Inhibition of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 attenuates proliferation and invasion of pancreatic cancer.
ABSTRACT: The alternative splicing of the extracellular domain of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)-2 generates the IIIb and IIIc isoforms. Expression of FGFR-2 IIIb correlates with vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) expression and venous invasion of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). By contrast, FGFR-2 IIIc expression correlates with faster development of liver metastasis after surgery, and increased proliferation rates and invasion of the cancer. In this study, we analyzed the expression and roles of total FGFR-2 (both isoforms) to determine the effectiveness of FGFR-2-targeting therapy for PDAC. Immunohistochemically, FGFR-2 was highly expressed in 25/48 (52.1%) PDAC cases, and correlated with advanced stage cancer. In FISH analysis, FGFR2 was amplified in 3/7 PDAC cell lines. We stably transfected an FGFR-2 shRNA targeting the IIIb and IIIc isoforms into FGFR2-amplified PDAC cells. The proliferation rates, migration, and invasion of FGFR-2-shRNA-transfected cells were lower than those of control cells in vitro. In response to FGF-2, FGFR-2-shRNA-transfected cells showed decreased phosphorylation of ERK compared with control cells. The FGFR-2-shRNA-transfected cells also expressed lower levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-A than control cells, and formed smaller s.c. tumors in nude mice. These findings suggest that FGFR-2 is a therapeutic target for inhibition in PDAC.
Project description:Epithelial splicing regulatory protein 1 (ESRP1) binds the FGFR-2 auxiliary cis-element ISE/ISS-3, located in the intron between exon IIIb and IIIc, and primarily promotes FGFR-2 IIIb expression. Here we assessed the role of ESRP1 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Immunohistochemical analysis was performed using anti-ESRP1, FGFR-2 IIIb and FGFR-2 IIIc antibodies in 123 PDAC cases. ESRP1 expression vector and small interference RNA (siRNA) targeting ESRP1 were transfected into human PDAC cells, and cell growth, migration and invasion were analyzed. In vivo heterotopic and orthotopic implantations using ESRP1 overexpression clones were performed and effects on pancreatic tumor volumes and hepatic and pulmonary metastases determined. ESRP1 immunoreactivity was strong in the nuclei of cancer cells in well-to-moderately differentiated PDACs but weak in poorly differentiated cancers. Well-to-moderately differentiated cancers also exhibited high FGFR-2 IIIb and low FGFR-2 IIIc expression, whereas this ratio was reversed in the poorly differentiated cancers. Increased ESRP1 expression was associated with longer survival in comparison with low ESRP1 expression, and PANC-1 cells engineered to express ESRP1 exhibited increased FGFR-2 IIIb expression and decreased migration and invasion in vitro, whereas ESRP1 siRNA-transfected KLM-1 cells exhibited increased FGFR-2 IIIc expression and increased cell growth, migration and invasion. In vivo, ESRP1-overexpressing clones formed significantly fewer liver metastases as compared with control clones. ESRP1 regulates the expression pattern of FGFR-2 isoforms, attenuates cell growth, migration, invasion and metastasis, and is a favorable prognostic factor in PDAC. Therefore, devising mechanisms to upregulate ESRP1 may exert a beneficial therapeutic effect in PDAC.
Project description:In pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR-1) IIIb isoform correlates with the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, whereas FGFR-1 IIIc enhances cancer cell proliferation. The FGFR-2 IIIb isoform is expressed in PDAC, and its expression correlates with increased venous invasion. We examined the role of FGFR-2 IIIc in PDAC. FGFR-2 IIIc was expressed in all six pancreatic cancer cell lines examined and was highest in PANC-1 cells. FGFR-2 IIIc was abundant in the cancer cells from 83 of 117 PDAC cases, which correlated with decreased duration to development of liver metastasis after surgery. FGFR-2 IIIc-transfected cells exhibited increased proliferation in vitro and formed larger subcutaneous and orthotopic tumors, the latter producing more liver metastases. Moreover, FGF-2 exerted a more rapid stimulatory effect on the levels of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK) in FGFR-2 IIIc stably transfected PANC-1 cells, compared with control cells. FGFR-2 IIIc-transfected cells also formed more spheres and contained more side population cells. Suppression of FGFR-2 IIIc expression inhibited the proliferation of PANC-1 cells, whereas an anti-FGFR-2 IIIc antibody inhibited the proliferation and migration of PANC-1 cells. Thus, high FGFR-2 IIIc levels in PDAC contribute to disease aggressiveness and confer to pancreatic cancer cells features suggestive of cancer stem cells, indicating that FGFR-2 IIIc may be a novel and important therapeutic target in PDAC.
