Bridging the divide: preclinical research discrepancies between triple-negative breast cancer cell lines and patient tumors.
ABSTRACT: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most refractory subtype of breast cancer and disproportionately accounts for the majority of breast cancer related deaths. Effective treatment of this disease remains an unmet medical need. Over the past several decades, TNBC cell lines have been used as the foundation for drug development and disease modeling. However, ever-mounting research demonstrates striking differences between cell lines and clinical TNBC tumors, disconnecting bench research and actual clinical responses. In this review, we discuss the limitations of cell lines and the importance of using patients' tumors for translational research, and highlight the usage of patient-derived xenograft (PDXs) models that have emerged as a clinically relevant platform for preclinical studies. PDX tumors possess tumor heterogeneity with similar cellular, molecular, genetic and epigenetic properties akin to those found within patients' tumors. Moreover, PDX and clinical tumors possess abnormal vasculature with higher blood vessel permeability, a feature that is not always demonstrated in in vivo cell line xenografts. Development of clinically relevant, novel drug-nanoparticles capable of accumulating in PDX tumors through the enhanced permeability and retention effect in tumor vasculature may lead to new and effective TNBC treatments.
Project description:Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) are powerful tools for translational cancer research. Here, we established PDX models from different molecular subtypes of breast cancer for in vivo drug tests and compared the histopathologic features of PDX model tumors with those of patient tumors. Predictive biomarkers were identified by gene expression analysis of PDX samples using Nanostring nCount cancer panels. Validation of predictive biomarkers for treatment response was conducted in established PDX models by in vivo drug testing. Twenty breast cancer PDX models were generated from different molecular subtypes (overall success rate, 17.5%; 3.6% for HR<sup>+</sup>/HER2<sup>-</sup>, 21.4% for HR<sup>+</sup>/HER2<sup>+</sup>, 21.9% for HR<sup>-</sup>/HER2<sup>+</sup> and 22.5% for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)). The histopathologic features of original tumors were retained in the PDX models. We detected upregulated HIF1A, RAF1, AKT2 and VEGFA in TNBC cases and demonstrated the efficacy of combined treatment with sorafenib and everolimus or docetaxel and bevacizumab in each TNBC model. Additionally, we identified upregulated HIF1A in two cases of trastuzumab-exposed HR<sup>-</sup>/HER2<sup>+</sup> PDX models and validated the efficacy of the HIF1A inhibitor, PX-478, alone or in combination with neratinib. Our results demonstrate that PDX models can be used as effective tools for predicting therapeutic markers and evaluating personalized treatment strategies in breast cancer patients with resistance to standard chemotherapy regimens.
Project description:Protein Kinase D1 (PKD1) is a serine/threonine kinase encoded by the PRKD1 gene. PKD1 has been previously shown to be a prognostic factor in ER?+ tamoxifen-resistant breast tumors and PKD1 overexpression confers estrogen independence to ER?+ MCF7 cells. In the present study, our goal was to determine whether PKD1 is a prognostic factor and/or a relevant therapeutic target in breast cancer. We analyzed PRKD1 mRNA levels in 527 primary breast tumors. We found that high PRKD1 mRNA levels were significantly and independently associated with a low metastasis-free survival in the whole breast cancer population and in the triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype specifically. High PRKD1 mRNA levels were also associated with a low overall survival in TNBC. We identified novel PKD1 inhibitors and assessed their antitumor activity in vitro in TNBC cell lines and in vivo in a TNBC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model. Pharmacological inhibition and siRNA-mediated depletion of PKD1 reduced colony formation in MDA-MB-436 TNBC cells. PKD1 inhibition also reduced tumor growth in vivo in a TNBC PDX model. Together, these results establish PKD1 as a poor prognostic factor and a potential therapeutic target in TNBC.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs), which lack specific targeted therapy options, evolve into highly chemo-resistant tumors that metastasize to multiple organs simultaneously. We have previously shown that TNBCs maintain an activated WNT10B-driven network that drives metastasis. Pharmacologic inhibition by ICG-001 decreases ?-catenin-mediated proliferation of multiple TNBC cell lines and TNBC patient-derived xenograft (PDX)-derived cell lines. In vitro, ICG-001 was effective in combination with the conventional cytotoxic chemotherapeutics, cisplatin and doxorubicin, to decrease the proliferation of MDA-MB-231 cells. In contrast, in TNBC PDX-derived cells doxorubicin plus ICG-001 was synergistic, while pairing with cisplatin was not as effective. Mechanistically, cytotoxicity induced by doxorubicin, but not cisplatin, with ICG-001 was associated with increased cleavage of PARP-1 in the PDX cells only. In vivo, MDA-MB-231 and TNBC PDX orthotopic primary tumors initiated de novo simultaneous multi-organ metastases, including bone metastases. WNT monotherapy blocked multi-organ metastases as measured by luciferase imaging and histology. The loss of expression of the WNT10B/?-catenin direct targets HMGA2, EZH2, AXIN2, MYC, PCNA, CCND1, transcriptionally active ?-catenin, SNAIL and vimentin both in vitro and in vivo in the primary tumors mechanistically explains loss of multi-organ metastases. WNT monotherapy induced VEGFA expression in both tumor model systems, whereas increased CD31 was observed only in the MDA-MB-231 tumors. Moreover, WNT-inhibition sensitized the anticancer response of the TNBC PDX model to doxorubicin, preventing simultaneous metastases to the liver and ovaries, as well as to bone. Our data demonstrate that WNT-inhibition sensitizes TNBC to anthracyclines and treats multi-organ metastases of TNBC.
