Ligand-dependent platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-alpha activation sensitizes rare lung cancer and sarcoma cells to PDGFR kinase inhibitors.
ABSTRACT: Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptors (PDGFR) and their ligands play critical roles in several human malignancies. Sunitinib is a clinically approved multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor that inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, c-KIT, and PDGFR, and has shown clinical activity in various solid tumors. Activation of PDGFR signaling has been described in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (PDGFRA mutations) as well as in chronic myeloid leukemia (BCR-PDGFRA translocation), and sunitinib can yield clinical benefit in both settings. However, the discovery of PDGFR activating mutations or gene rearrangements in other tumor types could reveal additional patient populations who might benefit from treatment with anti-PDGFR therapies, such as sunitinib. Using a high-throughput cancer cell line screening platform, we found that only 2 of 637 tested human tumor-derived cell lines show significant sensitivity to single-agent sunitinib exposure. These two cell lines [a non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and a rhabdomyosarcoma] showed expression of highly phosphorylated PDGFRA. In the sunitinib-sensitive adenosquamous NSCLC cell line, PDGFRA expression was associated with focal PFGRA gene amplification, which was similarly detected in a small fraction of squamous cell NSCLC primary tumor specimens. Moreover, in this NSCLC cell line, focal amplification of the gene encoding the PDGFR ligand PDGFC was also detected, and silencing PDGFRA or PDGFC expression by RNA interference inhibited proliferation. A similar codependency on PDGFRA and PDGFC was observed in the sunitinib-sensitive rhabdomyosarcoma cell line. These findings suggest that, in addition to gastrointestinal stromal tumors, rare tumors that show PDGFC-mediated PDGFRA activation may also be clinically responsive to pharmacologic PDGFRA or PDGFC inhibition.
Project description:Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma is an aggressive skeletal muscle cancer of childhood. Our initial studies of rhabdomyosarcoma gene expression for patients enrolled in a national clinical trial suggested that platelet-derived growth factor receptor A (PDGFR-A) may be a mediator of disease progression and metastasis. Using our conditional mouse tumor models that authentically recapitulate the primary mutations and metastatic progression of alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas in humans, we found by immunoblotting and immunokinase assays that PDGFR-A and its downstream effectors, mitogen-activated protein kinase and Akt, were highly activated in both primary and metastatic tumors. Inhibition of PDGFR-A by RNA interference, small molecule inhibitor or neutralizing antibody had a dramatic effect on tumor cell growth both in vitro and in vivo, although resistance evolved in one-third of tumors. These results establish proof-of-principal for PDGFR-A as a therapeutic target in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Project description:In cancer, proto-oncogenes are often altered by genomic amplification. Here we report recurrent focal amplifications of chromosomal segment 4q12 overlapping the proto-oncogenes PDGFRA and KIT in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis indicate that 4q12 is amplified in 3-7% of lung adenocarcinomas and 8-10% of lung squamous cell carcinomas. In addition, we demonstrate that the NSCLC cell line NCI-H1703 exhibits focal amplification of PDGFRA and is dependent on PDGFRalpha activity for cell growth. Treatment of NCI-H1703 cells with PDGFRA-specific shRNAs or with the PDGFRalpha/KIT small molecule inhibitors imatinib or sunitinib leads to cell growth inhibition. However, these observations do not extend to NSCLC cell lines with lower-amplitude and broader gains of chromosome 4q. Together these observations implicate PDGFRA and KIT as potential oncogenes in NSCLC, but further study is needed to define the specific characteristics of those tumors that could respond to PDGFRalpha/KIT inhibitors.
Project description:Leiomyomata uteri (i.e., uterine fibroids) are benign tumors arising from the abnormal growth of uterine smooth muscle cells (SMCs). We show here that the expression of platelet-derived growth factor C (PDGFC) is higher in approximately 80% of uterine fibroids than in adjacent myometrial tissues examined. Increased expression of PDGFC is also observed in fibroid-derived SMCs (fSMCs) relative to myometrial-derived SMCs (mSMCs). Recombinant bioactive PDGFCC homodimer stimulates the growth of fSMCs and mSMCs in ex vivo cultures and prolongs the survival of fSMCs in Matrigel plugs implemented subcutaneously in immunocompromised mice. The knockdown of PDGF receptor-alpha (PDGFRA) through lentiviral-mediated RNA interference reduces the growth of fSMCs and mSMCs in ex vivo cultures and in Matrigel implants. Furthermore, two small molecule inhibitors of the PDGFR tyrosine kinase (i.e., imatinib and dasatinib) exerted negative effects on fSMC and mSMC growth in ex vivo cultures, albeit at concentrations that cannot be achieved in vivo. These results suggest that the PDGFCC/PDGFRA signaling module plays an important role in fSMC and mSMC growth, and that the upregulation of PDGFC expression may contribute to the clonal expansion of fSMCs in the development of uterine fibroids.
