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Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is a serine protease which has frequently been implicated in the process of tumor cell invasion and metastasis. The degree of expression and mode(s) of regulation of the uPA gene in metastatic compared with nonmetastatic tumor cells have not yet been addressed. We have cloned and sequenced a full-length rat uPA complementary DNA and utilized Northern blot analysis to report that the uPA gene is expressed at levels 3.5- to 70-fold higher in metastatic cell lines than in nonmetastatic cell lines derived from two independent rat mammary adenocarcinomas. Nuclear run-on assays and RNA half-life estimations indicated that metastatic MAT 13762 rat mammary adenocarcinoma cells expressed 3.5-fold higher levels of uPA RNA than a nonmetastatic derivative (J-clone), due to a combined increase in uPA gene transcription and cytoplasmic RNA stability. By contrast, uPA RNA (and enzyme) levels were elevated by up to 70-fold in metastatic clones of dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced rat mammary adenocarcinoma (DMBA-8) due to predominantly posttranscriptional mechanisms. Moreover, treatment of nonmetastatic DMBA-8 cell lines with protein synthesis inhibitors led to an increase in nuclear and cytoplasmic uPA RNA levels, without altering the rate of uPA gene transcription. These results suggest that in addition to gene transcription, posttranscriptional events localized in the nucleus and cytoplasm are key determinants of uPA gene activation in rat mammary adenocarcinomas.
Activation of ras oncogenes is commonly found in human neoplasms. We have investigated 280 human lung cancer specimens for ras activation, including 38 that have not been reported previously, using an oligonucleotide detection assay. From a total of 141 adenocarcinoma samples from smokers, 41 tested positive for a point mutation in codon 12 of K-ras (30%), while three tumors had another type of ras activation. Only two of 40 cases from nonsmokers had a K-ras mutation (5%), suggesting that K-ras mutations may be directly caused by exposure to carcinogens in tobacco smoke. The majority of the point mutations in adenocarcinomas were guanine to thymine transversions in codon 12 of the K-ras oncogene. Occasional point mutations in ras oncogenes were detected in adenosquamous carcinomas (one of five cases) and large cell carcinoma (one of 24 cases), but no ras activations were found in small cell carcinomas (six cases), squamous carcinomas (48 cases), carcinoid carcinomas (15 cases), or thymoma (one case). Analysis of the clinical and pathological features of the adenocarcinoma cases showed no apparent associations between the K-ras activation and age at diagnosis, sex, disease stage, and the occurrence of other neoplasms. K-ras-positive adenocarcinomas tended to be less differentiated than the K-ras-negative ones (P = 0.044, chi 2 test for trend). K-ras mutations identify a subgroup of patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung who have a very poor prognosis despite radical resection of their tumor. Although K-ras has been proposed as a target for antitumor therapy, its major clinical significance could be to aid in the selection of patients for specific therapeutic interventions, such as adjuvant chemotherapy.
The major oxidation product of the classic polycyclic hydrocarbon carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] is 3-hydroxy B(a)P. Numerous studies have been concerned with the measurement of B(a)P 3-hydroxylation activity in experimental animals and human tissues. Although human liver is the main site of this reaction, systematic studies had not been carried out to define the roles of individual cytochrome P-450 (P-450) enzymes involved. Purified human P4502C8 and P4503A4 showed appreciable catalytic activity; purified human P4501A2 and yeast recombinant (human) P4502C9 and P4502C10 had less activity. No B(a)P 3-hydroxylation activity was observed with purified human P4502A6, P4502D6, P45602E1, or P4502CMP. When microsomes prepared from different human liver samples were compared, B(a)P 3-hydroxylation activity was well correlated with nifedipine oxidation (a P4503A4 marker) but not markers of other P-450s, including tolbutamide hydroxylation (P4502C9 and 2C10), chlorzoxazone 6-hydroxylation (P4502E1), (S)-mephenytoin 4'-hydroxylation (P4502CMP), and coumarin 7-hydroxylation (P4502A6). In three of the liver microsomal samples with relatively high B(a)P 3-hydroxylation activity, immunoinhibition was observed with anti-P4503A greater than anti-P4502C (and no inhibition with several other antibodies). The selective chemical inhibitors gestodene and troleandomycin (P4503A enzymes) and sulfaphenazole (P4502C enzymes) reduced the B(a)P 3-hydroxylation activity of the more active microsomal preparations to rates seen in the preparations with low activity. This residual activity (and most of the activity in the low activity samples) was refractory to all of the chemical inhibitors and antibodies. The addition of 7,8-benzoflavone dramatically stimulated B(a)P 3-hydroxylation in all of the microsomal samples (and also stimulated purified P4503A4), arguing against an important role for P4501A1 or P4501A2. We conclude that roles of human P-450 enzymes for B(a)P 3-hydroxylation follow the order P4503A4 greater than or equal to P4502C8 greater than P4502C9/10 in human liver and that the other P-450s examined here do not have major roles. P4502C8 and P4502CMP (but not P4503A4) were found to activate B(a)P to products genotoxic in Salmonella typhimurium; this pathway would appear to involve products other than 3-hydroxy B(a)P and B(a)P 7,8-dihydrodiols.
