Non-cell-autonomous activation of IL-6/STAT3 signaling mediates FGF19-driven hepatocarcinogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a primary malignancy of the liver, is the second leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Fibroblast Growth Factor 19 (FGF19) is one of the most frequently amplified genes in HCC patients. Moreover, mice expressing an FGF19 transgene have been shown to develop HCC. However, the downstream signalling pathways that mediate FGF19-dependent tumorigenesis remain to be deciphered. Here we show that FGF19 triggers a previously unsuspected, non-cell-autonomous program to activate STAT3 signalling in hepatocytes through IL-6 produced in the liver microenvironment. We show that the hepatocyte-specific deletion of Stat3, genetic ablation of Il6, treatment with a neutralizing anti-IL-6 antibody or administration of a small-molecule JAK inhibitor, abolishes FGF19-induced tumorigenesis, while the regulatory functions of FGF19 in bile acid, glucose and energy metabolism remain intact. Collectively, these data reveal a key role for the IL-6/STAT3 axis in potentiating FGF19-driven HCC in mice, a finding which may have translational relevance in HCC pathogenesis.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a lethal cancer with limited systemic therapeutic options. Liver carcinogenesis is a complex procedure and various pathways have been found to be deregulated which are potential targets for novel treatments. Aberrant signalling through FGF19 and its receptor FGFR4 seems to be the oncogenic driver for a subset of HCCs and is associated with poor prognosis. Inhibition of the pathway in preclinical models has shown antitumour activity and has triggered further evaluation of this strategy to in vivo models. This review aims to describe the role of the FGF19/FGFR4 pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma and its role as a potential predictive biomarker for novel targeted agents against FGF19/FGFR4 signalling.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most prevalent liver tumor and a deadly disease with limited therapeutic options. Dysregulation of cell signaling pathways is a common denominator in tumorigenesis, including hepatocarcinogenesis. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling system is commonly activated in HCC, and is currently being evaluated as a therapeutic target in combination therapies. We and others have identified a central role for the EGFR ligand amphiregulin (AR) in the proliferation, survival and drug resistance of HCC cells. AR expression is frequently up-regulated in HCC tissues and cells through mechanisms not completely known. Here we identify the ?-catenin signaling pathway as a novel mechanism leading to transcriptional activation of the AR gene in human HCC cells. Activation of ?-catenin signaling, or expression of the T41A ?-catenin active mutant, led to the induction of AR expression involving three specific ?-catenin-Tcf responsive elements in its proximal promoter. We demonstrate that HCC cells expressing the T41A ?-catenin active mutant show enhanced proliferation that is dependent in part on AR expression and EGFR signaling. We also demonstrate here a novel cross-talk of the EGFR system with fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19). FGF19 is a recently identified driver gene in hepatocarcinogenesis and an activator of ?-catenin signaling in HCC and colon cancer cells. We show that FGF19 induced AR gene expression through the ?-catenin pathway in human HCC cells. Importantly, AR up-regulation and EGFR signaling participated in the induction of cyclin D1 and cell proliferation elicited by FGF19. Finally, we demonstrate a positive correlation between FGF19 and AR expression in human HCC tissues, therefore supporting in clinical samples our experimental observations. These findings identify the AR/EGFR system as a key mediator of FGF19 responses in HCC cells involving ?-catenin signaling, and suggest that combined targeting of FGF19 and AR/EGFR may enhance therapeutic efficacy.
