RNA sequencing identifies multiple fusion transcripts, differentially expressed genes, and reduced expression of immune function genes in BRAF (V600E) mutant vs BRAF wild-type papillary thyroid carcinoma.
ABSTRACT: The BRAF V600E mutation (BRAF-MUT) confers an aggressive phenotype in papillary thyroid carcinoma, but unidentified additional genomic abnormalities may be required for full phenotypic expression.RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed to identify genes differentially expressed between BRAF-MUT and BRAF wild-type (BRAF-WT) tumors and to correlate changes to patient clinical status.BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors were identified in patients with T1N0 and T2-3N1 tumors evaluated in a referral medical center. Gene expression levels were determined (RNA-Seq) and fusion transcripts were detected. Multiplexed capture/detection and digital counting of mRNA transcripts (nCounter, NanoString Technologies) validated RNA-Seq data for immune system-related genes.BRAF-MUT patients included nine women, three men; nine were TNM stage I and three were stage III. Three (25%) had tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. BRAF-WT included five women, three men; all were stage I, and five (62.5%) had tumor infiltrating lymphocytes.RNA-Seq identified 560 of 13 085 genes differentially expressed between BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors. Approximately 10% of these genes were related to MetaCore immune function pathways; 51 were underexpressed in BRAF-MUT tumors, whereas 4 (HLAG, CXCL14, TIMP1, IL1RAP) were overexpressed. The four most differentially overexpressed immune genes in BRAF-WT tumors (IL1B; CCL19; CCL21; CXCR4) correlated with lymphocyte infiltration. nCounter confirmed the RNA-Seq expression level data. Eleven different high-confidence fusion transcripts were detected (four interchromosomal; seven intrachromosomal) in 13 of 20 tumors. All in-frame fusions were validated by RT-PCR.BRAF-MUT papillary thyroid cancers have reduced expression of immune/inflammatory response genes compared with BRAF-WT tumors and correlate with lymphocyte infiltration. In contrast, HLA-G and CXCL14 are overexpressed in BRAF-MUT tumors. Sixty-five percent of tumors had between one and three fusion transcripts. Functional studies will be required to determine the potential role of these newly identified genomic abnormalities in contributing to the aggressiveness of BRAF-MUT and BRAF-WT tumors.
Project description:CONTEXT: BRAF V600E mutation (BRAF-mut.) confers aggressiveness in papillary thyroid carcinoma, but unidentified genomic abnormalities may be required for full phenotypic expression. OBJECTIVE: To perform deep sequencing to identify genes differentially expressed between BRAF-mut. and BRAF-wild-type (BRAF-WT) tumors, and to compare to patient clinical status. DESIGN: BRAF-mut. and BRAF-WT tumors were identified in patients with T1N0 and with T23N1 tumors. Expression levels of genes were determined from RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data and fusion transcripts were detected. NanoString was used to validate the RNA-Seq data for immune genes. SETTING: Patients were seen at two sites of a major referral medical center. PATIENTS: Twenty patients were studied. BRAF-mut. patients included 9 women, 3 men; 9 were TNM stage I and 3 were stage III; 3 (25%) had lymphocytic thyroiditis. BRAF-WT included 5 women; 3 men; all were stage I; 5 (62.5%) had lymphocytic thyroiditis. RESULTS: 560 of 13,085 genes were differentially expressed by RNA-Seq, and MetaCore analysis identified 55 immune function genes that were differentially expressed as a function of BRAF mutational status. Immune function genes were broadly underexpressed in BRAF-mut. tumors, with only 4 genes (HLA-G, CXCL14, TIMP1, IL1RAP) more highly expressed. NanoString validated the RNA Seq data for immune genes. Eleven high confidence fusion transcripts were detected, four being inter-chromosomal and seven intra-chromosomal. CONCLUSION: BRAF-mut. papillary thyroid cancers have less expression of immune and inflammatory response genes than BRAF-WT tumors. Thirteen of 20 (65%) tumors had between one and three fusion transcripts. Functional studies will be required to determine the potential role of the newly identified genomic abnormalities in contributing to the aggressiveness of BRAF-mut. and wild-type tumors. RNA-seq was performed on 20 thyroid carcinoma tumors
