Molecular determinants of retinoic acid sensitivity in pancreatic cancer.
ABSTRACT: To identify a predictive molecular "signature" for sensitivity to retinoic acid in pancreatic cancer.Fourteen patient-derived, low-passage pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) lines with varied expression of fatty acid-binding protein 5 (FABP5) and cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 2 (CRABP2) were used to evaluate the response to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). Cell proliferation, apoptosis, and migration/invasion assays were used to measure the in vitro response. Tumor growth was monitored in subcutaneous xenografts in athymic nude mice for 4 weeks.Response to ATRA was observed to be dependent upon differential expression of FABP5 versus CRABP2. Thus, elevated FABP5 expression was associated with minimal cytotoxicity and tumor growth inhibition and a paradoxical increase in migration and invasion. Conversely, CRABP2 expression in the absence of FABP5 was associated with significant tumor growth inhibition with ATRA, even in gemcitabine-resistant tumors. The ATRA-resistant phenotype of FABP5(high)CRABP2(null) cells could be circumvented by ectopic expression of CRABP2. Alternatively, reexpression of endogenous CRABP2 could be enabled in FABP5(high)CRABP2(null) PDAC lines by exposure to decitabine and trichostatin A, thereby relieving epigenetic silencing of the CRABP2 gene promoter. Immunohistochemical staining for FABP5 in archival human tissue microarrays identifies a subset of cases (13 of 63, ~20%) which are negative for FABP5 expression and might be candidates for ATRA therapy.The widely used agent ATRA deserves a "second look" in PDAC, but needs to be targeted to patient subsets with biopsy-proven FABP5-negative tumors, or be combined with a chromatin-modifying agent to reexpress endogenous CRABP2.
Project description:Pre-clinical models have shown that targeting pancreatic stellate cells with all-trans-retinoic-acid (ATRA) reprograms pancreatic stroma to suppress pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) growth. Here, in a phase Ib, dose escalation and expansion, trial for patients with advanced, unresectable PDAC (n?=?27), ATRA is re-purposed as a stromal-targeting agent in combination with gemcitabine-nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy using a two-step adaptive continual re-assessment method trial design. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D, primary outcome) is the FDA/EMEA approved dose of gemcitabine-nab-paclitaxel along-with ATRA (45?mg/m2 orally, days 1-15/cycle). Dose limiting toxicity (DLT) is grade 4 thrombocytopenia (n?=?2). Secondary outcomes show no detriment to ATRA pharmacokinetics.. Median overall survival for RP2D treated evaluable population, is 11.7 months (95%CI 8.6-15.7?m, n?=?15, locally advanced (2) and metastatic (13)). Exploratory pharmacodynamics studies including changes in diffusion-weighted (DW)-MRI measured apparent diffusion coefficient after one cycle, and, modulation of cycle-specific serum pentraxin 3 levels over various cycles indicate stromal modulation. Baseline stromal-specific retinoid transport protein (FABP5, CRABP2) expression may be predicitve of response. Re-purposing ATRA as a stromal-targeting agent with gemcitabine-nab-paclitaxel is safe and tolerable. This combination will be evaluated in a phase II randomized controlled trial for locally advanced PDAC. Clinical trial numbers: EudraCT: 2015-002662-23; NCT03307148. Trial acronym: STARPAC.
Project description:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease including synovitis and synovial hyperplasia that contribute to joint destruction. Pivotal pathogenic mechanisms in this process are the dysregulated proliferation and apoptosis of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). Unfortunately, the mechanisms of FLS dysregulation are not completely elucidated. Here, we explored a new hypothesis based in the potent anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activity of retinoids in some types of cancer. Specifically, we investigated the role of retinoids and of the retinoic acid binding proteins, CRABP2 and FABP5, on the proliferation and apoptosis of FLS from RA by adding all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) or silencing CRABP2 and FABP5. We showed an unconventional behaviour of RA FLS, which were relatively insensitive to ATRA. In effect, ATRA increased the resistance to apoptosis despite the high CRABP2/FABP5 ratio of RA FLS; and CRABP2 suppression sensitized RA FLS to Fas-induced apoptosis. This latter effect was associated with changes in expression of kinases, ASK1 up-regulation and ERK down-regulation, and increased phosphorylation of JNK. In addition, the potentiation of FLS apoptosis by CRABP2 silencing persisted in the presence of pro-inflammatory mediators, TNF e IL1?. Therefore, the results point to CRABP2 as a potential target to decrease synovial hyperplasia in RA.