Project description:The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial morphological event that occurs during epithelial tumor progression. ZEB1/2 are EMT transcription factors that are positively correlated with EMT phenotypes and breast cancer aggressiveness. ZEB1/2 regulate the alternative splicing and hence isoform switching of fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) by repressing the epithelial splicing regulatory proteins, ESRP1 and ESRP2. Here, we show that the mesenchymal-like phenotypes of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells are dependent on autocrine FGF-FGFR signaling. Mesenchymal-like OSCC cells express low levels of ESRP1/2 and high levels of ZEB1/2, resulting in constitutive expression of the IIIc-isoform of FGFR, FGFR(IIIc). By contrast, epithelial-like OSCC cells showed opposite expression profiles for these proteins and constitutive expression of the IIIb-isoform of FGFR2, FGFR2(IIIb). Importantly, ERK1/2 was constitutively phosphorylated through FGFR1(IIIc), which was activated by factors secreted autonomously by mesenchymal-like OSCC cells and involved in sustained high-level expression of ZEB1. Antagonizing FGFR1 with either inhibitors or siRNAs considerably repressed ZEB1 expression and restored epithelial-like traits. Therefore, autocrine FGF-FGFR(IIIc) signaling appears to be responsible for sustaining ZEB1/2 at high levels and the EMT phenotype in OSCC cells.
Project description:Alternative splicing of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) transcripts occurs in a cell-type-specific manner leading to the mutually exclusive use of exon IIIb in epithelia or exon IIIc in mesenchyme. Epithelial cell-specific exon choice is dependent on (U)GCAUG elements, which have been shown to bind Fox protein family members. In this paper we show that FGFR2 exon choice is regulated by (U)GCAUG elements and Fox protein family members. Fox-2 isoforms are differentially expressed in IIIb+ cells in comparison to IIIc+ cells, and expression of Fox-1 or Fox-2 in the latter led to a striking alteration in FGFR2 splice choice from IIIc to IIIb. This switch was absolutely dependent on the (U)GCAUG elements present in the FGFR2 pre-mRNA and required critical residues in the C-terminal region of Fox-2. Interestingly, Fox-2 expression led to skipping of exon 6 among endogenous Fox-2 transcripts and formation of an inactive Fox-2 isoform, which suggests that Fox-2 can regulate its own activity. Moreover, the repression of exon IIIc in IIIb+ cells was abrogated by interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of Fox-2. We also show that Fox-2 is critical for the FGFR2(IIIb)-to-FGFR2(IIIc) switch observed in T Rex-293 cells grown to overconfluency. Overconfluent T Rex-293 cells show molecular and morphological changes consistent with a mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition. If overconfluent cells are depleted of Fox-2, the switch from IIIc to IIIb is abrogated. The data in this paper place Fox-2 among critical regulators of gene expression during mesenchymal-epithelial transitions and demonstrate that this action of Fox-2 is mediated by mechanisms distinct from those described for other cases of Fox activity.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signalling has been implicated in pancreas carcinogenesis. We investigated the effect of FGFR inhibition in pancreatic cancer in complementary cancer models derived from cell lines and patient-derived primary tumour explants.The effects of FGFR signalling inhibition in pancreatic cancer were evaluated using anti-FRS2 shRNA and dovitinib. Pancreatic cancers with varying sensitivity to dovitinib were evaluated to determine potential predictive biomarkers of efficacy. Primary pancreatic explants with opposite extreme of biomarker expression were selected from 13 tumours for in vivo dovitinib treatment.Treatment with anti-FRS2 shRNA induced significant in vitro cell kill in pancreatic cancer cells. Dovitinib treatment achieved similar effects and was mediated by Akt/Mcl-1 signalling in sensitive cells. Dovitinib efficacy correlated with FRS2 phosphorylation status, FGFR2 mRNA level and FGFR2 IIIb expression but not phosphorylation status of VEGFR2 and PDGFR?. Using FGFR2 mRNA level, a proof-of-concept study using primary pancreatic cancer explants correctly identified the tumours' sensitivity to dovitinib.Inhibiting FGFR signalling using shRNA and dovitinib achieved significant anti-cancer cancer effects in pancreatic cancer. The effect was more pronounced in FGFR2 IIIb overexpressing pancreatic cancer that may be dependent on aberrant stimulation by stromal-derived FGF ligands.
Project description:Developmental signalling pathways are implicated in the formation and maintenance of the adrenal gland, but their roles are currently not well defined. In recent years it has emerged that Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and Wnt/? catenin signalling are crucial for the growth and development of the adrenal cortex. Here we demonstrate that Fibroblast growth factor receptor (Fgfr) 2 isoforms IIIb and IIIc are expressed mainly in the adrenal subcapsule during embryogenesis and that specific deletion of the Fgfr2 IIIb isoform impairs adrenal development, causing reduced adrenal growth and impaired expression of SF1 and steroidogenic enzymes. The hypoplastic adrenals also have thicker, disorganised capsules which retain Gli1 expression but no longer express Dlk1. Fgfr2 ligands were detected in both the capsule and the cortex, suggesting the importance of signalling between the capsule and the cortex in adrenal development.