Project description:To identify papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC)-associated transcripts, we compared the gene expression profiles of three Serial Analysis of Gene Expression libraries generated from thyroid tumors and a normal thyroid tissue.Selected transcripts were validated in a panel of 57 thyroid tumors using quantitative PCR (qPCR). An independent set of 71 paraffin-embedded sections was used for validation using immunohistochemical analysis. To determine if PTC-associated gene expression could predict lymph node involvement, a separate cohort of 130 primary PTC (54 metastatic and 76 nonmetastatic) was investigated. The BRAF(V600E) mutational status was compared with qPCR data to identify genes that might be regulated by abnormal BRAF/MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling.We identified and validated new PTC-associated transcripts. Three genes (CST6, CXCL14, and DHRS3) are strongly associated with PTC. Immunohistochemical analysis of CXCL14 confirmed the qPCR data and showed protein expression in PTC epithelial cells. We also observed that CST6, CXCL14, DHRS3, and SPP1 were associated with PTC lymph node metastasis, with CST6, CXCL14, and SPP1 being positively correlated with metastasis and DHRS3 being negatively correlated. Finally, we found a strong correlation between CST6 and CXCL14 expression and BRAF(V600E) mutational status, suggesting that these genes may be induced subsequently to BRAF activation and therefore may be downstream in the BRAF/MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathway.CST6, CXCL14, DHRS3, and SPP1 may play a role in PTC pathogenesis and progression and are possible molecular targets for PTC therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Most mutations in melanoma affect one critical amino acid on BRAF gene, resulting in the V600E substitution. Patient management is often based on the use of specific inhibitors targeting this mutation. METHODS:DNA and RNA mutation status was assessed in 15 melanoma cell lines by Sanger sequencing and RNA-seq. We tested the cell lines responsiveness to BRAF inhibitors (vemurafenib and PLX4720, BRAF-specific and sorafenib, BRAF non-specific). Cell proliferation was assessed by MTT colorimetric assay. BRAF V600E RNA expression was assessed by qPCR. Expression level of phosphorylated-ERK protein was assessed by Western Blotting as marker of BRAF activation. RESULTS:Three cell lines were discordant in the mutation detection (BRAF V600E at DNA level/Sanger sequencing and BRAF WT on RNA-seq). We initially postulated that those cell lines may express only the WT allele at the RNA level although mutated at the DNA level. A more careful analysis showed that they express low level of BRAF RNA and the expression may be in favor of the WT allele. We tested whether the discordant cell lines responded differently to BRAF-specific inhibitors. Their proliferation rate decreased after treatment with vemurafenib and PLX4720 but was not affected by sorafenib, suggesting a BRAF V600E biological behavior. Yet, responsiveness to the BRAF specific inhibitors was lower as compared to the control. Western Blot analysis revealed a decreased expression of p-ERK protein in the BRAF V600E control cell line and in the discordant cell lines upon treatment with BRAF-specific inhibitors. The discordant cell lines showed a lower responsiveness to BRAF inhibitors when compared to the BRAF V600E control cell line. The results obtained from the inhibition experiment and molecular analyses were also confirmed in three additional cell lines. CONCLUSION:Cell lines carrying V600E mutation at the DNA level may respond differently to BRAF targeted treatment potentially due to a lower V600E RNA expression.
