Clinical instability of breast cancer markers is reflected in long-term in vitro estrogen deprivation studies.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Long-term estrogen deprivation models are widely employed in an in vitro setting to recapitulate the hormonal milieu of breast cancer patients treated with endocrine therapy. Despite the wealth information we have garnered from these models thus far, a comprehensive time-course analysis of the estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR), and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER-2/neu) receptors on the gene and protein level, coupled with expression array data is currently lacking. We aimed to address this knowledge gap in order to enhance our understanding of endocrine therapy resistance in breast cancer patients. METHODS: ER positive MCF7 and BT474 breast cancer cells were grown in estrogen depleted medium for 10 months with the ER negative MDA-MB-231 cell line employed as control. ER, PR and HER-2/neu expression were analysed at defined short and long-term time points by immunocytochemistry (ICC), and quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Microarray analysis was performed on representative samples. RESULTS: MCF7 cells cultured in estrogen depleted medium displayed decreasing expression of ER up to 8 weeks, which was then re-expressed at 10 months. PR was also down-regulated at early time points and remained so for the duration of the study. BT474 cells generally displayed no changes in ER during the first 8 weeks of deprivation, however its expression was significantly decreased at 10 months. PR expression was also down-regulated early in BT474 samples and was absent at later time points. Finally, microarray data revealed that genes and cell processes down-regulated in both cell lines at 6 weeks overlapped with those down-regulated in aromatase inhibitor treated breast cancer patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that expression of ER, PR, and cell metabolic/proliferative processes are unstable in response to long-term estrogen deprivation in breast cancer cell lines. These results mirror recent clinical findings and again emphasize the utility of LTED models in translational research.
Project description:Acquired resistance to cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) inhibition in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer remains a significant clinical challenge. Efforts to uncover the mechanisms underlying resistance are needed to establish clinically actionable targets effective against resistant tumors. In this study, we sought to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with acquired resistance to palbociclib in ER+ breast cancer. We performed next-generation transcriptomic RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and pathway analysis in ER+ MCF7 palbociclib-sensitive (MCF7/pS) and MCF7 palbociclib-resistant (MCF7/pR) cells. We identified 2183 up-regulated and 1548 down-regulated transcripts in MCF7/pR compared to MCF7/pS cells. Functional analysis of the DEGs using Gene Ontology (GO) and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database identified several pathways associated with breast cancer, including 'cell cycle', 'DNA replication', 'DNA repair' and 'autophagy'. Additionally, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) revealed that resistance to palbociclib is closely associated with deregulation of several key canonical and metabolic pathways. Further studies are needed to determine the utility of these DEGs and pathways as therapeutics targets against ER+ palbociclib-resistant breast cancer.
Project description:Oxidative stress can modify estrogen receptor (ER) structure and function, including induction of progesterone receptor (PR), altering the biology and clinical behavior of endocrine responsive (ER-positive) breast cancer.To investigate the impact of oxidative stress on estrogen/ER-regulated gene expression, RNA was extracted from ER-positive/PR-positive MCF7 breast cancer cells after 72 hours of estrogen deprivation, small-interfering RNA knockdown of ER-alpha, short-term (8 hours) exposure to various oxidant stresses (diamide, hydrogen peroxide, and menadione), or simultaneous ER-alpha knockdown and oxidant stress. RNA samples were analyzed by high-throughput expression microarray (Affymetrix), and significance analysis of microarrays was used to define gene signatures responsive to estrogen/ER regulation and oxidative stress. To explore the association of these signatures with breast cancer biology, microarray data were analyzed from 394 ER-positive primary human breast cancers pooled from three independent studies. In particular, an oxidant-sensitive estrogen/ER-responsive gene signature (Ox-E/ER) was correlated with breast cancer clinical parameters and disease-specific patient survival (DSS).From 891 estrogen/ER-regulated probes, a core set of 75 probes (62 unique genes) responsive to all three oxidants were selected (Ox-E/ER signature). Ingenuity pathway analysis of this signature highlighted networks involved in development, cancer, and cell motility, with intersecting nodes at growth factors (platelet-derived growth factor-BB, transforming growth factor-beta), a proinflammatory cytokine (tumor necrosis factor), and matrix metalloproteinase-2. Evaluation of the 394 ER-positive primary breast cancers demonstrated that Ox-E/ER index values correlated negatively with PR mRNA levels (rp = -0.2; P = 0.00011) and positively with tumor grade (rp = 0.2; P = 9.741 x e-5), and were significantly higher in ER-positive/PR-negative versus ER-positive/PR-positive breast cancers (t-test, P = 0.0008). Regardless of PR status, the Ox-E/ER index associated with reduced DSS (n = 201; univariate Cox, P = 0.078) and, using the optimized cut-point, separated ER-positive cases into two significantly different DSS groups (log rank, P = 0.0009).An oxidant-sensitive subset of estrogen/ER-responsive breast cancer genes linked to cell growth and invasion pathways was identified and associated with loss of PR and earlier disease-specific mortality, suggesting that oxidative stress contributes to the development of an aggressive subset of primary ER-positive breast cancers.
