Interaction Between MUC1 and STAT1 Drives IFITM1 Overexpression in Aromatase Inhibitor-Resistant Breast Cancer Cells and Mediates Estrogen-Induced Apoptosis.
ABSTRACT: The human oncoprotein, mucin 1 (MUC1), drives tumorigenesis in breast carcinomas by promoting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), epigenetic reprogramming, and evasion of immune response. MUC1 interacts with STAT1, through JAK/STAT signaling, and stimulates transcription of IFN-stimulated genes, specifically IFN-induced transmembrane protein 1 (IFITM1). Our laboratory has previously shown that IFITM1 overexpression in aromatase inhibitor (AI)-resistant breast cancer cells promotes aggressiveness. Here, we demonstrate that differential regulation of MUC1 in AI-sensitive (MCF-7 and T-47D) compared with AI-resistant (MCF-7:5C) cells is critical in mediating IFITM1 expression. A tumor microarray of 94 estrogen receptor-positive human breast tumors correlated coexpression of MUC1 and IFITM1 with poor recurrence-free survival, poor overall survival, and AI-resistance. In this study, we investigated the effects of MUC1/IFITM1 on cell survival and proliferation. We knocked down MUC1 levels with siRNA and pharmacologic inhibitors, which abrogated IFITM1 mRNA and protein expression and induced cell death in AI-resistant cells. In vivo, estrogen and ruxolitinib significantly reduced tumor size and decreased expression of MUC1, P-STAT1, and IFITM1. IMPLICATIONS: MUC1 and IFITM1 overexpression drives AI resistance and can be targeted with currently available therapies.Visual Overview: http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/content/molcanres/17/5/1180/F1.large.jpg.
Project description:Interferon induced transmembrane protein 1 (IFITM1) belongs to a family of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) that is associated with tumor progression and DNA damage resistance; however, its role in endocrine resistance is not known. Here, we correlate IFITM1 expression with clinical stage and poor response to endocrine therapy in a tissue microarray consisting of 94 estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast tumors. IFITM1 overexpression is confirmed in the AI-resistant MCF-7:5C cell line and not found in AI-sensitive MCF-7 cells. In this study, the orthotopic (mammary fat pad) and mouse mammary intraductal (MIND) models of breast cancer are used to assess tumor growth and invasion in vivo. Lentivirus-mediated shRNA knockdown of IFITM1 in AI-resistant MCF-7:5C cells diminished tumor growth and invasion and induced cell death, whereas overexpression of IFITM1 in wild-type MCF-7 cells promoted estrogen-independent growth and enhanced their aggressive phenotype. Mechanistic studies indicated that loss of IFITM1 in MCF-7:5C cells markedly increased p21 transcription, expression and nuclear localization which was mediated by JAK/STAT activation. These findings suggest IFITM1 overexpression contributes to breast cancer progression and that targeting IFITM1 may be therapeutically beneficial to patients with endocrine-resistant disease.
Project description:Tamoxifen resistance of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer cells has been linked in part to activation of receptor tyrosine kinases, such as HER2, and the PI3K-AKT pathway. Mucin 1 (MUC1) is aberrantly overexpressed in about 90% of human breast cancers, and the oncogenic MUC1-C subunit is associated with ER?. The present studies using HER2 overexpressing BT-474 breast cancer cells, which are constitutively resistant to tamoxifen, demonstrate that silencing MUC1-C is associated with (i) downregulation of p-HER2 and (ii) sensitivity to tamoxifen-induced growth inhibition and loss of clonogenic survival. In contrast, overexpression of MUC1-C in tamoxifen-sensitive MCF-7 breast cancer cells resulted in upregulation of p-AKT and tamoxifen resistance. We show that MUC1-C forms complexes with ER? on the estrogen-responsive promoter of Rab31 and that MUC1-C blocks tamoxifen-induced decreases in ER? occupancy. MUC1-C also attenuated tamoxifen-induced decreases in (i) recruitment of the coactivator CREB binding protein, (ii) Rab31 promoter activation, and (iii) Rab31 mRNA and protein levels. The importance of MUC1-C is further supported by the demonstration that targeting MUC1-C with the cell-penetrating peptide inhibitor, GO-203, sensitized tamoxifen-resistant cells to tamoxifen treatment. Moreover, we show that targeting MUC1-C in combination with tamoxifen is highly synergistic in the treatment of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. Combined, these findings indicate that MUC1-C contributes to tamoxifen resistance.
