FAK activity sustains intrinsic and acquired ovarian cancer resistance to platinum chemotherapy [KMF parental, KMF clone KT13 (FAK-/-), KT13 + GFP-FAK, KT13 + GFP-FAK R454, and KT13 + deltaGSK beta-catenin]
ABSTRACT: 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: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 alterations, tumor cell stemness, and the development of platinum chemotherapy resistance contribute to high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) recurrence. Stem phenotypes involving Wnt-?-catenin, aldehyde dehydrogenase activities, intrinsic platinum resistance, and tumorsphere formation are here associated with spontaneous gains in Kras, Myc and FAK (KMF) genes in a new aggressive murine model of ovarian cancer. Adhesion-independent FAK signaling sustained KMF and human tumorsphere proliferation as well as resistance to cisplatin cytotoxicity. Platinum-resistant tumorspheres can acquire a dependence on FAK for growth. Accordingly, increased FAK tyrosine phosphorylation was observed within HGSOC patient tumors surviving neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. Combining a FAK inhibitor with platinum overcame chemoresistance and triggered cell apoptosis. FAK transcriptomic analyses across knockout and reconstituted cells identified 135 targets, elevated in HGSOC, that were regulated by FAK activity and ?-catenin including Myc, pluripotency and DNA repair genes. These studies reveal an oncogenic FAK signaling role supporting chemoresistance.
Project description:Resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy is the major barrier to treating epithelial ovarian cancer. To improve patient outcomes, it is critical to identify the underlying mechanisms that promote platinum resistance. Emerging evidence supports the concept that platinum-based therapies are able to eliminate the bulk of differentiated cancer cells, but are unable to eliminate cancer initiating cells (CIC). To date, the relevant pathways that regulate ovarian CICs remain elusive. Several correlative studies have shown that Wnt/?-catenin pathway activation is associated with poor outcomes in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). However, the functional relevance of these findings remain to be delineated. We have uncovered that Wnt/?-catenin pathway activation is a critical driver of HGSOC chemotherapy resistance, and targeted inhibition of this pathway, which eliminates CICs, represents a novel and effective treatment for chemoresistant HGSOC. Here we show that Wnt/?-catenin signaling is activated in ovarian CICs, and targeted inhibition of ?-catenin potently sensitized cells to cisplatin and decreased CIC tumor sphere formation. Furthermore, the Wnt/?-catenin specific inhibitor iCG-001 potently sensitized cells to cisplatin and decreased stem-cell frequency in platinum resistant cells. Taken together, our data is the first report providing evidence that the Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway maintains stem-like properties and drug resistance of primary HGSOC PDX derived platinum resistant models, and therapeutic targeting of this pathway with iCG-001/PRI-724, which has been shown to be well tolerated in Phase I trials, may be an effective treatment option.
Project description:Integrins, a family of heterodimeric receptors for extracellular matrix, are promising therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer, particularly high-grade serous-type (HGSOC), as they drive tumor cell attachment, migration, proliferation and survival by activating focal adhesion kinase (FAK)-dependent signaling. Owing to the potential off-target effects of FAK inhibitors, disruption of the integrin signaling axis remains to be a challenge. Here, we tackled this barrier by screening for inhibitors being functionally cooperative with small-molecule VS-6063, a phase II FAK inhibitor. From this screening, JQ1, a potent inhibitor of Myc oncogenic network, emerged as the most robust collaborator. Treatment with a combination of VS-6063 and JQ1 synergistically caused an arrest of tumor cells at the G2/M phase and a decrease in the XIAP-linked cell survival. Our subsequent mechanistic analyses indicate that this functional cooperation was strongly associated with the concomitant disruption of activation or expression of FAK and c-Myc as well as their downstream signaling through the PI3K/Akt pathway. In line with these observations, we detected a strong co-amplification or upregulation at genomic or protein level for FAK and c-Myc in a large portion of primary tumors in the TCGA or a local HGSOC patient cohort. Taken together, our results suggest that the integrin-FAK signaling axis and c-Myc synergistically drive cell proliferation, survival and oncogenic potential in HGSOC. As such, our study provides key genetic, functional and signaling bases for the small-molecule-based co-targeting of these two distinct oncogenic drivers as a new line of targeted therapy against human ovarian cancer.
