C-MYC overexpression is required for continuous suppression of oncogene-induced senescence in melanoma cells.
ABSTRACT: Malignant melanomas often harbor activating mutations in BRAF (V600E) or, less frequently, in NRAS (Q61R). Intriguingly, the same mutations have been detected at higher incidences in benign nevi, which are largely composed of senescent melanocytes. Overexpression of BRAF(V600E) or NRAS(Q61R) in human melanocytes in vitro has been shown to induce senescence, although via different mechanisms. How oncogene-induced senescence is overcome during melanoma progression remains unclear. Here, we report that in the majority of analysed BRAF(V600E)- or NRAS(Q61R)-expressing melanoma cells, C-MYC depletion induced different yet overlapping sets of senescence phenotypes that are characteristic of normal melanocytes undergoing senescence due to overexpression of BRAF(V600E) or NRAS(Q61R), respectively. These senescence phenotypes were p16(INK4A)- or p53-independent, however, several of them were suppressed by genetic or pharmacological inhibition of BRAF(V600E) or phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathways, including rapamycin-mediated inhibition of mTOR-raptor in NRAS(Q61R)-expressing melanoma cells. Reciprocally, overexpression of C-MYC in normal melanocytes suppressed BRAF(V600E)-induced senescence more efficiently than NRAS(Q61R)-induced senescence, which agrees with the generally higher rates of activating mutations in BRAF than NRAS gene in human cutaneous melanomas. Our data suggest that one of the major functions of C-MYC overexpression in melanoma progression is to continuous suppress BRAF(V600E)- or NRAS(Q61R)-dependent senescence programs.
Project description:The underlying forces that shape mutational patterns within any type of cancer have been poorly characterized. One of the best preserved exclusionary relationships is that between BRAF(V600E) and NRAS(Q61) in melanomas. To explore possible mechanisms which could explain this phenomenon, we overexpressed NRAS(Q61) in a set of BRAF(V600E) melanoma lines and vice versa. Controlled expression of a second activating oncogene led to growth arrest ("synthetic suppression") in a subset of cells, which was accompanied by cell cycle arrest and senescence in several melanoma cell lines along with apoptosis. Through differential gene expression analysis, we identified SPRY4 as the potential mediator of this synthetic response to dual oncogene suppression. Ectopic introduction of SPRY4 recapitulated the growth arrest phenotype of dual BRAF(V600E)/NRAS(Q61) expression while SPRY4 depletion led to a partial rescue from oncogenic antagonism. This study thus defined SPRY4 as a potential mediator of synthetic suppression, which is likely to contribute to the observed exclusivity between BRAF(V600E) and NRAS(Q61R) mutations in melanoma. Further leverage of the SPRY4 pathway may also hold therapeutic promise for NRAS(Q61) melanomas.
Project description:The determination of NRAS and BRAF mutation status is a major requirement in the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma. Mutation specific antibodies against NRAS(Q61R) and BRAF(V600E) proteins could offer additional data on tumor heterogeneity. The specificity and sensitivity of NRAS(Q61R) immunohistochemistry have recently been reported excellent. We aimed to determine the utility of immunohistochemistry using SP174 anti-NRAS(Q61R) and VE1 anti-BRAF(V600E) antibodies in the theranostic mutation screening of melanomas.142 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded melanoma samples from 79 patients were analyzed using pyrosequencing and immunohistochemistry.23 and 26 patients were concluded to have a NRAS-mutated or a BRAF-mutated melanoma respectively. The 23 NRAS (Q61R) and 23 BRAF (V600E) -mutant samples with pyrosequencing were all positive in immunohistochemistry with SP174 antibody and VE1 antibody respectively, without any false negative. Proportions and intensities of staining were varied. Other NRAS (Q61L) , NRAS (Q61K) , BRAF (V600K) and BRAF (V600R) mutants were negative in immunohistochemistry. 6 single cases were immunostained but identified as wild-type using pyrosequencing (1 with SP174 and 5 with VE1). 4/38 patients with multiple samples presented molecular discordant data. Technical limitations are discussed to explain those discrepancies. Anyway we could not rule out real tumor heterogeneity.In our study, we showed that combining immunohistochemistry analysis targeting NRAS(Q61R) and BRAF(V600E) proteins with molecular analysis was a reliable theranostic tool to face challenging samples of melanoma.
