The diagnostic and therapeutic landscape of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has changed dramatically in the past 50 years since the Surgeon General's report on smoking and lung cancer. Early detection is now a reality for lung cancer. The use of low-dose computed tomography scans for early detection decreases mortality and is beginning to be used in routine clinical practice. Technological advances such as positron emission tomography and endobronchial ultrasound have improved the accuracy of NSCLC staging. The cure rate for early-stage NSCLC has improved as a result of multimodality treatment approaches. The role of systemic therapy has also expanded to earlier stages of the disease. In recent years, the initial steps toward personalized medicine by utilization of targeted treatments based on tumor genotype have been undertaken. Emerging technological advances and greater insights into tumor biology are poised to greatly reduce the burden of lung cancer in the years to come. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 557–64. ©2014 AACR.
Using a high-throughput screening (HTS) approach, we have identified and validated several small-molecule Mcl-1 inhibitors (SMI). Here, we describe a novel selective Mcl-1 SMI inhibitor, 2 (UMI-77), developed by structure-based chemical modifications of the lead compound 1 (UMI-59). We have characterized the binding of UMI-77 to Mcl-1 by using complementary biochemical, biophysical, and computational methods and determined its antitumor activity against a panel of pancreatic cancer cells and an in vivo xenograft model. UMI-77 binds to the BH3-binding groove of Mcl-1 with Ki of 490 nmol/L, showing selectivity over other members of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family. UMI-77 inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, accompanied by cytochrome c release and caspase-3 activation. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments revealed that UMI-77 blocks the heterodimerization of Mcl-1/Bax and Mcl-1/Bak in cells, thus antagonizing the Mcl-1 function. The Bax/Bak-dependent induction of apoptosis was further confirmed using murine embryonic fibroblasts that are Bax- and Bak-deficient. In an in vivo BxPC-3 xenograft model, UMI-77 effectively inhibited tumor growth. Western blot analysis in tumor remnants revealed enhancement of proapoptotic markers and significant decrease of survivin. Collectively, these promising findings show the therapeutic potential of Mcl-1 inhibitors against pancreatic cancer and warrant further preclinical investigations. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 565–75. ©2013 AACR.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a devastating disease, and current therapies have not greatly improved the 5-year survival rates. Topoisomerase (Top) inhibition is a treatment modality for SCLC; however, the response is short lived. Consequently, our research has focused on improving SCLC therapeutics through the identification of novel targets. Previously, we identified MNNG HOS transforming gene (MET) to be overexpressed and functional in SCLC. Herein, we investigated the therapeutic potential of combinatorial targeting of MET using SU11274 and Top1 using 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38). MET and TOP1 gene copy numbers and protein expression were determined in 29 patients with limited (n = 11) and extensive (n = 18) disease. MET gene copy number was significantly increased (>6 copies) in extensive disease compared with limited disease (P = 0.015). Similar TOP1 gene copy numbers were detected in limited and extensive disease. Immunohistochemical staining revealed a significantly higher Top1 nuclear expression in extensive (0.93) versus limited (0.15) disease (P = 0.04). Interestingly, a significant positive correlation was detected between MET gene copy number and Top1 nuclear expression (r = 0.5). In vitro stimulation of H82 cells revealed hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)–induced nuclear colocalization of p-MET and Top1. Furthermore, activation of the HGF/MET axis enhanced Top1 activity, which was abrogated by SU11274. Combination of SN-38 with SU11274 dramatically decreased SCLC growth as compared with either drug alone. Collectively, these findings suggest that the combinatorial inhibition of MET and Top1 is a potentially efficacious treatment strategy for SCLC. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 576–84. ©2013 AACR.
Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is the biosynthetic enzyme responsible for the endogenous synthesis of fatty acids. It is downregulated in most normal cells, except in lipogenic tissues such as liver, lactating breast, fetal lung, and adipose tissue. Conversely, several human cancers, including head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), overexpress FASN, which has been associated with poor prognosis and recently suggested as a metabolic oncoprotein. Orlistat is an irreversible inhibitor of FASN activity with cytotoxic properties on several cancer cell lines that inhibits tumor progression and metastasis in prostate cancer xenografts and experimental melanomas, respectively. To explore whether the inhibition of FASN could impact oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC) metastatic spread, an orthotopic model was developed by the implantation of SCC-9 ZsGreen LN-1 cells into the tongue of BALB/c nude mice. These cells were isolated through in vivo selection, show a more invasive behavior in vitro than the parental cells, and generate orthotopic tumors that spontaneously metastasize to cervical lymph nodes in 10 to 15 days only. SCC-9 ZsGreen LN-1 cells also exhibit enhanced production of MMP-2, ERBB2, and CDH2. The treatment with orlistat reduced proliferation and migration, promoted apoptosis, and stimulated the secretion of VEGFA165b by SCC-9 ZsGreen LN-1 cells. In vivo, the drug was able to decrease both the volume and proliferation indexes of the tongue orthotopic tumors and, importantly, reduced the number of metastatic cervical lymph nodes by 43%. These results suggest that FASN is a potential molecular target for the chemotherapy of patients with OTSCC. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 585–95. ©2013 AACR.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an evolutionarily conserved energy sensor important for cell growth, proliferation, survival, and metabolic regulation. Active AMPK inhibits biosynthetic enzymes like mTOR and acetyl CoA carboxylase (required for protein and lipid synthesis, respectively) to ensure that cells maintain essential nutrients and energy during metabolic crisis. Despite our knowledge about this incredibly important kinase, no specific chemical inhibitors are available to examine its function. However, one small molecule known as compound C (also called dorsomorphin) has been widely used in cell-based, biochemical, and in vivo assays as a selective AMPK inhibitor. In nearly all these reports including a recent study in glioma, the biochemical and cellular effects of compound C have been attributed to its inhibitory action toward AMPK. While examining the status of AMPK activation in human gliomas, we observed that glioblastomas express copious amount of active AMPK. Compound C effectively reduced glioma viability in vitro both by inhibiting proliferation and inducing cell death. As expected, compound C inhibited AMPK; however, all the antiproliferative effects of this compound were AMPK independent. Instead, compound C killed glioma cells by multiple mechanisms, including activation of the calpain/cathepsin pathway, inhibition of AKT, mTORC1/C2, cell-cycle block at G2–M, and induction of necroptosis and autophagy. Importantly, normal astrocytes were significantly less susceptible to compound C. In summary, compound C is an extremely potent antiglioma agent but we suggest that caution should be taken in interpreting results when this compound is used as an AMPK inhibitor. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 596–605. ©2014 AACR.
