Functional genomics identifies specific vulnerabilities in PTEN-deficient breast cancer.
ABSTRACT: Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is one of the most frequently inactivated tumor suppressors in breast cancer. While PTEN itself is not considered a druggable target, PTEN synthetic-sick or synthetic-lethal (PTEN-SSL) genes are potential drug targets in PTEN-deficient breast cancers. Therefore, with the aim of identifying potential targets for precision breast cancer therapy, we sought to discover PTEN-SSL genes present in a broad spectrum of breast cancers.To discover broad-spectrum PTEN-SSL genes in breast cancer, we used a multi-step approach that started with (1) a genome-wide short interfering RNA (siRNA) screen of ~?21,000 genes in a pair of isogenic human mammary epithelial cell lines, followed by (2) a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) screen of ~ 1200 genes focused on hits from the first screen in a panel of 11 breast cancer cell lines; we then determined reproducibility of hits by (3) identification of overlaps between our results and reanalyzed data from 3 independent gene-essentiality screens, and finally, for selected candidate PTEN-SSL genes we (4) confirmed PTEN-SSL activity using either drug sensitivity experiments in a panel of 19 cell lines or mutual exclusivity analysis of publicly available pan-cancer somatic mutation data.The screens (steps 1 and 2) and the reproducibility analysis (step 3) identified six candidate broad-spectrum PTEN-SSL genes (PIK3CB, ADAMTS20, AP1M2, HMMR, STK11, and NUAK1). PIK3CB was previously identified as PTEN-SSL, while the other five genes represent novel PTEN-SSL candidates. Confirmation studies (step 4) provided additional evidence that NUAK1 and STK11 have PTEN-SSL patterns of activity. Consistent with PTEN-SSL status, inhibition of the NUAK1 protein kinase by the small molecule drug HTH-01-015 selectively impaired viability in multiple PTEN-deficient breast cancer cell lines, while mutations affecting STK11 and PTEN were largely mutually exclusive across large pan-cancer data sets.Six genes showed PTEN-SSL patterns of activity in a large proportion of PTEN-deficient breast cancer cell lines and are potential specific vulnerabilities in PTEN-deficient breast cancer. Furthermore, the NUAK1 PTEN-SSL vulnerability identified by RNA interference techniques can be recapitulated and exploited using the small molecule kinase inhibitor HTH-01-015. Thus, NUAK1 inhibition may be an effective strategy for precision treatment of PTEN-deficient breast tumors.
Project description:Deregulation of the PI3K signaling pathway is observed in many human cancers and occurs most frequently through loss of PTEN phosphatase tumor suppressor function or through somatic activating mutations in the Class IA PI3K, PIK3CA. Tumors harboring activated p110alpha, the protein product of PIK3CA, require p110alpha activity for growth and survival and hence are expected to be responsive to inhibitors of its lipid kinase activity. Whether PTEN-deficient cancers similarly depend on p110alpha activity to sustain activation of the PI3K pathway has been unclear. In this study, we used a single-vector lentiviral inducible shRNA system to selectively inactivate the three Class IA PI3Ks, PIK3CA, PIK3CB, and PIK3CD, to determine which PI3K isoforms are responsible for driving the abnormal proliferation of PTEN-deficient cancers. Down-regulation of PIK3CA in colorectal cancer cells harboring mutations in PIK3CA inhibited downstream PI3K signaling and cell growth. Surprisingly, PIK3CA depletion affected neither PI3K signaling nor cell growth in 3 PTEN-deficient cancer cell lines. In contrast, down-regulation of the PIK3CB isoform, which encodes p110beta, resulted in pathway inactivation and subsequent inhibition of growth in both cell-based and in vivo settings. This essential function of PIK3CB in PTEN-deficient cancer cells required its lipid kinase activity. Our findings demonstrate that although p110alpha activation is required to sustain the proliferation of established PIK3CA-mutant tumors, PTEN-deficient tumors are dependent instead on p110beta signaling. This unexpected finding demonstrates the need to tailor therapeutic approaches to the genetic basis of PI3K pathway activation to achieve optimal treatment response.
Project description:This study focused on STK11, PTEN, KRAS, and TP53, which are often found to be mutated in lung cancer. We compared Stk11 and Pten implication in lung cancer in combination with loss of Trp53 and gain of function of Kras in a CRISPR/Cas9 mouse model. Mice with loss of Stk11, Trp53, and KrasG12D mutation (SKT) reached human endpoint at around four months post-initiation. In comparison, mice with loss of Pten, Trp53, and KrasG12D mutation (PKT) survived six months or longer post-initiation. Pathological examination revealed an increase in proliferation in SKT deficient lung epithelia compared to PKT. This difference was independent of Pten loss, indicating that loss of Pten is dispensable for cell proliferation in lung adenocarcinoma. Furthermore, tumors with loss of Stk11, Trp53, and KrasG12D mutation had a significantly higher progression rate, monitored by PET/MRI scanning, compared to mice with loss of Pten, Trp53, and KrasG12D mutation, revealing that mutations in Stk11 are essential for adenocarcinoma progression. Overall, by using the CRISPR/Cas9 mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma, we showed that mutations in Stk11 are a key driver, whereas loss of Pten is dispensable for adenocarcinoma progression.
