DNA methylation of estrogen regulated enhancers defines endocrine sensitivity in breast cancer
ABSTRACT: Expression of estrogen receptor (ESR1) determines whether a breast cancer patient receives endocrine therapy as part of their adjuvant care, but does not guarantee patient response. However, the molecular factors that define endocrine response in ESR1-positive breast cancer patients remain poorly understood. Here, we characterize the DNA methylome of endocrine sensitivity and demonstrate the potential impact of differential DNA methylation on endocrine response in breast cancer. We show that DNA hypermethylation occurs predominantly at estrogen-responsive enhancers and is associated with reduced ESR1 binding and decreased gene expression of key regulators of ESR1-activity; thus providing a novel mechanism by which endocrine response is abated in ESR1-positive breast cancers. Conversely, we delineate that ESR1-responsive enhancer hypomethylation is critical in transition from normal mammary epithelial cells to endocrine responsive ESR1-positive cancer. Cumulatively these novel insights highlight the potential of ESR1-responsive enhancer methylation to both predict ESR1-positive disease and stratify ESR1-positive breast cancer patients as responders to endocrine therapy. Methylation profiling with Illumina's HumanMethylation450K array was performed on ESR1-positive hormone sensitive MCF7 cells, and three different well characterised endocrine resistant MCF7-derived cell lines; tamoxifen-resistant (TAMR), fulvestrant-resistant (FASR) and estrogen deprivation resistant (MCF7X) cells. For each cell line two biological replicates were profiled bringing the number of samples to eight.
Project description:Estrogen signaling in breast cancer cells relies on long-range chromatin interactions connecting distal regulatory elements bound by the estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) to target gene promoters. This ensures stimulus and subtype-specific transcriptional responses. Expanding on the function of CTCF and the cohesin complex in breast cancer, we demonstrate that the chromatin-looping factor ZNF143 binds the promoter of most early-response estrogen target genes connected to distal regulatory elements in ESR1-positive breast cancer cells. Its chromatin occupancy is unaffected by estrogen stimulation, supporting a stable three-dimensional genomic architecture within the early response to estrogen. Its loss abrogates the estrogen-induced transcriptional response and growth of breast cancer cells. When taking into account CTCF, ZNF143 and cohesin complex subunits, we show that chromatin-looping factors are genetically altered in over 20% of ESR1-positive primary breast tumors. Furthermore, the overexpression of ZNF143, CTCF and RAD21, a cohesin complex subunit, in ESR1-positive breast tumors associates with a worse clinical outcome. Overall, our results suggest that ZNF143 is a new critical effector of the estrogen response and highlights the contribution of the chromatin looping machinery to ESR1-positive breast cancer development. mRNA profiles of MCF-7 cells (siCtl or siZNF143) under vehicle (EtOH) or E2 (10 uM 17-beta oestradiol) stimulation
Project description:Estrogen signaling in breast cancer cells relies on long-range chromatin interactions connecting distal regulatory elements bound by the estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) to target gene promoters. This ensures stimulus and subtype-specific transcriptional responses. Expanding on the function of CTCF and the cohesin complex in breast cancer, we demonstrate that the chromatin-looping factor ZNF143 binds the promoter of most early-response estrogen target genes connected to distal regulatory elements in ESR1-positive breast cancer cells. Its chromatin occupancy is unaffected by estrogen stimulation, supporting a stable three-dimensional genomic architecture within the early response to estrogen. Its loss abrogates the estrogen-induced transcriptional response and growth of breast cancer cells. When taking into account CTCF, ZNF143 and cohesin complex subunits, we show that chromatin-looping factors are genetically altered in over 20% of ESR1-positive primary breast tumors. Furthermore, the overexpression of ZNF143, CTCF and RAD21, a cohesin complex subunit, in ESR1-positive breast tumors associates with a worse clinical outcome. Overall, our results suggest that ZNF143 is a new critical effector of the estrogen response and highlights the contribution of the chromatin looping machinery to ESR1-positive breast cancer development. Examination of genome-wide ZNF143 binding in MCF-7 cells
