Loss of B-cell translocation gene 2 expression in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer predicts tamoxifen resistance.
ABSTRACT: B-cell translocation gene 2 (BTG2), a gene suppressed in a subset of aggressive breast cancer, is repressed by estrogen. BTG2 inhibits the expression of HER ligands and promotes AKT activation, which plays an essential role in the tamoxifen resistance of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. To determine if BTG2 expression modifies tamoxifen efficacy, a cohort of 60 patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen monotherapy was analyzed. We found that increased BTG2 expression showed better clinical survival and was the only independent prognostic factor for disease-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.691; 95% confidence interval, 0.495-0.963; P = 0.029). Tamoxifen suppressed the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-Akt signaling in BTG2 expressing ER-positive breast cancer cells with a correlated increase in sensitivity, whereas BTG2 knockdown abrogated this sensitivity. Consistent with this observation, tamoxifen significantly suppressed the growth ratio, tumor weight and Ki-67 expression in BTG2 expressing breast cancer xenografts in mice. These studies demonstrate that BTG2 is a significant factor in tamoxifen response, acting through modification of AKT activation in ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer.
Project description:Tamoxifen resistance of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer cells has been linked in part to activation of receptor tyrosine kinases, such as HER2, and the PI3K-AKT pathway. Mucin 1 (MUC1) is aberrantly overexpressed in about 90% of human breast cancers, and the oncogenic MUC1-C subunit is associated with ER?. The present studies using HER2 overexpressing BT-474 breast cancer cells, which are constitutively resistant to tamoxifen, demonstrate that silencing MUC1-C is associated with (i) downregulation of p-HER2 and (ii) sensitivity to tamoxifen-induced growth inhibition and loss of clonogenic survival. In contrast, overexpression of MUC1-C in tamoxifen-sensitive MCF-7 breast cancer cells resulted in upregulation of p-AKT and tamoxifen resistance. We show that MUC1-C forms complexes with ER? on the estrogen-responsive promoter of Rab31 and that MUC1-C blocks tamoxifen-induced decreases in ER? occupancy. MUC1-C also attenuated tamoxifen-induced decreases in (i) recruitment of the coactivator CREB binding protein, (ii) Rab31 promoter activation, and (iii) Rab31 mRNA and protein levels. The importance of MUC1-C is further supported by the demonstration that targeting MUC1-C with the cell-penetrating peptide inhibitor, GO-203, sensitized tamoxifen-resistant cells to tamoxifen treatment. Moreover, we show that targeting MUC1-C in combination with tamoxifen is highly synergistic in the treatment of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. Combined, these findings indicate that MUC1-C contributes to tamoxifen resistance.
Project description:The inhibition of estrogen receptor (ER) ? action with the ER antagonist tamoxifen is an established treatment in the majority of breast cancers. De novo or acquired resistance to this therapy is common. Expression of ER? in breast tumors has been implicated as an indicator of tamoxifen sensitivity. The mechanisms behind this observation remain largely uncharacterized. In the present study, we investigated whether ER? can modulate pathways implicated in endocrine resistance development.T47-D and MCF-7 ER?-expressing breast cancer cells with tetracycline-regulated expression of ER? were used as a model system. Expression levels and activity of known regulators of endocrine resistance were analyzed by performing quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays, Western blot analysis and immunostaining, and sensitivity to tamoxifen was investigated by using a cell proliferation kit.Expression of ER? in ER?-positive T47-D and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells resulted in a decrease in Akt signaling. The active form of an upstream regulator of Akt, proto-oncogene c-ErbB-2/receptor tyrosine kinase erbB-3 (HER2/HER3) receptor dimer, was also downregulated by ER?. Furthermore, ER? increased expression of the important inhibitor of Akt, phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN). Importantly, ER? expression increased the sensitivity of these breast cancer cells to tamoxifen.Our results suggest a link between expression of ER? and endocrine sensitivity by increasing PTEN levels and decreasing HER2/HER3 signaling, thereby reducing Akt signaling with subsequent effects on proliferation, survival and tamoxifen sensitivity of breast cancer cells. This study supports initiatives to further investigate whether ER? presence in breast cancer samples is an indicator for endocrine response. Current therapies in ER?-positive breast cancers aim to impair ER? activity with antagonists or by removal of endogenous estrogens with aromatase inhibitors. Data from this study could be taken as indicative for also using ER? as a target in selected groups of breast cancer.