Project description:PURPOSE:Poor prognosis in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is due to an aggressive phenotype and lack of biomarker-driven targeted therapies. Overexpression of cyclin E and phosphorylated-CDK2 are correlated with poor survival in patients with TNBC, and the absence of CDK2 desensitizes cells to inhibition of Wee1 kinase, a key cell-cycle regulator. We hypothesize that cyclin E expression can predict response to therapies, which include the Wee1 kinase inhibitor, AZD1775. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:Mono- and combination therapies with AZD1775 were evaluated in TNBC cell lines and multiple patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models with different cyclin E expression profiles. The mechanism(s) of cyclin E-mediated replicative stress were investigated following cyclin E induction or CRISPR/Cas9 knockout by a number of assays in multiple cell lines. RESULTS:Cyclin E overexpression (i) is enriched in TNBCs with high recurrence rates, (ii) sensitizes TNBC cell lines and PDX models to AZD1775, (iii) leads to CDK2-dependent activation of DNA replication stress pathways, and (iv) increases Wee1 kinase activity. Moreover, treatment of cells with either CDK2 inhibitors or carboplatin leads to transient transcriptional induction of cyclin E (in cyclin E-low tumors) and result in DNA replicative stress. Such drug-mediated cyclin E induction in TNBC cells and PDX models sensitizes them to AZD1775 in a sequential treatment combination strategy.Conclusions: Cyclin E is a potential biomarker of response (i) for AZD1775 as monotherapy in cyclin E-high TNBC tumors and (ii) for sequential combination therapy with CDK2 inhibitor or carboplatin followed by AZD1775 in cyclin E-low TNBC tumors.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtypes are clinically aggressive and cannot be treated with targeted therapeutics commonly used in other breast cancer subtypes. The claudin-low (CL) molecular subtype of TNBC has high rates of metastases, chemoresistance and recurrence. There exists an urgent need to identify novel therapeutic targets in TNBC; however, existing models utilized in target discovery research are limited. Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models have emerged as superior models for target discovery experiments because they recapitulate features of patient tumors that are limited by cell-line derived xenograft methods. METHODS:We utilize immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR and Western Blot to visualize tumor architecture, cellular composition, genomic and protein expressions of a new CL-TNBC PDX model (TU-BcX-2O0). We utilize tissue decellularization techniques to examine extracellular matrix composition of TU-BcX-2O0. RESULTS:Our laboratory successfully established a TNBC PDX tumor, TU-BCX-2O0, which represents a CL-TNBC subtype and maintains this phenotype throughout subsequent passaging. We dissected TU-BCx-2O0 to examine aspects of this complex tumor that can be targeted by developing therapeutics, including the whole and intact breast tumor, specific cell populations within the tumor, and the extracellular matrix. CONCLUSIONS:Here, we characterize a claudin-low TNBC patient-derived xenograft model that can be utilized for therapeutic research studies.
Project description:Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of a growing spectrum of cancers are rapidly supplanting long-established traditional cell lines as preferred models for conducting basic and translational preclinical research. In breast cancer, to complement the now curated collection of approximately 45 long-established human breast cancer cell lines, a newly formed consortium of academic laboratories, currently from Europe, Australia, and North America, herein summarizes data on over 500 stably transplantable PDX models representing all three clinical subtypes of breast cancer (ER+, HER2+, and "Triple-negative" (TNBC)). Many of these models are well-characterized with respect to genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic features, metastatic behavior, and treatment response to a variety of standard-of-care and experimental therapeutics. These stably transplantable PDX lines are generally available for dissemination to laboratories conducting translational research, and contact information for each collection is provided. This review summarizes current experiences related to PDX generation across participating groups, efforts to develop data standards for annotation and dissemination of patient clinical information that does not compromise patient privacy, efforts to develop complementary data standards for annotation of PDX characteristics and biology, and progress toward "credentialing" of PDX models as surrogates to represent individual patients for use in preclinical and co-clinical translational research. In addition, this review highlights important unresolved questions, as well as current limitations, that have hampered more efficient generation of PDX lines and more rapid adoption of PDX use in translational breast cancer research.
