Akt isoform-specific effects on thyroid cancer development and progression in a murine thyroid cancer model.
ABSTRACT: The Akt family is comprised of three unique homologous proteins with isoform-specific effects, but isoform-specific in vivo data are limited in follicular thyroid cancer (FTC), a PI3 kinase-driven tumor. Prior studies demonstrated that PI3K/Akt signaling is important in thyroid hormone receptor ?PV/PV knock-in (PV) mice that develop metastatic thyroid cancer that most closely resembles FTC. To determine the roles of Akt isoforms in this model we crossed Akt1-/-, Akt2-/-, and Akt3-/- mice with PV mice. Over 12 months, thyroid size was reduced for the Akt null crosses (p?
Project description:Akt activation is common in progressive thyroid cancer. In breast cancer, Akt1 induces primary cancer growth, but is reported to inhibit metastasis in vivo in several model systems. In contrast, clinical and in vitro studies suggest a metastasis-promoting role for Akt1 in thyroid cancer. The goal of this study was to determine the functional role of Akt1 in thyroid cancer growth and metastatic progression in vivo using thyroid hormone receptor (TR) ?(PV/PV) knock-in (PV) mice, which develop metastatic thyroid cancer. We crossed Akt1(-/-) and PV mice and compared tumor development, local progression, metastasis and histology in TR?(PV/PV)/Akt1(+/+) (PVPV-Akt1WT) and TR?(PV/PV)/Akt1(-/-) (PVPV-Akt1KO) mice. Mice were killed at 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 months; necropsy was performed and serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was measured. Thyroid hyperplasia occurred in both groups beginning at 3 months; the thyroid size was greater in the PVPV-Akt1WT mice (P<0.001). In comparison with PVPV-Akt1WT mice, thyroid cancer development was delayed in the PVPV-Akt1KO mice (P=0.003) and the degree of tumor invasiveness was reduced. The PVPV-Akt1WT mice displayed pulmonary metastases at 12 and 15 months of age, by contrast PVPV-Akt1KO mice did not develop distant metastases at 15 months of age. Despite continued expression of Akt2 or Akt3, pAkt levels were decreased and there was evidence of reduced Akt effect on p27 in the PVPV-Akt1KO thyroids. TSH levels were similarly elevated in PV mice regardless of Akt1 expression. In conclusion, thyroid cancer development and progression in TR ?(PV/PV) mice are Akt1-dependent, consistent with a tumor progression-promoting role in this murine thyroid cancer model.
Project description:TSH is the major stimulator of thyrocyte proliferation, but its role in thyroid carcinogenesis remains unclear. To address this question, we used a mouse model of follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) (TRbeta(PV/PV) mice). These mice, harboring a dominantly negative mutation (PV) of the thyroid hormone-beta receptor (TRbeta), exhibit increased serum thyroid hormone and elevated TSH. To eliminate TSH growth-stimulating effect, TRbeta(PV/PV) mice were crossed with TSH receptor gene knockout (TSHR(-/-)) mice. Wild-type siblings of TRbeta(PV/PV) mice were treated with an antithyroid agent, propylthiouracil, to elevate serum TSH for evaluating long-term TSH effect (WT-PTU mice). Thyroids from TRbeta(PV/PV)TSHR(-/-) showed impaired growth with no occurrence of FTC. Both WT-PTU and TRbeta(PV/PV) mice displayed enlarged thyroids, but only TRbeta(PV/PV) mice developed metastatic FTC. Molecular analyses indicate that PV acted, via multiple mechanisms, to activate the integrins-Src-focal adhesion kinase-p38 MAPK pathway and affect cytoskeletal restructuring to increase tumor cell migration and invasion. Thus, growth stimulated by TSH is a prerequisite but not sufficient for metastatic cancer to occur. Additional genetic alterations (such as PV), destined to alter focal adhesion and migration capacities, are required to empower hyperplastic follicular cells to invade and metastasize. These in vivo findings provide new insights in understanding carcinogenesis of the human thyroid.
