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High expression of ?-catenin contributes to the crizotinib resistant phenotype in the stem-like cell population in neuroblastoma.
ABSTRACT: ALK has been identified as a novel therapeutic target in neuroblastoma (NB), but resistance to ALK inhibitors (such as crizotinib) is well recognized. We recently published that the crizotinib sensitivity in NB cells strongly correlates with the crizotinib-ALK binding, and ?-catenin effectively hinders this interaction and confers crizotinib resistance. Here, we asked if these observations hold true for the stem-like cells in NB cells, which were purified based on their responsiveness to a Sox2 reporter. Compared to bulk, reporter unresponsive (RU) cells, reporter responsive (RR) cells had significantly higher neurosphere formation ability, expression of CD133/nestin and chemo-resistance. Using the cellular thermal shift assay, we found that RR cells exhibited significantly weaker crizotinib-ALK binding and higher crizotinib resistance than RU cells. The suboptimal crizotinib-ALK binding in RR cells can be attributed to their high ?-catenin expression, since siRNA knockdown of ?-catenin restored the crizotinib-ALK binding and lowered the crizotinib resistance to the level of RU cells. Enforced expression of ?-catenin in RU cells resulted in the opposite effects. To conclude, high expression of ?-catenin in the stem-like NB cells contributes to their crizotinib resistance. Combining ?-catenin inhibitors and ALK inhibitors may be useful in treating NB patients.
Project description:The phenomenon that malignant cells can acquire stemness under specific stimuli, encompassed under the concept of cancer cell plasticity, has been well-described in epithelial malignancies. To our knowledge, cancer cell plasticity has not yet been described in hematopoietic cancers. To illustrate and study cancer cell plasticity in hematopoietic cancers, we employed an in-vitro experimental model of ALK-positive anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALK+ALCL) that is based on the phenotypic and functional dichotomy of these cells, with cells responsive to a Sox2 reporter (i.e. RR cells) being significantly more stem-like than those unresponsive to the reporter (i.e. RU cells).H2O2 was employed to trigger oxidative stress. GFP expression and luciferase activity, readouts of the Sox2 reporter activity, were quantified by using flow cytometry and luciferase activity assay, respectively. Doxorubicin-resistance and clonogenicity were assessed by using the MTS, methylcellulose colony formation and limiting dilution assays. Western blotting and quantitative PCR were used to assess the expression of various members of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway. Pull-down studies using a Sox2 binding consensus sequence were used to assess Sox2-DNA binding. Quercetin and 10074-G5 were used to inhibit ?-catenin and MYC, respectively. siRNA was used to downregulate Sox2.Under H2O2-induced oxidative stress, a substantial fraction of RU cells was found to convert to RR cells, as evidenced by their acquisition of GFP expression and luciferase activity. Compared to the native RU cells, converted RR cells had significantly higher levels of doxorubicin-resistance, clonogenicity and sphere formation. Converted RR cells were characterized by an upregulation of the Wnt/?-catenin/MYC/Sox2 signaling axis, previously found to be the key regulator of the RU/RR dichotomy in ALK+ALCL. Furthermore, Sox2 was found to bind to DNA efficiently in converted RR cells but not RU cells, and this finding correlated with significant elevations of several Sox2 downstream targets such as WNT2B and BCL9. Lastly, inhibition of ?-catenin, MYC or Sox2 in RU cells significantly abrogated the H2O2-induced RU/RR conversion.We have demonstrated that cancer cell plasticity exists in ALK+ALCL, a type of hematopoietic cancer. In this cancer type, the Wnt/?-catenin/MYC/Sox2 axis is an important regulator of cancer cell plasticity.
Project description:Various forms of oncogenic ALK proteins have been identified in various types of human cancers. While Crizotinib, an ALK inhibitor, has been found to be therapeutically useful against a subset of ALK(+) tumours, clinical resistance to this drug has been well recognized and the mechanism of this phenomenon is incompletely understood. Using the cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA), we measured the Crizotinib-ALK binding in a panel of ALK(+) cell lines, and correlated the findings with the ALK structure and its interactions with specific binding proteins. The Crizotinib IC50 significantly correlated with Crizotinib-ALK binding. The suboptimal Crizotinib-ALK binding in Crizotinib-resistant cells is not due to the cell-specific environment, since transfection of NPM-ALK into these cells revealed substantial Crizotinib-NPM-ALK binding. Interestingly, we found that the resistant cells expressed higher protein level of ?-catenin and siRNA knockdown restored Crizotinib-ALK binding (correlated with a significant lowering of IC50). Computational analysis of the crystal structures suggests that ?-catenin exerts steric hindrance to the Crizotinib-ALK binding. In conclusion, the Crizotinib-ALK binding measurable by CETSA is useful in predicting Crizotinib sensitivity, and Crizotinib-ALK binding is in turn dictated by the structure of ALK and some of its binding partners.
