Loss of p27 Associated with Risk for Endometrial Carcinoma Arising in the Setting of Obesity.
ABSTRACT: Endometrial carcinoma (EC) exhibits the strongest association with obesity of all cancers. Growth of these tumors is driven by PI3K/AKT activation, and opposed by tumor suppressors, including the tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC-2) and p27, with inactivation of TSC2 and loss or cytoplasmic mislocalization of p27 both being linked to PI3K/AKT activation. However, little is known about the involvement of p27 in the development of EC arising in the setting of obesity, especially its role early in disease progression. Using a panel of EC cell lines, in vitro studies using PI3K inhibitors provided evidence that p27 rescue contributes to the efficacy of interventions that inhibit endometrial cell growth. In "at risk" obese patients, and in an animal model of obesity-associated EC (Tsc2-deficient Eker rats), p27 was moderately-to-severely reduced in both "normal" endometrial glands as well as in endometrial complex atypical hyperplasia (obese women), and endometrial hyperplasia (obese rats). In obese Eker rats, an energy balance intervention; caloric restriction from 2-4 months of age, reduced weight, increased adiponectin and lowered leptin to produce a favorable leptin:adiponectin ratio, and reduced circulating insulin levels. Caloric restriction also increased p27 levels, relocalized this tumor suppressor to the nucleus, and significantly decreased hyperplasia incidence. Thus, dietary and pharmacologic interventions that inhibit growth and decrease risk for development of endometrial lesions are associated with increased expression and nuclear (re)localization of p27. These data suggest that p27 levels and localization may be useful as a biomarker, and possible determinant, of risk for EC arising in the setting of obesity.
Project description:PURPOSE:Obesity is associated with risk and prognosis of endometrial cancer (EC), and the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway may play an instrumental role. We sought to explore the associations between cellular proliferation, Akt, and 4E binding protein-1 (4E-BP1) (a downstream target of mTORC1), in obese and nonobese women with and without EC. METHODS:Archival tissue-specimens from endometrial biopsies were grouped into two broad categories based on the observed disease behavior and similarities in tissue staining patterns: benign/hyperplasia (without cytologic atypia) (n=18) versus atypia (complex hyperplasia with cytologic atypia)/carcinoma (n=25). The characteristics of the study population, including height and weight to determine body mass index (BMI: kg/m2), were abstracted from medical records. Immunohistochemistry was used to assess the phosphorylated (p)Akt, p4E-BP1, and antigen Ki67. RESULTS:Cytoplasmic and nuclear pAkt were significantly associated with cytoplasmic p4E-BP1 (?=+0.48, ?=+0.50) (P<0.05) and nuclear p4E-BP1 (?=+0.40, ?=+0.44) (P<0.05); cytoplasmic and nuclear p4E-BP1 were significantly associated with Ki67 (?=+0.46, ?=+0.59) (P<0.05). Compared with the benign/hyperplasia group, the women with atypia/carcinoma had significantly higher cytoplasmic and nuclear p4E-BP1 and Ki67. This staining pattern was similar in obese women; however, in nonobese women, neither cytoplasmic nor nuclear p4E-BP1staining differed between benign/hyperplasia versus atypia/carcinoma. CONCLUSION:The activation of 4E-BP1 was higher in the obese women with EC. Adiposity may be a key factor to consider in future studies investigating the role of 4E-BP1 as a biomarker and therapeutic target in EC.
Project description:Background & Aims:Endometrial tubal metaplasia (ETM) is mostly described in conjunction with unopposed estrogen levels, and its association with endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial carcinoma (EC) is striking. Obesity is a risk factor for endometrial hyperplasia and EC development. The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of BMI and serum estradiol level on expression of PAX-2, H-TERT, P16, Ki-67, and P53 in studied ETM in reference to benign endometrium and EC. Methods:The study was conducted on the following groups: group (1) consists of 57 cases that had endometrial biopsies with histologically demonstrable ETM (typical or atypical) and all were subjected to serum estradiol levelling and body mass index (BMI) evaluation; group (2) had adjacent benign endometrial tissue as control; group (3) consists of 52 cases of conventional endometrial carcinoma and 16 serous carcinoma paraffin blocks which were collected and reevaluated. All included groups were immunostained for PAX-2, H-TERT, p16, ki67, and p53. Results:The relation between BMI and serum estradiol level in group 1 and PAX-2, H-TERT, P16, and p53 was statistically significant, while their relation with atypia and ki67 expression was insignificant. Twenty-three ETM cases (40.4%) out of group 1 were all (100%) obese, 87% had high serum estradiol level, and 73.9% were postmenopausal and had a similar immunohistochemical profile as EC cases (group 3). Conclusions:The presence of ETM regardless of the histologic atypia in obese postmenopausal patients with high serum estradiol level is an alarming sign. This implies that ETM might not be as benign as generally accepted, as under certain clinical conditions, it may turn into a potential premalignant lesion.
