Gene expression profile of epithelial ovarian tumor tissue of a transgenic mouse model compared to normal mouse ovary tissue
ABSTRACT: The etiology of ovarian cancer is poorly understood, mainly due to the lack of an appropriate experimental model for studying the onset and progression of this disease. We have created a mouse model termed ERalpha d/d in which a conditional deletion of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) gene occurred in the anterior pituitary, but ERalpha expression remained intact in the hypothalamus and the ovary. The loss of negative-feedback regulation by estrogen (E) at the level of the pituitary led to elevated production of luteinizing hormone (LH) by this tissue. Hyperstimulation of ovarian cells by LH resulted in increased steroidogenesis, leading to high circulating levels of progesterone, testosterone and E. The ERalpha d/d mice exhibited formation of palpable ovarian epithelial tumors starting at 5 months of age, and by 12 months, most mice carrying these tumors died. Besides proliferating epithelial cells, these tumors also contained an expanded population of stromal cells, which express P450 aromatase suggesting that these cells acquired the ability to synthesize E. In ERalpha d/d mice, in response to the E produced by the stromal cells, the ERalpha signaling is accentuated in the ovarian epithelial cells, triggering increased ERalpha-dependent gene expression, abnormal cell proliferation, and tumorigenesis. The ERalpha d/d animal model of ovarian epithelial tumorigenesis will serve as a powerful tool for exploring the involvement of E-dependent signaling pathways in the etiology of ovarian cancer. To identify aberrantly regulated genes in epithelial ovarian tumors, we performed gene expression profling of ovarian tumor tissue isolated from ERaplha d/d mice and normal ovary tissue isolated from ERaplha f/f control mice. The ERalpha d/d mouse model was created via conditional deletion of ERalpha by employing the Cre-LoxP strategy. Transgenic mice expressing Cre recombinase under the control of progesterone receptor (PR) promoter, termed PR-cre mice, were crossed with mice harboring the ‘floxed’ ERalpha gene (ERalpha f/f) to create the ERalpah d/d mice in which the ERalpha gene is deleted in cells expressing PR. Ovarian tumor tissue was isolated from ERalpha d/d mice and normal ovary tissue was isolated from ERalpha f/f mice at 5 months and 10 months of age. Tissues were snap frozen and total RNA was isolated. Total RNA was pooled from 3 mice for each sample subjected to microarray analysis.
Project description:The cell of origin of serious ovarian cancer is unknown. To create a mouse model for this lethal cancer and identify early cancer biomarkers, we conditionally deleted both Dicer (essential for microRNA biosynthesis) and Pten (a negative regulator of the PI3K pathway) in the female reproductive tract. Beginning at ~3-5 months, these Dicer/Pten mutant mice develop high-grade serious carcinomas that initiate in the stroma of the fallopian tube through a mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), subsequently envelop the ovary, and then metastasize throughout the peritoneum, resulting in ascites and 100% lethality by 13 months. The fallopian tube cancers demonstrate upregulation of genes encoding known and novel secreted proteins that are potential biomarkers. This study uncovers a new paradigm for the initiation of high-grade serous ovarian cancer. We generated gene expression profiles of 8 human primary serious tumors, and 2 independent samples of human normal fimbria. We defined genes that were high or low in tumors relative to fimbria, and compared these results with those of the correponding mouse model.
Project description:The estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) is a critical transcription factor that regulates epithelial cell proliferation and ductal morphogenesis during postnatal mammary gland development. Tissue recombination and transplantation studies using the first generation of ERalpha knockout (ERKO) mice suggested that this steroid hormone receptor is required in the mammary stroma that subsequently exerts its effect on the epithelium through additional paracrine signaling events. A more detailed analysis revealed that ERKO mice produce a truncated ERalpha protein with detectable transactivation activity, and it is likely that this functional ERalpha variant has masked the biological significance of this steroid receptor in the mammary epithelium. In this article, we describe the generation a Cre-lox-based conditional knockout of the ERalpha gene to study the biological function of this steroid receptor in the epithelial compartment at defined stages of mammary gland development. The mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-Cre-mediated, epithelial-specific ablation of exon 3 of the ERalpha gene in virgin mice severely impaired ductal elongation and side branching. The conditional knockout resulted in ablation of the ERalpha protein, and the progesterone receptor (PR), whose expression is under the control of ERalpha, was largely absent. The whey acidic protein (WAP)-Cre-mediated deletion of ERalpha during successive gestation cycles resulted in a loss of ductal side-branching and lobuloalveolar structures, ductal dilation, and decreased proliferation of alveolar progenitors. These abnormalities compromised milk production and led to malnourishment of the offspring by the second lactation. These observations suggest that ERalpha expression in the mammary epithelium is essential for normal ductal morphogenesis during puberty and alveologenesis during pregnancy and lactation.