Project description:Proteomic profiling of the estrogen/tamoxifen-sensitive MCF-7 cell line and its partially sensitive (MCF-7/LCC1) and fully resistant (MCF-7/LCC9) variants was performed to identify modifiers of endocrine sensitivity in breast cancer. Analysis of the expression of 120 paired phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated epitopes in key oncogenic and tumor suppressor pathways revealed that STAT1 and several phosphorylated epitopes (phospho-STAT1(Tyr701) and phospho-STAT3(Ser727)) were differentially expressed between endocrine resistant and parental controls, confirmed by qRT-PCR and western blotting. The STAT1 inhibitor EGCG was a more effective inhibitor of the endocrine resistant MCF-7/LCC1 and MCF-7/LCC9 lines than parental MCF-7 cells, while STAT3 inhibitors Stattic and WP1066 were equally effective in endocrine-resistant and parental lines. The effects of the STAT inhibitors were additive, rather than synergistic, when tested in combination with tamoxifen in vitro. Expression of STAT1 and STAT3 were measured by quantitative immunofluorescence in invasive breast cancers and matched lymph nodes. When lymph node expression was compared to its paired primary breast cancer expression, there was greater expression of cytoplasmic STAT1 (?3.1 fold), phospho-STAT3(Ser727) (?1.8 fold), and STAT5 (?1.5 fold) and nuclear phospho-STAT3(Ser727) (?1.5 fold) in the nodes. Expression levels of STAT1 and STAT3 transcript were analysed in 550 breast cancers from publicly available gene expression datasets (GSE2990, GSE12093, GSE6532). When treatment with tamoxifen was considered, STAT1 gene expression was nearly predictive of distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS, log-rank p?=?0.067), while STAT3 gene expression was predictive of DMFS (log-rank p<0.0001). Analysis of STAT1 and STAT3 protein expression in a series of 546 breast cancers also indicated that high expression of STAT3 protein was associated with improved survival (DMFS, p?=?0.006). These results suggest that STAT signaling is important in endocrine resistance, and that STAT inhibitors may represent potential therapies in breast cancer, even in the resistant setting.
Project description:Increasing evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs) are important players in oncogenesis. Considering the widespread use of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) in endocrine therapy as a first-line treatment for postmenopausal estrogen receptor ?-positive breast cancer patients, identifying deregulated expression levels of miRNAs in association with AI resistance is of utmost importance.To gain further insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the AI resistance, we performed miRNA microarray experiments using a new model of acquired resistance to letrozole (Res-Let cells), obtained by long-term exposure of aromatase-overexpressing MCF-7 cells (MCF-7aro cells) to letrozole, and a model of acquired anastrozole resistance (Res-Ana cells). Three miRNAs (miR-125b, miR-205 and miR-424) similarly deregulated in both AI-resistant cell lines were then investigated in terms of their functional role in AI resistance development and breast cancer cell aggressiveness and their clinical relevance using a cohort of 65 primary breast tumor samples.We identified the deregulated expression of 33 miRNAs in Res-Let cells and of 18 miRNAs in Res-Ana cells compared with the sensitive MCF-7aro cell line. The top-ranked Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways delineated by both miRNA signatures converged on the AKT/mTOR pathway, which was found to be constitutively activated in both AI-resistant cell lines. We report for the first time, to our knowledge, that ectopic overexpression of either miR-125b or miR-205, or the silencing of miR-424 expression, in the sensitive MCF-7aro cell line was sufficient to confer resistance to letrozole and anastrozole, to target and activate the AKT/mTOR pathway and to increase the formation capacity of stem-like and tumor-initiating cells possessing self-renewing properties. Increasing miR-125b expression levels was also sufficient to confer estrogen-independent growth properties to the sensitive MCF-7aro cell line. We also found that elevated miR-125b expression levels were a novel marker for poor prognosis in breast cancer and that targeting miR-125b in Res-Let cells overcame letrozole resistance.This study highlights that acquisition of specific deregulated miRNAs is a newly discovered alternative mechanism developed by AI-resistant breast cancer cells to achieve constitutive activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway and to develop AI resistance. It also highlights that miR-125b is a new biomarker of poor prognosis and a candidate therapeutic target in AI-resistant breast cancers.
