Progesterone receptor-B enhances estrogen responsiveness of breast cancer cells via scaffolding PELP1- and estrogen receptor-containing transcription complexes.
ABSTRACT: 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 and estrogen are important drivers of breast cancer proliferation. Herein, we probed estrogen receptor-α (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-α/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:INTRODUCTION:Onapristone is a type I progesterone receptor (PR) antagonist, which prevents PR- mediated DNA transcription. Onapristone is active in multiple preclinical models and two prior studies demonstrated promising activity in patients with breast cancer. We conducted a study of extended release (ER) Onapristone to determine a recommended dose and explore the role of transcriptionally-activated PR (APR), detected as an aggregated subnuclear distribution pattern, as a predictive biomarker. METHODS:An open-label, multicenter, randomized, parallel-group, phase 1 study (target n = 60; NCT02052128) included female patients ?18 years with PRpos tumors. APR analysis was performed on archival tumor tissue. Patients were randomized to five cohorts of extended release (ER) onapristone tablets 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 mg BID, or immediate release 100 mg QD until progressive disease or intolerability. Primary endpoint was to identify the recommended phase 2 dose. Secondary endpoints included safety, clinical benefit and pharmacokinetics. RESULTS:The phase 1 dose escalation component of the study is complete (n = 52). Tumor diagnosis included: endometrial carcinoma 12; breast cancer 20; ovarian cancer 13; other 7. Median age was 64 (36-84). No dose limiting toxicity was observed with reported liver function test elevation related only to liver metastases. The RP2D was 50 mg ER BID. Median therapy duration was 8 weeks (range 2-44), and 9 patients had clinical benefit ?24 weeks, including 2 patients with APRpos endometrial carcinoma. CONCLUSION:Clinical benefit with excellent tolerance was seen in heavily pretreated patients with endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer. The data support the development of Onapristone in endometrial endometrioid cancer. Onapristone should also be evaluated in ovarian and breast cancers along with APR immunohistochemistry validation.
Project description:Progesterone Receptors (PRs) are critical effectors of estrogen receptor (ER) signaling required for mammary gland development and reproductive proficiency. In breast and reproductive tract malignancies, PR expression is a clinical prognostic marker of ER action. While estrogens primarily regulate PR expression, other factors likely contribute to a dynamic range of receptor expression across diverse tissues. In this study, we identified estrogen-independent but progestin (R5020)-dependent regulation of ER target genes including PGR in ER+/PR+ cancer cell lines. R5020 (10nM-10?M range) induced dose-dependent PR mRNA and protein expression in the absence of estrogen but required both PR and ER?. Antagonists of either PR (RU486, onapristone) or ER? (ICI 182,780) attenuated R5020 induction of TFF1, CTSD, and PGR. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays performed on ER+/PR+ cells demonstrated that both ER? and PR were recruited to the same ERE/Sp1 site-containing region of the PGR proximal promoter in response to high dose progestin (10?M). Recruitment of ER? and PR to chromatin and subsequent PR mRNA induction were dependent upon rapid activation of MAPK/ERK and AKT; inhibition of these kinase pathways via U0126 or LY294002 blocked these events. Overall, we have identified a novel mechanism of ER? activation initiated by rapid PR-dependent kinase pathway activation and associated with phosphorylation of ER? Ser118 for estrogen-independent but progestin-dependent ER/PR cross talk. These studies may provide insight into mechanisms of persistent ER-target gene expression during periods of hormone (i.e. estrogen) ablation and suggest caution following prolonged treatment with aromatase or CYP17 inhibitors (i.e. contexts when progesterone levels may be abnormally elevated).