Project description:Human melanocytic nevi (moles) are benign lesions harboring activated oncogenes, including BRAF. Although this oncogene initially acts mitogenically, eventually, oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) ensues. Nevi can infrequently progress to melanomas, but the mechanistic relationship with OIS is unclear. We show here that PTEN depletion abrogates BRAF(V600E)-induced senescence in human fibroblasts and melanocytes. Correspondingly, in established murine BRAF(V600E)-driven nevi, acute shRNA-mediated depletion of PTEN prompted tumor progression. Furthermore, genetic analysis of laser-guided microdissected human contiguous nevus-melanoma specimens recurrently revealed identical mutations in BRAF or NRAS in adjacent benign and malignant melanocytes. The PI3K pathway was often activated through either decreased PTEN or increased AKT3 expression in melanomas relative to their adjacent nevi. Pharmacologic PI3K inhibition in melanoma cells suppressed proliferation and induced the senescence-associated tumor suppressor p15(INK4B). This treatment also eliminated subpopulations resistant to targeted BRAF(V600E) inhibition. Our findings suggest that a significant proportion of melanomas arise from nevi. Furthermore, these results demonstrate that PI3K pathway activation serves as a rate-limiting event in this setting, acting at least in part by abrogating OIS. The reactivation of senescence features and elimination of cells refractory to BRAF(V600E) inhibition by PI3K inhibition warrants further investigation into the therapeutic potential of simultaneously targeting these pathways in melanoma.
Project description:Previous studies suggest that solar UV exposure in early life is predictive of cutaneous melanoma risk in adulthood, whereas the relation of BRAF mutation with sun exposure and disease prognosis has been less certain. We investigated the associations between BRAF(V600E) and NRAS(Q61R) mutations and known risk factors, clinicopathologic characteristics and clinical outcomes of melanoma in a case series of primary invasive cutaneous melanoma from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS).Somatic BRAF(V600E) and NRAS(Q61R) mutations of 127 primary invasive melanomas from the NHS cohort were determined by pyrosequencing using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded block tissues. Logistic regression analyses were performed to detect the associations of mutations with melanoma risk factors, and Kaplan-Meier method was used to examine associations between mutations and survival.The odds ratios for harboring BRAF(V600E) mutations were 5.54 (95% CI 1.19-25.8, p(trend) = 0.02) for women residing in states with UV index ? 7 versus those residing in states with UV index ?5 at 30 years of age. Patients with BRAF(V600E) mutations tended to have shorter melanoma-specific survival when compared to patients with wild type at both loci (median survival time 110 vs. 159 months) (p = 0.03). No association was found between NRASQ61R mutation and melanoma risk factors or melanoma-specific survival.BRAF(V600E) mutations in primary cutaneous melanomas were associated with residence in locations with medium and high UV indices in mid-life. BRAF(V600E) mutation may be associated with an unfavorable prognosis among melanoma patients.
Project description:Melanocytic nevi frequently harbor oncogenic BRAF mutations, but only a minority progress to melanoma. In human melanocytes, persistent BRAF(V600E) expression triggers oncogene-induced senescence, which implies that bypass of oncogene-induced senescence is necessary for malignant transformation of melanocytes. We show that a subpopulation of primary human melanocytes with persistent expression of BRAF(V600E) do not enter oncogene-induced senescence, but instead survive despite heightened MAPK activity. Disruption of the p53 pathway using short-hairpin RNA initiated rapid growth of these V600E(+) melanocytes in vitro. The resultant V600E(+)/p53(sh) melanocytes grew anchorage-independently in soft agar, formed pigmented lesions reminiscent of in situ melanoma in artificial skin reconstructs, and were weakly tumorigenic in vivo. Array comparative genomic hybridization analysis demonstrated that the transformed melanocytes acquired a substantial deletion in chromosome 13, which encodes the Rb1 tumor suppressor gene. Gene expression profiling study of nevi and melanomas showed that p53 target genes were differentially expressed in melanomas compared with nevi, suggesting a dysfunctional p53 pathway in melanoma in vivo. In summary, these data demonstrate that a subpopulation of melanocytes possesses the ability to survive BRAF(V600E)-induced senescence, and suggest that p53 inactivation may promote malignant transformation of these cells.
Project description:Acral naevi are benign melanocytic tumors occurring at acral sites. Occasionally they can progress to become malignant tumors (melanomas). The genetics of acral naevi have not been assessed in larger studies. In our study, a large cohort of 130 acral naevi was screened for gene mutations known to be important in other naevi and melanoma subtypes by targeted next-generation sequencing. Mutation status was correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Frequent mutations in genes activating the MAP kinase pathway were identified, including n = 87 (67%) BRAF, n = 24 (18%) NRAS, and one (1%) MAP2K1 mutations. BRAF mutations were almost exclusively V600E (n = 86, 99%) and primarily found in junctional and compound naevi. NRAS mutations were either Q61K or Q61R and frequently identified in dermal naevi. Recurrent non-V600E BRAF, KIT, NF1, and TERT promoter mutations, present in acral melanoma, were not identified. Our study identifies BRAF and NRAS mutations as the primary pathogenic event in acral naevi, however, distributed differently to those in non-acral naevi. The mutational profile of acral naevi is distinct from acral melanoma, which may be of diagnostic value in distinguishing these entities.