A major challenge affecting the outcomes of patients with lung cancer is the development of acquired radioresistance. However, the mechanisms underlying the development of resistance to therapy are not fully understood. Here, we discovered that ionizing radiation induces phosphorylation of Janus-associated kinase (JAK)-2 and STAT3 in association with increased levels of Bcl2/Bcl-XL in various human lung cancer cells. To uncover new mechanism(s) of radioresistance of lung cancer, we established lung cancer cell model systems with acquired radioresistance. As compared with radiosensitive parental lung cancer cells (i.e., A549, H358, and H157), the JAK2/STAT3/Bcl2/Bcl-XL survival pathway is significantly more activated in acquired radioresistant lung cancer cells (i.e., A549-IRR, H358-IRR, and H157-IRR). Higher levels of STAT3 were found to be accumulated in the nucleus of radioresistant lung cancer cells. Niclosamide, a potent STAT3 inhibitor, can reduce STAT3 nuclear localization in radioresistant lung cancer cells. Intriguingly, either inhibition of STAT3 activity by niclosamide or depletion of STAT3 by RNA interference reverses radioresistance in vitro. Niclosamide alone or in combination with radiation overcame radioresistance in lung cancer xenografts. These findings uncover a novel mechanism of radioresistance and provide a more effective approach to overcome radioresistance by blocking the STAT3/Bcl2/Bcl-XL survival signaling pathway, which may potentially improve lung cancer outcome, especially for those patients who have resistance to radiotherapy. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 606–16. ©2013 AACR.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a clinical therapeutic target to treat a subset of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring EGFR mutants. However, some patients with a similar kind of EGFR mutation show intrinsic resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). It indicates that other key molecules are involved in the survival of these cancer cells. We showed here that 2-[(aminocarbonyl)amino]-5 -(4-fluorophenyl)-3- thiophenecarboxamide (TPCA-1), a previously reported inhibitor of IB kinases (IKK), blocked STAT3 recruitment to upstream kinases by docking into SH2 domain of STAT3 and attenuated STAT3 activity induced by cytokines and cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases. TPCA-1 is an effective inhibitor of STAT3 phosphorylation, DNA binding, and transactivation in vivo. It selectively repressed proliferation of NSCLC cells with constitutive STAT3 activation. In addition, using pharmacologic and genetic approaches, we found that both NF-B and STAT3 could regulate the transcripts of interleukin (IL)-6 and COX-2 in NSCLC harboring EGFR mutations. Moreover, gefitinib treatment only did not efficiently suppress NF-B and STAT3 activity. In contrast, we found that treatment with TKIs increased phosho-STAT3 level in target cells. Inhibiting EGFR, STAT3, and NF-B by combination of TKIs with TPCA-1 showed increased sensitivity and enhanced apoptosis induced by gefitinib. Collectively, in this work, we identified TPCA-1 as a direct dual inhibitor for both IKKs and STAT3, whereas treatment targeting EGFR only could not sufficiently repress NF-B and STAT3 pathways for lung cancers harboring mutant EGFR. Therefore, synergistic treatment of TPCA-1 with TKIs has potential to be a more effective strategy for cancers. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 617–29. ©2014 AACR.
Topoisomerase I inhibitors are a class of anticancer drugs with a broad spectrum of clinical activity. However, they have limited efficacy in hepatocellular cancer. Here, we present in vitro and in vivo evidence that the extremely high level of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) in hepatocellular carcinoma is intimately correlated with resistance to topoisomerase I inhibitors. In a previous study conducted by our group, we found that tirapazamine could downregulate HIF-1α expression by decreasing HIF-1α protein synthesis. Therefore, we hypothesized that combining tirapazamine with topoisomerase I inhibitors may overcome the chemoresistance. In this study, we investigated that in combination with tirapazamine, topoisomerase I inhibitors exhibited synergistic cytotoxicity and induced significant apoptosis in several hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines. The enhanced apoptosis induced by tirapazamine plus SN-38 (the active metabolite of irinotecan) was accompanied by increased mitochondrial depolarization and caspase pathway activation. The combination treatment dramatically inhibited the accumulation of HIF-1α protein, decreased the HIF-1α transcriptional activation, and impaired the phosphorylation of proteins involved in the homologous recombination repair pathway, ultimately resulting in the synergism of these two drugs. Moreover, the increased anticancer efficacy of tirapazamine combined with irinotecan was further validated in a human liver cancer Bel-7402 xenograft mouse model. Taken together, our data show for the first time that HIF-1α is strongly correlated with resistance to topoisomerase I inhibitors in hepatocellular carcinoma. These results suggest that HIF-1α is a promising target and provide a rationale for clinical trials investigating the efficacy of the combination of topoisomerase I inhibitors and tirapazamine in hepatocellular cancers. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 630–42. ©2013 AACR.