Project description:The therapeutic landscape in metastatic melanoma has changed dramatically in the last decade, with the success of immune checkpoint inhibitors resulting in durable responses for a large number of patients. For patients with BRAF mutations, combinations of BRAF and MEK inhibitors demonstrated response rates and benefit comparable to those from immune checkpoint inhibitors, providing the rationale for sequential treatment with targeted and immunotherapies and raising the question of optimal treatment sequencing.Biomarkers for the selection of anti-PD-1 therapy in BRAF wild type (BRAF WT) and in BRAF mutated (BRAF MUT) patients help development of alternative treatments for patients unlikely to benefit, and might lead to better understanding of the interaction of checkpoint inhibition and targeted therapy. In this paper we evaluate the performance of a previously developed serum proteomic test, BDX008, in metastatic melanoma patients treated with anti-PD-1 agents and investigate the role of BRAF mutation status. BDX008, a pre-treatment proteomic test associated with acute phase reactants, wound healing and complement activation, stratifies patients into two groups, BDX008+ and BDX008-, with better and worse outcomes on immunotherapy.Serum samples were available from 71 patients treated with anti-PD1 inhibitors; 25 patients had BRAF mutations, 39 were wild type. Overall, BDX008+ patients had significantly better overall survival (OS) (HR?=?0.50, P?=?0.016) and a trend for better progression-free survival (PFS) (HR?=?0.61, P?=?0.060) than BDX008- patients. BDX008 classification was statistically significant in the analyses adjusted for mutation status, LDH, and line of treatment (P?=?0.009 for OS and 0.031 for PFS). BRAF WT BDX008+ patients had markedly long median OS of 32.5?months and 53% landmark 2?years survival, with statistically significantly superior OS as compared to BDX008- patients (HR?=?0.41, P?=?0.032). The difference between BDX008+ and BDX008- in PFS in BRAF WT patients and in OS and PFS in BRAF MUT patients did not reach statistical significance, though numerically was consistent with overall results. The test demonstrated significant interaction with neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) (PFS P?=?0.041, OS P?=?0.004). BDX008 as a biomarker selecting for benefit from immune checkpoint blockade, especially in patients with wild type BRAF and in subgroups with low NLR, warrants further evaluation.
Project description:Lung adenocarcinomas from never smokers account for approximately 15 to 20% of all lung cancers and these tumors often carry genetic alterations that are responsive to targeted therapy. Here we examined mutation status in 10 oncogenes among 89 lung adenocarcinomas from never smokers. We also screened for oncogene fusion transcripts in 20 of the 89 tumors by RNA-Seq. In total, 62 tumors had mutations in at least one of the 10 oncogenes, including EGFR (49 cases, 55%), K-ras (5 cases, 6%), BRAF (4 cases, 5%), PIK3CA (3 cases, 3%), and ERBB2 (4 cases, 5%). In addition to ALK fusions identified by IHC/FISH in four cases, two previously known fusions involving EZR- ROS1 and KIF5B-RET were identified by RNA-Seq as well as a third novel fusion transcript that was formed between exons 1-9 of SND1 and exons 2 to 3' end of BRAF. This in-frame fusion was observed in 3/89 tested tumors and 2/64 additional never smoker lung adenocarcinoma samples. Ectopic expression of SND1-BRAF in H1299 cells increased phosphorylation levels of MEK/ERK, cell proliferation, and spheroid formation compared to parental mock-transfected control. Jointly, our results suggest a potential role of the novel BRAF fusion in lung cancer development and therapy.
Project description:Ammonium tetrathiomolybdate (TTM) and disulfiram (DSF) are copper (Cu) chelators in cancer clinical trials partly because Cu chelation: a) restricts the activity of Cu-binding MEK1/2 enzymes which drive tumourigenesis by KRAS or BRAF oncogenic mutations and b) enhances uptake of oxaliplatin (OxPt), clinically used in advanced KRAS-mutant colorectal carcinomas (CRC). Whereas TTM decreases intracellular Cu trafficking, DSF can reach other Cu-dependent intracellular proteins. Since the use of individual or combined Cu chelation may help or interfere with anti-cancer therapy, this study investigated whether TTM modifies the response to DSF supplemented with: 1) UO126, a known MEK1/2 inhibitor; 2) other Cu chelators like neocuproine (NC) or 1, 10-o-phenanthroline (OPT) in wt p53 melanoma cells differing in BRAF or KRAS mutations; 3) OxPt in mutant p53 CRC cells devoid of KRAS and BRAF mutations or harbouring either KRAS or BRAF mutations. TTM was not toxic against V600E- mut-BRAF A375 and G12D-mut- KRAS/high c-myc C8161 melanoma cells. Moreover, TTM protected both melanoma types from toxicity induced by DSF, NC and co-treatment with sub-lethal levels of DSF and the MEK inhibitor, UO126. Toxicity by co-treatment with DSF+OPT was poorly reversed by TTM in C8161 melanoma cells. In contrast to the greater toxicity of 0.1 ?M DSF against mutant p53 CRC cells irrespective of their KRAS mutation, TTM did not protect G12V-mut- KRAS/high c-myc SW620 CRC from DSF+OxPt compared to KRAS-WT/BRAF-WT Caco-2 CRC. Our results show that DSF co-treatment with: a) MEK inhibitors may enhance tumour suppression; b) OxPt in CRC may counteract impaired response to cetuximab by KRAS/BRAF mutations and c) as a single treatment, TTM may be less effective than DSF and decreases the efficacy of the latter. Highlights:Potentiation of melanoma antitumour toxicity of DSF by MEK inhibitor is reversed by TTM.KRAS/c-MYC dysregulation attenuates TTM reversion of melanoma toxicity by DSF + OPT.KRAS/c-MYC dysregulation increases melanoma NC toxicity reversed by TTM.BRAF mutation and lower c-MYC may attenuate toxicity by DSF ± OxPt in colorectal cancer cells.