Project description:Currently, the therapy for breast cancer is determined by immunohistochemical staining of the primary tumour for oestrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha). However, a proportion of ERalpha-positive patients fail to respond to tamoxifen and a proportion of ERalpha-negative patients show response. Here, we describe a novel procedure for the purification of malignant breast epithelial cells in an attempt to identify these patients at an early stage. Using this procedure, we are able to purify malignant cells to >90% purity as determined by immunohistochemical staining, cytology and fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). While the malignant cells can be maintained in culture they do not proliferate in contrast to purified breast epithelial cells from reduction mammoplasties. Moreover, ERalpha and progesterone receptor (PR) expression is maintained in malignant cells, whereas normal epithelial cells rapidly lose ERalpha and PR. Functional studies were performed on the separated malignant cells in terms of their response to oestradiol and tamoxifen. Four out of the seven ERalpha-positive tumours showed a significant reduction in cell numbers after tamoxifen treatment compared to oestradiol, ERalpha negative tumours failed to show a response. We conclude that (a) it is possible to purify and maintain breast cancer cells for a sufficient period to permit functional studies and (b) ERalpha is retained in culture facilitating the use of these cells in studies of the mechanism of endocrine response and resistance in vitro.
Project description:The etiology of ovarian epithelial cancer is poorly understood, mainly due to the lack of an appropriate experimental model for studying the onset and progression of this disease. We have created a mutant mouse model in which aberrant estrogen receptor alpha (ER?) signaling in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis leads to ovarian epithelial tumorigenesis. In these mice, termed ER?d/d, the ER? gene was conditionally deleted in the anterior pituitary, but remained intact in the hypothalamus and the ovary. The loss of negative-feedback regulation by estrogen (E) at the level of the pituitary led to increased production of luteinizing hormone (LH) by this tissue. Hyperstimulation of the ovarian cells by LH resulted in elevated steroidogenesis, producing high circulating levels of steroid hormones, including E. The ER?d/d mice exhibited formation of palpable ovarian epithelial tumors starting at 5 months of age with 100% penetrance. By 15 months of age, 80% of ER?d/d mice die. Besides proliferating epithelial cells, these tumors also contained an expanded population of luteinized stromal cells, which acquire the ability to express P450 aromatase and synthesize E locally. In response to the elevated levels of E, the ER? signaling was accentuated in the ovarian epithelial cells of ER?d/d mice, triggering increased ER?-dependent gene expression, abnormal cell proliferation, and tumorigenesis. Consistent with these findings, treatment of ER?d/d mice with letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, markedly reduced circulating E and ovarian tumor volume. We have, therefore, developed a unique animal model, which serves as a useful tool for exploring the involvement of E-dependent signaling pathways in ovarian epithelial tumorigenesis.
