Brachyury, a vaccine target, is overexpressed in triple-negative breast cancer.
ABSTRACT: Patients diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) have a high rate of tumor metastasis and a poor prognosis. The treatment option for these patients is currently chemotherapy, which results in very low response rates. Strategies that exploit the immune system for the treatment of cancer have now shown the ability to improve survival in several tumor types. Identifying potential targets for immune therapeutic interventions is an important step in developing novel treatments for TNBC. In this study, in silico analysis of publicly available datasets and immunohistochemical analysis of primary and metastatic tumor biopsies from TNBC patients were conducted to evaluate the expression of the transcription factor brachyury, which is a driver of tumor metastasis and resistance and a target for cancer vaccine approaches. Analysis of breast cancer datasets demonstrated a predominant expression of brachyury mRNA in TNBC and in basal vs luminal or HER2 molecular breast cancer subtypes. At the protein level, variable levels of brachyury expression were detected both in primary and metastatic TNBC lesions. A strong association was observed between nuclear brachyury protein expression and the stage of disease, with nuclear brachyury being more predominant in metastatic vs primary tumors. Survival analysis also demonstrated an association between high levels of brachyury in the primary tumor and poor prognosis. Two brachyury-targeting cancer vaccines are currently undergoing clinical evaluation; the data presented here provide rationale for using brachyury-targeting immunotherapy approaches for the treatment of TNBC.
Project description:Metastatic disease is responsible for the majority of human cancer deaths. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of metastasis is a major step in designing effective cancer therapeutics. Here we show that the T-box transcription factor Brachyury induces in tumor cells epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), an important step in the progression of primary tumors toward metastasis. Overexpression of Brachyury in human carcinoma cells induced changes characteristic of EMT, including upregulation of mesenchymal markers, downregulation of epithelial markers, and an increase in cell migration and invasion. Brachyury overexpression also repressed E-cadherin transcription, an effect partially mediated by Slug. Conversely, inhibition of Brachyury resulted in downregulation of mesenchymal markers and loss of cell migration and invasion and diminished the ability of human tumor cells to form lung metastases in a xenograft model. Furthermore, we found Brachyury to be overexpressed in various human tumor tissues and tumor cell lines compared with normal tissues. We also determined that the percentage of human lung tumor tissues positive for Brachyury expression increased with the stage of the tumor, indicating a potential association between Brachyury and tumor progression. The selective expression of Brachyury in tumor cells and its role in EMT and cancer progression suggest that Brachyury may be an attractive target for antitumor therapies.
Project description:The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been implicated as an important process in tumor cell invasion, metastasis, and drug resistance. The transcription factor brachyury has recently been described as a driver of EMT of human carcinoma cells. Brachyury mRNA and protein expression was analyzed in human breast carcinomas and benign tissues. The role of brachyury in breast tumor prognosis and drug resistance and the ability of brachyury-specific T cells to lyse human breast carcinoma cells were also evaluated. Kaplan-Meier analyses were used to evaluate the association between brachyury expression and survival. All statistical tests were two-sided. The level of brachyury expression in breast cancer cells was positively associated with their ability to invade the extracellular matrix, efficiently form mammospheres in vitro, and resist the cytotoxic effect of docetaxel. A comparison of survival among breast cancer patients treated with tamoxifen in the adjuvant setting who had tumors with high vs low brachyury mRNA expression demonstrated that high expression of brachyury is associated as an independent variable with higher risk of recurrence (hazard ratio [HR] = 7.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.4 to 23.5; P = 5.14×10(-4)) and distant metastasis (HR = 15.2; 95% CI = 3.5 to 66.3; P = 3.01×10(-4)). We also demonstrated that brachyury-specific T cells can lyse human breast carcinoma cells. The studies reported here provide the rationale for the use of a vaccine targeting brachyury for the therapy of human breast cancer, either as a monotherapy or in combination therapies.
Project description:The embryonic transcription factor brachyury is overexpressed in a variety of human tumors, including lung, breast, colon and prostate carcinomas, chordomas and hemangioblastomas. In human carcinoma cells, overexpression of brachyury associates with the occurrence of the phenomenon of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), acquisition of metastatic propensity and resistance to a variety of anti-cancer therapeutics. Brachyury is preferentially expressed in human tumors vs. normal adult tissues, and high levels of this molecule associate with poor prognosis in patients with lung, colon and prostate carcinomas, and in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen. Brachyury is immunogenic in humans and vaccines against this novel oncotarget are currently undergoing clinical investigation. While our group and others have employed various anti-brachyury antibodies to interrogate the above findings, we report here on the development and thorough characterization of a novel rabbit monoclonal antibody (MAb 54-1) that reacts with distinct high affinity and specificity with human brachyury. MAb 54-1 was successfully used in ELISA, western blot, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry assays to evaluate expression of brachyury in various human tumor cell lines and tissues. We propose the use of this antibody to assist in research studies of EMT and in prognostic studies for a range of human tumors.