Project description:The Proline-, glutamic acid- and leucine-rich protein 1 (PELP1) is an estrogen receptor (ER) coactivator and a proto-oncogene known to be deregulated in endocrine cancers. In breast cancer, PELP1 overexpression has been associated with endocrine therapy resistance. Although PELP1 is known to be regulated by estrogens in vitro, its association with estrogen levels within the tissue of breast cancer patients has not previously been assessed. Here, we determined PELP1 mRNA expression levels in paired samples of normal and malignant breast tissue obtained from 32 postmenopausal and 11 premenopausal women. In the total sample set, PELP1 levels were higher in tumors compared to normal breast tissue (P = 0.041). Among postmenopausal women, PELP1 tumor levels correlated positively with estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2) levels in both normal tissue (r = 0.543, P = 0.003 and r = 0.601, P = 0.001, respectively) and plasma (r = 0.392, P = 0.053 and r = 0.403, P = 0.046, respectively). Analyzing all ER+ tumors (n = 26), PELP1 correlated positively with E1 and E2 in tumor tissue (r = 0.562, P = 0.003 and r = 0.411, P = 0.037, respectively) and normal tissue (r = 0.461, P = 0.018 and r = 0.427, P = 0.030, respectively) in addition to plasma E1, E2 and estrone sulphate (E1S) concentrations (r = 0.576, P = 0.003, r = 0.456, P = 0.025 and r = 0.406, P = 0.049, respectively). Finally, PELP1 correlated positively with ER mRNA (ESR1) (r = 0.553, P = 0.026) in ER+ tumors, whereas a negative association between PELP1 and ESR1 (r = -0.733, P = 0.010) was observed in ER- breast tumors. Taken together, tumor PELP1 mRNA expression is associated with estrogen levels in breast cancer, suggesting a potentially important role of PELP1 in ER+ breast cancer growth in vivo.
Project description:Estrogen receptor (ER) signaling plays an important role in breast cancer progression, and ER functions are influenced by coregulatory proteins. PELP1 (proline-, glutamic acid-, and leucine-rich protein 1) is a nuclear receptor coregulator that plays an important role in ER signaling. Its expression is deregulated in hormonal cancers. We identified PELP1 as a novel cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) substrate. Using site-directed mutagenesis and in vitro kinase assays, we identified Ser(477) and Ser(991) of PELP1 as CDK phosphorylation sites. Using the PELP1 Ser(991) phospho-specific antibody, we show that PELP1 is hyperphosphorylated during cell cycle progression. Model cells stably expressing the PELP1 mutant that lack CDK sites had defects in estradiol (E2)-mediated cell cycle progression and significantly affected PELP1-mediated oncogenic functions in vivo. Mechanistic studies showed that PELP1 modulates transcription factor E2F1 transactivation functions, that PELP1 is recruited to pRb/E2F target genes, and that PELP1 facilitates ER signaling cross talk with cell cycle machinery. We conclude that PELP1 is a novel substrate of interphase CDKs and that its phosphorylation is important for the proper function of PELP1 in modulating hormone-driven cell cycle progression and also for optimal E2F transactivation function. Because the expression of both PELP1 and CDKs is deregulated in breast tumors, CDK-PELP1 interactions will have implications in breast cancer progression.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The influence of sex hormone and insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis signaling on endometrial cancer recurrence is unknown. We evaluated these pathways in a prospective cohort of Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG)0210 trial endometrial adenocarcinoma patients.<h4>Methods</h4>Stage II-IV patients (<i>N</i> = 816) were included in this study. Pretreatment specimens were tested for tumor mRNA and protein expression of <i>IGF1, IGF2</i>, IGF-binding proteins (<i>IGFBP</i>)<i>-1</i> and <i>-3</i>, insulin (IR) and IGF-I receptors (IGF1R), phosphorylated IR/IGF1R (pIGF1R/pIR), and estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR) using qPCR and IHC. Serum concentrations of insulin, IGF-I, IGFBP-3, estradiol, estrone, and sex hormone binding globulin were measured. HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for progression-free survival were calculated from Cox models adjusting for age, stage, and grade.