To identify selective steps in metastasis, those that eliminate nonmetastatic tumor cells more efficiently than metastatic cells, we have evaluated the sequential dissemination of tumor cells from a mammary fatpad, using both metastatic (4T1 and 66cl4) and nonmetastatic (67NR, 168FARN, and 4TO7) subpopulations of a single mouse mammary tumor. Each of these variant subpopulations is resistant to one or more selective drugs so they could be quantitatively identified by colony formation in selective media. We found that the 2 metastatic cell lines metastasized by different routes and that the nonmetastatic tumor cell lines failed at different points in dissemination. Line 67NR did not leave the primary site; clonogenic tumor cells were not detected in the nodes, blood, or lungs during the experiment (7 weeks). Tumor line 168FARN disseminated from the primary tumor because clonogenic cells were cultured from the draining lymph nodes throughout the experiment. However, dissemination essentially stopped in the node as cells were rarely isolated from blood, lungs, or lives. Whether 168FARN cells failed to reach these tissues or were killed very rapidly after traversing the lymph node is unknown. Line 4TO7 cells disseminated via the blood and were consistently recovered from lungs by day 19 but failed to proliferate. This panel of 5 subpopulations thus identifies different points of selective failure in tumor cell dissemination and should be valuable in the assessment of antimetastatic therapies.
Experimental evidence suggests that human breast cancer cells can be regulated by the IGF-I and IGF-II present in the tumor stromal elements and/or by the endogenous tumor cell IGF-II in a paracrine or autocrine fashion. Thus, blockade of the receptor signalling pathway could lead to diminished tumor growth. Blockade of the type I IGF receptor by a monoclonal antibody (alpha IR3) has been used as a strategy to demonstrate the importance of the IGF pathway. Although alpha IR3 could not block serum-free growth of breast cancer cell lines, it could inhibit anchorage independent growth in most cell lines in the presence of serum. In vivo, alpha IR3 administered at the time of tumor cell inoculation could inhibit MDA-MB-231 tumor formation in athymic mice; however, inhibition of established tumors was not seen. Moreover, alpha IR3 could not inhibit tumor formation of the MCF-7 cell line in vivo. These results suggest that blockade of the type I IGF receptor can inhibit the growth of some breast cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Future anti-growth factor strategies include the combination of anti-IGF receptor antibodies with IGF neutralizing modalities, the dual blockade of growth factor receptors (epidermal growth factor receptor and type I IGF receptor), and combinations of steroid hormone antagonists and anti-growth factor treatments to maximize tumor inhibition.
Results of recent studies indicate that cultured, androgen-independent prostatic carcinoma cells synthesize and secrete transforming growth factor alpha, which interacts with epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) to promote autonomous growth. In the present study, we evaluated the expression and constitutive activation of EGFRs in normal prostatic epithelial cells and the androgen-independent prostatic carcinoma cell lines PC3 and DU145. Our studies showed that cultured normal epithelial cells and androgen-independent prostatic carcinoma cells actively synthesize and exhibit constitutive phosphorylation of the M(r) 170,000 EGFR. The addition of monoclonal anti-EGFR reduced receptor phosphorylation and significantly inhibited the proliferation of prostatic tumor cells. The observed reduction in EGFR phosphorylation could be partially attributed to an antibody-induced decrease in the expression of metabolically labeled EGFR. Results of further studies showed that anti-EGFR enhanced the sensitivity of PC3 cells to the cytotoxic and cytostatic effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha. These studies demonstrate that constitutive activation of EGFR in androgen-independent prostatic carcinoma plays a functional role in the regulation of cellular proliferation in vitro. In addition, the enhanced sensitivity of prostatic carcinoma cells to tumor necrosis factor alpha in the presence of anti-EGFR provides a rationale for the further investigation of combination therapy in the treatment of disseminated, androgen-independent disease.