Project description:Tuberin, the Tsc2 gene product, integrates the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (mitogenic) and LKB1/AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK; energy) signaling pathways, and previous independent studies have shown that loss of tuberin is associated with elevated AMPK signaling and altered p27 function. In Tsc2-null tumors and tumor-derived cells from Eker rats, we observed elevated AMPK signaling and concordant cytoplasmic mislocalization of p27. Cytoplasmic localization of p27 in Tsc2-null cells was reversible pharmacologically using inhibitors of the LKB1/AMPK pathway, and localization of p27 to the cytoplasm could be induced directly by activating AMPK physiologically (glucose deprivation) or genetically (constitutively active AMPK) in Tsc2-proficient cells. Furthermore, AMPK phosphorylated p27 in vitro on at least three sites including T170 near the nuclear localization signal, and T170 was shown to determine p27 localization in response to AMPK signaling. p27 functions in the nucleus to suppress cyclin-dependent kinase-2 (Cdk2) activity and has been reported to mediate an antiapoptotic function when localized to the cytoplasm. We found that cells with elevated AMPK signaling and cytoplasmic p27 localization exhibited elevated Cdk2 activity, which could be suppressed by inhibiting AMPK signaling. In addition, cells with elevated AMPK signaling and cytoplasmic p27 localization were resistant to apoptosis, which could be overcome by inhibition of AMPK signaling and relocalization of p27 to the nucleus. These data show that AMPK signaling determines the subcellular localization of p27, and identifies loss of integration of pathways controlling energy balance, the cell cycle, and apoptosis due to aberrant AMPK and p27 function as a feature of cells that have lost the Tsc2 tumor suppressor gene.
Project description:Obesity is linked to increased incidence of endometrioid endometrial cancer (EEC) and complex atypical hyperplasia (CAH). We here explore pattern and sequence of molecular alterations characterizing endometrial carcinogenesis in general and related to body mass index (BMI), to improve diagnostic stratification and treatment strategies. We performed molecular characterization of 729 prospectively collected EEC and CAH. Candidate biomarkers were identified in frozen samples by whole-exome and Sanger sequencing, oligonucleotide gene expression and Reverse Phase Protein Arrays (investigation cohort) and further explored in formalin fixed tissues by immunohistochemistry and Fluorescent in Situ Hybridization (validation cohort). We here demonstrate that PIK3CA mutations, PTEN loss, PI3K and KRAS activation are early events in endometrial carcinogenesis. Molecular changes related to KRAS activation and inflammation are more common in obese CAH patients, suggesting different prevention and systemic treatment strategies in obese and non-obese patients. We also found that oncoprotein Stathmin might improve preoperative diagnostic distinction between premalignant and malignant endometrial lesions.