Project description:Estrogen receptor-positive and progesterone receptor-negative (ER+/PR-) breast cancers account for 15% to 25% of all human breast cancers and display more aggressive malignant characteristics than ER+/PR+ cancers. However, the molecular mechanism underlying development of ER+/PR- breast cancers still remains elusive. We show here that Tip30 deletion dramatically accelerated the onset of mammary tumors in the MMTV-Neu mouse model of breast cancer. The mammary tumors arising in Tip30(-/-)/MMTV-Neu mice were exclusively ER+/PR-. The growth of these ER+/PR- tumors depends not only on estrogen but also on progesterone despite the absence of detectable PR. Tip30 is predominantly expressed in ER+ mammary epithelial cells, and its deletion leads to an increase in the number of phospho-ER?-positive cells in mammary glands and accelerated activation of Akt in MMTV-Neu mice. Moreover, we found that Tip30 regulates the EGFR pathway through controlling endocytic downregulation of EGFR protein level and signaling. Together, these findings suggest a novel mechanism in which loss of Tip30 cooperates with Neu activation to enhance the activation of Akt signaling, leading to the development of ER+/PR- mammary tumors.
Project description:The effectiveness of therapies targeting specific pathways in breast cancer, such as the estrogen receptor or HER2, is limited because many tumors manifest resistance, either de novo or acquired, during the course of treatment. To investigate molecular mechanisms of resistance, we used two xenograft models of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, one with and one without HER2 overexpression (MCF7/HER2-18 and MCF7 wt, respectively). Mice with established tumors were assigned to the following treatment groups: estrogen supplementation (E2), estrogen deprivation (ED), ED plus tamoxifen (Tam), all with or without the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib (G). Another group received ED plus the antiestrogen fulvestrant (MCF7 wt only). Tumors with acquired or de novo resistance to these endocrine therapies were profiled for gene expression and compared with tumors in the E2 control group. One class of genes underexpressed in endocrine-resistant tumors (relative to E2-treated tumors) were estrogen inducible in vitro and associated with ER+ human breast cancers (luminal subtype). Another class of genes overexpressed in tumors with acquired resistance in both models represented transcriptional targets of HER2 signaling and was associated with ER-/HER2+ human cancers (ERBB2+ subtype). A third class of genes overexpressed in MCF7/HER2-18 tumors exhibiting de novo resistance to tamoxifen was associated with ER+ human cancers but not with estrogen-regulated genes. Thus, in response to various endocrine therapy regimens, these xenograft breast tumors shut down classic estrogen signaling and activate alternative pathways such as HER2 that contribute to treatment resistance. Over time, the molecular phenotype of breast cancer can change.
Project description:Intrinsic or acquired resistance to hormone therapy is frequently reported in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer patients. Even though dysregulations of histone deacetylases (HDACs) are known to promote cancer cells survival, the role of different HDACs in the induction of hormone therapy resistance in ER+ breast cancer remains unclear. Survivin is a well-known pro-tumor survival molecule and miR-125a-5p is a recently discovered tumor suppressor. In this study, we found that ER+, hormone-independent, tamoxifen-resistant MCF7-TamC3 cells exhibit increased expression of HDAC2, HDAC5, and survivin, but show decreased expression of miR-125a-5p, as compared to the parental tamoxifen-sensitive MCF7 breast cancer cells. Molecular down-regulations of HDAC2, HDAC5, and survivin, and ectopic over-expression of miR-125a-5p, increased the sensitivity of MCF7-TamC3 cells to estrogen deprivation and restored the sensitivity to tamoxifen. The same treatments also further increased the sensitivity to estrogen-deprivation in the ER+ hormone-dependent ZR-75-1 breast cancer cells in vitro. Kaplan-Meier analysis and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of expression cohorts of breast tumor showed that high HDAC2 and survivin, and low miR-125a-5p, expression levels correlate with poor relapse-free survival in endocrine therapy and tamoxifen-treated ER+ breast cancer patients. Further molecular analysis revealed that HDAC2 and HDAC5 positively modulates the expression of survivin, and negatively regulates the expression miR-125a-5p, in ER+ MCF7, MCF7-TamC3, and ZR-75-1 breast cancer cells. These findings indicate that dysregulations of HDAC2 and HDAC5 promote the development of hormone independency and tamoxifen resistance in ERC breast cancer cells in part through expression regulation of survivin and miR-125a-5p.
