FAK inhibition alone or in combination with adjuvant therapies reduces cancer stem cell activity.
ABSTRACT: Cancer stem-like cells (CSC) contribute to therapy resistance and recurrence. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) has a role in CSC regulation. We determined the effect of FAK inhibition on breast CSC activity alone and in combination with adjuvant therapies. FAK inhibition reduced CSC activity and self-renewal across all molecular subtypes in primary human breast cancer samples. Combined FAK and paclitaxel reduced self-renewal in triple negative cell lines. An invasive breast cancer cohort confirmed high FAK expression correlated with increased risk of recurrence and reduced survival. Co-expression of FAK and CSC markers was associated with the poorest prognosis, identifying a high-risk patient population. Combined FAK and paclitaxel treatment reduced tumour size, Ki67, ex-vivo mammospheres and ALDH+ expression in two triple negative patient derived Xenograft (PDX) models. Combined treatment reduced tumour initiation in a limiting dilution re-implantation PDX model. Combined FAK inhibition with adjuvant therapy has the potential to improve breast cancer survival.
Project description:In breast cancer it has been proposed that the presence of cancer stem cells may drive tumor initiation, progression and recurrences. IL-8, up-regulated in breast cancer, and associated with poor prognosis, increases CSC self-renewal in cell line models. It signals via two cell surface receptors, CXCR1 and CXCR2. Recently, the IL-8/CXCR1 axis was proposed as an attractive pathway for the design of specific therapies against breast cancer stem cells. Reparixin, a powerful CXCR1 inhibitor, was effective in reducing in vivo the tumour-initiating population in several NOD/SCID mice breast cancer models, showing that the selective targeting of CXCR1 and the combination of reparixin and docetaxel resulted in a concomitant reduction of the bulk tumour mass and CSC population. The available data indicate that IL-8, expressed by tumour cells and induced by chemotherapeutic treatment, is a key regulator of the survival and self-renewal of the population of CXCR1-expressing CSC. Consequently, this investigation on the mechanism of action of the reparixin/paclitaxel combination, was based on the observation that reparixin treatment contained the formation of metastases in several experimental models. However, specific data on the formation of breast cancer brain metastases, which carry remarkable morbidity and mortality to a substantial proportion of advanced breast cancer patients, have not been generated. The obtained data indicate a beneficial use of the drug combination reparixin and paclitaxel to counteract brain tumour metastasis due to CSC, probably due to the combined effects of the two drugs, the pro-apoptotic action of paclitaxel and the cytostatic and anti-migratory effects of reparixin.
Project description:Tumors adapt their phenotypes during growth and in response to therapies through dynamic changes in cellular processes. Connexin proteins enable such dynamic changes during development, and their dysregulation leads to disease states. The gap junction communication channels formed by connexins have been reported to exhibit tumor-suppressive functions, including in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, we find that connexin 26 (Cx26) is elevated in self-renewing cancer stem cells (CSCs) and is necessary and sufficient for their maintenance. Cx26 promotes CSC self-renewal by forming a signaling complex with the pluripotency transcription factor NANOG and focal adhesion kinase (FAK), resulting in NANOG stabilization and FAK activation. This FAK/NANOG-containing complex is not formed in mammary epithelial or luminal breast cancer cells. These findings challenge the paradigm that connexins are tumor suppressors in TNBC and reveal a unique function for Cx26 in regulating the core self-renewal signaling that controls CSC maintenance.
Project description:Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) exhibit a small population of uniquely tumorigenic cancer stem cells (CSC) endowed with self-renewal and multipotency. We have recently shown that IL-6 enhances the survival and tumorigenic potential of head and neck cancer stem cells (i.e. ALDH(high)CD44(high) cells). Here, we characterized the effect of therapeutic inhibition of IL-6 with a novel humanized anti-IL-6 antibody (MEDI5117) using three low-passage patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of HNSCC. We observed that single agent MEDI5117 inhibited the growth of PDX-SCC-M1 tumors (P < .05). This PDX model was generated from a previously untreated HNSCC. In contrast, MEDI5117 was not effective at reducing overall tumor volume for PDX models representing resistant disease (PDX-SCC-M0, PDX-SCC-M11). Low dose MEDI5117 (3 mg/kg) consistently decreased the fraction of cancer stem cells in PDX models of HNSCC when compared to IgG-treated controls, as follows: PDX-SCC-M0 (P < .001), PDX-SCC-M1 (P < .001), PDX-SCC-M11 (P = .04). Interestingly, high dose MEDI5117 (30 mg/kg) decreased the CSC fraction in the PDX-SCC-M11 model (P = .002), but not in PDX-SCC-M0 and PDX-SCC-M1. MEDI5117 mediated a dose-dependent decrease in the number of orospheres generated by ALDH(high)CD44(high) cells cultured in ultra-low attachment plates (P < .05), supporting an inhibitory effect on head and neck cancer stem cells. Notably, single agent MEDI5117 reduced the overall recurrence rate of PDX-SCC-M0, a PDX generated from the local recurrence of human HNSCC. Collectively, these data demonstrate that therapeutic inhibition of IL-6 with low-dose MEDI5117 decreases the fraction of cancer stem cells, and that adjuvant MEDI5117 inhibits recurrence in preclinical models of HNSCC.