Project description:Transcription factor brachyury, with a DNA-binding T-domain, regulates posterior mesoderm formation and notochord development through binding with highly conserved palindromic consensus sequence in a variety of organisms. The absence of brachyury expression in majority of adult normal tissues and exclusive tumor-specific expression provides the potential to be developed into a novel and promising diagnostic and therapeutic target in cancer. As a sensitive and specific marker in the diagnosis of chordoma, brachyury protein has been verified to involve in the process of carcinogenesis and progression of chordoma and several epithelial carcinomas in various studies, but the mechanism by which brachyury promotes tumor cells migrate, invade and metastasis still remains less clear. To this end, we attempt to summarize the literature on the upstream regulatory pathway of brachyury transcription and downstream controlling network by brachyury activation, all of which involve in both the embryonic development and tumor progression. We present the respective correlation of brachyury expression with tumor progression, distant metastasis, survival rate and prognosis in several types of tumor samples (including chordoma, lung cancer, breast carcinoma, and prostate cancer), and various brachyury gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments are summarized to explore its specific role in respective tumor cell line in vitro. In addition, we also discuss another two programs relating to brachyury function: epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cell cycle control, both of which implicate in the regulation of brachyury on biological behavior of tumor cells. This review will provide an overview of the function of master transcriptional factor brachyury, compare the similarities and differences of its role between embryonic development and carcinogenesis, and list the evidence on which brachyury-target therapies have the potential to help control advanced cancer populations.
Project description:Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a molecular and cellular program in which epithelial cells lose their well-differentiated phenotype and adopt mesenchymal characteristics. This process, which occurs naturally during embryogenesis, has also been shown to be associated with cancer progression and with tumor recurrence following conventional therapies. Brachyury is a transcription factor that mediates EMT during development, and is aberrantly expressed in various human cancers where it promotes tumor cell EMT, metastatic dissemination, and resistance to conventional therapies. We have recently shown that very high expression of brachyury can protect tumor cells against immune cell-mediated cytotoxicity. In seeking to elucidate mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance, we have discovered a novel positive association between brachyury and mucin-1 (MUC1). MUC1 is overexpressed in the majority of carcinomas, and it has been shown to mediate oncogenic signaling and confer resistance to genotoxic agents. We found that MUC1 is concomitantly upregulated in tumor cell lines that highly express brachyury due to an enhancement of MUC1 mRNA stability. Analysis of patient lung tumor tissues also identified a positive association between these two proteins in the majority of samples. Inhibition of MUC1 by siRNA-based gene silencing markedly enhanced the susceptibility of brachyury-expressing cancer cells to killing by tumor necrosis-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and to perforin/granzyme-dependent lysis by immune cytotoxic cells. These studies confirm a protective role for MUC1 in brachyury-expressing cancer cells, and suggest that inhibition of MUC1 can restore the susceptibility of mesenchymal-like cancer cells to immune attack.
Project description:Objective: Breast cancer is the most common solid tumor affecting women and the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most lethal subtype of breast cancer. We aimed to identify potential TNBC-specific therapeutic targets by performing an integrative analysis on previously published TNBC transcriptome microarray data. Methods: Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between TNBC and normal breast tissues were screened using six Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets, and DEGs between metastatic TNBC and non-metastatic TNBC were screened using one GEO dataset. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analyses were performed on the overlapping DEGs. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) TNBC data were used to identify candidate genes that were strongly associated with survival. Expression of the candidate genes in TNBC cell lines was blocked or augmented using a lentivirus system, and transwell assays were used to determine their effect on TNBC migration. Results: Eight upregulated genes and nine downregulated genes were found to be differentially expressed both between TNBC and normal breast tissues and between metastatic TNBC and non-metastatic TNBC. Among them, S100P and SDC1 were identified as poor prognostic genes. Furthermore, compared with control cells, SDC1-overexpressing TNBC cells showed enhanced migration ability, whereas SDC1 knockdown markedly reduced the migration of TNBC cells. Conclusion: Our study determined that S100P and SDC1 may be potential treatment targets as well as prognostic biomarkers of TNBC.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The aim of the present study was to confirm the role of Brachyury in breast cancer and to verify whether four types of machine learning models can use Brachyury expression to predict the survival of patients.<h4>Methods</h4>We conducted a retrospective review of the medical records to obtain patient information, and made the patient's paraffin tissue into tissue chips for staining analysis. We selected 303 patients for research and implemented four machine learning algorithms, including multivariate logistic regression model, decision tree, artificial neural network and random forest, and compared the results of these models with each other. Area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) was used to compare the results.<h4>Results</h4>The chi-square test results of relevant data suggested that the expression of Brachyury protein in cancer tissues was significantly higher than that in paracancerous tissues (P=0.0335); patients with breast cancer with high Brachyury expression had a worse overall survival (OS) compared with patients with low Brachyury expression. We also found that Brachyury expression was associated with ER expression (P=0.0489). Subsequently, we used four machine learning models to verify the relationship between Brachyury expression and the survival of patients with breast cancer. The results showed that the decision tree model had the best performance (AUC = 0.781).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Brachyury is highly expressed in breast cancer and indicates that patients had a poor prognosis. Compared with conventional statistical methods, decision tree model shows superior performance in predicting the survival status of patients with breast cancer.