Project description:Aromatase (product of CYP19 gene), the critical enzyme in estrogen biosynthesis, is up-regulated in 70% of all breast cancers and is highly correlated with cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), the rate-determining enzyme in prostanoid biosynthesis. Expression of COX-2 also is correlated with the oncogene HER-2/neu. The efficacy of current endocrine therapies for breast cancer is predicted only if the tumor contains significant amounts of estrogen receptor. Because the progesterone receptor (PR) is an estrogen-induced target gene, it has been suggested that its presence may serve as an indicator of estrogen receptor functional capacity and the differentiation state of the tumor. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that PR serves a crucial protective role by antagonizing inflammatory response pathways in the breast. We observed that progesterone antagonized the stimulatory effects of cAMP and IL-1beta on aromatase, COX-2, and HER-2/neu expression in T47D breast cancer cells. These actions of progesterone were associated with increased expression of the nuclear factor-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaBalpha. In 28 breast cancer cell lines, IkappaBalpha expression was positively correlated with PR mRNA levels; overexpression of a phosphorylation-defective mutant of IkappaBalpha inhibited expression of aromatase, COX-2, and HER-2/neu. Moreover, in breast cancer cell lines cultured in the absence of progesterone, up-regulation of endogenous PR caused decreased expression of aromatase, COX-2, and HER-2/neu expression, whereas down-regulation of endogenous PR resulted in a marked induction of aromatase and HER-2/neu mRNA. Collectively, these findings suggest that PR plays an important antiinflammatory role in breast cancer cells via ligand-dependent and ligand-independent mechanisms.
Project description:Estrogen receptor (ER) ?-positive breast cancers initially respond to antiestrogens but eventually become estrogen independent and recur. ER(+) breast cancer cells resistant to long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) exhibit hormone-independent ER transcriptional activity and growth. A kinome-wide siRNA screen using a library targeting 720 kinases identified Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) as one of the top genes whose downregulation resulted in inhibition of estrogen-independent ER transcriptional activity and growth of LTED cells. High PLK1 mRNA and protein correlated with a high Ki-67 score in primary ER(+) breast cancers after treatment with the aromatase inhibitor letrozole. RNAi-mediated knockdown of PLK1 inhibited ER expression, estrogen-independent growth, and ER transcription in MCF7 and HCC1428 LTED cells. Pharmacologic inhibition of PLK1 with volasertib, a small-molecule ATP-competitive PLK1 inhibitor, decreased LTED cell growth, ER transcriptional activity, and ER expression. Volasertib in combination with the ER antagonist, fulvestrant, decreased MCF7 xenograft growth in ovariectomized mice more potently than each drug alone. JUNB, a component of the AP-1 complex, was expressed 16-fold higher in MCF7/LTED compared with parental MCF7 cells. Furthermore, JUNB and BCL2L1 (which encodes antiapoptotic BCL-xL) mRNA levels were markedly reduced upon volasertib treatment in MCF7/LTED cells, while they were increased in parental MCF7 cells. Finally, JUNB knockdown decreased ER expression and transcriptional activity in MCF7/LTED cells, suggesting that PLK1 drives ER expression and estrogen-independent growth via JUNB. These data support a critical role of PLK1 in acquired hormone-independent growth of ER(+) human breast cancer and is therefore a promising target in tumors that have escaped estrogen deprivation therapy.
