Frequent mutation of the PI3K pathway in head and neck cancer defines predictive biomarkers.
ABSTRACT: Genomic findings underscore the heterogeneity of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Identification of mutations that predict therapeutic response would be a major advance. We determined the mutationally altered, targetable mitogenic pathways in a large HNSCC cohort. Analysis of whole-exome sequencing data from 151 tumors revealed the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway to be the most frequently mutated oncogenic pathway (30.5%). PI3K pathway-mutated HNSCC tumors harbored a significantly higher rate of mutations in known cancer genes. In a subset of human papillomavirus-positive tumors, PIK3CA or PIK3R1 was the only mutated cancer gene. Strikingly, all tumors with concurrent mutation of multiple PI3K pathway genes were advanced (stage IV), implicating concerted PI3K pathway aberrations in HNSCC progression. Patient-derived tumorgrafts with canonical and noncanonical PIK3CA mutations were sensitive to an mTOR/PI3K inhibitor (BEZ-235), in contrast to PIK3CA-wild-type tumorgrafts. These results suggest that PI3K pathway mutations may serve as predictive biomarkers for treatment selection.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common type of cancer worldwide. The increasing amount of genomic information on human tumors and cell lines provides more biologic data to design preclinical studies. We and others previously reported whole-exome sequencing data of 106 HNSCC primary tumors. In 2012, high-throughput genomic data and pharmacologic profiling of anticancer drugs of hundreds of cancer cell lines were reported. Here, we compared the genomic data of 39 HNSCC cell lines with the genomic findings in 106 HNSCC tumors. Amplification of eight genes (PIK3CA, EGFR, CCND2, KDM5A, ERBB2, PMS1, FGFR1, and WHSCIL1) and deletion of five genes (CDKN2A, SMAD4, NOTCH2, NRAS, and TRIM33) were found in both HNSCC cell lines and tumors. Seventeen genes were only mutated in HNSCC cell lines (>10%), suggesting that these mutations may arise through immortalization in tissue culture. Conversely, 11 genes were only mutated in >10% of human HNSCC tumors. Several mutant genes in the EGF receptor (EGFR) pathway are shared both in cell lines and in tumors. Pharmacologic profiling of eight anticancer agents in six HNSCC cell lines suggested that PIK3CA mutation may serve as a predictive biomarker for the drugs targeting the EGFR/PI3K pathway. These findings suggest that a correlation of gene mutations between HNSCC cell lines and human tumors may be used to guide the selection of preclinical models for translational research. IMPLICATIONS:These findings suggest that a correlation of gene mutations between HNSCC cell lines and human tumors may be used to guide the selection of preclinical models for translational research.
Project description:Malignant conversion of BRAF- or NRAS-mutated melanocytes into melanoma cells can be promoted by PI3'-lipid signaling. However, the mechanism by which PI3'-lipid signaling cooperates with mutationally activated BRAF or NRAS has not been adequately explored. Using human NRAS- or BRAF-mutated melanoma cells that co-express mutationally activated PIK3CA, we explored the contribution of PI3'-lipid signaling to cell proliferation. Despite mutational activation of PIK3CA, melanoma cells were more sensitive to the biochemical and antiproliferative effects of broader spectrum PI3K inhibitors than to an ?-selective PI3K inhibitor. Combined pharmacological inhibition of MEK1/2 and PI3K signaling elicited more potent antiproliferative effects and greater inhibition of the cell division cycle compared to single-agent inhibition of either pathway alone. Analysis of signaling downstream of MEK1/2 or PI3K revealed that these pathways cooperate to regulate cell proliferation through mTORC1-mediated effects on ribosomal protein S6 and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation in an AKT-dependent manner. Although PI3K inhibition resulted in cytostatic effects on xenografted NRASQ61H /PIK3CAH1047R melanoma, combined inhibition of MEK1/2 plus PI3K elicited significant melanoma regression. This study provides insights as to how mutationally activated PIK3CA acts in concert with MEK1/2 signaling to cooperatively regulate mTORC1/2 to sustain PIK3CA-mutated melanoma proliferation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The PI3K/AKT pathway plays a pivotal role in breast cancer development and maintenance. PIK3CA, encoding the PI3K catalytic subunit, is the oncogene exhibiting a high frequency of gain-of-function mutations leading to PI3K/AKT pathway activation in breast cancer. PIK3CA mutations have been observed in 30% to 40% of ER?