TRAIL (Apo2L) is a potent inducer of cell death. Interest in TRAIL has increased, following the observation that TRAIL can selectively kill a wide variety of human cancer cells without killing normal cells both in vitro and when grown as xenografts. Therefore, TRAIL has been proposed as a promising anticancer agent and currently is being tested in clinical trials. However, recombinant TRAIL has a very short plasma half-life, which limits its therapeutic potential. To overcome this limitation, we investigated the ability of the human IgG1 fragment crystallizable region (Fc) to enhance TRAIL stability. In this report, we show that Fc-TRAIL chimeric protein displays higher specific activity in vitro and a significantly longer half-life in mice than recombinant human TRAIL (rh-TRAIL). No short-term toxicity, especially liver toxicity, was observed. More importantly, Fc-TRAIL was much more effective in inhibiting tumor growth in a xenograft tumor model compared with rh-TRAIL. Our data suggest that fusion of Fc to TRAIL is able to improve the bioavailability and activity of TRAIL both in vitro and in vivo, and Fc-TRAIL may be explored for future clinical applications in cancer treatment and prevention. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 643–50. ©2014 AACR.
The limited localization and penetration of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) into solid tumors restricts their antitumor efficacy. Here, we describe a solid tumor–targeting antibody with enhanced tumor penetration activity. We designed a 22-residue peptide (A22p), which was extracted from the C-terminal basic region of semaphorin 3A (Sema3A) but modified to have higher affinity with neuropilin receptors (NRP), and genetically fused it to the C-terminus of Fc of human immunoglobulin G1 via a 15-residue (G4S)3 linker, generating Fc-A22p, for the bivalent binding to NRPs. In contrast to Fc or the monovalent A22p peptide alone, Fc-A22p homed to tumor vessels and induced vascular permeability through VE-cadherin downregulation and penetrated tumor tissues by interacting with NRPs in mice bearing human tumor xenografts. We extended the Fc-A22p platform by generating mAb-A22p antibodies of two clinically approved solid tumor–targeting mAbs, the anti-EGF receptor mAb cetuximab (erbitux), and the anti-Her2 mAb trastuzumab (herceptin). The mAb-A22p antibodies retained the intrinsic antigen binding, natural Fc-like biophysical properties, and productivity in mammalian cell cultures, comparable with those of the parent mAbs. In mouse xenograft tumor models, the mAb-A22p antibodies more efficiently homed to tumor vessels and spread into the extravascular tumor parenchyma, which significantly enhanced antitumor efficacy compared with the parent mAbs. Our results suggest that mAb-A22p is a superior format for solid tumor–targeting antibodies due to its enhanced tumor tissue penetration and greater antitumor efficacy compared with conventional mAbs. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 651–61. ©2014 AACR.
Evidence implicating dysregulation of the IRE1/XBP-1s arm of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in cancer pathogenesis (e.g., multiple myeloma) has prompted the development of IRE1 RNase inhibitors. Here, effects of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor SCH727965 (dinaciclib) on the IRE1 arm of the UPR were examined in human leukemia and myeloma cells. Exposure of cells to extremely low (e.g., nmol/L) concentrations of SCH727965, a potent inhibitor of CDKs 1/2/5/9, diminished XBP-1s and Grp78 induction by the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-inducers thapsigargin and tunicamycin, while sharply inducing cell death. SCH727965, in contrast to IRE1 RNase inhibitors, inhibited the UPR in association with attenuation of XBP-1s nuclear localization and accumulation rather than transcription, translation, or XBP-1 splicing. Notably, in human leukemia cells, CDK1 and 5 short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown diminished Grp78 and XBP-1s upregulation while increasing thapsigargin lethality, arguing for a functional role for CDK1/5 in activation of the cytoprotective IRE1/XBP-1s arm of the UPR. In contrast, CDK9 or 2 inhibitors or shRNA knockdown failed to downregulate XBP-1s or Grp78. Furthermore, IRE1, XBP-1, or Grp78 knockdown significantly increased thapsigargin lethality, as observed with CDK1/5 inhibition/knockdown. Finally, SCH727965 diminished myeloma cell growth in vivo in association with XBP-1s downregulation. Together, these findings demonstrate that SCH727965 acts at extremely low concentrations to attenuate XBP-1s nuclear accumulation and Grp78 upregulation in response to ER stress inducers. They also highlight a link between specific components of the cell-cycle regulatory apparatus (e.g., CDK1/5) and the cytoprotective IRE1/XBP-1s/Grp78 arm of the UPR that may be exploited therapeutically in UPR-driven malignancies. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 662–74. ©2013 AACR.
