DUSP9-mediated reduction of pERK1/2 supports cancer stem cell-like traits and promotes triple negative breast cancer.
ABSTRACT: Breast cancer remains a complex disease resulting in high mortality in women. A subset of cancer stem cell (CSC)-like cells expressing aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) and SOX2/OCT4 are implicated in aggressive biology of specific subtypes of breast cancer. Targeting these populations in breast tumors remain challenging. We examined xenografts from three poorly studied triple negative (TN) breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-468, HCC70 and HCC1806) as well as HMLEHRASV12 for stem cell (SC)-specific proteins, proliferation pathways and dual-specific phosphatases (DUSPs) by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), immunoblot analysis and immunohistochemistry. We found that pERK1/2 remained suppressed in TN xenografts examined at various stages of growth, while the levels of pp38 MAPK and pAKT was upregulated. We found that DUSP was involved in the suppression of pERK1/2, which was MEK1/2 independent. Our in vitro assays, using HMLEHRASV12 xenografts as a positive control, confirmed increased phosphatase activity that specifically influenced pERK1/2 but not pp38MAPK or pJNK levels. Family members of DUSPs examined, showed increase in DUSP9 expression in TN xenografts. Increased DUSP9 expression in xenografts was consistently associated with upregulation of SC-specific proteins, ALDH1 and SOX2/OCT4. HRAS driven HMLEHRASV12 xenografts as well as mammospheres from TN breast cancer cells showed inverse relationship between pERK1/2 and increased expression of DUSP9 and CSC traits. In addition, treatment in vitro, with MEK1/2 inhibitor, PD 98059, reduced pERK1/2 levels and increased DUSP9 and SC-specific proteins. Depletion of subsets of SOX2/OCT4 by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), as well as pharmacological and genetic reduction of DUSP9 levels influenced ALDH1 and SOX2/OCT4 expression and reduced mammosphere growth in vitro as well as tumor growth in vivo. Collectively our data support the possibility that DUSP9 contributed to stem cell-like cells that could influence TN breast tumor growth. Conclusion: Our study shows that subsets of TN breast cancers with MEK1/2 independent reduced pERK1/2 levels will respond less to MEK1/2 inhibitors, thereby questioning their therapeutic efficacy. Our study also demonstrates context-dependent DUSP9-mediated reduced pERK1/2 levels could influence stem cell-like traits in TN breast tumors. Therefore, targeting DUSP9 could be an attractive target for improved clinical outcome in a subset of basal-like breast cancers.
Project description:The transcription factors of embryonic stem cells, such as Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, Bmi1, and Klf4, are known to be associated with stemness, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and aggressive tumor behavior. This study was designed to evaluate the clinicopathological significance of their expression in breast cancer. Immunohistochemistry for Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, Bmi1, and Klf4 was performed in 319 cases of invasive breast cancer. The relationship between the expression of these markers and clinicopathologic features of the tumors, including breast cancer stem cell phenotype and epithelial-mesenchymal transition marker expression, and their prognostic value in breast cancer, were analyzed. Expression of Oct4 and Sox2 was commonly associated with high histologic grade and high Ki-67 index in the whole group and in the hormone receptor-positive subgroup. On the other hand, expression of Nanog, Bmi1, and Klf4 was inversely correlated with aggressive features of the breast cancer. Oct4 expression was associated with ALDH1 expression but not with epithelial-mesenchymal transition marker expression. In survival analysis, Oct4 expression was independently associated with poor prognosis in the whole group and in the hormone receptor-positive subgroup, but not in hormone receptor-negative subgroup. Particularly, Oct4 expression was associated with poor clinical outcome in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer treated with tamoxifen. Our results indicate that Oct4 expression is associated with aggressive features, ALDH1 expression, tamoxifen resistance and poor clinical outcomes in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, and thus may be useful as a predictive and prognostic marker in this subgroup of breast cancer.
