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A significant proportion of breast cancer patients develop bone metastases, but the mechanisms regulating tumor cell dissemination from the primary site to the skeleton remain largely unknown. Using a novel model of spontaneous bone metastasis derived from human ER+ MCF7 cells, molecular profiling revealed increased PREX1 expression in a cell line established from bone-disseminated MCF7 cells (MCF7b), which were more migratory, invasive, and adhesive in vitro compared with parental MCF7 cells, and this phenotype was mediated by PREX1. MCF7b cells grew poorly in the primary tumor site when reinoculated in vivo, suggesting that these cells are primed to grow in the bone, and were enriched in skeletal sites of metastasis over soft tissue sites. Skeletal dissemination from the primary tumor was reversed with PREX1 knockdown, indicating that PREX1 is a key driver of spontaneous dissemination of tumor cells from the primary site to the bone marrow. In breast cancer patients, PREX1 levels are significantly increased in ER+ tumors and associated with invasive disease and distant metastasis. Together, these findings implicate PREX1 in spontaneous bone dissemination and provide a significant advance to the molecular mechanisms by which breast cancer cells disseminate from the primary tumor site to bone.
Imaging apoptosis could provide an early and specific means to monitor tumor responses to treatment. To date, despite numerous attempts to develop molecular imaging approaches, there is still no widely-accepted and reliable method for in vivo imaging of apoptosis. We hypothesized that the distinct cellular morphologic changes associated with treatment-induced apoptosis, such as cell shrinkage, cytoplasm condensation, and DNA fragmentation, can be detected by temporal diffusion spectroscopy imaging (TDSI). Cetuximab-induced apoptosis was assessed in vitro and in vivo with cetuximab-sensitive (DiFi) and insensitive (HCT-116) human colorectal cancer cell lines by TDSI. TDSI findings were complemented by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Cell cycle analysis and flow cytometry detected apoptotic cell shrinkage in cetuximab-treated DiFi cells, and significant apoptosis was confirmed by histology. TDSI-derived parameters quantified key morphological changes including cell size decreases during apoptosis in responsive tumors that occurred earlier than gross tumor volume regression. TDSI provides a unique measurement of apoptosis by identifying cellular characteristics, particularly cell shrinkage. The method will assist in understanding the underlying biology of solid tumors and predict tumor response to therapies. TDSI is free of any exogenous agent or radiation, and hence is very suitable to be incorporated into clinical applications.
Radiation therapy is often combined with androgen deprivation therapy in the treatment of aggressive localized prostate cancer. However, castration-resistant disease may not respond to testosterone deprivation approaches. Enzalutamide is a second-generation anti-androgen with high affinity and activity that is used for the treatment of metastatic disease. Although radiosensitization mechanisms are known to be mediated through androgen receptor activity, this project aims to uncover the detailed DNA damage repair factors influenced by enzalutamide using multiple models of androgen-sensitive (LNCaP) and castration-resistant human prostate cancer (22Rv1 and DU145). Enzalutamide is able to radiosensitize both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent human prostate cancer models in cell culture and xenografts in mice, as well as a treatment-resistant patient-derived xenograft. The enzalutamide-mediated mechanism of radiosensitization includes delay of DNA repair through temporal prolongation of the repair factor complexes and halting the cell cycle, which results in decreased colony survival. Altogether, these findings support the use of enzalutamide concurrently with radiotherapy to enhance the treatment efficacy for prostate cancer.
Overexpression of myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in cancers correlates with high tumor grade and poor survival. Additionally, Mcl-1 drives intrinsic and acquired resistance to many cancer therapeutics, including B cell lymphoma 2 family inhibitors, proteasome inhibitors, and antitubulins. Therefore, Mcl-1 inhibition could serve as a strategy to target cancers that require Mcl-1 to evade apoptosis. Herein, we describe the use of structure-based design to discover a novel compound (42) that robustly and specifically inhibits Mcl-1 in cell culture and animal xenograft models. Compound 42 binds to Mcl-1 with picomolar affinity and inhibited growth of Mcl-1-dependent tumor cell lines in the nanomolar range. Compound 42 also inhibited the growth of hematological and triple negative breast cancer xenografts at well-tolerated doses. These findings highlight the use of structure-based design to identify small molecule Mcl-1 inhibitors and support the use of 42 as a potential treatment strategy to block Mcl-1 activity and induce apoptosis in Mcl-1-dependent cancers.
