A CINful way to overcome addiction: how chromosomal instability enables cancer to overcome its oncogene addiction.
ABSTRACT: Oncogene-addicted tumors present a valuable target for therapeutic intervention and an opportunity to achieve a wide therapeutic window. Nonetheless, resistance to targeted therapies is frequently observed and it arises through multiple mechanisms, including mutations in the target gene. Chromosomal instability, a defining feature of human cancer, has been linked to targeted therapy resistance, but the mechanism underlying this association is poorly understood. In the current issue of EMBO Molecular Medicine, Salgueiro et al show that chromosomal instability can lead to the generation of alternative oncogenic drivers, thereby providing the ability for cancer cells to overcome the oncogene withdrawal bottleneck. Importantly, this study shows that, by generating de novo genomic diversity, chromosomal instability serves as an adaptive response to therapeutic insult.
Project description:Many cancers exhibit sensitivity to the inhibition of a single genetic lesion, a property that has been successfully exploited with oncogene-targeted therapeutics. However, inhibition of single oncogenes often fails to result in sustained tumor regression due to the emergence of therapy-resistant cells. Here, we report that MYC-driven lymphomas frequently acquire activating mutations in ?-catenin, including a previously unreported mutation in a splice acceptor site. Tumors with these genetic lesions are highly dependent on ?-catenin for their survival and the suppression of ?-catenin resulted in marked apoptosis causally related to a decrease in Bcl-xL expression. Using a novel inducible inhibitor of ?-catenin, we illustrate that, although MYC withdrawal or ?-catenin inhibition alone results in initial tumor regression, most tumors ultimately recurred, mimicking the clinical response to single-agent targeted therapy. Importantly, the simultaneous combined inhibition of both MYC and ?-catenin promoted more rapid tumor regression and successfully prevented tumor recurrence. Hence, we demonstrated that MYC-induced tumors are addicted to mutant ?-catenin, and the combined inactivation of MYC and ?-catenin induces sustained tumor regression. Our results provide a proof of principle that targeting multiple oncogene addicted pathways can prevent therapeutic resistance.
Project description:The suppression of oncogenic levels of MYC is sufficient to induce sustained tumor regression associated with proliferative arrest, differentiation, cellular senescence, and/or apoptosis, a phenomenon known as oncogene addiction. However, after prolonged inactivation of MYC in a conditional transgenic mouse model of Eμ-tTA/tetO-MYC T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, some of the tumors recur, recapitulating what is frequently observed in human tumors in response to targeted therapies. Here we report that these recurring lymphomas express either transgenic or endogenous Myc, albeit in many cases at levels below those in the original tumor, suggesting that tumors continue to be addicted to MYC. Many of the recurring lymphomas (76%) harbored mutations in the tetracycline transactivator, resulting in expression of the MYC transgene even in the presence of doxycycline. Some of the remaining recurring tumors expressed high levels of endogenous Myc, which was associated with a genomic rearrangement of the endogenous Myc locus or activation of Notch1. By gene expression profiling, we confirmed that the primary and recurring tumors have highly similar transcriptomes. Importantly, shRNA-mediated suppression of the high levels of MYC in recurring tumors elicited both suppression of proliferation and increased apoptosis, confirming that these tumors remain oncogene addicted. These results suggest that tumors induced by MYC remain addicted to overexpression of this oncogene.