Project description:The crizotinib-resistant ALK(F1174L) mutation arises de novo in neuroblastoma (NB) and is acquired in ALK translocation-driven cancers, lending impetus to the development of novel anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors with different modes of action. The diaminopyrimidine TAE684 and its derivative ceritinib (LDK378), which are structurally distinct from crizotinib, are active against NB cells expressing ALK(F1174L). Here we demonstrate acquired resistance to TAE684 and LDK378 in ALK(F1174L)-driven human NB cells that is linked to overexpression and activation of the AXL tyrosine kinase and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). AXL phosphorylation conferred TAE684 resistance to NB cells through upregulated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling. Inhibition of AXL partly rescued TAE684 resistance, resensitizing these cells to this compound. AXL activation in resistant cells was mediated through increased expression of the active form of its ligand, GAS6, that also served to stabilize the AXL protein. Although ectopic expression of AXL and TWIST2 individually in TAE684-sensitive parental cells led to the elevated expression of mesenchymal markers and invasive capacity, only AXL overexpression induced resistance to TAE684 as well. TAE684-resistant cells showed greater sensitivity to HSP90 inhibition than did their parental counterparts, with downregulation of AXL and AXL-mediated ERK signaling. Our studies indicate that aberrant AXL signaling and development of an EMT phenotype underlie resistance of ALK(F1174L)-driven NB cells to TAE684 and its derivatives. We suggest that the combination of ALK and AXL or HSP90 inhibitors be considered to delay the emergence of such resistance.
Project description:Many different aberrations in the Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) were found to be oncogenic drivers in several cancers including neuroblastoma (NB), therefore ALK is now considered a critical player in NB oncogenesis and a promising therapeutic target. The ALK-inhibitor crizotinib has a limited activity against the various ALK mutations identified in NB patients. We tested: the activity of the novel ALK-inhibitor X-396 administered alone or in combination with Targeted Liposomes carrying ALK-siRNAs (TL[ALK-siRNA]) that are active irrespective of ALK gene mutational status; the pharmacokinetic profiles and the biodistribution of X-396; the efficacy of X-396 versus crizotinib treatment in NB xenografts; whether the combination of X-396 with the TL[ALK-siRNA] could promote long-term survival in NB mouse models. X-396 revealed good bioavailability, moderate half-life, high mean plasma and tumor concentrations. X-396 was more effective than crizotinib in inhibiting in vitro cell proliferation of NB cells and in reducing tumor volume in subcutaneous NB models in a dose-dependent manner. In orthotopic NB xenografts, X-396 significantly increased life span independently of the ALK mutation status. In combination studies, all effects were significantly improved in the mice treated with TL[ALK-siRNA] and X-396 compared to mice receiving the single agents. Our findings provide a rational basis to design innovative molecular-based treatment combinations for clinical application in ALK-driven NB tumors.
Project description:ALK receptor tyrosine kinase has been shown to be a therapeutic target in neuroblastoma. Germline ALK activating mutations are responsible for the majority of hereditary neuroblastoma and somatic ALK activating mutations are also frequently observed in sporadic cases of advanced NB. Crizotinib, a first-line therapy in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring ALK rearrangements, demonstrates striking efficacy against ALK-rearranged NB. However, crizotinib fails to effectively inhibit the activity of ALK when activating mutations are present within its kinase domain, as with the F1174L mutation. Here we show that a new ALK inhibitor AZD3463 effectively suppressed the proliferation of NB cell lines with wild type ALK (WT) as well as ALK activating mutations (F1174L and D1091N) by blocking the ALK-mediated PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and ultimately induced apoptosis and autophagy. In addition, AZD3463 enhanced the cytotoxic effects of doxorubicin on NB cells. AZD3463 also exhibited significant therapeutic efficacy on the growth of the NB tumors with WT and F1174L activating mutation ALK in orthotopic xenograft mouse models. These results indicate that AZD3463 is a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of NB.
Project description:The crizotinib–resistant ALKF1174L mutation arises de novo in neuroblastoma (NB) and is acquired in ALK translocation-driven cancers, lending impetus to the development of novel ALK inhibitors with different modes of action. The diaminopyrimidine TAE684 and its derivative ceritinib (LDK378), which are structurally distinct from crizotinib, are active against NB cells expressing ALKF1174L. Here we demonstrate acquired resistance to TAE684 and LDK378 in ALKF1174L-driven human NB cells that is linked to overexpression and activation of the AXL tyrosine kinase and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). AXL phosphorylation conferred TAE684 resistance to NB cells through upregulated ERK signaling. Inhibition of AXL partly rescued TAE684 resistance, resensitizing these cells to this compound. AXL activation in resistant cells was mediated through increased expression of the active form of its ligand, GAS6, which also served to stabilize the AXL protein. Although ectopic expression of AXL and TWIST2 individually in TAE684-sensitive parental cells led to the elevated expression of mesenchymal markers and invasive capacity, only AXL overexpression induced resistance to TAE684 as well. TAE684-resistant cells showed greater sensitivity to HSP90 inhibition than did their parental counterparts, with downregulation of AXL and AXL-mediated ERK signaling. Our studies indicate that aberrant AXL signaling and development of an EMT phenotype underlie resistance of ALKF1174L-driven NB cells to TAE684 and its derivatives. We suggest that the combination of ALK and AXL or HSP90 inhibitors be considered to delay the emergence of such resistance. In order to understand the molecular mechanisms driving resistance to ALK inhibition in ALK-mutated neuroblatoma, we established cell line models of resistance to TAE684, an ALK inhibitor, by treating SH-SY5Y cells (bearing the ALKF1174L mutation) with increasing concentration of this compound over time. We then performed an analysis of gene expression changes genome wide using Affymetrix U133 Plus 2 arrays, by comparing the TAE684-sensitive parental SH-SY5Y cells to the TAE684-resistant SH-SY5Y cells (named SY5Y-TR1). For that experiment, we analyzed gene expression variations by comparing the parental SH-SY5Y (control sample) to the resistant SY5Y-TR1 cells. So 2 samples were analyzed, with 3 replicates run for each.