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.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the deadliest form of breast cancer because it is more aggressive, diagnosed at later stage and more likely to develop local and systemic recurrence. Many patients do not experience adequate tumor control after current clinical treatments involving surgical removal, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, leading to disease progression and significantly decreased quality of life. Here we report a new combinatory therapy strategy involving cannabinoid-based medicine and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of TNBC. This combinatory therapy targets two proteins upregulated in TNBC: the cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CBR, a G-protein coupled receptor) and translocator protein (TSPO, a mitochondria membrane receptor). We found that the combined CBR agonist and TSPO-PDT treatment resulted in synergistic inhibition in TNBC cell and tumor growth. This combinatory therapy approach provides new opportunities to treat TNBC with high efficacy. In addition, this study provides new evidence on the therapeutic potential of CBR agonists for cancer.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Increased expression of cytochrome P450 CYP2C9, together with elevated levels of its products epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EET), is associated with aggressiveness in cancer. Cytochrome P450 variants and encode proteins with reduced enzymatic activity, and individuals carrying these variants metabolize drugs more slowly than individuals with wild-type , potentially affecting their response to drugs and altering their risk of disease. Although genetic differences in CYP2C9-dependent oxidation of arachidonic acid (AA) have been reported, the roles of CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 in EET biosynthesis and their relevance to disease are unknown. Here, we report that CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 metabolize AA less efficiently than CYP2C9*1 and that they play a role in the progression of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) via impaired EET biosynthesis. When injected into mice, NSCLC cells expressing CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 produced lower levels of EETs and developed fewer, smaller, and less vascularized tumors than cells expressing CYP2C9*1. Moreover, endothelial cells expressing these two variants proliferated and migrated less than cells expressing CYP2C*1. Purified CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 exhibited attenuated catalytic efficiency in producing EETs, primarily due to impaired reduction of these two variants by NADPH-P450 reductase. Loss-of-function SNPs within and were associated with improved survival in female cases of NSCLC. Thus, decreased EET biosynthesis represents a novel mechanism whereby CYPC29*2 and CYP2C9*3 exert a direct protective role in NSCLC development. These findings report single nucleotide polymorphisms in the human CYP2C9 genes, and , exert a direct protective role in tumorigenesis by impairing EET biosynthesis. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
OBJECTIVE - Homologous recombination (HR)-proficient ovarian tumors have poorer clinical outcomes and show resistance to poly ADP ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi). A subset of HR-proficient ovarian tumors show amplification in bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) genes such as BRD4. We aimed to test the hypothesis that BRD4 inhibition sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to PARPi by reducing HR efficiency and increasing DNA damage.
METHODS - HR-proficient ovarian cancer cell lines (OVCAR-3, OVCAR-4, SKOV-3, UWB1.289+BRCA1) were treated with BRD4-targeting siRNA, novel (INB054329, INCB057643) and established (JQ1) BET inhibitors (BETi) and PARPi (olaparib, rucaparib). Cell growth and viability were assessed by sulforhodamine B assays in vitro, and in SKOV-3 and ovarian cancer patient-derived xenografts in vivo. DNA damage and repair (pH2AX, RAD51 and BRCA1 foci formation, and DRGFP HR reporter activity), apoptosis markers (cleaved PARP, cleaved caspase-3, Bax) and proliferation markers (PCNA, Ki67) were assessed by immunofluorescence and western blot.
RESULTS - In cultured cells, inhibition of BRD4 by siRNA or INCB054329 reduced expression and function of BRCA1 and RAD51, reduced HR reporter activity, and sensitized the cells to olaparib-induced growth inhibition, DNA damage induction and apoptosis. Synergy was observed between all BETi tested and PARPi. INCB054329 and olaparib also co-operatively inhibited xenograft tumor growth, accompanied by reduced BRCA1 expression and proliferation, and increased apoptosis and DNA damage.
CONCLUSIONS - These results provide strong rationale for using BETi to extend therapeutic efficacy of PARPi to HR-proficient ovarian tumors and could benefit a substantial number of women diagnosed with this devastating disease.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Small-molecule inhibitors of the mTORC2 kinase (torkinibs) have shown efficacy in early clinical trials. However, the torkinibs under study also inhibit the other mTOR-containing complex mTORC1. While mTORC1/mTORC2 combined inhibition may be beneficial in cancer cells, recent reports describe compensatory cell survival upon mTORC1 inhibition due to loss of negative feedback on PI3K, increased autophagy, and increased macropinocytosis. Genetic models suggest that selective mTORC2 inhibition would be effective in breast cancers, but the lack of selective small-molecule inhibitors of mTORC2 have precluded testing of this hypothesis to date. Here we report the engineering of a nanoparticle-based RNAi therapeutic that can effectively silence the mTORC2 obligate cofactor Rictor. Nanoparticle-based Rictor ablation in HER2-amplified breast tumors was achieved following intratumoral and intravenous delivery, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and increasing tumor cell killing. Selective mTORC2 inhibition , combined with the HER2 inhibitor lapatinib, decreased the growth of HER2-amplified breast cancers to a greater extent than either agent alone, suggesting that mTORC2 promotes lapatinib resistance, but is overcome by mTORC2 inhibition. Importantly, selective mTORC2 inhibition was effective in a triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) model, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and tumor growth, consistent with our findings that RICTOR mRNA correlates with worse outcome in patients with basal-like TNBC. Together, our results offer preclinical validation of a novel RNAi delivery platform for therapeutic gene ablation in breast cancer, and they show that mTORC2-selective targeting is feasible and efficacious in this disease setting. This study describes a nanomedicine to effectively inhibit the growth regulatory kinase mTORC2 in a preclinical model of breast cancer, targeting an important pathogenic enzyme in that setting that has been undruggable to date. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
Antagonists of MDM2-p53 interaction are emerging anti-cancer drugs utilized in clinical trials for malignancies that rarely mutate p53, including melanoma. We discovered that MDM2-p53 antagonists protect DNA from drug-induced damage in melanoma cells and patient-derived xenografts. Among the tested DNA damaging drugs were various inhibitors of Aurora and Polo-like mitotic kinases, as well as traditional chemotherapy. Mitotic kinase inhibition causes mitotic slippage, DNA re-replication, and polyploidy. Here we show that re-replication of the polyploid genome generates replicative stress which leads to DNA damage. MDM2-p53 antagonists relieve replicative stress via the p53-dependent activation of p21 which inhibits DNA replication. Loss of p21 promoted drug-induced DNA damage in melanoma cells and enhanced anti-tumor activity of therapy combining MDM2 antagonist with mitotic kinase inhibitor in mice. In summary, MDM2 antagonists may reduce DNA damaging effects of anti-cancer drugs if they are administered together, while targeting p21 can improve the efficacy of such combinations.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.