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BACKGROUND - Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer worldwide, yet its incidence and clinical behavior vary according to race and access to adequate healthcare resources. To guide and streamline therapy in the war-torn and resource-constrained city of Baghdad, Iraq, we conducted a first-ever molecular analysis of 20 WT specimens to characterize the biological features of this lethal disease within this challenged population.
METHODS - Next-generation sequencing of ten target genes associated with WT development and treatment resistance (WT1, CTNNB1, WTX, IGF2, CITED1, SIX2, p53, N-MYC, CRABP2, and TOP2A) was completed. Immunohistochemistry was performed for 6 marker proteins of WT (WT1, CTNNB1, NCAM, CITED1, SIX2, and p53). Patient outcomes were compiled.
RESULTS - Mutations were detected in previously described WT "hot spots" (e.g., WT1 and CTNNB1) as well as novel loci that may be unique to the Iraqi population. Immunohistochemistry showed expression domains most typical of blastemal-predominant WT. Remarkably, despite the challenges facing families and care providers, only one child, with combined WT1 and CTNNB1 mutations, was confirmed dead from disease. Median clinical follow-up was 40.5 months (range 6-78 months).
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that WT biology within a population of Iraqi children manifests features both similar to and unique from disease variants in other regions of the world. These observations will help to risk stratify WT patients living in this difficult environment to more or less intensive therapies and to focus treatment on cell-specific targets.
Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common renal malignancy in children and the fourth most common pediatric solid malignancy in the US. Although the mechanisms underlying the WT biology are complex, these tumors most often demonstrate activation of the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway. We and others have shown that constitutive activation of β-catenin restricted to the renal epithelium is sufficient to induce primitive renal epithelial tumors, which resemble human WT. Here we demonstrate that pharmacologic inhibition of β-catenin gene transcription with pyrvinium inhibits tumor growth and metastatic progression in a murine model of WT. Cellular invasion is significantly inhibited in both murine WT-like and human WT cells and is accompanied by downregulation of the oncogenes Myc and Birc5 (survivin). Our studies provide proof of the concept that the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway may be a novel therapeutic target in the management of WT.
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.
Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer worldwide and poses a cancer health disparity to black children of sub-Saharan African ancestry. Although overall survival from WT at 5 years exceeds 90% in developed countries, this pediatric cancer is alarmingly lethal in sub-Saharan Africa and specifically in Kenya (36% survival at 2 years). Although multiple barriers to adequate WT therapy contribute to this dismal outcome, we hypothesized that a uniquely aggressive and treatment-resistant biology compromises survival further. To explore the biologic composition of Kenyan WT (KWT), we completed a next generation sequencing analysis targeting 10 WT-associated genes and evaluated whole-genome copy number variation. The study cohort was comprised of 44 KWT patients and their specimens. Fourteen children are confirmed dead at 2 years and 11 remain lost to follow-up despite multiple tracing attempts. TP53 was mutated most commonly in 11 KWT specimens (25%), CTNNB1 in 10 (23%), MYCN in 8 (18%), AMER1 in 5 (11%), WT1 and TOP2A in 4 (9%), and IGF2 in 3 (7%). Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at 17p, which covers TP53, was detected in 18% of specimens examined. Copy number gain at 1q, a poor prognostic indicator of WT biology in developed countries, was detected in 32% of KWT analyzed, and 89% of these children are deceased. Similarly, LOH at 11q was detected in 32% of KWT, and 80% of these patients are deceased. From this genomic analysis, KWT biology appears uniquely aggressive and treatment-resistant.
© 2015 The Authors. Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PURPOSE - Wilms tumor is the most common renal neoplasm of childhood. We previously found that restricted activation of the WNT/β-catenin pathway in renal epithelium late in kidney development is sufficient to induce small primitive neoplasms with features of epithelial Wilms tumor. Metastatic disease progression required simultaneous addition of an activating mutation of the oncogene K-RAS. We sought to define the molecular pathways activated in this process and their relationship to human renal malignancies.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Affymetrix® expression microarray data from murine kidneys with activation of K-ras and/or Ctnnb1 (β-catenin) restricted to renal epithelium were analyzed and compared to publicly available expression data on normal and neoplastic human renal tissue. Target genes were verified by immunoblot and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS - Mouse kidney tumors with activation of K-ras and Ctnnb1, and human renal malignancies had similar mRNA expression signatures and were associated with activation of networks centered on β-catenin and TP53. Up-regulation of WNT/β-catenin targets (MYC, Survivin, FOXA2, Axin2 and Cyclin D1) was confirmed by immunoblot. K-RAS/β-catenin murine kidney tumors were more similar to human Wilms tumor than to other renal malignancies and demonstrated activation of a TP53 dependent network of genes, including the transcription factor E2F1. Up-regulation of E2F1 was confirmed in murine and human Wilms tumor samples.