The presence of estrogen receptor (ER) is a well-known predictor of clinical outcome in human breast cancer. We examined the ER gene in 26 primary breast cancers (14 ER-positive, 12 ER-negative) to determine if alterations of the gene are associated with the ER-negative status. In tumor biopsies and peripheral blood DNA obtained from the same patients we analyzed the ER exon structure using polymerase chain reaction amplification, restriction endonuclease digestion, and agarose gel electrophoresis. All blood and tumor samples, regardless of ER status, showed a complete set of eight exons of normal sizes, ruling out deletions or rearrangements of the ER gene in excess of +/- 20 nucleotides. Previous reports indicate that the two-allele ER PvuII polymorphism could be associated with ER expression in breast cancer (Hill et al., Cancer Res., 49: 145-148, 1989) as well as with patient age at time of tumor diagnosis (Parl et al., Breast Cancer Res. Treat., 14: 57-64, 1989). We localized the PvuII polymorphism in intron 1, 0.4 kilobase upstream of exon 2. Sequence analysis showed the polymorphism to result from a point mutation (T----C) at the fifth position of the restriction site (CATCTG). We determined the PvuII restriction fragment-length polymorphism genotype in 257 primary breast cancers and 140 peripheral blood DNA samples obtained from women without breast cancer. The results indicate that the PvuII polymorphism is not associated with ER content or patient age at tumor diagnosis.
The effects of serine phosphorylation on the DNA cleavage/religation equilibrium of topoisomerase II and the sensitivity of the enzyme to antineoplastic drugs were characterized. Both casein kinase II and protein kinase C were used for these studies. Each kinase incorporated a maximum of approximately 1.4 phosphate molecules per homodimer of topoisomerase II. When the enzyme was incubated with both kinases simultaneously, phosphate incorporation increased to approximately 2.6 molecules/homodimer. In the absence of antineoplastic drugs, phosphorylation had only a slight effect on the DNA cleavage/religation equilibrium of topoisomerase II. However, in the presence of etoposide or 4'-(9-acridinylamino)methane-sulfon-m-anisidide, phosphorylation attenuated the ability of drugs to stabilize enzyme-DNA cleavage complexes. Levels of drug-induced DNA cleavage products decreased approximately 33% following phosphorylation of topoisomerase II by casein kinase II, approximately 17% following modification by protein kinase C, and approximately 50% following simultaneous phosphorylation of the enzyme by both kinases. This latter 50% reduction in DNA cleavage products correlated with an approximately 2-fold increase in the apparent first order rate constant for DNA religation mediated by simultaneously modified topoisomerase II. These results strongly suggest that the sensitivity of topoisomerase II toward antineoplastic drugs can be modulated by altering the phosphorylation state of the enzyme.
Membrane glycoproteins have been studied in the normal lactating mammary gland and R3230 AC mammary tumor of the rat. Plasma membrane-enriched fractions were obtained from these tissues by discontinuous sucrose gradient centrifugation of a microsomal preparation from the tissue homogenates. The lightest membrane fractions (F-1 and F-2) have the greatest enrichment of plasma membrane markers, with a 14- to 20-fold purification of 5'-nucleotidase and Na+-K+ -adenosine triphosphatase over the homogenate values in both tumor and normal tissues for F-1. Electron microscopy shows smooth membrane vesicles for these fractions. Polypeptide analysis by acrylamide gel electrophoresis shows essentially the same patterns for F-1 and F-2 and only relatively minor differences between membrane components of tumor and normal tissues. Glycoprotein analysis of the polyacrylamide gels by periodate-Schiff staining indicates more dramatic differences. Membrane Fraction F-1 from normal tissue contains two major glycoproteins, GP-II and GP-III, while Fractions F-2 and F-3 contain an additional glycoprotein, GP-I, with a higher apparent molecular weight. In the tumor, the component corresponding to GP-III is decreased or absent and a new component GP-IV is seen at a lower apparent molecular weight.