Project description:The echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion oncogene represents a molecular target in a small subset of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). This fusion leads to constitutive ALK activation with potent transforming activity. In a pivotal phase 1 clinical trial, the ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) crizotinib (PF-02341066) demonstrated impressive antitumor activity in the majority of patients with NSCLC harboring ALK fusions. However, despite these remarkable initial responses, cancers eventually develop resistance to crizotinib, usually within 1 y, thereby limiting the potential clinical benefit. To determine how cancers acquire resistance to ALK inhibitors, we established a model of acquired resistance to crizotinib by exposing a highly sensitive EML4-ALK-positive NSCLC cell line to increasing doses of crizotinib until resistance emerged. We found that cells resistant to intermediate doses of crizotinib developed amplification of the EML4-ALK gene. Cells resistant to higher doses (1 ?M) also developed a gatekeeper mutation, L1196M, within the kinase domain, rendering EML4-ALK insensitive to crizotinib. This gatekeeper mutation was readily detected using a unique and highly sensitive allele-specific PCR assay. Although crizotinib was ineffectual against EML4-ALK harboring the gatekeeper mutation, we observed that two structurally different ALK inhibitors, NVP-TAE684 and AP26113, were highly active against the resistant cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, these resistant cells remained highly sensitive to the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-AAG. Thus, we have developed a model of acquired resistance to ALK inhibitors and have shown that second-generation ALK TKIs or Hsp90 inhibitors are effective in treating crizotinib-resistant tumors harboring secondary gatekeeper mutations.
Project description:The presence of an ALK aberration correlates with inferior survival for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. The emergence of ALK inhibitors such as crizotinib has provided novel treatment opportunities. However, certain ALK mutations result in de novo crizotinib resistance, and a phase I trial of crizotinib showed a lack of response in patients harboring those ALK mutations. Thus, understanding mechanisms of resistance and defining circumvention strategies for the clinic is critical.The sensitivity of human neuroblastoma-derived cell lines, cell line-derived, and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models with varying ALK statuses to crizotinib combined with topotecan and cyclophosphamide (topo/cyclo) was examined. Cultured cells and xenografts were evaluated for effects of these drugs on proliferation, signaling, and cell death, and assessment of synergy.In neuroblastoma murine xenografts harboring the most common ALK mutations, including those mutations associated with resistance to crizotinib (but not in those with wild-type ALK), crizotinib combined with topo/cyclo enhanced tumor responses and mouse event-free survival. Crizotinib + topo/cyclo showed synergistic cytotoxicity and higher caspase-dependent apoptosis than crizotinib or topo/cyclo alone in neuroblastoma cell lines with ALK aberrations (mutation or amplification).Combining crizotinib with chemotherapeutic agents commonly used in treating newly diagnosed patients with high-risk neuroblastoma restores sensitivity in preclinical models harboring both sensitive ALK aberrations and de novo-resistant ALK mutations. These data support clinical testing of crizotinib and conventional chemotherapy with the goal of integrating ALK inhibition into multiagent therapy for ALK-aberrant neuroblastoma patients.
Project description:ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer is highly responsive to ALK inhibitors such as crizotinib, but drug resistance typically develops within a year of treatment. In this study we investigated whether IGF-1R is an independent druggable target in ALK-positive lung cancer cells. We confirmed that combination ALK and IGF-1R inhibitor treatment is synergistically cytotoxic to ALK-positive lung cancer cells and that this remains the case for at least 12 days after initial exposure to crizotinib. ALK-positive cells with acquired resistance to crizotinib did not acquire cross-resistance to IGF-1R inhibition, though combination treatment in the resistant cells gave additive rather than synergistic cytotoxicity. We concluded that IGF-1R is an independent druggable target in ALK-positive lung cancer and support the trial of combination treatment.
Project description:We found that MCF7 and ZR751 Sox2-expressing breast cancer cell lines comprise of cells with heterogeneous Sox2 transcription activity reporter response. A small subset of Sox2 reporter responsive cells are more tumourigenic than the bulk Sox2 reporter unresponsive cells. We questioned whether Sox2 exhibit differential gene promoter occupancies in the two cell subsets to govern differential gene expression patterns. Overall design: Sox2 ChIP in reporter unresponsive (RU) and reporter responsive (RR) cells (duplicate samples) were compared. IgG ChIP in RU and RR cells served as the negative controls.