platform for studying tumor progression, invasion, and drug response. However, organoid generation protocols require fresh tumor tissue, which limits organoid research and clinical use. This study investigates cellular morphology, viability, and drug response of organoids derived from frozen tissues. The results demonstrate that viable organoids can be grown from flash-frozen and thawed tissue and from bulk tissues slowly frozen in DMSO supplemented media. While the freezing process affects the basal metabolic rate of the cells, the optical metabolic imaging index correlates between organoids derived from fresh and frozen tissue and can be used to detect drug response of organoids grown from frozen tissues. The slow, DMSO frozen tissue yielded organoids with more accurate drug response than the flash frozen tissues, and thus bulk tissue should be preserved for subsequent organoid generation by slow freezing in DMSO supplemented media.
Current positron emission tomography (PET) imaging biomarkers for detection of infiltrating gliomas are limited. Translocator protein (TSPO) is a novel and promising biomarker for glioma PET imaging. To validate TSPO as a potential target for molecular imaging of glioma, TSPO expression was assayed in a tumor microarray containing 37 high-grade (III, IV) gliomas. TSPO staining was detected in all tumor specimens. Subsequently, PET imaging was performed with an aryloxyanilide-based TSPO ligand, [18F]PBR06, in primary orthotopic xenograft models of WHO grade III and IV gliomas. Selective uptake of [18F]PBR06 in engrafted tumor was measured. Furthermore, PET imaging with [18F]PBR06 demonstrated infiltrative glioma growth that was undetectable by traditional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Preliminary PET with [18F]PBR06 demonstrated a preferential tumor-to-normal background ratio in comparison to 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose ([18F]FDG). These results suggest that TSPO PET imaging with such high-affinity radiotracers may represent a novel strategy to characterize distinct molecular features of glioma growth, as well as better define the extent of glioma infiltration for therapeutic purposes.