Project description:Nuclear receptor-mediated signaling via RARs and PPAR? is involved in the regulation of skin homeostasis. Moreover, activation of both RAR and PPAR? was shown to alter skin inflammation. Endogenous all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) can activate both receptors depending on specific transport proteins: Fabp5 initiates PPAR? signaling whereas Crabp2 promotes RAR signaling. Repetitive topical applications of ovalbumin (OVA) in combination with intraperitoneal injections of OVA or only intraperitoneal OVA applications were used to induce allergic dermatitis. In our mouse model, expression of IL-4, and Hbegf increased whereas expression of involucrin, Abca12 and Spink5 decreased in inflamed skin, demonstrating altered immune response and epidermal barrier homeostasis. Comprehensive gene expression analysis showed alterations of the cutaneous retinoid metabolism and retinoid-mediated signaling in allergic skin immune response. Notably, ATRA synthesis was increased as indicated by the elevated expression of retinaldehyde dehydrogenases and increased levels of ATRA. Consequently, the expression pattern of genes downstream to RAR was altered. Furthermore, the increased ratio of Fabp5 vs. Crabp2 may indicate an up-regulation of the PPAR? pathway in allergen-induced dermatitis in addition to the altered RAR signaling. Thus, our findings suggest that ATRA levels, RAR-mediated signaling and signaling involved in PPAR? pathways are mainly increased in allergen-induced dermatitis and may contribute to the development and/or maintenance of allergic skin diseases.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a hereditary tumor syndrome characterized by an increased risk of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). Chemotherapy of MPNST is still insufficient. In this study, we investigated whether human tumor Schwann cells derived from NF1 associated MPNST respond to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). We analyzed effects of ATRA and MEK inhibitor (MEKi) combination therapy.MPNST cell lines S462, T265, NSF1 were treated with ATRA and MEKi U0126 and PD0325901. We assessed cell viability, proliferation, migration, apoptosis and differentiation as well as mRNA expression of RAR and RXR subtypes and ATRA target genes such as CRABP2, CYP26A1, RARB and PDK1. We also analyzed CRABP2 methylation in cell lines and performed immunohistochemistry of human MPNST specimens.ATRA therapy reduced viability and proliferation in S462 and T265 cells, accompanied by differentiation, apoptosis and reduced migration. NSF1 cells which lacked RXRG expression did not respond to ATRA. We furthermore demonstrated that ATRA signaling was functional for common targets, and that mRNA expression of CRABP2 and its targets was raised by ATRA therapy, whereas alternative pathways via FABP5 were not induced. Finally, combination of ATRA and MEKi demonstrated additively reduced viability of T265 and S462 cells.We observed therapeutic effects in two of three MPNST cell lines pronounced by combination therapy. These data point to a potentially successful treatment of MPNST by combined application of ATRA and MEK inhibitors such as U0126 or PD0325901.
Project description:The transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) displays anticarcinogenic activities but the mechanism that underlies this activity is unknown. We show here that KLF2 is markedly downregulated in human breast cancers and that its expression positively correlates with breast cancer patient survival. We show further that KLF2 suppresses tumor development by controlling the transcriptional activity of the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid (RA). RA regulates gene transcription by activating two types of nuclear receptors: RA receptors (RARs), which inhibit tumor development, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ?/? (PPAR?/?), which promotes tumorigenesis. The partitioning of RA between these receptors is regulated by two carrier proteins: cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 2 (CRABP2), which delivers RA to RARs, and fatty acid-binding protein 5 (FABP5), which shuttles ligands to PPAR?/?. We show that KLF2 induces the expression of CRABP2 and RAR? and inhibits the expression FABP5 and PPAR?/? thereby shifting RA signaling from the pro-carcinogenic FABP5/PPAR?/? to the growth-suppressing CRABP2/RAR path. The data thus reveal that KLF2 suppresses tumor growth by controlling the transcriptional activities of RA.
Project description:All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has a key role in dendritic cells (DCs) and affects T cell subtype specification and gut homing. However, the identity of the permissive cell types and the required steps of conversion of vitamin A to biologically active ATRA bringing about retinoic acid receptor-regulated signaling remains elusive. Here we present that only a subset of murine and human DCs express the necessary enzymes, including RDH10, RALDH2, and transporter cellular retinoic acid binding protein (CRABP)2, to produce ATRA and efficient signaling. These permissive cell types include CD103(+) DCs, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and interleukin-4-treated bone marrow-derived murine DCs and human monocyte-derived DCs (mo-DCs). Importantly, in addition to RDH10 and RALDH2, CRABP2 also appears to be regulated by the fatty acid-sensing nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR?) and colocalize in human gut-associated lymphoid tissue DCs. In our model of human mo-DCs, all three proteins (RDH10, RALDH2, and CRABP2) appeared to be required for ATRA production induced by activation of PPAR? and therefore form a linear pathway. This now functionally validated PPAR?-regulated ATRA producing and signaling axis equips the cells with the capacity to convert precursors to active retinoids in response to receptor-activating fatty acids and is potentially amenable to intervention in diseases involving or affecting mucosal immunity.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly aggressive malignancy with a dismal survival rate. Persistent activation of pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) can perturb the biomechanical homoeostasis of the tumour microenvironment to favour cancer cell invasion. Here we report that ATRA, an active metabolite of vitamin A, restores mechanical quiescence in PSCs via a mechanism involving a retinoic acid receptor beta (RAR-?)-dependent downregulation of actomyosin (MLC-2) contractility. We show that ATRA reduces the ability of PSCs to generate high traction forces and adapt to extracellular mechanical cues (mechanosensing), as well as suppresses force-mediated extracellular matrix remodelling to inhibit local cancer cell invasion in 3D organotypic models. Our findings implicate a RAR-?/MLC-2 pathway in peritumoural stromal remodelling and mechanosensory-driven activation of PSCs, and further suggest that mechanical reprogramming of PSCs with retinoic acid derivatives might be a viable alternative to stromal ablation strategies for the treatment of PDAC.