Project description:Continued use of trastuzumab in PTEN-deficient HER2+ breast cancer induces the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), transforms HER2+ to triple negative breast cancer, and expands breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). Using cancer cell lines with two distinct states, epithelial and mesenchymal, we identified novel targets during EMT in PTEN-deficient trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer. Differential gene expression and distinct responses to a small molecule in BT474 (HER2+ trastuzumab-sensitive) and the PTEN-deficient trastuzumab-resistant derivative (BT474-PTEN-LTT) provided the selection tools to identify targets during EMT. siRNA knockdown and small molecule inhibition confirmed MEOX1 as one of the critical molecular targets to regulate both BCSCs and mesenchymal-like cell proliferation. MEOX1 was associated with poor survival, lymph node metastasis, and stage of breast cancer patients. These findings suggest that MEOX1 is a clinically relevant novel target in BCSCs and mesenchymal-like cancer cells in PTEN-deficient trastuzumab resistant breast cancer and may serve as target for future drug development.
Project description:Breast cancer is a global burden with a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer at 1 in 8. Although breast cancer is a disease that affects mostly women, the lifetime risk in men is about 1 in 1000. Most cases of breast cancer are associated with somatic mutations in breast cells that are acquired during a person's lifetime. In this scenario, the mutations are not inherited and they do not cluster in families. In hereditary breast cancer, the specific genetic factors involved will determine the inherited cancer risk. Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have been well-described, but mutations in ATM, CDH1, CHEK2, PALB2, PTEN, STK11, and TP53 also confer breast cancer risk. Understanding the functional significance of hereditary mutations has opened new paths for breast cancer prevention and is uncovering promising treatment strategies.
Project description:Chromosomal instability (CIN) is an emerging hallmark of cancer and its role in therapeutic responses has been increasingly attracting the attention of the research community. To target the vulnerability of tumors with high CIN, it is important to identify the genes and mechanisms involved in the maintenance of CIN. In our work, we recognize the tumor suppressor gene Phosphatase and Tensin homolog (PTEN) as a potential gene causing CIN in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and show that TNBC with low expression levels of PTEN can be sensitized for the treatment with poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase 1 (PARP1) inhibitors, independent of Breast Cancer (BRCA) mutations or a BRCA-like phenotype. In silico analysis of mRNA expression data from 200 TNBC patients revealed low expression of PTEN in tumors with a high CIN70 score. Western blot analysis of TNBC cell lines confirm lower protein expression of PTEN compared to non TNBC cell lines. Further, PTEN-deficient cell lines showed cellular sensitivity towards PARP1 inhibition treatment. DNA fiber assays and examination of chromatin bound protein fractions indicate a protective role of PTEN at stalled replication forks. In this study, we recognize PTEN as a potential CIN-causing gene in TNBC and identify its important role in the replication processes.
Project description:Breast cancer incidence rates are characterized by unique racial and ethnic differences. Native American ancestry has been associated with reduced breast cancer risk. We explore the biological basis of disparities in breast cancer risk in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women by evaluating genetic variation in genes involved in inflammation, insulin and energy homeostasis in conjunction with genetic ancestry. Hispanic (2111 cases, 2597 controls) and non-Hispanic white (1481 cases, 1586 controls) women enrolled in the 4-Corner's Breast Cancer Study, the Mexico Breast Cancer Study and the San Francisco Bay Area Breast Cancer Study were included. Genetic admixture was determined from 104 ancestral informative markers that discriminate between European and Native American ancestry. Twenty-one genes in the CHIEF candidate pathway were evaluated. Higher Native American ancestry was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer (odds ratio = 0.79, 95% confidence interval 0.65, 0.95) but was limited to postmenopausal women (odds ratio = 0.66, 95% confidence interval 0.52, 0.85). After adjusting for genetic ancestry and multiple comparisons, four genes were significantly associated with breast cancer risk, NF?B1, NF?B1A, PTEN and STK11. Within admixture strata, breast cancer risk among women with low Native American ancestry was associated with IkBKB, NF?B1, PTEN and RPS6KA2, whereas among women with high Native American ancestry, breast cancer risk was associated with IkBKB, mTOR, PDK2, PRKAA1, RPS6KA2 and TSC1. Higher Native American ancestry was associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Breast cancer risk differed by genetic ancestry along with genetic variation in genes involved in inflammation, insulin, and energy homeostasis.