Project description:SRC-1 (NCOA1) is a steroid receptor coactivator that has been associated with various aspects of the progression of breast cancer disease such as tamoxifen resistance, metastasis, cell proliferation and invasiveness. In a tamoxifen resistant breast cancer cell line (LY2), SRC-1 has been found to interact with the developmental transcription factor HoxC11. ChIP-sequencing of HoxC11 in LY2 cells shows where the transcription factor binds throughout the genome. LY2 cells were treated with either tamoxifen or vehicle and immunoprecipitated with anti-Hoxc11
Project description:Growth factor signaling and angiogenesis may promote endocrine-resistance in breast cancer and blocking these pathways can overcome resistance in preclinical models. We conducted a phase-II study of adding the VEGFR/Ras/Raf/MAPK inhibitor sorafenib to endocrine therapy in metastatic ER-positive breast cancer, either upon progression or after maximal response with measurable residual disease. Tumor biopsies and serum were collected on days 1 and 28. Primary endpoint was response by RECIST after 3 months and secondary endpoints included safety, time to progression (TTP), and biomarker assessment. Planned sample size was 43 patients but the study closed after 11 patients because of slow accrual. 8 patients had progressive disease (PD) on entry and 3 had stable disease (SD). One patient with SD discontinued sorafenib after 2-weeks because of grade 3 rash. Of the 10 remaining patients after adding sorafenib, 7 had SD (70%), 3 had PD (30%) and median TTP was 6.1-months. Of the 8 patients who entered the study with PD on endocrine therapy, 5 converted to SD (62%) with a median TTP of 6.4-months. Notably, patients on tamoxifen had a median TTP of 8.4-months. The most common adverse events were hypophosphatemia, hypokalemia, and rash, and the majority were grade 1&2 with no grade 4 toxicities. There was a significant reduction in serum VEGFR2 and PDGFR-α on day-28 (p-values 0.0035 and 0.017, respectively). Both serum VEGF and sVEGFR-1 were increased on day-28, but the differences were not statistically significant (p-values 0.3223 and 0.084, respectively). Microarray analysis identified 32 suppressed genes with an FDR of <0.20 and at least a 2-fold change with no induced genes and 29 KEGG pathways were enriched on day-28. Our study suggests that sorafenib can restore endocrine sensitivity, particularly tamoxifen, and this strategy of adding novel agents in patients progressing on endocrine therapy should be examined in future trials. This was a single-institution, phase II study of adding sorafenib to existing endocrine therapy. On study entry, eligible patients underwent serum sample collection and core biopsy of accessible disease (if applicable) on endocrine therapy and prior to starting sorafenib. Serum and a second biopsy were then collected on day 28. Sorafenib dose was 400mg orally twice daily along with continuing the same endocrine agent. Patients were followed monthly for clinical and toxicity evaluation. Disease response by RECIST criteria was assessed after 3 months by appropriate scans and these were obtained every 2 months thereafter until progression. Sorafenib and the endocrine agent were continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity
Project description:The transcription factor FOXM1 coordinates the expression of cell cycle-related genes and plays a pivotal role in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. We have previously shown that FOXM1 acts downstream of 14-3-3ζ signaling, which correlates with a more aggressive tumor phenotype. However, the role that FOXM1 might play in engendering the resistance to endocrine treatments in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) patients when tumor FOXM1 is high, has not been clearly defined. To understand the role of FOXM1 in endocrine resistance and cancer aggressiveness, we analyzed FOXM1 protein expression by IHC in 501 ER-positive breast cancers; this revealed high FOXM1 expression in 20% of the tumors and a significantly reduced survival in these patients (p=0.003, log rank Mantel-Cox). We also mapped genome-wide FOXM1 binding events by chromatin immunoprecipitation, followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq), in hormone-sensitive and resistant breast cancer cells after tamoxifen treatment. FOXM1 binding sites were enriched at the transcription start site of genes involved in cell cycle progression, maintenance of stem cell properties, and invasion and metastasis, all of which are correlated with the worst prognosis in ERα-positive patients treated with tamoxifen. Binding profiles were also integrated with gene expression data from cells before and after FOXM1 knockdown to highlight specific FOXM1 transcriptional networks. By modulating the levels of FOXM1 and newly discovered FOXM1-regulated genes [in breast cancer cells], we demonstrate that increased expression of FOXM1 was associated with an expansion of the cancer stem-like cell population and with increased cell invasiveness and resistance to endocrine treatments. Use of a selective FOXM1 inhibitor proved very effective in restoring endocrine therapy sensitivity and decreasing breast cancer aggressiveness. Collectively, our findings uncover novel roles for FOXM1 and FOXM1-regulated genes in promoting cancer stem-like cell properties and therapy resistance, and highlight the relevance of FOXM1 as a therapeutic target to be considered for reducing invasiveness and enhancing breast cancer response to endocrine treatments. MCF-7 human breast adenocarcinoma cells were tranfected with control, and FOXM1 siRNA for 72 hours and treated with 0.1% EtOH (Vehicle) or 1 uM TOT for 24 hours, and cDNA microarray analyses were carried out using Affymetrix [HG-U133A_2] Affymetrix Human Genome U133A 2.0 Array.
Project description:The emergence of anti-estrogen resistance in breast cancer is an important clinical phenomenon affecting long-term survival in this disease. Identifying factors that convey cell survival in this setting may guide improvements in treatment. Estrogen (E2) can induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells that have been selected for survival after E2 deprivation for long periods (MCF-7:5C cells), but the mechanisms underlying E2-induced stress in this setting have not been elucidated. Here, we report that the c-Src kinase functions as a key adapter protein for the estrogen receptor (ER, ESR1) in its activation of stress responses induced by E2 in MCF-7:5C cells. E2 elevated phosphorylation of c-Src, which was blocked by 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT), suggesting that E2 activated c-Src through the ER. We found that E2 activated the sensors of the unfolded protein response (UPR), IRE1α (ERN1) and PERK kinase (EIF2AK3), the latter of which phosphorylates eukaryotic translation initiation factor-2α (eIF2α). E2 also dramatically increased reactive oxygen species production and upregulated expression of heme oxygenase HO-1 (HMOX1), an indicator of oxidative stress, along with the central energy sensor kinase AMPK (PRKAA2). Pharmacologic or RNA interference-mediated inhibition of c-Src abolished the phosphorylation of eIF2α and AMPK, blocked E2-induced ROS production, and inhibited E2-induced apoptosis. Together, our results establish that c-Src kinase mediates stresses generated by E2 in long-term E2-deprived cells that trigger apoptosis. This work offers a mechanistic rationale for a new approach in the treatment of endocrine-resistant breast cancer. MCF-7:5C cells were treated with vehicle (0.1% EtOH) as control, E2 (10-9mol/L), 4-OHT (10-6mol/L), E2 (10-9mol/L) plus 4-OHT (10-6mol/L), PP2 (5x10-6mol/L), and E2 (10-9mol/L) plus PP2 (5x10-6mol/L) respectively for 72 hours.