Project description:The incidence of thyroid cancer, the most frequent endocrine neoplasia, is rapidly increasing. Significant progress has recently been made in the identification of genetic lesions in thyroid cancer; however, whether inflammation contributes to thyroid cancer progression remains unknown. Using a mouse model of aggressive follicular thyroid cancer (FTC; ThrbPV/PVPten+/- mice), we aimed to elucidate a cause-effect relationship at the molecular level. The ThrbPV/PVPten+/- mouse expresses a dominantly negative thyroid hormone receptor ? (denoted as PV) and a deletion of a single allele of the Pten gene. These two oncogenic signaling pathways synergistically activate PI3K-AKT signaling to drive cancer progression as in human FTC. At the age of 5-7 weeks, thyroids of ThrbPV/PVPten+/- mice exhibited extensive hyperplasia accompanied by 77.5-fold infiltration of inflammatory monocytes as compared with normal thyroids. Global gene expression profiling identified altered expression of 2387 genes, among which 1353 were upregulated and 1034 were down-regulated. Further analysis identified markedly elevated expression of inflammation mediators and cytokines such as, Csf1r, Csf1, SPP1, Aif1, IL6, Ccl9, Ccl3, Ccl12, and Ccr2 genes and decreased expression of Kit, Ephx2, Cd163, IL15, Ccl11, and Cxcl13 genes. These changes elicited the inflammatory responses in the hyperplastic thyroid of ThrbPV/PVPten+/- mice, reflecting early events in thyroid carcinogenesis. We next tested whether attenuating the inflammatory responses could mitigate thyroid cancer progression. We treated the mice with an inhibitor of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R), pexidartinib (PLX-3397; PLX). CSF1R mediates the activity of the cytokine, colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1), in the production, differentiation, and functions of monocytes and macrophages. Treatment with PLX decreased 94% and 62% of inflammatory monocytes in the thyroid and bone marrow, respectively, versus controls. Further, PLX suppressed the expression of critical cytokine and inflammation-regulating genes such as Csf1r, SPP1 (OPN), Aif1, IL6, Ccl9, Ccl3, Ccl12, and Ccr2 (25%-80%), resulting in inhibition of 89% tumor cell proliferation, evidenced by Ki-67 immunostaining. These preclinical findings suggest that inflammation occurs in the early stage of thyroid carcinogenesis and plays a critical in cancer progression. Importantly, attenuation of inflammation by inhibitors such as PLX would be beneficial in preventing thyroid cancer.
Project description:Thyroid cancer is the most common form of endocrine cancer, and it is a disease whose incidence is rapidly rising. Well-differentiated epithelial thyroid cancer can be divided into papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and follicular thyroid cancer (FTC). Although FTC is less common, patients with this condition have more frequent metastasis and a poorer prognosis than those with PTC.The objective of this study was to characterize the molecular mechanisms contributing to the development and metastasis of FTC.We developed and characterized mice carrying thyroid-specific double knockout of the Prkar1a and Pten tumor suppressor genes and compared signaling alterations observed in the mouse FTC to the corresponding human tumors.The study was conducted at an academic research laboratory. Human samples were obtained from academic hospitals.Deidentified, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples were analyzed from 10 control thyroids, 30 PTC cases, five follicular variant PTC cases, and 10 FTC cases.There were no interventions.Mouse and patient samples were analyzed for expression of activated cAMP response element binding protein, AKT, ERK, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Murine FTCs were analyzed for differential gene expression to identify genes associated with metastatic progression.Double Prkar1a-Pten thyroid knockout mice develop FTC and recapitulate the histology and metastatic phenotype of the human disease. Analysis of signaling pathways in FTC showed that both human and mouse tumors exhibited strong activation of protein kinase A and mTOR. The development of metastatic disease was associated with the overexpression of genes required for cell movement.These data imply that the protein kinase A and mTOR signaling cascades are important for the development of follicular thyroid carcinogenesis and may suggest new targets for therapeutic intervention. Mouse models paralleling the development of the stages of human FTC should provide important new tools for understanding the mechanisms of FTC development and progression and for evaluating new therapeutics.