Project description:Nodal signaling plays several vital roles in the embryogenesis process. However, its reexpression in breast cancer is correlated with cancer progression, metastasis and poor prognosis. Recently, Nodal has also been reported to regulate self-renewal capacity in pancreatic cancer. This study aimed to explore the role of Nodal in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) and the underlying mechanisms. Therefore, the immunohistochemistry staining of Nodal in 135 human breast cancer cases was performed to analyzed the relationship of Nodal signaling, clinical outcomes and BCSC marker. And the results showed that high Nodal expression was positively correlated with poor prognosis and BCSC marker expression in breast cancer samples. We further assessed the effects of Nodal in regulating the BCSC properties in breast cancer cell lines and xenografts. Then, SB431542 was administered in vitro and in vivo to explore the function of the Smad2/3 pathway. And we demonstrated that Nodal signaling up-regulated the expression of ALDH1, CD44, CD133, Sox2, Oct4 and Nanog by activating the Smad2/3 pathway, thereby enhancing the tumorigenicity and sphere-forming ability of breast cancer cells. Furthermore, treatment with SB431542 could inhibit the properties of BCSCs in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, these findings indicate that Nodal signaling may play a vital role in maintaining the BCSC phenotype in breast cancer and serve as a potential target to explore BCSC-specific therapies.
Project description:The aggressive nature of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) may be explained in part by the presence of breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs), a subpopulation of cells, which are involved in tumor initiation, progression, metastasis, recurrence, and therapy resistance. The signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway participates in the development and progression of BCSCs, but its role in TNBC remains unclear. Here, we report that Ganoderma lucidum extract (GLE), a medicinal mushroom with anticancer activity, acts on BCSCs in vitro and in TNBC pre-clinical animal tumor models by downregulating the STAT3 pathway. We show that GLE significantly reduces TNBC cell viability, and down-regulates total and phosphorylated STAT3 expression. This is consistent with the reduction of OCT4, NANOG and SOX2 expression, reduction in the BCSC population by loss of the ALDH1 and CD44+/CD24- population, the deformation of mammospheres, and the strong reduction in animal tumor volume and tumor weight. Analysis of the BCSC compartment in tumors revealed that GLE decreases the STAT3 pathway and the expression of OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 in BCSCs. These findings demonstrate that the anti-cancer activity of GLE targets BCSCs of TNBC through the downregulation of the STAT3 pathway.
Project description:Musashi1 (Msi1) is a conserved RNA-binding protein that regulates the Notch and Wnt pathways, and serves as a stem cell marker in the breast and other tissues. It is unknown how Msi1 relates to other breast cancer markers, whether it denotes tumor initiating cells (TICs), and how it affects gene expression and tumor cell survival in breast cancer cells.Msi1 expression was analyzed in 20 breast cancer cell lines and in 140 primary breast tumors by western blotting and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Lentivirus RNA interference was used to reduce Msi1 expression in breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and T47D grown as spheroid cultures and to assess stem cell gene expression and the growth of these cell lines as xenografts. In normal human breast tissue, Msi1 was expressed in 10.6% of myoepithelum and 1.2% of ductal epithelium in the terminal ductal lobular unit (TDLU), whereas, less than 0.05% of ductal epithelium and myoepithelium in large ducts outside the TDLU expressed Msi1. Msi1 was expressed in 55% of the breast cancer cell lines and correlated with ErbB2 expression in 50% of the cell lines. Msi1 was expressed in 68% of primary tumors and in 100% of lymph node metastases, and correlated with 5 year survival. Msi1 was enriched in CD133+ MCF-7 and T47D cells and in spheroid cultures of these cells, and Msi1 'knockdown' (KD) with a lentivirus-expressed shRNA decreased the number and size of spheroid colonies. Msi1 KD reduced Notch1, c-Myc, ErbB2 and pERK1/2 expression, and increased p21CIP1 expression, which is consistent with known Msi1 target mRNAs. Msi1 KD also reduced the expression of the somatic and embryonic stem cell markers, CD133, Bmi1, Sox2, Nanog and Oct4. Xenografts of MCF-7 and T47D Msi1 KD cells resulted in a marked reduction of tumor growth, reduced Msi1 and Notch1 expression and increased p21CIP1 expression.Msi1 is a negative prognostic indicator of breast cancer patient survival, and is indicative of tumor cells with stem cell-like characteristics. Msi1 KD reduces tumor cell survival and tumor xenograft growth, suggesting that it may represent a novel target for drug discovery.