CONCLUSIONS - Simultaneous activation of K-RAS and β-catenin in embryonic renal epithelium leads to neoplasms similar to human Wilms tumor and associated with activation of TP53 and up-regulation of E2F1. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the role of TP53 and E2F1 in human Wilms tumor.
Copyright © 2015 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The 2013 Children's Oncology Group (COG) blueprint for renal tumor research challenges investigators to develop new, risk-specific biological therapies for unfavorable histology and higher-risk Wilms tumor (WT) in an effort to close a persistent survival gap and to reduce treatment toxicities. As an initial response to this call from the COG, we used imaging mass spectrometry to determine peptide profiles of WT associated with adverse outcomes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We created a WT tissue microarray containing 2-mm punches of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens archived from 48 sequentially treated WT patients at our institutions. Imaging mass spectrometry was performed to compare peptide spectra between three patient groups as follows: unfavorable versus favorable histology, treatment success versus failure, and COG higher- versus lower-risk disease. Statistically significant peptide peaks differentiating groups were identified and incorporated into a predictive model using a genetic algorithm.
RESULTS - One hundred thirty-one peptide peaks were differentially expressed in unfavorable versus favorable histology WT (P < 0.05). Two hundred three peaks differentiated treatment failure from success (P < 0.05). Seventy-one peaks differentiated COG higher-risk disease from the very-low, low, and standard-risk groups (P < 0.05). These peaks were used to develop predictive models that could differentiate among patient groups 98.49%, 94.46%, and 98.55% of the time, respectively. Spectral patterns were internally cross-validated using a leave-20% out model.
CONCLUSIONS - Peptide spectra can discriminate adverse behavior of WT. After future external validation and refinement, these models could be used to predict WT behavior and to stratify intensity of chemotherapy regimens. Furthermore, peptides discovered in the model could be sequenced to identify potential risk-specific drug targets.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Survival from Wilms tumor (WT) in sub-Saharan Africa remains dismal as a result of on-therapy mortality and treatment abandonment. Review of patients diagnosed from 2008 to 2011 in our Kenyan Wilms Tumor Registry showed a loss to follow up (LTFU) rate approaching 50%. The purpose of this study was to trace those LTFU, estimate the survival rate, and identify risk factors for treatment abandonment.
PROCEDURE - We administered a comprehensive survey to parents of patients with WT at the two largest referral hospitals in Kenya to identify barriers to care. We also telephoned families who had abandoned care to determine vital status and identify risk factors for treatment abandonment.
RESULTS - Of 136 registered patients, 77 were confirmed dead (56.7%), 38 remained alive (27.9%), and the vital status of 21 patients remains unknown (15.4%). After contacting 33 of the patients who either abandoned curative treatment (n = 34) or did not attend off-therapy visits (n = 20), the best estimate of 2-year overall survival of patients with WT in Kenya approaches 36%. Sixty-three percent of parents misunderstood treatment plans and 55% encountered financial barriers. When asked how to increase comfort with the child's treatment, 27% of parents volunteered improving inefficient services and 26% volunteered reducing drug-unavailability.
CONCLUSIONS - Treatment abandonment remains a significant problem contributing to increased mortality from WT in developing countries. This multi-center survey identified the barriers to treatment completion from the parental perspective to be lack of education about WT and treatment, financial constraints, need for quality improvement, and drug-unavailability. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2015;62:252-256. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer worldwide and arises in children of black African ancestry with greater frequency and severity than other race groups. A biologic basis for this pediatric cancer disparity has not been previously determined. We hypothesized that unique molecular fingerprints might underlie the variable incidence and distinct disease characteristics of WT observed between race groups.