Project description:Importance:Greater understanding of molecular features of conjunctival melanoma (CM) may improve its clinical management. Objective:To evaluate molecular features of CM and application of this information into clinical care. Design, Setting, and Participants:In a prospective case series of CM with integrative exome and transcriptome analysis, 8 patients at an academic ocular oncology setting were evaluated. The study was conducted from November 2015 to March 2018. Interventions/Exposures:Integrative exome and transcriptome analysis of CMs and clinical management of a patient's care by using this information. Main Outcomes and Measures:Molecular characterization of CM and its potential clinical application. Results:In the 8 patients (4 men) included in analysis, 4 subgroups of CM were observed, including the BRAF V600E mutation in 1 tumor, NRAS Q61R mutation in 3 tumors, NF1 mutations (Q1188X, R440X, or M1215K+ S15fs) in 3 tumors, and triple-wild type (triple-WT) in 1 tumor. The triple-WT case had CCND1 amplification and mutation in the CIC gene (Q1508X). Five tumors, including the triple-WT, also harbored mutations in MAPK genes. In addition to the genes linked to mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphoinositol 3-kinase pathways, those involved in cell cycle and/or survival, ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation, and chromatin remodeling/epigenetic regulation (ATRX being the most frequently mutated: noted in 5 tumors) may play an important role. Other frequently mutated genes included PREX2 (n?=?3), APOB (n?=?4), and RYR1/2 (n?=?4), although their relevance remains to be determined. The mutation burden ranged from 1.1 to 15.6 mutations per megabase (Mut/Mb) and was 3.3 Mut/Mb or less in 3 tumors and more than 10 Mut/Mb in 2 tumors. A patient with a large tumor and BRAF V600E mutation was treated with combined systemic BRAF (dabrafenib) and MEK (trametinib) inhibitors. After 3 months of therapy, her CM responded substantially and the residual tumor was removed by local surgical excision. Conclusions and Relevance:The NRAS Q61R and NF1 mutations were more common than the BRAF V600E mutation in this series. Although small tumors (where incisional biopsy is not indicated) are treated with surgical excision regardless of mutational profile, in large tumors carrying the BRAF V600E mutation, neoadjuvant therapy with combined systemic BRAF and MEK inhibitors followed by local excision may be used as an alternative to exenteration. Integrative omics analysis of CM may be informative and guide clinical management and treatment in selected cases.
Project description:Mounting evidence suggests that RAF-mediated MEK activation plays a crucial role in paradox MAPK (re)activation, leading to resistance and therapeutic failure with agents hitting a single step along the MAPK cascade.We examined the molecular and functional effects of single and combined BRAF (dabrafenib), pan-RAF (RAF265), MEK (trametinib) and EGFR/HER2 (lapatinib) inhibition, using Western Blot and conservative isobologram analysis to assess functional synergism, and explored genetic determinants of synergistic interactions. Immunoprecipitation based assays were used to detect the interaction between BRAF and CRAF. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for comparing quantitative variables.Here we demonstrated that a combination of MEK and BRAF inhibitors overcomes paradoxical MAPK activation (induced by BRAF inhibitors) in BRAF-wt/RAS-mut NSCLC and PDAC in vitro. This results in growth inhibitory synergism, both in vitro and in vivo, in the majority (65%) of the cellular models analyzed, encompassing cell lines and patient-derived cancer stem cells and organoids. However, RAS mutational status is not the sole determinant of functional synergism between RAF and MEK inhibitors, as demonstrated in KRAS isogenic tumor cell line models. Moreover, in EGFR-driven contexts, paradoxical MAPK (re)activation in response to selective BRAF inhibition was dependent on EGFR family signaling and could be offset by simultaneous EGFR/HER-2 blockade.Overall, our data indicate that RAF inhibition-induced paradoxical MAPK activation could be exploited for therapeutic purposes by simultaneously targeting both RAF and MEK (and potentially EGFR family members) in appropriate molecular contexts. KRAS mutation per se does not effectively predict therapeutic synergism and other biomarkers need to be developed to identify patients potentially deriving benefit from combined BRAF/MEK targeting.