Project description:Liver tumor, especially hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is closely associated with chronic inflammation. We previously showed that farnesoid X receptor knockout (FXR(-)(/)(-)) mice displayed chronic inflammation and developed spontaneous liver tumors when they aged. However, the mechanism by which inflammation leads to HCC in the absence of FXR is unclear. Because IFN? is one of the most upregulated pro-inflammatory cytokines in FXR(-)(/)(-) livers, we generated IFN?(-)(/)(-)FXR(-)(/)(-) double knockout mice to determine IFN?'s roles in hepatocarcinogenesis.IFN?(-)(/)(-) mice were crossed with an FXR(-)(/)(-) C57BL/6 background or injected i.p. with the hepatocarcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Hepatocarcinogenesis was analyzed with biochemical and histological methods.IFN? deletion accelerated spontaneous hepatocarcinogenesis in FXR(-)(/)(-) mice and increased the susceptibility to DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. IFN? deletion enhanced activation of HCC promoters STAT3 and JNK/c-Jun, but abolished induction of p53 in IFN?(-)(/)(-) livers after acute DEN-induced injury. Furthermore, hepatic p53 expression increased in aged wild type mice but not in aged IFN?(-)(/)(-) and IFN?(-)(/)(-)FXR(-)(/)(-) mice, while activation of STAT3 and JNK/c-Jun was enhanced in aged IFN?(-)(/)(-) and IFN?(-)(/)(-)FXR(-)(/)(-) mice. In addition, IFN? inhibited liver cancer xenograft growth and impaired IL-6-induced STAT3 phosphorylation by inducing SOCS1/3 expression.Increased IFN? expression in FXR(-)(/)(-) livers represents a protective response of the liver against chronic injury and tumorigenesis. IFN? suppresses hepatocarcinogenesis by inducing p53 expression and preventing STAT3 activation.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) is a gut-derived peptide hormone that is produced following activation of Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR). FGF19 is secreted and signals to the liver, where it contributes to the homeostasis of bile acid (BA), lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. FGF19 is a promising therapeutic target for the metabolic syndrome and cholestatic diseases, but enthusiasm for its use has been tempered by FGF19-mediated induction of proliferation and hepatocellular carcinoma. To inform future rational design of FGF19-variants, we have conducted temporal quantitative proteomic and gene expression analyses to identify FGF19-targets related to metabolism and proliferation. Mice were fasted for 16 hours, and injected with human FGF19 (1 mg/kg body weight) or vehicle. Liver protein extracts (containing "light" lysine) were mixed 1:1 with a spike-in protein extract from 13C6-lysine metabolically labelled mouse liver (containing "heavy" lysine) and analysed by LC-MS/MS. Our analyses provide a resource of FGF19 target proteins in the liver. 189 proteins were upregulated (? 1.5 folds) and 73 proteins were downregulated (? -1.5 folds) by FGF19. FGF19 treatment decreased the expression of proteins involved in fatty acid (FA) synthesis, i.e., Fabp5, Scd1, and Acsl3 and increased the expression of Acox1, involved in FA oxidation. As expected, FGF19 increased the expression of proteins known to drive proliferation (i.e., Tgfbi, Vcam1, Anxa2 and Hdlbp). Importantly, many of the FGF19 targets (i.e., Pdk4, Apoa4, Fas and Stat3) have a dual function in both metabolism and cell proliferation. Therefore, our findings challenge the development of FGF19-variants that fully uncouple metabolic benefit from mitogenic potential.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:HCV infection is a leading risk factor of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, even after viral clearance, HCC risk remains elevated. HCV perturbs host cell signalling to maintain infection, and derailed signalling circuitry is a key driver of carcinogenesis. Since protein phosphatases are regulators of signalling events, we aimed to identify phosphatases that respond to HCV infection with relevance for hepatocarcinogenesis. METHODS:We assessed mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles in primary human hepatocytes, liver biopsies and resections of patients with HCC, and analysed microarray and RNA-seq data from paired liver biopsies of patients with HCC. We revealed changes in transcriptional networks through gene set enrichment analysis and correlated phosphatase expression levels to patient survival and tumour recurrence. RESULTS:We demonstrate that tumour suppressor protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor delta (PTPRD) is impaired by HCV infection in vivo and in HCC lesions of paired liver biopsies independent from tissue inflammation or fibrosis. In liver tissue adjacent to tumour, high PTPRD levels are associated with a dampened transcriptional activity of STAT3, an increase of patient survival from HCC and reduced tumour recurrence after surgical resection. We identified miR-135a-5p as a mechanistic regulator of hepatic PTPRD expression in patients with HCV. CONCLUSIONS:We previously demonstrated that STAT3 is required for HCV infection. We conclude that HCV promotes a STAT3 transcriptional programme in the liver of patients by suppressing its regulator PTPRD via upregulation of miR-135a-5p. Our results show the existence of a perturbed PTPRD-STAT3 axis potentially driving malignant progression of HCV-associated liver disease.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)19, an endocrine hormone produced in the gut, acts in the liver to control bile acid synthesis. NGM282, an engineered FGF19 analog, is currently in clinical development for treating nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. However, the molecular mechanisms that integrate FGF19 with cholesterol metabolic pathways are incompletely understood. Here, we report that FGF19 and NGM282 promote HDL biogenesis and cholesterol efflux from the liver by selectively modulating LXR signaling while ameliorating hepatic steatosis. We further identify ABCA1 and FGF receptor 4 as mediators of this effect, and that administration of a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor or a blocking antibody against proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 abolished FGF19-associated elevations in total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), and LDL cholesterol in db/db mice. Moreover, we show that a constitutively active MEK1, but not a constitutively active STAT3, mimics the effect of FGF19 and NGM282 on cholesterol change. In dyslipidemic Apoe -/- mice fed a Western diet, treatment with NGM282 dramatically reduced atherosclerotic lesion area in aortas. Administration of NGM282 to healthy volunteers for 7 days resulted in a 26% increase in HDL-C levels compared with placebo. These findings outline a previously unrecognized role for FGF19 in the homeostatic control of cholesterol and may have direct impact on the clinical development of FGF19 analogs.
