Mutationally activated PIK3CA(H1047R) cooperates with BRAF(V600E) to promote lung cancer progression.
ABSTRACT: 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:Information regarding the role of low-frequency hotspot cancer-driver mutations (CDMs) in breast carcinogenesis and therapeutic response is limited. Using the sensitive and quantitative Allele-specific Competitor Blocker PCR (ACB-PCR) approach, mutant fractions (MFs) of six CDMs (PIK3CA H1047R and E545K, KRAS G12D and G12V, HRAS G12D, and BRAF V600E) were quantified in invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs; including ~20 samples per subtype). Measurable levels (i.e., ≥ 1 × 10-5, the lowest ACB-PCR standard employed) of the PIK3CA H1047R, PIK3CA E545K, KRAS G12D, KRAS G12V, HRAS G12D, and BRAF V600E mutations were observed in 34/81 (42%), 29/81 (36%), 51/81 (63%), 9/81 (11%), 70/81 (86%), and 48/81 (59%) of IDCs, respectively. Correlation analysis using available clinicopathological information revealed that PIK3CA H1047R and BRAF V600E MFs correlate positively with maximum tumor dimension. Analysis of IDC subtypes revealed minor mutant subpopulations of critical genes in the MAP kinase pathway (KRAS, HRAS, and BRAF) were prevalent across IDC subtypes. Few triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) had appreciable levels of PIK3CA mutation, suggesting that individuals with TNBC may be less responsive to inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. These results suggest that low-frequency hotspot CDMs contribute significantly to the intertumoral and intratumoral genetic heterogeneity of IDCs, which has the potential to impact precision oncology approaches.
Project description:Mutant cancer subpopulations have the potential to derail durable patient responses to molecularly targeted cancer therapeutics, yet the prevalence and size of such subpopulations are largely unexplored. We employed the sensitive and quantitative Allele-specific Competitive Blocker PCR approach to characterize mutant cancer subpopulations in ductal carcinomas (DCs), examining five specific hotspot point mutations (PIK3CA H1047R, KRAS G12D, KRAS G12V, HRAS G12D, and BRAF V600E). As an approach to aid interpretation of the DC results, the mutations were also quantified in normal breast tissue. Overall, the mutations were prevalent in normal breast and DCs, with 9/9 DCs having measureable levels of at least three of the five mutations. HRAS G12D was significantly increased in DCs as compared to normal breast. The most frequent point mutation reported in DC by DNA sequencing, PIK3CA H1047R, was detected in all normal breast tissue and DC samples and was present at remarkably high levels (mutant fractions of 1.1 × 10(-3) to 4.6 × 10(-2)) in 4/10 normal breast samples. In normal breast tissue samples, PIK3CA mutation levels were positively correlated with age. However, the PIK3CA H1047R mutant fraction distributions for normal breast tissues and DCs were similar. The results suggest PIK3CA H1047R mutant cells have a selective advantage in breast, contribute to breast cancer susceptibility, and drive tumor progression during breast carcinogenesis, even when present as only a subpopulation of tumor cells.
Project description:KRAS-activating mutations drive human non-small cell lung cancer and initiate lung tumorigenesis in genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models. However, in a GEM model of KRAS(G12D)-induced lung cancer, tumors arise stochastically following a latency period, suggesting that additional events are required to promote early-stage tumorigenic expansion of KRAS(G12D)-mutated cells. PI3K? (PIK3CA) is a direct effector of KRAS, but additional activation of PI3'-lipid signaling may be required to potentiate KRAS-driven lung tumorigenesis. Using GEM models, we tested whether PI3'-lipid signaling was limiting for the promotion of KRAS(G12D)-driven lung tumors by inducing the expression of KRAS(G12D) in the absence and presence of the activating PIK3CA(H1047R) mutation. PIK3CA(H1047R) expression alone failed to promote tumor formation, but dramatically enhanced tumorigenesis initiated by KRAS(G12D). We further observed that oncogenic cooperation between KRAS(G12D) and PIK3CA(H1047R) was accompanied by PI3K?-mediated regulation of c-MYC, GSK3?, p27(KIP1), survivin, and components of the RB pathway, resulting in accelerated cell division of human or mouse lung cancer-derived cell lines. These data suggest that, although KRAS(G12D) may activate PI3K? by direct biochemical mechanisms, PI3'-lipid signaling remains rate-limiting for the cell-cycle progression and expansion of early-stage KRAS(G12D)-initiated lung cells. Therefore, we provide a potential mechanistic rationale for the selection of KRAS and PIK3CA coactivating mutations in a number of human malignancies, with implications for the clinical deployment of PI3' kinase-targeted therapies.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Mutations in KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA are the most common somatic alterations found in the colorectal cancer (CRC) patients from Western countries; but their prevalence and prognostic value have not been adequately assessed in Asian patients. The aim of this study was to determine the mutation frequencies of these genes in Chinese CRC patients and to investigate their impact on prognosis.