Project description:Information on the genetic events leading to thyroid cancer in dogs is lacking.Upregulation of the PI3K/Akt pathway has an important role in the tumorigenesis of thyroid carcinoma in dogs.Fifty-nine dogs with thyroid carcinoma and 10 healthy controls.Quantitative RT-PCR was performed for VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, EGFR, PIK3CA, PIK3CB, PDPK1, PTEN, AKT1, AKT2, COX-2, and CALCA. Mutation analysis was performed for known hotspots of RAS (N, K, H), PIK3CA, BRAF, RET, and for the entire coding region of PTEN.Forty-three dogs (73%) had follicular cell thyroid carcinoma (FTC) and 16 dogs (27%) had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). The relative mRNA expressions of VEGFR-1 (P < .001), VEGFR-2 (P = .002), PDPK1 (P < .001), AKT1 (P = .009), and AKT2 (P < .001) were increased in FTC, and those of EGFR (P < .001), VEGFR-1 (P = .036), and PIK3CA (P = .019) were increased in MTC when compared to normal thyroid glands. Mutation analysis of K-RAS identified 2 activating missense mutations, which also have been described in thyroid cancer of humans. A G12R substitution was present in 1 FTC and an E63K substitution was present in 1 MTC. No functional mutations were found in the sequenced regions of H-RAS, N-RAS, PIK3CA, BRAF, RET, and PTEN.The increased expression of several genes associated with PI3K/Akt signaling suggests the involvement of this pathway in the pathogenesis of thyroid carcinoma in dogs, warranting further research on pathway activation and gene amplification. The mutations most frequently associated with thyroid cancer in humans are rare in dogs.
Project description:Mouse models can provide useful information to understand molecular mechanisms of human tumorigenesis. In this study, the conditional thyroid mutagenesis of Pten and Ras genes in the mouse, which induces very aggressive follicular carcinomas (FTCs), has been used to identify genes differentially expressed among human normal thyroid tissue (NT), follicular adenoma (FA), and FTC. Global gene expression of mouse FTC was compared with that of mouse normal thyroids: 911 genes were found deregulated ± 2-fold in FTC samples. Then the expression of 45 deregulated genes in mouse tumors was investigated by quantitative RT-PCR in a first cohort of human NT, FA, and FTC (discovery group). Five genes were found significantly down-regulated in FA and FTC compared with NT. However, 17 genes were found differentially expressed between FA and FTC: 5 and 12 genes were overexpressed and underexpressed in FTC vs FA, respectively. Finally, 7 gene products, selected from results obtained in the discovery group, were investigated in a second cohort of human tumors (validation group) by immunohistochemistry. Four proteins showed significant differences between FA and FTC (peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor-?, serum deprivation response protein, osteoglycin, and dipeptidase 1). Altogether our data indicate that the establishment of an enriched panel of molecular biomarkers using data coming from mouse thyroid tumors and validated in human specimens may help to set up a more valid platform to further improve diagnosis and prognosis of thyroid malignancies.
Project description:Accurate diagnosis of thyroid tumors is challenging. A particular problem is distinguishing between follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) and benign follicular thyroid adenoma (FTA), where histology of fine-needle aspirates is not conclusive. It is often necessary to remove healthy thyroid to rule out carcinoma. In order to find markers to improve diagnosis, we quantified gene transcript expression from FTC, FTA, and normal thyroid, revealing 73 differentially expressed transcripts (P < or = 0.0001). Using an independent set of 23 FTCs, FTAs, and matched normal thyroids, 17 genes with large expression differences were tested by real-time RT-PCR. Four genes (DDIT3, ARG2, ITM1, and C1orf24) differed between the two classes FTC and FTA, and a linear combination of expression levels distinguished FTC from FTA with an estimated predictive accuracy of 0.83. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry for DDIT3 and ARG2 showed consistent staining for carcinoma in an independent set 59 follicular tumors (estimated concordance, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, [0.59, 0.93]). A simple test based on a combination of these markers might improve preoperative diagnosis of thyroid nodules, allowing better treatment decisions and reducing long-term health costs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Thyroid cancer is an emerging health problem in the United States and worldwide. With incidence rates of thyroid cancer rapidly rising, the need to develop new treatment options is becoming a priority, and understanding the molecular mechanisms of this disease is crucial to furthering these efforts. Thyroid growth is driven by the TSH/cAMP/PKA signaling pathway, and it has previously been shown that activation of PKA through genetic ablation of the regulatory subunit Prkar1a (Prkar1a KO) is sufficient to cause follicular thyroid cancer in mouse models. cAMP also activates the Epac proteins and their downstream effectors, Rap1a and Rap1b. METHODS:Previously, the authors' laboratory generated a mouse model of follicular thyroid cancer by conferring thyroid-specific deletion of Prkar1a (R1a-TpoKO). To probe the roles of other components of the PKA signaling system in the development of thyroid cancer, this study deleted Rap1 and Epac1 in the setting of the Prkar1a knockout. RESULTS:Deletion of Rap1 significantly decreases thyroid size and cancer incidence in Prkar1a KO thyroids. Further, isoform-specific ablation of Rap1a and Rap1b implicates Rap1b as the downstream effector of PKA during thyroid carcinogenesis. In vivo modeling provides definitive evidence that Epac1 plays little role in thyroid proliferation and is dispensable for thyroid carcinogenesis arising from the deletion of Prkar1a. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrate that PKA signaling to Rap1b is a key signaling node for follicular thyroid carcinogenesis, while Epac1 activity is not required for tumor development. This work sheds new light on the pathways involved in FTC development and identifies a possible target for the development of new therapies in the treatment of FTC.
Project description:Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) are critical in regulating gene expression in normal physiological processes. Decreased expression and/or somatic mutations of TRs have been shown to be associated several types of human cancers including liver, breast, lung, and thyroid. To understand the molecular mechanisms by which mutated TRs promote carcinogenesis, an animal model of follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) (Thrb(PV/PV) mice) was used in the present study. The Thrb(PV/PV) mouse harbors a knockin dominant negative PV mutation, identified in a patient with resistance to thyroid hormone. To understand whether oncogenic actions of PV involve not only the loss of normal TR functions but also gain-of-function activities, we compared the gene expression profiles of thyroid lesions in Thrb(PV/PV) mice and Thra1(-/-)Thrb(-/-) mice that also spontaneously develop FTC, but with less severe malignancy. Analysis of the cDNA microarray data derived from microdissected thyroid tumor cells of these two mice showed contrasting global gene expression profiles. With stringent selection using 2.5-fold change (p<0.01) in cDNA microarray analysis, 241 genes with altered gene expression were identified. Nearly half of the genes (n=103: 42.7% of total) with altered gene expression in thyroid tumor cells of Thrb(PV/PV) mice were associated with tumorigenesis and metastasis; some of these genes function as oncogenes in human thyroid cancers. The remaining genes were found to function in transcriptional regulation, RNA processing, cell proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and cytoskeleton modification. These results indicate that the more aggressive thyroid tumor progression in Thrb(PV/PV) mice was not due simply to the loss of tumor suppressor functions of TR via mutation but also, importantly, to gain-of-function in the oncogenic activities of PV to drive thyroid carcinogenesis. Thus, the present study identifies a novel mechanism by which a mutated TR? evolves with an oncogenic advantage to promote thyroid carcinogenesis.
Project description:While thyroid is considered to be a dormant organ, when required, it can regenerate through increased cell proliferation. However, the mechanism for regeneration remains unknown. Nkx2-1(fl/fl);TPO-cre mouse thyroids exhibit a very disorganized appearance because their thyroids continuously degenerate and regenerate. In mouse thyroids, a cluster of cells are found near the tracheal cartilage and muscle, which are positive for expression of NKX2-1, the master transcription factor governing thyroid development and function. In the present study, we propose that this cluster of NKX2-1-positive cells may be the precursor cells that mature to become thyroid follicular cells, forming thyroid follicles. We also found that phosphorylation of AKT is induced by NKX2-1 in the proposed thyroid progenitor-like side-population cell-derived thyroid cell line (SPTL) cells, suggesting the possibility that NKX2-1 plays a role in differentiation through the modulation of AKT signaling. This study revealed that Nkx2-1(fl/fl);TPO-cre mice provide a suitable model to study in vivo regeneration and folliculogenesis of the thyroid.