Project description:The treatment of solid cancers with pharmacological all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) concentrations, even if it is a gold standard therapy for the acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL), is not always effective due to some resistance mechanisms. Here the resistance to ATRA treatment of T24 cell line, bladder cancer, was investigated. T24 was not only resistant to cell death when treated at concentrations up to 20 µM of ATRA, but it was also able to stimulate the cellular proliferation. An over-expression of the fatty acid binding protein 5 (FABP5) in conjunction with the cellular retinol-binding protein-II (CRABP-II) down-expression was found. However, the direct inhibition of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ?/? (PPAR?/?) did not abolish T24 proliferation, but rather potentiated it. Moreover, considering the ability of the long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) to displace ATRA from FABP5, the actions of the saturated palmitic acid (PA), unsaturated omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) and omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were evaluated to counteract ATRA-related proliferation. ATRA-PA co-treatment induces cellular growth inhibition, while ATRA-LA co-treatment induces cellular growth enhancement. However, even if DHA is unsaturated LCFA as LA, it was able to reverse the ATRA-induced cellular proliferation of T24, bringing the viability percentages at the levels of the control.
Project description:Recent studies using animal models suggest that expression of FABP5 drives the stimulation of cell growth observed in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer cells on exposure to retinoic acid (RA). The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinicopathological significance of FABP5 in breast cancer and to evaluate FABP5 as a prognostic marker and a possible novel therapeutic target in breast cancer. Gene expression microarray analysis revealed a significant correlation between elevated FABP5 RNA levels and ER/progesterone receptor (PR)-negative status, high tumor grade, and poor prognosis. Tissue microarray analysis demonstrated similar correlations with cytoplasmic FABP5 protein. Based on multivariate proportional regression analysis, cytoplasmic FABP5 is a significant and independent prognostic marker of overall survival and recurrence-free survival in breast cancer. The effects of FABP5 on tumor growth appear to be mediated primarily through cytoplasmic FABP, because no correlation was found between nuclear FABP5 and ER/PR-negative status, recurrence, and survival. FABP5 knockdown in breast cancer cell lines demonstrates a correlation between FABP5 levels and growth response to RA. We propose a model whereby growth-promoting FABP5 competes with growth-inhibiting CRABP2 for RA, with retention of RA in the cytoplasm by FABP5 preventing the inhibition of tumor growth.
Project description:Clinical trials designed to test the efficacy of retinoic acid (RA) as an adjuvant for the treatment of solid cancers have been disappointing, primarily due to RA resistance. Estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer cells are more resistant to RA than ER-positive cells. The expression and subcellular distribution of two RA-binding proteins, FABP5 and CRABP2, has already been shown to play critical roles in breast cancer cell response to RA. CRABP1, a third member of the RA-binding protein family, has not previously been investigated as a possible mediator of RA action in breast cancer.CRABP1 and CRABP2 expression in primary breast tumor tissues was analyzed using gene expression and tissue microarrays. CRABP1 levels were manipulated using siRNAs and by transient overexpression. RA-induced subcellular translocation of CRABPs was examined by immunofluorescence microscopy and immunoblotting. RA-induced transactivation of RAR was analyzed using a RA response element (RARE)-driven luciferase reporter system. Effects of CRABP1 expression and RA treatment on downstream gene expression were investigated by semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis.Compared to normal mammary tissues, CRABP1 expression is significantly down-regulated in ER+ breast tumors, but maintained in triple-negative breast cancers. Elevated CRABP1 levels are associated with poor patient prognosis, high Ki67 immunoreactivity and high tumor grade in breast cancer. The prognostic significance of CRABP1 is attributed to its cytoplasmic localization. We demonstrate that CRABP1 expression attenuates RA-induced cell growth arrest and inhibits RA signalling in breast cancer cells by sequestering RA in the cytoplasm. We also show that CRABP1 affects the expression of genes involved in RA biosynthesis, trafficking and metabolism.CRABP1 is an adverse factor for clinical outcome in triple-negative breast cancer and a potent inhibitor of RA signalling in breast cancer cells. Our data indicate that CRABP1, in conjunction with previously identified CRABP2 and FABP5, plays a key role in breast cancer cell response to RA. We propose that these three RA-binding proteins can serve as biomarkers for predicting triple-negative breast cancer response to RA, with elevated levels of either cytoplasmic CRABP1 or FABP5 associated with RA resistance, and elevated levels of nuclear CRABP2 associated with sensitivity to RA.