Project description:Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a rare population of tumor cells with high self-renewability potential, have gained increasing attention due to their contribution to chemoresistance and metastasis. We have previously demonstrated a critical role for the actin-bundling protein (fascin) in mediating breast cancer chemoresistance through activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). The latter is known to trigger the ?-catenin signaling pathway. Whether fascin activation of FAK would ultimately trigger ?-catenin signaling pathway has not been elucidated. Here, we assessed the effect of fascin manipulation in breast cancer cells on triggering ?-catenin downstream targets and its dependence on FAK. Gain and loss of fascin expression showed its direct effect on the constitutive expression of ?-catenin downstream targets and enhancement of self-renewability. In addition, fascin was essential for glycogen synthase kinase 3? inhibitor-mediated inducible expression and function of the ?-catenin downstream targets. Importantly, fascin-mediated constitutive and inducible expression of ?-catenin downstream targets, as well as its subsequent effect on CSC function, was at least partially FAK dependent. To assess the clinical relevance of the in vitro findings, we evaluated the consequence of fascin, FAK, and ?-catenin downstream target coexpression on the outcome of breast cancer patient survival. Patients with coexpression of fascinhigh and FAKhigh or high ?-catenin downstream targets showed the worst survival outcome, whereas in fascinlow, patient coexpression of FAKhigh or high ?-catenin targets had less significant effect on the survival. Altogether, our data demonstrated the critical role of fascin-mediated ?-catenin activation and its dependence on intact FAK signaling to promote breast CSC function. These findings suggest that targeting of fascin-FAK-?-catenin axis may provide a novel therapeutic approach for eradication of breast cancer from the root.
Project description:Wnt signaling is a major driver of stemness and chemoresistance in ovarian cancer, yet the genetic drivers that stimulate its expression remain largely unknown. Unlike other cancers, mutations in the Wnt pathway are not reported in high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Hence, a key challenge that must be addressed to develop effective targeted therapies is to identify nonmutational drivers of Wnt activation. Using an miRNA sensor-based approach, we have identified miR-181a as a novel driver of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. miR-181a<sup>high</sup> primary HGSOC cells exhibited increased Wnt/β-catenin signaling, which was associated with increased stem-cell frequency and platinum resistance. Consistent with these findings, inhibition of β-catenin decreased stem-like properties in miR-181a<sup>high</sup> cell populations and downregulated miR-181a. The Wnt inhibitor SFRP4 was identified as a novel target of miR-181a. Overall, our results demonstrate that miR-181a is a nonmutational activator of Wnt signaling that drives stemness and chemoresistance in HGSOC, suggesting that the miR-181a-SFRP4 axis can be evaluated as a novel biomarker for β-catenin-targeted therapy in this disease. SIGNIFICANCE: These results demonstrate that miR-181a is an activator of Wnt signaling that drives stemness and chemoresistance in HGSOC and may be targeted therapeutically in recurrent disease.
Project description: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:Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecologic malignancy. Although there are various subtypes of ovarian cancer, high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) accounts for 70% of ovarian cancer deaths. Chemoresistance is the primary reason for the unfavourable prognosis of HGSOC. Kallistatin (KAL), also known as SERPINA4, is part of the serpin family. Kallistatin has been discovered to exert multiple effects on angiogenesis, inflammation and tumour progression. However, the roles and clinical significance of kallistatin in HGSOC remain unclear. Here, we showed that kallistatin was significantly downregulated in HGSOC compared to normal fallopian tube (FT) tissues. Low expression of kallistatin was associated with unfavourable prognosis and platinum resistance in HGSOC. Overexpression of kallistatin significantly inhibited proliferation and metastasis, and enhanced platinum sensitivity and apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that kallistatin serves as a prognostic predictor and provide a potential therapeutic target for HGSOC.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Administration of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors after achieving a response to platinum-containing drugs significantly prolonged relapse-free survival compared to placebo administration. PARP inhibitors have been used in clinical practice. However, patients with platinum-resistant relapsed ovarian cancer still have a poor prognosis and there is an unmet need. The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical significance of metabolic genes and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activity in advanced ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC).<h4>Methods</h4>The RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data and clinical data of HGSC patients were obtained from the Genomic Data Commons (GDC) Data Portal and analysed ( https://portal.gdc.cancer.gov/ ). In addition, tumour tissue was sampled by laparotomy or screening laparoscopy prior to treatment initiation from patients diagnosed with stage IIIC ovarian cancer (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) classification, 2014) at the Saitama Medical University International Medical Center, and among the patients diagnosed with HGSC, 16 cases of available cryopreserved specimens were included in this study. The present study was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Saitama Medical University International Medical Center (Saitama, Japan). Among the 6307 variable genes detected in both The Cancer Genome Atlas-Ovarian (TCGA-OV) data and clinical specimen data, 35 genes related to metabolism and FAK activity were applied. RNA-seq data were analysed using the Subio Platform (Subio Inc, Japan). JMP 15 (SAS, USA) was used for statistical analysis and various types of machine learning. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis, and the Wilcoxon test was used to analyse significant differences. P < 0.05 was considered significant.<h4>Results</h4>In the TCGA-OV data, patients with stage IIIC with a residual tumour diameter of 1-10 mm were selected for K means clustering and classified into groups with significant prognostic correlations (p = 0.0444). These groups were significantly associated with platinum sensitivity/resistance in clinical cases (χ<sup>2</sup> test, p = 0.0408) and showed significant relationships with progression-free survival (p = 0.0307).<h4>Conclusion</h4>In the TCGA-OV data, 2 groups classified by clustering focusing on metabolism-related genes and FAK activity were shown to be associated with platinum resistance and a poor prognosis.