Inhibition of XPO1 (CRM1)-mediated nuclear export of multiple tumor suppressor proteins has been proposed as a novel cancer therapeutic strategy to turn off oncogenic signals and enhance tumor suppression. Survivin is a multifunctional protein with oncogenic properties when expressed in the cytoplasm that requires the XPO1–RanGTP complex for its nuclear export. We investigated the antitumor mechanisms of the drug-like selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE) XPO1 antagonists KPT-185, KPT-251 KPT-276, and KPT-330 in estrogen receptor–positive and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines and xenograft models of human breast tumors. KPT compounds significantly inhibited breast cancer cell growth and induced tumor cell death, both in vitro and in vivo. These drugs initially promoted survivin accumulation within tumor cell nuclei. However, their major in vitro effect was to decrease survivin cytoplasmic protein levels, correlating with the onset of apoptosis. XPO1 inhibition repressed Survivin transcription by inhibiting CREB-binding protein-mediated STAT3 acetylation, and blocking STAT3 binding to the Survivin promoter. In addition, caspase-3 was activated to cleave survivin, rendering it unavailable to bind X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein and block the caspase cascade. Collectively, these data demonstrate that XPO1 inhibition by SINE compounds represses STAT3 transactivation to block the selective oncogenic properties of survivin and supports their clinical use in TNBC. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 675–86. ©2014 AACR.
Here, we investigated the potential mechanism of capsaicin-mediated apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. Capsaicin treatment phosphorylated c-jun-NH2-kinase (JNK); forkhead box transcription factor, class O (FOXO1); and BIM in BxPC-3, AsPC-1, and L3.6PL cells. The expression of BIM increased in response to capsaicin treatment. Capsaicin treatment caused cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP, indicating apoptosis. Antioxidants tiron and PEG-catalase blocked capsaicin-mediated JNK/FOXO/BIM activation and protected the cells from apoptosis. Furthermore, capsaicin treatment caused a steady increase in the nuclear expression of FOXO-1, leading to increased DNA binding. Capsaicin-mediated expression of BIM was found to be directly dependent on the acetylation of FOXO-1. The expression of CREB-binding protein (CBP) was increased, whereas SirT-1 was reduced by capsaicin treatment. Using acetylation mimic or defective mutants, our result demonstrated that phosphorylation of FOXO-1 was mediated through acetylation by capsaicin treatment. JNK inhibitor attenuated the phosphorylation of FOXO-1, activation of BIM, and abrogated capsaicin-induced apoptosis. Moreover, silencing FOXO1 by siRNA blocked capsaicin-mediated activation of BIM and apoptosis, whereas overexpression of FOXO-1 augmented its effects. Silencing Bim drastically reduced capsaicin-mediated cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP, indicating the role of BIM in apoptosis. Oral administration of 5 mg/kg capsaicin substantially suppressed the growth of BxPC-3 tumor xenografts in athymic nude mice. Tumors from capsaicin-treated mice showed an increase in the phosphorylation of JNK, FOXO-1, BIM, and levels of CBP, cleavage of caspase-3, PARP, and decreased SirT-1 expression. Taken together, our results suggest that capsaicin activated JNK and FOXO-1, leading to the acetylation of FOXO-1 through CBP and SirT-1. Acetylated FOXO1 induced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells through BIM activation. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 687–98. ©2014 AACR.
