Potentiated DNA Damage Response in Circulating Breast Tumor Cells Confers Resistance to Chemotherapy.
ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are seeds for cancer metastasis and are predictive of poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. Whether CTCs and primary tumor cells (PTCs) respond to chemotherapy differently is not known. Here, we show that CTCs of breast cancer are more resistant to chemotherapy than PTCs because of potentiated DNA repair. Surprisingly, the chemoresistance of CTCs was recapitulated in PTCs when they were detached from the extracellular matrix. Detachment of PTCs increased the levels of reactive oxygen species and partially activated the DNA damage checkpoint, converting PTCs to a CTC-like state. Inhibition of checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2 in CTCs reduces the basal checkpoint response and sensitizes CTCs to DNA damage in vitro and in mouse xenografts. Our results suggest that DNA damage checkpoint inhibitors may benefit the chemotherapy of breast cancer patients by suppressing the chemoresistance of CTCs and reducing the risk of cancer metastasis.
Project description:Cancer stem cell (SC) chemoresistance may be responsible for the poor clinical outcome of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. In order to identify the molecular events that contribute to NSCLC chemoresistance, we investigated the DNA damage response in SCs derived from NSCLC patients. We found that after exposure to chemotherapeutic drugs NSCLC-SCs undergo cell cycle arrest, thus allowing DNA damage repair and subsequent cell survival. Activation of the DNA damage checkpoint protein kinase (Chk) 1 was the earliest and most significant event detected in NSCLC-SCs treated with chemotherapy, independently of their p53 status. In contrast, a weak Chk1 activation was found in differentiated NSCLC cells, corresponding to an increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs as compared with their undifferentiated counterparts. The use of Chk1 inhibitors in combination with chemotherapy dramatically reduced NSCLC-SC survival in vitro by inducing premature cell cycle progression and mitotic catastrophe. Consistently, the co-administration of the Chk1 inhibitor AZD7762 and chemotherapy abrogated tumor growth in vivo, whereas chemotherapy alone was scarcely effective. Such increased efficacy in the combined use of Chk1 inhibitors and chemotherapy was associated with a significant reduction of NSCLC-SCs in mouse xenografts. Taken together, these observations support the clinical evaluation of Chk1 inhibitors in combination with chemotherapy for a more effective treatment of NSCLC.
Project description:Chemotherapy currently remains the standard treatment for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, TNBC frequently develop chemoresistance, which is responsible for cancer recurrence and distal metastasis. Both DNA damage repair and stemness are related to chemoresistance. FZD5, a member in Frizzled family, was identified to be preferentially expressed in TNBC, and associated with unfavorable prognosis. Loss and gain of function studies revealed that FZD5 contributed to TNBC cell G1/S transition, DNA replication, DNA damage repair, survival, and stemness. Mechanistically, transcription factor FOXM1, which promoted BRCA1 and BIRC5 transcription, acted as a downstream effecter of FZD5 signaling. FOXM1 overexpression in FZD5-deficient/low TNBC cells induced FZD5-associated phenotype. Finally, Wnt7B, a specific ligand for FZD5, was shown to be involved in cell proliferation, DNA damage repair, and stemness. Taken together, FZD5 is a novel target for the development of therapeutic strategies to overcome chemoresistance and prevent recurrence in TNBC.
Project description:Development of resistance to chemotherapy is a major obstacle in extending the survival of patients with cancer. Although originally defined as an immune checkpoint molecule, B7-H1 (also named as PD-L1 or CD274) was found to play a role in cancer chemoresistance; however, the underlying mechanism of action of B7-H1 in regulation of chemotherapy sensitivity remains unclear in cancer cells. Here we show that development of chemoresistance depends on an increased activation of ERK in cancer cells overexpressing B7-H1. Conversely, B7-H1 knockout (KO) by CRISPR/Cas9 renders human cancer cells susceptible to chemotherapy in a cell-context dependent manner through a reduced activation of p38 MAPK. B7-H1 was found to associate with the catalytic subunit of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs) and this association promoted or maintained the activation of ERK or p38 MAPK in cancer cells. Importantly, we found that targeting B7-H1 by anti-B7-H1 monoclonal antibody (H1A) increased the sensitivity of human triple negative breast cancer cells to cisplatin therapy in vivo. Our results suggest that targeting B7-H1 by an antibody capable of disrupting B7-H1 signals may be a new approach to sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy.
Project description:Evidence suggests that the DNA end-binding protein p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) is down-regulated in subsets of breast cancer. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) provide accessible "biopsy material" to track cell traits and functions and their alterations during treatment. Here, we prospectively monitored the 53BP1 status in CTCs from 67 metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients with HER2- CTCs and known hormone receptor (HR) status of the primary tumor and/or metastases before, during, and at the end of chemotherapeutic treatment with Eribulin. Nuclear 53BP1 staining and genomic integrity were evaluated by immunocytochemical and whole-genome-amplification-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, respectively. Comparative analysis of CTCs from patients with triple-negative and HR+ tumors revealed elevated 53BP1 levels in CTCs from patients with HR+ metastases, particularly following chemotherapeutic treatment. Differences in nuclear 53BP1 signals did not correlate with genomic integrity in CTCs at baseline or with nuclear ?H2AX signals in MBC cell lines, indicating that 53BP1 detected features beyond DNA damage. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed an increasing association between nuclear 53BP1-positivity and progression-free survival (PFS) during chemotherapy until the final visit. Our data suggest that 53BP1 detection in CTCs could be a useful marker to capture dynamic changes of chemotherapeutic responsiveness in triple-negative and HR+ MBC.