Project description:Breast cancer has been considered not highly immunogenic, and few patients benefit from current immunotherapies. However, new strategies are aimed at changing this paradigm. In the present study, we examined the in vivo activity of a humanized anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (anti-PD-1) antibody against triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumor models.To circumvent some of the limitations posed by the lack of appropriate animal models in preclinical studies of immunotherapies, partially human leukocyte antigen-matched TNBC PDX tumor lines from our collection, as well as human melanoma cell lines, were engrafted in humanized nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency IL2R?null (hNSG) mice obtained by intravenous injection of CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells into nonlethally irradiated 3-4-week-old mice. After both PDXs and melanoma cell xenografts reached ~?150-200 mm3, animals were treated with humanized anti-PD-1 antibody or anti-CTLA-4 and evaluated for tumor growth, survival, and potential mechanism of action.Human CD45+, CD20+, CD3+, CD8+, CD56+, CD68+, and CD33+ cells were readily identified in blood, spleen, and bone marrow collected from hNSG, as well as human cytokines in blood and engrafted tumors. Engraftment of TNBC PDXs in hNSG was high (~?85%), although they grew at a slightly slower pace and conserved their ability to generate lung metastasis. Human CD45+ cells were detectable in hNSG-harbored PDXs, and consistent with clinical observations, anti-PD-1 antibody therapy resulted in both a significant reduction in tumor growth and increased survival in some of the hNSG PDX tumor lines, whereas no such effects were observed in the corresponding non-hNSG models.This study provides evidence associated with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy against TNBC tumors supporting the use of TNBC PDXs in humanized mice as a model to overcome some of the technical difficulties associated with the preclinical investigation of immune-based therapies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a clinically aggressive subtype of breast cancer with high rates of metastasis, tumor recurrence, and resistance to therapeutics. Obesity, defined by a high body mass index (BMI), is an established risk factor for breast cancer. Women with a high BMI have increased incidence and mortality of breast cancer; however, the mechanisms(s) by which obesity promotes tumor progression are not well understood. METHODS:In this study, obesity-altered adipose stem cells (obASCs) were used to evaluate obesity-mediated effects of TNBC. Both in vitro and in vivo analyses of TNBC cell lines were co-cultured with six pooled donors of obASCs (BMI?>?30) or ASCs isolated from lean women (lnASCs) (BMI?<?25). RESULTS:We found that obASCs promote a pro-metastatic phenotype by upregulating genes associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and promoting migration in vitro. We confirmed our findings using a TNBC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model. PDX tumors grown in the presence of obASCS in SCID/beige mice had increased circulating HLA1+ human cells as well as increased numbers of CD44+CD24- cancer stem cells in the peripheral blood. Exposure of the TNBC PDX to obASCs also increased the formation of metastases. The knockdown of leptin expression in obASCs suppressed the pro-metastatic effects of obASCs. CONCLUSIONS:Leptin signaling is a potential mechanism through which obASCs promote metastasis of TNBC in both in vitro and in vivo analyses.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) are characterized by frequent alterations in the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. In this study, we analyzed PI3K pathway activation in 67 patient-derived xenografts (PDX) of breast cancer and investigated the anti-tumor activity of the mTOR inhibitor everolimus in 15 TNBC PDX with different expression and mutational status of PI3K pathway markers. Expression of the tumor suppressors PTEN and INPP4B was lost in 55% and 76% of TNBC PDX, respectively, while mutations in PIK3CA and AKT1 genes were rare. In 7 PDX treatment with everolimus resulted in a tumor growth inhibition higher than 50%, while 8 models were classified as low responder or resistant. Basal-like, LAR (Luminal AR), mesenchymal and HER2-enriched tumors were present in both responder and resistant groups, suggesting that tumor response to everolimus is not restricted to a specific TNBC subtype. Analysis of treated tumors showed a correlation between tumor response and post-treatment phosphorylation of AKT, increased in responder PDX, while PI3K pathway markers at baseline were not sufficient to predict everolimus response. In conclusion, targeting mTOR decreased tumor growth in 7 out of 15 TNBC PDX tested. Response to everolimus occurred in different TNBC subtypes and was associated with post-treatment increase of P-AKT.
Project description:The transcriptional coactivator Amplified in Breast Cancer 1 (AIB1) plays a major role in the progression of hormone and HER2-dependent breast cancers but its role in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is undefined. Here, we report that established TNBC cell lines, as well as cells from a TNBC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) that survive chemotherapy treatment in vitro express lower levels of AIB1 protein. The surviving cell population has an impaired tube-formation phenotype when cultured onto basement membrane, a property shared with TNBC cells that survive shRNA-mediated depletion of AIB1 (AIB1LOW cells). DNA analysis by exome sequencing revealed that AIB1LOW cells represent a distinct subpopulation. Consistent with their in vitro phenotype AIB1LOW cells implanted orthotopically generated slower growing tumors with less capacity for pulmonary metastases. Gene expression analysis of cultured cells and tumors revealed that AIB1LOW cells display a distinct expression signature of genes in pro-inflammatory pathways, cell adhesion, proteolysis and tissue remodeling. Interestingly, the presence of this AIB1LOW expression signature in breast cancer specimens is associated with shorter disease free survival of chemotherapy treated patients. We concluded that TNBC cell lines contain heterogeneous populations with differential dependence on AIB1 and that the gene expression pattern of AIB1LOW cells may represent a signature indicative of poor response to chemotherapy in TNBC patients.