<h4>Results</h4>Recurrence occurred in 280 (34%) cases during a median of 4.6 years of follow-up. ER positivity (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.47-0.95), IR positivity (HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.29-0.98), and circulating IGF-I (highest vs. lowest quartile: HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.47-0.92) were inversely associated with recurrence risk. Circulating estradiol (highest vs. lowest tertile: HR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.02-2.36) and pIGF1R/pIR positivity (HR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.02-1.92) were associated with increased recurrence risk.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Circulating estradiol and tumor tissue phosphorylated (activated) IGR1R/IR were independently associated with higher risk of recurrence in patients with endometrial cancer.<h4>Impact</h4>This study may inform future clinical trials of endocrine-targeted adjuvant therapies in patients with endometrial cancer that could include baseline assessment of serum and tissue biomarkers of estradiol and insulin signaling pathways.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The G protein estrogen receptor GPER/GPR30 mediates estrogen action in breast cancer cells as well as in breast cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which are key components of microenvironment driving tumor progression. GPER is a transcriptional target of hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1?) and activates VEGF expression and angiogenesis in hypoxic breast tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, IGF1/IGF1R signaling, which has angiogenic effects, has been shown to activate GPER in breast cancer cells. METHODS:We analyzed gene expression data from published studies representing almost 5000 breast cancer patients to investigate whether GPER and IGF1 signaling establish an angiocrine gene signature in breast cancer patients. Next, we used GPER-positive but estrogen receptor (ER)-negative primary CAF cells derived from patient breast tumours and SKBR3 breast cancer cells to investigate the role of GPER in the regulation of VEGF expression and angiogenesis triggered by IGF1. We performed gene expression and promoter studies, western blotting and immunofluorescence analysis, gene silencing strategies and endothelial tube formation assays to evaluate the involvement of the HIF-1?/GPER/VEGF signaling in the biological responses to IGF1. RESULTS:We first determined that GPER is co-expressed with IGF1R and with the vessel marker CD34 in human breast tumors (n?=?4972). Next, we determined that IGF1/IGF1R signaling engages the ERK1/2 and AKT transduction pathways to induce the expression of HIF-1? and its targets GPER and VEGF. We found that a functional cooperation between HIF-1? and GPER is essential for the transcriptional activation of VEGF induced by IGF1. Finally, using conditioned medium from CAFs and SKBR3 cells stimulated with IGF1, we established that HIF-1? and GPER are both required for VEGF-induced human vascular endothelial cell tube formation. CONCLUSIONS:These findings shed new light on the essential role played by GPER in IGF1/IGF1R signaling that induces breast tumor angiogenesis. Targeting the multifaceted interactions between cancer cells and tumor microenvironment involving both GPCRs and growth factor receptors has potential in future combination anticancer therapies.
Project description:Breast cancer metastasis is a major clinical problem. The molecular basis of breast cancer progression to metastasis remains poorly understood. PELP1 is an estrogen receptor (ER) coregulator that has been implicated as a proto-oncogene whose expression is deregulated in metastatic breast tumors and whose expression is retained in ER-negative tumors. We examined the mechanism and significance of PELP1-mediated signaling in ER-negative breast cancer progression using two ER-negative model cells (MDA-MB-231 and 4T1 cells) that stably express PELP1-shRNA. These model cells had reduced PELP1 expression (75% of endogenous levels) and exhibited less propensity to proliferate in growth assays in vitro. PELP1 downregulation substantially affected migration of ER-negative cells in Boyden chamber and invasion assays. Using mechanistic studies, we found that PELP1 modulated expression of several genes involved in the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), including MMPs, SNAIL, TWIST, and ZEB. In addition, PELP1 knockdown reduced the in vivo metastatic potential of ER-negative breast cancer cells and significantly reduced lung metastatic nodules in a xenograft assay. These results implicate PELP1 as having a role in ER-negative breast cancer metastasis, reveal novel mechanism of coregulator regulation of metastasis via promoting cell motility/EMT by modulating expression of genes, and suggest PELP1 may be a potential therapeutic target for metastatic ER-negative 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.