-positive breast tumors. However the physiopathological role of PIK3CA mutations in breast tumorigenesis remains largely unclear. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To identify relevant downstream target genes and signaling activated by aberrant PI3K/AKT pathway in breast tumors, we first analyzed gene expression with a pangenomic oligonucleotide microarray in a series of 43 ER?-positive tumors with and without PIK3CA mutations. Genes of interest were then investigated in 249 ER?-positive breast tumors by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. A robust collection of 19 genes was found to be differently expressed in PIK3CA-mutated tumors. PIK3CA mutations were associated with over-expression of several genes involved in the Wnt signaling pathway (WNT5A, TCF7L2, MSX2, TNFRSF11B), regulation of gene transcription (SEC14L2, MSX2, TFAP2B, NRIP3) and metal ion binding (CYP4Z1, CYP4Z2P, SLC40A1, LTF, LIMCH1). CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: This new gene set should help to understand the behavior of PIK3CA-mutated cancers and detailed knowledge of Wnt signaling activation could lead to novel therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Most squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC) exhibit a persistent activation of the PI3K-mTOR signaling pathway. We have recently shown that metformin, an oral antidiabetic drug that is also used to treat lipodystrophy in HIV-infected (HIV(+)) individuals, diminishes mTOR activity and prevents the progression of chemically induced experimental HNSCC premalignant lesions. Here, we explored the preclinical activity of metformin in HNSCCs harboring PIK3CA mutations and HPV oncogenes, both representing frequent HNSCC alterations, aimed at developing effective targeted preventive strategies. The biochemical and biologic effects of metformin were evaluated in representative HNSCC cells expressing mutated PIK3CA or HPV oncogenes (HPV(+)). The oral delivery of metformin was optimized to achieve clinical relevant blood levels. Molecular determinants of metformin sensitivity were also investigated, and their expression levels were examined in a large collection of HNSCC cases. We found that metformin inhibits mTOR signaling and tumor growth in HNSCC cells expressing mutated PIK3CA and HPV oncogenes, and that these activities require the expression of organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3/SLC22A3), a metformin uptake transporter. Coexpression of OCT3 and the mTOR pathway activation marker pS6 were observed in most HNSCC cases, including those arising in HIV(+) patients. Activation of the PI3K-mTOR pathway is a widespread event in HNSCC, including HPV(-) and HPV(+) lesions arising in HIV(+) patients, all of which coexpress OCT3. These observations may provide a rationale for the clinical evaluation of metformin to halt HNSCC development from precancerous lesions, including in HIV(+) individuals at risk of developing HPV(-) associated cancers.
Project description:Adenocarcinoma of the lung, a leading cause of cancer death, frequently displays mutational activation of the KRAS proto-oncogene but, unlike lung cancers expressing mutated EGFR, ROS1, or ALK, there is no pathway-targeted therapy for patients with KRAS-mutated lung cancer. In preclinical models, expression of oncogenic KRAS(G12D) in the lung epithelium of adult mice initiates development of lung adenocarcinoma through activation of downstream signaling pathways. In contrast, mutationally activated BRAF(V600E), a KRAS effector, fails to initiate lung carcinogenesis despite highly efficient induction of benign lung tumorigenesis. To test if phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-? (PIK3CA), another KRAS effector, might cooperate with oncogenic BRAF(V600E) to promote lung cancer progression, we used mice carrying a conditional allele of Pik3ca that allows conversion of the wild-type catalytic subunit of PIK3CA to mutationally activated PIK3CA(H1047R). Although expression of PIK3CA(H1047R) in the lung epithelium, either alone or in combination with PTEN silencing, was without phenotype, concomitant expression of BRAF(V600E) and PIK3CA(H1047R) led to dramatically decreased tumor latency and increased tumor burden compared with BRAF(V600E) alone. Most notably, coexpression of BRAF(V600E) and PIK3CA(H1047R) elicited lung adenocarcinomas in a manner reminiscent of the effects of KRAS(G12D). These data emphasize a role for PI3K signaling, not in lung tumor initiation per se, but in both the rate of tumor growth and the propensity of benign lung tumors to progress to a malignant phenotype. Finally, biologic and biochemical analysis of BRAF(V600E)/PIK3CA(H1047R)-expressing mouse lung cancer cells revealed mechanistic clues about cooperative regulation of the cell-division cycle and apoptosis by these oncogenes.