Project description:Progesterone and estrogen are important drivers of breast cancer proliferation. Herein, we probed estrogen receptor-? (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) cross-talk in breast cancer models. Stable expression of PR-B in PR-low/ER+ MCF7 cells increased cellular sensitivity to estradiol and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), as measured in growth assays performed in the absence of exogenous progestin; similar results were obtained in PR-null/ER+ T47D cells stably expressing PR-B. Genome-wide microarray analyses revealed that unliganded PR-B induced robust expression of a subset of estradiol-responsive ER target genes, including cathepsin-D (CTSD). Estradiol-treated MCF7 cells stably expressing PR-B exhibited enhanced ER Ser167 phosphorylation and recruitment of ER, PR and the proline-, glutamate- and leucine-rich protein 1 (PELP1) to an estrogen response element in the CTSD distal promoter; this complex co-immunoprecipitated with IGF1 receptor (IGFR1) in whole-cell lysates. Importantly, ER/PR/PELP1 complexes were also detected in human breast cancer samples. Inhibition of IGF1R or phosphoinositide 3-kinase blocked PR-B-dependent CTSD mRNA upregulation in response to estradiol. Similarly, inhibition of IGF1R or PR significantly reduced ER recruitment to the CTSD promoter. Stable knockdown of endogenous PR or onapristone treatment of multiple unmodified breast cancer cell lines blocked estradiol-mediated CTSD induction, inhibited growth in soft agar and partially restored tamoxifen sensitivity of resistant cells. Further, combination treatment of breast cancer cells with both onapristone and IGF1R tyrosine kinase inhibitor AEW541 was more effective than either agent alone. In summary, unliganded PR-B enhanced proliferative responses to estradiol and IGF1 via scaffolding of ER-?/PELP1/IGF1R-containing complexes. Our data provide a strong rationale for targeting PR in combination with ER and IGF1R in patients with luminal breast cancer.
Project description:Progesterone receptors (PRs) are key modifiers of estrogen receptor (ER) target genes and drivers of luminal breast cancer progression. Total PR expression, rather than isoform-specific PR expression, is measured in breast tumors as an indicator of functional ER. We identified phenotypic differences between PR-A and PR-B in luminal breast cancer models with a focus on tumorsphere biology. Our findings indicated that PR-A is a dominant driver of cancer stem cell (CSC) expansion in T47D models, and PR-B is a potent driver of anchorage-independent proliferation. PR-A+ tumorspheres were enriched for aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity, CD44+/CD24-, and CD49f+/CD24- cell populations relative to PR-B+ tumorspheres. Progestin promoted heightened expression of known CSC-associated target genes in PR-A+ but not PR-B+ cells cultured as tumorspheres. We report robust phosphorylation of PR-A relative to PR-B Ser294 and found that this residue is required for PR-A-induced expression of CSC-associated genes and CSC behavior. Cells expressing PR-A S294A exhibited impaired CSC phenotypes but heightened anchorage-independent cell proliferation. The PR target gene and coactivator, FOXO1, promoted PR phosphorylation and tumorsphere formation. The FOXO1 inhibitor (AS1842856) alone or combined with onapristone (PR antagonist), blunted phosphorylated PR, and tumorsphere formation in PR-A+ and PR-B+ T47D, MCF7, and BT474 models. Our data revealed unique isoform-specific functions of phosphorylated PRs as modulators of distinct and opposing pathways relevant to mechanisms of late recurrence. A clear understanding of PR isoforms, phosphorylation events, and the role of cofactors could lead to novel biomarkers of advanced tumor behavior and reveal new approaches to pharmacologically target CSCs in luminal breast cancer.
Project description:Hormone receptor and HER-2/neu discordance between the primary lesion and first metastasis has been reported. This study was performed to determine further biomarker discordance rates between the first and subsequent metastatic breast cancer lesions.We performed a retrospective review of paired biomarkers from primary breast cancers compared to first reported and subsequent metastases from 103 patients with breast cancer. The estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and HER-2/neu status were reported at all three time points. In addition, hormone, cytotoxic, and targeted treatments were recorded for primary and metastatic disease, and survival was determined.Between the primary and first metastases, discordance rates for ER, PR, and HER-2/neu were 15.8%, 33.7%, and 14.3%, respectively. There was discordance between the first and second metastases for the ER receptor in 18.8%, PR receptor in 19.8%, and HER-2/neu in 10.7%. Overall, there was discordance between the primary tumor and either the first or second metastases for ER in 27.7%, PR receptor in 40.7%, and HER-2/neu in 19.6% of cases. Discordance of either ER or PR affected survival, with worse survival experienced by those patients with all three hormone receptors remaining negative, and intermediate survival reported for those with discordant tumors (ER χ2=14.27, p=0.0008; PR χ2=11.31, p=0.0035). There was no difference in survival for patients whose HER-2/neu tumors were discordant.This study demonstrated that continued metastatic disease evolution may be associated with different tumor biology and that studies of metastatic lesions appear warranted, especially if targeted therapy is an option.