Project description:Though xenografts are used extensively for drug development in breast cancer, how well xenografts reflect the breadth of primary breast tumor subtypes has not been well characterized. Moreover, few studies have compared the gene expression of xenograft tumors to the primary tumors from which they were derived. Here we investigate whether the ability of human breast tumors (n = 20) to create xenografts in immune-deficient mice is associated with breast cancer immunohistochemical (IHC) and intrinsic subtype. We also characterize how precisely the gene expression of xenografts reprises that of parent breast tumors, using hierarchical clustering and other correlation-based techniques applied to Agilent 44K gene expression data from 16 samples including four matched primary tumor-xenograft pairs. Of the breast tumors studied, 25 % (5/20) generated xenografts. Receptor and intrinsic subtype were significant predictors of xenograft success, with all (4/4) triple-negative (TN) tumors and no (0/12) HR+Her2- tumors forming xenografts (P = 0.0005). Tumor cell expression of ALDH1, a stem cell marker, trended toward successful engraftment (P = 0.14), though CDK5/6, a basal marker, did not. Though hierarchical clustering across the 500 most variable genes segregated human breast tumors from xenograft tumors, when clustering was performed over the PAM50 gene set the primary tumor-xenograft pairs clustered together, with all IHC subtypes clustered in distinct groups. Greater similarity between primary tumor-xenograft pairs relative to random pairings was confirmed by calculation of the within-pair between-pair scatter ratio (WPBPSR) distribution (P = 0.0269), though there was a shift in the xenografts toward more aggressive features including higher proliferation scores relative to the primary. Triple-negative breast tumors demonstrate superior ability to create xenografts compared to HR+ tumors, which may reflect higher proliferation or relatively stroma-independent growth of this subtype. Xenograft tumors' gene expression faithfully resembles that of their parent tumors, yet also demonstrates a shift toward more aggressive molecular features.
Project description:MiR-208a stimulates cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, fibrosis and ?-MHC (?-myosin heavy chain) expression, being involved in cardiovascular diseases. Although miR-208a is known to play a role in cardiovascular diseases, its role in cancer and cancer stem cells (CSCs) remains uncertain. We identified an inverse relationship between miR-208a and let-7a in breast cancer specimens, and found that SOX2, ?-catenin and LIN28 are highly expressed in patients with advanced breast cancer opposed to lesser grades. Further, we isolated ALDH1+ CSCs from ZR75-1 and MDA-MB-231 (MM-231) breast cancer cell lines to test the role of miR-208a in breast CSCs (BrCSCs). Our studies showed that overexpression of miR-208a in these cells strongly promoted the proportion of ALDH1+ BrCSCs and continuously stimulated the self-renewal ability of BrCSCs. By using siRNAs of SOX2 and/or ?-catenin, we found that miR-208a increased LIN28 through stimulation of both SOX2 and ?-catenin. The knockdown of either SOX2 or ?-catenin only partially attenuated the functions of miR-208a. Let-7a expression was strongly inhibited in miR-208a overexpressed cancer cells, which was achieved by miR-208a induction of LIN28, and the restoration of let-7a significantly inhibited the miR-208a induction of the number of ALDH1+ cells, inhibiting the propagations of BrCSCs. In let-7a overexpressed ZR75-1 and MM-231 cells, DICER1 activity was significantly inhibited with decreased miR-208a. Let-7a failed to decrease miR-208a expression in ZR75-1 and MM-231 cells with DICER1 knockdown. Our research revealed the mechanisms through which miR-208a functioned in breast cancer and BrCSCs, and identified the miR-208a-SOX2/?-catenin-LIN28-let-7a-DICER1 regulatory feedback loop in regulations of stem cells renewal.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Intralymphatic tumors in the extratumoral area are considered to represent the preceding phase of lymph node metastasis. The aim of this study was to clarify the biological properties of intralymphatic tumors susceptible to the development of lymph node metastasis, with special reference to the expression of cancer initiating/stem cell (CIC/CSC) related markers in cancer cells and the number of infiltrating stromal cells. MATERIAL AND METHODS:Primary lung adenocarcinomas with lymphatic permeation in the extratumoral area were retrospectively examined (n?=?107). We examined the expression levels of CIC/CSC related markers including ALDH1, OCT4, NANOG, SOX2 and Caveolin-1 in the intralymphatic cancer cells to evaluate their relationship to lymph node metastasis. Moreover, the number of infiltrating stromal cells expressing CD34, ?-smooth muscle actin, and CD204 were also evaluated. RESULTS:Among the intralymphatic tissues, low ALDH1 expression in cancer cells, high SOX2 expression in cancer cells, and a high number of CD204(+) macrophages were independent predictive factors for lymph node metastasis (P?=?0.004, P?=?0.008, and P?=?0.028, respectively). Among these factors, only low ALDH1 expression in cancer cells was significantly correlated with the farther spreading of lymph node metastasis (mediastinal lymph node, pathological N2) (P?=?0.046) and the metastatic lymph node ratio (metastatic/resected) (P?=?0.028). On the other hand, in the primary tumors, ALDH1 expression in the cancer cells was not associated with lymph node metastasis. Intralymphatic cancer cells expressing low ALDH1 levels exhibited lower E-cadherin expression levels than cancer cells with high levels of ALDH1 expression (P?=?0.015). CONCLUSIONS:Intralymphatic cancer cells expressing low levels of ALDH1 and infiltrating macrophages expressing CD204 have a critical impact on lymph node metastasis. Our study also highlighted the significance of evaluating the biological properties of intralymphatic tumors for tumor metastasis.