Project description:A majority of malignant melanomas harbor an oncogenic mutation in either BRAF or NRAS. If BRAF and NRAS transform melanoma cells by a similar mechanism, then additional genetic aberrations would be similar (or random). Alternatively, distinct mutation-associated changes would suggest the existence of unique cooperating requirements for each mutation group. We first analyzed a panel of 52 melanoma cell lines (n = 35, 11, 6 for BRAF*, NRAS*, and BRAF/NRAS(wt/wt), respectively) by array-based comparative genomic hybridization for unique alterations that associate with each mutation subgroup. Subsequently, those DNA copy number changes that correlated with a mutation subgroup were used to predict the mutation status of an independent panel of 43 tumors (n = 17, 13, 13 for BRAF*, NRAS*, and BRAF/NRAS(wt/wt), respectively). BRAF mutant tumors were classified with a high rate of success (74.4%, P = 0.002), whereas NRAS mutants were not significantly distinguished from wild types (26/43, P = 0.12). Copy number gains of 7q32.1-36.3, 5p15.31, 8q21.11, and 8q24.11 were most strongly associated with BRAF* tumors and cell lines, as were losses of 11q24.2-24.3. BRAF* melanomas appear to be associated with a specific profile of DNA copy number aberrations that is distinct from those found in NRAS* and BRAF/NRAS(wt/wt) tumors. These findings suggest that although both BRAF and NRAS appear to function along the same signal transduction pathway, each may have different requirements for cooperating oncogenic events. The genetic loci that make up this profile may harbor therapeutic targets specific for tumors with BRAF mutations.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To explore lymphocyte infiltration as a potential mechanism behind CXCL14-mediated tumor growth suppression in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). METHODS:We analyzed single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) data from OSCC to identify expression changes among malignant cells in lymph nodes (LN) versus primary tumors. CXCL14 expression in murine OSCC cell lines was quantified using qRT-PCR. Short hairpin RNA knockdown of CXCL14 was performed in mouse oral cavity (MOC)1 cells, and CXCL14 overexpression was performed in MOC2 cells. Cells in each condition were injected into C57BL/6 mice with and without T cell depletion, and tumor volume was measured. At 30 days, tumors were dissociated and analyzed by flow cytometry for CD45+CD3+ T cells. CXCL14 expression was correlated with gene expression signatures of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) in scRNA-seq data, as well as TCGA tumors. RESULTS:scRNA-seq revealed CXCL14 as the most significantly downregulated gene among malignant cells in LNs relative to primary tumor, supporting a role in preventing invasion and/or metastasis. In a murine immunocompetent model, CXCL14 expression was higher in indolent MOC1 cells than in more aggressive MOC2 cells. Tumor growth in vivo was significantly increased by CXCL14 knockdown in MOC1 cells relative to control, with a corresponding decrease in TIL. In MOC2 cells, tumor growth was significantly reduced by CXCL14 overexpression relative to control and TIL were increased. Both effects were lost with T cell depletion. In a human tumor scRNA-seq cohort, we found that only malignant cell CXCL14, but not non-malignant cell or fibroblast CXCL14, was associated with TIL. Bulk CXCL14 from the TCGA cohort had no association with TIL. CONCLUSIONS:Higher CXCL14 expression by tumor cells is associated with reduced tumor growth and increased TIL, supporting immune-mediated suppression of tumor growth in OSCC. Given that CXCL14 is downregulated in LN metastases compared with primary tumors, our data raise the possibility that CXCL14-mediated immune infiltration may discourage invasion and metastasis. In human scRNA-seq data, only malignant cell-specific CXCL14 was associated with TIL, suggesting a critical context-dependent effect of CXCL14 expression.