Project description:Platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGFR) ? and ? have been suggested as potential targets for treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children. This study identifies biologic activities linked to PDGF signaling in rhabdomyosarcoma models and human sample collections. Analysis of gene expression profiles of 101 primary human rhabdomyosarcomas revealed elevated PDGF-C and -D expression in all subtypes, with PDGF-D as the solely overexpressed PDGFR? ligand. By immunohistochemistry, PDGF-CC, PDGF-DD, and PDGFR? were found in tumor cells, whereas PDGFR? was primarily detected in vascular stroma. These results are concordant with the biologic processes and pathways identified by data mining. While PDGF-CC/PDGFR? signaling associated with genes involved in the reactivation of developmental programs, PDGF-DD/PDGFR? signaling related to wound healing and leukocyte differentiation. Clinicopathologic correlations further identified associations between PDGFR? in vascular stroma and the alveolar subtype and with presence of metastases. Functional validation of our findings was carried out in molecularly distinct model systems, where therapeutic targeting reduced tumor burden in a PDGFR-dependent manner with effects on cell proliferation, vessel density, and macrophage infiltration. The PDGFR-selective inhibitor CP-673,451 regulated cell proliferation through mechanisms involving reduced phosphorylation of GSK-3? and GSK-3?. Additional tissue culture studies showed a PDGFR-dependent regulation of rhabdosphere formation/cancer cell stemness, differentiation, senescence, and apoptosis. In summary, the study shows a clinically relevant distinction in PDGF signaling in human rhabdomyosarcoma and also suggests continued exploration of the influence of stromal PDGFRs on sarcoma progression.
Project description:A fraction of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) cells overexpress the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)A, although most overexpress KIT. It is not known if this is because these receptor tyrosine kinases have complementary oncogenic potential, or because of heterogeneity in the cellular origin of GIST. Little also is known about why Hedgehog (HH) signaling is activated in some GIST. HH binds to and inactivates the receptor protein patched homolog (PTCH).Ptch was conditionally inactivated in mice (to achieve constitutive HH signaling) using a Cre recombinase regulated by the lysozyme M promoter. Cre-expressing cells were traced using R26R-LacZ reporter mice. Tumors were characterized by in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, immunoblot, and quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analyses. Cell transformation was assessed by soft agar assay.Loss of Ptch from lysozyme M-expressing cells resulted in the development of tumors of GIST-like localization and histology; these were reduced when mice were given imatinib, a drug that targets KIT and PDGFRA. The Hh signaling pathway was activated in the tumor cells, and Pdgfr?, but not Kit, was overexpressed and activated. Lineage tracing revealed that Cre-expressing intestinal cells were Kit-negative. These cells sometimes expressed Pdgfr? and were located near Kit-positive interstitial cells of Cajal. In contrast to KIT, activation of PDGFRA increased anchorage-independent proliferation and was required for tumor formation in mice by cells with activated HH signaling.Inactivation of Ptch in mice leads to formation of GIST-like tumors that express Pdgfr?, but not Kit. Activation of Pdgfr? signaling appears to facilitate tumorigenesis.
Project description:Two hallmarks of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common malignant brain cancer in humans, are aggressive growth and the ability of single glioma cells to disperse throughout the brain. These characteristics render tumors resistant to current therapies and account for the poor prognosis of patients. Although it is known that oncogenic signaling caused by overexpression of genes such as PDGFRA is responsible for robust glioma growth and cell infiltration, the mechanisms underlying glioblastoma malignancy remain largely elusive. Here, we report that PDGFR? signaling in glioblastomas leads to Src-dependent phosphorylation of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor Dock180 at tyrosine 1811 (Dock180(Y1811)) that results in activation of the GTPase Rac1 and subsequent cell growth and invasion. In human glioma cells, knockdown of Dock180 and reversion with an RNAi-resistant Dock180(Y1811F) abrogated, whereas an RNAi-resistant Dock180(WT) rescued, PDGFR?-promoted glioma growth, survival, and invasion. Phosphorylation of Dock180(Y1811) enhanced its association with CrkII and p130(Cas), causing activation of Rac1 and consequent cell motility. Dock180 also associated with PDGFR? to promote cell migration. Finally, phosphorylated Dock180(Y1811) was detected in clinical samples of gliomas and various types of human cancers, and coexpression of phosphorylated Dock180(Y1811), phosphorylated Src(Y418), and PDGFR? was predictive of extremely poor prognosis of patients with gliomas. Taken together, our findings provide insight into PDGFR?-stimulated gliomagenesis and suggest that phosphorylated Dock180(Y1811) contributes to activation of Rac1 in human cancers with PDGFRA amplification.
Project description:Platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) plays a pivotal role in the remodeling of connective tissues. Emerging data indicate the distinctive role of PDGF receptor-? (PDGFR?) in this process. In the present study, the Pdgfra gene was systemically inactivated in adult mouse (?-KO mouse), and the role of PDGFR? was examined in the subcutaneously implanted sponge matrices. PDGFR? expressed in the fibroblasts of Pdgfra-preserving control mice (Flox mice), was significantly reduced in the sponges in ?-KO mice. Neovascularized areas were largely suppressed in the ?-KO mice than in the Flox mice, whereas the other parameters related to the blood vessels and endothelial cells were similar. The deposition of collagen and fibronectin and the expression of collagen 1a1 and 3a1 genes were significantly reduced in ?-KO mice. There was a significantly decrease in the number and dividing fibroblasts in the ?-KO mice, and those of macrophages were similar between the two genotypes. Hepatocyte growth factor (Hgf) gene expression was suppressed in Pdgfra-inactivated fibroblasts and connective tissue. The findings implicate the role of PDGFR?-dependent ECM and HGF production in fibroblasts that promotes the remodeling of connective tissue and suggest that PDGFR? may be a relevant target to regulate connective tissue remodeling.