Project description:Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) effectively treat hormone receptor-positive postmenopausal breast cancer, but some patients do not respond to treatment or experience recurrence. Mechanisms of AI resistance include ligand-independent activation of the estrogen receptor (ER) and signaling via other growth factor receptors; however, these do not account for all forms of resistance. Here we present an alternative mechanism of AI resistance. We ectopically expressed aromatase in MCF-7 cells expressing green fluorescent protein as an index of ER activity. Aromatase-overexpressing MCF-7 cells were cultured in estrogen-depleted medium supplemented with testosterone and the AI, letrozole, to establish letrozole-resistant (LR) cell lines. Compared with parental cells, LR cells had higher mRNA levels of steroid sulfatase (STS), which converts estrone sulfate (E1S) to estrone, and the organic anion transporter peptides (OATPs), which mediate the uptake of E1S into cells. LR cells proliferated more in E1S-supplemented medium than did parental cells, and LR proliferation was effectively inhibited by an STS inhibitor in combination with letrozole and by ER-targeting drugs. Analysis of ER-positive primary breast cancer tissues showed a significant correlation between the increases in the mRNA levels of STS and the OATPs in the LR cell lines, which supports the validity of this AI-resistant model. This is the first study to demonstrate the contribution of STS and OATPs in E1S metabolism to the proliferation of AI-resistant breast cancer cells. We suggest that E1S metabolism represents a new target in AI-resistant breast cancer treatment.
Project description:Aromatase inhibitor (AI) resistance is a major obstacle in the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Everolimus (EVE) ameliorates AI-resistant breast cancer and is therefore used in cancer treatment. However, some patients show resistance to EVE. Here, we used 30 clones of long-term estrogen-deprived (LTED) MCF-7 cells as a model of AI-resistant breast cancer. We examined changes in protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) and cancerous inhibitor of PP2A (CIP2A), a negative regulator of PP2A, in LTED cells treated with EVE. In LTED cells with high sensitivity to EVE, CIP2A expression decreased at low EVE concentrations; however, in LTED cells poorly sensitive to EVE, CIP2A and PP2A did not change upon exposure to EVE. Therefore, we hypothesized that there is a relation between expression of CIP2A and sensitivity to EVE. Knockdown of CIP2A increased the sensitivity to EVE in three clones poorly sensitive to EVE. Additionally, we found that treatment with FSK, which activates PP2A, increased the sensitivity of the cells to EVE. Our data point to CIP2A and PP2A as novel therapeutic targets for AI-resistant breast cancer.
Project description:A series of triphenylethylene bisphenol analogues of the selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) tamoxifen were synthesized and evaluated for their abilities to inhibit aromatase, bind to estrogen receptor α (ER-α) and estrogen receptor β (ER-β), and antagonize the activity of β-estradiol in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. The long-range goal has been to create dual aromatase inhibitor (AI)/selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). The hypothesis is that in normal tissue the estrogenic SERM activity of a dual AI/SERM could attenuate the undesired effects stemming from global estrogen depletion caused by the AI activity of a dual AI/SERM, while in breast cancer tissue the antiestrogenic SERM activity of a dual AI/SERM could act synergistically with AI activity to enhance the antiproliferative effect. The potent aromatase inhibitory activities and high ER-α and ER-β binding affinities of several of the resulting analogues, together with the facts that they antagonize β-estradiol in a functional assay in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells and they have no E/Z isomers, support their further development in order to obtain dual AI/SERM agents for breast cancer treatment.