Project description:Highlights • 44% of overweight or obese women reported abnormal bleeding symptoms associated with endometrial cancer (EC).• Many obese women have not talked to their providers about these symptoms.• Gynecologists should collaborate with providers of obese women to facilitate prevention and early detection of EC. Endometrial cancer rates are rising in parallel with the obesity epidemic. We aimed to determine the prevalence of endometrial hyperplasia or cancer (EH/EC) bleeding symptoms among at-risk women. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of overweight and obese women at a multidisciplinary weight management center who had completed a gynecologic/menstrual history questionnaire from May 2018 to October 2019. The primary outcome of any EH/EC symptom was defined as follows: in premenopausal women, any recent abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB); in postmenopausal women: any bleeding/discharge. The prevalence of EH/EC symptoms was compared by menopausal status using Fisher’s exact tests, and multivariable regression identified independent factors associated with having EH/EC symptoms. A total of 103 women were included, and 4 (4%) had a history of EH/EC. Of the 84 (n = 82%) of women with no prior hysterectomy, 57% (n = 33/58) of premenopausal women reported any EH/EC symptom compared to 15% (n = 15/26) of postmenopausal women (p < 0.001). Two-thirds of symptomatic premenopausal women had two or more symptoms, most commonly heavy menses (49% (n = 25/51)) and irregular periods (39% (n = 17/44)). Sixty percent (n = 20/33) had discussed these with a gynecologist, and one third had undergone an endometrial biopsy. A history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (RR:1.72, 95% CI 1.24–2.38) was associated with EH/EC symptoms, while being postmenopausal was not (RR:0.32, 95%CI: 0.12–0.87). We demonstrate that EH/EC bleeding symptoms are prevalent in this at-risk population, but frequently are not discussed with gynecologists. Providers who care for obese women should ask about EH/EC symptoms, and provide prompt referrals to facilitate prevention and early detection of this cancer.
Project description:Aberrant DNA methylation is associated with the oncogenesis of a variety of human cancers, including endometrial cancer (EC), the seventh most common cancer among women. Obesity is known to be a high-risk factor for EC; however, whether obesity influences DNA methylation in the presymptomatic uterus and if this influences EC development remain unclear. Here, we performed genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of isolated endometrial epithelial cells obtained from obese presymptomatic participants. Using the Illumina MethylationEPIC array (850?K), we identified 592 differentially methylated regions (DMRs), most of which undergo hypomethylated changes. These DMRs were enriched for pyrimidine metabolism, Epstein-Barr virus infection, and B cell signaling pathways, indicating obesity-related dysregulation of certain metabolic processes in the presymptomatic uterus. Comparison of the DMRs with those in stage I EC revealed that 54 DMRs overlapped; additionally, B cell signaling and Epstein-Barr virus infection pathways were shared between the presymptomatic uterus of obese women and stage I EC with greater hypomethylation in women with EC than in presymptomatic obese women. These findings indicated that obesity influences DNA methylation in presymptomatic endometrial epithelial cells, and persistent dysregulation of DNA methylation in obese women may result in EC development.
Project description:Obesity is the strongest risk factor for endometrial cancer (EC). To inform targeted screening and prevention strategies, we assessed the impact of obesity and subsequent bariatric surgery-induced weight loss on endometrial morphology and molecular pathways implicated in endometrial carcinogenesis. Blood and endometrial tissue were obtained from women with class III-IV obesity (body mass index ≥40 and ≥50 kg/m2 , respectively) immediately prior to gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, and at two and 12 months' follow up. The endometrium underwent pathological examination and immunohistochemistry was used to quantify proliferation (Ki-67), oncogenic signaling (PTEN, pAKT, pERK) and hormone receptor (ER, PR) expression status. Circulating biomarkers of insulin resistance, reproductive function and inflammation were also measured at each time point. Seventy-two women underwent bariatric surgery. At 12 months, the mean change in total and excess body weight was -32.7 and -62.8%, respectively. Baseline endometrial biopsies revealed neoplastic change in 10 women (14%): four had EC, six had atypical hyperplasia (AH). After bariatric surgery, most cases of AH resolved (5/6) without intervention (3/6) or with intrauterine progestin (2/6). Biomarkers of endometrial proliferation (Ki-67), oncogenic signaling (pAKT) and hormone receptor status (ER, PR) were significantly reduced, with restoration of glandular PTEN expression, at 2 and 12 months. There were reductions in circulating biomarkers of insulin resistance (HbA1c, HOMA-IR) and inflammation (hsCRP, IL-6), and increases in reproductive biomarkers (LH, FSH, SHBG). We found an unexpectedly high prevalence of occult neoplastic changes in the endometrium of women undergoing bariatric surgery. Their spontaneous reversal and accompanying down-regulation of PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling with weight loss may have implications for screening, prevention and treatment of this disease.