Project description:Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for aggressive tumor growth, metastasis and therapy resistance. In this study, we evaluated the effects of Shikonin (Shk) on breast cancer and found its anti-CSC potential. Shk treatment decreased the expression of various epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and CSC associated markers. Kinase profiling array and western blot analysis indicated that Shk inhibits STAT3, FAK and Src activation. Inhibition of these signaling proteins using standard inhibitors revealed that STAT3 inhibition affected CSCs properties more significantly than FAK or Src inhibition. We observed a significant decrease in cell migration upon FAK and Src inhibition and decrease in invasion upon inhibition of STAT3, FAK and Src. Combined inhibition of STAT3 with Src or FAK reduced the mammosphere formation, migration and invasion more significantly than the individual inhibitions. These observations indicated that the anti-breast cancer properties of Shk are due to its potential to inhibit multiple signaling proteins. Shk also reduced the activation and expression of STAT3, FAK and Src in vivo and reduced tumorigenicity, growth and metastasis of 4T1 cells. Collectively, this study underscores the translational relevance of using a single inhibitor (Shk) for compromising multiple tumor-associated signaling pathways to check cancer metastasis and stem cell load.
Project description:Gene copy number changes, cancer stem cell (CSC) increases, and platinum chemotherapy resistance contribute to poor prognosis in patients with recurrent high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). CSC phenotypes involving Wnt-b-catenin and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities, platinum resistance, and tumor initiating frequency are here associated with spontaneous genetic gains, including genes encoding KRAS, MYC and FAK, in a new murine model of ovarian cancer (KMF). Noncanonical FAK signaling was sufficient to sustain human and KMF tumorsphere proliferation, CSC survival, and platinum resistance. Increased FAK tyrosine phosphorylation occurred in HGSOC patient tumors surviving neo-adjuvant platinum and paclitaxel chemotherapy and platinum resistant tumorspheres acquired FAK dependence for growth. Importantly, combining a pharmacologic FAK inhibitor with platinum overcame chemoresistance and triggered apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Knockout, rescue, genomic and transcriptomic analyses collectively identified more than 400 genes regulated along a FAK/b-catenin/Myc axis impacting stemness and DNA repair in HGSOC, with 66 genes gained in a majority of Cancer Genome Atlas samples. Together, these results support combinatorial testing of FAK inhibitors for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer. Overall design: mRNA profiles of ID8 and ID8-IP / KMF cells were generated in triplicate using an Illumina NovaSeq 6000 Sequencing System
Project description:Gene copy number changes, cancer stem cell (CSC) increases, and platinum chemotherapy resistance contribute to poor prognosis in patients with recurrent high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). CSC phenotypes involving Wnt-b-catenin and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities, platinum resistance, and tumor initiating frequency are here associated with spontaneous genetic gains, including genes encoding KRAS, MYC and FAK, in a new murine model of ovarian cancer (KMF). Noncanonical FAK signaling was sufficient to sustain human and KMF tumorsphere proliferation, CSC survival, and platinum resistance. Increased FAK tyrosine phosphorylation occurred in HGSOC patient tumors surviving neo-adjuvant platinum and paclitaxel chemotherapy and platinum resistant tumorspheres acquired FAK dependence for growth. Importantly, combining a pharmacologic FAK inhibitor with platinum overcame chemoresistance and triggered apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Knockout, rescue, genomic and transcriptomic analyses collectively identified more than 400 genes regulated along a FAK/b-catenin/Myc axis impacting stemness and DNA repair in HGSOC, with 66 genes gained in a majority of Cancer Genome Atlas samples. Together, these results support combinatorial testing of FAK inhibitors for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer. Overall design: mRNA profiles of KMF parental, KMF clone KT13 (FAK-/-), KT13 + GFP-FAK, KT13 + GFP-FAK R454, and KT13 + deltaGSK beta-catenin cells were generated in triplicate using an Illumina NovaSeq 6000 Sequencing System
Project description:Metastatic progression remains the major cause of death in human breast cancer. Cancer cells with cancer stem cell (CSC) properties drive initiation and growth of metastases at distant sites. We have previously established the breast cancer patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDX) mouse model in which CSC marker CD44<sup>+</sup> cancer cells formed spontaneous microscopic metastases in the liver. In this PDX mouse, the expression levels of S100A10 and its family proteins were much higher in the CD44<sup>+</sup> cancer cells metastasized to the liver than those at the primary site. Knockdown of S100A10 in breast cancer cells suppressed and overexpression of S100A10 in breast cancer PDX cells enhanced their invasion abilities and 3D organoid formation capacities in vitro. Mechanistically, S100A10 regulated the matrix metalloproteinase activity and the expression levels of stem cell-related genes. Finally, constitutive knockdown of S100A10 significantly reduced their metastatic ability to the liver in vivo. These findings suggest that S100A10 functions as a metastasis promoter of breast CSCs by conferring both invasion ability and CSC properties in breast cancers.