Project description:Despite the success of the aromatase inhibitors (AIs) in treating estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, 15-20 % of patients receiving adjuvant AIs will relapse within 5-10 years of treatment initiation. Long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) of breast cancer cells in culture mimics AI-induced estrogen depletion to dissect mechanisms of AI resistance. However, we hypothesized that a subset of patients receiving AI therapy may maintain low circulating concentrations of estrogens that influence the development of endocrine resistance. We expanded established LTED models to account for incomplete suppression of estrogen synthesis during AI therapy. MCF-7 cells were grown in medium with charcoal-stripped serum supplemented with defined concentrations of 17?-estradiol (E2) or the estrogenic androgen metabolite 5?-androstane-3?,17?-diol (3?Adiol), an endogenous selective estrogen receptor modulator. Cells were selected in concentrations of E2 or 3?Adiol that induce 10 or 90 percent of maximal proliferation (EC(10) and EC(90), respectively), or estrogen deprived. Estrogen independence was evaluated during selection by assessing cell growth in the absence or presence of E2 or 3?Adiol. Following >7 months of selection, estrogen independence developed in estrogen-deprived cells and EC(10)-selected cells. Functional analyses demonstrated that estrogen-deprived and EC(10)-selected cells developed estrogen independence via unique mechanisms, ER?-independent and dependent, respectively. Estrogen-independent proliferation in EC(10)-selected cells could be blocked by kinase inhibitors. However, these cells were resistant to kinase inhibition in the presence of low steroid concentrations. These data demonstrate that further understanding of the total estrogen environment in patients on AI therapy who experience recurrence is necessary to effectively treat endocrine-resistant disease.
Project description:Many estrogen receptor alpha (ER?)-positive breast cancers initially respond to aromatase inhibitors (AIs), but eventually acquire resistance. Here, we report that serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 3 (SGK3), a kinase transcriptionally regulated by ER? in breast cancer, sustains ER? signaling and drives acquired AI resistance. SGK3 is up-regulated and essential for endoplasmic reticulum (EnR) homeostasis through preserving sarcoplasmic/EnR calcium ATPase 2b (SERCA2b) function in AI-resistant cells. We have further found that EnR stress response down-regulates ER? expression through the protein kinase RNA-like EnR kinase (PERK) arm, and SGK3 retains ER? expression and signaling by preventing excessive EnR stress. Our study reveals regulation of ER? expression mediated by the EnR stress response and the feed-forward regulation between SGK3 and ER? in breast cancer. Given SGK3 inhibition reduces AI-resistant cell survival by eliciting excessive EnR stress and also depletes ER? expression/function, we propose SGK3 inhibition as a potential effective treatment of acquired AI-resistant breast cancer.
Project description:Signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) is activated in the inflammatory response to interferons. The MUC1 oncoprotein is overexpressed in human breast cancers. Analysis of genes differentially expressed in MUC1-transformed cells has identified a network linking MUC1 and STAT1 that is associated with cellular growth and inflammation. The results further show that the MUC1-C subunit associates with STAT1 in cells and the MUC1-C cytoplasmic domain binds directly to the STAT1 DNA-binding domain. The interaction between MUC1-C and STAT1 is inducible by IFNgamma in non-malignant epithelial cells and constitutive in breast cancer cells. Moreover, the MUC1-STAT1 interaction contributes to the activation of STAT1 target genes, including MUC1 itself. Analysis of two independent databases showed that MUC1 and STAT1 are coexpressed in about 15% of primary human breast tumors. Coexpression of MUC1 and the STAT1 pathway was found to be significantly associated with decreased recurrence-free and overall survival. These findings indicate that (i) MUC1 and STAT1 function in an auto-inductive loop, and (ii) activation of both MUC1 and the STAT1 pathway in breast tumors confers a poor prognosis for patients.