Project description:Purpose: Development of resistance to tamoxifen is an important clinical issue in the treatment of patients with breast cancer. Tamoxifen resistance may be the result of the acquisition of epigenetic regulation such as DNA methylation within breast cancer cells resulting in changed mRNA expression of genes being pivotal for estrogen dependent growth. Alternatively, tamoxifen resistance may be due to selection of preexisting resistant cells, which may exhibit cancer stem-like characteristics or a combination of the two mechanisms. Methods: To evaluate the contribution of these possible mechanisms to tamoxifen resistance, we applied modified DNA methylation-specific digital karyotyping (MMSDK) and digital gene expression (DGE) in combination with massively parallel sequencing to analyze a well-established tamoxifen resistant cell line model: MCF-7/S0.5 (tamoxifen sensitive parental cell line) and 4 high-dosage tamoxifen selected resistant offspring sublines (MCF-7/TAMR-1, MCF-7/TAMR-4, MCF-7/TAMR-7 and MCF-7/TAMR-8). MMSDK uses BssHII as mapping enzyme (DNA methylation sensitive enzyme). Both MMSDK and DGE use NlaIII and MmeI to produce 20-21 bp tag. The indexed single-end sequencing was performed by Illumina HiSeq 2000 in BGI-Shenzhen. A dynamic programming algorithm-FASTX-Toolkit implemented in Perl was used to trim the adaptor sequence. The trimmed tags were subjected to quality filtering, so that only tags with sequencing quality higher than 30 for more than 80% of the nucleotides were used for subsequent analysis. For MMSDK tag mapping, we generated a simulated reference library, i.e., BssHII reference library, by in silico enzyme digestion of the human genome (hg19, UCSC) regardless of the methylation state. This library was used as reference for subsequent mapping of the tags in the MMSDK analysis. In the DGE analysis, refMrna (hg19, UCSC) was used as reference for mapping cDNA tags. Subsequently, the Burrows–Wheeler Aligner (BWA) procedure for aligning the MMSDK and DGE tags to the simulated BssHII reference library and refMrna reference library, respectively, was applied. Results: MMSDK libraries using BssHII/NlaIII were generated from the parental tamoxifen sensitive subline MCF-7/S0.5 and the 4 TAMR cell lines: TAMR-1, TAMR-4, TAMR-7 and TAMR-8. The 5 indexed MMSDK libraries were sequenced in one lane and 1.38 Gb clean tag data for all 5 cell lines were obtained, with an average sequencing amount of ~270 Mb per library. On average, 59.5 % of the tags with mapping quality ≥ 20 were mapped back to the simulated BssHII/NlaIII reference library. DGE libraries were also generated from MCF-7/S0.5 and the 4 TAMR cell lines. The 5 indexed DGE libraries were sequenced in one lane and obtained 1.71 Gb clean tag data for all 5 cell lines with an average sequencing amount of ~340 Mb per library. On average, 40.8 % with mapping quality ≥ 20 were mapped back to the simulated NlaIII human transcriptome (refMrna reference library). Our present study demonstrates large differences in global gene expression and DNA methylation profiles between parental tamoxifen-sensitive cell line and 4 high-dosage tamoxifen treatment selected resistant sublines. The tamoxifen resistant cell lines exhibited globally higher methylation level than the parental cell line and an inverse relationship between gene expression and DNA methylation in the promoter regions were noticed. High expression of SOX2 and alterations of other SOX gene family members, E2F gene family members and RB-related pocket protein genes as well as highlighted stem cell pathways imply that cancer initiating cells/stem cells are involved in the resistance to tamoxifen. DNA methylation and mRNA expression profiles from tamoxifen sensitive parental cell line MCF-7/S0.5 and 4 high dosage of tamoxifen selected resistant offspring sublines (MCF-7/TAMR-1, MCF-7/TAMR-4, MCF-7/TAMR-7 and MCF-7/TAMR-8) were analyzed by MMSDK and DGE methods, respectively, in combination of massively parallel sequencing, using Illumina HiSeq 2000
Project description:Sustained expression of the estrogen receptor-α (ESR1) drives two-thirds of breast cancer and defines the ESR1-positive subtype. ESR1 engages enhancers upon estrogen stimulation to establish an oncogenic expression program1. Somatic copy number alterations involving the ESR1 gene occur in approximately 1 % of ESR1-positive breast cancers2–5, suggesting that other mechanisms underlie the persistent expression of ESR1. We report significant enrichment of somatic mutations within the set of regulatory elements (SRE) regulating ESR1 in 7% of ESR1-positive breast cancers. These mutations regulate ESR1 expression by modulating transcription factor binding to the DNA. The SRE includes a recurrently mutated enhancer whose activity is also affected by rs9383590, a functional inherited single-nucleotide variant (SNV) that accounts for several breast cancer risk–associated loci. Our work highlights the importance of considering the combinatorial activity of regulatory elements as a single unit to delineate the impact of noncoding genetic alterations on single genes in cancer. RNA-Seq was performed in HCC1419 cells heterozygous for the functional SNV, rs9383590, to determine which genes displayed an allelic imbalance within a 1MB window.