Project description:The suppression of oncogenic levels of MYC is sufficient to induce sustained tumor regression associated with proliferative arrest, differentiation, cellular senescence and/or apoptosis, a phenomenon known as oncogene addiction. However, after prolonged inactivation of MYC in a conditional transgenic mouse model of Em-tTA/tetO-MYC T-acute lymphomablastic lymphoma (T-ALL), some of the tumors recur, recapitulating what is frequently observed in human tumors in response to targeted therapies. Here we report that these recurring lymphomas express high levels of either transgenic or endogenous Myc suggesting that tumors continue to be addicted to oncogenic levels of MYC. Many of the recurring lymphomas (76%) harbored mutations in the tetracycline transactivator (tTA) resulting in expression of the MYC transgene even in the presence of doxycycline. Many of the remaining recurring tumors expressed high levels of endogenous Myc which was in some cases associated with a genomic rearrangement of the endogenous Myc locus or overexpression of Notch1. Gene expression profiling confirmed that the primary and recurring tumors have highly similar transcriptomes. Importantly, shRNA-mediated suppression of the high levels of MYC in recurring tumors elicited both suppression of proliferation and increased apoptosis confirming that these tumors remain oncogene addicted. These results suggest that tumors caused by MYC overexpression remain addicted to high levels of expression of this oncogene. 13 samples, no replicates included
Project description:The small heat-shock protein of 27 kDa (HSP27) is highly expressed in many cancers and is associated with aggressive tumour behaviour, metastasis, poor prognosis and resistance to chemotherapy. We aimed at assessing the role of HSP27 in modulating responses to target therapies. We selected several oncogene-addicted cancer cell lines, which undergo either cell cycle blockade or cell death in response to agents that target the specific oncogene. Surprisingly, HSP27 suppression alone resulted in the apoptotic death of MET-addicted EBC-1 lung cancer cells, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-addicted colorectal carcinoma (CRC) DiFi cells and BRAF-addicted CRC COLO205 and OXCO-1 and melanoma COLO741 cells, all of which also undergo death when treated with the specific targeted agent. In other cell lines, such as MET-addicted gastric carcinoma MKN45 and EGFR-addicted CRC SW48 lines, where oncogene inhibition only blocked proliferation, HSP27 knockdown made targeted agents switch from cytostatic to cytotoxic activity. Mechanistically, the more the cells were susceptible to HSP27 suppression, the more they were primed for death, as demonstrated by increased levels of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. Priming for death was accompanied by the increase in pro-apoptotic proteins of the BCL2 family and of active caspase-3 and lamin B. Together, these data suggest that oncogene-addicted cells require HSP27 for survival and that HSP27 might interfere with the effectiveness of targeted agents.
Project description:Drug resistance invariably limits the response of oncogene-addicted cancer cells to targeted therapy. The upregulation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) has been implicated as a mechanism of drug resistance in a range of oncogene-addicted cancers. However, the development of inhibitors against STAT3 has been fraught with challenges such as poor delivery or lack of specificity. Clinical experience with small molecule STAT3 inhibitors has seen efficacy signals, but this success has been tempered by drug limiting toxicities from off-target adverse events. It has emerged in recent years that, contrary to the Warburg theory, certain tumor types undergo metabolic reprogramming towards oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to satisfy their energy production. In particular, certain drug-resistant oncogene-addicted tumors have been found to rely on OXPHOS as a mechanism of survival. Multiple cellular signaling pathways converge on STAT3, hence the localization of STAT3 to the mitochondria may provide the link between oncogene-induced signaling pathways and cancer cell metabolism. In this article, we review the role of STAT3 and OXPHOS as targets of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at restoring drug sensitivity in treatment-resistant oncogene-addicted tumor types. Apart from drugs which have been re-purposed as OXPHOS inhibitors for-anti-cancer therapy (e.g., metformin and phenformin), several novel compounds in the drug-development pipeline have demonstrated promising pre-clinical and clinical activity. However, the clinical development of OXPHOS inhibitors remains in its infancy. The further identification of compounds with acceptable toxicity profiles, alongside the discovery of robust companion biomarkers of OXPHOS inhibition, would represent tangible early steps in transforming the therapeutic landscape of cancer cell metabolism.
Project description:Chromosome instability (CIN) has been associated with therapeutic resistance in many cancers. However, whether tumours become genomically unstable as an evolutionary mechanism to overcome the bottleneck exerted by therapy is not clear. Using a CIN model of Kras-driven breast cancer, we demonstrate that aneuploid tumours acquire genetic modifications that facilitate the development of resistance to targeted therapy faster than euploid tumours. We further show that the few initially chromosomally stable cancers that manage to persist during treatment do so concomitantly with the acquisition of CIN. Whole-genome sequencing analysis revealed that the most predominant genetic alteration in resistant tumours, originated from either euploid or aneuploid primary tumours, was an amplification on chromosome 6 containing the cMet oncogene. We further show that these tumours are dependent on cMet since its pharmacological inhibition leads to reduced growth and increased cell death. Our results highlight that irrespective of the initial CIN levels, cancer genomes are dynamic and the acquisition of a certain level of CIN, either induced or spontaneous, is a mechanism to circumvent oncogene addiction.