Project description:We aim to identify tumor-specific alternative splicing events having potential applications in the early detection, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy for cancers.We analyzed RNA-seq data on 470 clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCC) and 68 kidney tissues to identify tumor-specific alternative splicing events. We further focused on the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) isoform switch and characterized ccRCCs expressing different FGFR2 isoforms by integrated analyses using genomic data from multiple platforms and tumor types.We identified 113 top candidate alternatively spliced genes in ccRCC. Prominently, the FGFR2 gene transcript switched from the normal IIIb isoform ("epithelial") to IIIc isoform ("mesenchymal") in nearly 90% of ccRCCs. This switch is kidney specific as it was rarely observed in other cancers. The FGFR2-IIIb ccRCCs show a transcriptome and methylome resembling those from normal kidney, whereas FGFR2-IIIc ccRCCs possess elevated hypoxic and mesenchymal expression signatures. Clinically, FGFR2-IIIb ccRCCs are smaller in size, of lower tumor grade, and associated with longer patient survival. Gene set enrichment and DNA copy number analyses indicated that FGFR2-IIIb ccRCCs are closely associated with renal oncocytomas and chromophobe RCCs (chRCC). A reexamination of tumor histology by pathologists identified FGFR2-IIIb tumors as chRCCs and clear cell papillary RCCs (ccpRCC).FGFR2 IIIb RCCs represent misdiagnosed ccRCC cases, suggesting FGFR2 isoform testing can be used in the diagnosis of RCC subtypes. The finding of a prevalent isoform switch of FGFR2 in a tissue-specific manner holds promise for the future development of FGFR2-IIIc as a distinct early detection biomarker and therapeutic target for ccRCC.
Project description:Cell-type-specific expression of epithelial and mesenchymal isoforms of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 2 (FGFR2) is achieved through tight regulation of mutually exclusive exons IIIb and IIIc, respectively. Using an application of cell-based cDNA expression screening, we identified two paralogous epithelial cell-type-specific RNA-binding proteins that are essential regulators of FGFR2 splicing. Ectopic expression of either protein in cells that express FGFR2-IIIc caused a switch in endogenous FGFR2 splicing to the epithelial isoform. Conversely, knockdown of both factors in cells that express FGFR2-IIIb by RNA interference caused a switch from the epithelial to mesenchymal isoform. These factors also regulate splicing of CD44, p120-Catenin (CTNND1), and hMena (ENAH), three transcripts that undergo changes in splicing during the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). These studies suggest that Epithelial Splicing Regulatory Proteins 1 and 2 (ESRP1 and ESRP2) are coordinators of an epithelial cell-type-specific splicing program.
Project description:The ligand specificity of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) is determined by the alternative splicing of exons 8 (IIIb) or 9 (IIIc). Exon IIIb is included in epithelial cells, whereas exon IIIc is included in mesenchymal cells. Although a number of cis elements and trans factors have been identified that play a role in exon IIIb inclusion in epithelium, little is known about the activation of exon IIIc in mesenchyme. We report here the identification of a splicing enhancer required for IIIc inclusion. This 24-nucleotide (nt) downstream intronic splicing enhancer (DISE) is located within intron 9 immediately downstream of exon IIIc. DISE was able to activate the inclusion of heterologous exons rat FGFR2 IIIb and human beta-globin exon 2 in cell lines from different tissues and species and also in HeLa cell nuclear extracts in vitro. DISE was capable of replacing the intronic activator sequence 1 (IAS1), a known IIIb splicing enhancer and vice versa. This fact, together with the requirement for DISE to be close to the 5'-splice site and the ability of DISE to promote binding of U1 snRNP, suggested that IAS1 and DISE belong to the same class of cis-acting elements.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor 2 (FGFR2) has been identified in genome-wide association studies to be associated with increased breast cancer risk; however, its mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we show that the two major FGFR2 alternatively spliced isoforms, FGFR2-IIIb and FGFR2-IIIc, interact with IκB kinase β and its downstream target, NF-κB. FGFR2 inhibits nuclear RelA/p65 NF-κB translocation and activity and reduces expression of dependent transcripts, including interleukin-6. These interactions result in diminished STAT3 phosphorylation and reduced breast cancer cell growth, motility, and invasiveness. FGFR2 also arrests the epithelial cell-to-mesenchymal cell transition (EMT), resulting in attenuated neoplastic growth in orthotopic xenografts of breast cancer cells. Our studies provide strong evidence for the protective effects of FGFR2 on tumor progression. We propose that FGFR2 serves as a scaffold for multiple components of the NF-κB signaling complex. Through these interactions, FGFR2 isoforms can respond to tissue-specific FGF signals to modulate epithelial cell-stromal cell communications in cancer progression.