Project description:Recent evidence suggests that breast cancer and other solid tumors possess a rare population of cells capable of extensive self-renewal that contribute to metastasis and treatment resistance. We report here the development of a strategy to target these breast cancer stem cells (CSCs) through blockade of the IL-8 receptor CXCR1. CXCR1 blockade using either a CXCR1-specific blocking antibody or repertaxin, a small-molecule CXCR1 inhibitor, selectively depleted the CSC population in 2 human breast cancer cell lines in vitro. Furthermore, this was followed by the induction of massive apoptosis in the bulk tumor population via FASL/FAS signaling. The effects of CXCR1 blockade on CSC viability and on FASL production were mediated by the FAK/AKT/FOXO3A pathway. In addition, repertaxin was able to specifically target the CSC population in human breast cancer xenografts, retarding tumor growth and reducing metastasis. Our data therefore suggest that CXCR1 blockade may provide a novel means of targeting and eliminating breast CSCs.
Project description:Breast cancers enduring treatment with chemotherapy may be enriched for cancer stem cells or tumor-initiating cells, which have an enhanced capacity for self-renewal, tumor initiation, and/or metastasis. Breast cancer cells that express the type I tyrosine kinaselike orphan receptor ROR1 also may have such features. Here we find that the expression of ROR1 increased in breast cancer cells following treatment with chemotherapy, which also enhanced expression of genes induced by the activation of Rho-GTPases, Hippo-YAP/TAZ, or B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 homolog (BMI1). Expression of ROR1 also enhanced the capacity of breast cancer cells to invade Matrigel, form spheroids, engraft in Rag2-/-[Formula: see text] mice, or survive treatment with paclitaxel. Treatment of mice bearing breast cancer patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) with the humanized anti-ROR1 monoclonal antibody cirmtuzumab repressed expression of genes associated with breast cancer stemness, reduced activation of Rho-GTPases, Hippo-YAP/TAZ, or BMI1, and impaired the capacity of breast cancer PDXs to metastasize or reengraft Rag2-/-[Formula: see text] mice. Finally, treatment of PDX-bearing mice with cirmtuzumab and paclitaxel was more effective than treatment with either alone in eradicating breast cancer PDXs. These results indicate that targeting ROR1 may improve the response to chemotherapy of patients with breast cancer.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer, accounting for the majority of breast cancer-related death. Due to the lack of specific therapeutic targets, chemotherapeutic agents (e.g., paclitaxel) remain the mainstay of systemic treatment, but enrich a subpopulation of cells with tumor-initiating capacity and stem-like characteristics called cancer stem cells (CSCs); thus development of a new and effective strategy for TNBC treatment is an unmet medical need. Cancer nanomedicine has transformed the landscape of cancer drug development, allowing for a high therapeutic index. In this study, we developed a new therapy by co-encapsulating clinically approved drugs, such as paclitaxel, verteporfin, and combretastatin (CA4) in polymer-lipid hybrid nanoparticles (NPs) made of FDA-approved biomaterials. Verteporfin is a drug used in the treatment of macular degeneration and has recently been found to inhibit the Hippo/YAP (Yes-associated protein) pathway, which is known to promote the progression of breast cancer and the development of CSCs. CA4 is a vascular disrupting agent and has been tested in phase II/III of clinical trials. We found that our new three drug-NP not only effectively inhibited TNBC cell viability and cell migration, but also significantly diminished paclitaxel-induced and/or CA4-induced CSC enrichment in TNBC cells, partially through inhibiting the upregulated Hippo/YAP signaling. Combination of verteporfin and CA4 was also more effective in suppressing angiogenesis in an in vivo zebrafish model than single drug alone. The efficacy and application potential of our triple drug-NPs were further assessed by using clinically relevant patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Triple drug-NP effectively inhibited the viability of PDX organotypic slide cultures ex vivo and stopped the growth of PDX tumors in vivo. This study developed an approach capable of simultaneously inhibiting bulk cancer cells, CSCs, and angiogenesis.