Defects in the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) have been proposed to contribute to the chromosomal instability in human cancers. One of the major mechanisms underlying antimicrotubule drug (AMD) resistance involves acquired inactivation of SAC. Synuclein (SNCG), previously identified as a breast cancer–specific gene, is highly expressed in malignant cancer cells but not in normal epithelium. Here, we show that SNCG is sufficient to induce resistance to AMD-caused apoptosis in breast cancer cells and cancer xenografts. SNCG binds to spindle checkpoint kinase BubR1 and inhibits its kinase activity. Specifically, the C-terminal (Gln106-Asp127) of SNCG binds to the N-terminal TPR (tetratricopeptidelike folds) motif of BubR1. SNCG–BubR1 interaction induces a structure change of BubR1, attenuates its interaction with other key checkpoint proteins of Cdc20, and thus compromises SAC function. SNCG expression in breast cancers from patients with a neoadjuvant clinical trial showed that SNCG-positive tumors are resistant to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. These data show that SNCG renders AMD resistance by inhibiting BubR1 activity and attenuating SAC function. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 699–713. ©2014 AACR.
Paclitaxel displays clinical activity against a wide variety of solid tumors. However, resistance to paclitaxel significantly attenuates the response to chemotherapy. The ABC transporter subfamily C member 10 (ABCC10), also known as multidrug resistance protein 7 (MRP7) efflux transporter, is a major mediator of paclitaxel resistance. In this study, we show that masitinib, a small molecule stem-cell growth factor receptor (c-Kit) tyrosine kinase inhibitor, at nontoxic concentrations, significantly attenuates paclitaxel resistance in HEK293 cells transfected with ABCC10. Our in vitro studies indicated that masitinib (2.5 μmol/L) enhanced the intracellular accumulation and decreased the efflux of paclitaxel by inhibiting the ABCC10 transport activity without altering the expression level of ABCC10 protein. Furthermore, masitinib, in combination with paclitaxel, significantly inhibited the growth of ABCC10-expressing tumors in nude athymic mice in vivo. Masitinib administration also resulted in a significant increase in the levels of paclitaxel in the plasma, tumors, and lungs compared with paclitaxel alone. In conclusion, the combination of paclitaxel and masitinib could serve as a novel and useful therapeutic strategy to reverse paclitaxel resistance mediated by ABCC10. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 714–23. ©2014 AACR.
Recent data have identified STAG2, a core subunit of the multifunctional cohesin complex, as a highly recurrently mutated gene in several types of cancer. We sought to identify a therapeutic strategy to selectively target cancer cells harboring inactivating mutations of STAG2 using two independent pairs of isogenic glioblastoma cell lines containing either an endogenous mutant STAG2 allele or a wild-type STAG2 allele restored by homologous recombination. We find that mutations in STAG2 are associated with significantly increased sensitivity to inhibitors of the DNA repair enzyme PARP. STAG2-mutated, PARP-inhibited cells accumulated in G2 phase and had a higher percentage of micronuclei, fragmented nuclei, and chromatin bridges compared with wild-type STAG2 cells. We also observed more 53BP1 foci in STAG2-mutated glioblastoma cells, suggesting that these cells have defects in DNA repair. Furthermore, cells with mutations in STAG2 were more sensitive than cells with wild-type STAG2 when PARP inhibitors were used in combination with DNA-damaging agents. These data suggest that PARP is a potential target for tumors harboring inactivating mutations in STAG2, and strongly recommend that STAG2 status be determined and correlated with therapeutic response to PARP inhibitors, both prospectively and retrospectively, in clinical trials. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 724–32. ©2013 AACR.