Project description:Foxl2 is a forkhead transcription factor required for ovary development and ovarian follicle maturation. In this report, we identified and characterized a functional relationship between Foxl2 expression and estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha signaling. We show that Foxl2 has no effect on classical ERalpha-mediated transcription, which occurs through canonical estrogen response elements. However, Foxl2 suppresses ERalpha signaling through nonclassical tethered transcriptional pathways. Specifically, the selective ER modulator tamoxifen stimulates activator protein-1 (AP1)-dependent transcription via the ERalpha, and this enhancement is blocked by Foxl2. Two lines of evidence suggest that Foxl2 suppression is mediated by physical interactions with ERalpha rather than direct action at AP1 binding sites. First, ERalpha is coimmunoprecipitated with Foxl2. Second, activation of a upstream activating sequence (UAS) reporter by Gal4-cJun in the presence of ERalpha and tamoxifen was blocked by Foxl2, demonstrating suppression in the absence of an AP1 site. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), which is required for ovulation, was identified through expression profiling as a candidate physiological target for nonclassical ERalpha signaling and thus modulation by ERalpha/Foxl2 interactions. This possibility was confirmed by two sets of experiments. COX2 protein levels were induced by ERalpha in the presence of tamoxifen, and protein expression was suppressed by Foxl2. In addition, ERalpha stimulation of the COX2 promoter was repressed by Foxl2. We conclude that ERalpha and Foxl2 interact and that Foxl2 selectively suppresses ERalpha-mediated transcription of AP1-regulated genes. These data provide a potential point of convergence for ERalpha and Foxl2 to regulate ovarian development and function.
Project description:The predisposition of the testis and ovary to primarily synthesize testosterone (T) and estradiol (E2), respectively, is due to gonadal-specific cell types that differentially express the various hydroxysteroid (17beta) dehydrogenase (HSD17B) isoforms. In testes, Leydig cells rely on LH stimulation to maintain expression of the type 3 (HSD17B3) isoform, which specifically converts androstenedione to T. In ovaries, thecal interstitial (TI) cells also rely on LH to induce androgen synthesis but lack HSD17B3 and therefore secrete androgens of low biological activity. Therefore, thecal cells may possess a mechanism to repress the Leydig cell phenotype and HSD17B3 expression. E2 is known to inhibit experimentally Leydig cell function and proliferation. In the current study, we provide evidence that E2 prevents the development of functional Leydig-like cells in the murine ovary and that this action is mediated by estrogen receptor (ER) alpha. ERalpha-null (alphaERKO) female mice exhibit testis-like levels of Hsd17b3 expression in the ovaries and male-like levels of plasma T. Herein, we demonstrate that: 1) Hsd17b3 expression in alphaERKO ovaries is a primary effect of the loss of intraovarian ERalpha actions; 2) alphaERKO ovarian cells produce substantial levels of T in vitro, and this is blocked by a HSD17B3-specific inhibitor; 3) Hsd17b3 expression in alphaERKO ovaries is LH regulated and localized to the secondary interstitial (SI)/TI cells; and 4) alphaERKO SI/TI cells possess Leydig-like ultrastructural features. These data indicate that intraovarian ERalpha actions are required to repress Hsd17b3 expression in the ovary and may be important to maintaining a female phenotype in SI/TI cells.
Project description:Oestrogen receptor-binding fragment associated gene 9, EBAG9, is an oestrogen-responsive gene that was identified in MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cell line. It is identical to RCAS 1, a cancer cell surface antigen possibly involved in immune escape. In the present study, we examined the expression of EBAG9/RCAS1 in human epithelial ovarian cancer using immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A total of 90 epithelial ovarian cancer cases were examined immunohistochemically by means of the antibodies for EBAG9 and ERalpha. The correlation between EBAG9 immunoreactivity and clinicopathological parameters was examined. mRNA expression of EBAG9 and ERalpha were evaluated by RT-PCR in 22 cases. The expression for EBAG9 and ERalpha was examined by immunoblotting in 12 ovarian cancer cell lines. EBAG9 immunoreactivity was detected in the surface and cytoplasm of carcinoma cells in 46 out of 90 cases (51.1%). EBAG9 expression was significantly higher in serous histology (P=0.0402) and advanced disease (P=0.0206). No significant relationship was detected between EBAG9 immunoreactivity and overall survival (P=0.689). There was a highly significant correlation between EBAG9 and ER immunoreactivity (P<0.0001). The EBAG9 mRNA was detected in 20 out of 22 cases. In all of the cases that were positive for ERalpha mRNA, they were also positive for EBAG9 mRNA. Immunoreactive band corresponding to EBAG9 was detected in 11 out of 12 of ovarian cancer cell lines, and was consistent with ERalpha expression. In conclusion, the wide distribution of EBAG9 and its relation to advanced disease suggest that this protein may play important roles in epithelial ovarian cancer.