Project description:Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women in the Western world. Except for the high breast cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers as well as the risk for breast cancer in certain rare syndromes caused by mutations in TP53, STK11, PTEN, CDH1, NF1 or NBN, familial clustering of breast cancer remains largely unexplained. Despite significant efforts, BRCA3 could not be identified, but several reports have recently been published on genes involved in DNA repair and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with an increased breast cancer risk. Although candidate gene approaches demonstrated moderately increased breast cancer risks for rare mutations in genes involved in DNA repair (ATM, CHEK2, BRIP1, PALB2 and RAD50), genome-wide association studies identified several SNPs as low-penetrance breast cancer susceptibility polymorphisms within genes as well as in chromosomal loci with no known genes (FGFR2, TOX3, LSP1, MAP3K1, TGFB1, 2q35 and 8q). Some of these low-penetrance breast cancer susceptibility polymorphisms also act as modifier genes in BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers. This review not only outlines the recent key developments and potential clinical benefit for preventive management and therapy but also discusses the current limitations of genetic testing of variants associated with intermediate and low breast cancer risk.
Project description:Phosphate and tensin homolog (PTEN), a negative regulator of PI3K signaling, is involved in DNA repair. ATR is a key sensor of DNA damage and replication stress. We evaluated whether ATR signaling has clinical significance and could be targeted by synthetic lethality in PTEN-deficient triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).PTEN, ATR and pCHK1Ser345 protein level was evaluated in 1650 human breast cancers. ATR blockade by VE-821 was investigated in PTEN-proficient- (MDA-MB-231) and PTEN-deficient (BT-549, MDA-MB-468) TNBC cell lines. Functional studies included DNA repair expression profiling, MTS cell-proliferation assay, FACS (cell cycle progression & ?H2AX accumulation) and FITC-annexin V flow cytometry analysis.Low nuclear PTEN was associated with higher grade, pleomorphism, de-differentiation, higher mitotic index, larger tumour size, ER negativity, and shorter survival (p values < 0.05). In tumours with low nuclear PTEN, high ATR and/or high pCHK1ser345 level was also linked to higher grade, larger tumour size and poor survival (all p values < 0.05). VE-821 was selectively toxic in PTEN-deficient TNBC cells and resulted in accumulation of double-strand DNA breaks, cell cycle arrest, and increased apoptosis.ATR signalling adversely impact survival in PTEN-deficient breast cancers. ATR inhibition is synthetically lethal in PTEN-deficient TNBC cells.
Project description:Male breast cancer (MBC) is still poorly understood with a large proportion arising in families with a history of breast cancer. Genomic studies have focused on germline determinants of MBC risk, with minimal knowledge of somatic changes in these cancers.Using a TruSeq amplicon cancer panel, this study evaluated 48 familial MBCs (3 BRCA1 germline mutant, 17 BRCA2 germline mutant and 28 BRCAX) for hotspot somatic mutations and copy number changes in 48 common cancer genes.Twelve missense mutations included nine PIK3CA mutations (seven in BRCAX patients), two TP53 mutations (both in BRCA2 patients) and one PTEN mutation. Common gains were seen in GNAS (34.1%) and losses were seen in GNAQ (36.4%), ABL1 (47.7%) and ATM (34.1%). Gains of HRAS (37.5% vs 3%, P=0.006), STK11 (25.0% vs 0%, P=0.01) and SMARCB1 (18.8% vs 0%, P=0.04) and the loss of RB1 (43.8% vs 13%, P=0.03) were specific to BRCA2 tumours.This study is the first to perform high-throughput somatic sequencing on familial MBCs. Overall, PIK3CA mutations are most commonly seen, with fewer TP53 and PTEN mutations, similar to the profile seen in luminal A female breast cancers. Differences in mutation profiles and patterns of gene gains/losses are seen between BRCA2 (associated with TP53/PTEN mutations, loss of RB1 and gain of HRAS, STK11 and SMARCB1) and BRCAX (associated with PIK3CA mutations) tumours, suggesting that BRCA2 and BRCAX MBCs may be distinct and arise from different tumour pathways. This has implications on potential therapies, depending on the BRCA status of MBC patients.
Project description:The panel of 60 human cancer cell lines (the NCI-60) assembled by the National Cancer Institute for anticancer drug discovery is a widely used resource. The NCI-60 has been characterized pharmacologically and at the molecular level more extensively than any other set of cell lines. However, no systematic mutation analysis of genes causally implicated in oncogenesis has been reported. This study reports the sequence analysis of 24 known cancer genes in the NCI-60 and an assessment of 4 of the 24 genes for homozygous deletions. One hundred thirty-seven oncogenic mutations were identified in 14 (APC, BRAF, CDKN2, CTNNB1, HRAS, KRAS, NRAS, SMAD4, PIK3CA, PTEN, RB1, STK11, TP53, and VHL) of the 24 genes. All lines have at least one mutation among the cancer genes examined, with most lines (73%) having more than one. Identification of those cancer genes mutated in the NCI-60, in combination with pharmacologic and molecular profiles of the cells, will allow for more informed interpretation of anticancer agent screening and will enhance the use of the NCI-60 cell lines for molecularly targeted screens.