The conversion of normal cells to cancer cells involves a shift from catabolic to anabolic metabolism involving increased glucose uptake and the diversion of glycolytic intermediates into nucleotides, amino acids, and lipids needed for cell growth. An underappreciated aspect of nutrient uptake is the utilization of serum lipids. We investigated the dependence of human cancer cells on serum lipids and report here that Ras-driven human cancer cells are uniquely dependent on serum lipids for both proliferation and survival. Removal of serum lipids also sensitizes Ras-driven cancer cells to rapamycin—indicating that the enhanced need for serum lipids creates a synthetic lethal phenotype that could be exploited therapeutically. Although depriving humans of serum lipids is not practical, suppressing uptake of lipids is possible. Suppressing macropinocytosis in Ras-driven cancer cells also created sensitivity to suppression of the mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). It is speculated that this property displayed by Ras-driven cancer cells represents an Achilles' heel for the large number of human cancers that are driven by activating Ras mutations. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 733–41. ©2014 AACR.
Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD, encoded by DPYD) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the uracil catabolic pathway and has a pivotal role in the pharmacokinetics of the commonly prescribed anticancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Deficiency of DPD, whether due to inadequate expression or deleterious variants in DPYD, has been linked to severe toxic responses to 5-FU. Little is known about the mechanisms governing DPD expression in the liver. In this report, we show increased accumulation of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) proteins on DPYD mRNA in cells overexpressing the highly homologous microRNAs (miRNA) miR-27a and miR-27b. These miRNAs were shown to repress DPD expression through two conserved recognition sites in DPYD. The IC50 of 5-FU for HCT116 cells overexpressing miR-27a or miR-27b was 4.4 μmol/L (both), significantly lower than that for cells expressing a nontargeting (scramble) control miRNA (14.3 μmol/L; P = 3.3 x 10–5 and P = 1.5 x 10–7, respectively). Mouse liver DPD enzyme activity was inversely correlated with expression levels of miR-27a (R2 = 0.49; P = 0.0012) and miR-27b (R2 = 0.29; P = 0.022). A common variant in the hairpin loop region of hsa-mir-27a (rs895819) was also shown to be associated with elevated expression of the miR-27a in a panel of cell lines (P = 0.029) and in a transgenic overexpression model (P = 0.0011). Furthermore, rs895819 was associated with reduced DPD enzyme activity (P = 0.028) in a cohort of 40 healthy volunteers. Taken together, these results suggest that miR-27a and miR-27b expression may be pharmacologically relevant modulators of DPD enzyme function in the liver. Furthermore, our data suggest that rs895819 may be a potential risk allele for 5-FU sensitivity. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 742–51. ©2014 AACR.
CD43 is a sialoglycosylated membrane protein that is involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. CD43 glycoforms that are recognized by the UN1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) were expressed in lymphoblastoid T-cell lines and solid tumors, such as breast, colon, gastric, and squamous cell lung carcinomas, while unexpressed in the normal counterparts. The cancer association of UN1/CD43 epitope suggested the possibility to use the UN1 mAb for tumor diagnosis and therapy. In this study, we show that the UN1 mAb was endowed with antitumor activity in vivo because its passive transfer inhibited the growth of UN1-positive HPB-ALL lymphoblastoid T cells in mice. Furthermore, we demonstrate that tumor inhibition was due to UN1 mAb-dependent natural killer–mediated cytotoxicity. By screening a phage-displayed random peptide library, we identified the phagotope 2/165 as a mimotope of the UN1 antigen, as it harbored a peptide sequence that was specifically recognized by the UN1 mAb and inhibited the binding of the UN1 mAb to UN1-positive tumor cells. On the basis of sequence homology with the extracellular region of CD43 (amino acids 64 to 83), the 2/165 peptide sequence was likely mimicking the protein core of the UN1/CD43 epitope. When used as vaccine in mice, the 2/165 phagotope raised antibodies against the UN1/CD43 antigen, indicating that the 2/165 phagotope mimicked the UN1 antigen structure, and could represent a novel immunogen for cancer immunotherapy. These findings support the feasibility of using monoclonal antibodies to identify cancer-associated mimotopes for immunotherapy. Mol Cancer Ther; 13(3); 752–62. ©2013 AACR.
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