Project description:BRAF, a cellular oncogene and effector of RAS-mediated signaling, is activated by mutation in approximately 60% of melanomas. Most of these mutations consist of a V600E substitution resulting in constitutive kinase activation. Mutant BRAF thus represents an important therapeutic target in melanoma. In an effort to produce a pre-clinical model of mutant BRAF function in melanoma, we have generated a mouse expressing BRAF V600E targeted to melanocytes. We show that in these transgenic mice, widespread benign melanocytic hyperplasia with histological features of nevi occurs, with biochemical evidence of senescence. Melanocytic hyperplasia progresses to overt melanoma with an incidence dependent on BRAF expression levels. Melanomas show CDKN2A loss, and genetic disruption of the CDKN2A locus greatly enhances melanoma formation, consistent with collaboration between BRAF activation and CDKN2A loss suggested from studies of human melanoma. The development of melanoma also involves activation of the Mapk and Akt signaling pathways and loss of senescence, findings that faithfully recapitulate those seen in human melanomas. This murine model of mutant BRAF-induced melanoma formation thus provides an important tool for identifying further genetic alterations that cooperates with BRAF and that may be useful in enhancing susceptibility to BRAF-targeted therapeutics in melanoma.
Project description:Malignant melanoma possesses one of the highest metastatic potentials among human cancers. Acquisition of invasive phenotypes is a prerequisite for melanoma metastases. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying melanoma invasion will greatly enhance the design of novel agents for melanoma therapeutic intervention. Here, we report that guanosine monophosphate synthase (GMPS), an enzyme required for the de novo biosynthesis of GMP, has a major role in invasion and tumorigenicity of cells derived from either BRAF(V600E) or NRAS(Q61R) human metastatic melanomas. Moreover, GMPS levels are increased in metastatic human melanoma specimens compared with primary melanomas arguing that GMPS is an attractive candidate for anti-melanoma therapy. Accordingly, for the first time we demonstrate that angustmycin A, a nucleoside-analog inhibitor of GMPS produced by Streptomyces hygroscopius efficiently suppresses melanoma cell invasion in vitro and tumorigenicity in immunocompromised mice. Our data identify GMPS as a powerful driver of melanoma cell invasion and warrant further investigation of angustmycin A as a novel anti-melanoma agent.
Project description:Associations of MC1R with BRAF mutations in melanoma have been inconsistent between studies. We sought to determine for 1,227 participants in the international population-based Genes, Environment, and Melanoma (GEM) study whether MC1R and phenotypes were associated with melanoma BRAF/NRAS subtypes. We used logistic regression adjusted by age, sex, and study design features and examined effect modifications. BRAF+ were associated with younger age, blond/light brown hair, increased nevi, and less freckling, and NRAS+ with older age relative to the wild type (BRAF-/NRAS-) melanomas (all P < 0.05). Comparing specific BRAF subtypes to the wild type, BRAF V600E was associated with younger age, blond/light brown hair, and increased nevi and V600K with increased nevi and less freckling (all P < 0.05). MC1R was positively associated with BRAF V600E cases but only among individuals with darker phototypes or darker hair (Pinteraction < 0.05) but inversely associated with BRAF V600K (Ptrend = 0.006) with no significant effect modification by phenotypes. These results support distinct etiologies for BRAF V600E, BRAF V600K, NRAS+, and wild-type melanomas. MC1R's associations with BRAF V600E cases limited to individuals with darker phenotypes indicate that MC1R genotypes specifically provide information about BRAF V600E melanoma risk in those not considered high risk based on phenotype. Our results also suggest that melanin pathways deserve further study in BRAF V600E melanomagenesis.
Project description:According to the prevailing multistep model of melanoma development, oncogenic BRAF or NRAS mutations are crucial initial events in melanoma development. It is not known whether melanocytic nevi that are found in association with a melanoma are more likely to carry BRAF or NRAS mutations than uninvolved nevi. By laser microdissection we were able to selectively dissect and genotype cells either from the nevus or from the melanoma part of 46 melanomas that developed in association with a nevus. In 25 cases we also genotyped a control nevus of the same patients. Available tissue was also immunostained using the BRAF(V600E)-mutation specific antibody VE1. The BRAF(V600E) mutation was found in 63.0% of melanomas, 65.2% of associated nevi and 50.0% of control nevi. No significant differences in the distribution of BRAF or NRAS mutations could be found between melanoma and associated nevi or between melanoma associated nevi and control nevi. In concordant cases immunohistochemistry showed a higher expression (intensity of immunohistochemistry) of the mutated BRAF(V600E)-protein in melanomas compared to their associated nevi. In this series the presence of a BRAF- or NRAS mutation in a nevus was not associated with the risk of malignant transformation. Our findings do not support the current traditional model of stepwise tumor progression.