Project description:Enzalutamide, an antiandrogen, is approved for therapy of castration resistant prostate cancer. Clinical applications have shown that approximately 30% of patients acquire resistance after a short period of treatment. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this resistance is not completely understood. To identify transcriptomic signatures associated with acquisition of drug resistance we profiled gene expression of paired enzalutamide sensitive and resistant human prostate cancer LNCaP (lymph node carcinoma of the prostate) and C4-2B cells. Overlapping genes differentially regulated in the enzalutamide resistant cells were ranked by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and their functional validation was performed using ingenuity knowledge database followed by confirmation to correlate transcript with protein expression. Analysis revealed that genes associated with cancer stem cells, such as <i>POU5F1</i> (OCT4), <i>SOX2</i>, <i>NANOG</i>, <i>BMI1</i>, <i>BMP2</i>, <i>CD44</i>, <i>SOX9</i>, and <i>ALDH1</i> were markedly upregulated in enzalutamide resistant cells. Amongst the pathways enriched in the enzalutamide-resistant cells were those associated with RUNX2, hedgehog, integrin signaling, and molecules associated with elastic fibers. Further examination of a patient cohort undergoing ADT and its comparison with no-ADT group demonstrated high expression of POU5F1 (OCT4), ALDH1, and SOX2 in ADT specimens, suggesting that they may be clinically relevant therapeutic targets. Altogether, our approach exhibits the potential of integrative transcriptomic analyses to identify critical genes and pathways of antiandrogen resistance as a promising approach for designing novel therapeutic strategies to circumvent drug resistance.
Project description:The transcription factor Yin Yang 1 (YY1) is frequently overexpressed in cancerous tissues compared to normal tissues and has regulatory roles in cell proliferation, cell viability, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, metastasis and drug/immune resistance. YY1 shares many properties with cancer stem cells (CSCs) that drive tumorigenesis, metastasis and drug resistance and are regulated by overexpression of certain transcription factors, including SOX2, OCT4 (POU5F1), BMI1 and NANOG. Based on these similarities, it was expected that YY1 expression would be associated with SOX2, OCT4, BMI1, and NANOG's expressions and activities. Data mining from the proteomic tissue-based datasets from the Human Protein Atlas were used for protein expression patterns of YY1 and the four CSC markers in 17 types of cancer, including both solid and hematological malignancies. A close association was revealed between the frequency of expressions of YY1 and SOX2 as well as SOX2 and OCT4 in all cancers analyzed. Two types of dynamics were identified based on the nature of their association, namely, inverse or direct, between YY1 and SOX2. These two dynamics define distinctive patterns of BMI1 and OCT4 expressions. The relationship between YY1 and SOX2 expressions as well as the expressions of BMI1 and OCT4 resulted in the classification of four groups of cancers with distinct molecular signatures: (1) Prostate, lung, cervical, endometrial, ovarian and glioma cancers (YY1(lo)SOX2(hi)BMI1(hi)OCT4(hi)) (2) Skin, testis and breast cancers (YY1(hi)SOX2(lo)BMI1(hi)OCT4(hi)) (3) Liver, stomach, renal, pancreatic and urothelial cancers (YY1(lo)SOX2(lo)BMI1(hi)OCT4(hi)) and (4) Colorectal cancer, lymphoma and melanoma (YY1(hi)SOX2(hi)BMI1(lo)OCT4(hi)). A regulatory loop is proposed consisting of the cross-talk between the NF-kB/PI3K/AKT pathways and the downstream inter-regulation of target gene products YY1, OCT4, SOX2 and BMI1.