Project description:The ovarian steroid progesterone, acting through the progesterone receptor (PR), coordinates endometrial epithelial-stromal cell communication, which is critical for its development and function. PR expression in these cellular compartments is under tight temporal and endocrine control. Although ex vivo studies demonstrated the importance of stromal PR expression, they failed to show a role for epithelial PR in uterine function. Here, the in vivo role of PR in the uterine epithelium is defined using floxed PR (PR(f/f)) mice crossed to Wnt7a-Cre mice. Progesterone was unable to stimulate the expression of its epithelial target genes, including Ihh, in the Wnt7a-Cre(+)PR(f/-) mice. Analysis was conducted on Ihh to determine whether PR directly regulates epithelial gene transcription. ChIP-on-chip analysis identified PR binding sites in the 5'-flanking region of Ihh. Cotransfection of the proximal Ihh promoter with PR demonstrated that PR directly regulates Ihh transcription. Female Wnt7a-Cre(+)PR(f/-) mice are infertile due to defects in embryo attachment, stromal cell decidualization, and the inability to cease estrogen-induced epithelial cell proliferation. Finally, progesterone was unable to inhibit neonatal endometrial glandular development in Wnt7a-Cre(+)PR(f/-) mice. Thus, epithelial PR is necessary for the regulation of progesterone epithelial target gene expression, as well as uterine function and development.
Project description:At 2 years of age, 100% (23/23) of ERbeta(-/-) female mice have developed large pituitary and ovarian tumors. The pituitary tumors are gonadotropin-positive and the ovarian tumors are sex cord (less differentiated) and granulosa cell tumors (differentiated and estrogen secreting). No male mice had pituitary tumors and no pituitary or ovarian tumors developed in ERalpha(-/-) mice or in ERalphabeta(-/-) double knockout mice. The tumors have high proliferation indices, are ERalpha-positive, ERbeta-negative, and express high levels of nuclear phospho-SMAD3. Mice with granulosa cell tumors also had hyperproliferative endometria. The cause of the pituitary tumors appeared to be excessive secretion of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus resulting from high expression of NPY. The ovarian phenotype is similar to that seen in mice where inhibin is ablated. The data indicate that ERbeta plays an important role in regulating GnRH secretion. We suggest that in the absence of ERbeta, the proliferative action of FSH/SMAD3 is unopposed and the high proliferation leads to the development of ovarian tumors. The absence of tumors in the ERalphabeta(-/-) mice suggests that tumor development requires the presence of ERalpha.
Project description:We compared survival outcomes of advanced serous type epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients with normal-sized ovaries and enlarged-ovarian tumors by propensity score matching analysis.The medical records of EOC patients treated at Samsung Medical Center between 2002 and 2015 were reviewed retrospectively. We investigated EOC patients with high grade serous type histology and International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage IIIB, IIIC, or IV who underwent primary debulking surgery (PDS) and adjuvant chemotherapy to identify patients with normal-sized ovaries. Propensity score matching was performed to compare patients with normal-sized ovaries to patients with enlarged-ovarian tumors (ratio, 1:3) according to age, FIGO stage, initial cancer antigen (CA)-125 level, and residual disease status after PDS.Of the 419 EOC patients, 48 patients had normal-sized ovary. Patients with enlarged-ovarian tumor were younger (54.0±10.3 vs. 58.4±9.2 years, p=0.005) than those with normal-sized ovary, and there was a statistically significant difference in residual disease status between the 2 groups. In total cohort with a median follow-up period of 43 months (range, 3-164 months), inferior overall survival (OS) was shown in the normal-sized ovary group (median OS, 71.2 vs. 41.4 months; p=0.003). After propensity score matching, the group with normal-sized ovary showed inferior OS compared to the group with enlarged-ovarian tumor (median OS, 72.1 vs. 41.4 months; p=0.031). In multivariate analysis for OS, normal-sized ovary remained a significant factor.Normal-sized ovary was associated with poor OS compared with the common presentation of enlarged ovaries in EOC, independent of CA-125 level or residual disease.