STUDY DESIGN - To evaluate molecular disparities between WTs of different race groups, the Children's Oncology Group provided 80 favorable histology specimens divided evenly between black and white patients and matched for disease characteristics. As a surrogate of black sub-Saharan African patients, we also analyzed 18 Kenyan WT specimens. Tissues were probed for peptide profiles using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight imaging mass spectrometry. To control for histologic variability within and between specimens, cellular regions were analyzed separately as triphasic (containing blastema, epithelia, and stroma), blastema only, and stroma only. Data were queried using ClinProTools and statistically analyzed.
RESULTS - Peptide profiles, detected in triphasic WT regions, recognized race with good accuracy, which increased for blastema- or stroma-only regions. Peptide profiles from North American WTs differed between black and white race groups but were far more similar in composition than Kenyan specimens. Individual peptides were identified that also associated with WT patient and disease characteristics (eg, treatment failure and stage). Statistically significant peptide fragments were used to sequence proteins, revealing specific cellular signaling pathways and candidate drug targets.
CONCLUSIONS - Wilms tumor specimens arising among different race groups show unique molecular fingerprints that could explain disparate incidences and biologic behavior and that could reveal novel therapeutic targets.
Copyright © 2014 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer and retains gene expression profiles reminiscent of the embryonic kidney. We have shown previously that CITED1, a transcriptional regulator that labels the self-renewing, multipotent nephron progenitor population of the developing kidney, is robustly expressed across all major WT disease and patient characteristics. In this malignant context, CITED1 becomes enriched in the nucleus, which deviates from its cytosolic predominance in embryonic nephron progenitors. We designed the current studies to test the functional and mechanistic effects of differential CITED1 subcellular localization on WT behavior. To mimic its subcellular distribution observed in clinical WT specimens, CITED1 was misexpressed ectopically in the human WT cell line, WiT49, as either a wild-type (predominantly cytosolic) or a mutant, but transcriptionally active, protein (two point mutations in its nuclear export signal, CITED1ΔNES; nuclear-enriched). In vitro analyses showed that CITED1ΔNES enhanced WiT49 proliferation and colony formation in soft agar relative to wild-type CITED1 and empty vector controls. The nuclear-enriched CITED1ΔNES cell line showed the greatest tumor volumes after xenotransplantation into immunodeficient mice (n=15 animals per cell line). To elucidate CITED1 gene targets in this model, microarray profiling showed that wild-type CITED1 foremost upregulated LGR5 (stem cell marker), repressed CDH6 (early marker of epithelial commitment of nephron progenitors), and altered expression of specific WNT pathway participants. In summary, forced nuclear enrichment of CITED1 in a human WT cell line appears to enhance tumorigenicity, whereas ectopic cytosolic expression confers stem-like properties and an embryonic phenotype, analogous to the developmental context.
BACKGROUND - The Yes-associated-protein-1 (YAP1) is a novel, direct regulator of stem cell genes both in development and cancer. FAT4 is an upstream regulator that induces YAP1 cytosolic sequestering by phosphorylation (p-Ser 127) and therefore inhibits YAP1-dependent cellular proliferation. We hypothesized that loss of FAT4 signaling would result in expansion of the nephron progenitor population in kidney development and that YAP1 subcellular localization would be dysregulated in Wilms tumor (WT), an embryonal malignancy that retains gene expression profiles and histologic features reminiscent of the embryonic kidney.
METHODS - Fetal kidneys from Fat4(-/-) mice were harvested at e18.5 and markers of nephron progenitors were investigated using immunohistochemical analysis. To examine YAP1 subcellular localization in WT, a primary WT cell line (VUWT30) was analyzed by immunofluorescence. Forty WT specimens evenly distributed between favorable and unfavorable histology (n = 20 each), and treatment failure or success (n = 20 each) was analyzed for total and phosphorylated YAP1 using immunohistochemistry and Western blot.
RESULTS - Fat4(-/-) mouse fetal kidneys exhibit nuclear YAP1 with increased proliferation and expansion of nephron progenitor cells. In contrast to kidney development, subcellular localization of YAP1 is dysregulated in WT, with a preponderance of nuclear p-YAP1. By Western blot, median p-YAP1 quantity was 5.2-fold greater in unfavorable histology WT (P = 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - Fetal kidneys in Fat4(-/-) mice exhibit a phenotype reminiscent of nephrogenic rests, a WT precursor lesion. In WT, YAP1 subcellular localization is dysregulated and p-YAP1 accumulation is a novel biomarker of unfavorable histology.
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.