Project description:Advanced and undifferentiated skin squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) exhibit aggressive growth and enhanced metastasis capability, which is associated in mice with an expansion of the cancer stem-like cell (CSC) population and with changes in the regulatory mechanisms that control the proliferation and invasion of these cells. Indeed, autocrine activation of PDGFR? induces CSC invasion and promotes distant metastasis in advanced SCCs. However, the mechanisms involved in this process were unclear. Here, we show that CSCs of mouse advanced SCCs (L-CSCs) express CXCR4 and CXCR7, both receptors of SDF-1. PDGFR? signaling induces SDF-1 expression and secretion, and the autocrine activation of this pathway in L-CSCs. Autocrine SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling induces L-CSC proliferation and survival, and mediates PDGFR?-induced invasion, promoting in vivo lung metastasis. Validation of these findings in patient samples of skin SCCs shows a strong correlation between the expression of SDF1, PDGFRA, and PDGFRB, which is upregulated, along CXCR4 in tumor cells of advanced SCCs. Furthermore, PDGFR regulates SDF-1 expression and inhibition of SDF-1/CXCR4 and PDGFR pathways blocks distant metastasis of human PD/S-SCCs. Our results indicate that functional crosstalk between PDGFR/SDF-1 signaling regulates tumor cell invasion and metastasis in human and mouse advanced SCCs, and suggest that CXCR4 and/or PDGFR inhibitors could be used to block metastasis of these aggressive tumors.
Project description:Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) are highly aggressive tumors which originate from Schwann cells and develop in about 10% of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. The five year survival rate is poor and more effective therapies are needed. Sunitinib is a drug targeting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) like PDGFRalpha, c-Kit and VEGFR-2. These genes are structurally related and cluster on chromosomal segment 4q12.Here we characterize this region by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) in MPNST. Our probe set encompasses the 3 adjacent RTK genes (PDGFRA, KIT, KDR) and 6 flanking genes. We found amplification of several genes within this region in a subset of MPNST and MPNST cell lines. Transcript and protein expression of PDGFRA matched well with its increased copy number suggesting a central role of PDGFRA within the amplicon. Studying the effect of sunitinib on 5 MPNST cell lines revealed that cell line S462 harboring the 4q12 amplicon was extremely sensitive to the drug with an IC50 below 1.0 microM. Moreover, sunitinib induced apoptosis and prevented PDGF-AA induced signaling via PDGFRalpha as determined by western blotting. Co-expression of VEGF and its receptor VEGFR-2 (KDR) was present in MPNST cell lines suggesting an autocrine loop. We show that VEGF triggered signal transduction via the MAPK pathway, which could be blocked by sunitinib.Since multiple receptors targeted by sunitinib are expressed or over-expressed by MPNST cells sunitinib appears as an attractive drug for treatment of MPNST patients. Presence of the 4q12 amplicon and subsequent over-expression of PDGFRA might serve as predictive markers for efficacy of sunitinib.
Project description:Germ cell tumors (GCT) are the most common solid tumors in adolescent and young adult males (age 15 and 35 years) and remain one of the most curable of all solid malignancies. However a subset of patients will have tumors that are refractory to standard chemotherapy agents. The management of this refractory population remains challenging and approximately 400 patients continue to die every year of this refractory disease in the United States.Given the preclinical evidence implicating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling in the biology of germ cell tumors, we hypothesized that the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) inhibitor sunitinib (Sutent) may possess important clinical activity in the treatment of this refractory disease. We proposed a Phase II efficacy study of sunitinib in seminomatous and non-seminomatous metastatic GCT's refractory to first line chemotherapy treatment (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00912912). Next generation targeted exome sequencing using HiSeq 2000 (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA, USA) was performed on the tumor sample of the unusual responder.Five patients are enrolled into this Phase II study. Among them we report here the clinical course of a patient (Patient # 5) who had an exceptional response to sunitinib. Next generation sequencing to understand this patient's response to sunitinib revealed RET amplification, EGFR and KRAS amplification as relevant aberrations. Oncoscan MIP array were employed to validate the copy number analysis that confirmed RET gene amplification.Sunitinib conferred clinical benefit to this heavily pre-treated patient. Next generation sequencing of this 'exceptional responder' identified the first reported case of a RET amplification as a potential basis of sensitivity to sunitinib (VEGFR2/PDGFR?/c-kit/ FLT3/RET/CSF1R inhibitor) in a patient with refractory germ cell tumor. Further characterization of GCT patients using biomarkers for clinical response and patient selection is warranted.ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00912912.