Project description:Multiple gene expression studies have demonstrated that breast cancer biological diversity is associated with distinct transcriptional programs. Transcription factors, because of their unique ability to coordinate the expression of multiple genes, are speculated to play a role in generating phenotypic plasticity associated with cancer progression including acquired drug resistance. Combinatorial libraries of artificial zinc-finger transcription factors (ZF-TFs) provide a robust means for inducing and understanding various functional components of the cancer phenotype. Herein, we utilized combinatorial ZF-TF library technology to better understand how breast cancer cells acquire resistance to a fulvestrant, a clinically important anti-endocrine therapeutic agent. We isolated six ZF-TF library members capable of inducing stable, long-term anti-endocrine drug-resistance in two independent estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cell lines. Comparative gene expression profile analysis of the ZF-TF-transduced breast cancer cell lines revealed a 72-gene cluster that constituted a common signature for the fulvestrant-resistance phenotype. Pathway enrichment-analysis of gene expression data revealed that the ZF-TF-induced fulvestrant resistance is associated with an estrogen receptor negative-like gene set and four unique myb-regulated gene sets. Furthermore, we identified a set of genes strongly expressed in the ZF-TF-induced fulvestrant-resistant cells that was correlated with a lower probability of distant metastasis-free or death-from-relapse-free survival of breast cancer patients. MCF7-R73 cells, a monoclonal MCF7 subline that is highly sensitive to fulvestrant-induced cytocidal activity, underwent retroviral transduction with the zinc finger transcription factor (ZF-TF) activator library or with a control plasmid encoding only the NF-kB p65 activation domain. Both populations of cells were enriched for transduced cells by selecting for growth in puromycin and for fulvestrant-resistant cells by selecting with 100 nM fulvestrant. After 6 weeks of continuous treatment with fulvestrant, hundreds of drug-resistant colonies emerged from the population of cells infected with the ZF-TF activator library. By contrast, as expected, the control MCF7cell line transduced by NF-kB p65-only underwent massive cell death resulting in the complete absence of resistant colonies. DNA encoding the zinc-finger arrays was rescued by PCR from genomic DNA of pooled fulvestrant-resistant cells. The sequences of the ZF-TFs were determined and 46 unique ZF-TF clones identified. These 46 unique ZF-TFs were re-cloned into the retroviral vector and converted into clonal virus stocks that were used to transduce MCF7-R73 cells. These 46 retrovirally transduced cell populations were then challenged with fulvestrant. As compared with the control MCF-238 cells, MCF7-R73 cells transduced with six unique ZF-TFs demonstrated survival and growth in the presence of 100nM fulvestrant.
Project description:Cross talk between the Estrogen Receptor (ER) and ErbB2/HER-2 pathways have long been implicated in breast cancer aetiology and drug response1, yet no direct connection at a transcriptional level has been shown. We now show that estrogen-ER and tamoxifen-ER complexes directly repress ErbB2 transcription via a cis-regulatory element within the ERBB2 gene. We implicate the Paired Box 2 gene product (Pax2), in a novel role, as a crucial mediator of ER repression of ErbB2 by the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen. We show that Pax2 and the ER co-activator AIB-1/SRC-3 compete for binding and regulation of ErbB2 transcription, the outcome of which determines tamoxifen response in breast cancer cells. The repression of ErbB2 by ER-Pax2 links these two important breast cancer subtypes and suggests that aggressive ErbB2 positive tumours can originate from ER positive luminal tumours by circumventing this repressive mechanism. These data provide mechanistic insight into the molecular basis of endocrine resistance in breast cancer.