Project description:We screened 124 genes that are amplified in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using a mouse hepatoblast model and identified 18 tumor-promoting genes, including CCND1 and its neighbor on 11q13.3, FGF19. Although it is widely assumed that CCND1 is the main driving oncogene of this common amplicon (15% frequency in HCC), both forward-transformation assays and RNAi-mediated inhibition in human HCC cells established that FGF19 is an equally important driver gene in HCC. Furthermore, clonal growth and tumorigenicity of HCC cells harboring the 11q13.3 amplicon were selectively inhibited by RNAi-mediated knockdown of CCND1 or FGF19, as well as by an anti-FGF19 antibody. These results show that 11q13.3 amplification could be an effective biomarker for patients most likely to respond to anti-FGF19 therapy.
Project description:Compelling evidence suggests that the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) correlates with aggressiveness of tumors and poor survival. FGF19 has been shown to be involved in EMT in cholangiocarcinoma and colorectal cancer, however, molecular mechanisms underlying FGF19-induced EMT process in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain largely unknown. Here, we show the expression of FGF19 is significantly elevated and negatively associated with the expression of E-cadherin in HCC tissues and cell lines. Ectopic FGF19 expression promotes EMT and invasion in epithelial-like HCC cells through repression of E-cadherin expression, whereas FGF19 knockdown enhances E-cadherin expression and hence diminishes EMT traits in mesenchymal-like HCC cells, suggesting FGF19 exerts its tumor progressing functions as an EMT inducer. Interestingly, depletion of FGF19 cannot abrogate EMT traits in the presence of GSK3? inhibitors. Furthermore, FGF19-induced EMT can be markedly attenuated when FGFR4 is knocked out. These observations clearly indicate that FGFR4/GSK3?/?-catenin axis may play a pivotal role in FGF19-induced EMT in HCC cells. As FGF19 and its specific receptor FGFR4 are frequently amplified in HCC cells, selective targeting this signaling node may lend insights into a potential effective therapeutic approach for blocking metastasis of HCC.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common type of cancer, with an increasing mortality rate. Aberrant expression of fibroblast growth factor 19-fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGF19-FGFR4) is reported to be an oncogenic-driver pathway for HCC patients. Thus, the FGF19-FGFR4 signaling pathway is a promising target for the treatment of HCC. Several pan-FGFR (1-4) and FGFR4-specific inhibitors are in different phases of clinical trials. In this review, we summarize the information, recent developments, binding modes, selectivity, and clinical trial phases of different available FGFR4/pan-FGF inhibitors. We also discuss future perspectives and highlight the points that should be addressed to improve the efficacy of these inhibitors.
Project description:Hepatocarcinogenesis is a complex process that includes pronounced necroinflammation, unregulated hepatocyte damage, subsequent extensive fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. GPR110 was an adhesion G protein-coupled receptor. Analysis of the expression pattern of Gpr110 in mice displayed that Gpr110 was expressed highly in liver, implicating the tissue compartments where Gpr110 could execute its functions, the role of Gpr110 in the physiological and pathological state of liver remains unclear. Based on a Gpr110 knockout mouse model, we evaluated the role of Gpr110 in hepatocarcinogenesis by using a carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver injury and fibrosis model, as well as diethylnitrosamine (DEN) plus CCl4-induced liver cancer model. In this study, we found subdued chronic liver injury, reduced compensatory proliferation, lower liver fibrosis, but enhanced inflammation occurred in Gpr110-/- mice during CCl4 challenge. In addition, Gpr110-/- mice were resistant to liver tumorigenesis induced by DEN plus CCl4 injection. Molecular mechanisms underlying these differences correlated with augmented activation of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway, which exerted hepatoprotective effects during liver damage, fibrosis, and oncogenesis in Gpr110-/- mice. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of the activation of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway enhanced hepatic fibrosis and promoted DEN plus CCl4-induced carcinogenesis in Gpr110-/- mice. In summary, absence of Gpr110 decelerates liver fibrosis/cirrhosis progressing into tumorigenesis, due to strengthening activation of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway, leading to a weaker liver injury and fibrosis microenvironment. It is indicated that targeting Gpr110 and activating the IL-6/STAT3 pathway may be considered to be preventive methods for some cirrhosis transition.