Project description:Lung cancer is a leading cause of tumor-associated mortality. Fascaplysin, a bis-indole of a marine sponge, exhibit broad anticancer activity as specific CDK4 inhibitor among several other mechanisms, and is investigated as a drug to overcome chemoresistance after the failure of targeted agents or immunotherapy. The cytotoxic activity of fascaplysin was studied using lung cancer cell lines, primary Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) cells, as well as SCLC circulating tumor cell lines (CTCs). This compound exhibited high activity against SCLC cell lines (mean IC50 0.89 µM), as well as SCLC CTCs as single cells and in the form of tumorospheres (mean IC50 0.57 µM). NSCLC lines showed a mean IC50 of 1.15 µM for fascaplysin. Analysis of signal transduction mediators point to an ATM-triggered signaling cascade provoked by drug-induced DNA damage. Fascaplysin reveals at least an additive cytotoxic effect with cisplatin, which is the mainstay of lung cancer chemotherapy. In conclusion, fascaplysin shows high activity against lung cancer cell lines and spheroids of SCLC CTCs which are linked to the dismal prognosis of this tumor type. Derivatives of fascaplysin may constitute valuable new agents for the treatment of lung cancer.
Project description:Resistance development to one chemotherapeutic reagent leads frequently to acquired tolerance to other compounds, limiting the therapeutic options for cancer treatment. Herein, we find that overexpression of Rac1 is associated with multi-drug resistance to the neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). Mechanistically, Rac1 activates aldolase A and ERK signaling which up-regulates glycolysis and especially the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). This leads to increased nucleotides metabolism which protects breast cancer cells from chemotherapeutic-induced DNA damage. To translate this finding, we develop endosomal pH-responsive nanoparticles (NPs) which deliver Rac1-targeting siRNA together with cisplatin and effectively reverses NAC-chemoresistance in PDXs from NAC-resistant breast cancer patients. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that targeting Rac1 is a potential strategy to overcome acquired chemoresistance in breast cancer.
Project description:DNA damage often induces heterogeneous cell-fate responses, such as cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. Through single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), we characterize the transcriptome response of cultured colon cancer cell lines to 5-fluorouracil (5FU)-induced DNA damage. After 5FU treatment, a single population of colon cancer cells adopts three distinct transcriptome phenotypes, which correspond to diversified cell-fate responses: apoptosis, cell-cycle checkpoint, and stress resistance. Although some genes are regulated uniformly across all groups of cells, many genes showed group-specific expression patterns mediating DNA damage responses specific to the corresponding cell fate. Some of these observations are reproduced at the protein level by flow cytometry and are replicated in cells treated with other 5FU-unrelated genotoxic drugs, camptothecin and etoposide. This work provides a resource for understanding heterogeneous DNA damage responses involving fractional killing and chemoresistance, which are among the major challenges in current cancer chemotherapy.
Project description:The response of cancer cells to therapeutic drugs that cause DNA damage depends on genes playing a role in DNA repair. RecQ-like helicase 1 (RECQ1), a DNA repair helicase, is critical for genome stability, and loss-of-function mutations in the RECQ1 gene are associated with increased susceptibility to breast cancer. In this study, using a CRISPR/Cas9-edited cell-based model, we show that the genetic or functional loss of RECQ1 sensitizes MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells to gemcitabine, a nucleoside analog used in chemotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer. RECQ1 loss led to defective ATR Ser/Thr kinase (ATR)/checkpoint kinase 1 (ChK1) activation and greater DNA damage accumulation in response to gemcitabine treatment. Dual deficiency of MUS81 structure-specific endonuclease subunit (MUS81) and RECQ1 increased gemcitabine-induced, replication-associated DNA double-stranded breaks. Consistent with defective checkpoint activation, a ChK1 inhibitor further sensitized RECQ1-deficient cells to gemcitabine and increased cell death. Our results reveal an important role for RECQ1 in controlling cell cycle checkpoint activation in response to gemcitabine-induced replication stress.
Project description:The poor therapeutic efficacy of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is partly attributed to the acquisition of chemoresistance. To investigate the mechanism underlying this resistance, we examined the potential link between kinesin light chain 4 (KLC4), which we have previously reported to be associated with radioresistance in NSCLC, and sensitivity to chemotherapy in human lung cancer cell lines. KLC4 protein levels in lung cancer cells correlated with the degree of chemoresistance to cisplatin treatment. Furthermore, KLC4 silencing enhanced the cytotoxic effect of cisplatin by promoting DNA double-strand breaks and apoptosis. These effects were mediated by interaction with the checkpoint kinase CHK2, as KLC4 knockdown increased CHK2 activation, which was further enhanced in combination with cisplatin treatment. In addition, KLC4 and CHEK2 expression levels showed negative correlation in lung tumor samples from patients, and KLC4 overexpression correlated negatively with survival. Our results indicate a novel link between the KLC4 and CHK2 pathways regulating DNA damage response in chemoresistance, and highlight KLC4 as a candidate for developing lung cancer-specific drugs and customized targeted molecular therapy.