<h4>Methods</h4>The sequences of exon 2 of KRAS, exon 15 of BRAF and exons 9 and 20 of PIK3CA were evaluated by PCR and direct sequencing using DNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues from primary CRC tumors of 214 patients (colon/rectum: 126/88).<h4>Results</h4>KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations were identified in 44.9% (96/214), 4.2% (9/214) and 12.3% (26/212) CRCs, respectively. The most frequent mutations in KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA were G12D, V600E and H1047R, respectively. All BRAF and 80.8% PIK3CA mutations were from colon cancer patients. BRAF V600E was associated with advanced TNM (P?<?0.001), more distant metastases (P?=?0.025), and worse overall survival (OS, P?<?0.001; multivariate HR?=?4.2, P?=?0.004) in colon cancer patients. Compared with KRAS wt/BRAF wt CRC patients (N?=?109), those with KRAS codon 13 mutations (N?=?25) had significantly worse OS (P?=?0.016; multivariate HR?=?2.7, P?=?0.011), whereas KRAS codon 12-mutated cases were not significantly associated with survival. Among the three most common KRAS mutations, G13D (N?=?23) showed significant association with poor OS (P?=?0.024; multivariate HR?=?2.6, P?=?0.016) compared with KRAS wt/BRAF wt patients.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our findings indicate that PI3K/RAS-RAF signaling pathway genes are frequently mutated in Chinese CRC patients, but have different characteristics than found in Western patients. BRAF V600E is an independent prognostic factor for Chinese patients. Our finding that KRAS codon 13 mutations (in particular G13D) are associated with inferior survival in BRAF wild-type CRCs in Chinese patients was not reported thus far. Our data emphasizes the importance of prospective evaluation of molecular features in CRC patients, because a single mutation type may represent a distinct biologic effect and clinical implication.
Project description:A model that recapitulates development of acquired therapeutic resistance is needed to improve oncology drug development and patient outcomes. To achieve this end, we established methods for the preparation and growth of spheroids from primary human lung adenocarcinomas, including methods to culture, passage, monitor growth, and evaluate changes in mutational profile over time. Primary lung tumor spheroids were cultured in Matrigel® with varying concentrations of erlotinib, a small molecule kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) that is ineffective against KRAS mutant cells. Subtle changes in spheroid size and number were observed within the first two weeks of culture. Spheroids were cultured for up to 24 weeks, during which time interactions between different cell types, movement, and assembly into heterogeneous organoid structures were documented. Allele-specific competitive blocker PCR (ACB-PCR) was used to quantify low frequency BRAF V600E, KRAS G12D, KRAS G12V, and PIK3CA H1047R mutant subpopulations in tumor tissue residue (TR) samples and cultured spheroids. Mutant subpopulations, including multiple mutant subpopulations, were quite prevalent. Twelve examples of mutant enrichment were found in eight of the 14 tumors analyzed, based on the criteria that a statistically-significant increase in mutant fraction was observed relative to both the TR and the no-erlotinib control. Of the mutants quantified in erlotinib-treated cultures, PIK3CA H1047 mutant subpopulations increased most often (5/14 tumors), which is consistent with clinical observations. Thus, this ex vivo lung tumor spheroid model replicates the cellular and mutational tumor heterogeneity of human lung adenocarcinomas and can be used to assess the outgrowth of mutant subpopulations. Spheroid cultures with characterized mutant subpopulations could be used to investigate the efficacy of lung cancer combination therapies.
Project description:Mutation of KRAS is a common initiating event in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Yet, the specific roles of KRAS-stimulated signaling pathways in the transformation of pancreatic ductal epithelial cells (PDEC), putative cells of origin for PDAC, remain unclear. Here, we show that KRAS(G12D) and BRAF(V600E) enhance PDEC proliferation and increase survival after exposure to apoptotic stimuli in a manner dependent on MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT signaling. Interestingly, we find that activation of PI3K/AKT signaling occurs downstream of MAP-ERK kinase (MEK), and is dependent on the autocrine activation of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) receptor (IGF1R) by IGF2. Importantly, IGF1R inhibition impairs KRAS(G12D)- and BRAF(V600E)-induced survival, whereas ectopic IGF2 expression rescues KRAS(G12D)- and BRAF(V600E)-mediated survival downstream of MEK inhibition. Moreover, we show that KRAS(G12D)- and BRAF(V600E)-induced tumor formation in an orthotopic model requires IGF1R. Interestingly, we show that while individual inhibition of MEK or IGF1R does not sensitize PDAC cells to apoptosis, their concomitant inhibition reduces survival. Our findings identify a novel mechanism of PI3K/AKT activation downstream of activated KRAS, illustrate the importance of MEK/ERK, PI3K/AKT, and IGF1R signaling in pancreatic tumor initiation, and suggest potential therapeutic strategies for this malignancy.