Project description:The introduction of targeted treatments and more recently immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) to the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has dramatically changed the prognosis of selected patients. For patients with oncogene-addicted metastatic NSCLC harbouring an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or v-Raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homologue B1 (BRAF) mutation or an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) or ROS proto-oncogene 1, receptor tyrosine kinase (ROS1) gene alteration (translocation, fusion, amplification) mutation-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) are already first-line standard treatment, while targeted treatment for other driver mutations affecting MET, RET, human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) 2, tropomyosin receptor kinases (TRK) 1-3 and others are currently under investigation. The role of ICI in these patient subgroups is currently under debate. This article summarises a round-table discussion organised by ESMO Open in Vienna in July 2018. It reviews current clinical data on ICI treatment in patients with metastatic oncogene-addicted NSCLC and discusses molecular diagnostic assessment, potential biomarkers and radiological methods for response evaluation of ICI treatment. The round-table panel concluded ICI should only be considered in patients with oncogene-addicted NSCLC after exhaustion of effective targeted therapies and in some cases possibly after all other therapies including chemotherapies. More clinical trials on combination therapies and biomarkers for ICI therapy based on the specific differing characteristics of oncogene-addicted NSCLC need to be conducted.
Project description:The ability to selectively eradicate oncogene-addicted tumors while reducing systemic toxicity has endeared targeted therapies as a treatment strategy. Nevertheless, development of acquired resistance limits the benefits and durability of such a regime. Here we report evidence of enhanced reliance on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in oncogene-addicted cancers manifesting acquired resistance to targeted therapies. To that effect, we describe a novel OXPHOS targeting activity of the small molecule compound, OPB-51602 (OPB). Of note, a priori treatment with OPB restored sensitivity to targeted therapies. Furthermore, cancer cells exhibiting stemness markers also showed selective reliance on OXPHOS and enhanced sensitivity to OPB. Importantly, in a subset of patients who developed secondary resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), OPB treatment resulted in decrease in metabolic activity and reduction in tumor size. Collectively, we show here a switch to mitochondrial OXPHOS as a key driver of targeted drug resistance in oncogene-addicted cancers. This metabolic vulnerability is exploited by a novel OXPHOS inhibitor, which also shows promise in the clinical setting.
Project description:Cancer cell dependence on activated oncogenes is therapeutically targeted, but acquired resistance is virtually unavoidable. Here we show that the treatment of addicted melanoma cells with BRAF inhibitors, and of breast cancer cells with HER2-targeted drugs, led to an adaptive rise in neuropilin-1 (NRP1) expression, which is crucial for the onset of acquired resistance to therapy. Moreover, NRP1 levels dictated the efficacy of MET oncogene inhibitors in addicted stomach and lung carcinoma cells. Mechanistically, NRP1 induced a JNK-dependent signaling cascade leading to the upregulation of alternative effector kinases EGFR or IGF1R, which in turn sustained cancer cell growth and mediated acquired resistance to BRAF, HER2, or MET inhibitors. Notably, the combination with NRP1-interfering molecules improved the efficacy of oncogene-targeted drugs and prevented or even reversed the onset of resistance in cancer cells and tumor models. Our study provides the rationale for targeting the NRP1-dependent upregulation of tyrosine kinases, which are responsible for loss of responsiveness to oncogene-targeted therapies.
Project description:Taspase1, the mixed lineage leukemia and TFIIAalpha-beta cleaving protease, enables cell proliferation and permits oncogenic initiation. Here, we show its critical role in cancer maintenance and thus offer a new anticancer target. Taspase1 is overexpressed in primary human cancers, and deficiency of Taspase1 in cancer cells not only disrupts proliferation but also enhances apoptosis. Mechanistically, loss of Taspase1 induces the levels of CDK inhibitors (CDKI: p16, p21, and p27) and reduces the level of antiapoptotic MCL-1. Therapeutically, deficiency of Taspase1 synergizes with chemotherapeutic agents and ABT-737, an inhibitor of BCL-2/BCL-X(L), to kill cancer cells. Taspase1 alone or in conjunction with MYC, RAS, or E1A fails to transform NIH/3T3 cells or primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts, respectively, but plays critical roles in cancer initiation and maintenance. Therefore, Taspase1 is better classified as a "non-oncogene addiction" protease, the inhibition of which may offer a novel anticancer therapeutic strategy. The reliance of oncogenes on subordinate non-oncogenes during tumorigenesis underscores the non-oncogene addiction hypothesis in which a large class of non-oncogenes functions to maintain cancer phenotypes and presents attractive anticancer therapeutic targets. The emergence of successful cancer therapeutics targeting non-oncogenes to which cancers are addicted supports the future development and potential application of small-molecule Taspase1 inhibitors for cancer therapy.