Project description:Uterine leiomyomata are the most common tumors found in the female reproductive tract. Despite the high prevalence and associated morbidities of these benign tumors, little is known about the molecular basis of uterine leiomyoma development and progression. Loss of the Tuberous Sclerosis 2 (TSC2) tumor suppressor has been proposed as a mechanism important for the etiology of uterine leiomyomata based on the Eker rat model. However, conflicting evidence showing increased TSC2 expression has been reported in human uterine leiomyomata, suggesting that TSC2 might not be involved in the pathogenesis of this disorder. We have produced mice with conditional deletion of the Tsc2 gene in the myometria to determine whether loss of TSC2 leads to leiomyoma development in murine uteri. Myometrial hyperplasia and increased collagen deposition was observed in Tsc2(cKO) mice compared with control mice, but no leiomyomata were detected by post-natal week 24. Increased signaling activity of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1, which is normally repressed by TSC2, was also detected in the myometria of Tsc2(cKO) mice. Treatment of the mutant mice with rapamycin significantly inhibited myometrial expansion, but treatment with the progesterone receptor modulator, mifepristone, did not. The ovaries of the Tsc2(cKO) mice appeared normal, but half the mice were infertile and most of the other half became infertile after a single litter, which was likely due to oviductal blockage. Our study shows that although TSC2 loss alone does not lead to leiomyoma development, it does lead to myometrial hyperplasia and fibrosis.
Project description:To examine whether the abundance, localization, and/or activity of cell cycle regulators CDK2, Cyclin E, p27, and survival proteins AKT and Ras in PCOS-associated endometria (with and without hyperplasia) differ from non-PCOS endometria.The expression of CDK2, Cyclin E, p27, AKT and Ras was measured by immunohistochemistry and/or Western blot in 9 normal endometria (NE), 12 endometria from PCOS patients without endometrial hyperplasia (PCOSE), 7 endometria from PCOS women with endometrial hyperplasia (HPCOSE), and 9 endometria from patients with endometrial hyperplasia (HE). The activity of CDK2 was assessed by an in vitro kinase assay.CDK2, Cyclin E and p27 proteins were expressed mainly in the endometrial epithelial cells of the studied groups. No change in the activity of CDK2 was observed in total extracts obtained from the tissue samples. However, the nuclear expression of CDK2 in epithelial cells was slightly elevated in PCOSE and significantly increased in HPCOSE when compared to NE. Higher expression of p27 was detected in the cytoplasm of epithelial cells of PCOSE and HPCOSE when compared to NE. Also, we found an increment in Ser473-AKT phosphorylation and an over-expression of the Ras oncogene in endometria of patients with PCOS.The PCOS condition is associated with increased Ser473-AKT phosphorylation, elevated expression of Ras, increased cytoplasmic abundance of p27, and increased nuclear abundance of CDK2 in the endometrial epithelial cells. These biological events could potentially provide a chance for endometrial cells from PCOS patients to exit the controlled cell cycle and become hyperplastic at a later stage.
Project description:Endometrial cancer incidence is increasing, due in part to a strong association with obesity. Mutations in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, the central relay pathway of insulin signals, occur in the majority of endometrioid adenocarcinomas, the most common form of endometrial cancer. We sought to determine the impact of PI3K pathway alterations on progression free survival in a cohort of endometrioid endometrial cancers. Prognostic utility of PIK3CA, PIK3R1, and PTEN mutations, as well as PTEN protein loss by immunohistochemistry, was explored in the context of patient body mass index. Reverse-phase protein arrays were utilized to assess protein expression based on PTEN status. Among 187 endometrioid endometrial cancers, there were no statistically significant associations between PFS and PIK3CA, PIK3R1, PTEN mutation or loss. When stratified by body mass index, PTEN loss was associated with improved progression free survival (P < 0.006) in obese (body mass index ? 30) patients. PTEN loss resulted in distinct protein changes: Canonical PI3K pathway activation was observed only in the non-obese population while decreased expression of ?-CATENIN and phosphorylated FOXO3A was observed in obese patients. These data suggest the impact of PTEN loss on tumor biology and clinical outcomes must be interpreted in the context of body mass index, and provide a potential explanation for discrepant reports on the effect of PTEN status and obesity on prognosis in endometrial cancer. This reveals a clinically important interaction between metabolic state and tumor genetics that may unveil the biologic underpinning of obesity-related cancers and impact ongoing clinical trials with PI3K pathway inhibitors.