Project description:LESSONS LEARNED:Modified vaccinia Ankara-Bavarian Nordic (MVA-BN)-Brachyury followed by fowlpox virus-BN-Brachyury was well tolerated upon administration to patients with advanced cancer. Sixty-three percent of patients developed CD4+ and/or CD8+ T-cell responses to brachyury after vaccination. BN-Brachyury vaccine also induced T-cell responses against CEA and MUC1, which are cascade antigens, that is, antigens not encoded in the vaccines. BACKGROUND:Brachyury, a transcription factor, plays an integral role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, metastasis, and tumor resistance to chemotherapy. It is expressed in many tumor types, and rarely in normal tissues, making it an ideal immunologic target. Bavarian Nordic (BN)-Brachyury consists of vaccination with modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) priming followed by fowlpox virus (FPV) boosting, each encoding transgenes for brachyury and costimulatory molecules. METHODS:Patients with metastatic solid tumors were treated with two monthly doses of MVA-brachyury s.c., 8 ×?108 infectious units (IU), followed by FPV-brachyury s.c., 1 ×?109 IU, for six monthly doses and then every 3 months for up to 2?years. The primary objective was to determine safety and tolerability. RESULTS:Eleven patients were enrolled from March 2018 to July 2018 (one patient was nonevaluable). No dose-limiting toxicities were observed. The most common treatment-related adverse event was grade 1/2 injection-site reaction observed in all patients. Best overall response was stable disease in six patients, and the 6-month progression-free survival rate was 50%. T cells against brachyury and cascade antigens CEA and MUC1 were detected in the majority of patients. CONCLUSION:BN-Brachyury vaccine is well tolerated and induces immune responses to brachyury and cascade antigens and demonstrates some evidence of clinical benefit.
Project description:PURPOSE:The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is emerging as a critical factor for the progression and metastasis of carcinomas, as well as drug resistance. The T-box transcription factor Brachyury has been recently characterized as a driver of EMT in human carcinoma cells. The purpose of this study was to characterize Brachyury as a potential target for lung cancer therapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:The expression of Brachyury was evaluated by PCR and by immunohistochemistry in human lung tumors and adult normal tissues. Brachyury gene copy number and promoter methylation status were analyzed in tumor tissues with various levels of Brachyury expression. Lung carcinoma cells' susceptibility to T-cell lysis and EGF receptor (EGFR) kinase inhibition were also evaluated relative to the levels of Brachyury. RESULTS:Our results showed Brachyury protein expression in 41% of primary lung carcinomas, including 48% of adenocarcinomas and 25% of squamous cell carcinomas. With the exception of normal testis and some thyroid tissues, the majority of normal tissues evaluated in this study were negative for the expression of Brachyury protein. Brachyury-specific T cells could lyse Brachyury-positive tumors and the level of Brachyury corresponded to resistance of tumor cells to EGFR kinase inhibition. CONCLUSION:We hypothesize that the elimination of Brachyury-positive tumor cells may be able to prevent and/or diminish tumor dissemination and the establishment of metastases. The ability of Brachyury-specific T-cell lines to lyse Brachyury-positive tumor cells, in vitro, supports the development of Brachyury-based immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of lung cancer.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for 12-20% of all breast cancers. Diagnosis of TNBC is sometimes quite difficult based on morphological assessment and immunohistochemistry alone, particularly in the metastatic setting with no prior history of breast cancer. <b>Methods:</b> Molecular profiling is a promising diagnostic approach that has the potential to provide an objective classification of metastatic tumors with unknown primary. In this study, performance of a novel 90-gene expression signature for determination of the site of tumor origin was evaluated in 115 TNBC samples. For each specimen, expression profiles of the 90 tumor-specific genes were analyzed, and similarity scores were obtained for each of the 21 tumor types on the test panel. Predicted tumor type was compared to the reference diagnosis to calculate accuracy. Furthermore, rank product analysis was performed to identify genes that were differentially expressed between TNBC and other tumor types. <b>Results:</b> Analysis of the 90-gene expression signature resulted in an overall 97.4% (112/115, 95% CI: 0.92-0.99) agreement with the reference diagnosis. Among all specimens, the signature correctly classified 97.6% of TNBC from the primary site (41/42) and lymph node metastasis (41/42) and 96.8% of distant metastatic tumors (30/31). Furthermore, a list of genes, including <i>AZGP1, KRT19</i>, and <i>PIGR</i>, was identified as differentially expressed between TNBC and other tumor types, suggesting their potential use as discriminatory markers. <b>Conclusion:</b> Our results demonstrate excellent performance of a 90-gene expression signature for identification of tumor origin in a cohort of both primary and metastatic TNBC samples. These findings show promise for use of this novel molecular assay to aid in differential diagnosis of TNBC, particularly in the metastatic setting.