Project description:Tamoxifen is the most commonly prescribed therapy for patients with estrogen receptor (ER)?-positive breast tumors. Tumor resistance to tamoxifen remains a serious clinical problem especially in patients with tumors that also overexpress human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Current preclinical models of HER2 overexpression fail to recapitulate the clinical spectrum of endocrine resistance associated with HER2/ER-positive tumors. Here, we show that ectopic expression of a clinically important oncogenic isoform of HER2, HER2?16, which is expressed in >30% of ER-positive breast tumors, promotes tamoxifen resistance and estrogen independence of MCF-7 xenografts. MCF-7/HER2?16 cells evade tamoxifen through upregulation of BCL-2, whereas mediated suppression of BCL-2 expression or treatment of MCF-7/HER2?16 cells with the BCL-2 family pharmacological inhibitor ABT-737 restores tamoxifen sensitivity. Tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7/HER2?16 cells upregulate BCL-2 protein levels in response to suppressed ER? signaling mediated by estrogen withdrawal, tamoxifen treatment or fulvestrant treatment. In addition, HER2?16 expression results in suppression of BCL-2-targeting microRNAs miR-15a and miR-16. Reintroduction of miR-15a/16 reduced tamoxifen-induced BCL-2 expression and sensitized MCF-7/HER2?16 to tamoxifen. Conversely, inhibition of miR-15a/16 in tamoxifen-sensitive cells activated BCL-2 expression and promoted tamoxifen resistance. Our results suggest that HER2?16 expression promotes endocrine-resistant HER2/ER?-positive breast tumors and in contrast to wild-type HER2, preclinical models of HER2?16 overexpression recapitulate multiple phenotypes of endocrine-resistant human breast tumors. The mechanism of HER2?16 therapeutic evasion, involving tamoxifen-induced upregulation of BCL-2 and suppression of miR-15a/16, provides a template for unique therapeutic interventions combining tamoxifen with modulation of microRNAs and/or ABT-737-mediated BCL-2 inhibition and apoptosis.
Project description:Our previous studies demonstrated that specific inhibition of the BIG3-PHB2 complex, which is a critical modulator in estrogen (E2) signaling, using ERAP, a dominant negative peptide inhibitor, leads to suppression of E2-dependent estrogen receptor (ER) alpha activation through the reactivation of the tumor suppressive activity of PHB2. Here, we report that ERAP has significant suppressive effects against synergistic activation caused by the crosstalk between E2 and growth factors associated with intrinsic or acquired resistance to anti-estrogen tamoxifen in breast cancer cells. Intrinsic PHB2 released from BIG3 by ERAP effectively disrupted each interaction of membrane-associated ER? and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor beta (IGF-1R?), EGFR, PI3K or human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) in the presence of E2 and the growth factors IGF or EGF, followed by inhibited the activation of IGF-1R?, EGFR or HER2, and reduced Akt, MAPK and ER? phosphorylation levels, resulting in significant suppression of proliferation of ER?-positive breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. More importantly, combined treatment with ERAP and tamoxifen led to a synergistic suppression of signaling that was activated by crosstalk between E2 and growth factors or HER2 amplification. Taken together, our findings suggest that the specific inhibition of BIG3-PHB2 is a novel potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancers activated by the crosstalk between E2 and growth factor signaling, especially in premenopausal women.
Project description:Tamoxifen(TAM) is one of the most effective endocrine treatment for estrogen receptor(ER)-positive breast cancer, however drug resistance greatly limits benefit of it. Our purpose is to uncover the role of Beclin 1 in tamoxifen resistance and prognosis of ER positive breast cancer. We established a tamoxifen resistant ER-positive breast cancer cell subline MCF-7R presenting with higher Beclin 1 and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2(HER2) levels than MCF-7. Silencing Beclin 1 decreased levels of HER2 and significantly promoted TAM sensitivity of MCF-7 and MCF-7R in vitro. Overexpression of HER2 could reverse TAM sensitivity, which was formerly increased in Beclin 1 downregulated cell. Beclin 1 level was not only positively correlated with level of HER2 but also negatively correlated with overall survival of ER-positive breast cancer patients. Using bioinformatic methods, Beclin 1 mRNA was found to be negatively correlated with overall survival in breast cancer patients receiving TAM treatment. This study indicated for the first time that lower HER2 expression by Beclin 1 downregulation contributes to alteration of tamoxifen sensitivity and low Beclin 1 predicts favorable outcome in ER-positive breast cancer.
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:Most breast cancers express estrogen receptor (ER) ?, and the antiestrogen drug tamoxifen has been widely used for their treatment. Unfortunately, up to half of all ER?-positive tumors have intrinsic or acquired endocrine therapy resistance. Our recent studies revealed that the ER coactivator Mediator Subunit 1 (MED1) plays a critical role in tamoxifen resistance through cross-talk with HER2. Herein, we assembled a three-way junction (3-WJ) pRNA-HER2apt-siMED1 nanoparticle to target HER2-overexpressing human breast cancer via an HER2 RNA aptamer to silence MED1 expression. We found that these ultracompact RNA nanoparticles are very stable under RNase A, serum, and 8 M urea conditions. These nanoparticles specifically bound to HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells, efficiently depleted MED1 expression, and significantly decreased ER?-mediated gene transcription, whereas point mutations of the HER2 RNA aptamer on these nanoparticles abolished such functions. The RNA nanoparticles not only reduced the growth, metastasis, and mammosphere formation of the HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells but also sensitized them to tamoxifen treatment. These biosafe nanoparticles efficiently targeted and penetrated into HER2-overexpressing tumors after systemic administration in orthotopic xenograft mouse models. In addition to their ability to greatly inhibit tumor growth and metastasis, these nanoparticles also led to a dramatic reduction in the stem cell content of breast tumors when combined with tamoxifen treatment in vivo. Overall, we have generated multifunctional RNA nanoparticles that specifically targeted HER2-overexpressing human breast cancer, silenced MED1, and overcame tamoxifen resistance.