Project description:Aberrant activation of MAP kinase signaling pathway and loss of tumor suppressor LKB1 have been implicated in lung cancer development and progression. Although oncogenic KRAS mutations are frequent, BRAF mutations (BRAF(V600E)) are found in 3% of human non-small cell lung cancers. Contrary to KRAS mutant tumors, BRAF(V600E)-induced tumors are benign adenomas that fail to progess. Interestingly, loss of tumor supressor LKB1 coexists with KRAS oncogenic mutations and synergizes in tumor formation and progression, however, its cooperation with BRAF(V600E) oncogene is unknown. Our results describe a lung cell population in neonates mice where expression of BRAF(V600E) leads to lung adenoma development. Importantly, expression of BRAF(V600E) concomitant with the loss of only a single-copy of Lkb1, overcomes senencence-like features of BRAF(V600E)-mutant adenomas leading malignization to carcinomas. These results posit LKB1 haploinsufficiency as a risk factor for tumor progression of BRAF(V600E) mutated lung adenomas in human cancer patients.
Project description:PIK3CA mutations are frequently diagnosed in diverse cancers and may predict response to PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors. It remains unclear whether they are associated with other characteristics. We analyzed characteristics and outcome of 90 consecutive patients with diverse advanced tumors and PIK3CA mutations and 180 wild-type PIK3CA controls matched by tumor type, gender, and age referred to the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy. PIK3CA and MAPK mutations (KRAS, NRAS, and BRAF) were analyzed using polymerase chain reaction-based DNA sequencing. The most frequent PIK3CA mutations were E545K (31/90, 34%), E542K (16/90, 18%) in exon 9, and H1047R (20/90, 22%) in exon 20. PIK3CA mutations compared to wild-type PIK3CA were associated with simultaneous KRAS (p=0.047) and MAPK mutations (p=0.03), but only MAPK mutations were confirmed as having an independent association in multivariate analysis. Rates of lung, bone, liver and brain metastases were similar in PIK3CA-mutant and wild-type patients. Patients with PIK3CA mutations treated on trials with PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors had a higher partial/complete response (PR/CR) rate than wild-type PIK3CA patients treated with their best phase I therapy (10/56, 18% vs. 12/152, 8%; p=0.045), but not a prolonged progression-free survival. Patients with H1047R PIK3CA mutations had higher PR/CR rate with PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors compared to wild-type PIK3CA patients treated with their best phase I therapy (6/16, 38% vs. 12/152, 8%; p=0.003). In conclusion, PIK3CA mutations in diverse cancers were not associated with clinical characteristics, but were correlated with MAPK mutations. PIK3CA mutations, especially, H1047R, were associated with attaining a PR/CR to PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors.
Project description:KRAS mutation is a hallmark of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) but remains an intractable pharmacologic target. Consequently, defining RAS effector pathway(s) required for PDA initiation and maintenance is critical to improve treatment of this disease. Here, we show that expression of BRAF(V600E), but not PIK3CA(H1047R), in the mouse pancreas leads to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) lesions. Moreover, concomitant expression of BRAF(V600E) and TP53(R270H) result in lethal PDA. We tested pharmacologic inhibitors of RAS effectors against multiple human PDA cell lines. Mitogen-activated protein (MAP)/extracellular signal-regulated (ERK) kinase (MEK) inhibition was highly effective both in vivo and in vitro and was synergistic with AKT inhibition in most cell lines tested. We show that RAF?MEK?ERK signaling is central to the initiation and maintenance of PDA and to rational combination strategies in this disease. These results emphasize the value of leveraging multiple complementary experimental systems to prioritize pathways for effective intervention strategies in PDA.PDA is diffi cult to treat, in large part, due to recurrent mutations in the KRAS gene. Here, we defi ne rational treatment approaches for the disease achievable today with existing drug combinations by thorough genetic and pharmacologic dissection of the major KRAS effector pathways, RAF?MEK?ERK and phosphoinositide 3?-kinase (PI3'K)?AKT.