Project description:Target-matched treatment with PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors in patients with diverse advanced cancers with PIK3CA mutations have shown promise. Tumors from patients with colorectal cancer were analyzed for PIK3CA, KRAS, and BRAF mutations. PIK3CA-mutated tumors were treated, whenever feasible, with agents targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. Of 194 patients analyzed, 31 (16%) had PIK3CA mutations and 189 (97%) were assessed for KRAS mutations. Patients with PIK3CA mutations had a higher prevalence of simultaneous KRAS mutations than patients with wild-type PIK3CA (71%, 22/31 vs. 43%, 68/158; P = 0.006). Of 31 patients with PIK3CA mutations, 17 (55%) were treated with protocols containing PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors [median age, 57 years; median number of prior therapies, 4; mTORC1 inhibitors (11), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors (5), or an AKT inhibitor (1)]. None (0/17) had a partial or complete response (PR/CR) and only 1 [6%, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.01-0.27] had stable disease 6 months or more, which was not significantly different from a stable disease ?6 month/PR/CR rate of 16% (11/67; 95% CI, 0.09-0.27) in patients with colorectal cancer without PIK3CA mutations treated with PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors (P = 0.44). Median progression-free survival was 1.9 months (95% CI, 1.5-2.3). In conclusion, our data provide preliminary evidence that in heavily pretreated patients with PIK3CA-mutant advanced colorectal cancer, protocols incorporating PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors have minimal activity. PIK3CA mutations are associated with simultaneous KRAS mutations, possibly accounting for therapeutic resistance.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Recent sequencing studies of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) have identified the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway as the most frequently mutated, oncogenic pathway in this cancer type. Despite the frequency of activating genomic alterations in PIK3CA (the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of PI3K, targeted inhibitors of PI3K have not shown clinical efficacy as monotherapies. We hypothesized that co-dependent pathways, including the Ras-MEK-ERK pathway, may still be functional in the presence of PI3K inhibitors and might serve as mediators of this resistance. METHODS:We assessed the hypothesis using resazurin cell viability and trypan blue exclusion assays. We also used Western blot to characterize Ras-MEK-ERK pathway activity. STUDY DESIGN:We evaluated this hypothesis in six PIK3CA-amplified, PI3K inhibitor-resistant HNSCC cell lines following treatment with pan and alpha-isoform selective PI3K inhibitors (BKM120 and HS-173 respectively). We also tested the effect of combination treatment with PI3K inhibitor HS-173 and MEK inhibitor trametinib or EGFR inhibitor gefitinib. RESULTS:Our results displayed maintenance of Ras-MEK-ERK pathway activity in 4 of 6 HNSCC cell lines after PI3K inhibitor treatment. We also found that UM-SCC-69 and UM-SCC-108 cells display synergistic responses to dual therapy. CONCLUSION:This study suggests that inhibition of the PI3K and Ras-MEK-ERK pathways might be effective in some HNSCC patients; however, it also prompts the study of additional resistance mechanisms to identify synergistic combination therapies for tumors resistant to these di-therapies.
Project description:Targeted therapy development in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is challenging given the rarity of activating mutations. Additionally, HNSCC incidence is increasing related to human papillomavirus (HPV). We sought to develop an in vivo model derived from patients reflecting the evolving HNSCC epidemiologic landscape, and use it to identify new therapies. Primary and relapsed tumors from HNSCC patients, both HPV+ and HPV-, were implanted on mice, giving rise to 25 strains. Resulting xenografts were characterized by detecting key mutations, measuring protein expression by IHC and gene expression/pathway analysis by mRNA-sequencing. Drug efficacy studies were run with representative xenografts using the approved drug cetuximab as well as the new PI3K inhibitor PX-866. Tumors maintained their original morphology, genetic profiles and drug susceptibilities through serial passaging. The genetic makeup of these tumors was consistent with known frequencies of TP53, PI3KCA, NOTCH1 and NOTCH2 mutations. Because the EGFR inhibitor cetuximab is a standard HNSCC therapy, we tested its efficacy and observed a wide spectrum of efficacy. Cetuximab-resistant strains had higher PI3K/Akt pathway gene expression and protein activation than cetuximab-sensitive strains. The PI3K inhibitor PX-866 had anti-tumor efficacy in HNSCC models with PIK3CA alterations. Finally, PI3K inhibition was effective in two cases with NOTCH1 inactivating mutations. In summary, we have developed an HNSCC model covering its clinical spectrum whose major genetic alterations and susceptibility to anticancer agents represent contemporary HNSCC. This model enables to prospectively test therapeutic-oriented hypotheses leading to personalized medicine.
Project description:PURPOSE:The genetic differences between human papilloma virus (HPV)-positive and -negative head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) remain largely unknown. To identify differential biology and novel therapeutic targets for both entities, we determined mutations and copy-number aberrations in a large cohort of locoregionally advanced HNSCC. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:We performed massively parallel sequencing of 617 cancer-associated genes in 120 matched tumor/normal samples (42.5% HPV-positive). Mutations and copy-number aberrations were determined and results validated with a secondary method. RESULTS:The overall mutational burden in HPV-negative and HPV-positive HNSCC was similar with an average of 15.2 versus 14.4 somatic exonic mutations in the targeted cancer-associated genes. HPV-negative tumors showed a mutational spectrum concordant with published lung squamous cell carcinoma analyses with enrichment for mutations in TP53, CDKN2A, MLL2, CUL3, NSD1, PIK3CA, and NOTCH genes. HPV-positive tumors showed unique mutations in DDX3X, FGFR2/3 and aberrations in PIK3CA, KRAS, MLL2/3, and NOTCH1 were enriched in HPV-positive tumors. Currently targetable genomic alterations were identified in FGFR1, DDR2, EGFR, FGFR2/3, EPHA2, and PIK3CA. EGFR, CCND1, and FGFR1 amplifications occurred in HPV-negative tumors, whereas 17.6% of HPV-positive tumors harbored mutations in fibroblast growth factor receptor genes (FGFR2/3), including six recurrent FGFR3 S249C mutations. HPV-positive tumors showed a 5.8% incidence of KRAS mutations, and DNA-repair gene aberrations, including 7.8% BRCA1/2 mutations, were identified. CONCLUSIONS:The mutational makeup of HPV-positive and HPV-negative HNSCC differs significantly, including targetable genes. HNSCC harbors multiple therapeutically important genetic aberrations, including frequent aberrations in the FGFR and PI3K pathway genes. See related commentary by Krigsfeld and Chung, p. 495.