Project description:The non-receptor tyrosine kinase, PTK6/BRK, is highly expressed in multiple tumor types, including prostate, ovarian, and breast cancers, and regulates oncogenic phenotypes such as proliferation, migration, and survival. PTK6 inhibition also overcomes targeted therapy resistance of HER2+ breast cancer. Although PTK6 is highly expressed in ER+ Luminal breast cancers, the role of PTK6 in this subtype has not been elucidated. In this study, we investigated the functions of PTK6 in ER+ Luminal breast cancer cells, including those that are relatively resistant to estrogen deprivation or targeted endocrine therapies used in the treatment of ER+ cancers. Enhanced expression of PTK6 in ER+ breast cancer cells enhances growth of ER+ breast cancer cells, including tamoxifen-treated cells. Downregulation of PTK6 in ER+ breast cancer cells, including those resistant to tamoxifen, fulvestrant, and estrogen deprivation, induces apoptosis, as evidenced by increased levels of cleaved PARP, and an increase in the AnnexinV+ population. PTK6 downregulation impairs growth of these cells in 3D MatrigelTM cultures, and virtually abrogates primary tumor growth of both tamoxifen-sensitive and resistant MCF-7 xenografts. Finally, we show that p38 MAPK activation is critical for PTK6 downregulation-induced apoptosis, a mechanism that we previously reported for survival of HER2+ breast cancer cells, highlighting conserved mechanisms of survival regulation by PTK6 across breast cancer subtypes. In conclusion, our studies elucidate critical functions of PTK6 in ER+ Luminal breast cancers and support PTK6 as an attractive therapeutic target for ER+ breast cancers.
Project description:Why breast cancers become resistant to tamoxifen despite continued expression of the estrogen receptor-? (ER?) and what factors are responsible for high HER2 expression in these tumors remains an enigma. HOXB7 chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis followed by validation showed that HOXB7 physically interacts with ER?, and that the HOXB7-ER? complex enhances transcription of many ER? target genes, including HER2. Investigating strategies for controlling HOXB7, our studies revealed that MYC, stabilized via phosphorylation mediated by EGFR-HER2 signaling, inhibits transcription of miR-196a, a HOXB7 repressor. This leads to increased expression of HOXB7, ER target genes, and HER2. Repressing MYC using small-molecule inhibitors reverses these events and causes regression of breast cancer xenografts. The MYC-HOXB7-HER2 signaling pathway is eminently targetable in endocrine-resistant breast cancer.HOXB7 acts as an ER? cofactor regulating a myriad of ER target genes, including HER2, in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer. HOXB7 expression is controlled by MYC via transcriptional regulation of the HOXB7 repressor miR-196a; consequently, antagonists of MYC cause reversal of selective ER modulator resistance both in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:Inhibitors of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/AKT/mTOR) pathway can overcome endocrine resistance in estrogen receptor (ER) ?-positive breast cancer, but companion diagnostics indicating PI3K/AKT/mTOR activation and consequently endocrine resistance are lacking. PIK3CA mutations frequently occur in ER?-positive breast cancer and result in PI3K/AKT/mTOR activation in vitro. Nevertheless, the prognostic and treatment-predictive value of these mutations in ER?-positive breast cancer is contradictive. We tested the clinical validity of PIK3CA mutations and other canonic pathway drivers to predict intrinsic resistance to adjuvant tamoxifen. In addition, we tested the association between these drivers and downstream activated proteins.Primary tumors from 563 ER?-positive postmenopausal patients, randomized between adjuvant tamoxifen (1 to 3 years) versus observation were recollected. PIK3CA hotspot mutations in exon 9 and exon 20 were assessed with Sequenom Mass Spectometry. Immunohistochemistry was performed for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R). We tested the association between these molecular alterations and downstream activated proteins (like phospho-protein kinase B (p-AKT), phospho-mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR), p-ERK1/2, and p-p70S6K). Recurrence-free interval improvement with tamoxifen versus control was assessed according to the presence or absence of canonic pathway drivers, by using Cox proportional hazard models, including a test for interaction.PIK3CA mutations (both exon 9 and exon 20) were associated with low tumor grade. An enrichment of PIK3CA exon 20 mutations was observed in progesterone receptor- positive tumors. PIK3CA exon 20 mutations were not associated with downstream-activated proteins. No significant interaction between PIK3CA mutations or any of the other canonic pathway drivers and tamoxifen-treatment benefit was found.PIK3CA mutations do not have clinical validity to predict intrinsic resistance to adjuvant tamoxifen and may therefore be unsuitable as companion diagnostic for PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors in ER?- positive, postmenopausal, early breast cancer patients.